The Project Gutenberg EBook of Picturesque Sketches of London, Past and
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Title: Picturesque Sketches of London, Past and Present

Author: Thomas Miller

Release Date: August 11, 2014 [EBook #46565]

Language: English

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List of Engravings.
Index.: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Z

(etext transcriber's note)


S K E T C H E S   O F   L O N D O N.



Great New Street, Fetter Lane.







S K E T C H E S   O F   L O N D O N,

Past and Present.



L O N D O N: 227 STRAND.




S K E T C H E S   O F   L O N D O N,

Past and Present.

By T H O M A S   M I L L E R,










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Ancient London—the dawn of history—Roman London—Saxon London—old London Bridge—remains of ancient London—old roads and streets


St. Paul’s Cathedral—Anniversary meeting of charity children—interior of St. Paul’s—the Times’ office—Doctors Commons—Prerogative Court—Examiners of wills—Shakspeare’s will—Porters of the neighbourhood—Paul’s Wharf—Knightrider-street—Old London thieves—Church of St. Mary Somerset—Cromwell and the clergy—Saracen’s Head, Friday-street—Baptism of John Milton—Gerard’s Hall—Painter-stainers’ Hall—Queenhithe—St. Mary, Aldermanbury—Bow Church


Cheapside—London thoroughfares—Southwark Bridge—Whittington—Bucklersbury—Walbrook—Roman remains found in Cannon-street—London Stone—The Mansion House—Lombard-street—London bankers—Bankers’ clerks—The Monument


London Bridge Wharf—Billingsgate—Coal Exchange—Custom House—St. Dunstan’s Church—Mark-lane—Church of Allhallows Barking—East India House{x}


The Tower—The White Tower—Hentzner’s description of the Tower in the reign of Queen Elizabeth—Anecdotes of lions—The Crown Jewels—The Armoury—Execution of Lady Jane Grey—Prisoners in the Tower—Regulations of the Tower


London Docks—Emigrants—Canterbury colonists—London sempstresses—Emigration


Whitechapel—Row of butchers’ shops—Articles sold in them—Rag Fair—Church of St. Catherine Cree—Crosby Hall—Four Swans’ Inn


Guildhall—Lord Mayor’s Banquet—Lord Mayor’s Show—Description of, in time of Charles II.—Duties of the Lord Mayor—Gog and Magog—The Sheriff’s Court—Monuments in Guildhall—St. Giles’s, Cripplegate


Christ’s Hospital—Foundation of, by Edward VI.—Description of supper in—Description of Christ’s Hospital as it was two hundred years ago—Christ’s Church


Smithfield Market—Drovers and their dogs—Smithfield butchers—Countrymen in Smithfield


Newgate—Scenes at executions{xi}


Fleet Street—Whitefriars—St. Bride’s Church—Description of London Lodging-houses—St. Dunstan’s Church—the Cock Tavern


Church of St. Clement’s Danes—The Strand May-pole—Church of St. Mary-le-Strand—Somerset House—Church of the Savoy—The Adelphi—Arches at the Adelphi—Covent-Garden Market—Church of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden


Westminster Abbey—Monuments—Horse-Guards—St. James’s Park—Hyde Park—Regent’s Park—New Parks


St. Giles’s—The Rookery—Church of St. Giles’s—Queen Anne’s Bath


London Fog


The Old Borough of Southwark—St. James’s Church—Tabard Inn


Street Amusements—Punch and Judy—Organ-boys and monkeys—Fat boys—Tumblers—Stilt-dancers—Jack-in-the-green—Guy Fawkes


Spring-time in London{xii}


London Cemeteries—Ancient mode of burying the dead—Intramural interments—Ravages of the cholera in 1849


Greenwich Park—Old pensioners—Telescopes—Gipsies—Blackheath


Holidays of the London Poor


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Vignette in Title.


Roman Hypocaust, Thames-street


Roman Remains, found in Thames-street


St. Paul’s Cathedral.—Charity Children’s Anniversary Festival


Prerogative Court.—Doctors’ Commons


Saracen’s Head, Friday-street


Roman Lamp


Gerard the Giant


Gerard’s Hall Crypt


Bow Church, Cheapside


St. Stephen’s, Walbrook


Roman Vessels found in Cannon-street


The London Stone


Lord Mayor’s Jewel


St. Michael’s Church, Cornhill


Lombard Street


St. Mary’s Woolnoth


Old Billingsgate


St. Dunstan’s-in-the-East


Silver-gilt Shrine


Tippoo’s Elephant Howdah


Ajunta Caves


Tower of London


Queen’s Diadem, Queen’s Coronation Bracelets, Prince of Wales’ Crown, Old Imperial Crown, Queen’s Crown, Spiritual Sceptre, and Temporal Sceptre


Imperial Orb, Ampulla, Golden Salt-Cellar of State, Anointing Spoon, and State Salt-Cellars


Mast-House, Blackwall


London Docks—Outer Basin


Butcher Row, Whitechapel{xiv}


The Four Swans’ Inn Yard


St. Giles’s, Cripplegate


Old Staircase in Christ’s Hospital


Christ’s Church






Somerset House


Church of St. Mary-le-Savoy


Interior of the Savoy Church


Westminster Abbey




The Rookery, St. Giles’s


Queen Anne’s Bath


Street Performers


Highgate Cemetery


One-Tree Hill, Greenwich Park


Old Pensioner, Greenwich Park


Telescopes, Greenwich Park


Gipsies, Greenwich Park


Greenwich Park


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THE greater portion of the following work originally appeared in the columns of the Illustrated London News. The beauty of the sketches, and the permanent interest attached to them, led the proprietors of the National Illustrated Library to believe that a reprint of them would form a valuable and welcome addition to that series of illustrated works. The various articles have accordingly been carefully revised by the author; many additions have been made, and curious extracts from rare old works have been introduced, more completely to illustrate the various scenes and objects described.

The engravings, which consist chiefly of views of churches and other public buildings, of antiquities, views of streets and markets, sketches of street scenes, &c., have been carefully executed from original drawings.

The work is not to be considered as a guide-book, but as a series of sketches in “poetic prose” of various parts of London, in which, while perfect accuracy is preserved, the dulness of a mere itinerary is avoided; in which London of the present is sketched from constant personal observation, and London of the past from the rich historical and legendary lore that exists regarding it, and in which the thoughts that arise in “a free{xvi} mind and loving heart,” from a contemplation of the various objects and scenes described, are expressed in eloquent and forcible language.

Nor must the work be considered as exhaustive of the subject. The places and scenes chosen for “Picturesque Sketches” are chiefly in the eastern or older part of London. To have included the whole of the metropolis would have required not one volume, but many. Nevertheless, it will be found that the subjects to which chapters are devoted are the most interesting in London, and that though the work is not complete as regards the whole of this mighty city, yet each chapter is complete as far as regards its individual subject.

227 Strand, July 1, 1852.

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L O N D O N.

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Ancient London.

INSTEAD of wasting words on traditions which few can believe, or filling my pages with accounts of the fabulous kings who are said to have descended from Æneas, and to have reigned in Britain centuries before the Roman Invasion, I shall commence the present work by shewing that the remote past will ever remain a mystery which man is not permitted to penetrate. The following opening to my History of the Anglo-Saxons applies to the “unknown” origin of London—the new Troy of ancient fiction—the Augusta of the Romans—for in it I have described my impression of the unwritten History of the Past:

“Almost every historian has set out by regretting how little is known of the early inhabitants of Great Britain and its metropolis—a loss which only the lovers of hoar antiquity deplore, since, from all we can with certainty glean from the pages of contemporary history, we should find but little more to interest us than if we possessed written records of the remotest origin of the Red Indians; for both would alike but be the history of an unlettered and uncivilised race. The same dim obscurity, with scarcely an exception, hangs over the primeval inhabitants of every other country; and if we lift up the mysterious curtain which has so long fallen over and concealed the past, we only obtain glimpses of obscure hieroglyphics; and, from the unmeaning fables of monsters and giants, to which the rudest nations trace their origin, we but glance backward and backward, to find that civilised Rome and classic Greece can{18} produce no better authorities than old undated traditions, teeming with fabulous accounts of heathen gods and goddesses. What we can see of the remote past through the half-darkened twilight of time, is as of a great and unknown sea, on which some solitary ship is afloat, whose course we cannot trace through the shadows which every where deepen around her, nor tell what strange land lies beyond the dim horizon to which she seems bound. The dark night of mystery has for ever settled down upon the early history of our island, and the first dawning which throws the shadow of man upon the scene, reveals a rude hunter clad in the skins of beasts of the chase, whose path is disputed by the maned and shaggy bison, whose rude hut in the forest fastnesses is pitched beside the lair of the hungry wolf, and whose first conquest is the extirpation of these formidable animals. And so, in as few words, might the early history of any other country be written. The shores of Time are thickly strewn with the remains of extinct animals, which, when living, the eye of man never looked upon, as if from the deep sea of Eternity had heaved up one wave, which washed over and blotted out for ever all that was coeval with her silent and ancient reign, leaving a monument upon the confines of this old and obliterated world, for man in a future day to read, on which stands ever engraven the solemn sentence, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther: beyond this boundary all is mine!’

“Neither does this mystery end here; for around the monuments which were reared by the earliest inhabitants of Great Britain there still reigns a deep darkness; we know not what hands piled together the rude remains of Stonehenge; we have but few records of the manners, the customs, or the religion of the early Britons: here and there a colossal barrow heaves up above the dead; we look within, and find a few bones, a few rude weapons, either used in war or the chase, and these are all; and we linger in wonderment around such remains! Who those ancient voyagers were that first called England the ‘Country of Sea Cliffs,’ we know not; and while we sit and brood over the rude fragments of the Welsh Triads, we become so entangled in doubt and mystery as to look upon the son of Aedd the Great, and the Island of Honey to which he sailed, and wherein he found no man alive, as the pleasing dream of some old and forgotten poet; and we set out again with no more success to discover who were the earliest inhabitants of England, leaving the ancient Cymri and the country of Summer behind, and the tall, silent cliffs to stand, as they had done for ages, looking over a wide and mastless sea.

“We then look among the ancient names of the headlands, and harbours, and mountains, and hills, and valleys, and endeavour to trace a resemblance to the language spoken by some neighbouring{19} nation; and we only glean up a few scattered words, which leave us still in doubt, like a confusion of echoes, one breaking in upon the other; a minglement of Celtic, Pictish, Gaulish, and Saxon sounds; where, if for a moment but one is audible and distinct, it is drowned by other successive clamours which come panting up with a still louder claim; and in very despair we are compelled to step back again into the old primeval silence. There we find geology looking daringly into the formation of the early world, and boldly proclaiming that there was a period of time when our island heaved up bare and desolate amid the silence of the surrounding ocean—when on its ancient promontories and grey granite peaks not a green branch waved nor a blade of grass grew; and no living thing, saving the tiny corals, as they piled dome upon dome above the naked foundations of this early world, stirred in the ‘deep profound’ which reigned over those sleeping seas. Onward they go, boldly discoursing of undated centuries that have passed away, during which they tell us the ocean swarmed with huge monstrous forms; and that all those countless ages have left to record their flight are but the remains of a few extinct reptiles and fishes, whose living likenesses never again appeared in the world. To another measureless period are we fearlessly carried—so long as to be only numbered in the account of time which eternity keeps—and other forms, we are told, moved over the floors of dried-up oceans—vast animals which no human eye ever looked upon alive; these, they say, also were swept away, and their ponderous remains had long mingled with and enriched the earth; but man had not as yet appeared, nor in any corner of the whole wide world do they discover, in the deep-buried layers of the earth, a single vestige of the remains of the human race.

“What historian, then, while such proofs as these are before his eyes, will not hesitate ere he ventures to assert who were the first inhabitants of any country, whence they came, or at what period of time that country was first peopled? As well might he attempt a description of the scenery over which the mornings of the early world first broke,—of summit and peak which, ages ago, have been hurled down, and ground and powdered into atoms. What matters it about the date when such things once were, or at what time or place they first appeared? We can gaze upon the gigantic remains of the mastodon or mammoth, or on the grey silent ruins of Stonehenge; but at what period of time the one roamed over our island, or in what year the other was first reared, will for ever remain a mystery. The earth beneath our feet is lettered over with proofs that there was an age in which these extinct monsters existed, and that period is unmarked by any proof of the existence of man in our island. And{20} during those not improbable periods, when oceans were emptied and dried amid the heaving up and burying of rocks and mountains,—when volcanoes reddened the dark midnights of the world, when the “earth was without form and void,”—what mind can picture aught but His Spirit “moving upon the face of the waters?”—what mortal eye could have looked upon the rocking and reeling of those chaotic ruins when their rude forms first heaved up into the light? Is not such a world stamped with the imprint of the Omnipotent—from when He first paved its foundation with enduring granite, and roofed it over with the soft blue of heaven, and lighted it by day with the glorious sun, and hung out the moon and stars to gladden the night, until at last He fashioned a world beautiful enough for the abode of his “own image” to dwell in: then He created man. And what matters it whether or not we believe in all these mighty epochs? Surely it is enough for us to discover throughout every change of time the loving-kindness of God for mankind: we see how fitting this globe was at last made for man’s dwelling-place; that before the great Architect had put his last finish to his mighty work, instead of leaving us to starve amid the Silurian sterility, He prepared the world for man, and in place of the naked granite, spread out a rich carpet of verdure for him to tread upon, then flung upon it a profusion of the sweetest flowers. Let us not, then, daringly stand by, and say thus it was fashioned, and so it was formed; but by our silence acknowledge that it never yet entered the heart of man to conceive how the Almighty Creator laid the foundation of the world.

“To his great works must we ever come with reverential knee, and before them lowly bow; for the grey rocks, and the high mountain summits, and the wide-spreading plains, and the ever-sounding seas, are stamped with the image of Eternity; a mighty shadow ever hangs over them. The grey and weather-beaten headlands still look over the sea, and the solemn mountains still slumber under their old midnight shadows; but what human ear first heard the murmur of the waves upon the beaten beach, or what human foot first climbed up those high-piled summits, we can never know.

“What would it benefit us could we discover the date when our island was buried beneath the ocean; when what was dry land in one age became the sea in another; when volcanoes glowed angrily under the dark skies of the early world, and huge extinct monsters bellowed and roamed through the old forests and swam in the ancient rivers, which have perhaps ages ago been swept away? What could we find more to interest us were we in possession of the names, the ages, and the numbers of the first adventurers who were perchance driven by some storm upon our sea-beaten coast, than what is said in the ancient{21} Triad before alluded to? “There were no more men alive, nor any thing but bears, wolves, beavers, and the oxen with the high prominence,” when Aedd landed upon the shores of England. What few traces we have of the religious rites of the early inhabitants of Great Britain vary but little from such as have been brought to light by modern travellers who have landed in newly-discovered countries in our own age. They worshipped idols, and had no knowledge of the true God; and, saving in those lands where the early patriarchs dwelt, the same Egyptian darkness settled over the whole world. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered all nations, except themselves, barbarians; nor do the Chinese of the present day look upon us in a more favourable light; while we, acknowledging their antiquity as a nation, scarcely number them amongst such as are civilised. We have yet to learn by what hands the round towers of Ireland were reared, and by what race the few ancient British monuments that still remain were piled together, ere we can enter those mysterious gates which open upon the history of the past. We find the footprint of man there, but who he was, or whence he came, we know not; he lived and died, and whether or not posterity would ever think of the rude monuments he left behind concerned him not; whether the stones would mark the temple in which he worshipped, or tumble down and cover his grave, concerned not his creed; with his hatchet of stone, and spear-head of flint, he hewed his way from the cradle to the tomb; and under the steep barrow he knew that he should sleep his last sleep, and, with his arms folded upon his breast, he left the dead past to bury its dead: he lived not for us.”

At what remote period of time the spot on which London now stands was first peopled can never be known. A few rude huts peering perchance through the forest-trees, with grassy openings that went sloping downwards to the edge of the Thames, where the ancient Briton embarked in his rude coracle, or boat made of wicker and covered with the hides of oxen,—a pile of rugged stones on the summit of the hill which marked the cromlech, or druidical altar, and probably stood on the spot now occupied by St. Paul’s, and which nearly two thousand years ago was removed to make room for the Roman temple dedicated to Victory—was, from all we know of other ancient British towns, the appearance of London soon after the period when the old Cymri first landed in England, and called it the “Country of Sea-Cliffs.”

We next see it through the dim twilight of time occupied by the Romans. Triumphal arches and pillared temples and obelisks look down upon the streets of the Roman city. Then comes Boadicea thundering at the head of her revengeful Britons in her war-chariot:{22} we hear the tramp of horses and the dealing of heavy blows; see the tesselated pavement stained with blood; behold pale faces upturned in the grim repose of death; then many a night of darkness again settles upon the streets of the old city.



But deep down it is rich in Roman remains; far below the invading legions tramped, upheaving the victorious eagles above the dim old tesselated pavements; for London has its Pompeii and Herculaneum. Unnumbered generations have trampled into dust its splendour, even as our own glory may one day be mingled in the urn that holds the ashes of empires. Crushed Samian ware, a rusted demi-god, a headless hero, whose very memory has perished; the coins of conquerors, whose features time and decay have corroded, and whose mere names (without a good or evil deed to tell how they came there,) are just catalogued in the “lots” of history; these are the mouldering remains of conquest, lying as far beneath our feet as we in intellectual arts have towered above their former possessors. We belong to the future, as they do to the present; and when we perish, our glory will be found lettered in every corner of the rounded globe. The finger of the shattered giant will be picked up in the remotest continent, and unborn generations will sigh, as they exclaim, “Here lies a fragment of the once mighty England that gave us life.”

Westward of London we turn backward, and endeavour to obtain a view of that ancient neighbourhood as it looked when the Roman city stood upon the hill; and the Strand, as it is still called, was a{23} low, waste, and reedy shore, over which the tide came and went, and rocked the tufted reeds which waved over many a surrounding acre. Something like what it was in ancient days may yet be seen in those reedy and willowy inlets above the Red House at Battersea; and could we have stood and looked across the river while the spot on which Westminster now stands was an island, covered with thorns, and down to the water edged with green flags and rushes, we should have seen, far below what was called the Long Ditch (where the river divided, beside a low, lonely shore, on which the waves went lapping and surging, as they still do about those dreary bends that skirt the marshes of Woolwich), the fisherman in his coracle, the only figure that moved beside the sedgy margin of that mastless river, over which the piping of the tufted plover might then have been heard.



Turning to the ancient city, Erkenwin the Saxon first appears with his boasted descent from Wodin, the terrible god of battle, conquers the remnant of the ancient Britons, tramples upon their standard of the red dragon, and plants the banner of the white horse upon the rude fortifications of their capital. After many convulsions{24} we see the kingdoms of the Octarchy overturned by Egbert, the first king of all the Saxons; and in some old hall, with its low stunted pillars and heavy vaulted roof (centuries ago levelled to the earth), we behold him seated gravely with his witenagemot, or assembly of wise men, deliberating upon the best means of repelling the incursions of the Danes. Under the reign of Ethelwulf the city is plundered by the stormy sea-kings and their fearless followers. We next see the army of Alfred hovering between the outskirts of the city and the foot of Highgate-hill, and protecting the old Londoners while they gather in their harvest; for Hastings, with his ivory horn swung to his baldric, was encamped with his Danish army beside the river Lea, and Alfred had thrown himself like a shield between the city and its enemies. We behold Etheldred the Unready escape into Normandy, and Sweyn, king of Denmark, passes the low-browed archway which leads into the capital. The old grey wall which stretched beside the Thames, where wharves and warehouses now stand, is defended by Edmund Ironside and his followers against Canute the Dane, and ships bearing the banner of the black raven are moving below the rude bridge, which at that early period stretched over into Southwark. Harold, the last king of the Saxons, next crosses that old bridge, in the sunset of an autumnal evening, on his way to the fatal field of Hastings; and when we again look upon those ancient streets they are filled with Norman soldiers, and echoing to the bray of Norman trumpets, for William the Conqueror is passing through the city to take possession of the remains of the old Roman Tower.

We next glance at that ancient bridge, covered with houses, which spanned across the Thames, part of which stood even a few years ago, and had, after much patching and repairing, endured the wear and tear of time, with all the assaults of wind, water, war, and fire, for above six hundred years. Even until within the last half century the wheels of the great water-works first erected by Peter the Dutchman continued to moan and groan, and splash and dash, just as they had done for many a weary year,—for those ever-moving water-wheels seemed like the living spirit of the old bridge; and when they stopped, the ancient fabric, which had so long tottered to its crazy foundations, was soon swept away and numbered amongst the things that have been. Narrow, dark, and dangerous was the gloomy old street that, hung between the water and the sky, went stretching across the broad bosom of the Thames. Great darksome gables spanned overhead every way; and if you looked up in the twilight of those past days, you saw grinning above you, and looking down from the battlements, the ghastly and gory heads of murdered men, which were stuck upon spikes and left to bleach in the sun, wind, rain, and darkness,{25} day after day and night after night. When you looked down, you still seemed to see them, as if they moved side by side with you, past the windows of the old chapel, underneath the low-browed arches, beside the ancient shops; and ever below went the mad waters, gibbering and groaning and hissing; and in the deep midnight, when the old piers echoed back every footfall, you almost fancied that all those bodiless heads had leaped off the battlements, and, with their gory locks streaming out, were at your heels, hallooing and shrieking above and below the bridge, and “mopping and mowing” from every overhanging gable you hurried under.

When the wind was high, it ever went singing through those old houses and that silent chapel all night long; and the crazy old water-works sent out a thousand strange supernatural sounds; while all the rickety casements chattered again like a thousand teeth that have no power over the bitter blast which set them in motion. Then, too, the old swing-signs, which the least wind shook, swung and groaned upon their rusty hinges, one against the other; and what with the creaking of the signs, the whistling and moaning of the wind, that went booming with a hollow and unearthly sound under and over the vaulted street, mingled with the rush of the waters, and the cries for help from those beneath, who had run foul against the jutting sterlings, you wonder how any one could ever get a wink of sleep in those high old houses. That ancient bridge was the only highway into Kent and Surrey, and many a time had it been crossed by the conqueror and the conquered—one day a kingly procession, the next a train of prisoners in chains. It was alternately shaken by the shouts of Wat Tyler and his rebels, then by the acclaim which greeted some heroic king from the throats of the assembled citizens. And sometimes the drawbridge was raised, and the inhabitants of Southwark left to defend themselves as they could, while the citizens on the Middlesex side were safe, for between them there yawned an impassable gulf.

Below the Tower we find a few old churches and ancient mansions, which stood long before the Great Fire went reddening and blackening through the streets of the old City. The row of picturesque shops at the entrance of Whitechapel will recall the period when this was the court end of London. The second house, with the projecting bay-windows, is rich in ornamental details. The Prince of Wales’s feathers, the arms of Westminster, the fleur de lis of France, and thistle of Scotland are still standing on the front of this ancient mansion; and it is just possible that the house was once the residence of Prince Henry, son of James I., as the monogram, yet visible, bears the initials H.S., surmounted with plumes, which, very probably,{26} stand for Henry Stuart. The Earls of Northumberland, the Throgmortons, and many noble families and wealthy merchants, in former days, resided in this neighbourhood; for, beside the Tower, there was Crosby-place at no great distance, where the Protector, afterwards Richard III., held his court.

How changed is this ancient neighbourhood! The very house in which the Black Prince lodged when he resided in the City had long before Stowe’s time been turned into an hostel, and the apartments in which grave councils were held, and where many a glorious victory was planned, even then echoed back the voice of some Francis, as, amid “the clinking of pewter,” he exclaimed, “Anon, anon, sir;” or, “Score a pint of bastard in the Half-Moon.” The citizens had at that early period turned into bowling-alleys the quaintly laid-out gardens in which the Percies of old Northumbria “took their pleasure;” and where some pretty Kate, shewing her pearly teeth, had no doubt threatened to “break the little finger” of her fiery Hotspur, who was too eager to leave her dainty bower and hasten to the wars.

He also has long since vanished—the haughty Prior of the Holy Trinity, who, with “jingling bridle” in hand, bestrode his prancing palfrey, and rode “second to none” amongst the rich aldermen of London, proud of his broad domains, which in those days extended to the margin of the Thames, and over many rich acres beside those on which Whitechapel now stands. No Earl of Salisbury now goes “sounding” through the City streets, with his long train of five hundred mounted followers, clad in his household livery, and causing the old shopkeepers to cease their cry of “What do you lack?” while they watched the gay cavalcade until it was lost under the low-browed archway that stood before his ancient City mansion by Dowgate.

Baynard Castle, where Henry VII. received his ambassadors, and in which the crafty Cecil plotted against Lady Jane Grey, almost before the ink was dry with which he had solemnly registered his name to serve her, has long ago been numbered amongst the things that were; and seldom do the “silver snarling trumpets,” with their loud acclaim, disturb the deep sleep of the old City, to announce the in-coming or the out-going of royalty. The archers of Mile-end, with their chains of gold, have departed. The spot on which the tent stood where bluff Hal regaled himself after having witnessed their sports, is now covered with mean-looking houses: the poetry of ancient London is dead. The voice of the stream is for ever hushed that went murmuring before the dwellings of our forefathers, along Aldgate and down Fenchurch-street, and past the door of Sir Thomas Gresham’s house in Lombard street, until it doubled round by the Mansion House and emptied itself into the river. There is still a sound of waters by{27} the wharf at London Bridge; but, oh, how different from the “brawling brook” of former days is the evil odour that now arises from the poisonous sewer which there empties itself into the Thames!

Remains of ancient London are still to be found in the neighbourhood of Smithfield. The courts and alleys about Cloth Fair, and behind Long-lane, are perfect labyrinths, and so full of ins and outs, that they astonish the stranger who ventures to thread his way through them. Bartholomew’s Church is also one of the very oldest in the City; and we never look upon its weather-beaten tower without recalling the scenes which have taken place in the vast area which stretches out before it.

There is no spot in London richer in historical associations than Smithfield. There the marshal of England presided over the lists; and there also the mitred bishops congregated to gaze upon the poor martyr who was burnt at the stake: that old church-tower has many a time glared redly as it was lit up by the blaze of those consuming fires; its vaulted roof has echoed back the clang of arms, when battle-axe and sword clashed against helmet and shield, while scarcely a murmur arose from the lips of the mighty multitude that stood silent and breathless around the combatants.

Shakspeare and Ben Jonson have doubtless passed through those old narrow courts which still surround Bartholomew’s Church. It was to Smithfield Bardolph went to buy a horse, which we know he would steal if once allowed to get astride, and that, if any inquiries were made after it at the Boar’s Head in Eastcheap, Falstaff would avouch for Bardolph’s honesty. To us the whole neighbourhood is hallowed by a thousand poetical associations, and we never journey through it without feeling as if we were living again amid the past. As for Bartholomew Fair, though it now only lives in name, it will be remembered for ever in the works of rare Ben Jonson. To the thoughtful man it is a land of pleasant and solemn memories.

Then the streets of ancient London, what must they have been? In the west the roads were in such a state that the king could not open parliament in wet weather, unless faggots were first thrown into the deep pits and ruts. Foot and carriage-way had no other distinction than a row of posts; and if the passenger missed running his head against the low pent-house-lids, which here and there projected over the way, ten to one he came to some opening where a grim-headed and grinning spout sent down its torrents of water from the old-fashioned gabled building, and drenched him to the very skin. If he rushed out into the road, there

“Laden carts with thundering wagons meet,
Wheels clash’d with wheels, and barr’d the narrow street.”


The roads of London were full of pits and hollows even in William and Anne’s time; and the coach-box was then a box indeed—a regular coach-repairer’s shop on a small scale; for to get through a long street in bad weather without either sticking fast, breaking down, turning over, or being turned over by some reckless carman, was something to boast about in those days. The coachman had then need to be a good hand at repairs, and was oftener seen tinkering up his vehicle than mounted on his box, which in time was covered with the hammer-cloth, to conceal the materials and implements which almost every hour were called into use. What a night-journey was in those old unpaved streets may be readily imagined, when it is known that there were not more than a thousand lamps to light the whole City—that these were only kept burning until midnight during one-half of the year, and the remainder of the season were never once lighted. Such was the London we now live in, a hundred years ago. Little link-boys then generally lay in wait at the corner of every street, either ready for a few pence to light the benighted wanderer home, or more probably to lead him astray, and extinguish the light at some dangerous spot, where the thieves he was associated with were in waiting.

Over thousands of troubles and trials rolled the rapid years; then the “Great Fire” broke out, and nearly every ancient landmark was destroyed; and now we have to grope our way through the twilight of dim records and a few rudely executed prints, to catch a glimpse of the old London in which our forefathers lived. This we shall endeavour to do as we thread our way through city and suburb; now glancing at the London of the present day, then turning the eye of the imagination to the ancient metropolis, which Briton, Roman, Saxon, Dane, and Norman have in succession traversed.

The old highway to London is that which the daring sea-kings poetically called “the road of the swans”—the broad bosom of the sea,—and then along the majestic river which leads to her grey old fortress, the Tower. But the railroad has ploughed up the country, and this ancient “silver pathway” is abandoned to commerce and pleasure-parties; so rapid is the transit from every point of the coast, that few care to thread the winding river when they can reach London by the railroads almost as direct as “the crow flies.” Such remains of ancient London as fall in our way we shall again glance at; and shall now commence our “Picturesque Sketches of London” by describing the most prominent landmark in the City—St. Paul’s Cathedral, together with a few of the most interesting objects in the neighbourhood.{29}



THE Cathedral of St. Paul’s is the great landmark of London. Long before the eye of the approaching stranger obtains a glimpse of the graceful spires, grey massy towers, and tall columns which ascend from every corner of the outstretched city, it rests upon that mighty dome, which looms through the misty sky, like some dim world hanging amid the immensity of space; for so does it seem suspended when the smoke from ten thousand homes throws a vapoury veil over the lower portion of the invisible building. From the long range of hills that overlook Surrey and Kent, from the opposite heights of Highgate and Hampstead, and for miles away in the level valley through which the Thames ebbs and flows, that rounded dome is seen standing sentinel day and night over the two-million peopled city. Above the busy hum of the multitude it keeps watch by day, and through the hushed night it looks up amid the overhanging stars, and throws back from its golden cross (emblem of our salvation) the silvery rays of the bright moon, when all the miles of streets below are wrapt in drowsy silence. High up it towers, a tribute of man to his Maker, carrying our thoughts almost unconsciously to God while we gaze upon it, and pointing out to the unbelieving heathens who have crossed the great deep a Christian land: an image of religion reflected in the deep tide of our commerce, shadowing forth a haven beyond the grave, when the fever and the fret of this life will have died away like a forgotten dream. It stands like a calm bay amid the ever-heaving sea of restless London, into which the tempest-tost mariner may at any time enter and anchor his barque nearer the{30} shores of eternity; for while all around him the wild elements of worldly gain are raging, scarcely a sound from without falls upon his ear to break the solemn silence which reigns in that mighty fabric.

No stranger can say that he has seen the vastness of London until he has mounted the hundreds of steps which lead to the Golden Gallery, and looked out upon the outstretched city and suburbs below. It is a sight never to be forgotten; the passengers underneath scarcely appear a foot high, and the omnibuses so diminished, that you fancy you could take one under your arm and walk off with it easily. But it is the immense range of country which the eye commands that astonishes the stranger. Here railroads branch out, there the noble river seems narrowed by distance to an insignificant brook; while weary miles of houses spread out every way, and the largest edifices of the metropolis are dwarfed beneath the lofty height from which you gaze. There are hills before and hills behind: to the right, a dim country, lost in purple haze; to the left, thousands of masts, which look like reeds, while the hulls of the ships seem to have dwindled to the smallness of boats.

Never did that cathedral appear to us more holy than when we visited it last summer during the Anniversary Meeting of the Charity Children; never did the sunbeams which occasionally streamed through the vaulted dome seem so much like the golden ladder on which the “angels of God ascended and descended” in the dream of the patriarch of old, as when they shone for a few moments upon the heads of those thousands of children who were congregated beneath. We seemed to picture Charity herself newly alighted from heaven, and standing in the midst overshadowing them with her white wings, while her angelic smile lighted up the holy fabric, as she stood with her finger pointing to the sky. It was a sight that went home to every heart, and made an Englishman proud of the land of his birth, to know that thousands of those children, who were fatherless and motherless, were watched over and tended by the angel of charity; and that hundreds who waited to do her bidding, with willing hearts and open hands, were assembled in the temple which her overpowering presence then hallowed. Then to know that so vast a multitude formed but a portion of the numbers which English charity clothed, fed, and educated; and that, if all could have been assembled tier above tier, as they then sat, they would have reached to the very summit of the dome itself, extending, as it were, to heaven, and with folded hands and meek supplicating faces seeming to plead in our behalf before the footstool of God.

It was a sight never to be forgotten, to see those thousands of clean and neatly clad children ranged one above another, to the height of{31}





twenty feet, beneath the huge overshadowing dome; to see the girls at the beginning or ending of a prayer (as if touched by the wand of some magician) raise or drop their thousands of snow-white aprons at the self-same instant of time, was like the sudden opening and folding of innumerable wings, which almost made the beholder start, as if he had stepped suddenly upon the threshold of another world. The gaudiest gardens that figure in oriental romance, with all their imaginary colouring, never approached in beauty the rich and variegated hues which that great group of children presented. Here the eye rested upon thousands of little faces that peeped out from the pink trimmings of their neat caps; there the pretty head-gear was ornamented with blue ribands, looking like blue-bells and white lilies blended together; farther on the high range of heads stood like sheeted May-blossoms, while the crimson baise which covered the seats looked in the distance as if the roses of June were peeping in between the openings of the branches. The pale pearled lilac softened into a primrose-coloured border, which was overhung by the darker drapery of the boys, upon whom the shadows of the arches settled. Ever and anon there was a sparkling as of gold and silver, as the light fell upon the glittering badges which numbers of the children wore, or revealed the hundreds of nosegays which they held in their little hands, or wore proudly in their bosoms. High above this vast amphitheatre of youthful heads, the outspreading banners of blue, and crimson, and purple, emblazoned with gold, were ranged, all filled with

“Stains and splendid dyes,
As are the tiger-moth’s deep-damask’d wings.”

And when the sunlight at intervals fell upon the hair or the innocent faces of some snow-white group of girls, they seemed surrounded with

“A glory like a saint’s.
They look’d like splendid angels newly drest,
Save wings, for heaven.”—Keats.

Eastward the organ rose with its sloping gallery of choristers, selected from Westminster, the Royal Chapel, and St. Mark’s; and from thence the full choir burst, and the sounds were caught up and joined by thousands of voices, until the huge building seemed to throb again beneath that mighty utterance. The eye fairly ached as it rested on the vast plane of human faces, which inclined from the west end of the cathedral, and came dipping down almost to the very foot of the choir, so chequered was the richly-coloured field it fell upon.

As the anthem stole upon the ear, we seemed borne away to another{34} state, to that heaven of which we catch glimpses in our sweetest dreams, when all those childish voices joined in the thrilling chorus; when we beheld thousands of childish faces in the ever-shifting light, we could almost fancy that we stood amid those ranks “who veil their faces with their wings” before the blinding glory of heaven. Over all pealed the full-voiced organ, sounding like music that belongs not to earth, now high, now low, near or remote, as the reverberated sound rose to the dome or traversed the aisles, coming in and out like wavering light between the pillars and shadowy recesses, spots in which old echoes seem to sleep, old voices to linger, which only broke forth at intervals to join in the solemn anthem that rose up and floated away, and would only become indistinct when it reached the star-paved courts above.

There was something pleasing in the countenances of many of the girls, something meek and patient in the expression they wore, especially in the little ones. You could almost fancy you could distinguish those who were orphans, by their looking timidly round, as if seeking among the spectators for some one to love them.

From such a scene our mind naturally turned to the huge amphitheatres of old, when the populace of ancient cities congregated to see some gladiator die, or to witness the struggle between man and the savage beast, while the air was rent with applauding shouts, as the combatants bled beneath each other’s swords, or were torn by the tusks of infuriated animals. How great the contrast! Instead of the shouts of the heathen multitude, here the solemn anthem was chanted by thousands of childish voices, while every heart seemed uplifted in silent prayer to God. Here we saw the youthful aspirants of heaven tuning their notes like young birds, dim, half-heard melodies, which can only burst forth in perfect music when they reach that immortal land where “one eternal summer ever reigns;” and we sighed as we thought how many thousands still uncared for were scattered through the streets and alleys of London, and left to live as they best could amid ignorance, rags, and hunger, with no one to teach them that, outcasts as they are on earth, they have still a Father in heaven who careth for them. Charitably disposed as England is to her poor children, she has yet much to do before her great work is perfected; she has yet to bring together her homeless thousands who have neither food nor raiment, nor any place at night where they can lay their weary and aching heads. The time will come when she will be convinced that she must do more than save a remnant, when there will be none left in hunger and ignorance to hang about her great cathedral, as we saw them then, envying the thousands of clean and healthy-looking children, who, more fortunate than they, were under the care of charitable{35} guardians. All these her protecting arms will in time encircle in one warm motherly embrace, without distinction. God send that the time may be near at hand!

Many a “rapt soul” looked out with moistened eyes from that assemblage, which, when this earthly pilgrimage is ended, shall hear the voice of the great Master whom they have served exclaim: “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in.” Such we could distinguish, who felt no greater pleasure than in sharing their wealth amongst the poor and needy; on whose brow benevolence had set her seal; who do good by stealth, and “blush to find it fame.” Such as these feel an innate pleasure which the miser never experienced while gloating over his hoarded gold; and when the Angel of Death comes, he will bear them away gently; and in the soft beating of his dark wings they will hear again the sweet voices of those dear children singing a little way before, as if they had but to shew their faces, when the gates of Paradise would

“Wide on their golden hinges swing;”

while outstretched arms would be seen through the surrounding halo, holding forth the crowns of glory which had been prepared for them “from the foundation of the world.”

Glancing at the building, we must state that, from the base to the top of the cross, which overlooks the dome, the height is 400 feet; and that of the campanile towers, which front Ludgate-hill, 220 feet; the length of the building, from east to west, is 500 feet; and the breadth 100 feet; while the ground enclosed by the palisade measures upwards of two acres. As all the world knows, the architect was Sir Christopher Wren, whose grave is in the crypt below, and whose monument is the building itself; such a pile as no monarch ever erected to his own memory. The choir is enriched by the beautiful carving of Grinling Gibbons, who ought to have slept beside the great architect of St. Paul’s in the vault beneath. The sculpture on the west front is by Bird, and the beholder will be struck by the colossal size of the figures, if he pauses to look out as he ascends the dome. They are, Paul preaching to the Romans, his Conversion, &c.; while those at the sides represent the Evangelists. The minute-hand of the clock measures eight feet, and the dial is fifty-seven feet in circumference; while the great bell, which strikes the hour, weighs between four and five tons. It is only tolled at the deaths and burials of the royal family, and a few others, who may have been connected with the cathedral.

The Whispering-gallery, the Clock-room, the Library, and Model-room,{36} have been so often described, that we shall pass them by, and briefly glance at the monuments.

The monument to Nelson, by Flaxman, interests us all the more through knowing that the remains of the hero of Trafalgar, encased in a portion of the mainmast of L’Orient, repose below. The memorial to Abercrombie, by one stroke of genius, carries the mind to Egypt, while gazing on the symbols which are introduced. There are statues or monuments to Lord Cornwallis, Sir John Moore, Lord Heathfield, Collingwood, St. Vincent, Howe, Rodney, Ponsonby, and Picton, and many other naval and military heroes. John Saunders, in Knight’s London, says, “There must be something shocking to a pure and devout mind filled with the spirit of Him who came to preach ‘peace on earth, good will among men,’ to find the records of deeds of violence and slaughter intruded upon his notice in the very temples where he might least expect to find such associations, ... to make every pier, and window, and recess in our chief cathedral repeat the same melancholy story of war, war, still every where war. There are now about forty-eight monuments in St. Paul’s, of which there are but seven devoted to other than naval and military men ... ‘paragraphs of military gazettes,’ to use Flaxman’s phrase.” The other monuments are to Howard the philanthropist, Dr. Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir William Jones, Bishop Heber, Babington, Middleton, and Sir Astley Cooper.

The paintings by Sir James Thornhill look dim and faded, and can scarcely be seen at all except through a few chinks in the dome, which you cannot peep down through without feeling dizzy, such a depth yawns beneath. This door, or trap, or whatever it is called, that opens above the dome, is for the convenience of hoisting up great and celebrated visitors, who are too distinguished and too lazy to climb the 600 steps which lead to the summit of St. Paul’s. Speaking of the summit recals to our recollection that, when we looked from it in the afternoon sunshine, the shadow of St. Paul’s extended to the Bank, while the dome threw all the houses on the left of Cheapside into the shade, and its rounded shoulder darkened the crowded buildings far behind, thus depriving hundreds of the citizens of sunshine.

In conclusion, we have only to add that Divine service commences at a quarter past ten in the morning, and a quarter to three in the afternoon; and that to see the whole of the building, above and below, the visitor must submit to pay the sum of 4s. 4d.; “which,” as gossiping old Pepys says, “is pretty to observe”—we mean, the amount.

There is but little to detain us in the streets behind Ludgate-hill, running into Upper Thames-street and Earl-street, beyond the mere{37} mention of Apothecaries’ Hall, which stands in the Broadway, that unites with Water-lane, and which was built soon after the Fire of London. There is a portrait of James I., and a statue of Delware, at whose intercession James granted a charter of incorporation. The controversy between this Company and the College of Physicians called forth Garth’s poem entitled “The Dispensary,” which was very popular at that period, and is still worthy of perusal.

The Times Office, in Printing-house-square, is the great lion of this neighbourhood; and the same spot was occupied by the king’s printers at least as far back as the reign of Charles II. A description of this mighty lever of the “fourth estate” does not come within the compass of our light pages.

Neither St. Andrew’s-hill nor Addle-hill requires much notice, though the former contains one of Wren’s churches, called St. Andrew by the Wardrobe; also a beautiful monument to the Rev. W. Romaine. Paul’s Chain and Bennet-hill bring us back again to St. Paul’s; and here our readers will consider that we make a fair start eastward, with the intention of describing the principal objects of interest that lie between the nearest great thoroughfare and the river on the south side of the way, while a few of the principal objects in the streets on the north will arrest our attention as we return on our journey westward.

Paul’s Chain took its name from the chain thrown across the road during the time of Divine service; a duty now performed by policemen, who, although they do not bar up the way, caution the drivers to go on slowly during service-time.

We have now arrived at Doctors’ Commons, and our engraving over-leaf represents the Prerogative Court, one of the chambers in which the wills of the dead are deposited. Through those doors many a beating and anxious heart enters to return disappointed, or half delirious with delight, through dreaming of the many pleasures which riches will procure. What thousands of human beings, fluttering between hope and fear, have passed through the shadow of that arched gateway which opens into St. Paul’s Churchyard; many to repass the possessors of riches, but never again to find that sweet sleep which hard-handed industry brought, and which moderate competency had never before heaved a sigh for! Legacies left, which proved a curse instead of a comfort, by arousing ambitious thoughts to soar amid airy speculations, where hundreds of captivating bubbles floated, tinged with the richest hues, until all in a moment burst, and left but a naked desolation behind—a hideous barrenness—never seen while those painted vapours danced before the eye. Wealth, over which Care ever after kept watch with sleepless eyes and{38} furrowed brow, uncertain into which stream of enjoyment he should launch with his freight, and so pondered until old age and then death came, and instead of the castle he had so long contemplated purchasing, he was installed without a tear into the narrow coffin, and borne without a sigh to the grave. Others, again, raised from enduring and patient poverty to undreamed-of comfort, because he who would not have advanced them a shilling, would it have saved them from starvation and death, was now powerless; his greatest agony, when he passed away, being the thought that he could not carry his unforgiving vengeance beyond the grave; that he had not power to disinherit the child whom he spurned and hated. We have gazed on those dark-bound volumes in the Prerogative Will-Office, and thought that if the dead were permitted to return again, what ghastly forms would enter that room, shrieking aloud names once beloved, and blotting out for ever such as they had in their blind passion inserted. One stroke of the pen, and she who sits weeping and plying her needle in one of the neighbouring attics (her children crying around her for bread) might have been trailing the roses around the trellised porch of some beautiful cottage, while they were playing on the green lawn, strangers to sorrow and hunger.

Let us pause for a few moments and examine the attitudes and countenances of those who are perusing the wills. See how that woman’s hand shakes as she turns over the leaves; look at the working of the muscles of that young man’s face; behold the play of light over the wrinkled features of that old lady; see how she clasps her hands together and is looking upward; and you may tell what each has discovered as clearly as if you knew them, had stood beside them, and had read every line which they have been reading. That low sound, falling on the ear like the faint dropping of the summer rain on the leaves, is caused by the tears shed by that pale young lady in deep mourning; they fall quicker and quicker on the pages, and she rests her head on her hand, for she can no longer see to read through those blinding tears. The old objects of a once happy home are floating before the eye of her imagination; it may be that they are all there enumerated; that she has in fancy been passing from room to room, looking into the mirror that threw back her image in happy childhood, leaning from the window where stood the box of mignonette which she watered in the dewy morning, while her shadow fell upon the sunshine which slept on the chamber-floor. Old faces and old voices have again been before and around her; and she weeps not at finding that she is forgotten, but because those she so fondly loved are either no more or far away, and refuse to countenance her for marrying the object of her love, a man rejected by all her family only{39}





because he was poor. In that great mustering-ground beyond the grave, who would not rather occupy the place of that sufferer than stand ranged amid the ranks of those who have thus neglected her? Contrast her deportment with that of the young man at the end of the desk; his fists are clenched, the nails of his fingers are embedded in the palms of his hands, his teeth set, his eyebrows knit; he strikes his hat as he places it on his head, closes the door with a loud slam, and curses the memory of a dead man, because he has left a reckless spendthrift just enough to live on all his life without working, yet so bequeathed it that he can but draw a given sum monthly. He is savage because he cannot have the whole legacy at once in his possession. If he could, he would be likely enough to squander it all away in a single night at some notorious gambling-house.

On another countenance you behold utter amazement slowly changing into the expression of contempt, disgust; and at last it settles down into black and sullen hatred. She, whose features have in a few moments undergone so many sudden alterations, finds that all her deeply-laid schemes and subtle plans have been of no avail, but that the poor relative, whose character she was ever disparaging in the eyes of the old man, and whom she kept from his bedside by the falsehoods she uttered to both, is now the possessor of all his riches. She is gnawing the end of her glove through sheer vexation: all he has left her is a book, an old volume, entitled, The Value of true Sincerity. The hypocrite is justly rebuked in his last will and testament. She departs burning red through shame and anger, and would give the world could she but leave her conscience behind her.

Watch that old man tottering on the very verge of the grave, and with hardly strength enough to lift the volume which he so eagerly scans: although he could already bury himself in gold, and leave the yellow lucre piled high above his narrow bed, he still covets more. He who has neither appetite nor taste for any rational enjoyment, who is compelled to sit up half the night because he cannot rest, is still eager to increase his riches. For what? the love of money alone. If he lends it, he never considers for what object; it may be good or evil, that concerns him not; all he looks to is the security, and the interest he is to receive on his capital: it may be to bring waste lands into cultivation, to aid a poor and industrious people; but one per cent more, and he would supply any armed tyrant with funds to destroy the whole peaceful populace, to leave their homes a mass of burning ruins, and the furrows of their fields running red with blood.

Here is the last Will and Testament of the immortal Shakspeare; the very handwriting of the mighty bard “who was not for an age, but for all time.” On that document his far-seeing eyes looked, on{42} that page his hand rested; the same hand which obeyed the influence of his high-piled thoughts while he drew Hamlet, and Lear, and Macbeth, Desdemona, Ophelia, Perdita, and Imogen, held the pen which traced the very lines we now look upon. But for such old home-touches as these, we should almost doubt whether that god-like spirit ever descended to the common duties of this hard work-a-day world. But here we find him

“Not too bright or good
For human nature’s daily food.”

But for proofs like these, we might fancy that such a soul had but mistaken its way while wandering from the abodes of the gods, and brought with it to the earth all the wisdom and poetry which it had taken an immortality to gather; that when he returned to his native home, the gates of heaven closed not suddenly enough upon him to shut out the undying echoes of his golden utterance; but that for ever the winds of heaven were chartered to repeat them—to blow them abroad into every corner of the earth—nor cease their mission until the language he spoke shall be uttered by “every nation, kindred, and tongue.” Such a deed as this alone proves his mortality; for the creations of his genius carry him as far away from the common standard of men as heaven is from earth.

What records have we here of old families long since passed away!—their very names forgotten in the places where they once enjoyed

“A little rule—a little sway,
A sunbeam on a winter’s day,
Between the cradle and the grave.”—Dyer.

Perhaps the last of the race perished a pauper in some obscure poorhouse; it may be, the one which his ancestors founded a century or two ago.

Another visits the Will-Office, who gained information of the death of some near and wealthy relative by chance—perhaps through the scrap of an old newspaper which formed the wrapper of the pennyworth of butter or cheese purchased at the little huckster’s shop at the corner of the filthy court in which for years the poor family have resided,—spots in which misery clings to misery for companionship. Letter after letter had they written, but received no answer; no one would take the trouble to reply. Then they sank lower and lower, and removed from place to place, until, at last, one single room in an undrained and breathless alley held all their cares and all their heart-aches; and there they tried to forget their wealthy relatives—to bury the remembrance of what they once were.

Meantime, he who had long been dead had remembered them{43} on his deathbed; letters had been written and advertisements had appeared, announcing “something to their advantage,” but they had fallen amongst the very poor, who, though living in the heart of London, concerned not themselves with matters foreign to their own wretched neighbourhood, unless it were some execution or low spectacle, suited to their depraved tastes. Poverty had long ago prostrated all their finer feelings. Even such as these have we seen enter the doors of the Prerogative Court, after they had with difficulty raised the shilling which they were compelled to pay before searching for the will, and come out exultingly the possessors of thousands.

A strange place is that Prerogative Court, a fine picture of the great out-of-door world; for there Hope and Despair stand sentinels at the doors, and the living seem to jostle the dead in their eager hurry to hunt after what those in the grave have left them. There is a smell as of death about the place, as if grey old departed spirits lurked in the musty folios, and had scattered their ashes amid the yellow and unearthly-looking parchments, which rise up again in clouds of dust, while you turn over the mouldy and crackling leaves, making you sneeze again, while a hundred old echoes take up the sound, until every volume seems to shake and laugh and mock you, as if the grim old dead found it a rare spot to make merry in—to “mop and mow,” and play off a thousand devilish antics upon the living. That court is the great mart of merriment and misery, and its open doors too often lead to madness; groaning and moaning, when they open or shut, as if the spirits within wailed over those who come in search of wealth, to return disappointed. Beauty, Virtue, and Innocence also enter there, preceded by Pity; while Hope, with downcast eyes, leads them gently by the hand—her smile subdued, and her sweet countenance sorrowful. But these are angel visitants, who are compelled to appear in that court—who come in tears, and, when their duty is done, pass away for ever. There is a sound of sighs within those walls—a smell of green, stagnant tears: if you listen, you seem to hear the dead rustling among the old parchments: they move like black-beetles, and murmur to one another in an old Saxon language. Wickedness and Wrong have also their lurking-places there—where they lie concealed, and laugh at Right and Justice amid a pile of black-lettered laws, beneath which you find injured Poverty mourning unpitied. The grim judge, who has sat here for hundreds of years, is deaf and blind: he acts but for the dead—the living he can neither hear nor see—but ever sits with his elbow resting on a pile of musty volumes, mute as a marble image. It is a place filled with solemn associations—the ante-room of Life-in-Death.{44}

Knowing fellows are the porters who hang about this neighbourhood; you can tell that they have not plied there for years without picking up “a thing or two;” they appear almost as “ ’cute” as the learned proctors themselves; and should you find yourself the possessor of a fat legacy, and be so ignorant as to apply to these white-aproned messengers as to the best way of getting it at once, they will undertake to introduce you to a gentleman, who, from what you hear, you almost believe to be so clever that he could whip your name into a will if he chose, and obtain for you a fortune, if even you had no legal claim to a single shilling. “God bless you, sir, we knows plenty of people what’s got thousands as never expected to have a blessed mag whatsomdever.” And green countrymen follow these plump images of Hope, and treat them to whatever they please to take.

Besides the Prerogative Will-Office, Doctors’ Commons contains the Court of Arches, a name well known to all the readers of newspapers; the Court of Faculties and Dispensation, having a good deal to do with marriage-licenses, and many other less lawful matters; the Consistory Court of the Bishop of London, and the High Court of Admiralty, so that “all is fish” which falls into the net of these courts—from a lady running away from her husband, to one ship running down another. A captive of Cupid’s or a capture in war, is all the same to these able practitioners, where either the owner or the husband of the Nancy Dawson may find redress—for either ship or spouse come alike to advocate or proctor.

Here we have, also, the Heralds’ College, well worthy of notice, as it contains many curious rolls and valuable manuscripts.

At the bottom of Bennet’s-hill stood Paul’s-wharf—a famous landing-place before the Great Fire; the church still bears the name of St. Bennet, Paul’s-wharf. Here Knightrider-street and Carter-lane extend in the line of the river. Carter-lane has become classic ground, through one Richard Quyney having directed a letter from the Bell Inn, which formerly stood there, to Shakspeare. Little did Quyney dream how much the handwriting of the poet he was then addressing would one day be valued—of the hundreds of pilgrims who would visit the adjoining Court to see the will of Shakspeare. The society which bears his name are doing “good service” by hunting up and publishing such records as these, for they throw a charm around the old poetical neighbourhood of Blackfriars Bridge, and give to such places as Carter-lane an interest which they never before possessed;

“For there is link’d unto a poet’s name
A spell that can command the voice of fame.”


Knightrider-street, Stowe tells us, derived its name from the knights of old riding through it on their way from the Tower to Smithfield to hold their jousts and tournaments. It was in Knightrider-street that the mace was found which was stolen from the Lord Chancellor’s closet, in Great Queen-street, on Tuesday night, February 6th, 1676. A small quarto pamphlet, of eight pages, published in 1676, bears the following title:—“A perfect Narrative of the Apprehension, Trial, and Confession of the five several persons who were confederates in stealing the Mace and the two Privy Purses from the Lord High Chancellor of England, as it was attested at the Sessions held at Justice Hall, in the Old Bailey, the seventh and eighth of March, anno 1676.” The following extract is curious, as a picture of the old London thieves, and also of the lodging-house keepers, many of whom still inherit the gift of “opening the lock with a knife,” or any thing that first comes to hand:—“The manner of their apprehension was thus: some of the head of the gang had taken a lodging in Knightrider-street, near Doctors’ Commons, and there, in a closet, they had lodged the mace and purses. The woman’s daughter of the house going up in their absence to make the bed, saw some silver spangles, or some odd ends of silver, scattered about the chamber, which she with no small diligence picked up, not knowing from whence such riches should proceed. In this admiration she paused awhile, and it was not long before her fancy led her, like the rest of her sex, to pry into and search the furthermost point of this new and strange apparition; and directing her course to the closet-door, she through the keyhole could discern something that was not commonly represented to her view, which was the upper end of the mace, but knew not what it was; however, she thought it could not be amiss to acquaint her beloved mother with what she had beheld; and with this resolve she hastens down stairs, and with a voice betwixt fear and joy she cries out, ‘O mother, mother! yonder is the king’s crown in the closet. Pray, mother, come along with me and see it.’

“The admiring mother being something surprised at her daughter’s report, as also having no good opinion of her new lodgers, makes haste, good woman, and goes to the closet-door, and opening the lock with a knife, she entered into the closet, where she soon discerned it was not a crown but a mace, and having heard that such a thing was lost, sends immediately away to acquaint my Lord Chancellor that the mace was in her house; upon which information a warrant was soon granted, and officers sent to Mr. Thomas Northy, constable of Queenhithe ward, who, with a sufficient assistance, went into Knightrider-street to their lodging, and very luckily found them, being five in number, and of both sexes, viz. three men and two women, whom{46} they carried before the Right Worshipful Sir William Turner, who, after examination, according to justice, committed them to the common jail of Newgate.”

It was only five years before that Colonel Blood had attempted to steal the crown from the Tower, but he—more fortunate than Sadler—escaped with his life, while the latter was hanged at Tyburn; the only one, we believe, who was executed for stealing the Lord Chancellor’s mace and purses.

What melancholy processions passed through Knightrider-street, as prisoners to the Tower, the old historian Stowe mentions not: like many another ancient street, it was often the highway of merriment and misery.

St. Paul’s School was founded by the venerable Dean Colet about the year 1500, who made the Company of Mercers his trustees. The present building was erected in 1824. At the commencement of June, when Anne Boleyn passed through the City on her way from the Tower to Westminster, to be crowned, we find, in Hall’s Chronicle, that “at St. Paul’s School, on a scaffold, stood two hundred children, well appareled, who recited various English versions of the ancient poets, to the honour of the king and queen, which her grace highly commended.”

To the church of St. Austin, or Augustin, Old Change and Watling-street, was united that of St. Faith under St. Paul’s, after the Fire. The present church was built by Wren. The church of St. Faith stood in the crypt of old St. Paul’s, beneath the choir. Fuller called it the “babe of old St. Paul’s.” The author of the Ingoldsby Legends, who has never been surpassed in the art of grafting modern incident on the stem of old ballad lore, was the rector of St. Augustin’s.

To see this closely-crowded neighbourhood thoroughly would require many “ups and downs.” Old Fish-street was formerly the great fish-market of London, when Queenhithe rivalled Billingsgate, and was the greatest landing quay in the City; the church of St. Mary Somerset, built by Wren, stands here. The former church was called St. Mary’s Mounthaut, or Mounthaw, as I find it spelt in an old pamphlet, which states that Mr. Thrall was “sequestered and shamefully abused” when the clergymen of London had to make room for the Puritans. Old Fish-street-hill had then two churches, but after the Great Fire that of St. Mary’s Mounthaw was not rebuilt. This is the old Saxon name of the berry of the hawthorn, and there was a time when Old Fish-street-hill was celebrated for its hawthorns, when it was called Hagthorn-hill or Mounthaw, long before old St. Mary’s was built upon it. The pamphlet I have alluded to was printed in{47} 1661, and is entitled, “A general Bill of the Mortality of the Clergy of London, or a brief Martyrology and Catalogue of the learned, grave, religious, and painful Ministers of the City of London, who have been imprisoned, plundered, and barbarously used, and deprived of all livelihood for themselves and their families, in the late Rebellion, for their constancy in the Protestant religion established in this kingdom, and their loyalty to the king under that grand Persecution. London: printed against Bartholom’ Day.” This pamphlet, as the date shews, was issued soon after the restoration of Charles II., no doubt with the view of giving him a broad hint that their loyalty and sufferings ought not to be forgotten in the then “good time coming.” Whether or not any thing was done for them by the “Merry Monarch,” we have no means of ascertaining. We shall occasionally refer to this curious list, to shew the sufferings of the clergy during the period of the Commonwealth.

Stowe tells us that the monuments of the old church of St. Mary Somerset were defaced; but whether by time or sacrilegious hands, he says not, nor can we now know, for the Great Fire destroyed all the traces that time had so long spared. We would rather the old church with the poetical name had been rebuilt on the ancient Hawthorn Mount than this. Stowe thinks that the old name of St. Mary Somerset was Summer Hithe. Summer and hawthorns! how we love the memory of the old historian for calling up these pleasant associations! We may be wrong in the name, but, for the sake of the poetry, we must picture the pretty Saxon maids, before London was a city, wandering down Mounthaw to Summer-wharf between long lines of hawthorn hedges, to see their lovers return from fishing in the Thames, or to watch the arrival of some corn-barque lower down the bank by Queenhithe. In Fish-street we have still a portion of the old burial-ground that belonged to St. Mary’s Mounthaw.

St. Nicholas’s Cold Abbey stands at the corner of Old Fish-street-hill, and is one of the first churches completed after the Fire. There is nothing either remarkable about this church or the neighbouring one called St. Mary’s Magdalen in Old Fish-street, except that both were rebuilt by Wren. In the pamphlet before alluded to I find the following entry: “St. Maudlin, Old Fish-street, Dr. Griffith sequestered, plundered; wife and children turned out of doors; his wife dead with grief. Mr. Weld, his curate, assaulted, beaten in the church, and turned out.” Rather rough handling of the old royalist clergymen in the stormy times of Cromwell. What talk there must have been amongst the parishioners of old St. Mary’s Magdalen, or Maudlin, when the Ironsides walked into the ancient City churches, and thus dragged out and beat the venerable pastors. These brief entries{48} bespeak volumes; and yet we wish the details were more fully given. Some of the worthy citizens no doubt dealt a blow or two in defence of their ministers. Poor Mr. Chestlin seems to have made his escape for a time only to be recaptured. “St. Matthew’s, Friday-street, Mr. Chestlin sequestered, plundered, and imprisoned in Newgate, whence being let out, he was forced to fly, and since imprisoned again in Peter House.”

Peter House stood in Aldersgate-street, and was used by Cromwell as a prison at this period, as were also several other celebrated houses.

Friday-street was famous in former times for its taverns. Our engraving represents the Saracen’s Head, which was taken down about seven years ago.



The stone beside the door in the wall of Allhallow’s, Bread-street, and in Watling-street, tells us that here John Milton was baptised on the 20th of December, 1608—that is, in the old church before the{49} Fire. The well-known lines, commencing “Three poets in three distant ages born,” &c., are engraved on the same stone that records the date of Milton’s baptism. We wish that all the City churches had their names engraved on some stone, like that of Allhallow’s, Bread-street. We shall scarcely be believed, when we say, that in one or two instances the people living next the church did not know its name. When we consider how many churches are crowded together here, on the space of a few acres of ground, we think it would be of service to strangers visiting London, and to thousands who reside in the City and suburbs, to have the names either legibly engraved or painted on each building. Lower down is the church of St. Mildred, also built by Wren. The interior is rather pleasing, and there is some beautiful work about the pulpit; but we know nothing of any interest connected with the church or the street, beyond that Milton was born in it, which, to dreamers like ourselves, makes Bread-street hallowed ground, although the Fire has swept away every trace of the building in which the God-gifted poet first saw the light. That this, the spot on which the great poet was born, was classic ground long centuries ago, the portion of the Roman wall, and the ancient lamp (which we have engraved), and which were discovered in Bread-street about five years ago, fully prove. Who can tell what foot, renowned in Roman history, may have trampled on the spot where the author of Paradise Lost was born?



Bread-street formerly contained a famous tavern and a prison. The Mermaid is mentioned by Ben Jonson. There seems to have been a celebrated tavern here long before the time of Stowe, for he mentions Gerrarde’s Hall in his days as a hostelry for travellers, and, in his gossiping way, gives us an old-world story about the old building, which stood above the ancient crypt, which we have here engraved (as one of the vestiges of the London of our forefathers, doomed to be sacrificed to modern improvement), and in it he gives us a giant, and a long pole, which this son of Anak is said to have wielded in the{50} wars. We have heard that this Gerrarde the giant was buried under the ancient crypt, which to this day sounds hollow to the tread. But the good old historian, with his simple and child-like belief, and love for all undated traditions, shall “tell the tale.”



“On the north side of Basing-lane is one great house of old time, built upon arched vaults, and with arched gates of stone, brought from Caen in Normandy, the same is now [about 1600] a common hostelry [inn] for receipt of travellers, commonly and corruptly called Gerrarde’s Hall, of a giant said to have dwelt there. In the high-roofed hall of this house some time stood a large fir-pole, which reached to the roof thereof, and was said to be one of the staves that Gerrarde the giant used in the wars to run with [away?]. There stood also a ladder of the same length, which (as they say) served to ascend to the top of the staff. Of later years this hall is altered, and divers rooms are made in it. [Alas, then, as now, they would improve; and cared not for their home antiquities even in good old{51} Stowe’s time!] Notwithstanding, the pole is removed to one corner of the hall, and the ladder hanged broken upon a wall in the yard. The hostelar of that house said to me, ‘The pole lacketh half a foot of forty in length.’ I measured the compass thereof, and found it fifteen inches. Reasons of the pole could the master of the hostelry give me none; but bade me read the ‘great’ Chronicles, for there he heard of it. [Our hosts were reading men we see in the time of Elizabeth; and we love the epithet ‘great’ before Chronicles, for we believe it was the host’s word and not Stowe’s.] I will now note what myself have observed concerning that house. I read that John Gisors, Mayor of London in the year 1245, was owner thereof [it might have been old then, for Stowe does not say that the mayor built it]; and that Sir John Gisors, constable of the Tower, 1311, and divers others of that name and family since that time owned it. [The Gisors must have been men of eminence for one to have become constable of the Tower in that jealous age, when the Normans ruled with an iron hand.] So it appeareth that this Gisors’ Hall of late time, by corruption, hath been called Gerrardes’ Hall for Gisors’ Hall. The pole in the hall might be used of old time [as then the custom was in every parish] to be set up in the summer, as a May-pole. The ladder served [serving?] for the decking of the May-pole and roof of the hall.”—Stowe.

Surely this crypt ought to be spared for the sake of Stowe, and Gerard the giant, and the May-pole—the compass of which the honest old historian measured. What a picture it would make—Stowe, the host, and the ostler, with the old building and the broken ladder! what rich material for a chapter in an historical romance! If we live, we will do it some day. Of course the old hall was swept away in the Great Fire, and Gerard the giant (which we have here engraved) grew up after the flames had died out; though they went roaring and reddening above the ancient crypt, over which the generations of six centuries have trampled. The vaults are of great antiquity—at least as old as the building mentioned by Stowe—the date of which he does not give, although he mentions John Gisors, Mayor of London, as a resident there in 1245, that is, more than 600 years ago.

In Little Trinity-street we have Painter-Stainers’ Hall, well worth a visit, although it is so badly lighted, that it is difficult to see the portraits. The principal pictures it contains are, Camden, Charles II. and his queen, William of Orange, by Kneller, and Queen Anne. The company also possesses a curious cup left by the celebrated antiquary Camden, and which is still used at their anniversary dinners. The church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed in the Great Fire, and{52} not rebuilt: a small chapel, of which we know nothing, stands on the site of the old church.



The church of St. Michael, Queenhithe, is remarkable for nothing except some carving at the east end, and the vane, which resembles a ship, and is said to be large enough to hold a bushel of corn.

The dues derived from the quay of Queenhithe belonged to the queens of England from a very early period, probably ever since the{53} Norman conquest. Mention is made of Eleanor, so famous in our old ballad lore as the rival and poisoner of Fair Rosamond, as possessing all the dues obtained from this royal landing-place. Raising the old drawbridge of London Bridge every time a ship went under, with all the trouble and stoppage of vehicles, when this was the only bridge leading into London, did, no doubt, as much for increasing the traffic of Billingsgate as if a law had been passed to make it a royal quay.

At the foot of Southwark Bridge stands Vintners’ Hall. We can readily imagine that the old company of Vintners have ever been “right royal,” and great advocates for processions; that, when the City conduits ran wine, a great portion of the cost found its way into their coffers. Pepys tells us that, when Charles II. rode through the City the day before his coronation, “Wadlow the vintner, at the sign of the Devil, in Fleet-street, did lead a fine company of soldiers, all young comely men, in white doublets;” and we now find in the hall portraits of Charles II., James II., and others. That prince of rough wits, Tom Brown, in a bantering letter “from a vintner in the City to a young vintner in Covent Garden,” says, “You desire to know whether a vintner may take an advantage of people when they are in their cups, and reckon more than they have had? To which I answer in the affirmative, that you may, provided it be done in the way of trade, and not for any sinister end. This case has been so adjudged, many years ago, in Vintners’ Hall, and you may depend upon it.”

Bow-lane is the only place to obtain a good view of the beautiful tower of St. Mary, Aldermanbury, one of the finest, in our opinion, in the City. This is another of Wren’s edifices, erected after the Fire. It is said to be a model of the former building, and that the great architect was compelled to adopt the style through the conditions of a bequest, according to Malcolm’s statement, of “Henry Rogers, Esq., who, influenced by sincere motives of piety, and affected with the almost irreparable loss of religious buildings, left the sum of 5000l. to rebuild a church in the City of London.” He died before the building was commenced, and left his lady executrix of his will; and so the present church was erected after the model of the one built by Henry Kebles, it is said, who died at the commencement of the fifteenth century. Stowe says it was called Aldermary, because it was the oldest church in the City dedicated to St. Mary. It is said that the crypt of the old church still remains under two of the houses now standing in Bow-lane. The tower, as seen from Bow-lane, is splendid, but little of the church is visible from Watling-street; nor have we any thing further to notice in this old Roman highway, for such, no{54} doubt, it formerly was, saving the church of St. Anthony, or Antholin, rebuilt by Wren, the dome of which is supported by columns. The early prayers at St. Antholin’s are alluded to by our old dramatists. Here we have only to turn up a court, a little farther on, and we are at once in Bow Churchyard, and under the very shadow of the tower in which swing the far-famed bells. Our engraving is a view of Bow Church as seen from Cheapside, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the whole City of London. Old Bow Church would of itself form a history, but, as we have not even described old St. Paul’s, and as we wish to make our readers acquainted with the London of to-day as well as the old City, which never arose again from its ruins, we shall glance briefly at the present neighbourhood, and pass on our way eastward.



Bow-bells have become a by-word, more probably through those{55} who were born within the sound of their peal being called true cockneys, than for the superior quality of their music. The steeple is very beautiful; from the ground to the nave there is a harmony about it, and a lightness in the pillars, which seem as if they only required the air to rest upon. The form of the galleries is by some considered a beauty, by others a blot, as destroying the effect of the interior. The present church is built on a fine old crypt, perhaps as ancient as any remains to be found in the City, as the original Bow Church seems to have been the first that was built on stone arches. It is mentioned as far back as the time of William the Conqueror, and from it the Court of Arches takes its name. The old church suffered from tempest, fire, and siege. Murder was at last committed in it, and then it was pronounced unholy, and its doors and windows were filled with thorns, for

“Something ail’d it then,—
The place was curst.”

In former times it contained a balcony, from which the royal processions and civic parades were viewed, though, in comparatively modern times, these processions were seen from the houses opposite Bow Church. 1681: “Soon after twelve, their majesties arrived at a house in Cheapside, opposite Bow Church, and were there diverted by the pageant,” or Lord Mayor’s show. So, again, with King William and Mary, in 1689. Queen Anne also witnessed the procession in 1702; and in 1761, George III. and the royal family, “from the house of Mr. Barclay, opposite Bow Church.” Before the Fire, these old City splendours were witnessed from a stone building called a “seldam, or shed;” which Stowe says, stood “without the north side of Bow Church, and greatly darkened the windows and doors.”

About the meeting of the dragon on Bow Church steeple, and the grasshopper on the Royal Exchange, there are many quaint old-world prophecies in existence, which would be of but little interest to our readers. Here we must close this section of our work, having now reached Queen-street, Cheapside, and the cast-iron bridge of Southwark, and described all that lies within the compass of the heading to the present chapter.{56}

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WE have often wondered what effect Cheapside produces upon a countryman when he first visits London. The whole street is alive with cabs, carts, chariots, omnibuses, drays, wagons, and trucks, the latter of which are often drawn by boys, and we marvel that they are not flattened up amid the crowded ranks of vehicles, which form one continuous chain as far as the eye can penetrate.

The splendid shops must strike a stranger with amazement, although far inferior to many which have lately been built at “the West End:” at every two or three strides we take along the frontage, we pass houses for which two or three hundred a year rent is paid; half-a-dozen houses produce yearly nearly double the income of numbers of the foreign nobles, and many an old lady and gentleman live retired in the quiet suburbs on the rent derived from a single house which stands in this costly thoroughfare. Nearly every floor is a separate department of commerce. Up every flight of stairs which you climb there are attendants in waiting to receive you. Temptation follows temptation—each door but opens into richer scenes; each room is hung with costlier articles; and you stand bewildered, as if entangled amid the mazes of those splendid palaces which figure in the dreams of oriental romance. Silks from almost every land in the sunny south, shawls woven in the rainbow looms of India, are mingled with the products of flowery Cashmere, and blended with the gaudy plumage of birds of paradise; and vases, emblazoned with the dazzling dyes of China, that glitter amid piles of purple and green and crimson velvets hemmed{57} with silver and gold, and hangings which might have swept their costly fringes upon the cedar floors of Haroun al Raschid, while the weight of gold and silver seems heavy enough to bow down the windows.

Let the uninitiated be careful how they stand, whilst loitering and looking in through those costly plate-glass windows upon such gorgeous productions, for upward and downward, all day long, the rapid current of human life is ever rolling in living eddies, from east to west, and jostling, in its mighty strength, every idle object it meets with on its way; and, in this ever-moving ocean, each human wave has its allotted mission, each tiny ripple “its destined end and aim.”

How different from the London of the present day—from the splendid streets and shops which stretch from Temple-Bar to Whitechapel, and westward from those ancient City gates to a land of theatres, squares, and palace-like buildings—were the old narrow streets, with their high houses and overhanging gables, that rose tier above tier, their huge projecting signs, even at noon-day making a dim dreamy kind of twilight; while the cry of “What do you lack?” drawled forth by either master or apprentice, as they paced to and fro before their open-fronted and booth-like shops, gave a drowsy kind of murmur to the close ancient neighbourhood of the old City. How different from what we now see!

To the quays, stations, halls, houses of business, and courts of justice, which abound in this mighty city, are thousands by unforeseen circumstances yearly driven; and those who have never seen each other since the days of their youth, are sometimes jostled together unexpectedly in this great human tide. The old citizen is suddenly summoned from the suburban retreat, where he had resolved quietly to spend the remainder of his days, and never again to “smell the smoke of London;” for his house has been broken into, the property is discovered, the thief is in custody, and the old man once more elbows his way through the crowd of London, in wonderment at the many changes which have taken place since he first retired from business. Another hears that he has not been fairly dealt with, and has come many a long mile that he may with his own eyes examine the will which is deposited in the Court of Doctors’ Commons. The invalid loiters with feeble step, halting every now and then to peep into the attractive windows, before he embarks in the vessel which lies in waiting to carry him to a more congenial climate. You see the ruddy-faced, top-booted countryman, who is either attending a committee, or summoned as a witness upon a trial, waiting patiently to cross the street, and marvelling in his own mind what strange{58} procession it can be that is made up of such a long train of all varieties of vehicles! You can at a glance detect the man of business from the man of pleasure, by the hurried and earnest manner of the one, and the idle and easy gait of the other. The down-looking thief is dragged along by the policeman almost unheeded, except by the lazy rabble of boys who follow their heels, with the poor woman on whose features crime and anguish have placed their stamp, and who exchanges a few low words with the culprit as he is hurried onward to prison. The undertaker rushes past, wrapt up in calculating the profits he shall derive from the funeral he has just received the order “to perform;” he sees not the sweet face of the intended bride, who, leaning upon her lover’s arm, is gazing with smiling looks upon the richly-decorated window, and making choice of her wedding jewels. The porter, with his load, runs against the “exquisite” in full-dress, and disarranges either his carefully-twirled ringlets or jauntily-set hat; a curse or a growl is exchanged on both sides, and they again pass on. The dandy goes by brandishing his light cane, followed by the stout and sturdy citizen, the very tapping of whose stick denotes him to be a man of substance; while the broad-built country bumpkin, with a fair cousin on each arm, occupies the whole breadth of the foot-way, and seems astonished at the rudeness of the “Lunnuners,” who jeer him as they pass. So rolls on this mighty river, with its six currents, bearing onwards those who pass and re-pass on each side of its shorelike pavement, and the rapid vehicles which glide swift as full-sailed vessels through its mid-channel.

All at once there is a stoppage; some heavily-laden wagon has broken down, and the long line of carriages of every description is suddenly brought to a stand-still—all are motionless. You see the old thorough-bred London cabman—who has promised to take his fare either east or west, as the case may be, in a given number of minutes—dodge in and out for a few seconds, through such narrow openings as no one except a real Jehu born on the stand would ever venture to move in, until he comes to the entrance of some narrow street, the ins and outs of which are only known to a few like himself, when, crack, bang! and he has vanished, giving one of his own peculiar leers at parting at the long line he has left stationary.

Now there is a slow movement, and the procession proceeds at a funeral pace. The donkey-cart laden with firewood heralds the way, and is followed by the beautiful carriage with its armorial bearings. Behind comes the heavy dray with its load of beer-barrels; the snail-paced omnibus follows; the high-piled wagon that rocks and reels beneath its heavy load next succeeds, and you marvel that it does not topple over, extinguish some dozen or so of foot-passengers, and{59} smash in the gorgeous shop-front. The wreck which left the street so silent for a few minutes is now drawn aside, and all is again noise and motion. The police-van rolls on with its freight of crime, and is followed by the magistrate’s cabriolet, as he hurries off to a West-end dinner;

“And all goes merry as a marriage-bell.”

Queen-street is in a direct line with Guildhall and Southwark Bridge, and is remarkable for the loftiness of many of the warehouses at the Thames-street end. It was formerly called Soper-lane, and is frequently mentioned in the old processions; for, facing the end of Guildhall, no doubt some of the finest arches were erected there when royalty paraded the City. In an old pamphlet, printed by Richard Tothill about 1558, entitled “The Passage of our most drad Soveraigne Ladye Queene Elyzabeth through the Citie of London to Westminster, the Day before her Coronation,” we have the following allusion to Soper-lane, now Queen-street: “At Soper-lane end was another pageant of three open gates; above the centre of which, on three stages, sat eight children, explained by this inscription:

The eight Beatitudes, expressed in the V. chapter of the Gospel of
Saint Mathew applyed to our Soveraigne Ladye Queen Elyzabeth.

The Three Cranes in the Vintry was formerly a celebrated tavern in this street; and near to where the bridge now stands were the old watering stairs, from whence the Lord Mayor embarked on his way to Westminster Hall. The old burying-ground of St. Thomas the Apostle is in this street; but the church was not rebuilt after the Fire.

Southwark Bridge here spans the river. It consists of three cast-iron arches, the centre one wide enough for the Monument to float through cross-ways, and then leave a space of more than thirty feet. The weight of iron employed in its construction was nearly 6000 tons. To look up at the arches from the river, when underneath, recals the chambers built by the old enchanters; so many gloomy cells branch out and run into each other, that they appear marvellous, and compel you to respect the inventive genius of John Rennie, the architect of this wonderful structure, which was erected when railroads were unknown, and a tubular bridge across the Menai Straits undreamed of. These things ought to be borne in mind while looking at the cast-iron bridge of Southwark.

College-hill appears to have derived its name from a college founded on it by the famous Whittington, who lived in the time of Chaucer, and who was so many times Lord Mayor of London. The{60} last Duke of Buckingham resided on this hill, but at what period we have not been able to discover. There does not appear to us the remains of any house sufficiently imposing enough to have been his residence, nor any thing extant beyond a court-yard, which is said to have belonged to his princely mansion. Strype says he resided here “upon a particular humour;” and we cannot contradict him, though to us it seems very strange, knowing that the City had at this time ceased, with but few exceptions, to be occupied by the nobility. We know that he sold his house in the Strand in 1672, and it is just probable that he may have resided here about this time; if so, it must then have been a new house, for the Great Fire occurred in 1666; and how such a mansion came to be taken down, and when and for what purpose, we cannot explain.

Here we have the Mercers’ School, which formerly stood beside the hall and chapel of this ancient company in Cheapside. It is said to be one of the oldest endowed schools in London, and to occupy the ground on which formerly stood “God’s Hospital,” founded by Whittington, now removed to Highgate, a great improvement on the original situation, considering that there is no longer any “flower-show” in Bucklesbury, and that the old Stocks Market has been removed to make room for the present Mansion House. St. Michael’s, College-hill, was rebuilt by Wren; it contains an altar-piece by Hilton, and is remarkable for nothing save that it was made a collegiate church by Whittington’s executors, and that the far-famed Lord Mayor is buried here—not forgetting an old poet (Cleveland), of whom we have in another work made honourable mention, for he was the first who called the bee “Nature’s confectioner.” His description of the ruins of “Old St. Paul’s” after the Fire ought to be better known. His hatred of the Roundheads was “right royal.”

Facing St. Pancras-lane, and running into Cheapside or the Poultry, is Bucklesbury, alluded to by Shakspeare, who makes Falstaff compare the dandies of his day to “lisping hawthorn buds, that come like women in men’s apparel, and smell like Bucklesbury in simple time.” It seems to have been principally inhabited by apothecaries in former times; and, as we know the faith our forefathers had in herbs, which they distilled and took in all kinds of forms as medicine, we can readily imagine what an aroma there was about the shops of these ancient herbalists.

Walbrook is so called from a brook which formerly flowed from the City wall into the Thames, but in Stowe’s time was built over and “hidden under ground, and thereby hardly known.” We have here the beautiful church of St. Stephen’s, Walbrook. “This church,” says Mr. Godwin in his work entitled The Churches of London, “is{61}



certainly more worthy of admiration in respect to its general arrangement, which displays great skill, than of the details, for they are in many respects faulty. The body of the church, which is nearly a parallelogram, is divided into five unequal aisles (the centre being the largest, and those next the walls on either side the smallest,) by four rows of Corinthian columns. Within one intercolumniation from the east end, two columns from each of the two centre rows are omitted, and the area thus formed is covered by an enriched cupola supported on eight arches which rise from the entablature of the columns. By the distribution of the columns and their entablature (as may be observed in the engraving) a cruciform arrangement{62} is given to this part of the church, and an effect of great elegance is produced, although marred in some degree by the want of connexion which exists between the square area formed by the columns and their entablature, and the cupola which covers it. The columns are raised on plinths of the same height as the pewing. The spandrils of the arches bearing the cupola present panels containing shields and foliage of uncertain and unmeaning form, perfectly French in style; and of the same character are the brackets against the side walls, in the shape of enriched capitals introduced to receive the ends of the entablature in the place of pilasters. At the chancel end pilasters are introduced, and serve to shew more plainly the impropriety of omitting them elsewhere. The enrichments of the entablature—itself meagre and imperfect—are clumsily executed. Above it is a clerestory, containing windows of mean form and construction. The cupola, around which runs a circular dentil cornice, just above the arches, is divided into panels ornamented with palm-branches and roses, and is terminated at the apex by a circular lantern light: the whole is elegant in outline, and is much more in design than are other portions of the church just now alluded to.” St. Stephen’s, Walbrook, is considered, in spite of Mr. Godwin’s architectural criticism, one of the most beautiful of all Wren’s churches, and for a comparatively modern building, is the gem of the City. Outside there is nothing to admire; but within it wears, in our eyes, a sweet cathedral-like look, so gracefully does the light stream down, so artistically do the shadows slumber. When the great architect planned this building, he must have been blessed with one of those happy thoughts which sometimes come upon a poet unaware, and for which he can no more account than he can for the fragrance that floats upon the summer breeze. The grace of those pillars, the beauty of that airy dome, haunt the memory long after they have been seen; and when far away, come upon the mind like pleasant recollections. The altar-piece by West finds many admirers; but the greatest charm is the eloquence of the rector, the Rev. Dr. Croly, whose literary works stand “second to none” of the many highly-gifted poets of the day; for the author of Salathiel has won himself a name which will never be forgotten while the language in which he clothed the “Angel of the World” is uttered.

Nearly bordering upon the ancient crypt in Basing-lane, at the depth of 12 feet 6 inches below the surface, some workmen recently came upon a Roman tesselated pavement, a space of which comprising about 27 feet was exposed. This pavement, which is composed of the common red tesseræ, without pattern, is embedded in a thin layer of cement and pounded brick, underneath which is a thick{63}

1. Amphora, or wine vessel.
2. Black cinerary urn.
3, 4. Vessels of stone-coloured ware.
5. Mortaria, studded with quartz, with potter’s name.
6. Black urn, diamond patter.
7. Small Samian vessel.
8. Earthen lamp.
9. Small vessel, used probably for balsams or other funeral offerings.


1.Amphora, or wine vessel.6. Black urn, diamond patter.
2. Black cinerary urn.7. Small Samian vessel.
3, 4. Vessels of stone-coloured ware.8. Earthen lamp.
5. Mortaria, studded with quartz, with potter’s name.9. Small vessel, used probably for balsams or other funeral offerings.

stratum of coarse sand cement. A cutting contiguous to the site of the pavement exhibits a section of chalk foundation, with layers of Roman tile, over which, supporting part of a brick building now in course of demolition, are the remains of a strong chalk wall, about 10 feet high and 4 feet in thickness. About 18 feet from the Roman pavement is a circular shaft, similar to that discovered near Billingsgate in connexion with Roman pavements and other remains on the site of the present Coal Exchange. This shaft is composed of chalk, and lined with hard stone. A chalk-built vault had been demolished by the workmen before it could be properly examined. Fragments of the fine red pottery called Samian ware, some of{64} them bearing an elegant pattern, were found at a depth of nearly 20 feet; of these we give engravings. In other parts of the excavation, and in the face of the cutting, about 4 feet below the pavement, were picked out bits of the same kind of pottery, and fragments from a large mass of carbonised wood imbedded in the clay, and seemingly one of the piles which had served to support the Roman edifice formerly occupying the spot, in like manner with those discovered near Billingsgate. It is worthy of remark that the site of these discoveries is, as nearly as can be ascertained, that formerly occupied by the fortress of Tower Royal, being just about the same distance east of Queen-street as the line once known as Tower Royal-street, so designated to mark the locality of the ancient royal fortress; and it seems not improbable that the chalk superstructure above described may have appertained to the walls of this edifice. Tower Royal stood in the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle, in Watling-street, and came down to the Thames with its gardens, stables, &c.



In Cannon-street, beside the church of St. Swithin, the old saint who, in the country, is still believed to have a good deal to do with fair or rainy weather, stands the far-famed London Stone, of which we give an engraving: it is “let into” the wall of this church. The stone appears to have stood on the opposite side of Cannon-street in Stowe’s time, and to have been “fixed in the ground very deep, and fastened with bars of iron so strongly set, that if the carts do run against it through negligence, the wheels be broken, and the stone itself{65}



unshaken.” The cause why this stone was set there, the time when, or other memory hereof, is none.” Camden believes it to have been one of the old Roman milestones; but this, we think, is doubtful, as others would have been found in some of the old towns which the Romans inhabited. Every reader of Shakspeare will remember Jack Cade sitting upon this stone and proclaiming himself lord of London. The Mansion House was built about the year 1753: before this period, the Lord Mayor was compelled to reside in his own house, or to give{66} his entertainment in some of the City halls. In the Egyptian Hall, the Lord Mayor entertains his guests in such a style as few cities saving London can afford, for the plate used on these occasions is alone valued at 20,000l. Few princes live in greater state than the Lord Mayor of London; for he has his sword-bearer, his chaplain, mace-bearer, sergeant-at-arms, carver, esquires, bailiffs, and we know not who beside. To support this dignity, he is allowed 8000l. a year during his mayoralty, which sum, if he is liberal, finds him comparatively in little more than salt and servants; for the good citizens soon begin to cry out if he does not “cook” pretty often, and invite them to the banquet.

The sword of the Lord Mayor, which was presented to the Corporation by Elizabeth, is four feet long; the handle is gold, richly chased, and the scabbard set with beautiful pearls. The mace was the gift of one of the Charleses, but whether the first or second we have not been able to ascertain. In the Illustrated London News of 1844, we find the following description of the collar and jewel: “The collar and jewel are badges of great beauty; the former is formed of pure gold, and is composed of a series of links, each one formed of the letter S, which formerly signified squire or gentleman, a united York and Lancaster, or Henry VII. rose, and a massive knot. The ends of the chain are formed by the portcullis, the celebrated badge of Henry VII.; and from the points of it, suspended by a ring of diamonds, hangs the jewel. The entire collar contains 28 S’s, 14 roses, and 14 knots, and measures 64 inches. The jewel contains in the centre the City arms cut in cameo of a delicate blue on an olive ground. Surrounding this is a garter of bright blue, edged with white and gold, bearing the City motto, ‘Domine dirige nos,’ in gold letters. The whole is encircled with a costly border of gold S’s alternating with rosettes of diamonds set in silver.” On ordinary occasions the Lord Mayor wears a black silk robe, and in the courts of Common Council one of blue; when on the bench, or on the occasion of a royal visit, he has other robes of scarlet and crimson.

The Mansion House stands on the site of the old Stocks Market, where a pair of stocks formerly stood, which were the terror of those who dealt in stale fish or otherwise offended. A little more than a century ago, the market was removed to opposite the Fleet Prison, and is still held there, under the name of Farringdon Market.

In Suffolk-lane stands the Merchant Taylors’ School, built on the site of a mansion that formerly belonged to the Suffolk family; hence the next turning is called “Duck’s-foot-lane”—no doubt a corruption of “Duke.” The present building was erected a few years after the Great Fire, although there have been additions made to it as recently as{67} twenty years ago. Many very eminent men have been educated at this school; amongst them James Shirley, the dramatist, and author of that beautiful poem commencing with—

“The glories of our birth and state
Are shadows—not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate—
Death lays his icy hand on kings.”

In Thames-street, we have still a building bearing the name of Steelyard or Stilliard, an old name still in use in the country for the beam balance on which the portions of a pound are notched on the one side, with figures giving the number of pounds, and a hanging and sliding weight. It is principally used by butchers, and is known by no other name than that of stilliards in the north of England: hence, no doubt, the name of this ancient haunt of the Hanse merchants. The last church on the west side of London Bridge, in Upper Thames-street, is called Allhallows-the-Great; it was built by Wren, and contains a carved screen, presented by the Hanse merchants, who obtained a settlement in England a century or two after the Norman Conquest. At the Old Swan Pier, or Swan stairs, timid passengers were wont to land who had not courage enough to remain with the waterman in his wherry, and shoot the dangerous arches of old London Bridge, but generally walked on to some other landing-place below the bridge, where they again embarked.

New London Bridge is built of granite; and was first opened by William IV. and the good Queen Adelaide, in 1831. It cost nearly two millions sterling.

In King William-street stands the statue of King William IV., by Nixon, looking towards London Bridge. This statue, which is of granite, cost upwards of 2000l., of which 1600l. was voted by the Common Council of London. It is considered an admirable likeness; and the folds of the cloak are beautifully arranged, while the coil of rope reminds us of the “Sailor King.” The width and beauty of King William-street is very striking, especially after emerging from the narrow streets and hilly lanes which we have just described.

The churches of St. Michael and St. Peter, Cornhill, were both built by Wren, except the tower of the former, which escaped the Great Fire, but was rebuilt some fifty years after that terrible event. St. Peter’s possesses a rood-screen, a great rarity, and seldom found except in our old country churches. From the pamphlet which records the doings of the Puritans, and which we have before mentioned, we find the rector of St. Michael’s, Cornhill, “Dr. Brough, sequestered, plundered; wife and children turned out of doors; his{68}



wife dead with grief; Mr. Weld, his curate, assaulted, beaten in the church, and turned out.” At St. Peter’s, Cornhill. “Dr. Fairfax, sequestered, plundered; imprisoned in Ely House and the ships; his wife and children turned out of doors.” One of the first Christian churches built in England is supposed to have been St. Peter’s, Cornhill. The present church contains an ancient tablet which bears the following inscription: “Be it known unto all men that the year of Lord God. C.lxxix., Lucius, the first Christian king of this land, then{69} called Britain, founded the first church in London, that is to say, the church of St. Peter, upon Cornhill,” &c. &c. The inscription runs on to the coming of Augustine, and the making of Milletus bishop of London, &c.

We give an engraving of St. Michael’s, Cornhill, the tower of which is a copy of the one that escaped the fire; the upper portion is very beautiful—pity it is hidden by the houses in St. Michael’s-alley.

As we are now in busy Lombard-street, so proverbial for its wealth, we will pause a few moments, and look at it through the dim haze of former years, how different from what it is now! As we gaze through the twilight of past centuries, we catch glimpses of the objects and echoes of the sounds that moved and floated over this ancient neighbourhood nearly three centuries before the Diamond let off her steam, or the Rob Roy omnibus carried thirteen “insides:” glimpses of vaulters, and dancers, and bear-wards, and leaders of apes, crossing and crowding where now the bank clerks hurry to clear out, carrying thousands of pounds in their bill-cases; still, however, reminding you that the old “rogueries” of London have not vanished, by the strong steel chains with which they secure their banking books. What a roaring and barking there must have been in that narrow thoroughfare in bygone days, when the bear was followed by all the dogs “from some four parishes,” as Ben Jonson has narrated! What a stir there was on that merry morning when Kemp set out from the house of the Lord Mayor to dance all the way to Norwich, accompanied by his taborer, Thomas Sly; or when Banks (the Ducrow of the Elizabethan period) exhibited his wonderful horse, named Morocco, in the London streets, and many of the simple citizens believed that both he and his marvellous steed had dealings with the old gentleman who manages the fire-office below! What cramming and jamming there would be about the Exchange on the day Queen Elizabeth ordered it to be opened by sound of trumpet; what motions and raree-shows, and antics of wooden puppets, such as Hogarth has preserved in his picture of “Southwark Fair,” and Jonson has called “a civil company” who live in baskets! Add to these all the “street-cries,” the balancers of straws and feathers, and all other out-of-door amusements, not forgetting the hares that played on tabors; the buzz also of the bearded merchants, who took up no small space with their ample trunk-hose: then you have, in the mind’s eye, the whole of this ancient panorama, moving in that high narrow street, with half the houses sleeping in shadow, while the other half caught the full sunshine. Seated at those carven and diamond-shaped lattices, which went bowing out far over the ill-paved pathway, were the{70} wives and pretty daughters of these “gray forefathers” of commerce; while below, many an apprentice sat sighing over his desk, wishing it were Sunday again, and he carrying the large clasped Bible behind his handsome young mistress, while thinking more about the neat foot and ankle she displayed than the sermon that was to be preached at St. Peter’s or St. Michael’s; or, as he passed some richly-sculptured conduit, wondering when it would again run with wine; or, if he walked that way, turning a longing look as he passed towards the apple-trees that grew around St. Martin’s Church, in Ironmonger-lane, and thinking how he should like to make a party to rob that City orchard. Such were the picturesque features of the London of this period in the streets.

How different were the old ordinaries from the quiet chop-houses we now find in every court and alley that runs into Lombard-street! In those days, ten to one you had to fight your man after having finished your dinner; for swash-bucklers abounded in every tavern. Still there were merry doings; and Queen Bess’s ruff at last bristled out with anger at the tidings of the quantity of venison those “fat and greasy citizens” consumed, and then the Lord Mayor and aldermen were called upon to interfere.

Now merchants whose autographs to a cheque would load the bearer with gold lunch in the neighbouring alleys on their humble chop and steak; and gentlemen worth thousands turn up their cuffs and peel their own potatoes—then hurry off by the train, or omnibus, or steamer, to their snug suburban residences to dinner, except on rare occasions. They no longer retire to the ancient hostels to smoke tobacco, which was sold for its weight in silver, and to purchase which they looked out their newest crowns and shillings to place in the opposite scale. Smoking then was a different thing from “burning” tobacco as we do now; yet there were men in those days who, no doubt, “blew a cloud” with Sir Walter Raleigh and Ben Jonson; and even Shakspeare himself must have sat in the society of these early smokers.

How the bankers of England sprang from goldsmiths and lenders of money on plate and other pledges, is already matter of history; and were King John now alive, he would hesitate before he dared to venture on a little dental surgery to fill his exchequer; the bench would get judgment signed a thousand times over with much more pleasure than he affixed his signature to the Great Charter. Even the fiery daughter of Henry VIII. would, under the existing state of things, pause before commanding the citizens to take back the money she had borrowed of them, without interest, in loan for which she demanded seven per cent should be paid, and all their gold and silver{71}





plate deposited with her as security for the payment—a most original and profitable way of “paying them back in their own coin.”



There is something very beautiful and almost poetical in the domestic history of these early bankers, telling us that their honesty and honour were upheld by a rigid adherence to pure morality, which is confirmed by the many marriages which took place between the apprentices and their masters’ daughters. Day after day, and year after year, did these youthful citizens live under the same roof, and under the strong control of the same strict masters, practising every kind of self-denial for her sake, whom they perhaps saw but once a day,{74} or it might be at each meal-time; or, in strict establishments, only once a week, when they walked behind her to St. Mary’s Woolnoth, which stood on the site of the modern church our engraving represents. Through the dim light of bygone years we are enabled to see a face here and an arm there, a faint guarded smile, that would fall like a sunbeam all day long on the heavy ledger, as the youthful lover bent over his desk and sighed for a moment as he thought of his stern task-master; then, like Ferdinand in The Tempest, exclaimed, as he conjured up the image of his beautiful mistress—

“Oh, she is ten times more gentle than her father’s crabbed!”

At the present day there is nothing either grand or striking in this wealthy street. You see, here and there, a name on a common brass plate which, in the commercial world, is “a tower of strength;” except this, there is no visible sign of the “unsunned treasures” that lie within. The houses have a plain, substantial look—a kind of commanding solidity, which seems in accordance with their unostentatious owners. Enter, and you tread the true “Californian” regions, where the gold is ready minted: bring a good cheque, and you need neither spade nor shovel; the “digging and the washing” are not required here. What a staff of clerks! all busily engaged. What a number of ledgers are in use! And after the day’s business is closed, all those account-books are stowed away in a fire-proof room under ground, and brought up again in the morning, and placed in readiness before the banker’s clerks arrive; and in some of these houses expensive machinery has been fitted up, to facilitate the lowering and raising of the bulky ledgers in and out of the fire-proof vaults below. Look at that young man, with his banking-case chained under his arm; the rolls of cheques and notes he holds in his hand probably amount to thousands of pounds; he only catches the eye of one of the clerks, calls out the amount, hands the bulky bundle over the brass railing, and departs, leaving the sum to be counted over at leisure. See how carelessly the cashier handles that heavy bag of gold: he has no time to count it, but thrusts it into the scale as a coal-heaver would a sack of coals—so long as it’s weight, that’s all he cares about; he then shoots it out into his large drawer, and throws the bag aside as if he did not mind a straw whether a sovereign or two stuck inside or not; this done, he begins to shovel it out, and pay away. He counts sovereigns by twos and threes at a time; you feel confident that he must have given you either too many or too few, he appears so negligent: you count, and there they are to one—he never makes a mistake.

Go and pay in a sum of money, or take up a bill, with gold that{75} looks light, and you will see another of his sleight-of-hand tricks. He jerks the one out of the scale without touching it, except with the sovereign he puts in, with such rapidity that you cannot catch the action, cannot see how it is done; the sovereign seems to fly in and out as if by magic. You might try for months and never be able to catch that peculiar jerk. You fancy that he must be weary of counting sovereigns; that a good pile of dirty brown coppers would be a great relief to him, equal at least to a change of diet. You wonder that his countenance is not yellow through bending over such piles of coin, and that, like the buttercups in the meadows steeped in sunshine, his face does not

“Give back gold for gold.”

Sometimes these clerks are kept for hours beyond their usual time to rectify an error of sixpence in the balance, when during the day thousands of pounds have been entered. The mistake rests somewhere, and must be discovered before they quit the banking-house; and column after column is gone over again; that weary array of figures is summed up and up, and compared and called over until the mistake is righted. They would gladly pay the amount twenty times over to get away; but that would be the ruin of a system the very stability of which rests upon its being correct to the “uttermost farthing.”

The following picture of an old-fashioned banker we select from a recent work on Banks and Bankers: “He bore little resemblance to his modern successor: he was a man of serious manners, plain apparel, the steadiest conduct, and a rigid observer of formalities. As you looked in his face, you could read, in intelligible characters, that the ruling maxim of his life, the one to which he turned all his thoughts, and by which he shaped all his actions, was, that he who would be trusted with the money of other men, should look as if he deserved the trust, and be an ostensible pattern to society of probity, exactness, frugality, and decorum. He lived the greater part of the year at his banking-house, was punctual to the hours of business, and always to be found at his desk.”

We have, in our opening article, made mention of Sir Thomas Gresham, the greatest of our old “merchant-princes,” and have now only to notice the three churches in Lombard-street, one of which, St. Mary’s Woolnoth, we have shewn in our engraving, and have but to add, that it was built by a pupil of Wren’s about 130 years ago. The following entry occurs in the old pamphlet we have before quoted from: “St. Mary’s Woolnoth: Mr. Shuite molested and vexed to death, and denied a funeral sermon to be preached by Dr.{76} Holdsworth, as he desired.” The church of Allhallows, Lombard-street, partially escaped the Fire, but was not considered, after careful examination, to be secure enough to stand, even when the body of the old church had been coped with “straw and lime.” The present building is by Wren, and contains nothing remarkable. The other church, St. Edward the King, is worth a visit, on account of one or two pictures it contains, together with some beautiful modern specimens of stained glass. Externally, we see nothing striking in the building.

Birchin-lane was in former times the Holywell-street of London, so far as regarded the sale of second-hand garments. The church of St. Mary’s, in Abchurch-lane (that portion on the opposite side of King William-street), is mentioned, as follows, in the old pamphlet: “Mr. Stone plundered, sent prisoner, by sea, to Plymouth, and sequestered.” It was built by Wren, contains some excellent carving by Gibbons, and the cupola is painted by the artist who decorated the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Clement’s, in Clement’s-lane, is another of Wren’s churches; and the living appears to have been held by the same Mr. Stone who held that of St. Mary’s, Abchurch, at the commencement of the Civil War; for under the name of the last-mentioned church we find the same entry, with the addition that “Mr. Stone was shamefully abused.”

With Gracechurch-street and Fish-street-hill we close this section of our work. Gracechurch-street, with its conduit, is often mentioned in the old processions. In 1501, when Catherine of Spain entered the city by London-bridge, a pageant was erected in the broadest part of “Grasschurch-street, in the middle of the street, where the water runneth into the channel”—a primitive way of draining the street. In the time of Elizabeth, it was changed from Grasschurch-street to Gracious-street; and Dekker, in describing a royal procession in 1604, says, “it was never worthy of that name (Gracious-street) it carries till this houre.” It is a great mustering-ground for omnibuses, especially such as come from the Surrey side of the river.

The church at the end of Fenchurch-street is called St. Bennet’s: it was built by Wren. William Harrison was “minister” of Grace Church, and one who signed his name to the following remonstrance, headed, “The Dissenting Ministers’ Vindication of themselves from the horrid and detestable Murder of King Charles the First, of glorious memory:” London, 1648. Calamy also signed the “Vindication.” In no instance is the saint’s name affixed by them to the churches; some sign themselves “pastor,” one “minister of the word,” another “preacher.” We must do these old Puritans the justice to state, that this remonstrance was signed before the execution of King Charles,{77} and during the time of his trial, namely, January 28, 1648, that is, two days before the ill-starred monarch was beheaded. We give the following spirited extract from this old pamphlet, the whole of which only consists of six pages: “We hold ourselves bound in duty to God, religion, the King, parliament, and kingdom, to profess before God, angels, and men, that we verily believe that which is so much feared to be now in agitation—the taking away the life of the King, in the present way of tryal—is not only not agreeable to any word of God, the principles of the Protestant religion (never yet stained with the least drop of the blood of a king), or the fundamental constitution and government of this kingdom, but contrary to them, as also to the oath of allegiance, the protestation of May 5th, 1641, and the solemn ‘League and Covenant;’ from all or any of which engagements, we know not any power on earth able to absolve us or others.”

The Monument on Fish-street-hill, which was designed by Wren, is about 200 feet high, and stands as many feet distant from the spot where the Fire first commenced on that awful Sunday, September 2, 1666, in Pudding-lane. The ascent is by 345 steps up a spiral staircase, lighted by what we might term, in old castellated architecture, arrow-slits. The interior of the column is nine feet wide. Several persons have committed suicide, by throwing themselves off the Monument; and it is now covered in with a kind of cage-work, to prevent such awful self-destruction. The view from the summit is not to be compared with that from St. Paul’s; and we should advise all sight-lovers to ascend the Monument first, on that account, and peep at the “wilderness of shipping,” and the thousands of house-roofs that rise in ridging disorder, as if some dark sea had suddenly been struck motionless, and so left silent with all its edged waves. On one side of the base is the following inscription of the destruction caused by the Great Fire, according to the translation of Maitland: “Eighty-nine churches, the city gates, Guildhall (not totally), many public structures, hospitals, schools, libraries; a vast number of stately edifices, 13,500 dwelling-houses, 400 streets; of twenty-six wards it utterly destroyed fifteen, and left eight others shattered and half burnt. The ruins of the city were 436 acres, from the Tower by the Thames side to the Temple Church, and from the north-east gate along the city wall to Holborn-bridge. To the estates and fortunes of the citizens it was merciless, but to their lives very favourable (only eight being lost).” One poet of the period, in be-rhyming the praiseworthy conduct of King Charles at the Great Fire, compares him to Cæsar, coming “with buckets in his eyes.” Pepys gives an interesting account of the Great Fire. Dryden also describes it in his Annus Mirabilis, commencing at verse 212.{78}



ALL doubts about the immense population of London would vanish from the mind of a stranger could he but stand on London Bridge Wharf, and see the vast multitudes that embark on the steamers, either at Easter or Whitsuntide, for Greenwich alone: he would behold such a sight as would convince him that no other city in the world could pour forth so many inhabitants; and all he had before seen would sink into insignificance beside what he would witness on the Thames, to say nothing of the numerous railways which throw out their iron arms into the country from almost every corner of the metropolis. It is a sight never to be forgotten, to see the steamers darting in and out amid the shipping below London Bridge, as if they had wills of their own, and could pick their way wherever there was space enough for them to pass, like aquatic birds that ever keep sailing around each other playfully upon the waters. Eastward, they hurry along to Woolwich, Erith, Gravesend, Sheerness, Herne Bay, Margate, and all the towns that dot our coast; while others move westward, under the bridges, and along the whole length of the river-front of London, on their way to Twickenham and Richmond: many of the smaller steamers also halting at almost every pretty village that stands on the banks of the Thames between London and Richmond. But we are wandering away from the neighbourhood we have now reached, and glancing at subjects which belong to the suburbs of the metropolis.

The church at the entrance of this wharf is called St. Magnus, and was rebuilt by Wren. Miles Coverdale, whose name is associated with the earliest printed version of the holy Bible, was rector of St. Magnus above 300 years ago. He was buried in the church of St.{79} Bartholomew, by the Exchange; and when that building was taken down to enlarge the space for the new Royal Exchange, his remains were removed to the present church, and re-interred on the spot which he had hallowed by his pious labours. But few who look at the projecting clock, as they await the arrival or departure of the steamboats, are aware that the remains of Miles Coverdale, Bishop of Exeter, and one among the first translators of the Bible, rest so near the stir and traffic of that busy wharf.

The first turning on the opposite side of the way, behind the Monument, is Pudding-lane, in which the Great Fire that destroyed nearly the whole of the City first broke out. It now contains nothing worthy of our notice: the same may be said of Botolph lane, so called from the church which was destroyed in the Fire and never rebuilt.

On St. Mary’s-hill stands a church partly built by Wren, and called St. Mary’s-at-Hill. On the 29th of May 1533, according to Hall’s Chronicle, “the mayor and his brethren, all in scarlet, such as were knights having collars of SS, and the remainder gold chains, and the council of the City with them, assembled at St. Mary’s-hill, and at one o’clock took barge. The barges of the companies amounted in number to fifty, and set forth in the following order: First, at a good distance before the mayor’s barge, was a foist or wafter, full of ordnance, having in the midst a dragon, continually moving and casting wild fire, and round about it terrible monsters and wild men casting fire and making hideous noises.” This procession, that embarked at the foot of St. Mary’s-hill, above 300 years ago, was “commanded” by Henry VIII. to go to Greenwich and bring Queen Anne Boleyn to London, to be crowned in Westminster Hall.

It is on record that the old ports or quays of Billingsgate and Queenhithe were the cause of as many squabbles in ancient days as were ever witnessed in our own times by any two rival companies struggling for pre-eminence; for when the customs derived from the latter furnished the queen of Henry III. with pin-money, a sharp look-out was kept on the river, and fines frequently inflicted on masters of vessels who landed their fish at Billingsgate instead of the royal quay. But great London soon burst through all these restraints: the old merchants were proof against even royal mandates; they objected to passing through the dangerous arches of the crazy old bridge—so at last obtained the privilege of landing goods at whichever quay they pleased.

Those ancient fishmongers must have been able to muster together a goodly company; for, hearing of the victory Edward I. had obtained over the Scots, they paraded the City with above a thousand horsemen, trumpets sounding and banners streaming, on which were emblazoned{80} their quaint old arms, and followed by all the pride of their honourable guild.

What a stir there must have been about Fish-street and Fish-street-hill, and all along the line of those streets which we have already described, when that famous fishmonger Walworth, Lord Mayor of London, slew Wat Tyler in Smithfield, and thus at one blow cut off the “head and front” of the great rebellion! What a running to and fro and shaking of hands there must have been! What talking along the quays about privileges which would be extended to their own company, and which none other would be allowed to share! And what disappointment must have been depicted on their countenances when they found that all the reward the City was to receive was an addition to its arms! If true, it was like giving the chaff to him that had separated it from the wheat.

Those who were purveyors to the court had, in former times, the first pickings of the market; not a single fish was allowed to be sold until they had been served. We can picture the swagger with which the officers of the royal household entered the fish-market in those days, when a banquet was about to be given in the Tower. What pushing and cramming would there be to obtain a nod of recognition! now recommending the quality of some fish, then inquiring when the next execution would take place—their conversation shifting from salmon to the scaffold—from oysters, which, in those primitive times, sold for twopence a bushel, to the means of obtaining the best place when the next nobleman was to be beheaded.

There was a struggle for free-trade in those high narrow streets five hundred years ago: from Billingsgate to Queenhithe all was a scene of commotion; for the great fishmongers were aiming at monopoly, but the poor hawkers who picked up their living, as they do in our day, by crying fish in the streets, rose in a body, and so far carried the day that they were allowed to hawk fish, but not to keep a stall, nor stay in any of the streets a moment longer than while supplying their chance customers; for there was a strict police ever on the look-out after the poor hawkers, and the command of “Now then, move on there,” is nothing new. Nor were the fishmongers themselves free from “most biting laws;” for they were only allowed, at one period, to take a penny profit in every shilling, not to offer the same fish for sale (as fresh) a second day, nor to water their fish more than twice a day. If they did, and were found out, there stood the stocks ever in readiness, and up went the beam, and in went their legs; and there they were compelled to sit out the given time, no doubt to the great merriment of many of the bystanders. Their stalls in these primitive times were only boards placed beside the pavement. From these they{81} got to erecting little sheds, then shops and high houses. But the fronts of these were ordered to be left open, and the fish exposed. They would not allow sales to take place in dark and obscure spots; all must be done in the open noon of day, or heavy penalties be paid for offending against the laws.

In remote times, long before the Norman invasion, frequent mention is made of the English fisheries. To three plough-lands in Kent, a fishery on the Thames is added. Ethelstan gave a piece of land for the use of taking fish, and forty acres were given with fishing, on the condition of every year receiving fifty salmon. The rent of land was frequently paid in eels; and in Elphit’s Dialogues, written for the instruction of the Saxon youths, we find that the implements used were nets, rods, lines, and baited hooks, which varied but little from those of the present time.

Those who have once reached the Monument, may “smell” their way to Billingsgate; for there is an old monastic odour about the shops, recalling Lent and stock-fish, and telling you that you are hemmed in with smoked haddock and salted herrings—which, when nothing else could be had, it must have been a heavy penance to have lived upon, and caused the poor sinner to have made many a wry face while devouring such dry and thirsty food. Once in Lower Thames-street, and you are in a land of danger. You come in contact with big men bending beneath bulky boxes; huge hogsheads swing high above you, and make you tremble as you look up, while treading the slippery pavement; and you know that if the crane-chain were to slip, or the hooks to which the ponderous packages are affixed to give way, you must be crushed like an egg which an elephant tramples upon; for danger ever dangles in the air about Billingsgate. The pavement is often blocked up by barrels of oranges and herrings, and hampers of dried sprats, the latter crammed together as close as white-bait in the stomach of an alderman when he has just dined at Lovegrove’s. Sometimes the atmosphere is so impregnated with the smell of shrimps, that you almost fancy it has been raining shrimp sauce.

You are now, as it were, in the very manufactory, where fish are brought and emptied out to be sold; where there is no attempt at show; but, rough and shining as when they flapped about on the ocean sand, or were thrown from the first hand ashore, so do you see them here in the early morning, rough and fresh as potatoes just dug out of the mould. There is none of that clean blue twilight look which gleams and plays about the shops of the West-End fishmongers, and is sometimes enlivened by the sunny flash of the gold-fishes that float about the silver-looking globes, which give such a picturesque{82} appearance to the shops in that more refined neighbourhood. Here all is of “the fish, fishy.”

To this “rough and ready” market, those who wish to see how matters are managed must come early; for a minute or two before five o’clock the wholesale dealers are seated in their stalls, or recesses; while at the end of the market, nearest the river, the porters are drawn up in a row, each ready with his first load of fish, each standing within the allotted line, like hounds eager to spring from the leash. The clock strikes, and off they rush, helter skelter, every man Jack putting his best leg foremost, each eager to be the first to reach the stall of his employer. Slap goes the skate out of the baskets—they shoot out cod like coke, pitching the plaice wherever they can find room; and off they run for another load at the same rapid pace, nor cease until the salesman has received the whole of his stock.

Then the sale commences, the seller fixing his price, and the buyer offering what he considers to be the value; sometimes they “meet each other halfway,” as it is called, one lowering and the other advancing. The fish are generally sold in lots without being weighed, and it requires good judgment on both sides to reach the right mark. Although there are so many salesmen, and generally such ample choice, the prices vary much, as fish brought from one part of the coast are often superior to what come from another.

But the fun of the market commences with the hawkers, when they come to see what has been left by the large retail dealers: then you may hear a little of what is called “Billingsgate;” though, instead of the old renowned blackguardism, it is generally most good-natured “chaff.”

“Fresh do you call these?” says one, who finds the price too high for him. “Look how they rolls up the whites of their eyes, as if they vanted a little rain. I should say they hasn’t had a blessed smell of water for this week past.”

“Think I’ve been robbing somebody?” says another. “Vy, bless you, all the whole bilin’ of my customers hasn’t got so much amongst them as would buy the lot—no, not if they sold their toothpicks!”

Billingsgate is more like a wholesale warehouse than a fish-market, although you may purchase a single mackerel in it. The hundreds of carts which are drawn up in Thames-street, proclaim how far and wide the produce of river and ocean is dispersed. From the next street to the most remote suburb are the loads of fish borne, to be washed and laid out temptingly in the thousands of shops which abound in London and the surrounding suburbs. Nor is the supply limited to this circle; the rapid trains carry off tons of fish to the distant towns, where they arrive in time enough for dinner; thus sending{83}





into the country the turbot and salmon as fresh as we receive it in the metropolis; for what are a hundred miles on the great railways?

Old Billingsgate is now pulled down; the muddy dock, where so many fishing-smacks have been harboured is filled up; and, instead of the old-fashioned market which illustrates this chapter, a pile is erected more befitting the greatest city in the world, and more like the noble edifice—the New Coal Exchange—that faces it.

Eels cannot be brought to Billingsgate in such perfection as they formerly were. We have now before us a Parliamentary report, given in above twenty years ago, complaining of the poisonous state of the Thames. The following evidence of Mr. Butcher, a fish-salesman, and agent for Dutch vessels, will be interesting at this moment, while the Thames is made the great sewer of London:

“Eight Dutch vessels arrived at Gravesend with full cargoes of healthy eels in July 1827, and the following is the state in which they reached the London market:

Second14,000""" 4000"
Third13,000""" 3000"

And so on in proportion, but little more than a fourth of the cargo being marketed alive.”

Mr. Butcher stated to the commissioners, that in 1815 (or twelve years before), “one of these vessels seldom lost more than thirty pounds weight of eels in a night in coming up the river; but that the water had become so bad, that as it flowed through the wells in the bottom of the vessels it poisoned the eels, and the quantity which died was more than three times the quantity marketed.”

Another witness (James Newland, master of a vessel, and sixteen years in the trade,) says: “Eels have not lived in Thames water as they did formerly. First observed the difference five or six years ago (before 1827), and find it gets worse every summer. Other fish are also affected by bad water, and will endeavour to get out of it on pieces of floating wood.”

Another witness says, “An hour after high water, eels will die in so short a time that I have had 3000 lbs. weight dead in half an hour.”

“I have seen flounders,” says Thomas Hatherill, “put up their heads above the water; and if there was a bundle of weeds in the river, they would get on it out of the water.”

Mr. John Goldham, the yeoman of Billingsgate, deposed, that, “as clerk of the market, it was his business to ascertain the quality of fish, and seize and condemn that which was bad; that, twenty-five years ago (1802), above and below London-bridge, between Deptford{86} and Richmond, 400 fishermen, each having a boy and a boat, gained their livelihood by fishing in the river; that he had known them take 3000 smelt and ten salmon at one haul; the Thames salmon were then the best, and frequently sold for 3s. or 4s. a pound; now the fishery is gone.”

As early as 1307, the Earl of Lincoln complained before Parliament that the river of Wells (Walbrook, Clement’s Well, Skinner’s Well, Clerk’s Well, Holy Well, &c.), running into the Thames, was obstructed by “filth of the tanners, and such others.” On this complaint being made, the river was ordered to be cleansed.

Honest old Stowe says of the Thames in his day, “What should I speak of the fat and sweet salmons daily taken in this stream, and that in such plenty (after the time of smelt is past) as no river in Europe is able to exceed it. But what store also of barbels, trouts, chevens, perches, smelts, breams, roaches, daces, gudgeons, flounders, shrimps, eels, &c., are commonly to be had therein, I refer me to them that know by experience better than I, by reason of their daily trade of fishing in the same. And albeit it seemeth from time to time to be as it were defrauded in sundry wise of these her large commodities, by the insatiable avarice of fishermen, yet this famous river complaineth commonly of no want, but the more it loseth at one time it gaineth at another.”

The immense traffic carried on in the winding Thames will never allow of its being stored with “fat sweet” fish as in Stowe’s time; but still we hope the great changes which are in progress will at least turn this mighty common sewer into something more like the ancient “silver Thames” which our old poets sang about, and prevent so many dead and dying eels being baked up into pies, and devoured by the poor purchasers of these dangerous dainties, as there now are.

Mr. Simon’s report to the City Commissioners of Sewers will, if we mistake not, do more towards arousing the inhabitants of London to agitate for pure air and sweet water, than any other remonstrance has hitherto done. It is clearly, ably, and powerfully drawn up; and done in such terse and simple language, that a child can understand it.

The following graphic description of the Babel of sounds heard at Billingsgate, is from Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, a work revealing more of the real life in London in the streets, courts, and alleys, than was ever before made known:

“All are bawling together—salesmen, and hucksters of provisions, capes, hardware, and newspapers—till the place is a perfect Babel of competition. ‘Ha-a-ansome cod! best in the market! All alive! alive! alive O!’ ‘Ye-o-o! Ye-o-o! here’s your fine Yarmouth{87} bloaters! Who’s the buyer?’ ‘Here you are, governor: splendid whiting! Some of the right sort!’ ‘Turbot! turbot! all alive, turbot!’ ‘Glass of nice peppermint this cold morning, a ha’penny a glass!’ ‘Here you are at your own price! Fine soles O!’ ‘Oy! oy! oy! Now’s your time! fine grizzling sprats! all large and no small!’ ‘Hullo! hullo here! beautiful lobsters! good and cheap! fine cock crabs all alive O!’ ‘Five brill and one turbot—have that lot for a pound! come and look at ’em, governor; you won’t see a better sample in the market.’ ‘Here, this way! this way for splendid skate! skate O! skate O!’ ‘Had-had-had-had-haddick! all fresh and good!’ ‘Currant and meat puddings! ha’penny each!’ ‘Now, you mussel-buyers, come along! come along! come along! now’s your time for your fine fat mussels!’ ‘Here’s food for the belly and clothes for the back, but I sell food for the mind’ (shouts the newspaper vender). ‘Here’s smelt O!’ ‘Here ye are, fine Finney haddick!’ ‘Hot soup! nice pea-soup! a-all hot! hot!’ ‘Ahoy! ahoy here! live plaice! all alive O!’ ‘Now or never! whelk! whelk! whelk! whelk.’ ‘Who’ll buy brill O! brill O!’ ‘Capes! waterproof capes! sure to keep the wet out! a shilling a-piece!’ ‘Eels O! eels O! Alive! alive O!’ ‘Fine flounders, a shilling a lot! Who’ll buy this prime lot of flounders?’ ‘Shrimps! shrimps! fine shrimps!’ ‘Wink! wink! wink!’ ‘Hi! hi-i! here you are, just eight eels left, only eight!’ ‘O ho! O ho! this way—this way—this way! Fish alive! alive! alive O!’ ”

The fishmongers of ancient times were not “scaly” men, in the present acceptation of the phrase, when they were disposed to shew their loyalty. On one occasion, Stowe says, “On St. Magnus’ day, * * * * the fishmongers, with solemn procession, paraded through the streets, having, among other pageants and shows, four sturgeons gilt, carried on four horses; and after, six and forty knights armed, riding on horses made like ‘luces of the sea:’ and then, St. Magnus, the patron saint of the day, with a thousand horsemen.” These “luces” or pike, pleasantly recall Shakspeare and the armorial bearings of Justice Shallow.

Stepping across the street, we arrive at the Coal Exchange, opened by Prince Albert, at the close of 1849, at which period the following description of the building appeared in the Illustrated London News.

“The façades of the building are of very simple, yet bold and effective design; and, with the exception of the cornice, but few projections are introduced. The fronts in Thames-street and St. Mary’s-at-hill are respectively about 112 feet in width by 61 feet in height. The unequal form of the plot of ground on which the Exchange stands is skilfully masked at the corner by breaking the{88} mass of building, and introducing a circular tower in the re-entering angle, within which is the entrance vestibule. This circular tower is 109 feet to the top of the gilded ball, and 22 feet in diameter at the lowest part, and is divided into three stories. The lowest story, containing the vestibule, is of the Roman-Doric style of architecture; and there is a striking peculiarity in the arrangement of this part, to which we must advert. The wall of the tower not only shrines the vestibule by which entrance to the hall or Rotunda is attained, but serves also as a centre to flights of steps, which lead, on either hand, to a landing on the first story of the building, and thence a spiral staircase is carried up in the tower to the other stories. The first story is of the Ionic order, carrying an entablature, and is lighted by windows. The top story, fifteen feet in diameter, is ornamented by pilasters, with windows between—the roof rising to a cone, and being crowned with a gilded ball. This is, to our view, the least successful portion of the edifice, the termination being stiff, and not so piquant as it should have been. We should mention, the exterior is of Portland stone.

“Entering the Rotunda, the attention of the visitor is immediately arrested by its beautiful effect and extremely novel arrangement. It forms a circle of some 60 feet in diameter, and is crowned with a dome, or, in fact, a double dome, as a lesser cupola rises from the eye of the great dome to the height of 74 feet from the floor. The dome rests on eight piers of light character; the space between each pier is divided by stancheons into three compartments; and there are three galleries, and from these entrance is obtained to the numerous offices of the building. The stancheons, galleries, ribs of dome, &c., are of iron; and, in fact, every part seems to be made of iron; and the arrangement of patterns in the stancheons, brackets of galleries, and soffits of galleries is original and good. There are about 300 tons of iron used in the building, in the several parts, each rib, of which there are thirty-two, weighing two tons. The ornament chiefly used is a cable, twisted about in various patterns; and the balustrade to the galleries is of loops of cable, at intervals broken by the introduction of the city arms. The framework to the offices is of wood, and panelled with rough plate-glass. By this means they receive light from the great dome of the hall. The dome itself is glazed with large pieces of roughened plate-glass of great thickness, the small upper dome having glass of a yellow tint. The chief public offices surrounding the Rotunda are those appropriated to the Corporation officers who have to collect the coal dues, and who are, we understand, appointed by the Corporation.

“The floor of the Rotunda is composed of inlaid woods, disposed{89} in form of a mariner’s compass, within a border of Greek fret. The flooring consists of upwards of 4000 pieces of wood, of various kinds. The varieties of wood employed comprise black ebony, black oak, common and red English oak, wainscott, white holly, mahogany, American elm, red and white walnut, and mulberry. The appearance of this floor is beautiful in the extreme. The whole of these materials were prepared by Messrs. Davison and Symington’s patent process of seasoning woods. The same desiccating process has been applied to the woodwork throughout the building. The black oak introduced is part of an old tree which was discovered in the bed of the river Tyne, where it had unquestionably lain between four and five centuries. The mulberry wood of which the blade of the dagger in the shield of the city arms is composed, is a piece of a tree planted by Peter the Great, when he worked as a shipwright in Deptford Dockyard.

“The coloured decorations of this Exchange have been most admirably imagined and successfully carried out. They are extremely characteristic, and on this point deserve praise. The entrance vestibule is peculiarly rich and picturesque in its embellishments: terminal figures, vases with fruit, arabesque foliage, &c., all of the richest and most glowing colours, fill up the vault of the ceiling; and looking up through an opening in the ceiling, a figure of Plenty scattering riches, and surrounded figurini, is seen painted in the ceiling of the lantern. Over the entrance doorway, within a sunk panel, is painted the city arms. Within the Rotunda, the polychromic decorations immediately arrest the eye. The range of panels at the base of the dome, and the piers which carry the dome, are all fully and harmoniously decorated. We shall commence our description with the piers in the lowest story: the Raffaelesque decorations are very rich in character; and in each pier the scroll supports and encircles four compartments; the lowest are simicircular panels, within which are painted symbolic figures of the principal coal-bearing rivers of England: the Thames, the Mersey, the Severn, the Trent, the Humber, the Ayre, the Tyne, &c. Small oblong panels, with marine subjects, are a little above the symbolic figures just described; and above them, within borders of flowers of every kind, are figures symbolical of Wisdom, Fortitude, Vigilance, Temperance, Perseverance, Watchfulness, Justice, and Faith. These figures are the most prominent objects in the decorations of the piers in the lowest story; and in circles above them are painted groups of shells; whilst at the top, in semicircles corresponding with those at the base of the piers, snakes, lizards, and other reptiles, are introduced. In the first story the leading feature in the arabesques is a series of views of coal-mines, including the air-shaft{90} at Wallsend, Percy Pit Main Colliery, Wallsend Colliery, Regent’s Pit Colliery, &c. Groups of fruit and flowers are in small circles just above the views, and in oblong panels beneath the latter the series of nautical ‘bits’ is continued. At the base, in each pilaster, are representations of different specimens of Sigilaria—a fossil found in coal formations. In the second story the largest panels contain figures of miners at different portions of their avocations; whilst nautical subjects, clusters and flowers, are introduced amongst the arabesques.

“The third story contains, within oval panels, miners at work picking the coal, &c.: flowers and small landscapes add to the richness and variety of the decorations on this floor; and both in this and the lower, calamites (fossils from the coal formations) are depicted in the arabesques. The twenty-four panels at the springing of the dome, of which we have before spoken, have oval compartments painted in them, surrounded by a gracefully-flowing border of extremely rich and varied design, being light ornaments on a dark ground. The spaces within the oval borders are coloured of a turquoise blue tint, on which is painted a series of representations of different fossil plants met with in the coal formations. This portion of the decoration is extremely striking and appropriate; and we need scarcely say, the representations of the plants are strictly correct.

“Ere we leave the pictorial portion of the Exchange, we must not forget the groups of mining implements, most skilfully treated, in the narrow panels in the dome over the piers.

“The whole of the artistic embellishments of the building were designed by Mr. Sang, whose taste and skill in such works is well known, and executed under his immediate directions; and it may be considered a most successful specimen of the Raffaelesque style of ornamentation, now so extensively adopted in the mansions of the nobility.

“For originality of design, this building is the most striking which has been erected in London for a long time past, and reflects the very highest credit on the talented architect, J. B. Bunning, Esq.

“Mr. William Trego was the builder; and the iron-work was executed by Messrs. Dewer of Old-street.”

While digging for the foundation of the Coal Exchange, a Roman hypocaust was brought to light, which has since been arched over and preserved—another addition to the many Roman remains which have been discovered in the neighbourhood of Upper and Lower Thames-street.

Before quitting this part of the neighbourhood, we must state that the Custom-House stands close by the places we have just described; and as this is the last object in Lower Thames-street that{91} requires notice, we will briefly glance at it, and then ascend to the higher streets.

The following mention is made of the Custom-House in a large volume now before us, consisting of upwards of 1200 pages, and entitled, The Historie of the Life and Reigne of that famous Princesse Elizabeth; printed at Oxford, 1634: “About this time [1590] the commodity of the Custom-House amounted to an unexpected value; for the queen being made acquainted by the means of a subtle fellow, named Caermardine, with the mystery of their gains, so enhanced the rate, that Sir Thomas Smith, master of the Custom-House, who heretofore farmed it of the queen for 14,000l. yearly, was now ‘mounted’ [raised] to 42,000l., and afterwards to 50,000l., which, notwithstanding, was valued but as an ordinary sum for such oppressing [extortionate?] gaine. The Lord Treasurer [Cecil?], the Earls of Leicester and Walsingham, much opposed themselves against this Caermardine, denying him entrance into the Privy Chamber, insomuch that, expostulating with the queen, they traduced her [for] harkening to such a fellow’s information, to the disparagement of the judgment of her council, and the discredit of their case.” [A little “palm-oil,” we guess, did this, in the shape of a free distribution of rose-nobles on the part of Sir Thomas Smith. Bribery, bribery! But look at the reply of that real John Bull-like old queen.] “But the queen answered them, that all princes ought to be, if not as favourable, yet as just, to the lowest as to the highest, desiring that they who falsely accuse her Privy Council of sloth or indiscretion should be severely punished; but [that?] they who justly accused them should be heard.” [Glorious Queen Bess!] “That she was queen as well to the poorest as to the proudest, and that therefore she would never be deaf to their just complaints. Likewise [further?], that she would not suffer that these toll-takers, like horse-leeches, should glut themselves with the riches of the realm, and starve her exchequer; which, as she will not bear it to be ‘docked’(?), so hateth she to enrich it with the poverty of the people.” (Page 31, second part, or volume, translated out of the French by Abraham Darcie. Initials of the original author, P. D. B., who knew Cecil intimately, had access to the original letters, and was present at the trial of Mary Queen of Scots.) The first book or volume is dedicated to King James I. I have been thus particular in describing this old volume, as it contains matter relating to London in the time of Elizabeth which I have not found in any other history.

The “Long Room” of the Custom-House is worthy of its name, as it measures 190 feet, with a breadth of 66 feet, and there is not a pleasanter place for viewing the traffic on the Thames below London Bridge than the parade of the Custom-House quay. The present{92} building has been erected but little more than thirty years. The revenue now derived from customs is near twenty millions a year.



On St. Dunstan’s-hill stands the church dedicated to the old Saxon saint whose name it bears. This church partly escaped the Fire, and was restored by Wren. The beautiful tower is all that remains of this great architect’s work, the body of the church being rebuilt from the plans of Mr. Laing, to whom we are indebted for the present Custom-House. Speaking of this church, Mr. Elmes tells us, on the faith of an anonymous correspondent, “When Sir Christopher Wren made first attempt of building a steeple upon quadrangular columns, he{93} was convinced of the truth of his architectural principle; but, as he had never before acted upon it, and as a failure would have been fatal to his reputation, and awful in its consequences to the neighbourhood of the edifice, he naturally felt intense anxiety, when the superstructure was completed, in the removal of the supporters. The surrounding people shared largely in the solicitude. Sir Christopher himself went to London Bridge, and watched the proceedings through a lens. The ascent of a rocket proclaimed the stability of the steeple; and Sir Christopher would afterwards smile that he ever could, even for a moment, have doubted the truth of his mathematics.” While giving the anecdote, Mr. Elmes doubts the truth of it. The eastern window is said to be a copy of the one which formerly adorned the old church.

Stowe, in his Chronicle, describes a quarrel which took place in this church as follows: “In the year 1417, and on the afternoon of Easter Sunday, a violent quarrel took place in this church, between the ladies of the Lord Strange and Sir John Trussel, Knt., which involved the husbands, and at length terminated in a general contest. Several persons were seriously wounded, and an unlucky fishmonger, named Thomas Petwarden, killed. The two great men who chose a church for their field of battle were seized and committed to the Poultry Compter, and the Archbishop of Canterbury excommunicated them. On the 21st of April, that prelate heard the particulars at St. Magnus Church; and finding Lord Strange and his lady the aggressors, he cited them to appear before him, the Lord Mayor, and others, on the 1st of May, at St. Paul’s, and there submit to penance, which was inflicted by compelling all their servants to march before the rector of St. Dunstan’s in their shirts, followed by the lord bareheaded, and the lady barefooted [rather too hard on the lady], and Kentwode, Archdeacon of London, to the church of St. Dunstan, where, at the hallowing of it, Lady Strange was compelled to fill all the sacred vessels with water, and offer an ornament, value 10l., and her husband a piece of silver, worth 5l.

Leaving Eastcheap, with its Shakspearean Boar’s Head (long ago destroyed), and Great Tower-street, memorable for the carousals of Peter the Great, we come to Mincing-lane, where stands Clothworkers’ Hall, a company to which Pepys belonged, and which still possesses the “loving cup” he presented to the Clothworkers.

King James I. was a member of this company; and the following extract from Nichol’s Progresses furnishes us with the speech he made on the day he enrolled himself among the Clothworkers: “Now, I drink unto all my good brethren, the clothworkers; and I pray God to bless them all, and all good clothworkers; and for proof of our especial favour to this fraternity, and for their increase of mutual{94} amity, I do here give unto this company two brace of bucks yearly, for ever, against the time of the election of the master and wardens of this society.” This was on the 12th of June, 1607, after the king had privately dined “at the house of Sir John Watts, then lord mayor.”

In Mark-lane we find the great Corn Exchange (lately damaged by fire). About three centuries ago, the corn-market was held at Queenhithe, although the oldest place for the sale of corn was Cornhill, a market having been held there, according to Stowe, “time out of mind.”

In Knight’s London, vol. iii. p. 364, we find the following curious remarks on this great metropolitan corn-market: “The market-days are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the first being by far the busiest day of the three; and the hours of business are from ten to three. A bargain does not become valid until an hour after the commencement of business on the next market-day. The general commercial reader will perhaps be interested in knowing that wheat is paid for in bills at one month, and all other descriptions of corn and grain in bills of two months. But the Kentish ‘hoymen,’ who may be distinguished by their sailors’ jackets, are privileged, by the custom of the market, to sell for ready money, though, of course, they sell only what they bring up themselves. They have stands free of expense, and pay less for metage and dues than others. The Essex dealers also enjoy some privileges. Their origin, in both cases, is said to have been in consideration of the men of Kent and Essex having continued to supply the City at a time when it was ravaged by the plague.”

In Mark-lane stands the church of Allhallows Staining, which escaped the Fire, though the tower is all that remains of the ancient edifice. Here it is said Queen Elizabeth went to return thanks after her release from the Tower; and when the service was over, she adjourned to the adjoining tavern, the King’s-head, in Fenchurch-street, where she dined off the unladylike luxuries of pork and peas, in memory of which event the dish and cover are still preserved. In the parish-books of Allhallows are the following entries relating to old ecclesiastical holidays: “Paid unto Goodman Chese, broiderer, for making a new mitre for the Bishop, against St. Nicholas’s night, 2s. 8d.;” and again, “Paid for the hiring of a pair of wings and a crest for an angel on Palm Sunday, 8d.” Merry doings were there in the olden time at church-ales and Easter-tide, and many another ancient holiday which now lives but in name.

At the corner of Seething-lane stands the church of Allhallows Barking. In this lane died Sir Francis Walsingham, who in Elizabeth’s time planted so many spies around the unfortunate Mary Queen of{95} Scots. Here also lived Pepys, adjoining the old Navy-office. He makes frequent mention of Seething-lane in his Diary. The church of Allhallows Barking very nearly marks the site of the termination of the Great Fire eastward; for though the church itself escaped destruction, its walls were licked by the flames and the porch destroyed. A glance at the map of London will shew its proximity to the Tower, and readily suggest that many a headless victim was removed from the scaffold to the grave in the old churchyard of Allhallows. The Earl of Surrey, who was beheaded in 1547, was buried here; also Bishop Fisher, beheaded in 1535, though his body was afterwards removed; so were the remains of Archbishop Laud. The first chapel founded on the site of the present church dates as far back as the time of Richard I.; and there is an old tradition that the heart of the king of the Crusaders was buried under the altar of that church. Here Edward I. set up an image of the Virgin Mary, which almost became as famous as the shrine of Thomas à Becket, so many were the pilgrims who visited it. Our engraving represents a silver-gilt shrine, in which, in ancient times, the relics of saints were deposited.



Richard III. (it may be, to make amends for the murders he caused{96} to be committed in the adjacent Tower) rebuilt this church, and founded within it a college of priests. Even now it bears proofs of its great antiquity, in its massive and stunted Norman pillars, old inscriptions, ancient monuments, and early brasses, one of the latter dating back nearly four centuries. There is a story about an explosion of gunpowder, which destroyed twenty or thirty houses, and in which a cradle, “baby and all,” was blown on the leads of this church, and there found uninjured.

Seething-lane runs into Hart-street, Crutched Friars, and Jewry-street, Aldgate. In Hart-street stands the church of St. Olave, so often mentioned by Pepys. It escaped the Fire, and contains a few tablets well worth visiting. Some portion of the interior appears to be very ancient, though I am not able to assign any date to these remains, nor when the first church was built. Here Pepys and his wife (the “poor wretch” of his Diary) are buried. The chapel in which the Crutched Friars dwelt was, in Stowe’s time, demolished, and its site occupied by a tennis-court and other buildings.

On the right-hand side of Leadenhall-street stand the East India House and Leadenhall Market, the latter of which need only be mentioned as celebrated for its poultry and game. Stowe says, in his day it was used for “the making and resting of pageants shewed at Midsummer, in the watch; * * * * the lofts above were partly used by the painters in working for the decking of pageants, and other devices for the beautifying of the watch and watchmen.” Those who visit Leadenhall Market in Christmas-week will form some idea of the supply needed for the two-million mouthed metropolis.

The East India House was built but little more than half a century ago, though it contains portions of the older edifice, erected in 1726. The present building is about 200 feet in length, and wears somewhat of a princely look in its pillared portico and sculptured pediment, over the centre of which Britannia is placed, while figures representing Asia and Europe stand on each side of her. The ground-floor contains committee and other rooms, in which the directors and proprietors transact business.

The handsomest saloon in the East India House is occupied by the Court of Directors, and is usually termed the Court-room: it is said to be an exact cube of 30 feet; it is superbly gilt, and embellished with large looking-glasses; the effect of its too great height being much diminished by the position of the windows near the ceiling. From the cornice hangs six pictures, representing the three presidencies—the Cape, St. Helena, and Tellichery. Over the chimney is a fine piece of sculpture in white marble, representing Britannia seated on a globe by the sea-shore, receiving{97} homage from three female figures—Asia, Africa, and India. Asia offers spices with her right hand, and with her left leads a camel; India presents a box of jewels; and Africa rests her hand upon the head of a lion. The Thames, as a river-god, stands upon the shore; a labourer is cording a bale of merchandise, and ships are sailing in the distance. The whole is supported by two caryatid figures, intended for Brahmins.



In another room there are six statues of Clive, Hastings, Cornwallis, Coote, Lawrence, and Pococke—all men who won for themselves distinguished names in India.

The upper part of the house, besides offices, contains the library and museum: the latter is open on Saturdays from eleven to three;{98} and with the exception of the Tower, we know of no place where four hours can be more agreeably and profitably spent in the City, than in examining this rare collection. Here we see beautiful specimens of every description—Goorkha swords, Sumatra shields, and Lahore gauntlets. In another compartment we find models of Oriental manufactures: objects of natural history are also there—animals, birds, insects, and shells of the richest colours.

Here also is Tippoo Sultan’s tiger. “It is a curious piece of mechanism, displaying both the ingenuity and barbarism of the artist who produced it, no less than the ferocity of nature which could induce a prince to esteem it as a favourite toy. By turning a crank, like the handle of an organ, sounds are emitted resembling the shrieks of a man in the jaws of a tiger, while ever and anon a deeper tone is heard, intended to represent the roar of the animal.”

We find here Tippoo’s howdah, or elephant seat, together with his quilted corslet. The seat is of silver, and the bird forming the canopy is of the same material, while the eyes are said to be of precious stones. The padded shirt is said to have belonged to Tippoo Sultan; also the corslet, which is lined with blue diaper.

There are Hindoo idols of gold and silver, marble and wood, remnants of shrines and inscriptions, the very letters of which “would have made Quintilian stare and gasp.”

The Chinese curiosities are well worth examining, especially the materials for engraving, writing, and printing; nor ought the mariner’s compass to be overlooked, for we must remember that this strange nation have some claim to the invention of our “ocean guide,” though rude, perhaps, the first form may have been, and its bearings but little understood.

From the Illustrated London News, we give the following description of the paintings found in the Ajunta Caves, in India, copies of which have lately been added to the Museum of the East India Company:—“These paintings were found upon the interior walls and roofs of a series of temples, excavated out of the solid rock, situated near the Ajunta Pass, where the road from central Hindostan ascends the mural heights supporting the table-land of the Dekkan. The town of Ajunta is about 200 miles north-east from Bombay; and in a ravine amongst the hills, some four or five miles distant, occur the caves. According to Mr. Fergusson, in his ‘Memoir on the rock-cut Temples of India,’ published in the ‘Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society,’ the entrance to the ravine is nearly half a mile in width; but the ravine becomes narrower as the traveller winds up it, until it terminates in a cascade of seven falls, or leaps: the lowest is about 100 feet high, the others about 100 feet higher. Immediately below the fall the{99}



ravine makes a sharp turn to the right, and it is in the perpendicular cliff forming the outer side of the bend, and facing the fall, that the caves are situated; the whole series extending about 500 yards from north to south-east. There are in this space twenty-seven caves, which are accessible by a sort of ledge or terrace of the cliff; but this has given way at the southern extremity, and left the face of the cliff perpendicular, to the height of about 300 feet. The general appearance of the ravine and of some of the excavations is given in our engraving, reduced from the original plate, forming part of Mr. Fergusson’s interesting illustrations of these and other Rock Temples delineated by him in India.

“The Ajunta Caves are richly decorated with sculptured porticoes and columns; but their peculiar feature is the embellishment of their roofs and walls with paintings, which it is not yet determined to call frescoes. They have suffered much from time and neglect; and to counteract, in some measure, the further depredations of both, the Court of Directors have instructed their local governments to take measures for their careful delineation. An officer of the Madras Establishment, Captain Gill, made copies of them, and sent home those now at the India House. In one we have on the left a number of warriors apparently setting out on an expedition. The chief, indicated by the umbrella, is taking leave of his princess, whilst a group of women on the right are also bidding them farewell. The men are characterised by the intertwining of the hair with the cloth of the turban, a costume now chiefly met with amongst the Burmas. It is doubtful if it is to be found on the continent of India. There is nothing to denote the religion of the persons represented; but in another painting a group very similar are offering their adoration to a Chaitya or Buddhist monument, which is conclusive as to their professing the Buddhist faith.

“In another section we have various groups, which belong to the interior of the palace. The chief in one place is seated, in another standing, and in both attitudes is evidently communicating orders or instructions. This is probably a representation of Sakyasinha or Buddha, who admitted females to become his disciples, and was allowed free access to the female apartments. The privilege here is not confined to him, for in two places are men bringing presents carried upon a pole, with slings, as they are at the present day. In the right-hand corner we have what seems to be a garden; in the left a group of elephants very accurately represented—one appears to have triple tusks; a seated female in front appears to hold a book.

“The third picture represents a very different series of figures from either of the two preceding, and evidently belongs to the Saiva{102} branch of Brahminism. The much-defaced head in the centre, with a rich crown, ornamented amongst other things with crosses, is a not uncommon representation of Siva; and in the right compartment we have the same divinity attended by some of his hideous train of goblins. In one place, on the left, of two smaller figures the male is playing a flute. The figures appear to be partly in the clouds, partly in edifices and in gardens—perhaps the city of the God of Wealth upon the celestial mountain Kailas is intended.

“The indications of Buddhism are, however, the prevailing subjects of the paintings, although some of them are Saiva. Fragments of inscriptions are found on two of them, which, although too imperfect to be capable of translation, are valuable as guides to the age of the paintings. The characters in which they are written went out of use about the third century of our era, and the paintings in which they occur must, consequently, be of prior date. They were painted, probably, about the beginning of the Christian era.”

Trinity-square, Tower-hill, in which stands Trinity House, is the last object of any importance that claims notice in our present chapter. At what period Trinity House was established is not, for certainty, known, though it is believed to have been founded by Henry VIII., about the time that he formed the Navy-Office. Like all other jurisdictions, it gathered power gradually, through a long range of time, being at first limited in its privileges and circumscribed in its limits, until Elizabeth made the Company guardians of our sea-marks. Trinity House now has the sole management of the light-houses and buoys, and its operations may often be seen by a reference to the first page of the Times, where it announces new marks laid down by wrecks, and different changes made in beacons, “those watchmen of the sea.”

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THE oldest remains of London, with few exceptions, nearly stand facing each other, and are on opposite sides of the river. Thus, the Tower, though some distance “below” bridge, looks on its ancient neighbour a little higher up, the Church of St. Mary Overies, now called St. Saviour’s; while westward, Lambeth Palace confronts Westminster Abbey and Hall, where they stand looking at each other, as they have done for more than six centuries. Had that highway of waters which rolls between these ancient edifices a tongue, what “deeds of other years” it might babble forth! scenes mirrored on its surface, of which we have no mention—events of which history has made no note, nor time preserved any record.

At what period a fortress was first built on the spot now occupied by the Tower will probably never be known, though it must have been a place of some strength when Edmund Ironside defended it against the Danes, and probably was centuries before that period.

No one doubts but that London was long inhabited by the Romans; and from all we know of the many habits of those cautious warriors, we are certain that they would not leave the river front of their city undefended. Ancient foundations have been discovered in the Tower within the last century, so strong and thick, as to call back Fitz-Stephen’s description of those large and strong walls which rose up from a deep foundation, the mortar of which is “tempered with the blood of beasts.” Nearly seven hundred years ago did Fitz-Stephen write thus; so that the “Tower Palatine,” as he calls it, must have been so ancient even in his day, that he knew nothing of its origin,{104} more than that of the mortar being “tempered with the blood of beasts.” Nearly all our Roman remains in Lower Thames-street have been discovered “deep down,” and this goes far in favour of those strong and undated foundations, laid bare within the Tower, being Roman; the great width—three yards—corresponds also with all we have seen of such ancient relics.

We know that the first London Bridge was built of wood, but we know not the date of its erection, though it is mentioned many times long before the Norman invasion. We also know that Edmund Ironside defended a walled fortress which stood on the City side of the river; and that in those days there was a bridge which Canute the Dane’s ships did not pass under, and that the battle on the river and on land was at the foot of this old wooden bridge; and that the wall Edmund and his followers defended must have been somewhere about the spot on which the Tower now stands. This battle took place more than eight hundred years ago; and after Canute’s forces were repulsed by the London citizens, headed by the son of Ethelred the Unready, the Danish king sailed out of the Thames and landed in Mercia, somewhere near the mouth of the Humber.

This fortress was defended, and this wooden bridge stood, more than 150 years before Peter of Colechurch commenced his stone bridge in 1176; but how much longer we know not. London must have been well fortified to have held out as it did, against the invasion of Swein king of Denmark, who came up to its very walls with his ships, and was compelled to retreat. There must have been either tower or fortress beside the river, for the Saxon citizens to have driven back such a powerful enemy.

It is generally admitted that Gundulp, Bishop of Rochester, was the architect of the White Tower; and that it was built in the time of William the Conqueror. Nor must we forget that soon after his first entry into London, William the Norman resided in the Tower, in proof (if true) that this fortress, whatever it might have been, was one of the strongest in London—one of the safest to retire into in a land filled with enemies, for he had then but few friends except his own soldiers.

What William the Norman built, and Rufus and Henry I. added to the old Saxon Tower of London, cannot distinctly be defined, for we read of the Great Tower, and a castle fronting the river beneath this Tower; and then we pass over a few years, and find Flambard, the fighting Bishop of Durham, a prisoner within the Tower walls, and from which, with the aid of a rope, he made his escape.

Another Bishop, Longchamp, held the Tower against John and his retainers while the lion-hearted King Richard I. was waging war{105} in Palestine. Here we see it used as a prison, and find it a fortress too strong for Prince John and his followers to storm.

Henry III., who built the Lion Tower and kept leopards in it, made many additions and improvements.

Mr. Bayley says, “The records of that era, which abound with curious entries, evincing Henry’s great and constant zeal for the promotion of the fine arts, contain many interesting orders which he gave for works of that kind to be executed in different parts of the Tower.” Edward I. strengthened the fortifications, and seems to have left the Tower much in the state that we now see it; for, after this period, but few alterations or additions appear to have been made. Edward III. repaired it, and Mr. Bayley, in his History of the Tower, tells us how the sum (nearly 1000l.) was expended. The first interesting description we have of the Tower was written by a foreigner named Paul Hentzner, in the reign of Elizabeth, and is as follows:

“Upon entering the Tower of London we were obliged to leave our swords at the gate, and deliver them to the guard. When we were introduced, we were shewn above a hundred pieces of arras belonging to the Crown, made of gold, silver, and silk; several saddles, covered with velvet of different colours; an immense quantity of bed-furniture, such as canopies and the like, some of them richly ornamented with pearl; some royal dresses, so extremely magnificent as to raise any one’s admiration at the sums they must have cost. We were next led to the Armoury, in which are these particulars: Spears out of which you may shoot; shields that will give fire four times;(?) a great many rich halberts, commonly called partisans, with which the guards defend the royal persons in battle; some lances covered with red and green velvet, and the suit of armour of King Henry VIII.; many and very beautiful arms, as well for men as for horse-fights; the lance of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, three spans thick; two pieces of cannon—the one fires three, the other seven balls at a time; two others made of wood, which the English had at the siege of Boulogne in France; and by this stratagem, without which they could not have succeeded, they struck a terror as at the appearance of artillery, and the town was surrendered upon articles: nineteen cannons, of a thicker make than ordinary, and in a room apart, thirty-six of a smaller; other cannons for chain-shot, and balls proper to bring down masts of ships; cross-bows and arrows, of which to this day the English make use in their exercises. But who can relate all that is to be seen here? Eight or nine men employed by the year are scarce sufficient to keep all the arms bright. The mint for coining money is in the Tower. N.B.—It is to be noted, that, when any of the nobility are sent hither on the charge of high crimes{106} punishable with death, such as murder, &c., they seldom or never recover their liberty. Here was beheaded Anne Bolen, wife of King Henry VIII., and lies buried in the chapel, but without any inscription; and Queen Elizabeth was kept prisoner here by her sister, Queen Mary, at whose death she was enlarged, and by right called to the throne. On coming out of the Tower, we were led to a small house close by, where are kept a variety of creatures; viz. three lionesses, one lion of great size, called Edward VI., from his having been born in that reign; a tiger, a lynex, a wolf, exceedingly old: this is a very scarce animal in England, so that their sheep and cattle stray about in great numbers without any danger, though without any body to keep them. There is, besides, a porcupine and eagle: all these creatures are kept in a remote place, fitted up for the purpose with wooden lattices, at the Queen’s expense.

“Near to this Tower is a large open space; on the highest part of it (Tower-hill) is erected a wooden scaffold for the execution of noble criminals; upon which they say three Princes of England, the last of their families, have been beheaded for high treason. On the Thames, close by, are a great many cannon, such chiefly as are used at sea.”

Such was the Tower in the reign of Elizabeth, and such as it is now we shall proceed to explain, enriching our description with several engravings, which, though not placed exactly beside the text they illustrate, will be clearly understood by the names affixed to each engraving.

Passing through the entrance-gate, we reach the Lion Tower, which stands at the corner of the moat or Tower ditch facing the Thames. Proceeding eastward, with the river on our right, we come to the Middle Tower—then the Bell Tower—the Lieutenant’s lodgings—and the Bloody Tower, which faces Traitor’s Gate, to which there is a water-entrance. Passing these, we either approach the White Tower in the centre, or visit the Salt Tower at the east end; then the Brick Tower on the north side, in which Lady Jane Grey was imprisoned, from thence to the Bowyer Tower, in which the Duke of Clarence was drowned in a butt of malmsey; and last to the west side, where stands the Beauchamp Tower, in which Anne Boleyn was imprisoned. The chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, and the Jewel House, are the last places we shall describe. In something like the plan we have here adopted, we shall proceed to carry our readers with us while describing the above-named portions of this ancient fortress.

The entrance is on the west side, leading to the Lion Tower, in which the royal beasts were formerly kept. In Nicholl’s Progress of James I., we find the following:—“This spring of the year (1605){107}



the king builded a wall, and filled up with earth all that part of the moat or ditch about the west side of the lions’ den, and appointed a drawing partition to be made towards the south part thereof, the one part thereof to serve for the breeding lioness when she shall have whelps, and the other part thereof for a walk for the other lions. The king caused also three trap-doors to be made in the wall of the lion’s den, for the lions to go into their walk at the pleasure of the keeper, which walk shall be maintained and kept for especial place to bait the lions with dogs, bears, bulls, boars, &c.”

Ned Ward, of “merry memory,” in his London Spy, published above a century and a half ago, has left us the following anecdotes of the Lions in the Tower.

“One of the keeper’s servants, whilst he was shewing us his unruly prisoners, entertained us with a couple of remarkable stories, which, because the tragedy of the one will render an escape in the other story the more providential, I shall proceed to give them to the reader in their proper places—namely, that a maid, some years since, being a servant to the keeper, and a bold, spirited wench, took pleasure now and then in helping to feed the lions, and imprudently believing the gratitude of the beasts would not suffer them to hurt her, she would venture sometimes—though with extraordinary caution—to be a little more familiar with them than she ought to be. At last she either carelessly or presumptuously ventured too near their dens; and one of the lions caught hold of her arm, and tore it off quite at the shoulder, after a most lamentable manner, before any body could come to her assistance; killing her with a gripe, before he would loose her from his talons, till she was a miserable object of her own folly, the lion’s fury, and the world’s pity.

“This story he succeeded by another, wherein was shewn as miraculous a preservation of himself, contrary to the cruelty the lion had before used to his unhappy fellow-servant, which he delivered after this following manner, namely:

“ ‘’Tis our custom,’ says he, ‘when we clean the lions’ dens, to drive them down over-night through a trap-door into a lower conveniency, in order to rise early in the morning and refresh their day apartments by clearing them; and having through mistake, and not forgetfulness, left one of the trap-doors unbolted, which I thought I had carefully secured, I came down in the morning, before daylight, with my candle and lanthern fastened before me to my button, with my implements in my hands, to despatch my business, as was usual; and going carelessly into one of the dens, a lion had returned through the trap-door, and lay couchant in a corner, with his head towards me. The sudden surprise of this terrible sight brought me under{110} such dreadful apprehensions of the dangers I was in, that I stood fixed like a statue, without the power of motion, with my eyes steadfast upon the lion, and his likewise upon me. I expected nothing but to be torn to pieces every moment, and was fearful to attempt one step back, lest my endeavour to shun him might have made him the more eager to have hastened my destruction. At last he roused himself, as though to have a breakfast off me; yet, by the assistance of Providence, I had the presence of mind to keep steady in my posture, for the reasons before-mentioned. He moved towards me without expressing in his countenance either greediness or anger; but, on the contrary, wagged his tail, signifying nothing but friendship in his fawning behaviour; and after he had stared me a little in the face, he raises himself up on his two hindmost feet, and laying his two fore paws upon my shoulders without hurting me, fell to licking my face, as a further instance of his gratitude for my feeding him, as I afterwards conjectured; though then I expected every minute when he would have stripped my skin over my ears, as a poulterer does a rabbit, and have cracked my head between his teeth, as a monkey does a small nut.

“ ‘His tongue was so very rough, that with the few favourite kisses he gave me, it made my cheeks almost as raw as a pork griskin, which I was very glad to take in good part without a bit of grumbling. And when he had thus saluted me, and given me his sort of welcome to his den, he returned to his place, and laid him down, doing me no further damage; which unexpected deliverance hitherto occasioned me to take courage, that I slunk back by degrees till I recovered the trap-door, through which I jumped, and pulled it after me; thus happily, through an especial Providence, I escaped the fury of so dangerous a creature.’ ”

Ward also mentions two stuffed lions, one said to have been Queen Mary’s, the other King Charles’s: and of the latter he says, he “had no more fierceness in his looks that he had when living, than the effigies of his good master at Westminster has the prescence of the original.”—London Spy, part 13.

We know of no historical incident of any interest connected with the Middle Tower; but in the Bell Tower adjoining, Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, is said to have been imprisoned. How much this venerable bishop must have suffered before he wrote as follows to Cromwell we know not: “I beseech you to be good, master, in my necessity; for I have neither shirt nor yet other clothes that are necessary for me to wear, but that be ragged and rent too shamefully. Notwithstanding, I might easily suffer that, if they would keep my body warm. But my diet also, God knoweth how slender it is at many{111} times. And now in mine age [poor old man, he was nearly eighty] my stomach may not away but with a few kind of meats, which if I want, I decay forthwith.”

How we feel to hate the brutal Defender of the Faith, whose supremacy he refused to acknowledge, while perusing the catalogue of the venerable prelate’s sufferings.

The martyr and the murderer have long since gone to render an account of their good and evil deeds.

The Lieutenant’s lodgings contain a few old paintings, together with a bust of James I., and a marble monument recording the names of those who were examined regarding the Gunpowder Plot.

The Bloody Tower is supposed to have been the place in which the sons of Edward IV. were murdered; but of this we have no proof; neither in the discovery of the bones (which were found, in 1674, at the foot of the staircase near the chapel in the White Tower,) any proof that the princes were murdered in that part of the fortress. That they should be buried near the White Tower chapel bespeaks a reverence for their remains.

There is something ominous and gloomy about the grim gateway, with its grated portcullis and grinning iron teeth, that leads to the Bloody Tower, which even now seems to chill the blood as we pass beneath it. Nor is this feeling at all diminished by the recollection that one of the Earls of Northumberland either committed suicide or was privately murdered within those very walls. It was at this gate where Sir John Bridge seized Wyatt by the collar and shook him, when he was made prisoner after the insurrection. “But that the law must pass upon thee,” said the angry lieutenant, “I would stick thee through with my dagger.” To which Wyatt replied, holding his arms under his side, and looking grievously with a grim look upon the lieutenant, “It is no mastery now,” and so passed on.

The Salt Tower is remarkable for a curious engraving on the walls representing the signs of the Zodiac, the work of Hugh Draper, of Bristol, who was a prisoner in this turret in 1560. What a glimpse we obtain of the superstitious ignorance of this period, when recalling the “crime” he was committed for—that of practising the art of sorcery against Sir William Lowe and his lady. The Brick Tower, on the north-east side, near the mount, is said to be the spot in which Lady Jane Grey, the “nine-days’ Queen,” as she is called by the old chroniclers, was imprisoned.

In the Bowyer Tower, which stands behind the barracks, it is said the Duke of Clarence was murdered, by being drowned in a butt of his own favourite drink. The upper portion of this tower is modern, and the whole was again greatly impaired in the fire which burnt down{112} the great storehouse in 1841, which also injured the Flint and the Brick Towers.

We next come to the Beauchamp or Wakefield Tower, in which are deposited so many records. “This is perhaps the most interesting building of the whole range, the White Tower not excepted,” says Mr. Howitt, in his Tower of London. “Employed for many years as a ‘prison lodging,’ its walls are covered with the carved memorials of its unfortunate occupants. Among those who have thus recorded their sorrows are John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, 1553; Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, 1578; Charles Baily, a Fleming, and agent of Mary Queen of Scots; Arthur and Edmund Poole, grandchildren of George, Duke of Clarence, brother to King Edward IV.; Thomas Fitzger, son of the Earl of Kildare, 1534; Sedburn, Abbot of Joreval, 1537; Dr. Abel, chaplain of Queen Catherine of Arragon; Thomas Cobham, son of Lord Cobham, 1555; Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth; Sir Ingram Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland, 1537; Eyremot Radclyffe, son of the Earl of Sussex, 1576; with many others. Couplets, maxims, or allegories are sometimes added, as—

‘By torture strange my truth was tryed,
Yet of my liberty denied.’—1581, Thomas Myagh.

This torture was the rack.

‘It is the poynte of a wyse man to try and then to truste,
For hapy is he who fyndeth on that is juste.’—R. C.

The following is the conceit of a poor lover:

‘Thomas Willynagh, Goldsmithe.       My hart is yours tel dethe.’

And by the side is a figure of a ‘bleeding hart,’ and another of ‘dethe.’ The initials, T. W. and P. A. on each side of the bleeding heart, are doubtless those of the lover and his mistress.”

This was the Tower in which Anne Boleyn was imprisoned. It is on record, that, when she passed under the Traitor’s Gate, she fell on her knees and prayed, declaring herself innocent. When about to be beheaded on the Green, she refused to have her eyes bandaged (those eyes into which her brutal, tiger-like husband had so often fondly looked), but kept them riveted on the headsman, who, while she gleamed on him, had not power to strike the blow, until some one attracted her attention, and then, when her eyes were turned away, he took off his shoes, strode forward noiselessly, and struck off her head.

Another inscription in this tower, in Italian, runs as follows:

“Since fortune hath chosen that my hope should go to the wind, to complain, I wish the time were destroyed, my planet being ever sad and unpropitious.”—Wilim Tyrree, 1541.


One underground cell was called the Rats’ Dungeon; it was below high-water mark, and dark as the grave. At high-water, hundreds of rats are believed to have sought shelter in this hideous cavern, until the tide subsided. In this den, it is said, prisoners were sometimes thrust, when the rack was found of no avail in extorting a confession. But all the shrieks and struggles would be drowned deep down in this inhuman hell, and only the Angel of Death left to look on the maddening horrors of the wretched prisoners. The imagination shrinks back, as, through the darkness of bygone years, it pictures for a moment the terrible tragedies which must have been enacted in such a blood-stained dungeon.

We now come to the White Tower, with its four turrets, which may be seen from many an eminence that overlooks London, and is always pointed out as “The Tower.” It is to the east of London what Westminster Abbey is to the west, and St. Paul’s to the centre of the city—the great object of attraction. The interior consists of three stories (beside the vaults), the first floor having two rooms, the roofs of which are no doubt as old as the walls that surround them. In ancient times they were used as prisons. The second story also contains two large rooms, in which are deposited arms and other stores; and here also stands the chapel, the most interesting of all the apartments, and shewing how great must be the strength of a building to support such massy pillars and heavy arches on its second story. It is a splendid specimen of true unaltered Norman architecture, and unlike any thing we have seen in London, except the interior of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield; not that it is so beautiful as a whole as the church of the old Priory, but there is a massiness about it in solemn keeping with the heavy and stupendous pile of buildings which it stands upon and overlooks, for it rises to the very roof of the Tower—the remainder of the third story forming the Council Chamber, which is a large, heavy, plain-looking room, and arrests the eye as soon as you enter. It is so unlike the chapel, that you are amazed at its rude and primitive appearance, its flat timber ceiling and plain rows of wooden beams, give to it something of a gigantic, barn-like look; lost, however, when you glance at the pierced walls and side arches, that tell you that all is in keeping with the solemn fortress that has stood the shock of war, and the wear and tear of time, through the long nights of nearly eight centuries. The scenes that have taken place in this vast chamber are written in the pages of English history, and are, with few exceptions, the most important in all our annals.

We will now glance at the Jewel-house, and give a brief description of the chief curiosities and treasures it contains.{114}

The regalia appears to have been kept within the Tower from an early period, as mention is made of jewels deposited there as far back as the days of Henry III. These jewels were often pledged, and were sometimes in the hands of French and Flemish merchants. Henry VI. was the first, we believe, who went to “his uncle” to raise money on them; and Beaufort advanced him 7000 marks with the true pawn-broker-like proviso, that if they were not redeemed by a certain day, they were to remain his (uncle’s) property. Henry VIII., who melted down so many old monastic treasures, lightened the regalia of many a rich relic, and, free-trader like, dispersed it again in the shape of the current coin of the realm. Those who possess the rose-nobles of that period may retain a portion of the crown which once encircled the brow of one of his beautiful wives, whom, Bluebeard-like, he butchered. He thought no more of melting a rich sacramental cup than he did of a broken spoon.

During the civil wars the regalia was again diminished; but to what extent we are not able to state, though mention is made of the sale of such plate as bore the emblems of the cross, or was engraven with “superstitious pictures.” In its present state there will be found worthy of notice the crown known as St. Edward’s, first worn by Charles II., and since that time used by all the monarchs who have ascended the throne of Great Britain. This is the very crown that Blood stole, as we have before stated, and the one placed on the head of her present Majesty when she was crowned in Westminster Abbey. The new crown made purposely for her Majesty is also here, and is formed of purple velvet, hooped with silver, and richly adorned with diamonds. The ruby in it is said to have been worn by the Black Prince, and the sapphire is considered to be of great value: the crown altogether is estimated at above 100,000l.

The Prince of Wales’s crown is formed of pure gold, without much addition of jewels; while that of the Queen’s consort is enriched with pearls, diamonds, and other precious stones. The Queen’s diadem was made for Maria d’Este, the unfortunate queen of James II., who stood sheltering in the rain under the wall of Lambeth Church on the night her husband abdicated, when he threw the great seal into the Thames as he crossed the river at Westminster to join her. Little did she dream, when that golden diadem first pressed her fair brow, of the troubles she was doomed to undergo.

St. Edward’s Staff (why so called we know not, as the gold coronation spoon is believed to be all that remains of the ancient regalia,) is four feet seven inches long, bearing at the top an orb and cross; the orb containing, it is said, a portion of the true cross. This staff is made of beaten gold, to the bottom of which is fixed a steel spike, no{115}

1. Queen’s Diadem. 2 and 3. Queen’s Coronation Bracelets.
4. Prince of Wales’s Crown. 5. Old Imperial Crown. 6. Queen’s Crown. 7.
Spiritual Sceptre. 8. Temporal Sceptre.

1. Queen’s Diadem. 2 and 3. Queen’s Coronation Bracelets. 4. Prince of Wales’s Crown. 5. Old Imperial Crown. 6. Queen’s Crown. 7. Spiritual Sceptre. 8. Temporal Sceptre.


doubt intended for defence, as a strong arm would be able to drive it through any assailant. Nothing is known of the history of this staff; though we shall probably not be far wrong if we date the orb as far back as the days of the Crusaders, on account of the portion of the “true cross” which it is said to contain.

The Royal Sceptre is of gold, ornamented with precious stones; also with the rose, shamrock, and thistle, all in gold; the cross is richly jewelled, and contains a large diamond in the centre; the length of the sceptre is two feet nine inches.

The Rod of Equity is three feet seven inches in length, and is made of gold set with diamonds. The orb at the top is enriched with rose diamonds, and on the cross which surmounts it stands the figure of a dove with wings expanded. This is sometimes called the Sceptre with the Dove. Another sceptre, called the Queen’s Sceptre with the Cross, though much smaller, is very beautiful in design, and thickly set with precious stones. The Ivory Sceptre was made for Maria d’Este; and another sceptre, found behind the wainscoting in the apartment in which the regalia was formerly kept, is said to have been made for the queen of William III. There are also two orbs well worthy of observation, as are also the swords of Justice, ecclesiastical, and temporal, and the Sword of Mercy, or Curtana, which is pointless. A few of these will be best understood by a reference to the engravings, which shew the Ampulla for the holy oil, formed like an eagle; the Armillæ, or coronation bracelets, made of gold, and rimmed with pearls; the coronation spoon, used for anointing the sovereigns, very ancient; and the golden salt-cellar, shaped like a castle with turrets. There are several of these state salt-cellars worthy of notice; also a baptismal font, and a silver wine-fountain, beside many other valuable curiosities, which would give our work too much the appearance of a catalogue were we to describe them all.

On the south side of the White Tower stands the Horse Armoury, which was erected about a quarter of a century ago. Many of the suits of armour which these equestrian figures wear are very ancient; and a few are highly interesting, through having been worn by kings and warriors who stand proudly out in the annals of England. The first in supposed antiquity is a Norman Crusader, said to be nearly as old as the time of the Conqueror; and is formed of small iron rings, which make a kind of net-work that must have given far more play to the body of the wearer than the cumbrous mail worn on a later day. Similar armour was worn by the Saxons before the reign of Alfred, as is shewn in a few of the illuminated documents which have been preserved to the present day. There is a kite-shaped shield, such as was used at this period, in the Elizabethan Armoury, which{117}

1. Imperial Orb. 2. Ampulla. 3. Golden Salt-Cellar of
State. 4. Anointing Spoon. 5, 6, 7. State Salt-Cellars.

1. Imperial Orb. 2. Ampulla. 3. Golden Salt-Cellar of State. 4. Anointing Spoon. 5, 6, 7. State Salt-Cellars.


ought to be removed and affixed to this figure of the Crusader. The next in date that claims our attention, is the resemblance of a grim warrior, armed from head to heel, after the fashion of the heroes who fought in the days of Edward I. Here we have the long surcoat and rich emblazonry, which is so often mentioned in the wars of Palestine: the prick-spears are of a very primitive form, and worth examining, as is every portion of the armour on this figure; for even what is modern is a strict imitation of what was worn at this period. The next is a gorgeous specimen of the time of Henry VI., both as regards the armour and the trappings of the figured steed; the skirts and sleeves are splendid specimens of chain-mail, and the fluted gauntlets, “beautiful exceedingly.” The breasts and back are made of flexible plates, that is, loose, and put on in pieces; and the helmet, which is a salade, with a vizor or pontlet, has a grand appearance, surmounted as it is with a crest. All these it would require the skill of a Meyrick to describe accurately; for he tells us of sollerets, and tuilettes, vambraces, and rere-braces, camails, cuisses, and greaves, which are difficult to explain, and still more difficult to comprehend, without the aid of engravings. We then come to the reign of Edward IV., and here we find a rich but very singular-looking suit of armour. The angular-shaped helmet strikes the eye as being well adapted to throw off the point of a spear, if struck on the volant piece, which stands out sharp and ridgy as the point of a plough. The vambrace of the lance is very old, and shews how the hand was protected; there is also an addition to the safety of the wearer in the steel guard on the left side of the breast-plate, and also on the elbow, compared to that worn in the preceding reign. Armour of the time of Richard III. is placed on the next figure, very beautiful, being ribbed or plated; and here we have rosettes on the shoulders, which look like little wings or epaulets that have blown loose, and stand erect. This suit was worn by the Marquis of Waterford, when several gentlemen met to play at tournament at Eglintoun. Period of Henry VII.: a warrior dismounted, the armour of German workmanship; the figure remarkable for the change made in the helmet. Next to this another suit of the same age, and the horse majestically armed, especially about the head, neck, and upper parts of the chest. We now come to a suit of what is called Damask armour, and this the great wife-killer, Henry VIII., really wore—better for his fame if he had been killed in it the first day he rode armed; but we have “said our say” in a novel called Lady Jane Grey, and will pass on to mention that there is another suit, said to have been presented to him by Ferdinand, on his marriage with his daughter, Katherine of Arragon; of this suit, Mr. Howitt, in his Tower Armoury, says, “The badges of this king and queen,{119} the rose and pomegranate, are engraved on various parts of the armour. On the pins of the genouillères sheaf of arrows, the device adopted by Ferdinand, the father of Katherine, on his conquest of Granada; Henry’s badges, the portcullis, the fleur-de-lis, and the red dragon, also appear; and on the edge of the lamboys or skirts are the initials of the royal pair, ‘H. K.’ united by a true-lover’s knot.” The red dragon was the figure the ancient Britons bore on their standards in their wars against the Saxons. It is frequently mentioned by the Welsh bards who lived at that period, and also fought in these battles; but we do not think they bore standards before the invasion of the Romans, emblazoned with any devices. Passing by the armour of Edward VI., and that said to have been used by Hastings Earl of Huntingdon, we come to a suit that once covered the stately form of Dudley Earl of Leicester, “the gipsy,” as Essex called him, on account of those dark features that Queen Elizabeth loved to look on. A suit, said to have been worn by his once powerful rival, the Earl of Essex, is only divided from Dudley by the armed figure that wears the mail assigned to Sir Henry Lea. Passing by the figures of James I., Sir Maurice de Vere, and the Earl of Arundel, we come to a beautiful suit of armour, made for Henry Prince of Wales, who died young; it is gilt, and enriched with quaint designs of ancient battles and stormy sieges, and other emblems of “grim-visaged war.” Then follow suits said to have been worn by the Duke of Buckingham, James’s favourite; Charles I., when Prince of Wales; and the unfortunate Earl of Strafford, who was, like his royal master, beheaded. The suit said to have belonged to James II., a curious head-piece, believed to have been worn by Henry the Seventh’s jester, and several other curiosities, such as an ancient warder’s horn, swords, &c., that were formerly in the possession of Tippoo Saib, together with an old suit of unpolished armour, are things which will be shewn, if the stranger make himself agreeable to the warder.

Quitting this gallery, we enter Queen Elizabeth’s Armoury by a staircase, passing by two carved figures called “Gin and Beer,” which were brought from the old palace of Greenwich, probably at the time of its destruction. We are again in the White Tower, and tread the very rooms in which Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned, for no doubt he had the privilege of stepping beyond what is called his sleeping-room. In the recessed arch at the end of this groined and vaulted apartment, stands the equestrian figure of Queen Elizabeth, in a similar costume to what she wore when she rode to St. Paul’s to return thanks for the destruction of the Spanish Armada. It would but make a dry catalogue were we to enumerate the whole of the miscellaneous articles in this Armoury, which consist of shields,{120} swords, bows, blocks, instruments of torture, partisans, poles, match-locks, &c. &c., all hanging on the walls, or standing upright, or huddled together like old iron in a marine-store. There, however, is the axe with which Lady Jane Grey is supposed to have been beheaded, nor can we in a more fitting place, while the mind is filled with horror, which this “heading-axe” and block (the latter comparatively new) call up, describe her execution, which we copy from a work edited by J. G. Nichols, Esq., F.R.S., entitled the Chronicle of Queen Jane, and another scarce pamphlet, called The Ende of Lady Jane Dudley. The heroic spirit she displayed at her execution was long the talk in the streets of old London, when Queen Mary ascended her sanguinary throne.

“By this tyme was ther a scaffolde made apon the grene over agaynst the White Tower, for the saide lady Jane to die apon. Who, with hir husband, was appoynted to have ben put to deathe the fryday before, but was staied tyll then, for what cause is not knowen, unlesse yt were because hir father was not then come into the Tower. The saide ladye being nothing at all abashed, (neither with feare of her owne deathe, which then approached, neither with the sight of the ded carcase of hir husbande, when he was brought in to the chappell,) came forthe, the levetenaunt leding hir, in the same gown wherin she was arrayned, hir countenance nothing abashed, neither hir eyes enything moysted with teares, although her ij. gentylwomen, mistress Elizabeth Tylney and mistress Eleyn, wonderfully wept, with her booke in hir hand, wheron she praied all the way till she cam to the saide scaffolde, wheron when she was mounted, &c.”

From the last-named pamphlet the narrative is continued as follows:

“She sayd to the people standing thereabout: ‘Good people, I am come hether to die, and by a lawe I am condemned to the same. The facte, indede, against the quenes highnesse was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto by me; but touching the procurement and desyre therof by me or on my halfe, I doo wash my handes thereof in innocencie, before God and the face of you, good Christian people, this day,’ and therewith she wrong hir handes, in which she had hir booke. Then she sayd, ‘I pray you all, good Christian people, to bear me witness that I dye a true Christian woman, and that I looke to be saved by none other meane but only by the mercy of God in the merites of the blood of his only sonne Jesus Christ: and I confesse, when I dyd know the word of God I neglected the same, loved my selfe and the world, and therefore this plague or punyshment is happely and worthely happened unto me for my sins; and yet I thank God of his goodnesse that he hath thus geven me a tyme and respet{121} to repent. And now, good people, while I am alyve, I pray you to assyst me with your prayers.’ And then, knelyng downe, she turned to Fecknam, saying, ‘Shall I say this psalme?’ And he said ‘Yea.’ Then she said the psalme of Miserere mei, Deus, in English, in most devout manner, to the end. Then she stode up, and gave her maiden, mistress Tylney, her gloves and handkercher, and her booke to maister Bruges, the levetenantes brother; forthwith she untyed her gown. The hangman went to her to help her of therewith; then she desyred him to let her alone, turning towardes her two gentylwomen, who helped her off therwith, and also with her frose past and neckercher, geving to her a fayre handkercher to knytte about her eyes. Then the hangman kneeled downe and asked her forgevenesse, whome she forgave most willingly. Then he willed her to stand upon the strawe; which doing, she sawe the blocke. Then she sayd, ‘I pray you dispatch me quickly.’ Then she kneeled down, saying, ‘Wil you take it (her head) off before I lay me downe?’ and the hangman answered her, ‘No, madame.’ She tyed the kercher about her eys; then feeling for the blocke, saide, ‘What shall I do? Where is it?’ One of the standers-by guyding her therunto, she layde her heade down upon the blocke, and stretched forth her body, and said, ‘Lorde, into thy hands I commende my spirite!’ And so she ended.”

With a few of the names of the most celebrated persons who have been imprisoned, and some of them beheaded in the Tower and on Tower-hill, together with a slight notice of the chapel in which several of them lie buried, we shall close our description of this ancient fortress. Early in the fourteenth century, Wallace, the hero of Scotland, was prisoner within these walls, from whence he was dragged to Smithfield, fastened to the tails of horses, and there put to death, after enduring the most cruel and horrible tortures. Hither Mortimer was brought from Nottingham, laden with chains, having, we believe, been a prisoner in the Tower before that time, and escaped through making his keepers drunk. Here the brave Earl of Moray was confined for many weary years, unable to raise the extortionate ransom King Edward demanded. The Duke of Orleans was brought prisoner from the field of Agincourt, and long detained in the Tower. The victims of Henry VIII, we pass over, as they have a blood-stained page to themselves in English history. The Earl of Essex, whose death embittered the last moments of Elizabeth, and an account of which we extract verbatim from the scarce work we have so often mentioned, entitled The Life and Reign of Queene Elizabeth; it is as follows: “Wherefore on the same day was the Earle brought out between two diuines, apon the scaffold in the Tower-yard; where sate the Earls of Cumberland and Hartford, Viscount Howard of{122} Bindon, the Lords Howard of Walden, Darcy of Chile, and Compton. There were also present some of the aldermen of London, and some knights, and Sir Walter Rawleigh, to no other end (if we may beleeve him) then to answere him, if at his death he should chance to object any thing to him; although many intrepreted his being there to a worser sence, as though he had done it oneley to feed his eyes with his torments, and to glut his hate with the Earles bloud: wherefore being admonished that hee should not presse on him now he was dying, which was the property of base wilde beasts, he withdrew himselfe, and looked out upon him at the Armoury.

“The Earle as soone as he had mounted the scaffold uncovereth his head, and lifting up his eyes to Heaven, confesseth, that many and greivous were the sins of his youth, for which he earnestly begged pardon of the eternall Majesty of God, through the mediation of Christ, but especeialy for this his sinne, which hee said was a bloudy, crying, and contagious sinne, whereby so many men being seduced, sinned both against God and their Prince. Then he entreated the Queene to pardon him, wishing her a long life, and all prosperity, protesting he never meant ill towards her. He gave God hearty thanks that he never was an Atheist or Papist, but that always he put his trust in Christ’s merits. He beseeched God to strengthen him against the terrors of death, And he entreated the standers by to accompany him in a little short prayer, which with a fervent ejacculation and hearty devotion he made to God. Then he forgave his executioner and repeated his Creed, and fitting his neck to the blocke, having repeated the first five verses of the 51 Psalme, he said: ‘Lord, I cast my selfe downe humbly and obedeintly to my deserved punishment: Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon thy servant that is cast downe: Into thy hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit.’ His head after that was stricken off at the third blow, but the first tooke away both sence and motion.”

Against this charge Sir Walter Raleigh defended himself, in his last speech, in the following words: “It is said I was a prosecutor of the death of the Earl of Essex, and stood in a window over against him when he suffered, and puffed out tobacco in disdain of him; but I take God to witness I had no hand in his blood; and was none of those that procured his death. My Lord of Essex did not see my face at the time of his death, for I had retired far off into the Armoury, where I indeed saw him, and shed tears for him.”

Sir Walter Raleigh’s execution is too closely interwoven with history to dwell upon any of the events of his imprisonment. Of him it may be truly said—{123}

“A little rule, a little sway—
A sunbeam on a winter’s day—
Is all the power the mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave.”—Dyer.

The night before his execution he wrote the following lines in a leaf of the Bible:

“Even such is time, that takes on trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wander’d all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days.”

Russel, Sydney, Shaftesbury, Buckingham, Laud, Davenant, and a score or more of others, whose names are mixed up with the stormy events of the period in which they lived, were prisoners in the Tower. These past away. Then came those who took part with the Pretender; some of whom were executed, a few pardoned; while others, like the Earl of Nithsdale, escaped. Then the names of Gordon, Burdett, and such like, of but little note in the present century, and they end

“This strange eventful history.”

The chapel of St. Peter’s ad Vincula stands at the north-west corner of the Tower, and must formerly have been very beautiful, though now sadly disfigured by modern innovators, who are cursed with such a taste as ought to be left only to its free indulgence in the walls of Bethlehem or St. Luke’s.

Here were interred the headless bodies of Queen Catherine Howard, Anne Boleyn, Margaret Countess of Shrewsbury, Lady Jane Grey: beauty, virtue, and talent, each bared her fair neck—the blow was struck, and now,

“After life’s fitful fever, they sleep well.”

Here also repose Sir Thomas More, Cromwell, Earl of Essex, Seymour the Lord Admiral, and (strange retribution) his brother, the Protector Somerset; Dudley, the husband of Lady Jane Grey; Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex—all beheaded. The catalogue may be dismissed in the words of Shakspeare, where he

“Tells sad stories of the death of kings:
How some have been deposed; some slain in war;
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison’d by their wives, some sleeping kill’d:
All murdered!

Macaulay, in his History of England, speaking of this chapel, says: “There is no sadder spot on earth than this little cemetery.{124} Death is there associated, not, as in Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s, with genius and virtue, with public veneration, and with imperishable renown; not, as in our humblest churches and churchyards, with every thing 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.”

We conclude with the following extract from the Illustrated London News of January 1843:

“The extent of the Tower within the walls is twelve acres and five roods. The exterior circuit of the ditch—now a garden—surrounding it is 3156 feet. On the river-side is a broad and handsome wharf, or gravelled terrace, separated by the ditch from the fortress, and mounted with sixty pieces of ordnance, which are fired on the royal birthdays, or in celebration of any remarkable event. From the wharf into the Tower is an entrance by a drawbridge. Near it is a cut connecting the river with the ditch, having a water-gate, called Traitors’ Gate, state prisoners having been formerly conveyed by this passage from the Tower to Westminster for trial. Over Traitors’ Gate is a building containing the water-works that supply the interior with water.

“Within the walls of this fortress are several streets. The principal buildings which it contains are, the White Tower, the ancient chapel, the Ordnance-office, the Record-office, the Jewel-office, the Horse Armoury, the grand Storehouse, and the Small Armoury, besides the houses belonging to the constables and to other officers, the barracks for the garrison, and two suttling-houses, commonly used by the soldiers.

“The principal entrance to the Tower is toward the west. It consists of two gates on the outside of the ditch, a stone bridge built over the ditch, and a gate in the inside. These gates are opened every morning with the following ceremony: the yeoman-porter, with a sergeant and six men, goes to the governor’s house for the keys. Having received them, he proceeds to the innermost gate, and passing that, it is again shut. He then opens the three outermost gates, at each of which the guards rest their firelocks while the keys pass and repass. On his return to the innermost gate he calls to the warders on duty to take the Queen’s keys, when they open the gate, and the keys are placed in the warders’ hall. At night the same formality is used in shutting the gates; and as the yeoman-porter with his guard is returning with the keys to the governor’s house, the main-guard, which, with its officers, is under arms, challenges{125} him with ‘Who comes there?’ he answers, ‘The keys,’ and the challenger replies, ‘Pass, keys.’ The guards, by order, rest their firelocks, and the yeoman-porter says ‘God save the Queen,’ the soldiers all answering, ‘Amen.’ The bearer of the keys then proceeds to the governor’s house, and there leaves them. After they are deposited with the governor, no person can enter or leave the Tower without the watchword for the night. If any person obtains permission to pass, the yeoman-porter attends, and the same ceremony is repeated.

“The Tower is governed by its Constable, at present the Duke of Wellington; at coronations and other state ceremonies this officer has the custody of the crown and other regalia. Under him is a lieutenant, deputy-lieutenant, commonly called governor, fort-major, gentleman-porter, yeoman-porter, gentleman-gaoler, four quarter gunners, and forty warders. The warders’ uniform is the same as that of the yeomen of the Queen’s guards.

“The Tower is still used as a state prison, and, in general, the prisoners are confined in the warders’ houses; but, by application to the Privy Council, they are usually permitted to walk on the inner platform during part of the day, accompanied by a warder.

“The fire which took place towards the winter of 1841 destroyed a great portion of the property in the grand Armoury, and materially altered the exhibitorial features of the edifices. The Armoury, said to have been the largest in Europe, was 345 feet in length, and was formerly used as a storehouse for the artillery train, until the stores were removed to Woolwich. A considerable number of chests filled with arms ready for any emergency were in a portion of the room which was portioned off; and in the other part a variety of arms were arranged in fanciful and elegant devices.

“A fearful destruction of property, at once curious and valuable, took place in this department; but one beautiful piece of workmanship was happily preserved. It consisted of the celebrated brass gun taken from Malta by the French, in 1798, and sent, with eight banners, which hung over the same, to the French Directory by General Buonaparte, in La Sensible, from which it was recaptured by the Seahorse, Captain Foote. The sword and sash which belonged to the late Duke of York were also saved, through the intrepidity of Captain Davies; who, however, severely cut his hands by dashing them through the plate-glass frame in which the sword and sash were enclosed.{126}


Docks, Sailors, and Emigrants.

OUR rambles have now brought us to the Docks; but, before describing them, we must glance backward at the scenes which in former years met the eye on the very spots which these vast basins now occupy, for we shall include them all in this chapter.

There are people still living who can remember when Blackwall-Reach had for its landmarks grim gibbet-posts, on which the bodies of pirates bleached and blackened in the storm and sunshine, “making night hideous;” when the whole neighbourhood beyond the Tower, instead of being the home of mighty ships—that seem to sleep after their perilous voyages in the Docks—was a nest of ill-famed streets and dangerous alleys, unsafe even in the open noon of day, and at night trodden with dread by the peaceful passenger; when the Tower Hamlets disgorged their lawless inhabitants to witness an execution on Tower-hill, attack a press-gang, or rescue some sailor from the claws of justice, to be borne in triumph to the nearest tavern, and amid flip, fiddling, and dancing, bid defiance to every ‘Charley’ that for a mile around drawled out the passing hours. In those days it was not uncommon for the drum to beat an alarm, and a troop or two of soldiers to turn out of the Tower, to quell the brawls which arose between the land-lubbers and the sons of the salt sea; nor were the military always successful in putting down these midnight riots; for whether Jack hunted a Jew or unroofed a crimping house, he would not give in (unless overpowered) until he had chased down the one and demolished the other.{127}

Ned Ward, in his London Spy, describes the sailors he met with in his day in this neighbourhood, and says, “Sometimes we met in the street with a boat’s crew just come on shore, in search of those land debaucheries which the sea denies them; looking like such wild, staring, gamesome, uncouth animals, that a litter of squab rhinoceroses drest up in human apparel could not have made a more ungainly appearance.... Every post they came near was in danger of having its head broken; for every one as he passed by gave the senseless block a bang with his cudgel, as if they wished every post they met to be either the boatswain or the purser. The very dogs in the street shunned them with as much fear as a loitering vagrant would a gang of press-masters, being so cautioned against their ill usage by the stripes they had formerly received, that, as soon as ever they saw a seaman, away ran the poor curs, with their tails between their legs, to avoid the danger of the approaching evil. I could not forbear reflecting on the ‘prudence’ (?) of those persons who send their unlucky children to sea to tame and reform them.”

Even now, after all the alterations and improvements which have been made, there are places in the neighbourhood of St. Katherine and the London Docks which present almost the same features as they did a century or two ago, and such may be found within five minutes’ walk of the Docks we are describing. No contrast can be greater than that between the west and the east end of London; the very houses, dresses, and language of the inhabitants are different; for in the latter their talk is “all of ships.” Here, at the shop-doors dangle oil-case nor’-westers, with long fantails behind, telling that, unlike the hats in Bond-street, these are made to keep a billow that breaks over the head out of the nape of the neck; while the rough pilot-coats that hang like skins about the tent of a Russian bear-hunter, proclaim that they were never made to be worn in “a lady’s chamber,” but to be donned where the winds whistle, and the sea-gulls scream, and the big waves come roaring after each other like a thousand unchained hungry lions. There you see the gaudy handkerchief which Jack loves to leave a little out, that it may be seen from his blue jacket-pocket; those slops, in the whiteness of which he prides himself; and the checked shirt that he delights to throw open about his sun-browned throat, while he leaves the fringed corners of his black neckerchief to flutter like a pennon in the breeze. There is a forecastle-smell about the streets, a minglement of junk and rum, tar and biscuit, casks, ropes, and tobacco, not unpleasant to one who is proud of the wave-washed island on which he was born.

But the grandeur of this locality is its magnificent Docks—watery-squares{128} surrounded with high-piled warehouses, and filled with gigantic shipping, the tall masts of which tower proudly above the loftiest houses. Here you see keels that have ploughed up the stormy Atlantic—sails hanging idly in the breeze that have been filled with the spicy gales of India—figures ahead that have looked down into icy seas, or bent listlessly where the waves of the warm Mediterranean roll, and the arch-backed dolphins tumble. It makes the heart of a true-born Englishman, although he is not worth a groat, beat high when he enters the gates that open upon such a scene of naval grandeur; and we forgive those old sea-kings, while we gaze around, who all but conquered our country, and blended their Danish with our Saxon blood. Warriors of old, who guided their snorting seahorses along the road of the swans, and swept the stormy Baltic to stand face to face with Alfred the Great, and to be at last scattered like the ocean spray by the arm of the Island King. Peace to their manes! they were the first who taught our grey forefathers that England’s wooden walls are its safest bulwarks.

Many a house had to be levelled with the earth, and many an old graveyard to be dug up, before these mighty Docks could be made; even the ancient hospital founded by Queen Matilda seven centuries ago was demolished; and where oft the Sabbath-bell had tolled, and the old Londoners paused to glance at the “narrow beds” where their fathers slept, or wore the stones hollow with their passing feet—all were doomed to be swept away, to make room for the “guardian giants that prowl around our coasts.” From this, good came; living London had not room enough for her dead, and the green hills that look down upon her glory were then turned into sepulchres; rural cemeteries sprang up, and thither her departed sons and daughters were borne; instead of pent-up city churchyards, our metropolis became surrounded with great gardens of graves, which look like true resting-places. Over such, a poet might fancy their peaceful spirits would linger, and look beyond to where the vast city gradually grows in length and breadth from year to year, until, as is not improbable, it may at last extend its foot to the edge of the open ocean.

St. Katherine’s, and the two adjoining London Docks—which alone cover a space of more than a hundred acres—will contain six hundred ships, and near half a million tons of goods. In the West India Docks, which lie nearer Blackwall, merchandise valued at twenty millions of money has at one time been deposited on the wharfs, in the warehouses, and in the vaults below. The wealth of London lies not in her gaudy shops: beyond the Tower stand her great storehouses. A stranger who passes on the river on his way to Greenwich or Gravesend sees but little of these enormous treasuries—the{129}





tops of the tall masts alone point out their “whereabouts.” These Docks are surrounded by high strong-built walls, so lofty, that it would be a puzzle to a most expert thief to scale them, on account of the finish of the coping; and if even this were accomplished, a greater difficulty would remain in getting over the bulky goods which are stored within. The walls which encircle the two London Docks were erected at a cost of sixty-five thousand pounds; and no less a sum than four millions was expended in completing this vast establishment. The East India Docks are at Blackwall, and our engraving is a view of the old Mast-House in the Export-Dock—one of the most prominent objects in the landscape, when the eye is turned in that direction, either from the summit of One-tree-hill in Greenwich Park, or as seen from the right of the Observatory.

It will be readily imagined that such improvements as these were not made without meeting with much opposition, for it is on record that the cargo of a large vessel often took up five or six weeks before it was delivered: for before the Docks were made, goods were put into lighters at Blackwall, and carried to the old-fashioned quays near London Bridge, and after a long delay, occasioned even by the Custom House authorities themselves, they were finally removed to the different warehouses in the City. In these good old times river robbery was a thriving trade; and we have more than rumour for asserting that many a fortune was made by this systematic plunder. No marvel that when the first inroad was made on these old vested rights, a clamour was raised by carmen, porters, lightermen, and all the shoal of waterside labourers, who benefited more or less by the very difficulties which attended the removal of merchandise, and that from Wapping to Westminster the whole aquatic populace raised their voices against the dock crusades. Even the Trinity House itself murmured about an invasion of interests, and contended that the Royal Dock at Deptford would be ruined. City limits and city privileges were all in all to these sticklers for old rights; nor have matters altered much even up to the present day, when a proposed improvement in the sewerage of the City seems to create as much alarm as if all its charters and privileges were about to be undermined and swallowed up. All these claims and demands had to be bought up, and thousands were expended in silencing their clamours before the Docks were commenced; for there were legal quays beside the river, and moorages within, and landing-places, that time out of mind had their little perquisites. And when all the Joneses, Smiths, and Tomkinses were satisfied, the mighty work began to proceed; and thus in time spread out and rose up these broad city basins and high-piled warehouses, which are the pride of England and the envy of so many surrounding nations.{132}

But it is not the removal and storing of merchandise, in which as many as five thousand men are sometimes employed, that alone engrosses the eye of the observant stranger when he visits the Docks. There are other scenes of painful or pleasurable interest, which fall upon the eye and heart according to the humour of the man. One of those it is our province to portray. About a year ago we dined on board a large vessel in St. Katherine’s Docks which had been chartered to carry out emigrants to America; it was a few days before the ship was announced to sail. The owner was a worthy gentleman; the party who had hired the ship, needy adventurers, whose references had blinded all inquiries, and who were only found out when interference was of no legal avail. For days “hired vagabonds” had been “touting” at every wharf and public-house in the neighbourhood; and the call, although not so openly made as that of an omnibus conductor, only varied inasmuch as “America” was substituted for “Charing-cross” or “Paddington.” They took passengers for almost whatever they could get, paying no regard as to whether or not they had stores to last the voyage, or would starve before they were half over the Atlantic. “It was a sorry sight,” and the law had no power beyond that of making a few arrangements that would contribute to the comforts of the poor passengers.

We went down the hold, which was fitted up with berths—if such a name may be given to the tiers of unplaned deal boards, which resembled large hen-coops piled one above another; and stretched on mattresses upon these wooden gridirons we saw many of the emigrants waiting wearily for the appointed hour that was fixed for sailing. It made the heart sicken to picture that hold, when out at sea with the hatches battened down, and the vessel driving through a storm. There were then little children running about, and playing at hide and seek among the bales and casks—fair-haired, red-cheeked, blue-eyed beauties, whose sun-burnt arms and necks told that they had had the run of the open village-green; and such we found had been the case when we inquired. Both father and mother were fine specimens of English peasantry: the grandfather and grandmother were also there. They had fixed up the very clock in the hold, which had for years ticked in the old familiar cottage, and brought a few choice flowers in pots, which they hoped to plant about their new home in a foreign land. An antique oak table, that had been in the family for many generations, was also doomed to bear them company in their long voyage. The old grandfather, whose countenance would have enraptured an artist, sat in a deep Rembrandt-like shadow at one corner of the hold, with the family Bible upon his knee. They appeared to be well provided for the voyage, and were full of “heart and hope.{133}

Another corner was occupied by a wretched-looking Irish family. All excepting the old countryman and his family seemed to regard this miserable group with an eye of suspicion more than of pity; for it was whispered that a few biscuits and a little oatmeal were all the provisions they had made for the voyage. The captain, however, who had had some experience, considered that they were amply provided, and he made the strictest inquiry. A bag of coarse bread, which had been cut into slices and then browned in the oven, had that morning, he said, been sent on board to assist them—it was the gift of a few poor Irish people who lived in the borough of Southwark. This bread, he said, with a little suet, would make excellent puddings; and he promised that Pat should not lack the latter ingredient. It appeared that there were many little things which a willing hand might do on board a ship, and, as he said, “We never yet allowed one to starve; but this is a queer lot.” If we remember rightly, the number of passengers was not sufficient to call for the interference of the Emigration Commissioners. The ship had been chartered to carry a cargo, a part of which, from some cause or other, was withheld; so the speculators endeavoured to make up the loss by passengers. Our attention was too much engrossed in conversation with those who were about to quit their native country, it might be for ever, to enter fully into these legal matters, although we believe the number at last became sufficient to call for this interference.

To our feelings there was something very revolting in married and single, young and old, being thus placed together in the hold of a ship, which was never intended for the accommodation of passengers; and we think that government might be worse employed than in applying a remedy to these evils. We fear that many who leave our shores with refined and delicate feelings, who, however humble may be their station in life, are gifted with that innate love of modesty which in no country has a more natural growth than in our own,—that many such are doomed to quit England, and through circumstances over which they have no control, land great losers in this never-to-be-recovered gift.

A voyage to America in the hold of a vessel fitted up temporarily as we have described, is a scene not likely to fall under the eye of a popular author: it can only be sketched by getting the information from some unfortunate fellow who has been bumped and thumped against those huge beams which run inside the berths, and rolled about like a barrel, and has been lucky enough to outlive all such pitching and tossing. A state-cabin, in the roughest gale, must be a palace compared with such a place in a moderate calm; and a common steerage, rendered as comfortable as circumstances will permit, a perfect{134} elysium. Picture those who have never in all their lives encountered a stronger gale than needed a safe hand to keep on the hat, turning all sorts of imaginable somersaults, and who never heard any noise louder over their heads than when some relative fell down drunk upon the chamber-floor at a feast-time, first listening to the tramp, and thunder, and hurly-burly on deck, when the ship is struck by a heavy sea, and every timber groans again in its deep agony. No regular steward to assist—no servant to attend—berth moaning to berth—child squealing against child—one praying here, another cursing there—the hold all but dark, and where a glimmering of light is seen, the sea rushing in like a cataract—and over all, the wind howling like a raging demon, and every wave knocking at the ship’s side, and demanding admittance; and if such is not a picture of a certain nameless place under the earth, it would convey no bad idea of one upon the sea.

And those dear children nestled together, with their little arms encircling one another in their cheerless berths, their mother incapable of comforting them! It gave one the heart-ache to think of what they were destined to endure. We pictured them in their restless slumber, murmuring like bees—dreaming of their cottage, then far away—or dizzy with the rocking of the ship, recalling the swing which hung between the apple-trees in the garden, and unconscious of the danger with which they were surrounded. Then we remembered Him who “tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb”—

“Who moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
Who plants his footsteps on the sea,
And rides upon the storm.”

Wearily over the wilderness of waters would they journey onwards. Like birds with ruffled plumage, that feel themselves strangers when they have alighted upon a new land, the wild waste beside the ocean-shore where they landed would at first be trod with an aching heart; there would not be one old familiar object to comfort them. The Indian who carries the bones of his relatives to the far forest which he is driven into, and there erects a new hut, leaves scarcely an object of regret behind, for his hopes are anchored upon his great hunting-ground beyond the grave. One who soars into higher and purer realms in the dreams of an hereafter, is chained to earth by greater regrets. The very tree in the centre of the village-green wears a new charm when seen through the “mind’s eye” from a far distance, and the humblest objects become more endeared to us when they are no longer within our grasp. Brighter and broader{135} landscapes may burst upon the view in a new world beyond the ocean; but never shall we again find those familiar features in the scene which we have left behind: oft

“ ... in the stilly night,
When slumber’s chain hath bound us,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around us.”

A far different scene met our eyes not long ago in the East India Docks, when the Canterbury Association sent out their emigrants to New Zealand. What we then witnessed compelled us to take another view of emigration, and to regret that many of our poor needlewomen were not numbered among the comfortable-looking Canterbury colonists.

The scene seemed to carry us back to bygone years, when the Pilgrim Fathers went forth over perilous seas (linked together by one faith) to establish colonies in far-off lands, and build cities in wild wooded wastes which had before borne no imprint but that of beasts of the chase, or the footmark the Indian hunter left behind while pursuing them. Stern men, such as Cromwell selected his Ironsides from, and staid matrons who, during the civil war, laid aside their psalters to load arquebusses, were the unflinching elements out of which our colonies were formed in those stormy old times. Neither gaols nor workhouses were emptied to people these early settlements, but firm, high-souled men and women went out, accompanied by their ministers and grave elders—such as in more ancient days assembled in our Saxon witenagemotes—full of moral resolves, and gave them laws, and established another England, in which they could worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. They weeded not the garden to transplant its sickly and seedy roots, but (so to speak) took out the very seed and the purest mould, and formed for themselves strong and healthy beds, that produced such fruit as tempted and attracted others to sally forth and cultivate their newly-discovered fields.

Of similar materials to these is the Canterbury Settlement, in New Zealand, to be formed, and more than a million acres to be peopled, by those who are of one faith—members of the English Church—and who are to begin by building schools and erecting places of worship, and thus providing for the intellectual and spiritual wants of the community. Food and raiment and shelter are not all they undertake to supply, but ample provision is to be made for much higher and holier purposes.

None who are really poor and wretched accompany them; such as go out, as servants and labourers, are men and women of good character,{136} and members of the English Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury is at the head of the association, which numbers amongst its members noblemen and gentlemen, and those connected with the Church; in short, we shall not err by calling it a religious community. Hunger, and crime, and sin, and sorrow, and nakedness, and wretchedness they leave behind. Except the working emigrants who accompany them, we believe that nearly the whole of the settlers are large purchasers of land: some few of those who have speculated remaining here. They are also at liberty to establish their own form of government—to be, in fact, free and independent of England. It will be seen that they set out with such wealth, respectability, and numbers, as surpass all that our former colonists ever possessed, but that they take away none of our unemployed and needy poor.

What we witnessed on board the vessel in the East India Docks awakened no painful feelings, for they were not people actually compelled to leave their country because they were unable to obtain a living in it, like the many thousands who covet but the common necessaries of life, and cannot obtain them. We turned from the well-spread tables then before us, and thought of the poverty and wretchedness of those who drag out a miserable existence in our over-crowded London streets; the thousands who stand

“Houseless near a thousand homes,
And near a thousand tables pine for want of food;”

who bring no old memories into the crowded city, in which many of them were born. Home, with all its green boughs rustling above the rippling stream—the murmur of the bee—the shout of the cuckoo, and the mellow song of the golden-billed blackbird, were never to them old familiar sounds; they have nothing to sigh over, to look back upon and regret. The word “Home” to many of them has no charm, has never been surrounded with comfort; it is but a shifting from attic to attic, or from cellar to cellar; it but conjures up unhealthy back-rooms and high dead-walls, and breathless courts, which, when the wind reaches, it only stirs the sleeping poison, and scatters wider the stench of a thousand stagnant sewers. There they sit, in such neighbourhoods as Whitechapel and Bethnal-green, and hear of holidays and merry seasons, in which they have no share. The Christmas bells but ring out to them telling that nights are long and coals dear; and they are compelled to sit and listen to those sounds in the darkness, or by the glimmering of a handful of fire, for they are too poor to purchase even a candle. Spring processions and Whitsun holidays but tell them that there are pleasant places somewhere, which people are rushing out of town to see, though for them{137} the flowers grow not, nor have they ever rested under the cooling shadow of a green tree. All they know of time is by feeling hungry, and struggling against sleep, while “stitch, stiching” for such establishments as Mr. Mayhew has described in his London Labour and London Poor, keeping no other record of the hours but by the number of stitches they take, or how long it will be before they can afford to eat again, while hunger is gnawing within, though the insufficient meal is but just concluded. Their homes were places from which they were many a time turned out because they could not pay the rent, then left to stand shivering and starving in the street, until some one, who numbered as many miseries as they, all but the want of a wretched roof for a covering, invited them in—and they sat crouching beside the fireless grate, thankful that, in addition to hunger, they had not to endure

“The pitiless pelting of the outer storm.”

They have nothing to offer one another but sympathy—nothing to give but sigh for sigh, as they mingle tears with tears. What have they to throw a charm over home? Where is the comfortable bed on which to repose when their labour is ended? Behold that heap of rags and straw in the dark corner of the room! Where are their pictures to enliven the walls? their flowers, to tell that spring or summer has come? The imagination must form a landscape where the mortar has broken away—the only white patch in that dirty dwelling; their flowers of summer are dying in that broken jug where the halfpenny nosegay is placed, purchased when hunger needed appeasing, because memory was pining for nourishment, and the heart and eye were weary of those black roofs and tall chimneys, and they wanted to look on something which God had made; for,

“Though man has power to build a town,
He cannot make the thistledown,
Which every wind doth shake.”

Mighty England, with all her glory, has but left them heirs to misery. When such as these are borne away to another country, we can almost picture the guardian-angels that would accompany them hiding their faces with their hands as they speed along with their white wings expanded above the vessel, as if weeping for these poor outcast daughters. But Hope, with her “golden hair” streaming out, would herald the way, pointing to other homes beyond the rim of the horizon, far over the sea, and bidding them remember that God is also there; and that there are no crowded courts and starving populace in those lands, where Health would stand with roses in her{138} hands to plant in their pale cheeks, while honest Labour waved his sickle to welcome them to the thatched hut, which, stored with plenty, would send its blue smoke under the green trees, and then in coiling shadows over the golden harvest-field. Alas! these go not out with the Canterbury colonists. We should consider the present emigrants as going before to prepare the way for their feebler or poorer brethren. Their intelligence, capital, and enterprise will, we trust, create such a demand for labour, that they will invite the misery and poverty left at home to join them in the happy land of Canterbury, where we hope plenty will be found for all. May their turn soon come, and may they speedily join those who are now on their way; and, when it does, may the sea on which they will sleep flow around them with a gentle murmur—may the breeze visit them as softly as a mother’s breath when she bends over her slumbering infant, and so dream during their long voyage over the ocean! May they at last anchor in a foreign land, where they will find a home such as they have never known!

Here, where there is not even room for their dead, but where the last silent tenant is removed to make room for the next comer, what have they to weep over? Nothing! No one, perhaps, would be by to close their dying eyes, or when they turned their faces to the cold wall, to bid “God bless them!” No friendly hand to lift them down those stairs up which they had so often gone with aching hearts, but be borne by pauper arms, in a pauper’s coffin, to a nameless grave, the very hillock of which would be levelled within a month after they had been thrust beneath it, as if there was neither room for them living nor dead. Who would not pray to heaven to send them a prosperous voyage (as those were prayed for who have gone before) as they fly from a shore which brings to memory only misery, where the only hours of happiness they knew were those which went winged over their unconscious childhood, when hunger was scarcely felt while they played, and sorrow only forgotten when they slumbered—when the Angel of Sleep came and carried away the very memory of wretchedness until they awoke again. May the peaceful daisies soon blow about their home in a land where there is plenty and to spare, and human life is not made up of labour, hunger pangs, and short, fitful, moaning snatches of slumber, which is not sleep. May they, like those who are now preceding them, find a home around which to twine their affections, with a few trees and flowers that they can love and call their own, where the sun has room to get near them at morning, and can give them a parting smile before he sets at night, where he comes streaming free as when, first launched from God’s almighty hand, he went thundering with a golden trail of glory behind, until the voice of the Omnipotent{139} bade him stop in the immensity of space. May they find verdant valleys over which no board ever looked, threatening the wanderer with imprisonment for trespassing, but where the land is as free as it is to the foot of the bird, and where in time the tall churchspire may rise and the Sabbath-bell ring, and the hum of childish voices be heard coming from beneath the blossoming trees in the orchard where they are at play. When we turn to such a picture as this, and look at the haunts of wretchedness they now inhabit, we are compelled to acknowledge emigration a blessing.

If emigration is too expensive, let us not close our eyes to the fact that there are millions of acres of waste land in England and Ireland which might be brought into cultivation, and enable thousands to live thereon in comfort, or be made to bring in a good rental, so as to support those we cannot send out; and that this could be done at but little more cost than we should have to pay to get rid of them and their labour. Let us look at the quantity of fruit and cattle imported into England every week, and which might be grown and fed in our own country, if these wastes were brought into cultivation by the capital which we are sending abroad; buying in food on the one hand, and on the other, paying those to leave the country who might remain and produce it. A wise king, in a remote and barbarous age, found it cheaper to divide his kingdom with pirates and robbers than to be constantly at war with them, though they were aliens; surely England ought to do for her own children as much as Alfred did for the heathen Danes, if she will not send them to other countries. Labour is the only true wealth that Nature ordained when she provided us with the raw materials. The possessor of millions is compelled to buy labour; his gold will neither clothe nor feed him; with it he calls in hard-handed industry to his aid. These are old truisms which no arguments can overthrow. Have we exhausted all our resources of employment, that we are compelled to drive so many thousands who are willing to labour from the land? This is a question more important than any other, and of a thousand times more consequence than the money even now spent in sending out emigrants. How many little freeholds might be reared in our wastes, with our facilities, with what we are spending annually in emigration? and how much closer would these little spots bind the affections of the occupiers to the soil, and make them struggle proudly to bear their share of the burdens which are necessary to support the state! Let a large portion of these millions of acres be brought into cultivation at any cost; and then, if our busy hive is overstocked, send a swarm abroad. Women are needed in our colonies; let them go—at least, as many as we can safely spare—and spread sweet images of{140} themselves over distant lands,—faces to look upon in after years, which will call up the England their mothers were compelled to leave; such as we see breaking the evening shadows with their smiles, as they play until bed-time on the village-green. Any thing to lessen the vice and wretchedness which is eating like a canker into the heart of our over-crowded cities. Such as these the Canterbury colonists will not take with them; and if we cannot afford to send them abroad, let us see what can be done for them with our waste lands at home, instead of leaving them to pine and die, unwept and uncared for, in our over-crowded cities. This matter forces itself on all thinking men who visit the London Docks during the present high fever of emigration.






HITHERTO our course has been eastward; we must now turn our faces towards the west, and describe a few of the objects which lie on our right hand, as we retrace our steps, and journey to where the sun sets. To the point from whence we started at the commencement of our work (the foot of Blackfriars Bridge) we shall find but little to detain us; for the Bank and Exchange are too commercial for our pages, as we have not undertaken to write a Guide-Book, and fear that we have already dwelt too minutely on many of the uninteresting portions of the City which we have already described. But, up to the Tower, the neighbourhood we have gone over lies like a mere edging on the great skirt of London, compared to the labyrinths of streets that spread north and west—to say nothing of the Surrey side of the Thames. A mere glance at the map of London appals us. We shall therefore select a picturesque object here and there after having quitted the city, just as fancy guides the way.

Turning our back on the Docks, and taking the nearest cut to the Mile-end-road, we will at once dash into Whitechapel; for all behind us belongs to the suburbs, and our present descriptions lie not there.

We have in our opening article, entitled “Ancient London,” glanced at the picturesque appearance of this neighbourhood in former years, and now turn to the present to find that these old-world splendours have given place to gin-shops, plate-glass palaces, into which squalor and misery rush, and drown the remembrance of their wretchedness in drowsy and poisonous potations of gin;—splendour{142} and squalor, the very contrast of which makes thinking men pause, but are disregarded by those who contribute to the one and recklessly endure the other.

Our engraving represents the well-known row of butchers’ shops; for the Whitechapel butcher still belongs to the old school, taking a delight in his blue livery, and wearing his steel with as much satisfaction as a young ensign does his sword. He neither spurns his worsted leggings nor duck apron; but, with bare muscular arms, and a knife keen enough to sever the ham-string of an old black bull, takes his stand proudly at the front of his shop, and looks “lovingly” on the well-fed joints that dangle above his head. The gutters before his door literally run with blood: pass by whenever you may, there is the crimson current constantly flowing; and the smell the passenger inhales is not such as may be supposed to have floated over “Araby the blest.” A “Whitechapel bird” and a “Whitechapel butcher” were once synonymous phrases, used to denote a character the very reverse of a gentleman; but in the manners of the latter we believe there is a very great improvement, and that more than one “knight of the cleaver,” who here in the daytime manufactures sheep into mutton-shops, keeps his country-house.

The specimens of viands offered for sale in these streets augur well for the strength of the stomachs of the Whitechapel populace; no gentleman of squeamish appetite would like to run the risk of trying one of those out-of-door dinners, which ever stand ready-dressed. The sheep’s trotters look as if they had scarcely had time enough to kick off the dirt before they were potted; and as for the ham, it appears bleached instead of salted; and to look at the sandwiches, you would think they were veal, or any thing except what they are called. As for the fried fish, it resembles coarse red sand-paper; and you would sooner think of purchasing a pennyworth to polish the handle of a cricket-bat or racket than of trying its qualities in any other way. The black puddings resemble great fossil ammonites, cut up lengthwise; for while you gaze on them you cannot help picturing these relics of the early world, and fancying that they must have been found in some sable soil abounding in broken fragments of gypsum, which would account for the fat-like substance inside. What the “faggots” are made of, which form such a popular dish in this neighbourhood, we have yet to learn. We have heard rumours of chopped lights, liver, suet, and onions being used in the manufacturing of these dusky dainties; but he must be a daring man who would convince himself by tasting: for our part, we feel confident that there is a great mystery to be unravelled before the innumerable strata which form these smoking hillocks{143}



will ever be made known. The pork-pies which you see in these windows contain no such effeminate morsels as lean meat, but have the appearance of good substantial bladders of lard shoved into a strong crust, from which there was no chance of escape, then sent to the oven and “done brown.” The ham-and-beef houses display the same love of fatness, as if neither pig nor bullock could be overfed that comes to be consumed by the “greasy citizens” of the east end of London.

As for fish! the very oysters gape at you with open mouths, as if they knew how useless it would be to keep closed in such a ravenous-looking neighbourhood. They seem to cast imploring glances at the passers-by, as if begging to be taken out of the hot sun, and devoured as quickly as possible. You see great suspicious-looking whelks, sweltering in little saucers of vinegar; and you cannot help wondering what would be the result if you attempted to eat one; and while you are thus doubting, without “doating,” some great broad-shouldered fellow comes up, throws down his penny, and, making but one mouthful of the lot, lifts the saucer to his lips, and drains the last drop of vinegar, then goes, for a finisher, into the nearest gin-shop. Pickled eels, cut up into Whitechapel mouthfuls, are fished up from the bottom of great brown jars, and devoured with avidity. You can never pass along without seeing brewers’ drays unloading somewhere in the streets; and you cannot help thinking what hundreds a year Barclay and Perkins might save, in the wear and tear of men and horses, if they laid down pipes all the way from their brewery in the Borough to Whitechapel.

What little taste they display (if we may make use of so classical a phrase in contradistinction to their “palatal” or gastronomic propensities), is shewn in their love of pigeon-keeping; and many of the “fanciers” in this district can boast of possessing both a choice and an extensive stock of these beautiful birds. From this taste arise good results, inasmuch as it leads them into the suburbs, especially on Sundays, when they either carry the pigeons with them in bags or thrust them into their coat-pockets, and so wander for three or four miles out, when they turn the birds loose, both parties thus enjoying the luxury of a little fresh air. They are excellent hands at decoying pigeons, for all the “strays” that alight in the neighbourhood are pretty sure to become “Whitechapel birds.” What means they use for entrapping these feathered favourites we have not been able to ascertain, though one knowing fellow told us, with a deep-meaning wink, that “it was the fineness of the climate, and a little hanky-panky’ business.” We paid a pot of beer for the information, without asking for any clearer definition of the latter phrase.{146}

Having thus become enlightened in the art of pigeon-stealing, we turned up Houndsditch, and visited the real Rag Fair. The price of admission is “von halfpenny,” a toll from which neither Jew nor Gentile is exempt. This market or fair for old rubbish of every description is well worth seeing; and to whatever use the trash could be turned that met our eye in every direction, did at first, as old Pepys says, “puzzle us mightily.”

Rag Fair is a market consisting of long rows of standing or sitting places, having neither back nor front, but covered in by narrow penthouse roofs, supported on beams, under which the sellers or exchangers take their places: the wind and rain blow and beat through these open sheds, both drenching and sweetening the fusty rags that are exposed for sale. Those who wish to purchase pass up and down the “ragged” alleys. We were detained at the narrow entrance of the first row for several moments by two ancient and bearded children of Israel, who were endeavouring to bargain. The seller had the portions of two pairs of old shoes in his hand; one pair “soleless,” the other nearly “upperless.”

“How much for these, Mo’?” inquired the purchaser.

“Twopence,” answered the other; “they be dirt-cheap.”

“Bah!—won’t do, Mo’,” was the reply, after having examined them; “could not cut off enough to stop up a mouse-hole. Say von penny!”

“Vell, den, three-halfpence!”

We passed on, and did not witness the close of the bargain, our ears being now assailed with such cries of “Who vants three vaist-coats for old coat?” “Who vants old hats for old shoes?” “Two shirts for von pair of strong preeches!” and so on. There we saw the hook-nosed, large-eyed collector of “old clo’ ” whom we had that very morning stopped to look at while he carried off a whole suit in exchange for two geraniums which looked as if they could not live a week. The very things he was then running down, as he pointed out every thin spot and speck of grease to the little Cinderella he was bargaining with in the Borough, he was now extolling, and vowing that they had but been worn “wery leetle, wery leetle indeed.” With keen eye the intended purchaser traversed every inch, examined carefully the knees of the trowsers, the arm-pits, elbows, and sleeves of the coat; then discovering something at last, as he shined it before the light, he pointed to the spot, and looked at the other in silence. “Vell, vot of dat?—Look at the pryshe!” was the reply of the geranium exchanger.

There is an old and mouldy smell about the place, telling that dank and fetid corners have been rummaged out to contribute to the{147} stock of filth there accumulated. And yet, through the dirty mass the eye may here and there detect the trappings of pride. Court-dresses, from which the former owners would now run, exclaiming with Hamlet—

“And smelt so?     Pah!”

Small satin slippers which had once been white, but now wore a little of the hue of every foul thing they had come in contact with. The worn-out wedding-dress, now a heap of rags, bundled up beside the thread-bare blackness of the poor widow’s cast-off weeds. One might almost fancy that Pride had come here to crawl out of its shabby habiliments, and gone and laid down in some one of the dark alleys in the neighbourhood to die, having “shuffled off” the last vestiges of respectability.

“To what vile uses do we come at last!”

Rags that may have touched a young and beautiful duchess, not now fit for dusters. A remnant of the dress-coat of some young lord, thrown down with disdain by the hunger-bitten jobbing-tailor, because he cannot get a patch out of it large enough to seat the “continuations” of the Whitechapel hawker.

Passing on to Leadenhall-street, and nearly facing the East India House (which we have already described), we come upon two old churches, standing nearly together, that escaped the Great Fire, namely, St. Andrew’s Undershaft and St. Catherine Cree. In the first Stowe was buried, and there his monument still stands; and the second (according to the authority of Strype) contains the remains of Hans Holbein, the great painter; also of Sir Nicholas Throgmorton.

Part of the tower is said to be very old, though the body of the church was rebuilt in 1628, and, as it appears, without much disarranging the interior, though one magnificent window has been walled up, as may be seen by looking at it from the adjoining alley. Prynne has left us a splendid piece of half-quizzical and satirical description of the consecration of this church in 1630 by Laud, Bishop of London, which will not seem out of place in this age of Puseyite performances. “When the bishop approached near the communion-table, he bowed, with his nose very near the ground, some six or seven times; then he came to one of the corners of the table, and there bowed himself three times; then to the second, third, and fourth corners, bowing at each corner three times: but when he came to the side of the table where the bread and wine was, he bowed himself seven times; and then, after the reading of many prayers by himself and his two fat chaplains which were with him (and all this while were upon their knees by him, in their surplices,{148} hoods, and tippets), he himself came near the bread, which was cut and laid in a fine napkin, and then he gently lifted up one of the corners of the said napkin, and peeping into it till he saw the bread (like a boy that peeps into a bird’s nest in a bush), and presently clapped it down again, and flew back a step or two, and then bowed very low three times towards it and the table. When he beheld the bread, then he came near and opened the napkin again, and bowed as before; then he laid his hand upon the gilt cup, which was full of wine, with a cover upon it: so soon as he had pulled the cup a little nearer to him, he let the cup go, flew back, and bowed again three times towards it: then he came near again, and lifting up the corner of the cup, peeped into it; and seeing the wine, he let fall the cover on it again, and flew nimbly back and bowed as before. After these and many other apish, antick gestures, he himself received and then gave the sacrament to some three principal men only, they devoutly kneeling near the table; after which, more prayers being said, this scene and interlude ended.”

Could the cross, crop-eared old Puritan ever have been like other boys, and gone a bird-nesting? The simile seems to call up such a question, as if in his grim humour he reverted to his youthful days, little dreaming then that he should have to lose his ears and stand in the Westminster pillory. And Laud—he too (after all his pious “anticks,” as Prynne calls the ceremony of the consecration of St. Catherine Cree) was beheaded at the Tower. While we stood within this old church, we pictured those two earnest men in that cold January morning—the one religiously performing his duties, with no doubt reverential awe; the other, with a sneer on his lips, leaning, perhaps, near the effigy of the recumbent knight, and scarcely able to suppress the contempt he felt for the ceremonies which such as he and the stern-souled Cromwell despised, with many others who were so soon to shake a throne, and trample on the “divinity of kings,” as if it were but dust. But we are forgetting Stowe and the adjoining church of St. Andrew’s Undershaft. Why it was so called, the pleasing historian, who has long slept (not undisturbed) within the church, shall tell us in his own sweetly-quaint old language; for though “dead, he yet speaketh,” and never hath London before or since had so pleasing a chronicler. He says, “because that of old time every year, on May-day morning, it was used that an high or long shaft or May-pole was set up there before the south door of the said church.” And he had often seen that “long shaft” set up—perhaps in his younger days danced around it, eyeing askance some citizen’s pretty daughter: it may be she who outlived him, and at her own expense raised the present monument{149} to his memory; and as she came in after-days to look at it, sighed as she thought of the bygone years when they danced, hand in hand, together around the May-pole, or of their walks in the summer evenings, when he pointed out to her some old surviving landmark that to him was hallowed by its historical associations, little thinking then that to him after-ages would be so much indebted for all that is known of ancient London. Peace to his venerable ashes! his shadow seems to fill the old church, and we think only of him. The ribbed roof and “deep-dyed” window are all we can remember; but what the stained glass represents we cared not to inquire, so much was our mind occupied with Stowe and the merry May-days of old London.

We will now turn up Bishopsgate-street, and glance at Crosby Hall (endeared to us through Shakspeare having made mention of it).

Crosby Hall, or Place, was built by Sir John Crosby; who, according to Stowe, obtained a lease of the ground, in 1466, of Alice Ashfield, prioress of the adjoining convent of St. Helen’s, for ninety-nine years, at an annual rent of 11l. 6s. 8d. From grocer and woolman he became alderman of London, and was knighted by Edward IV. in 1471. His monument yet stands in the church of St. Helen.

Sir Thomas More states that it was in Crosby Place where Gloster, afterwards Richard III., planned the murder of the princes in the Tower, and by their removal paved his way to the throne. He says, “By little and little, all folk withdrew from the Tower, and drew to Crosby Place, in Bishopsgate-street, where the Protector kept his household. The Protector had his resort, the king (prince?) in a manner desolate; while some for their business made suit to them who had the doing; some were by their friends secretly warned that it might haply turn them to no good to be too much attendant about the king without the Protector’s appointment; who removed also divers of the prince’s old servants from him, and set new about him. Thus many things coming together, partly by chance, partly of purpose, caused at length, not common people only, who wave with the wind, but wise men also, and some lords eke, to mask the matter and muse thereon.”

Shakspeare makes Gloster appoint the place of meeting with the murderer, after he has given him the warrant, at Crosby Place. Here he also requests the Lady Anne to “repair” while he inters the remains of the king at Chertsey monastery. Marriage and murder were planned under the very roof which we can still look at by that daring duke. It is one of the few remaining places in the City in which the deeds recorded in our history were plotted, and to which{150} afterwards was given an enduring name in the pages of England’s greatest poet.

Here the rich Sir John Spencer resided; and when the Tower was the court-end of London, it was frequently the residence of foreign ambassadors. It is said to have been the dwelling of Sir Thomas More at one period; but this assertion is not well authenticated. The hall, at a first glance, appears somewhat narrow for its height—the latter exceeding its width by about 13 feet, while its length is 54 feet. From the depth of the oriel the dimensions appear magnificent, while the innumerable dyes thrown out from the stained glass carry the imagination back to “feast and revelry,” when beauty and valour there congregated, and all “went merry as a marriage-bell.”

The hall was long used as a packer’s warehouse; and during the period it was thus occupied much damage was done to its ornaments. The work of restoration commenced in 1836, and the building was re-opened in 1842. It is now used as a Literary Institution.

The adjoining church of St. Helen was founded in 1216. What alteration it has undergone, it is difficult to point out. It is a rich storehouse of ancient monuments, and perhaps, with the exception of the little church in the Tower, abounds more in these valuable records than any other building in the City that escaped the Great Fire. Here, as we have before stated, the founder of Crosby Hall is interred. The same altar-tomb also contains the recumbent effigy of Ann his wife.

Here Sir Thomas Gresham, the founder of the Royal Exchange, is also buried: he died in 1579. The “rich Spencer,” who bought Crosby Hall, and was Lord Mayor in 1594, lies here: he is said to have been worth near a million of money in his day, a sum which, multiplied according to the value of the period, almost throws our Rothschilds into the shades. These are but a few of the many interesting monuments dedicated to the memory of the “grey forefathers” of the City.

On one of the walls stands a richly-sculptured niche, below which runs a row of little open arches, through which the refractory nuns, it is said, were sentenced to hear mass, while they stood in the crypt. These nuns appear to have been an unruly race at times, and must often have caused great anxiety to such worthy prioresses as Alice Ashfield; for it was not safe to entrust them with the “latch-key,” according to what is whispered by a dean of St. Paul’s, who, it seems, made a few unpleasant inquiries about them in 1439, long before Crosby Hall was built, and when all around the nunnery there stood old-fashioned tenements, full of ins and outs, and which required some “sad (grave) woman and discreet” to “keep the keys of the posterngate.{151}





It may be that many of the citizens’ daughters were only sent hither to be educated, and that they were not disciplined as rigidly as those who took the veil and vowed to lead a secluded life; if so, this will account for these little irregularities in those old devout days.

We have in Bishopsgate-street one of those real old-fashioned London inns, with just such a yard and galleries as we may suppose were occupied by our early dramatists, while the stage was in its infancy. Our engraving requires no second glance to confirm the antiquity of the Four Swans Inn-yard.

What merry masques have been played in that old open inn-yard—what beautiful forms have leant over that antique and pillared gallery! Oh, for a volume filled with the names and doings of those who have slept under that sloping roof—who have peeped through the old ancient bannisters of the wooden gallery! What saddling and mounting “in hot haste” must there have been in former times at the doors of those stables! What a tramping of feet on those spacious landing-places! What a staggering of jolly old Englishmen, who, when in their cups, went up those wide old-fashioned staircases.

Or we can picture some newly-imported nun, arriving in her litter, or coming in with a string of pack-horses, staring about her for a few minutes, until carried away by the lady-prioress of St. Helen’s from the old inn-yard and across the street, and along the grey weather-beaten cloisters, never, perhaps, to see the green country again from which she had journeyed.

Or we call up the figures of old carriers, such as Shakspeare has described, exclaiming:

“Pease and beans are as dank here as a dog; and that is the way to give poor jades the bots. This house is turned upside down, since Robin died. Poor fellow! never joyed since the price of oats rose: it was the death of him.”—Henry IV. act 2.

Higher up the street we find another old house, in which Sir Paul Pindar resided (who contributed so largely towards restoring old St. Paul’s): it is now a public-house, still bearing his name. The monument of the worthy knight still remains in the adjoining church of St. Botolph’s, though the church has been rebuilt. It stands on the edge of what was the old City moat, “without” the ancient gate which, in former times, opened into the wide waste of fen and moor that lay beyond, and the names of which are still retained in Finsbury and Moorgate. Stowe says, “it continued a waste and unprofitable ground a long time, so that the same was all letten for four marks the year, in the reign of Edward II.{154}

Thomas Falconer, Lord Mayor of London, was the first to break down the old city wall, and to make walks over this fenny ground, so that the citizens might get to the green fields beyond, though it was not until nearly two centuries after this time that the fen was drained. Throughout all these changes the church of St. Botolph stood, escaping storm and fire, until in 1720 it was pronounced unsafe—worn out with age.

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ALTHOUGH Guildhall was seriously scarred by the Great Fire, and but little more left than the crypt and bare walls that had witnessed its ancient splendour, we are still enabled, through old records and time-honoured chronicles, to obtain glimpses of the pageants and processions which, nearly four centuries ago, were held within those grey old walls. Of the ancient hall, erected in 1411, I have met with no satisfactory description; nor does it appear that any of our kings dined in Guildhall before the time of Charles I., when, on November 25, 1641, the ill-starred monarch partook of the hospitality of the Lord Mayor. I have before mentioned that James I. dined privately with Sir John Watts, the Lord Mayor in 1607, and was afterwards made free of the Clothworkers’ Company; but I do not find that he ever visited Guildhall, or that on any occasion royalty was entertained there until on the above-named day in 1641. But before describing the entertainment given to King Charles I., we will give our own account of the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in November 1850.

To us, who from our boyish days have been dreamers “by the shores of old romance,” there was something startling in witnessing (for the first time) the splendid banquet in Guildhall. In sitting down amongst the guests within the very walls where Buckingham harangued the old citizens in favour of making Gloster king, and for which the latter rewarded him by chopping off his head; to know that those echoes had been broken by the gentle voice of Anne Askew, when she boldly declared her creed, and was for her sincerity{156} sent by the Defender of the Faith to the stake; that there Throgmorton nobly defended himself, and that, in those “evil days,” a jury of strong-souled citizens were daring enough to acquit him;—while these thoughts passed through our minds, we looked upon the monument of Beckford, who (it is said) bearded the king upon his throne; then glanced at that of Nelson, who died in the service of his country; and fancied that, if they were fronted by the statues of Charles and Cromwell, the history of English liberty might be read at a look.

Although the roof of this ancient hall is all but gone, and the fire which destroyed thousands of homes, nearly two centuries ago, has licked those time-honoured walls with its flaming tongue, they still stand, like giant oaks which bolt and blaze have blackened, venerable in their ruins—grey and weather-beaten landmarks, that point out the spot where the battle of English liberty has many a time been fought and won. To us there is something emblematical of England in this blending of the past with the present—in recalling the days when

“Banners hung on high, and battles passed below.”

Although the deep braying of the trumpets proclaimed a feast instead of a fray, the sound was in keeping with the scene. The “bruised arms hung up for monuments,” overshadowed by banners, told that they need no longer be worn by a nation who could stop the progress of an army by refusing to sign a cheque. Picturesque as the old smoky cressets, and chain-dropped lamps, and iron sconces may have been, we preferred the thousands of gas-jets which ran like cords of golden light along the tracery of the architecture, though they did reveal the modern flat roof and the unsightly upper windows. The rude drinking-horns, and oaken peg-cups, and wooden trenchers were well replaced by the glittering glass and ornamental china which graced every table. And romantic as it may have been to have carved a baron of beef with the dagger which, a day or two before, had cut a Christian throat, we preferred the modern instruments, which had been polished like silver by the “patent knife-cleaner;” and thought that the mace looked better as an ornament than if wielded by so brave a mayor as Sir William Walworth, who, if old records tell the truth, killed Wat Tyler for burning down the stews his lordship owned by the Bankside in Southwark. All these, and a hundred other “old-world memories,” floated around us while seated at the banquet in that ancient City hall.

The gorgeous star in the west window made the eye ache while looking on its brilliancy, and harmonised well with the Prince of{157} Wales’s plumes, which overhung the ranged shields at the opposite end of the building, above the baronial daïs. The massy chandeliers (high overhead), though rich in colours as the gaudy plumage of the humming-bird, had a dull and diapered look; and, in our eyes, appeared somewhat too heavy—a waste of beauty placed beyond the reach of vision. The galleries over the doorways filled with the musicians and singers, pleasantly recalled the days when the minstrel struck his harp, and chanted his heroic strains, before the “beauty and the chivalry” of bygone years.

Then came the procession around the hall, as the gorgeously-clad trumpeters heralded the way, and went with stately march “sounding” to the banquet. Judges, with solemn countenances, rendered more grave and imposing by their large flowing wigs, stalked by in scarlet dresses; ministers, whose thoughts seemed far away, as if concocting some state despatch with as many meanings as there were turnings in Fair Rosamond’s labyrinth; brave sailor-looking men, bronzed by sun and wind, who rolled in their gait as if treading the decks of the war-ship they commanded in a stormy sea; soldiers, who would never run, though a bomb-shell exploded at their feet; city lieutenants, who had shed no other blood than that of the grape, though they had bravely stood before many a “Kentish fire;” clergymen, with classic countenances, who glanced on the tables as they passed, as if, amid their spiritual avocations, they had still time to turn their eyes “upon the good things of this world;” finely-clad young gentlemen, who marched along with a swing and a swagger, as if they thought that “the eyes of all Europe were upon them.” Old men, who had grown grey over eating Guildhall dinners, and, like the war-horse in Job, exclaimed “Ha, ha!” as they smelt the turtle afar off; beautiful ladies, “mincing in their gait,” and looking down with modest eyes, while the light from the jewels they wore trembled on their snow-white necks like moonbeams on the ripple of a river, as they passed with noiseless step; then came the richly-dressed servants, with elevated heads, seeming to say—

“When linked to the great in name,
We are partakers of their fame.”

The costly plate, the piled flowers, and the rich viands which covered the ample tables, were outshone by the many beautiful faces which graced the feast. Pleasant was it to see the recognition, the friendly greeting between many of the old citizens, who seemed as if they but seldom met now, and who turned with pride to introduce their sons and daughters, trained up to tread the paths in which they had walked with honour. That old hall seemed in our eye a{158} fit mustering-ground for such scenes as these; it was all of a piece with the old Lord Mayor exchanging seats with the new one—the natural changes of life.

The bill of fare we pass over, for it is written, as of old, in the tongues of turtles and turkeys, pears, pine-apples, and preserved ginger, with scores of other things, all excellent, as they always are. To us the clearing of the tables was an amusing sight. Here came No. 60, with a mountain of plates before him, from which projected the drumsticks of turkeys and the legs of geese; here a fish’s, there a pheasant’s tail; ruins of temples and castles, in broken pastry; porcupines, whose quills would never again be erected; ices, melting amid cakes and chips; and half-eaten apples, that stood up like first formations amid old undated seas.

One thing we would fain have seen, instead of the plain crimson drapery which covered the doorways, namely,

“Arras rich with huntsman, hawk, and hound,”

to have corresponded with the ancient armour and blazoned banners that were placed around.

After healths were drunk and speeches made, we ventured into the retiring-rooms, which seemed set apart for love and beauty; and we marvelled how there could be a bachelor in all London, while looking on that long array of sweet faces. Not that they were all dwellers in the City; but such as we often see in our suburban rambles pacing smooth grassy lawns, or peering over green hedgerows, before the neat villas that are scattered in hundreds around the skirts of this huge metropolis. There was the soft hazel eye of England, a look from which goes at once to the heart; lips that lay like roses resting upon each other; hair so bright and soft, that the richest silk would be coarse in comparison, though spun by the worms that fed on the mulberry-trees of Eden. Ever and anon forms swam by us more graceful than swans—beautiful as silver clouds sailing side by side over the noiseless blue of heaven. Here one coquetted with her fan; there another played with her bouquet; a third sat with her tiny hand half-buried amid a dark cluster of flowing ringlets; while a fourth beat her little foot to some well-remembered tune. On every hand stood flowers and choice greenhouse-plants high-piled, while a chastened light fell on the crimson carpet; and when we escaped, we scarcely knew whether we stood on our head or our heels, so entangled were our senses in jewels, flowers, rich dresses, bright eyes, long ringlets, and a thousand other sweet temptations, from which we prayed to be delivered.

From a work now before me, entitled the Royal Entertainments{159} in London, (the title-page of which is wanting), I find the following account of Charles I.’s entertainment at Guildhall:

“Among the most important of the preliminary arrangements was that of providing a road for their majesties into the City, for the way from Kingsland to Shoreditch was impassable ‘in regard of the depth and foulness of it.’ A temporary approach was in consequence made across the meadows, in a line from Moorfields to Barnes, near Kingsland, ‘a retiring-house of Sir George Whitmore,’ who was then one of the aldermen; the banks being thrown down, and bridges fourteen feet wide thrown over the ditches. The previous night being rainy, and the morning gloomy and cloudy, the Lord Mayor commanded his tent to be pitched in a field, where his lordship and principal citizens, with some of the nobility, reposed themselves until their majesties came.* * * *

“In Moorfields waited about five hundred horsemen, being the masters, wardens, and prime men of each company, in velvet or plush coats, with gold chains, every horseman attended by a footman with truncheons and torches. Each company was preceded by a pendant of its arms; and fourteen trumpeters, with bannered trumpets and scarfs, were placed, four at the head of the troop, and two between every hundred horsemen.* * * *

“At Guildhall their majesties’ dinner was served up on the hustings, which were almost two yards from the ground, and the floor (of which was) covered with Turkey carpets. In the middle were two chairs under a cloth of state, and before them was placed a table six yards long: two yards from which, on the south, was ‘a table of garnish,’ or sideboard, of three yards square; and on the north, a room for music of all sorts.

“Upon a lower platform, raised about a yard from the ground, and extending from the hustings nearly to the door, were two tables for lords and ladies; while in the west end of the hall was a long table for his majesty’s pensioners; and in other rooms were tables prepared for the several sorts of their majesties’ attendants.

“The dinner was served without confusion by means of two ranks of liverymen, formed of eighty grave citizens attired in furs and liveries, who, standing at about two yards’ distance from each other, passed the dishes from the dressers at the west end of the hall until the servers received them and placed them on the table.

“Their majesties’ meat was apportioned in four services. The first consisted of fifty dishes of cold meats, as brawn, fish, and cold baked meats, upon the garnish or side-table; the other three were of all sorts of hot flesh and fish, boiled, roasted, and baked, to the number of one hundred and twenty dishes: after which was served up a{160} curious and well-ordered dessert. To the two tables of the lords and ladies were appointed ten messes, consisting of five hundred dishes.

“Only a few months after, on the 5th of January, the king came into London under very different circumstances,—to demand the members of the House of Commons whom he had accused of high treason, and believed to be shrouded in the City. The populace greeted him with exclamations for the ‘privileges of parliament;’ and one Henry Walker, an ironmonger, threw into his coach a paper whereon was written, ‘To your tents, O Israel!’ ”

Stormy times followed soon after this visit, when Cromwell and his Ironsides obtained the ascendency; until at last the Protector’s fiery spirit passed away in an accompanying storm of thunder and lightning. Then Charles II. regained the throne, and together with his queen, more frequently joined the Lord Mayor’s banquet than any other monarch ever did before or since.

We are enabled to present our readers with a graphic picture of a Lord Mayor’s Show, no doubt soon after the close of Charles II.’s reign, from Ned Ward’s London Spy. We have never before seen it quoted, nor do we ever remember meeting with so truthful a description of an old London mob, in the works of any other author, as is here given by one whose work was published more than a century and a half ago.

“When the morning came that my Lord Mayor and his attendants were to take their amphibious journey to Westminster Hall, where his lordship, according to the custom of his ancestors, was by a kiss of the calves’-leather (book) to make a fair promise to his majesty, I equipped myself in order to bear with little damage the hustles and affronts of the unmannerly nobility, of whose wild pastimes and unlucky attacks I had no little apprehension. When I had thus carefully sheltered myself under my ancient drabberries, I ventured to move towards Cheapside, where I thought the triumphs would be most visible, and the rabble most rude, looking upon the mad frolics and whimsies of the latter to be altogether as diverting (providing a man takes care of the danger) as the solemn grandeur and gravity of the former.

“When I came to the end of Blow-bladder-street (this street opened into Cheapside out of Newgate-street), I saw such a crowd before my eyes, that I could scarcely forbear thinking the very stones of the street, by the harmony of their drums and trumpets, were metamorphosed into men, women, and children. The balconies were hung with old tapestry, and Turkey-worked table-cloths for the cleanly leaning of the ladies, with whom they were chiefly filled, (and) which the mob soon pelted into so dirty a condition with their kennel-ammunition,{161} that some of them looked as filthy as the cover-cloth of a led-horse that had travelled from Margate to London in the midst of winter; the ladies at every volley quitting their posts, and retreating into dining-rooms, as safer garrisons to defend them from the assaults of their mischievous enemies; some fretting at their daubed scarfs * * * others wiping their new commodes, which they had bought on purpose to honour his lordship. * * * The windows of each house from top to bottom were stuffed with heads; * * * while such a tide of mob overflowed the place we stood in, that the women cried out for room, the children for breath, and every man, whether citizen or foreigner, strove very hard for his freedom. * * * *

“In this pageant was a fellow riding a cock-horse upon a lion, but without either boots or spurs. * * * At the base of a pedestal were seated four figures, representing, according to my most rational conjecture, the four principal vices of the City, namely, Fraud, Usury, Seeming-sanctity, and Hypocrisy. As soon as this was past, the industrious rabble, who hate idleness, procured a dead cat, covered all over with dirt, in which pickle it was handed about by these babes of grace as innocent diversion; every now and then being tossed into the face of some gaping booby or other, and making him look of as delicate a complexion as if his cheeks had been painted by a chimney-sweeper. * * *

“Another pageant approached us, wherein an old fellow sat in a blue gown, dressed up like a country-schoolmaster; only he was armed with a scythe instead of a birch-rod; by which I understood this figure represented Time, which was designed, as I suppose, to put the City in mind how apt they are to abuse the old gentleman, and not dispose of him to such good uses as the laws of man require. * * * When this pageant was past, the ingenious rabble had got a leather-apron, which they tied full of mud, as hard as a football, and afterwards pricked it full of holes with a tailor’s bodkin, then flung it from one to another, it spouting its contents through the eyelet-holes upon every body it met with, the mob crying out, when it had hit any body, ‘All honey! all honey!’

“The next pageant that moved was a most stately, rich, and noble chariot, made of slit deal and pasteboard, and in it sitting a woman. * * * The rabble had got bullocks’ horns, which they filled with kennel-water, and poured it down people’s necks, and into their pockets, that it ran down their legs into their shoes, the innocent sufferers not readily discovering from whence it came.

“When they had exercised this new invention about a quarter of an hour, the fifth pageant moved forward, wherein all sorts of trades were represented.” [What follows is so excellent that we have{162} placed it in italics.] “A man working at a tobacco-engine, as if he were cutting tobacco, but did not; a woman turning a wheel, as if she spun, but did not; a boy as if he was dressing an old woman’s hat, but was not; which was designed, as I suppose, to reflect upon the frauds and failings of the City-traders, and to shew that they often pretend to do what they do not, and to be what they are not, and will say what they think not, and will think what they say not; and that the world may there see cheats in all trades.”—The London Spy. Part XII.

The 29th of September is the day set apart for the election of the new Lord Mayor, when the liverymen meet in the hall, and the crier reads a list of the names of the aldermen who have served as sheriffs; this being a kind of city test, that those who are rich enough to serve as sheriffs have more than half climbed into the civic chair; and only such as have filled that high office are eligible for the mayoralty. The person named is generally elected, and it is seldom that a poll takes place; but if the party elected refuses the office, he is fined one thousand pounds. When elected, he must be presented to the Lord Chancellor, and approved of by the crown; after this, a few more presentations, together with the usual oaths, and he is a “made man.”

Although the Lord Mayor of London may to many seem to “repose upon a bed of roses,” yet there are thorns in this much-coveted couch, and heavy duties ever arousing him from his comfortable slumber. He does not always sit in state with his mace-bearer before him, and his toast-master behind, drinking bumpers of champaigne, and emptying china bowls of turtle-soup, but has as much business to go through as the most plodding clerk that is compelled to labour for his daily bread.

He generally sits every week-day for three or four hours in the justice-room of the Mansion-House; presides over the sittings of the Court of Aldermen, where they do all but talk each other to death. He is a judge of the Central Criminal Court, and of the Sessions at Guildhall; holds eight courts a year as Conservator of the Thames; besides being a justice of the peace for Southwark, a trustee of St. Paul’s, and a governor both of Greenwich Hospital and King’s College. As to the number of affidavits and other documents he has to sign for the colonies, and of foreigners, “bearded like the pard,” he has to receive, entertain, and do “the amiable” to, we can just conceive that all the figures in a Ready Reckoner placed in a row would convey as clear an idea as we have of the “star-dust,” in the unfathomed nebulæ, which has yet to be balanced in our planetary ledgers.

We have heard that the letters he receives average 200 a day;{163} and supposing only the tenth part of them to be from ladies, and not answered! what abuse he gets privately, publicly, and by post, gratis, must, as old Pepys says, “please him mightily.”

Though shorn of its ancient grandeur by blocked-up windows and a flat unsightly roof, there is still something very striking in the noble dimensions of the hall, which is 152 feet long, 50 wide, and 55 feet high. But it is in the crypt where we see the true architecture of the building uninjured, where the clustered pillars throw out their reedy ramifications to support the roof with all that wild grace which our early architects so well understood when they copied the forest-avenues.

“Those leafy temples, solemn, tall, and grand,
Pillar’d with oaks, and roof’d by Heaven’s own hand.”

This relic of the past is, we understand, to be cleared of its dingy covering—the accumulated dust and dirt of centuries—and thrown open to the public: may it be done quickly! I find the following mention of Guildhall and the Giants that stood therein at the time Ned Ward wrote his London Spy. He says, “I entered [Guildhall] with as great astonishment to see the Giants, as the Morocco ambassador did London when he saw the snow fall. I asked my friend the meaning and design of setting [up] those two lubberly preposterous figures; for I supposed they had some peculiar end in it. ‘Truly,’ says my friend, ‘I am wholly ignorant of what they intended by them, unless they were set up to shew the City what huge loobies their forefathers were, or else to frighten stubborn apprentices into obedience; for the dread of appearing before two such monstrous loggerheads will sooner reform their manners, or would force them into a compliance with their master’s will, than carrying them before my Lord Mayor or the Chamberlain of London; for some of them are as much frightened at the name of Gog and Magog as little children are at the terrible sound of Raw-head and Bloody-bones.

“ ‘Pray,’ said I, ‘what are yonder cluster of people doing, that seem as busy as so many fools at the Royal-oak Lottery?’

“ ‘Truly,’ said my friend, ‘you are something mistaken in your comparison: if you had said knaves, you had hit it; for that is the Sheriff’s Court; and I must give them that character, that I never knew one fool amongst them, though they have to do with a great many. All those tongue-plodders who are chattering within the bar, are picking the pockets of those that stand without. You may know the sufferers by their pale faces: the passions of Hope, Fear, and Revenge have put them into such disorder, that they are as easy to{164} be distinguished in a crowd by their looks, as an owl from a hawk, or a country esquire from a town-sharper.’

“ ‘He’s a very comely gentlemen,’ said I, ‘that sits upon the bench, and puts on so pleasing a countenance, as if, like a god, he viewed with pleasure the fuss and discords of contending mortals, that fret and fume beneath him.’

“My friend replied, ‘He might well look merrily who sits the playing of so many great games, and is sure always to be on the winning side. For you must know,’ says he, ‘these courts are like public gaming-tables; the steward’s the box-keeper, and the clients the fools that are bubbled out of their money.’

“ ‘Pray, what is that crowd doing at the other end of the hall?’ ‘That,’ says my friend, ‘is a court of Conscience, whose business is to take care that a debtor of a sum under forty shillings shall not pay money faster than he can get it. It is a very reasonable establishment for the prevention of poor people’s ruin, who lie at the mercy of a parcel of rascally tallymen, and such-like unconscionable traders, who build their own welfare upon the miseries and wants of others. There are several other courts held here beside what we now see sitting; but this, I think, does the most good of any of them, except to the lawyers, and they look upon it with an evil-eye.’ ”—London Spy, 1699.

The principal monuments are those of Lord Chatham, William Pitt, and Nelson; the inscription on the first was written by Burke, on the second by Canning, and the last by Sheridan. In the Council Chamber there are pictures of the death of Wat Tyler, Siege of Gibraltar, the judges who sat after the Great Fire and settled all differences about rebuilding the City; also a full-length portrait of Queen Anne. We feel disappointed that there are so few relics of old London on the hundreds of feet of bare walls that Guildhall and the courts within it contain—there could hardly be found a more appropriate place for the display of old city antiquities. It is true that the Library is enriched with many interesting objects, the chief of which is the autograph of Shakspeare appended to a deed, which is shewn in a glass-case for its better preservation. How many rare deeds and scarce manuscripts might be shewn if thus guarded! for there is much truth in the “old sayed-saw,” that

“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

There is one old church that escaped the Great Fire standing some distance behind Guildhall which we must mention, and of which we give an engraving, that is, St. Giles’s, Cripplegate; for there Milton is buried, whose name, like that of Homer, conjures up one of the{165} greatest poems ever written. Here, too, awaiting a joyful resurrection, rests John Fox, the author of the Book of Martyrs; Speed, the historian and topographer. Many of the actors at the Fortune Theatre, in Whitecross Street, are also buried here. Oliver Cromwell was married in this church; and it contains a tablet of one Constance Whitney, represented rising from a coffin, erroneously believed to have been buried while in a trance, and restored to life by the sexton digging up the body to obtain possession of a ring upon one of her fingers.



Over the south-east door of the church is a figure of Time, with his scythe, &c., beautifully sculptured. Part of the ancient City-wall is still remaining on the south and east sides of the churchyard; particularly one of the bastions, which is close against the back of Barbers’ Hall, in Monkwell-street.{166}



WE have often wondered how the mind of a stranger to London is impressed by seeing bare-headed young men moving about our city-thoroughfares wearing the costume of the period of the boy-king Edward VI.;—what he thinks of the blue-gown, orange-coloured petticoat, leather belt, yellow stockings, and clerkly band worn by the unmonk-like young gentry, who have succeeded the old Grey-Friars, those who in their day were seen in the narrow streets of ancient London. We have often seen a green-looking countryman peeping through the palisades in Newgate-street, while the boys have been at play in the open space before the hall; but could never divine what he thought, though his open mouth and fixed eyes told that something or another was passing through his brain; but whether he was struck by the dimensions of the building, the quaint dress of the schoolboys, or their cheerful laughter and merry romps, was alone known to himself. How few, except they are lovers of history, know or care any thing about Edward VI.! They may have heard that his brutal father beheaded wives as fast as he married them; that Lady Jane Grey perished on the scaffold; but of the events between, during the brief reign of the boy-king, they know nothing. More than one of our old chroniclers assert that he was poisoned. We often marvel that no one has closely examined contemporary authorities, and, by comparing them with the many documents of that period, which have of late years been brought to light, endeavoured to settle this disputed point of history.

The remains of the monastery of Grey Friars were repaired for the reception of the “poor fatherless children” in 1552; and before the close of the year nearly four hundred found shelter within the old monastic walls. At first they wore a dress of russet-cotton, which{167} was afterwards changed for blue, and which colour they have no doubt worn ever since.

Stowe has left us a most interesting and beautifully-written account of the origin of Christ’s Hospital, with something so nervous and touching in the language, that we feel the good old man’s heart must have been fixed on the subject while he wrote. He tells us how “Mr. Doctor Ridley, then Bishop of London, came and preached before the king’s majesty at Westminster, in which sermon he made a fruitful and goodly exhortation to the rich to be merciful to the poor; and also to move such as were in authority to travail by some charitable way and means to comfort and relieve them.”

The boy-king was so struck by the appeal, that he sent for the bishop as soon as the service was over, when the following scene took place, as described by Stowe: “There were present no more persons than they two, and therefore (the king) made him sit down in one chair, and he himself in another, which, as it seemed, were before the coming of the bishop there purposely set, and caused the bishop, maugre his teeth,[A] to be covered, and then entered communication with him in this manner: first, giving him hearty thanks for his sermon and good exhortation, he therein rehearsed such special things as he had noted, and that so many, that the bishop said, ‘Truly, truly (for that commonly was his oath), I could never have thought that excellency to have been in his grace, but that I beheld and heard it in him. At last, his king’s majesty much commended him for his exhortation for the relief of the poor; ‘but, my lord,’ quoth he, ‘you willed such as are in authority to be careful thereof, and to devise some good order for their relief; wherein, I think, you mean me; for I am in (the) highest place, and therefore am the first that must make answer unto God for my negligence, if I should not be careful therein, knowing it to be the express commandment of Almighty God to have compassion of His poor and needy members, for whom we must make an account unto Him. And truly, my lord, I am, before all things else, most willing to travail that way; and doubting nothing of your long and approved wisdom and learning, who have such good zeal, as wisheth help unto them, but also that you have had some conference with others, what ways are best to be taken therein, the which I am desirous to understand, I pray you therefore say your mind.’ ”

[A] Maugre—in spite of, whether he would or not.

The bishop declared that he was so astonished he scarcely knew how to reply: he, however, thought of the citizens of London, and proposed to try what he could do amongst the wealthy merchants. The king at once gave him a letter, and the good bishop had an interview{168} that very evening with the Lord Mayor, Sir Richard Dobbs, who agreed to do all he could to carry out the boy-king’s wishes. Next day there was a dinner (no doubt the dinner did it); aldermen and other citizens were present; so the matter was decided and placed before the king. In short, beside many providing several other charities, the old monastery of Grey Friars was given up for children of the poor; and thus the charitable and pious son built up a blessing out of what his church-destroying father had made all but desolate. Henry had sold all the consecrated vessels, or appropriated them to his own use; for it is said that more than one sacramental cup of precious metal, which in the last hour had been pressed to the lips of the dying, was used in the drunken revels of the brutal Defender of the Faith. Even the costly monuments and grave-stones (many of them, no doubt, the tombs of pious benefactors) were torn up and sold, to furnish supplies for the revels of this wife-killing king.

It must have caused the heart of the young king to have swelled with pleasurable emotion, when those children were presented to him so shortly after the conversation which took place between himself and the bishop, and in (it is said) the very chamber of the palace where the king received him after he had preached that memorable sermon; and which event is preserved in the immense picture that still hangs in the hall of that Hospital, in which he is portrayed presenting the charter to the Lord Mayor.

Stowe again says: “And, for a further relief, a petition being made to the king’s majesty for a license to take in mortmain, or otherwise without license, lands to a certain yearly value, and a space left in the patent for his grace to put in what sum would please him, he, looking on the void place, called for pen and ink, and with his own hand wrote this sum in these words, ‘Four thousand marks by the year;’ and then said, in the hearing of his Council, ‘Lord, I yield Thee most hearty thanks that Thou hast given me life thus long to finish this work, to the glory of Thy name.’ After which foundation established he lived not above two days; whose life would have been wished equal to the patriarchs, if it had pleased God so to have prolonged it.”

And so the boy-king died in the sixteenth year of his age, after having founded this grand hospital for boys—poisoned, as the old chroniclers tell us, with a nosegay, which had been prepared purposely to hasten his death. And children played around those cloisters while the young king’s favourite, Lady Jane Grey, was beheaded; and when, in Mary’s reign, the fires in Smithfield reddened over the bodies of pious men. And probably in those days they could see the{169} open space behind their play-ground beyond the ditch, and hear the shrieks of women carried to the fiery stake in that blood-stained and savage age; and in their dreams these “poor fatherless children” would see these sights and hear these sounds. But few very “poor fatherless children” are now inmates of Christ’s Hospital; and if the spirits of the dead can look down upon the deeds of men on earth, the eyes of the good and gentle young king must have been dimmed with tears, or flashed with anger, at witnessing the carriages that sometimes draw up and take away such children as need not his charity. When the Commissioners have done examining the title-deeds of our Universities, let them come here; for we are widely misinformed if a Whiston is not needed at Christ’s Hospital. From the Illustrated London News of March, 1843, we have copied the following graphic description of a supper in the hall of Christ’s Hospital:

“One of the most interesting Lenten sights of the metropolis is the supping in public of the scholars of Christ’s Hospital on the evenings of eight Sundays, terminating with Easter-day. On these occasions admission may be obtained by tickets, liberally granted by the president, governors, and other officers of the Hospital, ‘the noblest institution in the world.’

“These suppers are held in the magnificent hall, which, next to Westminster Hall, is the noblest room in the metropolis. It measures 187 feet in length, 51 wide, and 46-1/2 high. It was designed by the late Mr. Shaw, architect to the hospital, and is in the style of the last period of pointed architecture, before its Italian debasement.

“Provided with your ticket, you enter the court-yard from Newgate-street, where the rattling of carriages denotes the arrival of the distinguished company; and the light streaming through ‘the stately range of beautiful windows, with their stained glass arms and devices,’ indicates that the hall is prepared for the occasion. The public are admitted to the floor of the hall as well as to the gallery facing the organ-loft. Assuming your privilege to be for the latter, you enter by the arcade beneath the hall, whence you ascend on the left by a newelled stone staircase to the gallery. The scene from hence is very impressive; the vast apartment is lit with a double row of chandeliers with argand lamps. Immediately above you is an immense picture, said to have been painted by Holbein, of Edward VI. granting the Hospital charter to the City; and on the long line of wall facing the windows is another great picture—‘Charles II. giving audience to a deputation from the Hospital,’ by Verrio. There are other paintings here, but they are seen to less advantage than the flat-ribbed ceiling, the well-proportioned windows, the tasteful oak fittings,{170} and, in short, the beautiful as well as gigantic architecture of the hall. The company fast pour in, and ‘the trade boys,’ a party to each table, bring in baskets of bread, knives, &c.; leathern piggins, into which the beer is poured from a leathern jack; and one brings candles, which are lit and set about the tables, already laid with the cloth. The boys next stream in, and seat themselves at their respective tables, each of which has its separate nurse. All being thus prepared, precisely at seven o’clock the official procession enters, consisting of the Lord Mayor, president, treasurer, and governors, walking two by two; the organ rolls forth its ‘billows of sound;’ the assemblage stand up en masse, and join in the hymn, which is led by the singing-boys in the organ-gallery. Meanwhile the distinguished personages take their seat on the raised daïs stretching across the farther end of the hall. The Lord Mayor takes a carved chair, made of oak from old St. Katherine’s Church; behind him sit the official personages, and next the distinguished visitors—invariably numbering many elegantly-dressed ladies; whilst other visitors are accommodated beneath the windows. On the opposite side a Grecian, or elder boy, mounts the pulpit; and, silence being enforced by three strokes of a hammer, he proceeds with the evening service, appropriate lessons, prayers, &c., at the close of which the supper commences; the visitors walking to and fro between the tables. It is a homely meal of bread and cheese, relieved by sundry ‘pulls’ at the contents of the piggins—carrying many a spectator back to his own school-days. After supper, an anthem accompanied on the organ is sung, that on Easter-day being composed by one of the senior scholars, and the subject of an annual prize in the school: an impressive prayer or blessing follows. The organ again peals forth; the singing-boys from the gallery join their fellows; and the tables having been cleared, and the cloths rolled up, the nurse of the first table leads the way, followed by the boys, two and two, towards the Lord Mayor, where she curtsies, and they bow two and two; the trade boys carrying the baskets, piggins, &c., and the rolled-up cloths, which add grotesqueness to their etiquette. Having passed the daïs, they return by nearly the whole length of the room to the door by which they entered; and thus the obeisance continues until the whole number of boys, upwards of 800, have disappeared. The official personages then retire, the organ ceases, and by this time the majority of the general company have quitted the hall. The spectacle is altogether a most impressive one, awakening associations of general benevolence, and an especial sense of the excellence of this right royal institution.”

“Early to bed and early to rise,”


might be written up here for the benefit of visitors: for the boys, if well, are compelled to rise at six in summer and seven in winter. Still they have so many hours left for play, as they do not breakfast until eight, after which school commences at nine, and breaks up at twelve; they have then another hour and a half for washing, dinner, and play, and are again liberated at four; more play, supper and prayers—and so ends the day.



From that scarce work, the London Spy, we quote the following description of Christ’s Hospital and its approaches as it appeared nearly two centuries ago: “We went through a narrow entry which led us by a parcel of diminutive shops, where some were buying gloves, some smoking tobacco, others drinking brandy; and from thence into a famous piazza, where one was selling toys, another turning nutcrackers, a third, with a pair of dividers, marking out such a parcel of tringum-trangums, [that] to understand the right use of which is [would be] enough to puzzle the brains of Esculapius. From thence we passed into another cloister, whose rusty walls and obsolete ornaments denoted great antiquity, where abundance of little children in{172}



blue ‘jackets’ and kite-lanthorned caps was very busy at their several recreations. This, says my friend, was originally founded by Edward VI. for the education of ‘poor children,’ but has been largely improved since by additional gifts, and is one of the noblest foundations in England. No youth can have the advantage of a better education{173} than is here allowed them, [and they] are afterwards provided for according as they are qualified, being either sent to sea, [to] trades, or the university. There is a ridiculous story reported and credited by many people, which is, that a gentlewoman, possessed of great riches, when she came to die, gave her whole estate to this hospital, leaving behind her a poor sister, for whom she neglected to make any provision, who, having the expectancy of the estate after the other’s decease, and finding herself unhappily disappointed, reflecting upon her unfortunate condition and the unkindness of her sister, broke her heart, and upon her deathbed rashly pronounced the curse of some distemper always to attend the hospital; ever since which time it has always been subject to * * * But I look upon this tale to be very fabulous, for indeed it would be very wonderful that so many hundred children, though looked after with all the cleanliness imaginable, should at any time be all free from all those distempers to which they are chiefly incident.”—Part V. 1699.

We have given at page 171 an engraving of the old cloister which Ned Ward mentions, shewing the ancient staircase also. Both are still remaining. If the word “jacket” was understood in his day, as it is at present, to mean a coat without tails, the costume has undergone an alteration.

In Christ’s Church, which was built after the Great Fire (that damaged both the church and the old hospital) by Wren, the “Spital Sermons,” which were formerly preached at Paul’s Cross, are still delivered at Easter. The children of Christ’s Hospital attended then, as they do now, these ancient Spital Sermons. In this church Baxter, author of The Saint’s Rest, is buried. It is well worth a visit to see the blue-coat boys (as they are commonly called) seated in the galleries on each side the organ. We have given an engraving of the church.

Lamb, Hunt, and Coleridge, who were all educated at Christ’s Hospital, have left pleasant reminiscences of this place in works which are in the hands of so many readers, that their names need only to be mentioned here.{174}

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SMITHFIELD-market will soon be numbered with the things that “have been;” the defenders of dirt must give way, and the foul and musty corners of the City be purified. Should the present work turn up in “a lot” some century hence, our description of Smithfield may be as great a curiosity to the reader then, as Ned Ward’s picture of a Lord Mayor’s show one hundred and fifty years ago was to us, when we chanced to stumble upon the remains of the tattered old quarto volume in which it has been so long preserved.

There is something about this busy market unlike any other that we have ever seen in England—in the mixture of cunning costermongers, and ruddy-faced countrymen; for in it buyers and sellers congregate from every corner of our sea-girt shores, and you hear the language of the provinces, and see costumes from the “nooks and corners” of England, which call up sweet green far-away places, where innocence and simplicity still reside, ignorant of the “fast” life we in this huge city are compelled to live.

But we will begin with the eating-houses in and around Smithfield. Nowhere beside in London will you see such immense fat joints as they here cook, or behold such rich marrow puddings; for the eating-house keepers seem to understand the palates of their customers. They know that they have to feed men who put a pound upon their plates at a time; that they have come many a hungry mile through the open and breezy country, and brought ostrich-like stomachs, which are capable of digesting every heavy and solid thing they devour.

But watch one of those drovers, after his cattle are safely penned, blow off the foam from a full pot of porter and drink. You can fairly{175} trace the current outside his ruddy throat, as gulp after gulp goes down, long, deep, and vast; you wonder how ever the fellow can hold his breath. If he does not empty the whole pot at a draught, he will not leave enough in the bottom to drown a fly. He brought in his throat the dust of many a weary mile; and, when you recal the shouting and hallooing which is so necessary in driving his cattle, you marvel not that he feels as thirsty as a lime-burner. Nor does his dog lose a moment before he visits the adjoining cab-stand, where he makes friends with the waterman, and, like his master, quenches his thirst. No dogs are more sagacious than those which have been well trained by a Smithfield drover—a look or a motion is sufficient to direct them: they need no telling to drive the sheep aside when a vehicle is passing; a runaway needs no pointing out to them, they are up and over the backs of the whole flock in a moment; and, having placed the deserter again in marching order, the side of the master is once more their post. As they look into his face, you might, from their actions, fancy that they read his very thoughts, and foresaw his wishes. Many of these men love their dogs as dearly as their children; and well do the faithful animals return such affection. We have seen a drover asleep on the pavement in summer, with his dog coiled up beside him, and ready to spring upon the first assailant who could be found bold enough to disturb his owner’s slumber. The watchfulness of the dog and the attitude of the sleeper would have delighted the eye of Landseer.

To our ears there is something in the lowing and bleating sounds that fill Smithfield on a market-day that carries us away into the green quietude of the country; and we cannot look upon the flocks and herds without conjuring up the sloping hills and pastoral valleys from whence they have been driven. They call up images of homesteads and thatched granges, far off amid the dreamy murmur of open fields, where even the smell of the smoke has a pleasant aroma, and the dust on the road-side a clean look. Somehow, we seem to dislike seeing the little white lambs imprisoned in those strong and crowded pens; there is a pitiable plaintiveness about their bleat, which tells that they are not kindly used—as if they felt it hard to be driven away from the young round daisies which were just beginning to peep forth—that they missed their merry gambols on the breezy upland, and pined for their range over the wide and open fields. With an old or middle-aged sheep we have no such sympathy—it has lived until it has grown into mutton, to become as great an ornament to the table as it once was to the field. What a beautiful expression may sometimes be found in the face of an heifer, with its large mild eyes and finely-moulded head! Let any one walk down the foot-way on a{176} Monday, between the posts to which they are secured, and he will be struck by the calm and patient countenances of many of the cattle; for they are prisoners that awaken our pity. Nor is their colour less admirable. What a rich glossiness do we find about the red and black patches! while the white portions look clean and spotless as untrodden snow.

In no city in the world can there be found such a splendid assemblage of cattle as Smithfield produces on a full market-day. A foreigner wonders no longer at the thews and sinews of Englishmen after he has seen the substantial material on which they feed. A drover with his sharp clasp-knife in his hand, and a mountain of beef before him, is no bad emblem of one of John Bull’s bulwarks.

We have often wondered if the inhabitants around Smithfield ever sleep on a Sunday night; to us it has seemed impossible to close the eyes amid such an uproar as is then heard. Babel was never shaken by a greater confusion of sounds: the barking of a hundred dogs blend with the hallooing of a hundred drovers; sheep, whose number is legion, join in the chorus; then comes the deep bass of the bullocks, mingled with the shrill squealing of swine—a sound which sets the very teeth on edge; and this loud concert is kept up without ceasing until day opens its broad eyes in the east. Should the unwilling listener—worn out—begin to doze about the dawn, up comes the thunder of scores of butchers’ carts, making the old casements chatter again, and causing the houses to jar to their very foundations. Night is not a season of rest in this ancient neighbourhood.

Many of those Smithfield butchers can tell to a few pounds what a bullock will weigh by only looking at it: you will see them walk once leisurely round, muse for a few brief seconds, then make an offer; should the salesman argue that it will weigh so much to the quarter, they are ready in an instant to back their own judgment with a five-pound note. They seem to carry their scales in their eyes, to lift up the bullock and weigh him by only raising their eye-lids; as to sheep and pigs, we believe some of them would be ready to bet that they guessed the weight to a few ounces.

But Friday is the great day to see Smithfield, if a stranger wishes to peep at a few of our real London characters. Such a motley group as is there congregated can never be found together in any other spot in the metropolis. There the costermonger shews the paces of his donkey, and the dustman forces his broken-kneed jade into a trot, while the knacker looks on with eye intent, selecting out such as he feels confident will have to be carried home. What riding, and running, and trotting to and fro, is there to be seen! You wonder what secret the men possess to get such poor and broken-down horses to go{177} at the speed they do. True, one or two fall now and then; but that, of course, is always the fault of the pavement, as they say. It puzzles you to see them dispose of animals that possess so many excellent qualities. Only to listen, you might fancy that the poor horse, which seems to stand with so much difficulty, could draw St. Paul’s if it were loose; that “Eclipse” was hardly to be named beside it for speed; and as for eating (the most wonderful of all), its keep costs less than nothing. Should the horse have swollen legs, they assign a reason, and swear it is a proof of its great strength; should the bones shew through the skin, it is tough and wiry; if broken-winded, it has only caught a slight cold. In short, they have a good for every evil, and would beat your practised horse-dealers hollow—even if they came from Yorkshire.

One, whose hair peeps through his cap, has thrown an old bridle around his neck, and this he recommends as better than new, because it has got seasoned. A second, whose ragged suit would not fetch a crown, were he to try all Petticoat-lane, has an old saddle to dispose of; you see the hay it is stuffed with peeping out at a dozen openings. Another, having got rid of his donkey, wants a purchaser for his cart, which you fancy, from the look of the wheels, he must have brought thither on his head. Some are trying to recommend their whips by the loud cracking they are ever making within a few inches of your ear; while others gather in little knots around a celebrated trotter, and listen with delight at the distance he has “done” in his day. And over every bargain that is made, the huge pewter pot is filled and emptied, or the fiery gin chucked down at a single swallow.

Some we have seen—driven doubtless by hard necessity to sell—part with their favourite animal, with a full heart and a tearful eye: and on one occasion we saw a poor sweep kiss the forehead of his donkey, and when it was led away he heaved such a sigh as would have caused Sterne to have hugged his “innocent blackness.”

We have often wondered into what sort of holes and corners these poor over-worked and ill-fed horses are thrust by their owners. We have peeped about into all kinds of strange places where we have seen the carts of the costermongers standing; but, for the life of us, we have never been able to discover their “whereabout” clearly. True, we have occasionally seen them enter doors, and go into houses; but whether they were occupiers of the ground-floor, or the ground in the back-yard, we have only in a few cases arrived at a satisfactory conclusion. Once we were bold enough to ask a rough-looking fellow, with a most awful squint, what he did with his donkey when he got it inside, and he answered, “Make a pillow of it, to be sure.”

Besides its cattle, Smithfield has its hay-market; and we have{178} many a time wondered, while reading the names of the places on the carts and wagons, at the great distance from which they have come. Sometimes, overpowering every other poisonous smell, we have caught a sniff as if from a hay-field, telling us a sad tale of some poor farmer who had been compelled to bring the produce of his little field to market before the smell of the sweet grasses had died away. Nor less melancholy is it to witness some old countryman driving his cow and calf before him, and looking around with astonishment, in the cold grey of the early morning, on the high houses and the busy scene. Oh, how different from the calm repose of his own humble cottage! You see care in his very countenance, and know that there is some unwritten history of poverty and trouble that compels him to make such a sacrifice.

It was once our lot to meet such a character in the open area of Smithfield. Time had silvered his hair, but left a ruddy and youthful bloom upon his patriarchal countenance. He had driven his beautiful cow and calf into their allotted place, and stood with a short clean pipe in his hand, as if wondering how he should obtain a light: no doubt his morning pipe had long been to him a comfort. He glanced a moment at the cigar we were smoking, but was too diffident to ask for a light; it was not needed: an extra draw, the ash shaken off, and we offered him the fiery end, which glowed like charcoal. He “louted not low,” but made a bow that would have done honour to a herald. It required but little trouble to get him to enter into conversation: He had set out long before midnight; had driven his cow and calf above twenty miles, from a beautiful village in Surrey, and was about to sell them to purchase the discharge of his son, who was a soldier at Chatham. We turned away with a sad heart, for a tear gathered in the old man’s eye as he ended his simple narrative; and we thought that Smithfield still contained its martyrs. Once also we saw a young Gipsy mother and her dusky child standing silently beside her ass: she had brought it to market to sell, to release her husband from the prison, into which he was committed for poaching. But many a market in England is attended by such sufferers as these, besides Smithfield.

This great market, like Bartholomew-fair, is doomed to be swept away, and Smithfield to be shorn of its glory, and the old houses left to mourn in silence. A horned and angry bullock is not the most fitting object to rush through our crowded thoroughfares, to the terror of pretty nursery-maids and little children. But, as the inimitable Matthews said, “We cannot take a hackney-coach for it;” nor can such a danger be got rid of without great injury to many of the old inhabitants, whose very bread depends upon the market. It is a{179}



question of “pitch and toss,” whether the few are to be tossed up, or the many thrown down;—whether it is better for a few Joneses and Smiths to be thrown occasionally over the battlements of Blackfriars-bridge, or the eatinghouse-keepers and tavern-keepers about Smithfield to give up boiling, baking, and brewing. It is fat joints, marrow puddings, and everybody’s entire, with no end of etceteras in the form of tollage, against the lives and limbs of her gracious Majesty’s liege subjects. As the boys say, “If heads, I win; if tails, you lose.” Whichever way it ends, the poetry of old Smithfield will still remain.

Fat Ursula, who sold roasted pig, still lives in the pages of Rare Old Ben; and while his works exist, the memory of Bartholomew-fair will never be forgotten. Its old mummings, and masques, and mysteries, are numbered amongst the things that were. The merry din of ancient days will never resound again through the bars of Smithfield. The archers, who made it their great mustering-ground, have ages ago shot their last shaft. Death stept in and struck through the target, and they never again appeared. What visions of the past float before us while wandering around the old borders of Smithfield! What pictures have perished for ever that once glowed in all the colours of life upon that wide-spread canvass! Kings and heroes and martyrs; processions of solemn monks hymning along as they moved beneath the archway that leads to Bartholomew’s ancient church; and figures of brutal and bearded men, who fed the reddening fires—of shrieks and groans that pierced through the star-paved floors of heaven—and curses that went deep and hollow into the nethermost depths of dark perdition.

In the early morning have we traversed that solemn neighbourhood, when neither the stir of trade nor traffic disturbed the silence. And at such times the past has seemed again to open its silent doors, and the phantoms of the departed dead to glide before us. Battle and banner have again been displayed: pale and bleeding we have in fancy seen Wat Tyler fall, struck down by the arm of the powerful Mayor of London. Then came the shadow of the king, who had broken faith with the brave rebel, flying before his murderers. The Bastard of Burgundy and Earl Rivers next passed with their visors down, and paused on the spot where the lists were erected, when all London rushed into the open square to gaze upon the single combat they there fought. We saw pale faces upraised amid the flames, lips silent, yet moving with inward prayer. The ancient watch passed by half-buried in the smoke of the burning cressets. A dark funeral swept slowly along under the dusky archway, and was lost in the shadow of the old church. Then the morning sun fell upon a gay{182} bridal party: they entered the low porch, and the door that opened into the gable-ended overhanging mansion was closed upon them for ever.

The high-piled City stands upon the dust of her millions of sons and daughters, who have ages ago sunk into the earth from whence they sprung. Even into the ancient church of Bartholomew itself we have now to descend as we enter—the remains of the forgotten dead have risen high above the antique floor; the youth and beauty of departed years are but a portion of the dark mould which rises around the hoary edifice.

“They loved, but whom they loved the grave
Hath lost in its unconscious womb;
Oh! they were fair, but nought could save
Their beauty from the tomb.”—J. Montgomery.




AROUND and within London lies a land chequered with lights and shadows, close city courts, and stifling suburban alleys, in which the sunshine only lingers for a few minutes during the day (where it seems imprisoned and in a hurry to escape above the dusky chimneys); and in this vast metropolis these scenes are contrasted with broad green, airy parks, and long lines of palace-like streets, which stretch westward and dip into the open and surrounding country. Its living crowds are ever in motion—now to witness a royal procession; then cleaving a November fog, or rolling eastward to gaze upon a “Lord Mayor’s Show;” or, while darkness still reigns over the solemn-looking streets, from its blind alleys and secluded nooks—haunts of vice and infamy—the uneducated heirs to crime and wretchedness grope their way towards Newgate, to see the black and ominous stage erected, on which a real and living actor is about to die, to glut the gaze of those who are assembled to witness this legal tragedy. From the first hour after the deep-toned bell of St. Paul’s had struck the death-knell of the departed Sabbath, the crowd began to congregate—only a few days ago—at the front of those forbidding barriers, the doors of the neighbouring coffee-houses and gin-shops were thrown open, and those who were not content to mingle with the mob below, and witness the horrible exhibition gratis, began to rush in, and bargain for their places. Then rang upon the ear the cries of “Comfortable room!” “Excellent situation!” “Beautiful prospect!” “Splendid view!” as each in turn recommended what may be termed the box-places at the windows, or the open and airy gallery on the roofs; for the pit lay dark and crowded below, and there the audience had free entrance. From every avenue this{184} human crowd rushed in; up narrow courts, and the wide openings of the streets, they came in dusky groups, that passed through light and shadow as they crossed over where the glare of the gas-lamps fell—then merged into the dark mass of human forms on which the gloomy shadow of Newgate settled down.

All night long were the workmen busily employed in erecting the gloomy scaffold: the sound of their hammers and saws fell upon the ear at intervals; these again were drowned by the loud jeers and coarse jests which were ever and anon uttered and responded to by many in that brutal mob. One after another the huge pieces of black wood were brought out and fitted together, until high above the crowd rose the grim stage on which the death-ending drama was to be represented. Even on the countenances of those who erected the pile no expression of pity could be traced; they hammered and sawed as if they were erecting a gay mansion for the living, instead of a place on which the doomed victim was a few moments to plant his feet, look around him, and—die! The posts, which supported the planks on which so many trembling actors had trod, were fitted into the same holes in the ground—foundations which had been dug long years ago, and stood firmly, with all their load of sorrow and crime, through scores of heart-aching executions: spots which the thoughtful man never passes without heaving a sigh, and where the brutal and the vicious only congregate to jest at degraded humanity.

Ranged along the lines of the barriers, like hounds that are ever in foremost at the death, are seen those whom neither rain, snow, storm, nor darkness ever prevented from attending an execution. Their conversation is about their companions of former years—of those who were long ago imprisoned, transported, or hanged; while they alone, though often within the clutches of the law, are still at large, with all their crimes. Some of these, whose hair age and guilt have whitened, remember the days when men were hung up in a row—can tell who died basely and who bravely; and on his memory who met death in sorrow and repentance they cast reproach and shame; while he who plunged daringly into the darkness of eternity, as if he gloried in his iniquity, they hold up as an example to be followed. No rocking nor swaying of the crowd from without can remove these old idolaters of the gallows: the mass of human bodies behind may roll to and fro, like the waves of the ocean—the motion affects them not; they are anchored like rocks at the foot of the gloomy headland, which stands with its dark beam reared high above the billowy multitude. Nearly every countenance along those foremost ranks seems marked with the lines which witnessing such public executions have imprinted there—as if the very cordage had{185}



left its twisted impress upon their visages, and the dark beam its ominous line upon their furrowed brows, giving to them the very reflex of the gallows itself, while watching its workings.

From the expression of such countenances we can see that the exhibition they are awaiting has for them no terrors; that it is but calculated to harden their hearts, by making them more familiar with the image of death; and that, instead of repenting, they are more likely to go and take away life; thus following the example which the law itself has set before their eyes. Here and there, mingled among the crowd, are seen the figures of women; some, whose countenances are marked with dissipation, yet bearing faint traces of former beauty, as if Nature was still reluctant to obliterate the fair image which she had first formed, though every trace of the pure spirit, which had once given it such light and animation, has long since perished. If they speak together in tones of pity, it is the besotted sympathy of maudlin inebriety. There is a rocking of the head, a swaying of the body, and a folding of the arms, which tell how low they have sunk,—that the once clear intellect is prostrated before the power of ardent spirits; while the crushed bonnet, the dirty shawl, the gown fastened with a single hook upon the back, and that slip-shod slovenliness of the feet, proclaim that all the pride of the woman has vanished. Girls and youths, too, are there, on whose countenances the impress of innocence is still stamped, though the white purity of the flower is sullied with the trail of the slimy soil in which it has grown. It makes the heart ache—while looking upon these stained and drooping flowers, that are growing amid such a wilderness of full-blown weeds—to reflect upon the deathly blight which must at last settle down and destroy them, unless they are transplanted by some kind and nurturing hand into a more favourable soil. Surely that law which can take away life might throw its protecting power over such as these, and a score or two of policemen be stationed to prevent them from witnessing such a scene as an execution, which is only calculated to brutalise their youthful minds. Pocket-picking, fighting, drunkenness, and profanity in almost every form, are the only examples to be picked up by these young frequenters of the gallows. No man can venture there with a kind and feeling heart, unless impelled by such motives as would lead him to plunge into a pest-house in the hope of restoring again to health some of those whom the plague has stricken down. They think not of the heart-broken relatives who have taken a last farewell as they stood within the massy and low-vaulted corridors behind that forbidding and impassable barrier of iron bars—nor of the condemned cell in which the doomed prisoner has passed so many hours{188} of bitter remorse, looking with an inward eye of awe into that mysterious future into which he is now to be suddenly launched.

Many a mechanic, who set out with his dinner in his basket and his tools upon his back, on his way to his daily labour, is tempted by those he there meets with to stay beyond his allotted hour—until finding that it is too late to accomplish a full day’s work, he returns to some neighbouring tap-room, and so the time is passed in recounting and listening to a long history of former executions, until night and drunkenness overtake him, at the very hour when the faithful wife, having prepared his evening meal, is sitting with pale cheek patiently awaiting his return. Many an unfortunate man may date his ruin from the day he first witnessed an execution—as the first hour that threw him amid the group who haunt the foot of the gallows; and as human nature is more prone to stoop to vice than to soar aloft to virtue, so from that moment he sank never more to rise again, all his finer feelings blunted, and he himself lowering all who were once endeared to him to his own vicious standard. Such as the herds among have no pity for the dead; they pick out every sentence uttered by the witnesses in favour of the culprit who is about to suffer—they turn not to the widowed wife, the weeping children, and the once happy home which the deed he has done has left dark and desolate. They argue that drink or anger, temptation or poverty, or a weariness of life, drove him to the act, and that, saving the momentary pang which for ever ends his troubles, his last hours were soothed by kindness and attention; and that, for their parts, they would sooner prefer such an ending than to be left to die amid disease, want, neglect, and wretchedness, with no human being near to breathe a word of hope and comfort. Time after time they have witnessed the worst—have seen the law armed, and in full power strike with all its might—and turned aside without a feeling of terror. Life has been taken away before their very eyes; they have seen a fellow-creature hanged “to make an English holiday,” and they have gone and again aroused the vengeance of “Justice,” have destroyed life as they have seen it destroyed, have made that their own act and deed, which the law is more formally—for lack of other merciful modes of punishment—again compelled to follow as an example, taking life for life, and visiting evil with evil, not in a spirit of hatred or revenge, but because custom has sanctioned the necessity. Above the murmur and tumult of that noisy assembly, the lowing and bleating of cattle, as they were driven into the stalls and pens of Smithfield, fell with a strange and unnatural sound upon the ear, calling up for a few moments the tranquillity of green hill-sides, and broad, level pasture-lands, where the fever, and the fret, and{189} the crime from crowded cities never came. What a contrast to the scene that stretched below, the cold grey dawn of the raw morning breaking upon the dark and weather-stained front of the prison, and giving to those iron-coloured and windowless walls an almost unearthly appearance. The very stones seemed to shape themselves into the faces of the dead, as if from the hard granite had started out the grey and eyeless faces of all the children of crime who had suddenly stept from that gloomy scaffold into the grave. Carts rolled by, bearing the produce of quiet fields and tree-sheltered gardens, to the market; the rustic driver turned his head for a moment; then, with eyes bent upon the ground, went musing along his way. The coach moved slowly along, severing in its course the closely-packed crowd; the warm-clad passengers glanced down the wide thoroughfare, with its dark pavement of human heads, upon the black and ominous beam that went spanning across, like the bridge of death, and ever would the same vision rise up before them all day long. They would see it in the arms of the trees which hung over the winding country-roads: it would fall like a blot upon the leaden-coloured sky, wherever a black and naked spray threw out its arm above the rounded horizon. In the rolling of the river they would hear the murmuring of the multitude; and the echo of the bridge over which they passed would send out from the mouths of its wide-spanning arches curses that would come floating deep and singly, as if from above the heads of that dimly-remembered crowd.

Hush! the unceasing murmur of the mob now breaks into a loud deep roar—a sound as if the ocean had suddenly broken through some ancient boundary, against which its ever-restless billows had for ages battered; the wide dark sea of heads is all at once in motion; each wave seems trying to overleap the other, as they are drawn onwards towards this outlet. Every link in that great human chain is shaken; along the whole lengthened lines has the motion jarred, and each in turn sees, coiled up on the floor of the scaffold, like a serpent, the hangman’s rope! The human hand that placed it there was only seen for a moment, as it lay, white and ghastly, upon the black boards, and then again was as suddenly withdrawn, as if ashamed of the deed it had done. The loud shout of the multitude once more subsided, or only fell upon the abstracted ear like the dreamy murmur of an ocean-shell. Then followed sounds more distinct and audible, in which ginger-beer, pies, fried fish, sandwiches, and fruit, were vended under the names of notorious murderers, highwaymen, and criminals, famous in the annals of Newgate for the hardihood they had displayed in the hour of execution, when they terminated their career of crime at the gallows. Threading his way among these{190} itinerant venders, was seen the meek-faced deliverer of tracts—the man of good intentions—now bonneted, now laughed at, the skirt of his seedy black coat torn across; yet, though pulled right and left, or sent headlong into the crowd by the swing of some brutal and muscular arm, never once from that pale face passed away its benign and patient expression, but ever the same form moved along in the fulfilment of his mission, in spite of all persecution. Another fight followed the score which had already taken place; this time two women were the combatants: blinded with their long hair, they tore at each other like two furies; their bonnets and caps were trodden under foot in the kennel, and lay disregarded beside the body of the poor dog, which, while searching for its master in the crowd, was an hour before kicked to death by the savage and brutal mob.

Another deep roar, louder than any which had preceded it, broke from the multitude. Then came the cry of “Hats off!” and “Down in front!” as at a theatre. It was followed by the deep and solemn booming of the death-bell from the church of St. Sepulchre—the iron knell that rang upon the beating heart of the living man who was about to die; and, with blanched cheek and sinking heart, we turned away from the scene.

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WE have again reached the point from which we started at the commencement of our work, leaving behind us undescribed many objects of great interest to such as love to dwell upon the past, beside others of importance belonging to the present, but possessing not those picturesque features which we prefer dwelling upon. Here we shall pause for a while, and, as there is but little around us in the shape of “bricks and mortar” to arrest our attention, take a glance at the lights and shadows of busy life. We have now arrived at Fleet-street, which, with its ramifications to the right and left, is as jagged as a spray of fern. Branching from this busy street you enter courts and alleys, such as if a stranger to the neighbourhood once got entangled amongst, he would scarcely find his way out of again, though he tried for a full hour by the clock, unless he made many inquiries: courts which somehow seem to have run into a knot—so ravelled that you can neither find beginning nor end, so often are you stopped by a dead wall here, and thrown into a whirlpool of alleys a little further on, as if they had been run up by hundreds of builders from different points in the dark, who, when daylight came, found themselves in all sorts of zigzag ways endeavouring to brick up one another. And in these places you will always find “Apartments to let.” True, they are very close, but then they are very central, for what part of London is there that the great main artery of Fleet-street does not lead into? If you are struck by the planet Venus, whatever astronomers may say to the contrary, there you will find that she has her satellites that are ever moving round and round. Should you happen to be overtaken by drink—a demon who ever lies in wait in this neighbourhood{192}—there you have station-houses and policemen at hand; if in debt, there are sponging-houses with their doors open to receive you. Should you even have the honour of being hanged, you cannot well miss finding your way to Newgate.

Whitefriars, in Fleet-street, appears to have been one of the most notorious places in London. We all remember Sir Walter Scott’s description of Alsatia (a name given to this locality about 1600) in the Fortunes of Nigel; and from the same work we have so often quoted, we are enabled to bring the spot once more before the “mind’s eye” of our readers, as it was in its decay. It first commences with Salisbury court as follows:

“Every two or three steps we met some old figure or another which looked as if the devil had robbed them of all their natural beauty * * * and inspired (into them) his own infernal spirit; for nothing but devilism could be read in every feature. Theft, homicide, and blasphemy peeped out at every window of their souls; lying, perjury, fraud, impudence, and misery were the only graces of their countenances.

“One with slip-shoes, without stockings, and dirty linen, visible through a crape dress, was stepping from the ale-house to her lodgings with a parcel of pipes in one hand and a gallon-pot in the other; yet with her head dressed up to as much advantage as if the other members of her body were sacrificed to keep her ill-looking face in a little finery. Another, I suppose taken from the oyster-tub and put into (similar) allurements, made a more cleanly appearance, but became her ornaments as a cow would a curb-bridle or a sow a hunting-saddle. Then every now and then would bolt out a fellow, and whip nimbly across the way, being equally fearful, as I imagine, of both constable and sergeant, and looking as if the dread of the gallows had drawn its picture in his countenance. * * * *

“We soon departed hence, my friend conducting me to a place called Whitefriars, which, he told me, was formerly of great service to the honest traders of the city, who, if they could, by cant, flattery or dissimulation, procure large credit amongst their zealous fraternity, would slip in here with their effects, take sanctuary against the laws, compound their debts for a small matter, and oftentimes get a better estate by breaking than they could ever propose to do by trading. But now a late Act [he must here allude to the Act passed about 1696, William III.] of Parliament has taken away its privileges; and since knaves can neither break with safety nor advantage, it is observed that there are not a quarter so many shopkeepers play at bo-peep with their creditors as when they were encouraged to be rogues by such cheating conveniences. * * *{193}

“We came into the main street of this neglected asylum, so very thin of people, the windows broken, and the houses untenanted, as if the plague, or some like judgment from heaven, as well as execution on earth, had made a great slaughter amongst the poor inhabitants.”—London Spy, 1699. Part 7.

It seems strange that such a lawless community should then have dwelt almost within the very sanctuary of the law, for the author (Ned Ward) just quoted tells us, that “he passed through the little wicket of a great pair of gates into the Temple.”

We must not pass without noticing St. Bride’s Church, situated by the office of our merry neighbour Punch, who does his “spiriting gently,” and is as great a “terror to evil-doers” as the constables were in the olden time to the sinners of Alsatia.

This is another of Wren’s beautiful churches, and is enriched by stained glass, copied from Rubens, the subject the Descent from the Cross. The steeple was struck by lightning in 1764, and when repaired was reduced in height, though it still towers a graceful and noble monument above the surrounding houses, as it

“Points its silent finger to the sky,
And teaches grovelling man to look on high.”

In the old church, destroyed in the Great Fire, was buried the famous printer Wynkin de Worde, whose works are now worth their weight in gold, and are almost as scarce as those which were issued from the press by Caxton. Here also was buried the notorious Mary Frith, commonly called Moll Cut-Purse. On her adventures Dekker and Middleton founded the play entitled The Roving Girl, or Moll Cut-Purse. She died in the seventy-fifth year of her age, at her house in Fleet-street, next the Globe tavern, in 1659. In her will she left 20l. for the conduit to run with wine at the Restoration of Charles II. It was Moll who robbed General Fairfax on Hounslow Heath. Her life was published in 1662. She was, says Granger, “a fortune-teller, a pickpocket, a thief, and a receiver of stolen goods.” She died of the dropsy, and her life is supposed to have been prolonged through the large quantity of tobacco which she smoked. Our great Milton at one time lodged in St. Bride’s churchyard. It would form a goodly catalogue of celebrated names to enumerate all who have been buried in St. Bride’s, or lived in the adjoining neighbourhood.

Many of the houses, as in the time of Milton, in the back streets and alleys are let out in lodgings; and we will now give, from our own experience, a specimen of a downright London lodging-house—we mean, one in which the landlord lives entirely by letting lodgings—for{194} we allude not to hotels, or respectable boarding-houses, but to places where you are “taken in and done for.”

An author, during his early career, is compelled to become acquainted with the “ins and outs” and “ways and means” of London lodging-houses; and as his occupation keeps him more within doors than those who hold situations, or are otherwise engaged, he is, to use a more expressive than elegant phrase, “Up to their moves and down to their dodges.” We have in our day known more than one gentleman who kept his own gridiron, and brought home his rump-steak—taught by experience that half a pound of his own cooking was equal to a pound after it had been entrusted to the Cinderella or the Cerberus of the kitchen. We have known whisky in such places (which overnight was above proof) become so weak in a single day during our absence, as never to require water; and have seen a shoulder of lamb, which, after our frugal dinner, was carried away with a gap in it scarcely wide enough to admit of our two fingers, return at supper-time with a hole in the middle big enough to shake hands through, without touching any thing on either side except the knuckle, or the edge of the bare blade-bone. It was wonderful how often the cat got to our meat, and what trouble our landlady had been at, according to her account, to cut off the portions puss had mangled, before it was again fit to appear on the table. Cruel woman! she was always beating the cat whenever we had a cold joint. As for our tea-caddy, we tried half-a-dozen various kinds of locks; but they were picked with far more ease than the clever American managed to pick Chubb’s patent. When we did at last get an unpickable lock, caddy and tea went altogether, and Cinderella said her mistress had had a strange sweep, and that sweeps were always sure to carry something or another away in the soot. The next day we found a sixpenny tin tea-caddy in our cupboard, so took the hint, and never sent out for more than two ounces at a time; and the landlady seemed to settle down satisfied with little more than half of it, so we had it “fresh and fresh” every day. We found that a twopenny French roll went as far as a half-quartern loaf, as we were never allowed to look a second time upon the remains of either. They charged us for cream and gave us milk-and-water; but perhaps this was done out of a tender regard for our health. How broth was made in these old model lodging-houses, we never could clearly comprehend; but the landlady had an herbalist book, and we believe made out her bill from the index, beginning at agrimony and ending at yarrow-root. A bottle of wine when decanted in the kitchen cost about eighteenpence a glass; walnuts, a penny each; filberts came up so ripe that we found one in a cluster where four or five had originally nestled together; lobsters{195} always lost their claws down-stairs, and very often came up with one side of the shell empty. Bottled stout was always going off in the cellar, and they shewed us the corks which had been blown out—indeed in these matters they were rather particular. They were dreadfully troubled with bluebottles in summer, and the largest joint would not keep beyond a day.

The game you brought home yourself was never sweet; what the landlady purchased for you was always good. Many cheap game-hawkers came to the door; and sometimes the landlady was dining off a fine pheasant, while your own was thrown into the dust-bin.

The whole household were troubled with bad memories, and were always making mistakes. If you laid out a pair of trousers or a coat to be repaired, you found sixpence or ninepence on the mantelpiece a morning or two after, which was all the old clothesman would give for them. Then they were very sorry, but that stupid girl was always making some mistake or another, and the landlady would call on the tailor herself another time. There were no queen’s-heads in those days; and when we sent the money to prepay a letter, they invariably forgot to stamp “paid” on it at the post-office, though the girl knew to an inch where she had put the money at the time, and could remember every thing that was on the counter; and sometimes she said she had put the money in the scales, and was sure it could not have rolled off and fallen on the floor. Butter in these houses was very solid: it was wonderful what a thin slice you had for half a pound, though the Cinderella of the establishment swore that she saw it bump the scale down. Your linen wore out very fast, and, after the buttons began to come off, they were never fit to be sent to the laundress again. Your stockings stood darning twice; pocket-handkerchiefs and light gloves the landlady was kind enough to purchase for you every week. Your brushes, hair-brushes, combs, &c. were, of course, common property. They sent you up the newspaper about five minutes before the boy called for it, provided every body below had done with it.

In some of these houses every thing about you is cold, hard, bright, and uncomfortably clean, as if always ready to be let—“got up,” as it were, to strike every new comer. If you drop a crumb on the carpet it is picked up before your face, by way of a gentle hint; a stain of ink on the table-cover you would never hear the last of. Some mysterious kind of white cabbage-network covers the back of the easy chair, and lies grinning at you, full of holes, all over the sofa; you see nothing but knots, and would as soon think of finding ease were you to lie down on a stone floor strewn with bullets as on that hard white knotted cordage. Everything in the room is for show, nothing for comfort. The mantelpiece{196} is covered with articles which are neither ornamental nor useful: shells, four a shilling; a couple of white delf candlesticks; two old hand-screens, picked up dirt-cheap at an auction; in the centre three ugly-shaped earthenware articles, red, blue, and gilt tarnished, holding about a dozen spills each, which are never used—you are sick of seeing them reflected in the long mirror which was bought a bargain. If you have a handful of fire in the cold glittering grate on a bitter winter night, it makes you shiver to look at it: the poker looks so bright and chilling, you are afraid to touch it; and if a piece of coal falls out, they come in to see if you called, for they are always listening. Sometimes you shove your boot toe into the fire in utter desperation, or walk up and down the room, and storm heartily for exercise. You feel as if you would like to kick the couple of cursed carpet-covered hassocks about to warm you, and end by knocking down the fire-irons, to break the homeless silence. Never, in such places, on any account, begin to sharpen your razors near midnight, for the Evil One seems ever to be lurking in the gloomy corners of such cheerless houses, and there is no knowing what thoughts he might put into your head.

These are the class of houses in which you see neat bills in the windows, announcing “Respectable Apartments for Single Gentlemen.” They never admit children into these old, keen, money-making lodging-houses: the echoes of those houses are never broken by childish laughter, nor these creaking floors shaken by merry romps; they like your shy, silent, bashful man, who submits quietly to every imposition; for they care not what he thinks, so long as he complains not openly.

In some streets you find lodging-houses inhabited by three distinct classes, who are as much separated from each other as if they lived fifty miles apart. The poor inhabitant in the attic may be dying while the first-floor lodger is entertaining a party of friends; and although they have both dwelt under the same roof for years, it is likely enough that not a single word was ever exchanged between them.

The lodger who occupies the first floor seldom condescends to speak to the “common people” who live in the garrets, for there is almost as much difference in their habits as there is between the aristocracy and the quiet plodding citizen. He who occupies the attic is very probably an honest hard-handed mechanic, who comes home to his dinner regularly at twelve o’clock, gives one loud single knock at the door, and is admitted by his poor but clean-looking wife: he wipes his feet carefully before going up stairs—first and second-floor doors never by any possible chance opening in the mean time. Second-floor comes with a bold double-knock, something between a bum-bailiff’s, a postman’s, and a tax-gatherer’s; he dines at one or two, and is on nodding terms with the first-floor; he persevered for months trying on{197} a “Fine morning, sir,” and at last was made happy by a most surly “Very, sir.” He progressed a step farther one day by saying something unpleasant about the “common people up-stairs.” First-floor dines at three or four, if he is a clerk or holds some slight situation under government, obtained, perhaps, through his father selling his vote at a country election: he gives a regular “ran-tan-tan-tirra-irra-tir-tir-tir,” for he keeps a little draggle-tailed, dirty, poor parish-child, and she answers the door—that is “our servant.” The ground-floor people—that is, generally, the landlord and his family (if they do not live in the kitchen)—bow and smile at the first-floor from the parlour window: he is such a respectable “gent,” and pays so regular; has a gallon of spirits sent in at a time, and never disgraces the house by having in such beggarly things as half-a-hundred of coals and two bundles of wood.

But the picture is not complete without the children. First-floor have their hair plaited behind (if they are girls), and the ends of these long tails are tied with either blue or pink ribbon; they also wear little trousers, frilled about the ankles like little bantam-cocks, and strut about before the door like the above-named bird. Second-floor children are very tidy, as most of the washing is put out, and the mother can spare time to look after them; they are taught to “toady” to first-floor as soon as they have learned to talk; to call them “miss” or “master,” and their father and mother “pa” and “ma.” Your heart aches while you look on the canting little creatures, whose every motion is watched by the eyes of the parents. Second-floor’s children are always to blame if any thing goes wrong, and the lick-spittle parents chide their children for the faults of the others, to keep in with first-floor. You have in those dear children a true picture of the humbug and hollow-heartedness of the insincere portion of mankind.

Mean time, third-floor are sitting on the top landing, eating dry bread, their hands and faces very dirty through playing with the coal-scuttle, while their poor, pale, industrious mother is busy washing. But they will be taken out for a walk somewhere on Sunday, and for one day in the week be the happiest party under that roof. We are sorry that this savage-looking picture is true to nature; but on scanning it narrowly, there is not a single feature that we ought to soften down.

Happy are they who can find lodging-houses in London in which they can feel “at home.” That there are thousands of these comfortable places, we entertain no doubt of; the worst of it is, young men are too fond of shifting about, and have not patience to wait until they become accustomed to the ways of these really respectable people.{198} “Slow” has become a bad word of late; and they are generally empty-headed, think-much-of-themselves, “fast,” frothy fellows, who use it. “Slow and sure” was an old saying, often quoted by our wise forefathers.

Considering how cheerless and comfortless many of these lodging-houses are, we cease to wonder at the number of taverns and coffee-houses which abound in London, and should be glad to see a few more such admirable institutions as the Whittington Club, for we here see at least one cause why they are so much frequented. How lonely seems a place (except to a man whose studious habits require solitude), on a long winter night, where a young man has to sit five or six hours without having a living soul to speak to. He lights his lucifer-match, and, as the faint blue speck slowly bursts into flame, he looks round upon the voiceless solitude, and sighs. He sets a light to the sticks and coal which the char-woman or the dirty Cinderella placed in the grate, after they had arranged his bedroom in the morning, and for a time the crackling of the fire seems like pleasant companionship. Then the church-clock tolls slowly and sadly, and he yawns while he thinks of the weary hours that have yet to pass away before bedtime. He makes his own tea—or, perchance, the little dirty servant, who has sixpence a week and her “wittals,” brings it up: when he has finished, he rings the bell, the things are cleared away, and then he may hang himself if he pleases, quite certain that the deed would never be discovered until the morrow. Were he taken ill, and to ring the bell, the little servant would be sent to fetch a doctor, if the lodger had the wherewithal to pay; if not, they would advise him to go to one of the hospitals. If he required attendance, some old woman (fond of gin), who had perhaps been discharged from the hospitals for drunkenness, would be hired to nurse him, grumbling every time she entered the room, and declaring that she could not find a single thing she wanted in the house. Perhaps on the first day of his illness he would receive notice to quit the apartments at the end of the week: we have witnessed such conduct in a keen money-making London lodging-house in our day, and had much ado to prevent ourselves from throwing the mercenary wretch down-stairs who had given the helpless lodger warning to leave. In such houses as these there are always apartments to let, for very few stay a day longer than they are compelled.

We have here described the worst class of London lodging-houses, such as are kept by unprincipled persons who have no other means of living except what they make by their apartments and by robbing their lodgers. A stranger cannot wholly avoid these man-traps; but, if he take our advice, he will stay at some decent coffee-house or tavern until he gets settled, and not venture into apartments, unless{199} those who have them to let can be recommended by such acquaintance as he is pretty sure to meet with when he has once found employment. Poor people do not rob each other in this manner; it is that hungry class which “apes gentility”—who “smile, and rob while they do smile.”

There are thousands of places to be found in London where it is their study to make a lodger feel “at home;” where a man may sit and sun himself in the smiles of a warm domestic hearth, and, though a stranger, never know what it is to feel lonely. But these are not houses in which people live alone by letting lodgings, neither will you find more than one or two lodgers under such a roof. Changes, such as they foresaw not, compel them to add a few shillings a week to their income—for they have lived so many years in the same house that it would make them miserable to leave it. A son is in a situation, or a daughter has got married, and they have no longer any use for the rooms they occupied; or the landlord cannot do so much work as he formerly did. These, and a hundred other causes, open the door to the most comfortable of all London lodgings, and fortunate is the stranger who finds a home under such a roof. Such people would scorn to take away the value of a pin that was not their own; and the only discomfort you feel is in the fear that they do not charge enough to remunerate them for their kindness and attention.

Young men and “fast men!” if you are fortunate enough to dwell in such a home, where their circumstances will not allow them to keep a servant, but where a modest daughter honours you by her attendance, respect her as you would a sister. Remember, also, that it is poverty which compels the servant to wait upon you, and that it is your duty to respect her for those services. Remember that

“He prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.”
Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner.

Although the old “memories” that float about Fleet-street would fill a volume, we must not pass on without glancing at St. Dunstan’s Church, though it is a new building, and the figures, so often gazed on in “wonderment” by the gaping crowds of other days, no longer step out in their wonted place to strike the hours. For the origin of these wooden “puppets,” see Douglas Jerrold’s St. James’s and St. Giles’s, in which he reads as severe a lecture to hard-hearted overseers as the old ballad of The Babes in the Wood does to “wicked uncles.” Before the statue of Queen Elizabeth, which stands over the doorway{200} fronting Fleet-street, a poor simple-hearted Irishwoman was one morning, not long ago, observed kneeling, and repeating her prayers: she mistook it for the figure of the Virgin. This statue is supposed to be the only relic preserved when Ludgate (one of the city-gates that stood on Ludgate-hill,) was taken down in 1760. It ornamented the old church of St. Dunstan, as it now does the present one.

Nor must we omit a word or two before we pass through Temple-Bar about the Cock Tavern, to which our living poet laureate Alfred Tennyson does “most resort,” according to his own confession, in “Will Waterproof’s lyrical monologue made at the Cock,” in an old box

“larded with the steam
Of thirty thousand dinners.”

Many of the old taverns in Fleet-street—Dr. Johnson’s favourite “Mitre” for example—have rich recollections of the wit and wisdom of the wits and sages of former days. With many of these our readers are doubtless familiar, but they perhaps never heard of the “Cock” before reading Tennyson’s poems. Nevertheless there is a fact in the history of this old tavern worth knowing. The bird that gives name to this “haunt of hungry sinners” was, according to our laureate,

“Of a larger egg
Than modern poultry drop,
Stepped forward on a firmer leg,
And crammed a plumper crop.”

He was, indeed, a regal fowl, for he not only coined copper money, but stamped it with his own effigy and circulated it amongst his customers in the form of tokens. If a man who had newly dined required change out of the money for his dinner, he received it, not in pence, but in copper cocks, which were afterwards duly honoured by the worthy landlord, who gave to their bearer full value in generous food and liquor. This currency was so extensive that when, during the ravages of the Great Plague in London, the door of the Cock was closed, “when the plump head waiter” and all other subordinates were dismissed, and the landlord had fled to the country to escape the scourge, public notice was given of the time when the house would be again opened, and that the copper tokens would be duly honoured. One of these is still carefully preserved as “a relic of the olden time.”

The Temple alone would occupy a long chapter, and detain us in this locality far beyond the limits that our pages allow, so we shall without further apology pass through Temple Bar and enter the Strand.{201}



WE have now quitted the City and entered the Strand; before us stands the Church of St. Clement Danes, on the right of which an archway opens into Clement’s Inn; beyond that is the old Angel Inn, from which Bishop Hooper was taken before he suffered martyrdom at Gloucester three centuries ago. Justice Shallow says: “I was once of Clement’s Inn, where I think they will talk of mad Shallow yet;” and no sooner is his back turned than Falstaff says: “I do remember him at Clement’s Inn, like a man made after supper of a cheese-paring;” * * * “he was for all the world like a forked radish, with a head fantastically carved upon it with a knife.”

Of the early church that occupied the site of the present one but little is really known. Stowe tells us that it was “so called, because Harold, a Danish king, and other Danes, were buried there.” There is a doubt whether Harold, who ascended the throne after Canute, was in any way related to the latter; his pretended mother, Algigiva, was never married to Canute, and it is recorded that she never had a child, but that Harold, who passed for her son, had no higher origin than a poor cobbler for his father. Harold was buried at Westminster; but when Hardicanute (the legitimate son of Canute) came to England, he ordered the body of Harold to be disinterred, decapitated, and thrown into the Thames. The body was taken out of the river by some Danish fishermen, and again interred in a cemetery in London, where only the Danes buried their dead. We have not entered into the reign of Harold at all; these few facts are all that history records of the origin of St. Clement Danes. The present church was built by Pierce under the guidance of Wren. The old church was pulled down in 1660. Dr. Johnson had a sitting in the{202} present church. The interior is heavily decorated with festoons and drops, and contains two tolerable statues of Moses and Aaron. Facing this church stands the office of the far-famed Illustrated London News, in the columns of which paper the greater portion of these sketches originally appeared.

You still hear a few of the old London cries in the by-streets that branch out of this busy neighbourhood, though many, which the “oldest inhabitants” can just remember, are heard no more.

The cry of “green boughs” to deck the summer parlours, and “green rushes” to strew upon the floors, has long since ceased. The fire-place is no more adorned with bunches of the blossoming hawthorn, branches of sweetbrier, and huge pots filled with the fragrant and trailing honeysuckle: art, with its paper ornaments, has driven away these beautiful products of nature, and the less healthy carpet has carried off the meadow-like smell of the rushes. “Cherry ripe” we occasionally hear, sung out as clear and silvery as when Herrick composed his inimitable little song, though Ben Jonson, by the way, wrote one long before Herrick, on the same subject. “Watercresses,” though no longer borne by a nymph, who paused every now and then to throw aside the long hair which fell over her nut-brown and weather-stained cheeks, is a cry we still hear; but the figure that conjured up Sabrina and the “glassy cool translucent wave” has long since departed. Lemons and oranges are cried by the wandering race, whose dark-haired mothers, in ancient days, poured forth their songs in the land of Israel. The primroses and violets of spring are still sold in these streets, but the cry of “Come buy my pretty bow-pots” is now rarely heard. The apple-stall, with its roasted chestnuts, the oyster-stall (a simple trestle), and the pieman who is ever ready to try his luck at pitch-and-toss, still haunt the corners of a few of our obscure streets, as they did in bygone days. The grinder and the tinker, and those who yet follow many a primitive old calling, and who set up their workshops in every open street where they can find a job, have been driven, with their quaint cries, into the suburbs, and the men themselves are but shadows of the jolly tinkers and merry pedlars who figure in our ancient ballad lore. The rattle, and roll, and thunder of our modern vehicles have drowned their old-fashioned cries in the great thoroughfares of Fleet-street and the Strand.

But though many of these old cries are heard no more, there is still many a poetical association thrown around this busy neighbourhood.

Who has not heard of the May-pole that stood in the Strand, how it was removed by command of the stern protector Cromwell, and how, at the restoration of Charles, a new one was erected, amid{203} the beating of drums and loud-sounding music, and the cheers of assembled thousands, who were weary of the puritanic gloom which had so long hung over merry England? What a buzzing there would be in that neighbourhood on the occasion, while May-garlands hung across the streets, as we have often seen them in our day, in a few out-of-the-way old fashioned towns, where the manners and customs of the people have undergone but little change during the last two centuries.

In an old volume printed before the Great Fire of London, entitled, The Citie’s Loyalty displayed, we find the following account of the May-pole that stood in the Strand.

“This tree was a most choice and remarkable piece (134 feet high): it was made below bridge, and brought in two parts up to Scotland-yard, and from thence it was conveyed, April 14th, to the Strand to be erected. It was brought with a streamer flourishing before it, drums beating all the way, and other sorts of music. It was supposed to be so long, that landsmen could not possibly raise it. Prince James, the Duke of York, Lord High Admiral of England, commanded twelve seamen off aboard to come and officiate the business; whereupon they came, and brought their cables, pullies, and other tacklins, with six great anchors. The May-pole then being joined together, and hooped about with bands of iron, the crown and vane, with the king’s arms richly gilded, was placed on the head of it, [and] a large top like a balcony was about the middle of it; this being done, the trumpets did sound, and in four hours space it was advanced upright.” [Four hours to draw up a May-pole! a slow age, my masters; they could not have built Hungerford Suspension-Bridge in those days, which is a toy compared to that now stretched across the Menai Straits. But to proceed with our extract.] “After which, being established fast in the ground, six drums did beat, and the trumpets did sound: again great shouts and acclamation the people gave, that it did ring throughout all the Strand. * * * * It is placed as near at hand as they could guess in the very same pit where the former stood, but far more glorious, bigger, and higher than ever any one that stood before it. * * * Little children did much rejoice, and ancient people did clap their hands, saying, ‘Golden days begin to appear.’ ” This was in 1661. Whether a May-pole was erected after the one given to Sir Isaac Newton, it “being old and decayed,” we have not discovered. The one given to Newton was afterwards used for raising a telescope at Wansted in Essex.

Cleveland, the bold cavalier colonel under Charles I., has a few spirited lines on the May-pole, but which are scarcely quotable, so{204} hard does he hit the puritanical Tabithas and Obadiahs; we quote a few lines:

“Whether it be a pole painted, or wrought
Far otherwise than from the wood ’twas brought,
Whose head the idol-maker’s hand doth crop,
Where a profane bird, towering on the top,
Looks like the calf in Horeb, at whose root
The unyoked youth doth exercise his foot:
*    *    *    *
How canst thou chuse, but, seeing it, complain
That Baal’s worshipp’d in his groves again?”

The last line might have been uttered by some crop-eared holder-forth, who fought as well as preached under Cromwell. The church of St. Mary-le-Strand stands on the spot where the May-pole was formerly erected. It was built by Gibbs (1717), whose portico of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields remains unrivalled for its beauty. The old church stood nearer the river, and was pulled down by the Duke of Somerset, 1549, who used the materials for building Somerset-place, but was beheaded before he had completed it. We forget in what old work we found a long account attempting to prove that he lost his head through destroying the church of St. Mary and the Innocents, as the old church was called.




Passing the present Somerset House (which is now used as Government offices, and of which we merely give an engraving) and Waterloo Bridge, both of which are deserving of a separate article, we will turn down to the left and glance at the old church of St. Mary-le-Savoy, which is all that now remains of the once famous Savoy Palace, first built above six hundred years ago, but destroyed by Wat Tyler and his rebels; after which it lay in ruins for above a century and a half. The present chapel, as it is called, was built in 1505. Our engravings represent the exterior and a portion of the interior. It contains several old monuments and crosses.



We now reach the Adelphi, a mass of large dwelling-houses and warehouses, built by the brothers Adam about 1770, on such a labyrinth of arches as startle a stranger who enters them for the first time.

Those noble streets which open into the Strand, now known as the Adelphi, are built above the ground formerly occupied by Durham House and its princely gardens, from whence Lady Jane Grey, the “nine days’ queen” (as our old chroniclers call her), was led, with loud acclaim, to the Tower, and then—in tears, to the scaffold. The ground itself on which she walked, and meditated, and saw her garden-flowers blow, is at noonday overhung with midnight darkness, excepting where, here and there, a gaslight throws its dim rays, and{206} feebly illumines the cavernous gloom: where her youth and beauty once threw their sunshine a melancholy blackness now reigns. To us this dark land is filled with sad associations; and, though the grave hath long since closed over those who placed the crown upon her head, and then left her to bleed upon the block, we never walk through these sounding arches without thinking of their treachery.



Thousands who pass along the Strand never dream of the shadowy region which lies between them and the river—the black-browed arches that span right and left, before and behind, covering many a rood of ground on which the rain never beats nor the sunbeam rests, and at the entrance of which the wind only seems to howl and whine, as if afraid of venturing farther into the darkness. Many of our readers{207} will no doubt conclude that such a dreary place as this must be deserted and tenantless: such is not the case. Here many of those strong horses which the countryman who visits London looks upon with wonder and envy, are stabled—huge, broad-chested steeds, such as may be seen dragging the heavily-laden coal-wagons up those steep passages which lead into the Strand, and which seem “to the manner born.”

Cows are also kept here, which, rumour says, never saw any other light beyond that of the gas which gleams through their prison-bars, or, by way of change, the cheering rays from a lantern, when they are milked or fed: that here many of them were calved, and have lived on, giving milk to a good old age—buried like the main-pipe that supplies us with water, and finding its way into our houses, without our once inquiring how. We have often pitied the London cows, which we have seen driven up one street and down another, and have fancied that what little milk they had must have been churned into indifferent butter, as they ran on, to escape the stones thrown after them by boys, while mongrels were ever sallying out, and either biting or barking at their heels; but we had not then seen those which are doomed to dwell in the unbroken darkness of the Adelphi arches, without ever breathing any other than the sepulchral air which stagnates in this murky purgatory. Assuredly, they ought to be taken out for a little fresh air now and then, and be led by the horns to

“Fresh fields and pastures new;”

for we can readily conceive how pleased and patiently they would go “blinking” along compared to those horned blackguards who come with a butt and a “a boo” at us as they return from Smithfield, and, before we have time to say “Now, stupid!” pitch us over the battlements of one of the bridges, and leave us to sink or swim.

The Adelphi arches form a little subterranean city; there is nothing like it in London: in some places you catch a glimpse of the river; a small loop-hole then lets in the light like the end of a railway-tunnel, yet seeming to diminish more than these tunnels, on account of the steep descent, until one of the steamers, in passing, appears to fill up the opening like a half-closed door. Beside these arches, there are narrow passages which go dipping down to the water-side, where on either hand houses stand looking at one another in the openings between the darkness. There is a dismal and solitary look about these tall imprisoned houses; you cannot conceive how they are entered, for there appears to be no way to them, and you conclude that they are empty. Or, if they are inhabited, you wonder if the people ever look out of these dim, dirt-ditched windows at the dead-looking walls{208} opposite. We have turned back, and hunted up and down looking from below, but nowhere could we obtain a view of the entrance to those murderous-looking houses. We once saw a butterfly which had lost its way, and got into the little light which had stolen out to look at the entrance of these arches: it went up and down, and hither and thither, seeming to become feebler every moment, as if it had given up all hope of ever swinging with folded wings, like a peabloom, on the flowers again, and we doubted not but that it found a grave amid the green decay of some rotten water-butt.

There was a time when the great thoroughfare between Westminster and Temple Bar was all but impassable, when a petition was presented for the repairing of the highway, in which the petitioners complained that the foot-road was so overgrown with thickets and bushes that the wayfarer had difficulty to get along. Besides the brambly and thorny footpath, there were three old bridges to cross between Temple Bar and the village of Charing, which spanned the sweet streams that came tinkling all the way from Highgate-hill, passing along and edging the velvet green of many a pleasant meadow, like braids of silver, before they sent their sailing foam-bells into the bosom of the Thames. Ivy Bridge-lane and Strand Bridge-lane still mark the sites of two of these old bridges. The third was only discovered a few years ago; and, as it was but eleven feet long, every ancient stone might have been preserved and built up again over the Lee or some narrow water-course, so that we might have had another relic of bygone days to have looked upon, a bridge over which conqueror and captive had passed—tears and triumphs—from the Tower to Westminster, and from thence to the Tower again. Bolingbroke weeping—the hero of Agincourt—what a chapter could we have written on that old bridge, which was discovered while making a sewer near the church of St. Clement the Dane! It had been buried so long that not an antiquary mentions it—nowhere is it recorded by our old historians. When it was discovered, it was broken up, removed, and no one seems to know what became of the fragments. Perhaps Alfred himself might have crossed that ancient bridge when he pursued the daring Sea-King Haestings; perhaps—— But it is gone; and we should like to know the name of the surveyor who allowed it to be destroyed; in these pages he should have a “local habitation and a name” such as he deserves.

There are still standing in Holywell and Wych-street a few houses which bring before the eye the old London our forefathers inhabited—when Bluff Hal beheaded a wife before he breakfasted; and Queen Elizabeth measured not her words to her ministers if they offended her, and thought nothing of striking a nobleman, as she did the Earl{209} of Essex, when not in a loving mood. In her endearing moments, we often picture her like a grim lioness at play with the king of the forest. We often wonder where Shakspeare was during the Sunday Essex broke out, and locked up the queen’s officers. We dare wager a silver groat, that he looked on that stormy scene in the Strand, and that, were he here to answer, we could point our pen to passages in his works which were suggested by what he either saw or heard on that memorable day.

How the warlike old barons would stare in wonderment, if it were possible that they could again “revisit the glimpses of the moon,” and see the rent-roll produced from the ground on which their towered and loop-holed palaces stood; could peep at the productions exhibited at the Society of Arts, in the Adelphi, and look back again upon the days when a flexible gauntlet, that could guard the hand yet give freedom to the grasp, or a visor through which they could see yet with the bars so tempered as to resist the point of a lance, were considered as the greatest wonders of art! How they would rub their dim old eyes at the sight of an express-train; stare at a steamer, and think what a smash and crash a couple would have made, to have run into each other at their water-quintains! Then, to send a message from Tilbury Fort to Kenilworth by the electric telegraph, where the amorous old queen was coquetting with Leicester, and she ignorant of such an invention, to tell her that the Spanish Armada was coming, would have consigned the messenger who came from the station to something like the Spanish inquisition, if not a stake at Smithfield. Oh, that we had a photographic portrait of the dear old lady, with all those nicely marked shadows, to which she had so great an objection, down to the “cunning wrinkles round her eyes!”

But we will cross over the way, and visit Covent-Garden Market, the ever-open flower-show of London. Here, when “the wind and rain beat dark December,” the costly chrysanthemum may be purchased, with which beauty decks her waving ringlets, as she shoots the arrows of love from her eyes, regardless on whom they may alight. In spring, summer, autumn, or winter, the choicest treasures of the floral world are here collected; from the conservatory and the humble cottage-garden, flowers of all hues are gathered to grace the Covent-Garden colonnades. Few places surprise a stranger more than when he emerges suddenly from that great, crowded, and noisy thoroughfare, the Strand, and finds himself all at once in this little world of flowers. In this spot are to be found the first offerings of spring; the snow-drop that comes “like an unbidden guest,” violets and primroses which have been gathered in many a far-off dell and sunny dingle, come to tell us the progress that Nature is making in{210} the green and out-of-door world. Many a sad and many a pleasing thought must have been awakened in the bosoms of thousands who have long been in-dwellers in this mighty city, by walking through the ranks of flowers which are here placed. They must have recalled the image of some old home far away, and probably never again to be visited by them—the porch, over which the woodbine or jasmine trailed, and the garden-fence, along which the clustering moss-roses hung. Many a flower is thus borne away and treasured for the old memories it awakens, for the tender recollections it recals—feelings to which the heart had long been a stranger. For Byron has shewn how small a key can open the human heart—how slight a chord may be struck, and some slumbering affection be in a moment aroused:

“It may but be a sound—
A tone of music—summer’s eve—or spring—
A flower—striking the electric chain.”

Here are purchased the cut flowers that decorate the banquet and ball-room—the posy which the blushing bride bears with downcast look in her hand—the bouquet which is rained down at the feet of our favourite actresses; and here also affection comes for its last tribute to place beside the pale face of the beloved dead, or plant around the grave in the cemetery. The house of mirth and the house of mourning are both supplied from the same common store. Pride, love, interest, fame, and death come here to select their garlands.

Here the young lover purchases for his fair one the blue forget-me-not; the graceful acacia, emblem of elegance; the myrtle, the old Grecian symbol of love; pansies—“that’s for thoughts;” the red-streaked woodbine, which denotes devoted affection; the lily, that ancient representative of purity of heart; the rose, the queen of beauty, and for the earliest of which five or ten shillings is no unusual sum to pay; with every flower that makes up the great alphabet of love.

The epicure may here feast his eyes with delight; and, if he is wealthy enough, purchase the natural produce of April or May while the snows of February are whitening the ground; for so has science triumphed over nature, by the aid of heat and manures, that there is scarcely any thing too difficult for your forcing-gardeners to accomplish. New potatoes, peas, and fruit of almost every description, are here to be found, fresh gathered, before spring has hung out a single leaf upon the oak. Green April is made to produce green gooseberries; and marrow-fats come in with the blossoms of May. Here conservatories are also formed over the colonnades; and{211} the choicest and most delicate flowers that ever bloomed in kingly gardens may be found as healthy and beautiful amid London smoke as if flourishing a hundred miles away in the country.

Those itinerant dealers who make the streets of London ring with the pleasant spring-cry of “All a-blowing, all a-growing!” as they move along with barrow, basket, and cart, are generally supplied from this market; and few would credit the many hundreds of pounds expended in the metropolis for the purchase of flower-roots, to be re-planted in the little back-yards called gardens, which are a peculiar feature in most of the London streets beyond the city boundaries. Places which, to pass in front, a stranger would think no green thing had ever grown for years near such a neighbourhood; yet in the rear they contain choice wall-flowers, sweet-williams, carnations, Canterbury-bells, hollyhocks, sun-flowers, and fancy dahlias, which have been grown within a mile or so of the bridges, and have been sent forth to “dispute the prize” at a flower-show. Many a poor man has often expended his shilling when he could ill spare it, to purchase a choice tulip or dahlia, which he treasured as the pride of his garden; and this is one amongst other pleasing sights to witness in this market. The artisan here finds enjoyment as well as the wealthy citizen, or the aristocratic lady, who treads with “mincing gait” through the arcade, attended by John the page, and all his “eruption of buttons.” Fine specimens of English beauty are often met with here—faces that look not unlike our own island roses; the fine blue-eyed Saxon cast of countenance, and the long fair hair, such as centuries ago drooped about the brow of Rowena, and were the cause of King Vortigern losing his kingdom and his life.

In contrast to these are our Covent-Garden portresses—sturdy daughters of Erin, clad in almost manly attire, and, with scarcely an exception, every soul a smoker and drinker of neat gin. Wonderful are the loads which these “juvenile antiques” carry; they would make the neck of a strong man, unused to bearing such burdens, ache again, were he only to carry one a moderate distance. Their faithfulness and honesty are deserving of the highest praise: no matter how valuable the load may be that you purchase, or how great the distance it has to be borne into the suburbs, you have but to pay the trifle agreed upon, furnish the right address, and when you return home, there you will find every bud and blossom uninjured, for Biddy may be trusted with uncounted gold. They are all a sturdy, short-necked race; moving caryatides, strong enough to support a temple, although such forms never mingled with the dreams of our ancient sculptors. Beside a good-natured, it requires a strong-armed man to help to replace the load upon their heads when{212} they have rested; and few gentlemen, we hope, resist the appeal of “Will your honour plase to lend a lift to the basket?”

At a very early hour in the morning, and while the rest of London—excepting in the markets—seem wrapt in sleep, the whole of the streets which open into Covent Garden are thronged with vehicles, and buyers and sellers; for either the greengrocer or his man must be here early, if our dinner-table is to be supplied with first-rate vegetables; and from the most remote street of the suburbs the greengrocers are compelled to come either to the Borough, to Farringdon, or Covent-Garden markets, for their stock; for these, with the exception of Spitalfields, which is celebrated for potatoes, are the only garden-markets. From one or other of these places have all those tempting shows of flowers, fruit, and vegetables, which give such a country-look to the greengrocers’ shops, been brought at an early hour.

Here an imaginative lover of good living may feed his fancy, and feast his eyes with the first rhubarb-pie of the season—conjure up the roast shoulder of lamb that is to accompany the asparagus—match the new potatoes with the brown veal cutlet—see a couple of ducks lying prostrate beside a dish of green peas—run streaks of fanciful pastry between the rich lines of raspberries—thrust bundles of sage and onions inside some stubble-fed goose, or call up the plump leg of mutton that is to be boiled along with those lily-white turnips; while cauliflowers, spinach, brocoli, and greens of every description may be found to match with the finest joints that either Leadenhall or Newgate markets can produce; for here they are to be seen “thick as leaves that strew the Vale of Vallambrosa.”

The poet may also ramble here, and call up visions of the Garden of Eden, where our first mother stood “half-spied, so thick the blushing roses round about her blowed;” or the golden fields of Enna and Proserpina, and her nymphs; and the wheels of that gloomy chariot, which ploughed up the waving flowers,—of Cupid and Psyche; and the beautiful vale of Arcady, and Venus mourning over her beloved Adonis, from whose blood there sprang a rich array of peerless blossoms.

But, independent of these associations, Covent Garden has an interest of its own. Above six hundred years ago it bore the name of Convent Garden, and originally belonged to Westminster Abbey. A pleasant walk must it have been, a few centuries ago, from that grave and venerable pile to the garden, before even the village of Charing existed, and when probably the whole line of road from the Abbey consisted of avenues of trees and open fields, where the daisies blowed and the skylark built and sang. We can picture those early fathers{213} of the Church, with the rich missals in their hands, wiling away the hours in pleasant meditation, as they sauntered leisurely along between the Abbey and the Covent Garden, “in cope and stole arrayed.” Within the last three hundred years it was walled round, and covered with trees, whose blossoms waved white and beautiful in the breezes of spring, and in summer displayed a rich array of trembling green; while half a dozen thatched cottages and a convent were the only habitations that then heaved up in this small neighbourhood. A few noblemen’s mansions were all that at this time stood beside the river from Temple Bar to the Abbey; and these, with their beautiful gardens, sloped down by the edge of the water. Only a few years ago Covent Garden consisted of a mass of unsightly wooden sheds and open standing-places, inferior to the market of many a common country town; and it was not until about 1828 that this mass of rubbish began to be swept away, and the present market to be built. The foundations of the old convent, from which no doubt this place takes its name, are not yet wholly swept away, a considerable portion being at present enclosed within the house occupied by Mr. Bohn, the bookseller, in York-street. Here two or three bulky piles of masonry, no doubt containing the remains of the early fathers, who wandered about this ancient neighbourhood, while, with the exception of the convent, it was all one garden-ground, may still be seen. This convent, if we remember rightly, has escaped the notice of several of the London historians, who, because it was built on land belonging to the Abbey, seem to have lost sight of it as a separate structure.

It was not until the time of Charles I. that any material improvement commenced in this neighbourhood. The name of Inigo Jones is connected with the first advances architecture made in this direction, through the spirited exertions of the fourth Earl of Bedford. A few of the princely mansions which rise up in the neighbourhood of Lincoln’s Inn are fine specimens of the buildings which were erected about this period.

What an uncomfortable place must the old City have been, with its little poking market in Honey-lane, now covered by the City of London School and the Stocks Market, long since removed, and with only one bridge leading into this large London, which was then rapidly bursting its ancient barriers and shooting out far beyond its weather-beaten walls, while all propositions for improvement were considered as death-blows aimed at its old and barbarous privileges. Our forefathers never knew, nor needed, such places as the present Covent Garden Market.

We read, in old plays, of the apple-woman at the corner of the{214} street, and the vendor of herbs who passed through those ancient thoroughfares; but of the greengrocers, like those of our own day, we find no mention, for they had no predecessors; and, excepting the cabbage and the parsnip, peas and beans, and the radish mentioned by Izaak Walton, there seems but to have been a scanty supply of vegetables. The potato is of comparatively modern introduction, while fruit-trees appear to have been grown in England from time immemorial; even as far back as the days of the Saxons, we find the vine cultivated in the gardens of the monasteries, and that the monks made their own wine. Their vegetable diet was very limited; and we need no further proof than the quantity of cattle slaughtered for the winter consumption, and salted for the sole purpose of saving the food they would require. Indeed, with the exception of beans, peas, wheat, barley, and a kind of cabbage called kale, we scarcely find any other mention of the vegetables used by our Saxon ancestors. Even in the time of Elizabeth, according to old Tusser, a supper of bacon broth was not to be despised, and a breakfast off the same substance cold, with the addition of a piece of cabbage in its cold state, and a lump of barley-bread, formed the chief diet of the English farmer, washed down, no doubt, by a draught of beer.

Still the Londoners seem always to have been a flower-loving people, and although the stern Puritans banished their May-poles and Whitsuntide games, they were revived again at the Restoration, and continued, but with little alteration, until the middle of the last century. Even chatty old Pepys allowed his wife to go down into the neighbourhood of Greenwich, so that she might rise early and wash her face in May-dew; and bluff Hal, attended by his queen and nobles, went out to “do observance to the May” at Shooter’s Hill. We cannot help marvelling, while such a love for the beauties of nature prevailed, that no such thing as a regular flower-market should exist. It is true the dramatists mention the smell that pervaded Bucklersbury; and no doubt a few centuries back this was the chief spot where the country-people assembled and sold the flowers and fruits they brought from the country. That thitherward they came, streaming from the wild woods of Hampstead and Highgate, or from the wilder wastes on which Norwood now stands, each bearing their burden into “Bucklersbury at simple-time,” when only one bridge spanned across the Thames.

Yet it must have been a merry London when, to quote the words of an old chronicler, “the king himself rose early in the morning to fetch May or green boughs—he fresh and richly appareled; and all his knights, squires, and gentlemen clothed in white satin; his guards and yeomen of the crown in white sarsenet. And so went every man{215} with his bow and arrows, shooting to the wood; and so repaired again to the court, every man with a green bough in his cap.” This was the time when, although London was without its Covent Garden Market, in May, according to Herrick’s description:

“Each field became a street—each street a park,
Made green, and trimm’d with trees.
Devotion gave each house a bough, a branch;
Each porch and door
With white-thorn neatly was inwove,
As if they were the cooler shades of love.”

In the first volume of the Illustrated London News we find the following description of the church of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden.

“When Francis Duke of Bedford, in the reign of the first Charles, proposed to erect a place of worship for his tenantry in the then thinly populated locality of the Covent Garden, he called to his councils the celebrated Inigo Jones, suggesting, as we find it recorded, that ‘any thing—a barn would do;’ an expression sounding more of the prudence than of the piety of the said Francis. The architect took the hint; and thence arose, in 1640, the Palladian structure of which we now behold a duplicate; the original building having been destroyed in 1795, through the carelessness of some workmen engaged in its repair. The contemplation of this edifice has given rise to a shrewd suspicion in our mind, that the above venerable anecdote relating to its origin may have been the after-thought of some architectural critic, whose admiration for the designer of Whitehall was stronger than his respect for the memory of the duke. Be that as it may, the structure, for several years, was merely known as the Chapel of Ease to St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, until 1645, when it was erected into a separate living, and, in the year of the Restoration (1660), the patronage was vested in the Duke of Bedford; the whilom chapelry becoming known as the church and parish of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden.

“St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, has some peculiarities in its structure. The Tuscan portico, with its prazzi, being placed in the rear instead of the front of the edifice, which latter stands in the quiet by-way of Belford-street. Hence the back of the altar is (to use a palpable Hibernicism) the front, the lantern and principal entrance being at the western extremity of the church. Popularly speaking it is right; for this is the elevation which has looked down on the many glorious rows, cracked crowns, and mêlées consequent upon each recurrence of a Westminster election, the hustings-hammering high bailiff of that ancient borough and city having made this spot memorable as ‘the field of a thousand fights,’ by here fixing the polling-place for the{216} return of members to represent it in Parliament. Here, then, were the tag-rag and bob-tail of this ancient and radical borough wont to disport themselves in fighting, roaring, drinking, and swearing, during the fourteen days saturnalia of each contested election. But these scenes are no more; the Reform bill, by dividing the constituencies and the erection of district polling-booths, has destroyed the glorious anarchy, the rude liberty of the Westminster canaille; and we may look with equal success for the May-pole in the Strand or the Standard on Cornhill, as for an election-mob, such as in the days of Fox, Burdett, Hobhouse, Maxwell, or Sheridan, crowded the front of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden. But if the history of the hustings of Covent Garden would be the history of political party for the last hundred years, not less would the history of the hotels and coffee-houses, which occupy two sides of the quadrangle, comprise the anecdotal annals of the last century, and the earlier portion of the present. The early companions of George IV. here revelled; and a host of buried talent, senatorial, literary, forensic, and dramatic, has the ‘venue’ of its brightest witticisms and most brilliant sallies laid in the hotels of ‘the Garden’—in the Bedford, the Russell, the Piazza, Offley’s, Mother Butler’s, and the rest.

“All around the subject of our article has experienced its full share of change. There is a painting by Hogarth, from which an etching has been published, representing Covent Garden in 1745. There stands the predecessor of the present church, alike in every respect (except the illuminated clock in the pediment); but here the resemblance ceases. The area now occupied by the handsome market, with its granite columns, plate-glass windows, covered arcades and conservatories, is in Hogarth’s picture an uneven space divided by posts and chains, with a pump in its centre. Here and there a market-woman, with looped-up petticoats and exposed neck, presides over heaps of vegetables scattered on the ground, while among mounds of turnips, carrots, and cabbages, strut several formal figures in the uncouth head-dresses, pinched stomachers, and stiff diamond-quilted skirts of a century ago, accompanied by puppy-dogs, and beaux as precise and quaint in attire as themselves. But to return. The design both of church and piazza of the present building is said to have been borrowed from a place built by Cosmo de Medicis at Leghorn. The bold projecting cornice outside, and the eight Corinthian columns of the altar-piece within, have found many admirers among the cognoscenti. In conclusion, we must add, that the inimitable author of Hudibras is also buried here, and no less a humorist than Dr. Walcot, the well-known ‘Peter Pindar:’ their monuments ought to be preserved.{217}



WHAT a crowd of solemn associations gather around the mind of the intellectual visitor on first entering these ancient walls! the very silence which reigns around the vast edifice is startling, and the sound of a falling footstep seems to awaken a thousand sleeping echoes that were mute and voiceless as the surrounding tombs. We feel that we are in the presence of the mighty dead; and, as we gaze around, the deeds which throw a grandeur and a gloom over the pages of English history pass in vivid succession before the eye of the mind. The very pavement seems strewn with the ruins of crowns, sceptres, helmets, and swords, mitres and croziers, bent, crushed, dented, and broken; while, amid the dim gold and the rusted steel, the green laurels of the poet alone remain unchanged. What moving scenes have broken the lengthened shadows which those high-piled pillars throw over aisle and choir! the christenings, coronations, marriages, and funerals of departed monarchs, who have returned to the dust from whence they came. Light and darkness, summer and winter, have brightened and deepened thousands of times over the shadowy crypts in which their ashes repose—every thing grand and imposing is swept away excepting the mighty monuments, which scarcely seem the work of human hands; they rise like images of eternity, ever bending and keeping watch above their silent graves.

Here, in the Pix-office, we are surrounded by Saxon architecture. How massive, plain, solid, and majestic, is this portion of the venerable{218} pile! As it stands now, so it stood before the shores of England were startled by the sound of Norman trumpets—a monument worthy of the descendant of Alfred the Great! The beautiful Mosaic pavement that lies before the altar in the choir, was brought from Rome by the good old Abbot Ware, about the close of the reign of the third Henry—a king to whose liberality we are indebted for a great portion of the erection of the Abbey: for the completion of the whole was the work of many eventful years; and before its towers rose, as they do now, pointing to the sky, many a crowned head sunk in succession into the dark quietude of the tomb. Suns rose and set, and the mighty work grew up; and amid the trump and thunder of a thousand battles, it has stood unshaken: it is too strong for the destroying hand of man; and Time, as if in reverence, has trod lightly as he stepped over it.



Amid such an assemblage of architectural grandeur as the Abbey presents, the mind is filled with a rich confusion of imagery, as if incapable of grappling with the whole. It seems like the sunlight that flames in through the deep-dyed windows; we stand amid a dazzle of blaze and brightness that appears to have neither beginning{219} nor end; here flashing like gold, there stealing into the dim purple twilight, and gilding as it passes a shrine or a stony shroud; then settling down amid the vaulted shadows of the tombs, or just lighting faintly in its passage the uplifted hands of the recumbent image, that have been clasped for centuries in the attitude of silent prayer. We know not whether to start from the shrine of Edward the Confessor, or the coronation-chair, to count our footsteps through the long chapters of history; for the forms of the actors themselves come crowding around us; gazing upon the one, then seating themselves in the other—a rapid succession of phantoms, each dazzling the eye for a moment by its splendour, then sinking down again into the cold stony image that is doomed to hold its hands in the mute, meek penance of unceasing prayer, as it has done through the grey old years of departed centuries. How beautiful is the figure which graces the tomb of Queen Eleanor! Gaze on the calm loveliness of that matchless countenance, and you will fancy that a sweet sleep has stolen over it—that it has but laid down to rest awhile, and while dreaming, its beauty burst forth and dispelled every shade of sorrow, as if Time himself had kept watch over it, and sheltered it from dust and ruin with his wings, and guarded it with his scythe, allowing no mortal finger to touch the hallowed shrine over which he has long kept jealous watch. Death seems never to have entered that cold grey marble palace of beauty. Here lie the remains of Richard II. and his Queen; and while we gaze upon his monument, and recal his “sad, eventful history,” we think of the undying poetry in which Shakspeare has enshrined him, and feel as if we could sit for hours upon the pavement and tell “sad stories about the death of kings.” Bolingbroke ought to have been buried by his side; and for the sake of Shakspeare there would be no feeling outraged, nor no disrespect shewn to the dead, if his remains were exhumed and placed side by side of the monarch he dethroned. How rich and magnificent is Henry the Fifth’s monument, every way worthy of the hero of Agincourt! Strange that even amid the solemnity of death, the eye of an Englishman kindles while he recals the splendid achievements of this brave king, that neither the horrors of war, nor the blood shed at that victorious banquet, throw a sickening sensation over the heart while we gaze upon the tomb of the conqueror. The far past seems to deaden these sympathies; and we look upon the actors as we do upon the words on a time-worn monument, which tell how those who sleep below once lived and were famous in their day, that they died, and were buried: and we read and pass on with a feeling of pride, respect, or sorrow; and the next moment finds us gazing with similar thoughts and sympathies upon{220} the grave of another. Above hangs the helmet which the warrior king wore in battle, shewing by the deep dents which are imprinted upon it, that it was borne into the very thickest of the strife, and had its share of blows dealt heavily, when men lived but to “conquer or to die.”

There is a strange want of harmony between the ancient and modern monuments. Our ancestors understood the “keeping” of their subjects within the pale of style, beauty, and order better than we do or have done. They made their ornaments and furniture to correspond with the venerable and costly edifice which their taste and piety had reared; and in the fulfilment of their solemn ceremonies, allowed no meddling undertaker to disfigure the hallowed mansion with his grave mockery. A glance at the tombs of our old kings is the proof—they have become a portion of Westminster Abbey, while the additions made during the last two centuries are, with a few exceptions, sadly misplaced. We look around, and feel as if, while in the midst of some impressive ceremony, a group of strange maskers had suddenly broken in, snapped the train of our thoughts, and by their antics diverted both mind and eye from the imposing subjects with which they were before so earnestly engrossed. Statues or monuments, that would look well in open squares or spacious halls, startle us by their very nakedness, when they step out between the shadowy and solemn crypts, where death itself is roofed over and vaulted in at the foot of the mighty mound whose very majesty is overwhelming. It is as if the eye, while contemplating the grandeur of Parnassus, was disturbed by the white butterflies that are ever crossing each other at its base. Mere inscriptions on some Gothic tablet would be better than these abortions: a list of names would not offend, like many of these pale, inexpressive countenances, that “fright” the aisle “from its propriety” in marble. The name alone in such a place would strike the right chord, while the ... but we are standing amongst the mighty dead.

The beautiful screen erected by Blore is a splendid exception to the mass of modern innovations. Turn to the monument of Sir Francis Vere, in the eastern aisle of the transept, and there you see what true genius can produce.

We will now glance at the Poets’ Corner, a spot haunted by sad and sweet associations. Here stands the massy and solemn-looking tomb of Chaucer, that “morning star” of poetry which first dawned through the long night of Egyptian darkness. He, the earliest child of English song, was the first bard interred within this great national mausoleum; and it now appears that the monument was erected soon after his death: there is an antique look about it which would{221} leave a stranger to conclude that the tomb was almost as old as the Abbey itself. Gentle Spenser, author of the immortal “Faëry Queen,” was the next heir to undying fame interred in this beautiful sanctuary; and Shakspeare and Jonson were no doubt mourners at that great funeral. Beaumont and Drayton were the next successors who sank into this silent city of the dead. “Rare Ben Jonson” soon followed; but he was buried in the northern aisle of the nave—it is supposed, very near to Killigrew’s monument. Cowley, Dryden, Gay, Prior, and Addison, although the latter was buried in another part of the Abbey, may be numbered among the illustrious dead who sleep their long sleep within those ancient walls. Many other monuments stand here erected to the memory of our celebrated poets, whose remains lie far and wide apart—some in the beautiful churches of London, others in the quiet seclusion of the country. The author of the “Pleasures of Hope,” whose mortal part we followed to the shallow grave which was opened near the front of Chaucer’s tomb, was the last true poet consigned to his “narrow cell” in this great graveyard of genius. Grand and solemn were the tones which the mighty organ poured out amid that listening silence—sounds which seemed more allied to heaven than earth; echoes that rolled on, then died away amid the shadowy crypts and pillared recesses, sounding as if the voices of the shrouded dead had found utterance, and were welcoming home another immortal spirit. Never was the funeral service more beautifully or feelingly read than on that occasion, by a brother poet. And that old Jerusalem Chamber in which we assembled, with its ancient tapestry, is itself a history. Here the great have, after death, lain in state; and the “props and pillars” of the nation have here assembled to make war or peace; and here also, stretched upon a pallet before the fire, Henry IV. died: the portrait of the ill-starred Richard II. hangs in this very chamber where Bolingbroke expired.

If one portion of the splendid Abbey more than another calls up the scriptural image of “a temple not made with hands,” it is Henry the Seventh’s Chapel. The opening of those beautiful gates which lead therein seems to reveal such a glimpse of heaven as we sometimes see in our sweetest dreams. The very roof appears buoyed up by the air, as if a thing so light and beautiful needed no more support than its own graceful interlacings, censers held up by invisible hands; a fretwork of innumerable wings, netted and open like those which the gaudy dragon-fly displays, seem as if they were frozen while fluttering over an endless succession of flowers. On each side hang the banners of the Knights of the Bath, drooping without motion over the monuments of the dead, above the head of the once{222} haughty Queen Elizabeth, who sleeps beside her sister Mary in the northern aisle. The brass screen which encloses the tomb of Henry VII. is of exquisite workmanship, and speaks much for the advance of art in this department. In this chapel, the stern Protector, Cromwell, was interred; but his body was afterwards dragged out of its grave by the consent of Charles II., drawn on a hurdle to Tyburn, hanged upon the gallows until sunset, then taken down and beheaded, and afterwards thrown into a pit at the foot of Tyburn-tree, where, “after life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well,” awaiting the same blast of the last trumpet that will arouse his headless victim and heartless persecutor.



Those who wish to witness the out-of-door pomp and pride of mighty London must enter by the Horse-Guards and visit the parks; for there all the array of rank and fashion and aristocratic beauty congregate, under the open eye of heaven: mounted on splendid horses, or seated in richly ornamented chariots, and arrayed in the most approved costumes, they confer a mutual pleasure upon all, by issuing forth to see and to be seen. Here, from the humble pedestrian—the nursery-maid, with her children, walking within the Enclosure—the man-about-town, fashionably dressed, and who may either be taken{223} for a member of the swell mob or a marquis,—the ranks ascend to celebrated statesmen, soldiers of renown, and lords and ladies, whose titles have figured for centuries in the pages of history, and who all appear to have no other object than that of inhaling the fresh air, and enjoying the beauty of the scenery. For in these places the leaves wave, and the flowers blow, and the waters run, as green, and sweetly, and freshly, as if the huge city, with its millions of murmuring voices, had been removed miles away. Yet, all is London; only a wider space in that great unbroken chain of streets and houses, whose squares are but the openings in the links that are locked together, in and out, and under and over, to the very ending.

St. James’s Park, in the reign of Henry VIII., appears to have been nothing more than a wide space of open fields, formerly occupied by an hospital; on the site of which bluff Hal erected a palace, and formed a park, which he enclosed with brick walls. To this park he added a chase, which he threw out like a wide open noose, from his palace at Westminster, and where the line fell it formed the circle which ran from St. Giles’s-in-the-Fields, up by Islington, round Highgate and Hornsey, Hampstead Heath, and back again to St. Giles and Westminster; and all subjects of every degree were forbidden either to hawk or hunt within these boundaries. Only three centuries have passed away since this proclamation was issued. Old Death himself, with dart in hand, hunted down Henry soon after he had taken possession of his new chase; and, after the leading hart of the herd had fallen, the whole chase was soon disafforested. Edward VI. possessed not his father’s organs of destructiveness; but, instead of forming parks, founded hospitals; one of which will cause the name of the Boy-King to be reverenced throughout all time. But few features of that old park now remain, although there are spots about it in which the spectator may stand in such a situation as to shut out every other object, excepting the grey old Abbey of Westminster, against which the trees seem to rest, half burying it, as they no doubt did three hundred years ago.

There are many “pretty bits” about St. James’s Park, as you look up towards where the pale marble arch formerly stood, on which the royal banner of England, that threw out its golden lions upon the breeze, used to float; when, seen through the opening green of the foliage, it seemed to carry back the imagination into the land of old romance and chivalry. Nor is the Palace itself less pleasing; for although in many points deficient of architectural beauty, it throws the old black-bricked, gloomy pile of St. James’s altogether into the shade. But the most beautiful walks lie beside the canal, or sheet of ornamental water, which is fairly alive with water-fowl, brought from almost every{224} corner of the globe. Around this part there are many fine trees, which throw their green shadows into the water, broken at times by a hundred tiny ripples, which have been raised by the paddles of some strange-looking duck, or thrown up by the silver-breasted swans. We have seen little morsels mirrored in these “cool translucent waves” of the richest colour and beauty—the drooping gold of the laburnum, and the pearly white of the hawthorn, dangled amid moving shadows of green; while deep down, the blue sky lay sleeping, like another heaven, motionless, and without a cloud. This is the favourite haunt of children and nursery-maids; and few fowls are better fed in summer-time than those which skim about the water in the Park, for the handfuls of bread and biscuit which are thrown in by the “little dears” for the little ducks, and often gobbled up by the larger ones, would almost feed a workhouse. It has been a celebrated spot for love-making ever since the days of Charles II., and is frequently mentioned in the works of the dramatists who wrote at that period. In this it has not degenerated up to the present day, for many a “Corydon and Phillis” may yet be seen breathing out gentle vows in the most secluded retreats, some of the maidens with countenances as beautiful as ever figured in that gallery of graceless Graces which formed the seraglio of the Merry Monarch. In this park King Charles often amused himself by playing with his dogs, or feeding the ducks; or sometimes he stole away to have a gossip with Nell Gwynn, the Duchess of Cleveland, or Lady Castlemain, all of whom resided in the neighbourhood. Here he also played at “pall-mall,” for so is that game called by garrulous old Pepys. Horace Walpole makes mention of the Mall, and also tells us that pretty ladies were sometimes mobbed in the Park.

The Green Park possesses but little to interest us, beyond a walk beside the gardens which run up in a line with James-street, although far behind it. But those who know the locality will not pass without pausing to gaze at one house, conspicuous by its large bow-windows, the upper one of which is encircled by a gilt palisade. This is the residence of Samuel Rogers the poet. Within that house every distinguished literary man of the last half-century has been a guest. Here Scott, Byron, Shelley, Coleridge, and Campbell have many a time discoursed with the venerable poet. What a rich volume would that be, were it possible to write it, that contained all the good sayings which have been uttered beneath that roof! Here we first sat a guest, roaring with laughter at the wit of the late Sydney Smith; and here also we have listened with “bated breath” to the music murmured by the lips of Moore. Within those walls we first saw that true poetess and injured lady, Mrs. Norton; and from the host himself,{225} in our early career as an author, received that encouragement and kindness, without which we might have “fallen on the way.” A description of this celebrated house, all it contains, and the guests it has received, would require the hand of another Walpole to illustrate. The name of Samuel Rogers would alone save the Green Park from oblivion, and give it a popularity which it would never, but for him, have possessed.

No stranger would ever think of entering Hyde Park without first casting a look at Apsley House, the abode of “the” Duke; if he did, the statue of Achilles, which seems stationed as if to point it out, would remind him where he was. This is the very maze and centre of fashion; here the pride and beauty of England may be seen upon their own stage; and on a fine day, in what is called the “season” in town, no other spot in the world can out-rival in rich display and chaste grandeur that which is here presented. It far excels St. James’s in pure rural scenery—there is less of art and more of nature in its appearance, and this is increased by the beauty of the Serpentine river. Then, be it remembered, we are in the vicinity of “Tyburn Tree,” the history of which has yet to be written. We have often pictured, while wandering here in the deepening twilight, the mouldering bodies of the stern Protector, Ireton, and Bradshaw, dangling upon that “triple-tree” in the sunset of a winter’s evening, after they had been dragged out of their graves in Westminster Abbey. This was indeed carrying revenge beyond the grave, and is one of the blackest blots that stain the memory of the Merry Monarch. Evelyn has a savage and unfeeling note in his “Diary” on the revolting exhibition. “On the 30th of January,” he says, “the carcases of those rebels—Cromwell, Bradshaw, the judge who condemned his Majesty, and Ireton (son-in-law to the Usurper)—were dragged out of their superb tombs in Westminster, among the kings, to Tyburn, and hanged on the gallows there from nine in the morning till six at night, and then buried under that fatal and ignominious monument in a deep pit, thousands who had seen them in all their pride being spectators.”

Cromwell had a narrow escape in Hyde Park while driving his own coach; the horses ran away, and the stern Protector was thrown off the box, and falling on the pole, while his feet were entangled in the harness, he was carried some distance. On this accident the old rhyming cavalier Cleveland wrote the following lines:

“The whip again! away! ’tis too absurd
That thou should’st lash with whip-cord now, but sword.
I’m pleased to fancy how the glad compact
Of hackney-coachmen sneer at the last act.{226}
Hark how the scoffing concourse hence derives
The proverb, ‘needs must go when the devil drives.’
Yonder a whipster cries, ‘’Tis a plain case,
He turn’d us out to put himself i’ the place;
But, God-a-mercy, horses once, for ye
Stood to ’t, and turn’d him out as well as we.’
Another, not behind him with his mocks,
Cries out, ‘Sir, faith you were in the wrong box;
He did presume to rule, because, forsooth,
He’s been a horse-commander from his youth;
But he must know there’s difference in the reins
Of horses fed with oats and fed with grains.
I wonder at his frolic, for be sure
Four hamper’d coach-horses can fling a Brewer:
But ‘Pride will have a fall,’ such the world’s course is,
He who can rule three realms can’t guide four horses;
See him that trampled thousands in their gore,
Dismounted by a party but of four.
But we have done with ’t, and we may call
This driving Jehu, Phaeton in his fall:
I would to God for these three kingdoms’ sake,
His neck, and not the whip, had given the crack.”

We wonder whether Cromwell remembered the wish conveyed in the last line when the old royalist colonel had to petition the Protector for his deliverance from Yarmouth gaol. The letter he sent (now before us) is headed, “To the Protector, after long and vile durance in prison. May it please your Highness,” &c.

Hyde Park is mentioned as early as the reign of Edward VI, and was no doubt enclosed long before that period. During the time of the Commonwealth it was put up to auction and sold in lots, the deer alone being valued at near upon a thousand pounds. At that period it extended to the Acton-road one way, and to Knightsbridge the other; the boundary citywards being, as now, near Park-lane, while the distance it extended westward is at this day unknown. The consort of George II. was allowed to possess three hundred acres of this Park in her day, and early writers state that Queen Anne had enclosed thirty acres within Kensington Gardens.

Hyde Park was the great mustering-ground for the May-day holidays in the olden time. Cleveland, who wrote and fought in the time of the first Charles, makes mention of it in a poem entitled “May-day,” which contains many beautiful lines. He speaks of “Delight beating her silvery wings,” warbling over the “dappled lawns;” of “snow-white milk-maids crowned with garlands;” of the youths and maidens tumbling and rolling upon the grass, and of revelling in the luxuries of “curds and cream.” Even Cromwell, with{227} all his gloomy Puritanism, went to witness the wrestling in Hyde Park, little dreaming that after he had been long dead and buried, his body would be hanged on the neighbouring gallows, which must have loomed ominously above those merry-makings. Gossiping good-natured old Pepys regrets, in his “Diary,” that he could not be in Hyde Park one May-day among the great gallants and fine ladies.

Regent’s Park has greater attractions than its scenery, although many portions of it are very beautiful. Here we find the Zoological Gardens and Colosseum, both important enough to deserve a separate notice in our Sketches of London, had we the space. On entering the Gardens you see a beautiful terrace, which reaches from the rural lodges to some distance, while below are placed the cages which contain the noble animals; and these are very commodious and airy. Beyond this terrace there is a pleasant rustic walk, hemmed in by luxuriant foliage, at the end of which there is an opening commanding an extensive view of the Park. To the right you have the domestic aviaries, well worth visiting, as they contain some fine specimens of the fowls of Peru and Mexico. To the left of the terrace there is a little morsel of real Watteau-like scenery, with its smooth lawn and clear pond, near to which are placed the gorgeous macaws, whose hues out-rival the colours of the rainbow. Further on there is another “green nestling spot,” adjoining a sheet of water, which, with its fountain and variety of aquatic fowls and beautiful beech-trees, tempted us to linger longer. Then there is the mossy rock, where the otter is located, with its silent water, into which live fish are thrown, when the long-bodied inhabitant plunges in after them, compelled to wet his jacket before he can enjoy his dinner. But were we to describe the monkeys and parrots, and every variety of bird and beast which are here assembled, we should require the whole space of our volume. The catalogue sold at the Gardens consists of nearly thirty pages, and to this we refer our readers when they visit Regent’s Park.

The ground occupied by Regent’s Park is not without its interest. The old monastic house of Marylebone stood within its boundaries in former days, and had in the time of Elizabeth its park and deer. Here also was a famous bowling-green, which the Duke of Buckingham in his day visited.

The new Parks which are now forming around the metropolis do great credit to Government, and will, like charity, cover a multitude of minor transgressions; for those who legislate for the benefit of posterity must be influenced by something more noble than narrow and selfish views. Breathing-room has been sadly neglected of late around the metropolis. Let any one cross over London Bridge, and turn up by St. George’s Church in the Borough, along the Old Kent{228} Road, and as far as New Cross, he will find it one continuous and unbroken chain of buildings. Yet here is space ample enough, and grounds of but little value, that might be formed into a spacious park. If this is not done, those who twenty years hence live in this neighbourhood of railways will be compelled to wander as far as Blackheath or Greenwich Park, to obtain a mouthful of pure air. Kennington Common is but a name for a small grassless square, surrounded with houses, and poisoned by the stench of vitriol-works, and black, open, sluggish ditches; what it will be when the promised alterations are completed we have yet to see.

Walworth Common has vanished; and the little fairy Green before the Swan at Stockwell is now no more; while even Clapham Common seems in our eyes to lessen every year. Wandsworth had set out in good earnest to reach Lambeth, and would soon have been near the Nine Elms station, had not Government stopped its career, by stepping in between at Battersea Fields. Cross the water, and some of the miscalled Parks are like the one named Whetstone—thrust into the corner of a square. Barnsbury Park is in any street which the conductor of the Islington omnibus may please to set you down at; while Islington, Highbury, Pentonville, and King’s Cross are all so jostled together, that you cannot tell which is the beginning or the end of either the one or the other. We have heard of a neighbourhood that stretches somewhere behind Houndsditch and Bishopsgate, and seen something of it while gazing from the dome of St. Paul’s; but from the view thus obtained of it, we should as soon hope to find our way out of the Cretan labyrinth, if once in it, as to extricate ourselves from this maze of streets and alleys. We can imagine some stranger losing his way in this perplexing maze, and ever moving on until he grew grey, without a hope of finding his way out again. The new Park in progress near this neighbourhood may, at last, be something like a landmark by which we can see through such an unknown wilderness. How the inhabitants of such localities as these must pine for

“The populous solitude of bees and birds,
And fairy-form’d and many-colour’d things,
Who worship Him with notes more sweet than words,
And innocently open their glad wings,
Fearless and full of life; the gush of springs,
And fall of lofty fountains; and the bend
Of stirring branches, and the bud that brings
The swiftest thought of beauty.”—Byron.




BY way of contrast, we will stride from splendour to squalour—from St. James’s to St. Giles’s, whose names Douglas Jerrold has rendered inseparable in his fearless and life-like novel.

As St. Giles’s folds within its arms a portion of the fashion-frequented neighbourhood of Oxford-street, so do the low alleys of Tothill-fields hem in the palaces of Westminster, creeping up to the very walls of the grey old abbey, and dipping down to the rim of the river; while, eastward, the city of merchants is bounded by the wretchedness of Whitechapel on the one hand, and deep behind again by the thickly-inhabited parish of Shoreditch. Wealth cannot wholly seclude itself; to wheresover it moves poverty follows for companionship, for without its dependents it is useless: riches cannot dwell apart, without looking worse than the gold on gold in bad heraldry. The fungus and the lichen cling to the sound gigantic oak, the same as to the trunk of the decayed pollard. True, the wedge has been driven into the rotten heart of the old Rookery of St. Giles’s, and New Oxford-street has sprung up from the corruption; but what has become of the inhabitants who battened on the core of the decayed tree? Like a nest of ants, they are turned loose to overrun other neighbourhoods. The new houses and splendid streets which have risen above the old sites of sorrow, misery, and wretchedness, have but driven them from their ancient haunts, and compelled them to seek shelter in other quarters, where the poverty-stricken populace

“Most do congregate,”


where misery clings to misery for a little warmth, and want and disease lie down side by side, and groan together; where

“But to think is to be full of sorrow,
And leaden-eyed despair.”—Keats.

Let us look these evils steadily in the face for a moment or two without blenching. The air which now blows through the open windows of the emblazoned carriage in which the diamonded duchess is seated, a few seconds ago swept over the poisonous avenues of Church-street and Carrier-street, and is laden with odours from the sink and sewerage of St. Giles’s. Yes, the self-same breeze which now uplifts those dark ringlets, a minute ago filled the lungs of Wiggins; those parted lips inhaled the poison that arose from the rotten garbage of these streets, the gases arising from the churchyard, and every other smell that is born of death and decay. How essential is it, then, fair lady, for thy own sake, to aid us in cleansing these Augean stables, in purifying these pest-houses of poor humanity. You may build yourself a fine house, my lady, and hem it round with a lofty wall; but you must, while in town, still breathe the poisonous air which they breathe, until these grievous evils are remedied.

We will enter these streets and peep into those dark, close, unhealthy, and forbidding-looking rooms. In this narrow alley a dusky twilight reigns throughout the sunny noon of day. We have to feel for the noisome staircases which open on either hand; and now we have found one, we will grope our way through this land of gloom and shadows. What a dead smell floats around us! a close noisome air, such as arises from an over-crowded vault, even more death-smelling than many a vault we have in our day visited. The staircase is encrusted with dirt, a kind of black greasy mud, which has been trampled into toughness, not unlike what covers the City streets after rain or snow in winter; but “that” is “clean” dirt in comparison to this, for here we tread upon old filth, the accumulation, it may be, of years; for by the side of the staircase, where it is least trodden, it is mildewy and mouldy. The smoke of our cigar is the only wholesome aroma that rises amid these stifling rooms. The perfume of flowers could never pierce through the weight of this dense atmosphere, but would fall back again and die amid the petals whence it arose; even the strong sweet-smelling May-blossoms would struggle in vain to disperse the poison of this motionless air.

Now we have reached the room, we cannot see what forms are before us, so little light streams in through that “dirt-ditched” and cobweb-covered casement, which appears as if it were never opened,{231}





as if they knew that the noisome air was better kept out than in. There is no ventilation, no “thorough-draft” through any of these miserable rooms; the walls are damp through so many breaths, for where the moist air falls there doth it rest, hanging like cold beaded drops on the brow of one who wrestles sternly with death.

It must have been many years since these apartments were either painted or whitewashed; a black grey hue pervades every thing, as if the very atmosphere had itself grown dark through hovering here so long and motionless, as if it were compelled to stand and sicken between the stench from below and the black vapours above—the one arising from the fœtid cellars, the other hurled down by the rain from the soot-covered roofs—exhalations of the earth earthy—of the sewer sewery—of the filth filthy—poison ever propagating poison—gutters ever generating deadly gases, and creeping into the blood of the inhabitants; and yet strange, in spite of its filth, this neighbourhood was passed over lightly by the “fell destroyer,” compared to others which He ravaged during the last dreadful epidemic.

Behold! the curtain is at last uplifted, and those are living and breathing forms that sit or stand before us, and such—however much we may shun them here—as we shall be doomed to dwell amongst hereafter. That poor girl is tying up her water-cresses in bunches, ready for to-morrow’s sale; she has no other place but the floor to lay them on before she puts them into her little basket ready bunched. The green bunches at her feet will be sold and eaten on the morrow by those who never bestow a thought on the filthy floor on which they now lie. In that room they will be kept all night, amid the breathing of above a dozen sleepers. Those cabbages which the man is piling up in the corner are the unsold remainder of to-day’s stock; he will strip off the outer leaves in the morning to give them a fresh look: they will also be eaten on the morrow, in spite of the poisonous exhalations they are steeped in. He will sleep beside them all night; the man with the three dogs will share his bed, and perhaps the dogs themselves may find a couch amongst the cabbages. The woman who has just brought in that bundle of filthy rags (too late to be sold to-day in Monmouth-street) is also a lodger, and will no doubt make a pillow of her dirty burden. That pile of shavings, sacking, straw, and rags will be dragged out of the corner when they feel disposed to sleep, and one will lie down here and another there, and for a few hours bury their miseries in forgetfulness. How so many manage to sleep in one apartment, especially in hot weather, is only known to themselves. In the bleak bitterness of the chilling winter we can picture them crowding together for warmth. But we must retreat; for we find a difficulty in breathing,{234} and pant like a robin that has flown by mistake into a baker’s oven while it was gradually heating.

Here we are again in the filthy street; for they have no back-yards into which to throw their refuse, so must either keep it to putrify and decay in the overheated rooms, or throw it out, and let their neighbours go “share and share alike” in the sights and smells which pervade the uncleansed neighbourhood. True, there is a man employed to clear away the garbage; but, when this is done, they have no water, saving what they beg, and not a drop can they spare to wash down the gutters. Wherever a sunbeam alights, you see it steaming with the filth, and behold the golden ray dimmed with the vapoury and deadly exhalations.

Yet these poor people are not naturally dirty. From many of the windows you see their tattered garments hanging out to dry, though, from the colour, you have a difficulty in persuading yourself that they have ever been washed, and come to the conclusion that they are only hung there to be aired. The colour is not their fault; such an atmosphere would turn a root of milk-white daisies to the hue of parchment in a month, if it were possible that they could live so long in those breathless and airless alleys, where not a green leaf has grown for years.

Sometimes little Jack, or his half-clothed sister, when playing about the room (for children play even here), catch the end of the prop on which the rags are suspended, when down comes the whole washing into the gutter; and, unless the poor washerwoman is pretty nimble in looking after them, the first dishonest passer-by will be likely enough to pick up the whole wardrobe, and to see what it weighs at the nearest rag-shop. They have not the means of keeping themselves clean; like the Israelites of old, they cannot complete the task without the straw; and in many places what little water there was, has, like other conveniences, been cut off while the new buildings were proceeding. Baths and wash-houses will no doubt in time supply these deficiencies; but until they are opened, we suppose the inhabitants must be left to shift for themselves as they best can, for the “improvements” as they are called have subjected many of the people in this poor neighbourhood to such privations as they never before experienced.

Let us lift up the flap of this cellar, and see what is going on below; for that gleam of fire, or candlelight, shews that these underground regions are inhabited—that the habits of the ancient Britons are not wholly abandoned, but that the descendants of those old burrowers of hill and rock have but changed the twilight of their dry caverns for the damp and darkness of these sewer-like habitations. Here we behold another human hive busily preparing for dinner, although it is so late in{235} the day; for, like our wealthy merchants, they must get through whatever business they may chance to have on hand before they have (the means or) time to eat. Saw you ever such a medley as is now frizzling in that capacious frying-pan? Parings of a loin of mutton, two beef sausages, a thin rasher of pickled pork, ditto of bacon, the scrag-end of a neck of mutton, a piece of beef-skirt, a small steak, and a kidney. That old fellow with the wooden leg quite enjoys the job of cooking, and has got a jug of water in readiness to make “gravy” for the whole community, who have clubbed towards the contents of the frying-pan. Those who sit on the unboarded and unpaved floor beside the wall, and who look on so wistfully, have nothing to cook—nothing to eat; they paid the last penny or twopence they possessed to be allowed to sleep on the floor of that cellar until morning. When those dinners or suppers are over, the broken table, the bottomless chairs, and old butter-tubs which are used for seats, will be set aside, and the whole of the naked cellar strewn over with straw or shavings, on which they may (if they can)

“Look round and take their rest.”

And right glad will those foodless and moneyless creatures be when all the cooking and eating, in which they cannot become partakers, ceases, and when, amid sound asleep on the unboarded and unpaved floor, some kindly vision may come through the mysterious murmurs of the night, and

“Cloy the hungry edge of appetite
By bare imaginations of a feast.”

In wet weather the inhabitants of these subterranean dwellings sometimes stand peeping through the open cellar-lights at the feet which pass over the pavement; and, while doing so, their faces are spotted like leopards with the mud. They seem as if they were ever looking at other people’s steps instead of taking heed of their own ways. Happy might they be if, like the long-tailed field-mouse, they could, in their burrows, store up provisions for the winter, while in summer they nibbled the herbage or fed on the acorns which fell from the broad hoary oak, quenching their thirst at the woodland brook; and, like the old barbarians who first landed on our island shore, have no care, beyond what they should eat and drink, about the morrow. Yet even they have something to be proud of; for they have only to issue out of their black and breathless courts through the breezy thoroughfares which open into Oxford-street, and there the same window, which the dandy shopman in the “white choker” and neat black suit “dressed” to allure the wealthier classes, is open for their inspection; and more than one merry laugh have we heard while{236} passing by, as some half-drunken Pat pictured his (far-from-sober) Biddy in a long Cashmere shawl and bonnet, plumed with the bird of paradise.

Sometimes you may see one of the inhabitants halting outside the huckster’s shop, and endeavouring to squeeze a penny out of the sixpence (which has to purchase tea, sugar, bread, butter, tobacco, and a candle) for gin; and so accommodating are some of these shopkeepers, that they make halfpenny-worths of every thing they sell, and are ready to cut either a candle or a penny-loaf in two with the same knife.

We well remember passing through the Rookery of St. Giles’s when the work of demolition first commenced; when those who had found no other residence were allowed to remain until the workmen began to pull the houses down. Many of the inhabitants who were then old were born in those tumble-down houses, then doomed to stand no longer. There they had tended the sick couch, and through those dilapidated doorways carried out their dead; smiles and tears had brightened and fallen in those apartments, which to them bore the endearing name of home. We looked up, and through the broken lattices saw the faces of little children—dirty images of innocence—dear to the hearts of their poor mothers. And many houses similar to these are still standing in St. Giles’s, with leaning door-posts and windows all awry; some propped up with beams, on which they rest, as if they had a stitch in their sides, and had placed their hands there to relieve the pain. Many of the door-posts are worn smooth and bright, through the idle loungers, who have rubbed and rested against them while smoking and looking out into the streets, hour after hour, and day after day,—men who seem to have no business upon earth, having to smoke and sleep, and when they awake, to smoke and lean against the self-same doorways until it is time to sleep again. On the steps, and on the edges of the pavement, or at the entrance of those unexplored courts, withered old women sit with folded arms scowling at you as you pass, and proclaiming by their looks that you are an intruder. And fortunate may a decently-clad man consider himself if he meets with nothing more serious than black looks while passing through the still dangerous neighbourhood of St. Giles’s.

All are not idle, be it remembered, who frequent such haunts as these; many have seen “better days,” and only fell because they possessed not fortitude enough to struggle against unfortunate circumstances. Others had never been taught any trade, and when they lost such situations as ten thousands were capable of taking, they never raised their heads again, although they went many a weary day, week, and month afterwards in quest of employment, returning at{237} night to sleep in such dens as we have here described, sick and sad at heart. At length their attire became too shabby for their admission into respectable houses only to ask for employment, and then they sank with a kind of sullen recklessness amid the filth and squalor of St. Giles’s, and from that wretched state never emerged again. But these are the exceptions; the majority of the inhabitants are “to the manner born.”

Glancing at the remote past, it was in St. Giles’s where the criminal stopped in ancient times, and drank his last draught of ale on his way to Tyburn tree; and about the time when Chaucer died, the gallows was removed from Smithfield into this parish, probably because here it was more frequently needed. In the reign of Charles II. an attempt was made to improve this neighbourhood by a better class of houses, and for years some of the streets wore a look of respectability; then a change took place, and the old primeval dirt and darkness settled down again. Our modern improvers have commenced by rooting out the inhabitants; may we not expect a new St. Giles’s to rise up in some other corner of this vast metropolis?

The following description of the Church of St. Giles’s is quoted from Vol. V. of the Illustrated London News:

“Many a reader may start at the adjunct of ‘in the fields,’ to the dedicatory name of this metropolitan church; and the surprise is natural enough when we recollect that the structure is situated on the south side of the High-street, St. Giles’s, which probably was one of the narrowest roadways in this overgrown city. The name of the church receives its addition from the circumstance of being formerly in the fields, and to distinguish it from the Church of St. Giles’s, Cripplegate. This parish was anciently a village of the same name, and its church is supposed to owe its origin to the chapel which belonged to the hospital founded about 1117, by Queen Matilda, consort of Henry I., for the reception of leprous persons belonging to the City of London and the county of Middlesex. In 1354, Edward III. granted this hospital to the master and brethren of the order of Burton, St. Lazar, of Jerusalem, in Leicestershire, for certain considerations, for which it became a cell to that order, till the general dissolution of religious houses by Henry VIII., who, in 1545, granted it to Lord Dudley. Soon after this period, the chapel or church was made parochial; and on the 20th of April, 1547, William Rawlinson was instituted rector.

“The ancient church being very small, and much dilapidated, was taken down in 1623, and a church of brick was erected in its stead. This also became in its turn too small and inconvenient, when the inhabitants applied for an Act of Parliament to enable them to rebuild{238} it; accordingly, the old fabric was taken down in 1730, and the present very handsome edifice was erected and completed in 1733; this being the third church built upon the site.

“Mr. Elmes, in his diligently compiled Topographical Dictionary of London, attributes the design to Gibbs; but the following statement is more circumstantial: ‘It is curious that this edifice, which has given to Flitcroft his reputation, should be attributed, in the Report of the Church Commissioners to the House of Commons, to Hawksmoor, who, they say, expended 8605l. 7s. 2d. upon it; but there is no doubt but Walpole, and the View, published in 1753, are correct in ascribing it to Flitcroft, who was probably employed by Gibbs, and not by the commissioners.’—Knight’s London.

“The church is built of Portland stone, as are also the tower and the tall and graceful spire, which are 160 feet high to the vane. The interior is 75 feet in length, exclusive of the recess for the altar, and 60 feet in width: it has a wagon-headed ceiling, and is divided into nave and aisles by fluted stone Ionic columns, which assist the main walls in carrying the roof. The effect of the entire composition is more than usually chaste and beautiful.

“A new entrance-gateway, of considerable beauty, has, within these forty years, been erected from the designs of William Leverton, Esq., in which is introduced an ancient piece of sculpture, of more curiosity than beauty, representing the last judgment. This work was taken from ‘The Resurrection Gate’ of the old church, which had also many rich monuments, one of which, to Sir Roger L’Estrange, the well-known loyalist and writer, still remains. Andrew Marvel was also buried here, ‘a man in whose reputation the glory of the patriot has eclipsed the finer powers of the poet.’ St. Giles’s also preserves the ashes of Chapman, the translator of Homer; and Flaxman, the truly great sculptor, was buried here on December 15, 1826, his body accompanied to the grave by the president and council of the Royal Academy. For once, an inscription speaks simple truth; we read here, ‘John Flaxman, R.A., P.S., whose mortal life was a constant preparation for a blessed immortality: his angelic spirit returned to the Divine Giver on the 7th of December, 1826, in the 72d year of his age.’

“There is a peculiarly interesting circumstance connected with his death, told by Allan Cunningham in his Lives of the British Sculptors (p. 359), which we cannot resist the temptation of transcribing. He says ‘the winter had set in, and, as he was never a very early mover, a stranger found him rising one morning when he called about nine o’clock. ‘Sir,’ said the visitant, presenting a book as he spoke, ‘this work was sent to me by the author, an Italian artist, to present to{239} you, and at the same time to apologise for its extraordinary dedication. In truth, sir, it was so generally believed throughout Italy that you were dead, that my friend determined to shew the world how much he esteemed your genius, and having this book ready for publication, he has inscribed it Al Ombra di Flaxman. No sooner was the book published than the story of your death was contradicted, and the author, affected by his mistake, which, nevertheless, he rejoices at, begs you will receive his work and his apology.’ Flaxman smiled, and accepted the volume with unaffected modesty, and mentioned the circumstance, as curious, to his own family and some of his friends. This occurred on Saturday the 2d of December, when he was well and cheerful; the next day he was taken suddenly ill with cold, and on the 7th was dead.

“In the churchyard, too, is the tomb of the Pendrells, who aided in the escape of Charles II.; and a few years since was revived the custom of decorating this tomb on Restoration Day (May 29), with branches of oak, in commemoration of Pendrell’s loyalty and attachment to the ‘unkingship.’

“In the tower is a clock, the dials of which are illuminated at night with gas; this being, if we remember rightly, the first improvement of the kind introduced into the metropolis.

“The church is a rectory, in the county and archdeaconry of Middlesex, in the diocese of London, and the patronage of the Lord Chancellor. “Although the church is very capacious, it is altogether inadequate to the spiritual wants of the parish.

“It was in front of the site of St. Giles’s Church that Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, was so savagely burnt during the reign of Henry V., his early friend. The phrase, ‘St. Giles’s Bowl,’ will remind many of the custom that formerly prevailed here of giving every malefactor on his way to Tyburn a bowl of ale, as his last worldly draught. Thus is the site associated with the fierceness and coarse spirit of bygone ages; and probably the most grateful relics are the trees in the churchyard, which carry the mind’s eye back to ‘the fields.’ The illuminated clock and the wood pavement of the roadway are unquestionably of our own time.”

Besides the church, there is a curious old bath in the neighbourhood of St. Giles (of which we give an engraving), accompanied with the following quotation from the Times:

“In the thick of the once renowned ‘slums’ of St. Giles’s there has existed one of the finest springs in the metropolis, which has been ‘known to local fame,’ and esteemed for its medicinal properties, for the last two centuries; and, if the gossip of tradition may be relied on, it was once the favourite bagnio of Queen Anne, whose name it{240} still bears to this day: it is to be seen at No. 3 Old Belton-street, between Holborn and Long-acre, in the direct line of the new street between Holborn and the Strand; one side of the street in question has already been pulled down, so that the bath is now once again brought to light, though sadly shorn of its ancient splendour. It is a curious and interesting relic of bygone days: it is a large tank, paved at the bottom with black and white marble, and lined throughout with good Dutch tiles, of the time apparently of William III. or Queen Anne, having a lofty French groined dome roof. Being supplied direct from the spring, which is perpetually running into it, so that it is always fresh, it is much used by the inhabitants in the neighbourhood, as it is supposed to be a good cure for rheumatism and other disorders, is a powerful tonic, and, from its colour, evidently contains a considerable trace of iron. The spring from which the bath is supplied has been traced, I believe, from Highgate; and as it does not appear to be known to, or treated on by antiquaries who have written on these matters, I have been induced to direct your attention to it, in the hope that such a valuable spring may be rendered available for the benefit of the poor inhabitants of this great metropolis.”

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SUCH of our readers as have never been in London in November can scarcely imagine what it is to grope their way through a downright thorough London fog. It is something like being imbedded in a dilution of yellow peas-pudding, just thick enough to get through it without being wholly choked or completely suffocated. You can see through the yard of it which, at the next stride, you are doomed to swallow, and that is all. It is a kind of meat and drink, and very sorry sustenance for those who are asthmatical, as you may tell by hearing one old cough answering to another from opposite sides of the street, and which, although you cannot see the passengers, you can tell, from their grumbling, that they do not like the fare at all. You have the same soft-soapy atmosphere served up at breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper; every time you open your mouth you partake of it, and all day long you are compelled to burn lights, and, in addition to the fog, inhale the fumes from gas, candle, or lamp, which have no more chance of escape than you have, so burn on dim, yellow, and sulkily, as if the very lights needed all the warmth they could obtain, and thus confine themselves to illuminating the smallest possible space. The whole city seems covered with a crust, and all the light you can see beneath it appears as if struggling through the huge yellow basin it overspreads. You fancy that all the smoke which had ascended for years from the thousands of London chimneys had fallen down all at once, after having rotted somewhere above the clouds; smelling as if it had been kept too long, and making you wheeze and sneeze as if all the colds in the world were{244} rushing into your head for warmth, and did not care a straw about killing a few thousands of people, so long as they could but lodge comfortably for a few hours any where. You blow like a grampus in a quicksand, with the keel of a seventy-four on his back, and get about as much fresh air as if you were in his situation: a pair of bellows with a hole in the side, through which you might cram your double fist, would make perfect music, when blown, compared to the noise of your own breathing. You seem as if you had swallowed six broken-winded horses; that they were inside of you alive and kicking; and, for the soul of you, you cannot get rid of one.

You step gingerly along, feeling your way beside the walls, windows, and doors, whenever you can, until at last you tumble headlong into some cellar—perhaps on the shoulders of the little cobbler who is at work below, and who chances to have his sharp awl uplifted at the moment; or perhaps it is an underground coal-shed, and you alight on the back of the black-looking woman weighing coals, and double her up in her own scale—receiving, in return, a couple of black eyes from her husband. After a hearty drubbing, you escape once more into the street; and, as you cannot see a yard before you, break your shins over a milkman’s can, and upset the contents on the greasy pavement; he tries to collar you, but your blood is now up, and you give him a “straight-armer,” which sends him into the area, upsetting the fat cook as he falls. You then run for it, and come full butt against the “bow-window” of a respectable old gentleman, with whom you have a roll or two in the gutter, thankful that you did not fall on the other side, and stave in the shop-front. You shake yourself, and are glad that you are as you are; for a foot beyond where you fell there yawns an open grating, beneath which runs the huge sewer that empties itself into the Thames; and you wonder how many have slipt in during the day. You tumble into a heap of unslacked lime; but that you think nothing of, too thankful to find it was not a fire. You turn up what seems to be a court, to give yourself a rub-down, and run your head against a pail of whitewash, which hangs suspended from a ladder: the whole contents flow over you, and, before you can see where you are, you fall over a sweep, who is tying up his blanket of soot, roll into the midst of it, and come out a pretty picture—something like the inside of an old chimney and the outside of a rough-cast wall, just mortared.

Some good Samaritan in the court takes pity on you by lending you a towel, and furnishing you with a pail of water, and you make the best of a bad job by cleansing yourself as you can. This done, you sally out again, more cautious than ever—the deep yellow darkness meantime increasing; you proceed slowly, and feel every foot of{245} your way, for seeing is out of the question beyond arm’s length. Cautiously you grope along by the board of a fishmonger’s shop, on which lie three or four large black live lobsters; one with his claws open closes on your hand like a vice, and you run shrieking for very life. The fishmonger catches sight of the lobster dangling from your hand, and, believing you have stolen it, follows with a loud cry of “Stop thief!” He is brought up, with his head in the tar-barrel, at the front of his neighbour the oilman’s door; and the monster, by being banged against the wall, having by this time loosed his hold, you go along writhing and groaning, and wondering what will next befal you.

Porters with heavy burdens, women and men with fish, watercresses, &c., you run against every few minutes, and think nothing of. Sometimes you are knocked down, then again it is their lot to fall; and finding that the average runs pretty fair for and against the feller and the fallen, you rest contented on that score—considering the running of the edges of half a dozen umbrellas into your mouth as so many little ones in. If you mistake a dimly-lighted shop-front for some turning, and chance to shove your head through a pane of glass, all you can do is to walk as quietly on as if nothing were amiss—two strides and you are in safety, and as far out of sight as if buried in Egyptian darkness; and they are sure to seize the first unfortunate fellow they can lay hands upon, who might have been just as likely to have made the mistake as yourself—to know which is some comfort. That two or three dogs have run full gallop between your legs, and thrown you down as many times, are accidents too common to need recording. As for your watch, that of course went before you had walked one hundred yards: you saw the fellow’s arm that dragged it out of your pocket, and that was all; it was a jerk amid the deep fog, a rush, in which your nose came against a dead wall, and by the time you had rubbed the grazed tip a little, you thought that you might as well hunt for a needle in a bottle of hay, as attempt to follow the thief in that dusky, woolly, and deceptive light.

With great difficulty, and after many inquiries, you find a tavern; for you know no more than the man in the moon what part of London you are in. You enter a dim, cheerless room without a fire, in which the gas burns faintly, as if unable to pierce the fleecy fog which surrounds it. You wonder whether the peg on which you hang your hat would bear your weight; and, as you lay hold of the bell-rope, cannot help trying the strength of it: the height of the ceiling also catches your eye, and you marvel that more people do not hang themselves on such a day. The very poker in the fireless{246} grate has a cold, clammy, and murderous look; and when the waiter enters, you fancy that he has just been cut down. You light a cigar, and begin to think a little better of matters, and to reckon how many glasses of hot brandy-and-water would throw you into a state of oblivion—that is, leave you dead drunk until the dawning of another day. These thoughts vanish with a second glass, and you again venture forth, resolved this time to get into an omnibus, should one be found bold enough to venture out on such a day. After waiting for some time, and hailing by mistake half a dozen coal-wagons and carriers’ carts, you perceive an omnibus creeping by at a snail’s pace, enter, and squeeze yourself into a seat behind the door. You cannot see to the top of it for the fog, so have no fear of your tailor recognising you, should he happen to be inside—one comfort out of so many evils. While you are sitting, and congratulating yourself that you have escaped so well, up comes a cab-horse with his head through the open door, and his hot nostrils on your face. A few rough compliments are exchanged between the cab-driver and the conductor, during which something is said about the glanders, which haunts you for days after; the more so through your nose being red and raw by grazing it against the wall when the thief ran away with your watch. To what quarter the omnibus is going gives you no concern, for you are glad to get any where to be out of the way on such a day. Great, however, is your indignation, after having been carried some three-score yards, to find that you are at the Cross Keys, in Fleet-street, having got in at the corner of Bride-court, and that the omnibus goes no farther. You pay your threepence with a protest, and are thankful that you cannot see the passengers, who are laughing at you. You have, however, the satisfaction of seeing a heavy old gentleman plant one foot into a basket of oranges on the edge of the pavement, and that puts you into a little better humour, especially when, at the next step, he plunges his head into the window of a book-shop, and knocks down the middle of three rows of richly-bound volumes, besides smashing no end of panes of glass.

On such a day the man who milks his cow in the street is compelled to lay hold of her tail, for fear of losing sight of her; while the butcher-boy who carries out meat is often minus a joint or two when he reaches the door at which his orders ought to have been delivered. Should such a day be Smithfield market, all the cellar-flaps in the little by-streets are left open, in the hopes of catching a few stray sheep, and having a stock of mutton for nothing; should a prize bullock tumble in, they make no bones of him, but salt down what is left, and bless the fog for supplying them with so much excellent beef.{247}

A stranger to London, when the fog sets in at night, and he looks upon it for the first time, fancies his apartments filled with smoke, and begins by throwing open his doors and windows; thus making bad worse, by destroying all the warm air in the rooms. Even one well accustomed to the ins and outs of our far-stretching city is strangely deceived in distance, and the size objects assume, as they loom in dim and gigantic dimensions through the heavy fog. The gas-lamps appear as if placed three-story high, unless you stand close beneath them, for what light they emit is nearly all thrown upward; while a cab comes heaving up (to appearance) as large as the huge caravan which Wombwell formerly used for the conveyance of his stupendous elephant. Once take a wrong turning, and you may consider yourself very fortunate if you ever discover the right road again within three hours; for the houses wear a different appearance, and the streets appear to be all at “sixes and sevens.”

Although a real Londoner looks upon a dense December fog as a common occurrence, and lights up his premises with as little ceremony as he would do at the close of the day, yet, to one unused to such a scene, there is something startling in the appearance of a vast city wrapt in a kind of darkness which seems neither to belong to the day nor the night, at the mid-noon hour, while the gas is burning in the windows of long miles of streets. The greatest marvel, after all, is that so few accidents happen in this dim, unnatural light, in the midst of which business seems to go on as usual, and would do, we believe, were the whole of London buried in midnight darkness at noonday, which would only be looked upon as a further deepening of the overhanging gloom. The number of lighted torches which are carried and waved at the corners and crossings of the streets add greatly to the wild and picturesque effect of the scene, as they flash redly upon the countenances of the passengers, and, in the distance, have the effect of a city enveloped in a dense mass of smoke, through which the smouldering flames endeavour in vain to penetrate.

During a heavy fog many accidents occur on the river, through barges running foul of each other, or vessels coming athwart the bridges; for there is no seeing the opening arch from the rock-like buttress, as the whole river looks like one huge bed of dense stagnant smoke, through which no human eye can penetrate. If you lean over the balustrades of the bridge, you cannot see the vessel which may at that moment be passing beneath, so heavy is the cloudy curtain which covers the water. At such times the steam-boats cease running, and rest quietly at their moorings, for the man at the wheel would be unable to see half the length of his vessel. Sometimes a steamer coming up the river takes a fancy to a shorter cut, by trying to clear{248} Blackwall Reach, and come overland through the marshes below Greenwich, or by running her head into the Isle of Dogs, where she lies aground until the next tide.

Many lives have been lost through foot-passengers mistaking the steps at the foot of some of the bridges for the opening of the bridge itself, and, ere they were aware of it, rolling head-foremost into the river. Strong iron-railings have been erected during the last few years, and have put an end to such dreadful accidents: at the foot of Blackfriars-bridge, many, we have heard, thus lost their lives.

At this time the pavement is greasy, and, though you keep lifting up your legs, you are hardly positive whether or not you are making any progress. You seem to go as much backward as forward; and some old Cockneys do aver that the surest way of reaching Temple-bar from Charing-cross would be to start off with your face turned towards King Charles’s statue, to walk away manfully without once turning your head, and that, by the end of three hours, you would be pretty sure of reaching the point aimed at, should you not be run over.

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THE first object that still strikes the eye when we have passed over into the Borough is the beautiful old church founded by a Saxon maiden called Mary of the Ferry, which in time was corrupted into Mary Overy, and is now called St. Saviour’s. No young poet need wish for a finer subject to try his hand on than this beautiful half holy old legend of the Ferryman’s Daughter, who, day after day, winter and summer, was seen with her quaint old-fashioned Saxon boat, ready to row passengers from the Borough to the City, and back again to the landing-place, where the Ferry-house had stood centuries before a bridge united the two shores. Pleasant to her ear must have been the lapping of the waves as they washed her little freehold, and fell with a dreamy murmuring upon the ear, while she sat revolving in her mind how she should begin to build a house for the reception of a few poor and pious sisters, in which they might live in content and comfort, and holy quiet; and when she was no more, there pray for the soul of Mary of the Ferry. And thus was the present St. Saviour’s first founded. In this ancient cathedral-like church, Gower, the contemporary of Chaucer, lies buried; his beautiful monument still exists. Our own immortal Shakspeare was no doubt a mourner here two hundred years ago, on the last day of December, 1607, when in the forenoon he attended the funeral of his brother Edmund. Perhaps the funeral took place earlier in the day, on account of the merry-making which our forefathers held at the close of the old year, and kept up until the new year had grown far into the day; and that this was the cause why Edmund Shakspeare was buried in the church “with a forenoone knell of the great bell.” Edmund was himself a player, and we can readily conjure up the images of those who witnessed his interment.{250}

Were we to dwell upon the solemn memories which float around this hoary pile, they would alone fill this chapter; for Fletcher is buried here, so is Massinger; but not, as was supposed, “in a gloomy corner amid a mass of misshapen and melancholy graves,” for he is buried “within the church.”

But the spot to which the lover of poetry still directs his steps is to the Tabard—Chaucer’s old inn, still standing on the very spot, if not the identical building itself, from which the father of English poetry set out, when he accompanied his merry pilgrims to Canterbury. The portion of this old hostelry still remaining dates much further back than the period of Charles II., a proof that it escaped the terrible fire which raged in Southwark in the year 1676. The very style of the building needs not a second glance to proclaim its antiquity; it is beyond doubt the very inn which the old chronicler Stowe mentions by the name of the “Tabard,” and which he himself had no doubt seen in 1598, and called the “most ancient of the many fair inns in Southwark for receipt of travellers.” The old sign of the Tabard formerly hung swinging and creaking across the road, and there were then no houses in front to shut it in, as now; it lay openly and temptingly, as when Chaucer’s host, the merry “Harry Baily,” stepped out in the front in the sunny mornings of Spring and Summer, to see what the old Kent and Newington roads were producing him, and what sort of customers were riding up.

Even now there is something venerable in the old weather-beaten and iron-bound posts which prop up its comparatively modern gateway; they tell of the grazing and grinding of thousands of old wheels, while the stones are worn away with the tramping of many a worn-out steed.

Merry doings were there in that old inn-yard, on an April morning, five hundred years ago, for Harry Baily, the host was

“The early cock
That gather’d them together in a flock.”

And you might then have seen the Wife of Bath, leaning aside and listening as she sat in her saddle, for she could not hear very well, as she tells us Jankin, her fifth husband, had given her such a blow,

“For that she rent out of his book a leaf,
That of the stroke her ear was always deaf.”

Let those who have never read Chaucer, and who wish to become acquainted with the most minute and beautiful painting of character which poetry ever produced, only read the Prologue to his Canterbury Tales; it scarcely occupies more than twenty moderate pages of print.{251} If, after reading these, they are not tempted to proceed further, it will be because “they have no poetry in their souls.” In no work can we find such a faithful description of the dress, manners, customs, and language of our forefathers, as in the pages of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Nor is the “Talbot,” as it is now called, the only ancient inn in the Borough. There are others which contain their surrounding galleries, and spacious yards open to the sky. Some years ago we glanced at other portions of this ancient Borough—especially that part called the old Mint. This is now fast disappearing; many of the houses that escaped the fire in 1676 have of late been pulled down. The following is a description which we wrote seven years ago, after visiting the remains of this dilapidated neighbourhood. Stretching from St. George’s Church, in the Borough, into the high road which leads to the cast-iron bridge of Southwark, are no end of narrow courts, winding alleys, and ruined houses, which a bold-hearted man would hesitate to thread after dusk. Here stand numbers of houses which are unroofed and uninhabited. Years ago they were doomed to be pulled down, and it was resolved that a wide, open street should be built upon the space they now occupy: years may still roll away before they are removed. There is no place like this in the suburbs of London—no spot that looks so murderous, so melancholy, and so miserable. Many of these houses, besides being old, are very large and lofty. Many of these courts stand just as they did when Cromwell sent out his spies to hunt up and slay the Cavaliers, just as they again were hunted in return, after the Restoration, by the Royalists, who threaded their intricacies, with sword and pistol in hand, in search of the fallen Roundheads. There is a smell of past ages about these ancient courts, like that which arises from decay—a murky closeness—as if the old winds which blew through them in the times of the Civil Wars had become stagnant, and all old things had fallen and died just as they were blown together, and left to perish. So it is now. The timber of these old houses looks bleached and dead; and the very brick-work seems never to have been new. In them you find wide, hollow-sounding, decayed staircases, that lead into great ruinous rooms, whose echoes are only awakened by the shrieking and running of large black-eyed rats, which eat through the solid floors, through the wainscot, and live and die without being startled by a human voice. From the Southwark-bridge Road you may see the roofs of many of these great desolate houses; they are broken and open; and the massy oaken rafters are exposed to the summer sun and the snow of winter. Some of the lower floors are still inhabited; and at the ends of those courts{252} you will see standing, on a fine day, such characters as you will meet with nowhere beside in the neighbourhood of London. Their very dress is peculiar; and they frequent the dark and hidden public-houses which abound in these close alleys,—places where the gas is burning all day long. Excepting the courts behind Long-lane, in Smithfield, we know no spot about London like this, which yet fronts St. George’s Church, in the Borough.

Southwark, as all remember who are at all acquainted with history, beside containing Shakspeare’s Theatre, at Bankside, was, in former days, famous for its Bear-garden; which, we fear, was often more crowded than the spot where the author of “Hamlet” so frequently played.

What a different feature does the Southwark entrance to London Bridge present to what it did only a few brief years ago! Every few minutes omnibuses are now thundering to and from the railway terminus; while passengers think no more of journeying to Brighton and back, and remaining eight or ten hours there, on a long summer’s-day, than they formerly did of travelling to Greenwich; for it took the old slow stage-wagons as long to traverse the five miles to the latter as our iron-footed and fire-fed steed can with ease drag the five hundred passengers at his heels, and land them within sight of the wide, refreshing sea.

Were it possible to revive again the forms of those old Canterbury Pilgrims, and, instead of sending them out of the Tabard-yard on horseback, to place them in an express train, then start them off with all the quaint, queer notions which haunted their living brains, what strange conclusions they would come to. Even the “perfect knight,” who had fought in “fifteen battles,” and seen many a strange sight in heathen lands, would, with all his wisdom, think he had at last fallen into the hands of the evil one, while gentle Chaucer would renounce his disbelief in fairy lore, and be ready to admit that the land was now filled with greater wonders than

“In old days of the King Arthur,
Of which the Britons speak great wonder;
When all the land was filled full of faery—
The Elf-Queen, with her jolly company,
That danced full oft in many a green mead.”
Wife of Bath’s Tale.

What a change! to look up the ascent which led to that old London-bridge, with its Traitor’s-gate and ghastly heads grinning above the vaulted gateway, and the scene that now meets the eye! Living heads piled high on moving omnibuses, and journeying in{253} every direction, for twopenny or threepenny fares; steamboats passing from east to west, and carrying passengers for one halfpenny per head; such changes has the old square tower of St. Saviour’s overlooked—such things has the wonder-working hand of man accomplished. And yet the world is believed by many to be still in its infancy; that two more centuries will see mankind as far advanced and improved as the last two have placed us in the lead of our forefathers. That the London of the present day will then be as great a matter of curiosity to some future antiquary as old London-bridge and the ancient borough of Southwark is to us; that others will follow and exclaim as we do now:

“The race of yore,
Who danced our infancy upon their knee,
And told our marvelling boyhood legends store
Of their strange ventures happ’d by land or sea,
How are they blotted from the things that be.”—Scott.

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AT different times several ephemeral little treatises have appeared professing to teach the inhabitants of London how to live upon 50l., 100l., and divers other sums a year, not one, however, pointing out the way by which any of these incomes were to be obtained. Mrs. Glasse went very differently to work when she attempted to throw a new light upon the economy of cooking, by advising her readers to “first catch their hare,” thereby conveying most sensible information in one brief unmistakable sentence, and leaving them to proceed with the receipt, or not, just as they were or might be provided with the animal treated of. Although this introduction is hardly to the point, it will serve to lead us to the ways and means hundreds have recourse to of obtaining a livelihood, by appealing to our eyes and ears, by the sights and sounds which they produce in our busy streets; causing those within doors to curse their deafening clamour, and those without, who are interrupted by the assembled crowd, and prevented from passing on their way, to utter any thing but blessings upon their “devoted heads,” proving the moral of the old fable, that what is fun to one is death to another, by one class being amused at the expense of another’s annoyance.

For our part we look on these street performers with a very lenient eye, knowing that they are struggling to live in the best way they can, and that their humble endeavours to please afford amusement to thousands. Look how the little urchins run at the first sound of Punch’s well-known voice; what a pattering there is of shod and unshod feet from every court and alley in the neighbourhood as soon as his “chuck, chuck, churee” is heard, startling the silence of the{255} street! They whip up their marbles, and start off with their pegtops half wound to get a front place; for the hardened old rogue was a favourite with their forefathers, and they are never weary of seeing him bang Judy with his truncheon. They have a keen relish for his rather coarse jokes—the only objectionable point in this old exhibition. How they dance round an Italian boy with his organ, forgetting all their poverty and hunger for the moment, while some little rascal, the raggedest in the group, keeps excellent time with his castanets, which are four bare bones placed between the fingers of each hand, and rattled over his head with laughter and delight, while he thinks himself the chief contributor to the amusement.

But Punch and Judy are the chief characters in our sketch. Punch was a different performance in our youthful days: then he went out, got drunk, came home and quarrelled with his wife; from words they got to blows, and there used to be a tremendous fight between them, and sorry we are to say the drunken old rascal swore dreadfully. At last he struck Judy a tremendous blow with his truncheon, and she fell down senseless, as if dead. Then the conscience of the hump-backed villain smote him, and he wept and wailed over her, until at last the doctor came, felt her pulse, and pronounced her dead. Punch was inconsolable for her loss, pronounced the doctor a quack, and then they went at it. Oh, what a fight that was between Punch and the Doctor! but the man of physic fell beneath the truncheon of the hooked-nosed old blackguard, and appeared as if dead. Punch was next tried, and knocked the judge off the bench for finding him guilty of murder, and sentencing him to be hanged. Then the gallows was brought out, and you made sure that the old villain’s career of crime was ended; but not a bit of it; like Mat Prior’s thief, he

“Now fitted the halter, now traversed the cart,
And often took leave, but was loth to depart.”

He seemed willing enough to be hanged, but did not know how to place his neck in the halter; sometimes he put his arms through the noose, then half his body, but never by any chance did he allow the cord to touch his neck. At length he succeeded in persuading Jack Ketch to shew him the right way: the hangman did so, placed his own neck in the noose, received a crack on the head with the staff and a kick behind, and there he hung and swung to the delight of every beholder. Then came the Devil, horned, hoofed, tailed, saucer-eyed, and black as ebony; but Punch was game to the back-bone, and fought with all his might, causing the Devil himself to retreat several times before he would give in. Nor did we ever think the Devil beat him fairly; for he came behind, like a sneaking thief as he{256} is, pinioned both the arms of Punch, while the latter had his face turned towards us in triumph, and bore him away on his back: we could even hear the prominent-paunched old hero swearing, as his horned antagonist vanished with him below the green baize.

The dog Toby is a modern innovation. He belonged not to the Punch and Judy of our boyish days.

But our picture is not complete without the spectators. Look at that ragged woman holding up her dirty child. The little rogue claps his tiny hands, and crows again at every blow Judy receives; and that poor mother is more delighted with the pleasurable expression of her dirty darling’s countenance than she is with the exhibition, for her heart and eyes are fixed on her child. But for Punch sounding in the street, the urchin would probably have been creeping about the house, or seated upon the hearth crunching the cinders he picked up from under the grate. Even that thin pale-faced girl, who holds up a baby half as big as herself, and throws the long loose hair aside which fell over her clear blue eyes, as she came running and panting up with her heavy burden, stands looking on delighted. That respectable-looking old gentleman also halts, though half ashamed of being seen in such a motley assembly; then passes on with a smile on his face, for he remembers pausing many a time, when going or returning from school with his books swung idly over his shoulder, to look at Punch and Judy; and while he walks along his mind turns back to the days of other years. Then the drum—what a spirit-stirring sound it makes! and the shrill pandean pipes, stuck in a stock of faded crimson velvet, how clear and shrilly they sound!—the man’s head seems as if placed on a swivel, and he hammers and blows away as if for very life.

But whither is the crowd running? To see an organ-boy and his monkey. What an excellent tumbler Jocko is! his long tail seems no incumbrance to him, but head over heels he goes. What a strange language his jabbering seems, a running of one word into another! and he looks at us as if pitying our ignorance for not understanding him. There is something about his countenance conducive to merriment; something so old-manish in the expression of his face, that we cannot forbear laughing at him. See how he cracks that nut,—how nimbly he plies his fingers, and how knowingly he looks up at us all the time, as if wondering whether he shall get another or not when that is eaten. What a living caricature he is of our race; now an indignant ugly old man, jabbering and spitting out his vexation; then a mischievous boy, playing all kinds of tricks, and, though grumbled at, liked by every body. Poor fellow! we almost regret that he was ever caught and shoved into that scarlet jacket, to add to our street




amusements; and when we see him looking sorrowful, we fancy that we can read his thoughts, can imagine that his memory has wandered far away, to where he hung upon his “old ancestral trees” by his prehensile tail, before the days of his captivity, chattering to his brother monkeys, who could comprehend every word he uttered, or pelting his venerable old grandfather with nuts from the topmost bough of the highest tree that waved amid his native forest. Heigho! The longer we look the more do we feel convinced that we in a thousand ways resemble him, for we are all of us more or less monkeys. Mary Howitt says that he gambolled about and played the very devil in the ark, without bestowing a thought on the wind and rain that blew and beat on the roof; and no one living can contradict her.

But what have we here? A caravan, and a wonderful fat boy in it: charge for admission, one halfpenny. What dodging they have to elude the police—pulling up at the end of every street, if it be only for five minutes—for the fat boy must be fed: were he to get thin, the whole establishment would be ruined. All, saving himself, are thin, the horse almost a skeleton. We can picture the fat fellow crying out that he is falling off pounds if his dinner is delayed an hour behind the usual time—and what a running about there must be to supply him with food! He looks a lazy rascal—a human hog. Dwarfs also, in our eyes, always look spiteful,—little morsels of humanity that would pinch and bite us, if they dare. And well they may be: we should feel so ourselves were we caught, imprisoned, and shewn to all comers at sixpence or threepence a head.

Look at that little girl in the spangled frock; she is brought out like another Samson, to make sport for the Philistines. How prettily she dances on that board—four feet by three! Through dirt and wet she is compelled to trudge; for she and that unsailor-like fellow, who dances the sailor’s hornpipe, have to supply the whole party with bread. He who drums and pipes also contributes his share. The other two shout, and go round to the crowd, hat in hand, to obtain what they can. Sometimes a similar party is accompanied by a tumbler,—a man whose feet appear to be of no other use to him than to kick them about in the air,—who can walk best on his hands,—and who, we fancy, must be many years in wearing out a pair of shoes. Into what shapes does he twist his body! He seems lithe as a serpent—must have been born without a spine—is all skin—all angles—the spokes of a wheel—a worm rolling in salt—a monkey’s tail that has been thrust into the fire. One would hardly be surprised to see such a limber elf jump clean out of his skin, rattle his bare bones like castanets for a few seconds to amuse us, then slip into his hide again, with less trouble than we could put on our coat.{260}

The next are the balancers,—from a feather to a fir-tree, nothing comes amiss. That fellow will balance a sword on his naked chin with the point downward; you look under his throat, and expect to see it come through every minute, and are greatly disappointed to behold it spinning round without making an incision. Now he takes a ladder, high enough to reach a second-floor window, and up it goes on his chin, as if it were no heavier than the straw he has just thrown down. Mercy on us! whatever is he going to do with that little boy in the harlequin dress? See, the daring child steps from the balancer’s shoulder to the ladder: higher the little fellow goes, slowly, cautiously—the ladder still on the man’s chin. It looks dangerous, and (self-preservation) you begin to think that if the ladder were to fall, it would be much safer to stand a few feet farther back.

The Stilt-dancers are not so common in our London streets as they were a few years ago, when they came popping up suddenly at our first-floor windows, and startled us in some occupation which we had no wish to be overlooked,—perchance trying on a peruke, so well-made, that all our friends gave us credit for wearing our own hair. Then, perhaps, they understood not a single word of English; and if you bade them go to Old Harry and shake themselves, they still kept smiling and smirking at you through the window, until their immovable goodnature overcome your slight anger, and you sent them away quite happy, and perfectly unconscious that you had given utterance to one angry word. We also miss the pipe and tabor, and those droll back-kneed fellows the dancing-dogs: these the new police act have driven away, or they are only to be met with in the far-off country.

To what different objects the telescope is now turned from what Horace Walpole describes witnessing, when the heads of unfortunate rebels were placed on Temple Bar: for a penny we may peep at the mountains in the moon, or hear a poor but intelligent man describe the wonders of the

“Spacious firmament on high,”

instead of paying to peep at those mangled and goary heads—a great improvement on those old barbarous street-sights. White mice and guinea-pigs are still to be met with as “plentiful as blackberries” in the yellow month of October; and from the sound of hurdy-gurdies and the droning of bagpipes, who has not prayed to be delivered? while from our hearts we pity those poor white-haired, pink-eyed mortals, who go winking and blinking hand in hand along the crowded pavements, gazed at in wonder even by the swarthy Lascars, who are ever thrusting tracts in our faces.{261}

Nor must we forget the “chummies,” with their Jack-in-the-green, who, instead of sooty garments, cover in May their “innocent blackness” with spangles and tinsel. How Jack reels and staggers in the midst of his green portable arbour towards the close of the day! lurching aside like the massy trunk of a tree buried in ivy, which you expect every minute to fall; reminding us of Orpheus, and the life he put into the timber toes of the hoary old oaks when the forest trees stood bough linked with bough as they danced a merry reel, making all their green array of leaves to tremble again. Merrily does the “Sweepess,” or “Jackess” of the green, jingle her bright brass ladle before the doors; and freely is the produce of that day spent in gin, until the drinking and fighting is ended, when, disrobed of their tinselled trappings, they snore happily on a couch of soft soot.

Guy Fawkes still forms one of our London street amusements, though we regret to say that Guy is now oftener personated by some great hulking gin-drinking lazy fellow, than the old, uncouth stuffed figures which were frequently carried about, with one foot hanging down before and the other behind.

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THE cries of “All a-blowing! all a-growing!” are the first sounds with which the spring-flowers are ushered into the streets of London; and although not uttered by the lips of such fabled nymphs as the poets of old clothed in the richest hues of their imagination, and sent forth as attendants on blossom-bearing Spring, the voices still come like gentle greetings from old friends, all the sweeter through having been so long absent. Sometimes we see a pretty face looking out, through the homely bonnet, and behold a light and graceful form, and hear a clear musical voice calling out “Sweet primroses!” Another hurries along from street to street with the little basket balanced on her head, while with one hand she ever keeps throwing back the long silky hair that falls down and veils her deep violet-coloured eyes; and we think how some such figure haunted the poet’s fancy when he peopled the vales of Arcady with the “sweet spirits of the flowers.”

Now windows, which have been closed throughout the long winter, are again thrown open, and the pleasant breeze which has come from “far away o’er the sea,” again blows freshly into those close and unhealthy-smelling rooms. Over dead walls and high houses has the refreshing air climbed—escaping from courts in which there was no thoroughfare. Through the steam of suffocating sewers it struggled; it shook off the malaria that clung to its skirts, as it swept over dark and stagnant ditches; over bone-boiling houses it hurried, and left the old poison behind to float around the places where it was first engendered; and, though somewhat shorn of its sweetness and its strength, it comes like a welcome guest in at the{263} open doors and uplifted casements of the poor. By it the grey hairs of that thin, pale-faced old man are uplifted; it tosses aside the long brown locks of the little grandchild that stands between his knees, fatherless and motherless; for the wind an hour ago blew over the empty house beside the black putrid ditch, where so many died during the past summer, and where that little orphan then lived. Even the imprisoned lark that hangs by the window feels his plumes ruffled by the breeze, and fancying for a moment that he is free, sends out his voice through the wiry cage, and sings as if he were again shivering his wings in some silvery cloud high above the opening daisies.

The blessed breeze and the sweet sunshine have aroused the poor children who vegetate in courts and alleys; and these dirty images of innocence have descended from the close, high attics, and climbed out of the low, damp cellars, and now, bare-headed and barefooted and scantily clad, they are chasing each other like swallows, and appear as happy as if neither rags nor hunger existed in this great city of palaces, poor-houses, and prisons. A drum battledore with its gilded shuttlecock they never saw, nor would such things make them happier than those they have manufactured out of the corks they picked up among the sweepings of the gin-shop, and the feathers from the stall of a distant poulterer; while the bottom of a saucepan, or the crown of a hat, even the fire-shovel (if nothing else is to be had) furnish them with battledores. Somewhere those little ones have been and thrust their tiny arms through the railings where a lilac-tree was in leaf, and they have dug up the stones in the court, and stuck the green lilac-twigs in the ground, and made themselves a garden, which they are watering out of oyster-shells and broken bits of pots; for the same instinct that leads a bird to build its nest causes them to imitate the making of gardens. They collect the leaves of the turnip-tops which the greengrocer has thrown into the street, and, placing them on their little bare heads, march up and down the court, crying “All a-blowing! all a-growing!”

You peep through the open doors of little houses, at the fronts of which men and women are bartering old garments for roots or flowers, and through those open doors you see a little sunless spot between two dead walls, by the side of which a small portion of dark damp mould is portioned off, somewhere about a yard in width by eight feet in length, and those are the two garden-beds into which the “penny roots” will be stuck. Here they grow mustard-and-cress, on which the cats fight, and over which Cinderella shakes her doormats, while scores of little black flies play at hide and seek amongst the leaves; nor will all the washing in the world cleanse your salad{264} from these little superfluities. Then, just as the penny wallflower had struck, and the two roots of daisies, which cost per ditto, were beginning to try to open, and the hollyhock looked as if it might live, and the lupin had still a few leaves left, and the Canterbury-bell had one live shoot on,—just as “the garden” was really promising to rear at least one root, the woman that lived in the two-pair back hung a heavy coverlet on the clothes-line (the line itself consisting of six separate pieces), and it broke, and every root broke too, and not one again raised its head. Then Billy was always bowling his hoop, and could never turn it without going on the other bed; and the dustman had placed his basket on the two scarlet runners that were coming up; and where the nasturtiums were set earwigs were ever creeping in and out, and long-bodied wire-worms, that looked up at Billy as if they would like to taste of his little bare legs, and from which he always ran in screaming. Then they had told Mrs. So-and-so to save her soapsuds, to pour on the roots of the little bit of grape-vine which only shewed a leaf here and there; and she, wishing to oblige her landlady, had put the suds in the saucepan again, blown the fire, and emptied the contents, boiling hot, into the hole she made by the grape-vine!

“All a-blowing! all a-growing!” Saw you that poor woman turn round at the well-known sound? Had you been nearer you might have heard the low sigh she heaved. See, she has purchased with her last halfpenny a bunch of bluebells and primroses, and these she will place in water on her window-sill; and, while her face rests upon her hand, she will see miles beyond the little back yard, with its water-butt and cinder-heap, which her window overlooks, even as far off as the home of her childhood. The little cottage beside the wide open common, which was yellow with gorse and broom in summer, and purple with heath-bells in autumn, will again rise before her. In fancy she will hear the bees murmur as they went to and fro from her father’s garden—will see the beds of flowers which she called her own; the old apple-tree, robed in white and crimson blossoms; hear the very chirp of the sparrows that built in the thatched roof, under which the honeysuckle climbed. She will again picture the rustic stile—the walk along the green lane, when the hedges were white with May, when his arm was placed gently around her waist, who is now working in chains in some penal settlement. He, who was so good and so kind to her, until he was allured to London, where he met with evil companions, and first starved, then, stupified with gin, went forth in the stilly dark night, and returned home a housebreaker. See! her eyes are closed—she has fallen asleep in her broken chair; a tear still lingers in her eyelashes, and a faint sad{265} smile rests on her wan lips—for she fancies that she again hears the village-bells ringing, and that she is walking between those rows of graves, beneath the avenue of elms, with her bible and prayer-book in her hand, and about to enter the humble pew in which her father and mother (long since dead) knelt beside her in prayer. She awakes with a sigh; the sunshine falls on the chimney-pot opposite. She hears the drunken dustman, who lives beneath her, again quarrelling with his wife; the cry of “Beer!” in the street, then the smell from the sewer ascends; and, bringing in her flowers, she closes the window, and sits down to earn one-halfpenny per hour at the needlework supplied to her by that heart of nether millstone, the Great Nebuchadnezzar, through whose fiery furnace so many are compelled to pass, and in which such numbers perish, as they yield to his stern decree, because they know no other way by which they can obtain bread; garments made beneath burning sighs and scalding tears, that seem hot enough to blister the backs of those who wear them. God help thee, poor woman! thou canst not see it, although we can; there is an angel’s face shining through every tear thou hast shed over those flowers, and looking upon thee with mild and pitying eyes.

See those old men and women “pottering” about the bit of ground before the almshouses; they also feel the cheering influence of spring. Although each plot or bed would but little more than make a grave, were a tolerable breadth of walk left between, they find a pleasure in cultivating so small a patch of earth, every inch of which brings something to remembrance as it is turned over: that root was given by old William, who is dead; the other by John, who is dying; from this, last summer, were cut the flowers he placed in a comrade’s coffin; that his wife, long dead, brought all the way from the country, when she went to see her daughter at Croydon, and was so poor, that she had to walk back—and that walk caused her death; for, while heated, she sat before the door in the cool, calm April evening—it “chilled” her, and she died. Honest old bedesman! I could kiss off the tear that fell on the blue sleeve of thy old coat, were it not for pride or shame. “Two years ago, sir; she was but seventy!” and thy heart still softens, and thy tears fall when her image rises before thee, for in thy eyes she never looked aged, but rose green and fresh through the memory of other years, even as when thou first didst woo her, walking between the quiet woods along the canal near Croydon, when the forget-me-not looked into the water at its shadow, and the crimson foxglove made a red streak like sunset in the crystal mirror, and no one then dreamed that a railway would bare its iron back where the silver water reflected both{266} your images and the broad-branched oak, beneath which ye were then seated.

Spring brings with it Easter—the first holiday that brightens on the departing gloom of winter. Then we hear mingled with the cry of “All a-blowing! all a-growing!” the reedy notes of penny trumpets, and the beat of tiny drums, and the shrill pipings of yellow wooden whistles: and tired children walk home from Greenwich with little dolls on their arms; and mothers carry their sleeping babies without murmuring; and little feet, that “scarcely stir the dust,” come plodding on, just as their young fathers and mothers had done some three or four-and-twenty years ago. Here, one on each side clung to her gown, there he carried another pick-a-back, who kept grinding his organ as he rode; while the fourth slept, covered over with the shawl, regardless of the busy crowds that were hurrying to and fro. Surely there was no selfishness in the enjoyment of the day on the part of the parents, shared as it was by those dear dusty children, the eldest not five years old, the youngest not so many months; and two of them carried every inch of the five miles back. For days after will those children talk about what they saw in the park at Greenwich, in the fair, and on the road; and their dreams will be of gilt gingerbread horses, and swings high as the tall trees, and booths, and music, the distant river, old pensioners with wooden legs and spyglasses, donkeys on Blackheath, swarthy gipsies, drinks of beer, and the heads and tails of shrimps. They will mimic the sights, and try to imitate the sounds, and go sounding and drumming through the house until the trumpet refuses to speak, and the drum is burst, and not a wire is left inside the threepenny organ. Then their grandfathers and grandmothers (if they were not with them) will come and ask a hundred questions as to what they saw, and what they did, and whither they went; and, from the answers they receive, go away convinced that there are no other children in this huge overgrown London to be compared with their grandchildren. May heaven shower its blessings on the conceit, and they never have cause to think otherwise!

Besides such groups as these, the pavements were almost blocked up with little carts, in which many a kiss and many a scratch were exchanged, and in these children squalled and smiled as they were dragged part of the way to the fair. And the little nurserymaid, who still wore her workhouse dress, was compelled to turn round every few minutes and to threaten what she would do at the impudent but good-natured boys who would help to shove on the little chaise, and cram a portion of their oranges or gingerbread into the children’s mouths. Then one fine-looking, dark-eyed lad, after a harmless fight{267} with the little maid, by some kind of freemasonry, was a minute or two after helping her to draw the chaise, and they went on chatting and laughing together, while he divided his fairings with her. On looking at that lad more closely, we remembered that for a month he brought our water-cresses, that for a fortnight he knocked at our door and called “Butcher!” then we lost sight of him for some weeks, and when he made his appearance again he came with our daily newspaper, followed by a dog, which he set on our favourite cat. Times got worse, and he came with another boy; and they swept the snow from the pavement for a penny, and as much bread and cheese as they could eat. Then he opened and shut a shop, but had the misfortune to break a pane of glass; and as it was on Tuesday when the accident took place, and he was informed that the price of the pane would be stopped out of his week’s wages; and as he calculated what that would amount to, and found that it would swallow up his whole week’s earnings, why he went to breakfast, and never returned; and, just before Easter, he had raised a basket, and, either by money or credit, obtained a goodly show of roots and flowers, and, instead of “Water-cresses!” “Butcher!” or “Paper!” we heard his cheerful and well-known voice in the street, crying “All a-blowing! all a-growing!” He is now aspiring to a donkey and cart, and if we err not, to the little nursery-maid in the mob-cap and workhouse dress, and sweet smiling countenance (when pleased), which proclaims her to have come “of gentle kin.”

Now bundles of rhubarb, that run all to water in the pies and puddings, may be seen in the greengrocers’ shops; and little new waxy potatoes, that have no taste, are ticketed a shilling a pound; and small gooseberries, that have the flavour of green-tea leaves, given to the old charwoman, and which she has kept stewing on the hob for a full hour, are ditto per half pint; and asparagus, that looks like candle-wicks, is tied up in bundles; while little salads made of two radishes, a couple of onions, a few slices of beet-root, mustard, cress, and a halfpenny bunch of water-cresses, sit in little baskets marked sixpence, and try to tempt the passers-by to purchase. Now men, who smell of the aroma of old woods, stand before the doors of public-houses, with young honeysuckles and eglantine, the roots buried in moss; and violets and primroses, fresh and blowing in their own native earth, just as they were dug up on the sunny banks by Sanderstead, or in the tree-shaded lanes around Cobham.

Finally, old hats, boots, shoes, and cast-off garments of every description are routed out at the cry of “All a-blowing! all a-growing!” and exchanged for flowers, the bearers of which barter on the principle of getting all they can and giving as little as possible in{268} return. Even the lady of the house cannot resist the entreaties of her children, who, attracted by the well-known call, and the sight of the basket of flowers outside the window, drag her to the door, and let her have no peace until she has purchased the lovely heath, the beautiful Iris, the pot of American primroses, or the gaudier group of gold and silver-coloured crocuses. The servant-girl must also have her flower-pot in the high attic window, and she looks at it the first thing in the morning and the last at night, and feels thankful, in the words of Solomon, that “the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”




THAT it was customary in ancient times to bury the dead outside the city-walls the holy Bible bears witness, even as far back as in the early chapters of the Book of Genesis, where it is recorded how Abraham bought the field of Macphelah of Ephron the Hittite, “and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, (and) that were in all the borders round about.” (Chap. xxiii.) Here we find a rural cemetery in a green field bordered with trees, in which the venerable patriarch buried his wife nearly four thousand years ago, while we, with all our boasted improvements, are in the present day thrusting the dead together in countless thousands, in the very heart of our close and over-crowded cities—where the living have scarcely room enough to breathe, and the dead of to-day are crammed amongst the remains which have been disinterred to give them a short lodgment; when they again in turn are cast out, and mysteriously consumed or pounded into the smallest possible compass under our very eyes, in so unfeeling, heartless, and brutal a manner, that we dare not shock our readers with the revolting details.

The head-stone, reared by the hand of pious affection, instead of pointing to the remains it was erected to commemorate, stands over the graves of strangers, and we shed our tears over those whom we never knew; while the sexton and the grave-digger grin at us behind the neighbouring tomb-stones, chinking the silver in their pockets, and laughing to think that the paupers whom they shoved into “our” grave on the previous night in a “huggermugger” way should be wept over by the broken-hearted mourner whom they have thus cheated. With these facts dinned into our ears every day by the{270} uplifted voice of the press, are we not guilty of disrespect towards the dead by burying them in these ever-changing and common lodging-houses? We know not where their remains are to be found at the end of the year; cannot tell whether they have been removed to lay the foundation of a new road, or sold and ground up to manure some distant field.

Let us not forget that when the heathen Greeks and Romans brought the remains of their heroes and poets into their ancient temples, the bodies were first burnt, and only the ashes preserved in richly sculptured urns, on which the achievements of the dead were pictured: their classical minds fashioned “a thing of beauty” out of the ashes of the departed; they gave to the dead a beautiful dwelling-place, and those who were buried unscathed by the funeral fire were interred in cemeteries where trees were planted over them, and marble monuments erected; and, idolators though they were, such places were held sacred, and were called “the silent cities of the dead,” and were ever remote from the abodes of the living.

I have before remarked, in my Pictures of Country Life, that, amid the din and tumult of a populous city, the dead are sadly misplaced. I never look upon those close unhealthy corners, crowded with graves, without feeling that it is wrong to bury the dead there; that they ought to be removed from such shadowy and sunless spots to where the tall trees would make a soothing murmur above their heads, and all around them be “gentle images of rest.” Their business with this world is ended; they have finished their long day’s work; the roll of carriages, the tramp of busy passengers, and living voices, clamorous for gain, ever in my ear sound harshly when they come grating and jarring amongst the resting-places of the dead. The price of corn, the state of the money-market, or the rising and falling of the funds, are matters which ought to be discussed far away from those we followed, and wept over, and consigned to their silent chambers, there to sleep till the last trumpet sounds.

In the open Cemetery, we seem to walk through a land lettered with living affections, and strewn over with tokens of existing love. Our sympathies are divided between the mourned and the mourners; our sorrow is not alone for the dead; the flowers at our feet remind us that there are those behind us somewhere who come here now and then to weep. If we picture Grief standing there with bowed head, and hair unbound, “refusing to be comforted,” Pity seems to kneel before us at the same time; and, while she looks up timidly into the pale face of Grief, appears as if entreating of her to remember the mourners, who only survive to weep; while Memory, with downcast{271}





eyes and folded arms, seems musing over the flowers which Affection has planted on their graves. In a dimly-lighted, breathless City churchyard, such images are not seen: our affections are there fettered—the imagination is chained down, and endeavours in vain to soar heavenward. If we call up the dead, they seem to sit weeping with bent head and folded wings among the dark shadows of the mouldering monuments on which the sunlight seldom falls.

Against these unhealthy graveyards sentence has been pronounced: they are doomed to be closed. It is useless for selfish and mercenary men to oppose the fiat which has gone forth, for the air of this mighty city has too long been poisoned through men who live by the dead. Let us create a good out of this evil; and after these unhealthy churchyards have been closed long enough to destroy the injurious exhalations which have of late numbered so many of the living with the dead, then let the grounds be planted with trees and flowers, and they will become sweet breathing-places, like our squares, and amid the brick walls call up images of the far-away country. The old monuments need not be disturbed. To see the drooping branches of a green tree falling over them, will add to their beauty and solemnity; and in the centre of our cities we can wander among groves rendered sacred by the remains of our forefathers,—can in the dim twilight-shadows which the flickering leaves will ever make, hold communion with the spirit of John Bunyan, while we peruse his immortal work in the burying-ground of Bunhill-fields; for by such association would these spots become hallowed. Nor would the records of the dead, who sleep without the walls of the church, be held less sacred, if their names were engraven on marble tablets, and placed within the consecrated buildings around which their dust would repose, beneath beds of blowing flowers and close-leaved evergreens.

The old grey weather-beaten tombs of the founders of charities would look more venerable overtopped by the tall elm, the sable yew, or the weeping willow, that seems ever to droop sadly above the dead. No busy builder should ever be permitted to rear a wall within these sacred enclosures, or disturb the robin that would pipe his sweet anthem in autumn, or drive away the belted bee, that would come over the high houses from some distant meadow, to make a plaintive murmur in the heart of this vast city as he flew in and out among the flowers that waved above these old households of the dead.

Let us not sow these places with salt, nor strew them with lime, to destroy every trace of what they really are—spots sanctified by tears and prayers, and the bodies of our brother men; but, if necessity demands it, remove some of their remains tenderly to other places of{274} sepulture, and make gardens over the graves of those who are left undisturbed—spots above which the blue sky might be seen, while the sunshine slept below; amid which we could obtain glimpses of the face of heaven, while musing over the memory of those who have long since entered the gates of the “golden city.” Let not these old burial-grounds be closed with no more reverence than if we were shutting up a common sewer; let us not speak of them as loathsome, disgusting, and revolting, because they are made so by unfeeling, money-loving men—gnomes, who feed and fatten on the dead—who look on coffins as they do on cabbages—digging, planting, cutting down, and re-setting the ground, and only studying how to make more money; but let us remember that the mute and inoffensive dead contribute not unto the evils complained of until they are dislodged with brutal violence—that they cannot defend themselves, for

“They are very mild and meek;
Though (sextons) smite them on the cheek
And on the mouth—they cannot speak.”

The inhuman vultures who prey on them injure the living, and only insult the dead through our sensitiveness. To the dead it matters not:

“They hear not (Poor-law guardians) rave,
Nor moaning household shelter crave
(When carted from each thrice-sold grave).”

When our old churches were first built, they stood in wide, open, breezy spaces, at the remote ends of parish boundaries: such was Bartholomew Church, when Smithfield was really a field, and the lofty elm-trees towered high above the ancient gallows which was erected there. We have hemmed in the spots with streets and tall warehouses which our forefathers left free and open between the living and the dead, until they have become so close and breathless, that even the sparrows forsake their “old ancestral eaves,” and seek for other roosting-places.

Open cheap cemeteries, and conveyances thither, will spring up rapidly enough; funeral omnibuses will be started at little more than the present fares. If nothing else will do, let us be rated for burying our dead: we do not murmur at supporting them while living, nor should we begrudge the slight tax that would be required for interring them in Suburban Cemeteries. There are thousands of acres of land to be sold within five miles of the City of London; if we go to the distance of ten miles it will be all the better for our children’s children; but let no buildings be erected within a measured mile of{275} these Silent Cities of the Dead, but each for ever remain a Great Garden of Graves.

Affection would often visit this Land of the Dead; the widow would take her children by the hand, and lead them into the country, to shew them the little freehold in which their father slept. The poor would become more pious, and amid their troubles thank God that they had at last a tranquil haven, in which they could for ever moor their storm-tossed barques: to them suburban cemeteries would become spots filled with solemn associations—homes to which they were fast hastening with patient resignation.

To us there is no feeling of loneliness while wandering through a beautiful cemetery. The dead seem to belong to us; they are of our company; they have but taken their berths in the great ship, and are sleeping until we come to join them, to be fellow-voyagers with them into the unknown sea of eternity—trusting ourselves to the care of the same Almighty Captain whose “ministering angels” fill the sails. Around the cemetery we see the wide unwalled country, where we have so often walked and talked with those who now “sleep their long sleep,” and, while gazing over the landscape, they seem to accompany us, and to live again in our thoughts; or we stand, as it were, in a great picture-gallery, surrounded with portraits of the dead: not a single object rises up to shock our feelings;—the open country beyond—the trees around—the flowers that cover the graves by which we stand—cause us to contemplate death kindly, and, instead of becoming hideous, he is but a gentle porter, who sits patiently without the gates of heaven, and welcomes all who are prepared to enter.

To plant a grave with such flowers as “the poor inhabitant below” loved whilst living, is a pious pleasure: it is a living link between us and the dead, and keeps alive an affection which belongs not to the world; though a “poor thing, it is our own;” for we know that the flowers are kept alive by an invisible hand, that in the still dark night they continue to grow, while we are wrapt in as sound a slumber as that which falls upon the dead—the only difference being that we perchance may again awaken. There is no such link between us and them in a cold, grey, hard, dead tomb-stone: the tears which fall upon the flowers are not lost, for we know not but that the perfume may be wafted to heaven.

We believe that the dead will again arise—that in some other state we shall again meet with them; and yet there are those who make their remains a source of profit. Perchance, the Angel of Death holds his court beyond the grave, and they may be summoned before him to account for their deeds. We, in our boyish days, were taught{276} to take off our hats when we entered a churchyard, and to walk amongst the dead as reverentially as we did up the aisle of the church—to look upon the grave as the gate which opened into heaven, as the only road which leads to the realms of eternal happiness.

I have, in the work formerly alluded to, endeavoured to paint an ancient funeral procession, from the pages of holy writ, and to shew how great was the respect paid to the dead in the patriarchal ages. Through what a laud of poetry and peril was the dead body of Joseph brought out of Egypt! We marvel that no painter has been bold enough to grapple with so sublime a subject. Amid the plagues that struck consternation into the hearts of the old Egyptians, there stood the coffin ready to be borne away: in the deep darkness which overshadowed the land—it stood black and silent amid the deep gloom. When the Israelites departed they bore it away: the pillar of fire flashed redly upon it by night, and by day it was slowly carried behind the pillar of cloud: through the Red Sea it was borne; below that high and terrible wall of water did the body of that dead man pass; then the sleeping billows rolled back, and there the haughty Egyptians found a grave. Through storm and battle, and the perils of the wilderness, and the thunder which shook Mount Sinai, was the body of Joseph carried; and when Moses held up his wearied arm and conquered Amalek, it was still there. On the waves of war it was at last washed to the Promised Land; it followed the Ark of God when Jordan was divided, and was at length buried in the field of Shechem, in the ground which Jacob had long before purchased of the sons of Hamor. In the whole annals of time, there is no funeral procession that in sublimity and grandeur approaches his, who when young was sold as a slave to the Egyptians. That dead-march through the God-dried ocean, and over the desert, led by Moses—the man who had spoken to his Maker, and who was a mourner at that solemn funeral—causes the eye to quiver beneath its gloomy and awful grandeur: we see the dead and the living pass away amid the roar of the ocean, the thunder of the Mount, and the clashing of battle upon battle; and while we read, we feel as if we stood trembling in the presence of God.

I will not break the chain of the reader’s thoughts while pondering over this great and grand funeral procession, by pointing to the desecration of the dead in the present day, further than stating that the revolting and impious evil can only be remedied by suburban cemeteries; for around such places there reigns a silence in keeping with the solemnity of death: there no jarring sounds fall upon the ear, for the lulling murmur made by the leaves is in keeping with{277} the repose of the dead. Flowers planted upon a grave seem like sacred objects; in our minds they somehow appear to belong to the dead, as if hallowed by the soil in which they have grown. There are numberless passages in our old poets abounding with descriptions of flowers which were dedicated to the dead; and we may, in some future work, return to the subject, and string together a garland of funeral emblems; for

“Methinks the flowers
Have spirits far more beautiful than ours.”—Withers.

The gentle hearts of the old poets clung to the flowers with a fond affection; in their eyes they were sweet messengers, bearing meanings and thoughts “too deep for tears,” ever hinting of love which dieth not, but liveth on for ever in another state of existence. They traced in the flowers fanciful resemblances of fond passions—likenesses of what they loved and cherished all the more since the original forms which they fancied the flowers resembled were transplanted into the gardens of heaven.

We who sojourned during the whole of that summer in the very heart of the district which suffered the most severely during that calamitous visitation, almost unconsciously gathered materials for one of those gloomy pictures which so few living witnesses survive to paint, and which we hope may never again darken our pages. We seem like those who, having escaped some perilous shipwreck, sit shuddering on the rock on which they have been thrown, their faces buried in their hands, yet unable to shut out the appalling spectacle they beheld, even after it passed away. Fancy still calls up the phantoms, amid the white foam and the tumbling waves, as they float by, with pale faces, uplifted and beseeching hands; youth and beauty with her long hair unbound, and crisped with the boiling spray, while manly vigour buffets in vain with the billows, until darkness and destruction sweep over all; and we, like the mournful messenger in Job, “only escaped alone to tell thee.”

The Land of Death in which we dwelt was Newington, hemmed in by Lambeth, Southwark, Bermondsey, and other gloomy parishes through which the pestilence stalked like a Destroying Angel in the deep shadows of the night and the open noon of day, while in every street

“There was nought but mourning weeds,
And sorrow and dismay;
Where burial met with burial still,
And jostled by the way.”—Hogg.

The “Registrar-General” but gives an account of those who died; but marshals up the forces which have joined the ranks of Death;{278} how and where they fell are briefly touched upon; but a description of the battle-ground, with all those little accessories of moving light and shadow which enrich the picture, he leaves to other hands, for they come not within the compass of his graver duties. Though the task is far removed from a pleasant one, it is necessary that we should preserve some record of this eventful season, so that in after-years, when our pages are referred to, a faithful photograph, taken at the true moment of time, may therein be found. All day long was that sullen bell tolling—from morning to night, it scarcely ceased a moment; for as soon as it had rung the knell of another departed spirit, there was a fresh funeral at the churchyard-gate, and again that “ding-dong” pealed mournfully through the sad and sultry atmosphere. Those who were left behind, too ill to join the funeral procession, heard not always the returning footsteps of the muffled mourners, for sometimes Death again entered the house while they were absent; and when they reached home they found another victim ready to be borne to the grave: then they sat down and wept in very despair. Death came no longer as of old, knocking painfully at the door of life, but strode noiselessly in, and, before one was well aware, smote his victim—no one could tell how, for the strong man, who appeared hale and well one hour, was weak and helpless the next, and fell without knowing whence the blow came.

Little children were clothed suddenly in black, almost before they could reconcile themselves to the belief that they had lost their parents. Before they could well understand why their father slept so long, or was placed in a dark box, and carried out at the door in such haste, the mother had also ceased to live; and then they began to comprehend their loss, and wept bitterly to find themselves fatherless, motherless, and destitute. Some of these were so little, that they could but just repeat their prayers. Never more would they kneel at the feet of that dear, fond mother, as they had done but a night or two before; never more would those eyes beam on them again, or that sweet voice patiently instruct them, and, with a smile, repeat the words over and over again, until they knew them all by rote. Alas! they were the other night borne to a strange bed; a strange face bent over them—and, when they rose to kiss it, it turned away. Then the little orphans pressed each other more closely, and wept louder for the loss of their mother. At last, their sobbing subsided, though not until long after they had fallen asleep, perchance on the hard workhouse bed—even those who were before nursed so delicately that the cold wind had never visited their tender cheeks. Many such sudden changes as these have we met with; homes in which one day happiness and comfort reigned, changed on the morrow to the abodes of{279} sorrow, anguish, and naked destitution; or, by the end of the week, empty and closed!

“Life and thought have gone away side by side,
Leaving door and windows wide;
Careless tenants they!
All within is dark as night: in the windows is no light,
And no murmur at the door, so frequent on its hinge before.
Close the door—the shutters close,
Or through the windows we shall see
The nakedness and vacancy
Of the deserted house.”—Tennyson.

In some houses all died; and after the dilapidated building had been closed a few days, other tenants took possession, and, in two or three of these changes, the new tenants also perished—the mercenary landlords never breathing a word about what had befallen the others. The putrid cesspool and stagnant sewer still yawned and bubbled and steamed in the sunshine, and poisoned all who inhaled the deadly gases; and when but few human beings were left, an investigation took place, and the evil was removed. In several death-engendering courts the whole of the inhabitants were driven out, and fresh shelter found for them until their wretched dwellings were purified.

So few at first escaped after they were attacked by the malignant and mysterious disease, that you looked upon them as persons who had trodden the confines of another world—as beings rescued from the jaws of death, and destined to accomplish some great mission. You gazed on them in awe and wonder. Those in the prime of life, and ruddy with apparent health, fell around you like summer flowers beneath the scythe of the mower. Then medical men of long standing began to drop off: you missed one here, and another there, and with them hope at last fled. “They cannot save themselves,” exclaimed the terror-stricken populace; “then how can we hope to escape if the disease overtake us?” Old nurses who had grown grey in the service of Death shrank back and shuddered as they heard themselves summoned to attend the sick. Thousands who had the means fled into the country and hastened to the sea-side, where they thought themselves secure; but the wings of the Angel of Death threw a melancholy shadow over the whole land.

Stout-hearted men who had families started suddenly from their sleep in the dead of night, if they only heard one of their children moaning in its slumber: words muttered in a dream were like a sharp icicle thrust into the heart, for they feared that the Destroyer had come; and they knew that he seldom retired without carrying{280} off his victim. In old tavern-parlours, where the same company had assembled for years, the sounds of merriment were no longer heard. Men spoke to one another “with bated breath;” inquired who was dead, and who dying; and if some old acquaintance was but a few minutes behind his usual time, they sat gazing on his vacant chair in silence, or perchance one ventured to inquire in a whisper if he had been seen that night. Many shook hands at the tavern-doors, went home, and never met again. Four in the morning was a dreaded hour, and numbers no doubt died through fright who were attacked in the faint dawning of the day, for they believed that time to be fatal. In some streets five or six shops that stood together were closed—many were not opened again for several days. You saw the windows standing open day and night, but not a living soul stirred within those walls. Many who died were removed in the night: sometimes twenty were buried in one grave.

Then the cry arose that the churchyards were too full, that there was no longer any room for the dead. “I must find room, or I shall be ruined,” exclaimed the sexton; “it cost me all I had in the world to get elected.” The grave-digger threw down his spade, wiped the perspiration from his brow, and said, “Our occupation’s gone.” The cry increased; and then the incessant tolling of the bell ceased; for an order was issued that the dead should no longer rout the dead, or their sleep be broken almost before the features had been effaced by slow decay. Then Death ceased to become his own avenger; for when he found that the secrets of his dark dominions were no more to be laid bare to the open eye of day, he no longer smote those who trod reverentially on the verge of his territories. The streets were no longer darkened with funerals; you no longer saw men running in every direction with coffins on their heads, knocking at doors, and delivering them with no more ceremony or feeling than the postman delivers his letters. The solemn hearse and the dark mourning-coach now moved slowly along, and the dead were borne away to green and peaceful cemeteries, far removed from the dwellings of the living. Nuisances were removed—sewers were cleansed—the abodes of the poor purified, and at last rendered habitable; and then “the plague was stayed.”

It seemed as if the winds of Heaven, which had been driven away for want of breathing-room, came back again, and flapped their “healing wings” above the homes of mankind; as if they were weary of wandering over the houseless sea, and gladly returned to sweep through the lofty streets and open squares, from which they had been driven by the poison-traps which were set every where to destroy them. The sun again gladdened the day, and the round moon walked up the{281} starry steep of heaven, while the sky bared its blue bosom, and shewed that the silvery clouds still slumbered there as tranquilly as if the Destroying Angel had never thrown his shadow betwixt earth and heaven.

Alas, the sun rose upon a shore strown with wrecks, and blackened with the bodies of the dead! If the eye alighted upon the living, it every where settled upon a group of mourners. Death had gone like a gleaner through the land, and taken an ear from every field. Where before had stood a bed of flowers, one resting upon and supporting another, a bare and open gap was found; and too often the tallest, around which the rest clung, had withered, and fallen and died. The place they had once known “would know them no more for ever.” The young bride, before the honeymoon had waned, came forth in her widowed weeds. Their first-born child came too late into the world to look on the face of its father. Sometimes the young mother fell before her infant had seen the light: the opening rose and the unfolded bud perished together. Respectable families fell from a state of comfort to almost naked destitution in a single night, leaving no mark on the steps of the ladder of time, by which men rise and fall, but plunging headlong to the foot of it in a moment. Some had passed many years in faithful servitude, and at last attained the long-coveted promotion. The larger house, so often talked of, was taken; they entered, and so did Death: the father fell, and with him all their hopes for ever perished. Since that day the garden-roller has never been moved, and where the spade was thrust into the ground when the improvements first commenced, there it rests: perchance the robin may alight upon the handle, and there chant his mournful anthem; but one branch is sawn from the overhanging tree that darkened the drawing-room window; all the rest remain untouched, for the workmen have departed. The merry Christmas so often talked of was a mournful meeting within those walls. What at another period would have formed a little history of trial, patient endurance, slow change, and long coming misfortune, was now accomplished almost as soon as one could say “It lightens.”

None knew whence the Destroyer came, nor in what hidden corner he lurked. The Registrar for the district we are describing closes his return for Walworth, for the week ending Sept. 8, 1849, in the following words: “It (the disease) has spread over the whole district—into almost every street—and taken persons of all classes, from the most respectable to the poorest.” Men hunted for it in the unhealthy drain, and endeavoured to destroy the unwholesome vapour; they searched for it in what they drank, and hoped to get rid of it by boiling the water; they impregnated the air with lime, and in every{282} court and alley you passed you inhaled the powerful chloride. Then a change was produced, and the returns of deaths gradually lessened every day; and those who for days and weeks dare not look into a newspaper, for fear of encountering those dark tables of death, were now eager to see the returns, and congratulate their neighbours on the daily decrease. “From the painless nature of the attack,” says the same Registrar, “persons seemed to be unconscious how highly necessary it is that immediate attention should be paid to it.” Thousands fell through this neglect, who, if the disease had first made its appearance attended by severe pain, would not have lost a single hour without seeking medical aid. Like a flood that slowly undermines a bank, and which the proprietor regards not when he sees so tiny a current dribbling and oozing through, and scarcely bowing the grass between which it trickles, so came the Destroyer—slowly and almost imperceptibly undermining the current of life, and eating out the foundations, until there needed but one mighty rush, and all was over beyond recovery, and the work of destruction was completed. A little precaution would have saved thousands of lives in London alone.

Let us then agitate for pure air and pure water, and break through the monopolies of water and sewer companies, as we would break down the door of a house to rescue some fellow-creature from the flames that raged within. It rests with ourselves to get rid of these evils; and scarcely one in a hundred will be foolhardy enough to oppose the sanitary measures which are already in motion. To aid these proposed improvements, we deemed it our duty to add to the “Picturesque Sketches of London” a brief but faithful description of the dreadful disease which caused almost every street in the metropolis to be hung in mourning.

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BEAUTIFUL as Greenwich Park is within itself, with its long aisles of overhanging chestnuts, through whose branches the sunlight streams, and throws upon the velvet turf rich chequered rays of green and gold, yet it is the vast view which stretches out on every hand that gives such a charm to the spot. What a glorious prospect opens out from the summit of One-Tree Hill! London, mighty and magnificent, piercing the sky with its high-piled towers, spires, and columns, while St. Paul’s, like a mighty giant, heaves up his rounded shoulders as if keeping guard over the outstretched city! Far away the broad bright river rolls along until lost to the eye in the dim green of the fading distance, while its course is still pointed out by the spreading sail, which hangs like a fallen cloud upon the landscape. Along this ancient road of the swans do vessels approach from every corner of the habitable globe, to empty their riches into the great reservoir of London, from whence they are again sent through a thousand channels to the remotest homes in her islands.

About June, Greenwich Park may be seen in all its bloom and beauty; the fine old hawthorns are then generally in full blossom, and the hundreds of gigantic elms and chestnuts are hung in their richest array of summer-green, while here and there the antlered herd cross the shady avenues, or crouched amid what is called the Wilderness, lie half buried in the fan-like fern. The hill above and the plain below are crowded with the gay populace of London, all clothed in their holiday attire, the ladies looking in the distance like a bed of tulips, so rich and varied are the colours of the costume and parasols. At every few yards you meet with a new group, while the long avenue which leads up to Blackheath is one continuous stream of people. On the brow of the hill, and at the front of the Observatory, you see the{284}



old pensioners with their telescopes and glasses of every colour, which seem to give a golden or a purple hue to the landscape, or sometimes to change the scene to that of a country covered with snow. Some of these old heroes have lost a leg, others an arm, and yet they go stumping about as happy, to all appearance, as the credulous cockneys whom they delight to cram with an improbable yarn, while they{285} shoot cannon-balls to a distance which can be compared with nothing except Warner’s “long-range.”



Rare fun is there amongst the younger visitors, as they scramble for the oranges, which are often bountifully rolled down the hills. Off goes the luscious fruit, cantering like a ball of gold along the greensward. It strikes and clears the head of the first youngster who rushes on to catch it: a second misses it, and falls; and it vanishes somewhere amongst a round dozen of the competitors, who are all tumbling and struggling hicklety-picklety together, like a pack of hounds who are in at the death. Farther on you see a little love-making; you can tell by the half-averted head and downcast eyes that the little lady has not yet made up her mind whether to accept the offered arm or not. But see—her boy-lover has purchased some oranges. She accepts one; he sends another down the hill. You hear her clear merry voice ringing out like a silver bell with joyous{286}



laughter. Ten to one it is a match—at least for the remainder of the day. Old and young are alike happy: the former sit in little groups talking of bygone times; the latter are tumbling head and heels upon the grass without a care about the coming morrow. Business and pleasure go hand in hand. If you take every card that is offered, you will have a score or two before you cross the Park:—“Tea, eightpence{287}—with a pleasant view of the river.” “Tea made with shrimps, ninepence”—a beverage we have no wish to taste; but, poor woman, she is unconscious of the mistake, and no doubt the printer faithfully followed his copy. They are the most accommodating people in the world at Greenwich. You can walk into almost every other house, order tea, and receive thanks at your departure, for only a few pence. Numbers come into the Park ready provided. They eat and drink while on the steam-boat, feel a fresh appetite as soon as they have climbed the hill, are hungry and thirsty again after a donkey-ride on Blackheath, and should any thing remain, in either basket or bottle, they finish it as they return by the steamboat.



Observe the stealthy step of that black-eyed gipsy; this is her harvest, and many a fortune will she tell before moonrise. She has{288} golden promises for all; would that the world could roll on as she prophesies, there would be but little of either sighing or sorrow in it. What though she is an arch impostor, she has by her promises added another pleasure to the day’s delight; happiness now and happiness in store may gladden many a future hour, which would otherwise be gloomy but for the hope with which the gipsy has gilded the future. It is a question, after all, whether the sixpence could have been better spent, though it has but purchased a harmless string of pleasing falsehoods, “which give delight but hurt not.” The poor gipsy-woman must live, and she is at the worst but an open and honestly-avowed cheat—a holiday evil, that might be worse employed than in telling fortunes. What a burst of laughter! It is just as we expected; the jolly sailor, with the corners of his neckerchief streaming out like the mane of a war-horse, has gone down the hill with a roll, and carried his partner, the dashing lady from Wapping in the pink bonnet, along with him. There will be many similar disasters before night, which end at the worst in a crushed hat or bonnet, or a few harmless bruises.

Much as we have murmured about trespassing, and prosecution, and enclosures, we really feel grateful to the Government for throwing open such a splendid park as this, over which we can wander at will, without being cautioned to keep on either foot-path or open road, but have liberty to tread on the grassy knolls, and are left as free as the antlered deer that walk and browse wherever they please. Fifteen minutes by the railway, and about thrice that time by the steamboat, and here we are treading the elastic sward, which on the hill yields to the footsteps like a rich carpet. What beautiful dips and rises lie every way, especially to the left of the Observatory! What mighty revolution of nature threw up that vast hill, sheer and abrupt from the valley, we can never know. Those ancient burrows, which lie scattered about the park, are the resting-places of the early inhabitants of Britain; beneath them lies the dust of the old Cymri,—disturb it not.

Let us pause on the brow of this hill, and recal a few of the stirring scenes which these aged hawthorns have overlooked. They are the ancient foresters of the chase, and many of them have stood through the wintry storms of past centuries, and were gnarled and knotted, and stricken with age, long before Evelyn planned and planted those noble avenues of chestnuts and elms. Below, between the plain at the foot of the hill and the river, stood the old Palace of Greenwich, in which Henry VIII. held his revels, and where Edward VI., the boy-king, died. That ancient palace was no doubt rich in the spoils of many a plundered abbey and ruined monastery,—in{289}





vessels of gold and silver which had once been dedicated to holy purposes, but were then red with the dregs of the wine shed at many a midnight revel by the Defender of the Faith and woman-murdering monarch. Perhaps the walls of that old palace were hung with the portraits of the wives he had caused to be beheaded, while his own likeness in the centre looked like a tiger out of the frame upon its prey.

On this hill Cardinal Wolsey may have meditated with all his “blushing honours thick upon him.” Katherine, the broken-hearted queen, may here have reined-in her palfrey; or from this aged hawthorn have torn off a spray, when it was, as now, fragrant and white with May-blossoms, and presented it with a smile to the royal savage who rode beside her. On yonder plain, where so many happy faces are now seen, in former days the tournament was held. There gaudy galleries were erected, over which youth and beauty leant as they waved their embroidered scarfs. We can almost fancy that we can see the crowned tiger smile as he closes the visor of his helmet, bowing his plume while he recognises some fair face, which was soon to fall, with its long tresses dabbled in blood, upon the scaffold—the blood which then ran so clear and joyous through the violet-coloured veins which streaked the ivory of that graceful neck. In this park the crafty Cecil mused many an hour as he plotted the return of the Princess Mary, while the ink was scarcely dry with which he had recorded his allegiance to the Lady Jane Grey. The whole scenery teems with the remembrance of old stirring events, and grave historical associations. Hal, the murderer, comes straddling and blowing up the hill; the pale and sickly boy-king rides gently by, and breathes heavily as he inhales the sweet air on the summit; the titter and merry laugh of the ill-starred queens seems to fall upon the ear from behind the trees that conceal them. Then we have voices of mourning and loud lament from fair attendants—who refuse to be comforted—for those whom they loved and served were there no more.

Blackheath, which is only divided from its aristocratic neighbour the Park by a wall, pleasantly overlooks a portion of the counties of Kent and Surrey, and affords such extensive views of the distant scenery as can only be exceeded by climbing Shooter’s Hill, or some of the neighbouring heights on the left of the heath. In past times it was planted with gibbets: the bleached bones of men who had dared to ask for an extension of liberty, or who doubted the infallibility of kings, were here left to dangle in the wind. In the distance, the ancient palace of Eltham heaves up like a large barn, attracting even the eye of a stranger by its bulkiness, for not an architectural ornament from hence is visible. Blackheath at Whitsuntide,{292} and all summer long, is infested with asses, which ever stand, saddled and bridled, in readiness for the first comer. A donkey-ride is one of the favourite amusements of our holiday-loving Londoners of both sexes, nor is the day’s pleasure considered complete without it. The charges vary from a penny to a shilling, according to either the time or the distance; and a strange, rough, and inharmonious family are the proprietors, who beat and let out these animals. Their chief delight appears to consist in abusing one another, and running down the qualities of the poor long-eared quadrupeds—each applicant at the same time extolling the strength and speed of his own donkey. Here they may be found with side-saddles for the ladies, and neat chairs, covered with white drapery, and so secured that the little children can ride with safety.

A countryman who went by water for the first time from London to Greenwich, would be astonished to find that, with the exception of a few yards here and there, the whole five miles, on each side of the Thames, was one continuation of houses, warehouses, docks, and manufactories; that he could not for the life of him tell where London began nor where it ended; that when it ceased to stretch beside the river, it was still continued in a long line behind the marshes and the Isle of Dogs up to the Blackwall pier; and from no height in the neighbourhood could his eye at once glance over this lengthy range of continued streets. Twelve miles would scarcely exceed the almost unbroken link of buildings which extends from Blackwall to far beyond Chelsea, where street still joins to street in apparent endless succession. And all around this vast city lie miles of the most beautiful rural scenery. Highgate and Hornsey and Hampstead on the Middlesex side, hilly, wooded, and watered; and facing these, the vast range called the Hogsback, which hem in the Surrey side, from beyond Norwood, far away to the left, to where we have carried our readers in this chapter; while the valleys on both sides of the river are filled with pleasant fields, parks, and green winding lanes. Were London to extend five miles farther every way, it would still be hemmed in with some of the most beautiful rural scenery in England; and the lowness of fares, together with the rapidity of railway travelling, would render as nothing this extent of streets. Even the very poor are now satisfied, as they can travel from one end of the kingdom to the other by paying one penny per mile.

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FOOD and raiment, household shelter and a grave, are all the Poor-Law allows to the pauper; for there is no clause in that act permitting him the enjoyment of the sweet air of heaven, or the open and unwalled sunshine (the gold which God scatters down for all), beyond what blows and beats upon the narrow court-yard in which he is doomed to walk—the Prisoner of Poverty. The birds he there hears sing are the dirty sparrows that roost under the soot-blackened eaves, and weary the heart with their unchangeable chirrup. The hum of his insects is the buzz of the bloated blue-bottle, ever hovering around, and endeavouring to blow and spoil the morsel of meat that is doled out to him with a niggard hand. The murmur of his streams is heard in the flushing of the poisonous sewers. The waving of his trees, the coarse garments that dangle on the clotheslines—for in such places it is ever washing-day. His blue sky is the little morsel of the face of heaven which (by straining his neck) he can see roofing the tall bare walls that surround him. His flowers are the morsels of chickweed, the two or three dwindling blades of grass, or the dank green moss, that shoot up beside the damp wall, or between the fissures of the pavement. His fragrance, a life-destroying atmosphere, a compound of all unwholesome smells.

Day after day, week after week, month after month—throughout the budding spring—all the while the long-leaved summer reigns—when autumn is throwing her rainbow-hues over the forest, and winter comes forth, blowing his blue nails, and with the snow-flakes hanging on his hair—throughout all these changes he feels but cold and heat: can only tell when it is spring by hearing the cry of “primroses” without the walls; summer, by the hot pavement on which he{294} treads; autumn, by the drawing in of the days and the chilly evenings; and winter, by the cold that seems to eat into his very bones. This is his life; these all the changes he knows, unless the rolling of the monotonous year is varied by the days he never left his sick-bed, or the weeks he spent in the hospital. The weary walls are ever the same; he has counted every fissure in the pavement; almost every morsel of gravel is familiar to his eye: he knows how many slabs are cracked and broken; at what hour he shall have gruel, when a change to potatoes. Meat-days are little feast-days; his spoon and porringer and plate his only comforters, until sleep comes and steeps his senses in forgetfulness. He knows when it is Sunday by receiving his clean shirt, and attending church.

Poverty in the country—however poor it may be, however low it may have fallen—is still surrounded with a few fragments of the Paradise which was once man’s possession. There we see the blue of the sky bending and resting upon the dim rim of the horizon, or losing itself in the twilight of other worlds. The bladed green of the refreshing earth lies below like a rich velvet carpet which God hath diapered with flowers of “all hues,” and thrown down for man to tread upon. The solemn avenue of stately trees rises like a tall temple, roofed in by his mighty hand; and as we gaze upward, we feel the heart worshipping Him unawares, and walk along surrounded with the awe of an old religion. Every rounded pebble beside which the stream plays and murmurs, sends up its tiny voice through the bubbling silver, and fills up the pause in the great anthem which Nature hymns in His praise. In the greenless and sunless streets of the busy city we see not this God-created life, this old world, which has lived on ever since a broad leaf waved; long perchance before Eve planted her white and naked foot on the rounded daisies that blowed in Eden, when the voice of God was heard “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis iii. 8).

The visions which St. John the Evangelist obtained of heaven were of a city whose golden gates were never closed; of a river clear as crystal, and trees bending beneath their load of fruit. Isaiah also saw there “the glory of Lebanon: ... the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of [his] sanctuary.” And in our own dreams of those immortal realms, we but catch dim glimpses of what is beautiful on earth—a peaceful country, green and flowery; and over the sunshine which sleeps thereon the shadows of angels are ever passing.

Those who never see the beauties which God hath scattered over the face of the earth, can scarcely imagine any thing of heaven, or dream of delights beyond the worship which they join in here below.{295}

Our forefathers were a holiday-loving people. With what delight they set out to bring home May! Herrick has told us, in undying verse: they hung a green bough on every door, and suspended from window to window, in the centre of the streets, endless garlands of flowers. The dance under the May-pole was surely preferable to reeling out of a gin-shop; and the archers practising in the cool of a summer evening, under the trees in Moorfields, much better than a stifling skittle-ground, reeking with tobacco, gin, and beer.

If the country is a little farther from London than it was in those days, we are enabled to reach it as soon as they did, when linked to that space-cleaving thunder-bolt, a railway engine; and quick and far away as the flowers have flown, we can still overtake them in a few minutes.

We have great faith in these holidays of the poor; for whatsoever contributes to their happiness removes a portion of what is evil, and supplies the place with what is good. To make a poor weary heart happy and contented for only a few hours, is to lessen the evils of life—it is a rest in the desert, a spring throwing its “loosened silver” through the arid sand, at which they drink, and taking heart, go on their way again more cheerfully. A more selfish and depraved class live not, than those who only think of their own pleasure; who never dream of the delight there is to be found in making others happy.

How grateful the generality of the poor are for favours! They return the donor thanks, sincere thanks—they can offer God no more.

We pay our poor-rates because we are forced; but is a parochial board to be the limits of our charity, is there nothing required beyond food, raiment, and household shelter, for the poor? Ask Joseph Brown, and he will point with a proud finger towards Bethnal-green, to those whom he led forth like a second Moses, out of a wilderness of bricks, mortar, and ruins, to a land where summer reigns, where he smote the rock, and sent the gushing waters bubbling and sparkling among a thousand brick-dried and dusty hearts.

At his bidding the little doubled-up old woman left off roasting chestnuts at the corner of the street, and went out to see them grow; the pale-faced girl for one day ceased her cry of water-cresses, and saw the clear brook in which they stood; while the pretty flower-girl gazed with wonderment over the gardens of Havering Bower, and thought how fresh and beautiful the flowers looked there compared with those she sold in the streets of London. The old man, bent with age, left his box of lucifer-matches (the beggar’s last shield) at home, and went to see the butterfly once more alight on the blossoms. And Joseph Brown walked at the head of these immortal souls, these poor outcasts of earth—many of them we trust angels on{296} their march to heaven, whose folded wings may in another state touch our own, when we kneel with bowed head and clasped hands on the star-paved floor of heaven, blushing to think how many tribulations they waded through without a murmur, while we looked on nor extended a helping hand.

The last trumpet, when it awakes the dead, will have no soft and silvery sound for the silken sons and daughters of luxury, but send out the same earth-rending peal, and startle all from their long deep slumber.

These Bethnal-green holiday-people were a poor and homely race, looking what they really are, a badly-fed and badly-housed populace. They are small in stature and limb, and unwholesome in appearance, like flowers crammed into the bit of ground behind the smoky alleys in which they live, that dwindle and pine, and get less and less every year they live: so were these poor people—they had neither bulk, bone, nor muscle: they were like the trees in our city streets compared with the giant oaks of Sherwood Forest. Some of the girls were rather pretty but pensive; they seemed happy, and yet it did not look natural for them to appear so; you could not tell how it was, yet you “felt” it to be so. The ugliest and dirtiest were to all appearance the happiest; they saw only the present, they left the past behind them, quite sure that the old cares, privations, and sorrows would not run away while they were absent. Peace be with them, and all happiness attend such careful pastors as the Rev. Joseph Brown, Rev. Thomas French the curate of Bildeston, the Rev. R. H. Herschell, and all the kind friends who assist them by contributing their mite to these Holidays of the Poor. We place their names in our pages with a feeling of pleasure.

During one of our rural wanderings in summer, we chanced to stumble upon a holiday group of charity-school children, both boys and girls, which had been brought into the quietude of the country by half-a-score of pleasure-vans. They had not all the freedom we should have liked to have seen them enjoy: if one or two straggled a little out of bounds, they were called back. Poor little things! they seemed to envy the bees and birds that flew about, and to wish that they had no teachers to watch over them. We fancied how little some of them had slept on the previous night, through thinking about their country excursion; how often they had looked at the sky, and hoped that it would not rain—that it would surely be fair one day in the year, the only day on which they had a holiday. It made us sigh to look at some of them—they were such little specimens of humanity, especially when, on inquiry, we found that many of them were fatherless and motherless. They seemed to look on Nature with{297} that childish wonder which is pleased with every thing it sees: they gathered the white dead-nettle, the ox-eye, and red poppy, and thought that such were beautiful flowers; little darlings, that could only sob and weep when they were beaten, and nestle closer to one another for comfort, seeming to look about with their pretty eyes as if seeking for some friend to protect them. Others we saw with forbidding countenances, who had no doubt been beaten and starved, and felt a savage satisfaction in punishing such as were less than themselves, as if copying the examples they had suffered under.

Some had eaten their dinners before reaching their journey’s end, and gazed with longing eyes on such as had been more provident; though we strongly suspected that many had been tempted by false promises and the hopes of sharing the dinner of their companion—hopes not likely to be realised in many cases, judging from what we saw.

Oh, how we longed to have had those children under our own guidance for the day, to have taken them to one or another of the sweet spots we knew, so different from the dusty patch of green by the road-side, where the pleasure-vans were drawn up! such spots as we have often described—roads and lanes that lead only to fields; green nooks that seem too beautiful ever to be broken up into highways, as if it would be a sin to crush those lines of white daisies that seem to stretch onward and onward, as if trying to find their way to where, in spring, the primroses and violets and blue-bells nestle on the wood-side banks; spots which for ages have formed an old highway of flowers, over which have flown armies of birds and bees and butterflies; places beside which there ever went singing along with subdued voice some little brook, that seemed to chafe if only a pebble checked its course, as if it murmured at being kept away from the flowers that grew farther on, and which it had come a long way down the hills to look at, from whence the breeze had first blown the tidings about the beauty of the spot in which they grew; and ever over the stream the drooping May-buds waved, as if they tried to match their whiteness against the silver cloud that lay mirrored below, while here and there great trees threw their green arms across it, chequering its onward course with cooling shadows, as if for a little time to give it a pleasant resting-place before it went on again to where the unclouded sunshine falls; for where that pleasant stream goes broadening out, the gaudy dragon-flies meet together to play, and where it runs narrowing in, the black bulrushes, the feathery reeds, and the golden-flowered water-flags nod and bend and rustle together, as if they were never weary of telling one another how pleasant is the scenery around which they grow; spots where{298} the birds seem to come for new songs—sweet notes which they gather from the lapping water and the whistling reeds, and these they sing to the blossoms, and the blossoms breathe them back again to the bees, and the bees whisper them into the bells of the flowers they plunge into, and every insect that alights thereon catches the note, and all day long is humming the low tune high up in the air. To such places as these ought the dear children to be taken, while the pleasure-vans await their return beside the dusty high-road, where only the plantain, the ox-eye, the dead-nettle, and the hemlock grow.

But while the railway rushes on in its lightning-like speed, and the steam-boat tosses the water aside with proud disdain, as if angry that it should for a moment check its course, the slow moving canal-boat, drawn leisurely along by horses, has also its crowd of holiday-people. This is, no doubt, one of the cheapest and safest methods of spending the day after all. Here there is no rushing and thronging as on the railway, no dashing and rocking as in the steam-packet, nor any shaking in going over the ground as in the pleasure-vans. The ripple the boat makes is scarcely heard. You can even distinguish the rustling of the tiny waves among the sedge that sways idly to and fro on the banks of the canal. It is a beautiful sight to see these boats full of holiday passengers, gliding slowly along within a yard or two of the shore in the summer sunshine; to look down and see them all mirrored in the water, even to the little girl that is leaning over the side, and rippling the surface with her hand, beside the woman in the red shawl, that deep down is clear-shadowed. Pleasant it is to stand a little way off; and, while the boat is towed lazily along, to hear some old solemn hymn chanted: low at first, then gradually swelling higher, and to distinguish the children’s voices mingling with those of men and women; and nothing to drown the harmony saving the measured tramp of the horses which haul the boat, the creaking of a gate, or the short sharp crack of the driver’s whip—sounds which disturb not your thoughts. Not that we would have them always singing hymns, or listening to pious addresses, but leave them a little breathing-time to look on nature, to “commune with their own hearts,” to enjoy themselves on the lawn (as the kind curate of Bildeston allowed them to do a year or two ago, after giving them a hearty meal of plum-cake and tea; and, when wearied with their sports and pastimes, sending home, as he did, every poor child with a huge lump of plum-cake in its hand).

In the north of England the school-feasts are called “Potations,” for so is the word sounded, the origin of which we have never been able to discover, nor to find any other meaning for it than that of{299} drinking; yet it signifies a childish feast or holiday in the midland counties. We want a better compound word than “Pic-nic” for these Holidays of the Poor, and hope that some of our learned readers will help us to one.



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A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Z

Abercrombie, 36.
Adelphi, by whom built, 205;
on what ground built, 205;
connected with it Lady Jane Grey, 206;
neighbourhood of it between Strand and river, 206;
to what purposes used, 207;
descriptive notes of, 208,
descriptive notes of neighbourhood in old times, 208.
Addle-hill, 37.

Aedd the Great, 18.
Aldgate, 26.
Alfred, 24.
Algigiva, 201.
Allhallows Church, 76.
Ancient bridge, 25;
only highway to Kent and Surrey, 25;
by what parties traversed at different times, 25.
Ancient lamp, 49.
Ancient names of headlands and harbours, hills and valleys, 18;
endeavour to discover language by, 18, 19;
mixture of sounds in, 19.
Andrew’s-hill, 37;
church and monument on it, 37.
Angel Inn, old, from whence Bishop Hooper was taken to martyrdom, 201;
where situated, 201.
Anthony, St., church of, built by Wren, 54.
Apothecaries’ Hall, 37.
Appearance of spot in ancient times where Westminster stood, 23.
Apsley House, 225.
Augusta, 17.

Bartholomew’s Church, 27.
Bartholomew Fair, 27.
Bartholomew, 79.
Basing-lane, 62;
Roman tessalated pavement discovered in, 62;
extent and composition of pavement, 62;
in what embedded, 63;
building and wall exposed by cutting, 63; vessels discovered, 63;
circular shaft discovered, 63;
remains of piles discovered, 64;
site of these discoveries that formerly occupied by fortress of Tower Royal, 64.
Baynard’s Castle, 26;
various historical associations connected with detailed in 26 and 27.
Baxter, author of “Saints’ Rest,” where buried, 173.
Ben Jonson, 27.
Bennet’s-hill, 37.
Billingsgate, 79;
free trade in, 500 years ago, 80;
laws connected with fishmongers in, 80;
punishment for infringement of, 80;
stalls in, 80;
houses originating from, 81;
various descriptive notes of, 81, 82;
hawkers connected with, 82;
supplies from, 82;
railways in connexion with, 85;
old Billingsgate pulled down, 85;
new pile erected, 85;
allusion to Mayhew’s work, in connexion with it, 86.
Bird, sculptor, 35.
Bishopsgate-street, 149;
old-fashioned inn in, 153;
details and characteristics of, 153.
Bow Church, old, 54, 55.
Bridge, ancient characteristics of, 24, 25.
Broadway, 37.
Bucklersbury, 60;
descriptive details of, 60.

Canterbury Tales, 250.
Canute, 24.
Carter-lane, 44.
Catherine of Spain, 76.
Cheapside, 56;
effects of it on a countryman, 56;
splendid shops in, 56;
rent paid for, 56;
articles sold in, 56;
difference of London in the present day from that of old, manifested by shops, 57;
various characters described, 57, 58;
accident described, 58;
vehicles described, 58, 59.
Christ’s Hospital, 166;
custom connected with, 166;
allusion to founder of, Edward VI., 166;
monastery of Grey Friars repaired for reception of children, 166;
costume worn by, 167;
Stowe’s account of the origin of Hospital, 167;
Ridley Bishop of London, his connexion with, 167;
Lord Mayor’s connexion with, 168;
picture illustrative of 168;
sum voted by king for relief of hospital, 168;
notices connected with, hospital, 168, 169;
abuses incidental to, 169;
quotation from Illustrated London News of supper given in, 169, 170;
quotation from “London Spy” illustrative of hospital and its approaches, 171;
Christ’s church, 172;
story connected with hospital, 173;
illustrious parties there educated, 173.
Clement Danes, St., why so called, 201;
church of, by whom built, 201;
under whose guidance, 201;
old church, when pulled down, 201;
neighbourhood of, 202;
subjected to London cries, 202;
various ones noticed, 202;
diminution of them, 202;{301}
noise of vehicles one cause of this, 202.
Clement’s Inn, where situated, 201.
Cloth Fair, 27.
Coal Exchange, new, 85, 87;
descriptions connected with the opening of the building quoted from the Illustrated London News, 87, 88, 89, 90;
coloured decorations of, worthy of admiration, 89;
various subjects forming them, 89;
architect of, 90;
builder of, 90;
decorator of, 90;
furnishers of ironwork for, 90;
Roman hypocaust found in connexion with, 90.
Cock Tavern, 200;
Tennyson’s, the poet’s connexion with, 200;
currency connected with, 200.
Coins of conquerors, where lying, 22.
College-hill, descriptive notice of, 59;
name derived from a college founded by Whittington, 59;
who resided there, 60;
Strype referred to, 60.
Country of Sea Cliffs, name of England, 18.
Covent Garden, 209;
flowers collected there in season, 209;
feelings awakened by a walk through it, 210;
images recalled by such, 210;
supplies furnished by, 210;
parties frequenting it, 210;
itinerant dealers connected with, 211;
places in which they grow flowers, 211;
enjoyment afforded to various parties by Covent Garden, 211;
portresses connected with, 211;
their honesty and strength, 211;
characteristics of, 211, 212;
hours at which Covent Garden market is attended, 212;
historical associations, 212;
original name, 212;
belonged to Westminster Abbey, 212;
walk to it a few centuries ago, 212;
walled round within three hundred years, 213;
description of its neighbourhood, 213,
foundations of old convent from which it is named exist still in Mr. Bohn’s house, 213;
Inigo Jones connected with first advances to improvement, 213;
under the direction of the Earl of Bedford, 213;
specimens of the architecture of the period in Lincoln’s Inn, 213;
supply of vegetables in old times, 214;
love of flowers habitual to Londoners, 214;
Henry VIII’s. visit to Shooter’s Hill in illustration of this, 214;
quotation from Illustrated London News describing the church of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, 215.
Coverdale, Miles, associated with earliest printed translation of the Bible, 78.
Crosby-place, 25;
one of the few places in the city where deeds historically recorded were plotted, 149, 150.
Crosby-hall, by whom built, 149,
lease obtained from prioress of convent, 149;
progress of purchaser, 149;
monument of same, 149.
Custom House, where situated, 90;
mention of in the reign of Elizabeth, 91;
long room in, 91;
parade of the quay, 91;
revenue derived from, 91.

Delware, statue of, 37.
Description of street across the Thames, 24.
Descriptive details of Canterbury settlement, 136.
Descriptive details of the borough, 25.
Dispensary poem, cause, and by whom written, 37.
Dissenting ministers, vindication of themselves, 76.
Doctors Commons, 37;
approach to, 37;
feelings of parties passing it, 37;
various parties described, 38, 39;
description and characteristics of, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44;
prerogative and will office, 38;
detailed description of court of arches, 44;
court of faculties and dispensations, 44;
consistory court of the Bishop of London, 44;
high court of Admiralty, 44;
Herald’s College, 44.
Docks, 126;
Blackwall reach, 126;
neighbourhood of Tower, and state of society in, 126;
quotation from “London Spy,” illustrative of the same, 127;
description and characteristics of, 127;
origin of rural cemeteries in connexion with making the docks, 128;
hospital of Queen Matilda demolished, 128;
size of St. Catherine’s and London Docks, 128;
amount of ships capable of containing, 128;
West India Docks, 128;
value deposited in, 128;
wealth of London contained in docks, 128;
cost of walls surrounding, 131;
East India Docks, Blackwall, 131;
mast-house, 131;
time taken in delivering cargo of vessel, 131;
method of doing so, 131;
river robbery, 131;
opposition to docks in consequence of, 131;
also by Trinity House, 131;
difficulties met with in making docks, 131;
emigrants departing from, 132;
descriptive details of, 132, 133, 134;
Canterbury Association in connexion with, 135;
description and characteristics of, 136.
Dowgate, 26.

Eastcheap, 93.
East India House, 96;
where situated, 96;
when built, 96;
purpose of, 96;
court-room in, 96;
ornaments and size of, 96;
Tippoo’s elephant Howdah, 97;
statues of Clive, Hastings, Cornwallis, Coote, Lawrence, and Pococke, 97;
Library and Museum, where contained, 97;
latter is open on Saturdays, 97;
and well repays a visit, 98;
articles contained in, 98;
Tippoo’s Tiger, 98;
Hindoo idols, Chinese curiosities, 98;
description of Ajunta caves in India—copies of which have been lately added to the museum—taken from Illustrated London News, 98.
Edward I., 79.
Edward VI., 168.
Eels, rent of land paid in, 81;
not as good as formerly, 85;
affected by poisonous state of the Thames, 85;
evidence of Mr. Butcher in connexion with, 85.
Egbert, 24.
Elphitt’s dialogues, implements mentioned in, 81.
Emigration, 139.
England, description of at Aed’s landing, 21.{302}
Erkennin, the Saxon, 23.
Etheldred, 24.
Ethelstane, 81.
Ethelwulf, 24.

Fat Ursula, 181;
still lives in the pages of Ben Jonson, 181;
in the same pages is memory kept of Bartholomew fair, 181.
Fenchurch-street, 76.
Fish-street Hill, 76;
monument on, designed by Wren, 77;
height of, 77;
distance from the spot where the fire commenced, 77;
ascent of 77;
interior of column, width of, 77;
suicides committed from, 77;
view from the summit, 77;
characteristics of it, 77.
Fishmongers, ancient, 79;
on what occasion they paraded the city, 79;
in what numbers and order, 79, 80;
manner of selling fish in olden time, 80;
characteristics of those engaged in, 80;
allusions to fishmongers, 87;
by Stowe, quotation, 87.
Fleet-street, 191;
characteristics of its neighbourhood, 191;
central situation of, 191;
Whitefriars in, 192;
alluded to by Sir Walter Scott, 192;
quotation from “London Spy” illustrative of various features connected with it, 192.
Fog, London, time of its occurrence, 243;
nature and characteristics of it, 243;
atmosphere of, 243;
appearance of city in, 243;
variety of accidents occasioned by, 244, 245;
appearance of tavern in fog, 245;
appearance of London at night in fog, 247;
accidents on the river in fog, 248.

Geology, revelations made by, 19;
and discoveries attendant on, 19.
Gerard’s Hall, mentioned by Stowe, 49;
Giant connected with, 49;
tale connected with, 50;
Gisor’s Hall, proper name of, 51;
swept away in the Great Fire, 51.
Gibbs, architect of St. Martin’s portico, 204.
Gracechurch-street, 76;
its conduit mentioned, 76;
pageant erected in to Catharine of Spain, 76;
primitive way of draining mentioned in connexion with, 76;
name changed in Elizabeth’s reign, 76;
ground for omnibuses at present, 76.
Great Fire, date of commencement, 77;
place of likewise, 77;
inscription detailing destruction caused by, made on the monument, 77.
Green Park, 224;
house of Samuel Rogers in it, 224;
parties associating there, 224.
Greenwich, beauty of Park, 283;
description of, 283;
London seen from One-tree Hill in, 283;
appearance of described, 283;
chief beauty of park appears in June, 283;
crowded by visitors, 283;
Observatory, 283;
pensioners, 284;
characteristics of, 285;
various amusements practised, 285;
refreshments, appetite for, and cheapness of, 287;
Gipsies connected with, 288;
characteristics of, 288;
advantages derived from the opening of the park, 288;
historical associations connected with, 288, 291;
Blackheath connected with, 291;
view from, 291;
palace of Eltham seen from, 291;
donkeys to be procured there, 292;
appearance of river from London to Greenwich, 292.
Guildhall, 155;
scarred by great fire, 155;
ancient hall, when erected, 155;
first king who dined there, 155;
historical associations connected with, 155;
descriptive details of the banquet, 156;
and procession attendant, plate, flowers, bill of fare, 157, 158;
description of Charles First’s entertainment, 159, 160, 162;
Lord Mayor’s election, 162;
forms connected with, 162;
heavy duties of office, 162;
amount of letters received by, 162;
crypt of Guildhall, 163;
length of Guildhall, 163;
architecture of, 163;
quotation from “London Spy,” illustrative of giants in Guildhall, 163;
monuments in, 164;
of whom in memory of, 164;
picture in Council Chamber, 164;
subject of, 164;
library, 164;
autograph of Shakspeare in, 164.

Hall’s Chronicle, description of fête, quoted from, 79.
Harold, 24;
notes connected with, 201.
Harrison, William, 76;
connected with pamphlet, 76.
Hastings, 24.
Henry VIII., abuse of consecrated vessels, 168.
History, opening of Anglo-Saxon, applicable to origin of London, 17.
History of the past, 17.
History of our island, 18;
darkness of early part, 18;
first dawning of it by what discovered, 18.
History of life and reign of Elizabeth, 121.
Historical associations connected with houses in Holywell-lane and Wych-street, 208, 209.
Holidays of the London Poor, 293.
Holy Trinity, church of, destroyed by fire, great, 51;
Holy Trinity, prior of, 26.
Honey Island, 18.
Houndsditch, 146.
House connected with Black Prince, 26.
House at the entrance of Whitechapel, description of, 25;
whose residence possibly, 25;
emblems and ornaments on, 25, 26.
House in which Sir Paul Pindar resided, 153.
Hyde Park, 225;
Apsley House, and statue of Achilles, 225;
character of in season, 225;
rural scenery of, 225;
in vicinity of “Tyburn tree,” 225;
Cromwell, Ireton, Bradshaw, in connexion with, 225;
escape of Cromwell in Hyde-park, 225, 226;
Hyde-park when first mentioned, 226;
mustering-ground for “May-day holidays,” 226, 227.

Illustrated London News, office of, where situated, 202.
Importation of fruit and cattle, 139.
Inhabitants of our island, early, very doubtful, 19;
reasons for this, 19.
Ironside, Edmund, 24.{303}

King William-street, statue of William IV. in, 67;
by whom made, 67;
aspect of, 67;
cost of, and by whom voted, 67;
width and beauty of street, 67.
Knight-Rider-street, 44;
descriptive details of, 45.

Labour, thoughts connected with, 139, 140;
waste land in England and Ireland in connexion with, 139;
duty of England in connexion with, 139.
Laud, where beheaded, 148.
Leadenhall-street and market, alluded to by Stowe, 96.
Lodging-houses, 193;
variety of, 193;
descriptive details of a real lodging-house, 194;
various characteristics of the habits of servants in such, 194, 195;
various illustrations of diet, tenants, economy, furniture connected with such, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199.
Lombard-street, 69;
aspect of it, 69;
for what proverbial, 69;
appearance of, different now from what it was three centuries ago, 69;
in what respects, 69;
bear-baiting in it anciently, 69;
related by Ben Jonson, 69;
notices, historical incidents, 69;
Banks and his horse, 69;
opening of Exchange by Queen Elizabeth, 69;
details of street cries and various parties incidental to neighbourhood, 69;
characteristics of social state in olden time, 70;
Bankers of England in connexion with, 70;
characteristics of business done by them, 74;
and manner of doing it, 74;
old-fashioned banker, picture of, 75;
church in Lombard-street, built by a pupil of Wren’s, 75;
entry in old pamphlet connected with, 76.
London, when first peopled, unknown, 21;
first probable origin of, 21;
appearance of, in early times, 21;
during the occupation of the Romans, 21;
remains of ancient London, 27;
to be found still in neighbourhood of Smithfield, 27;
streets of London in olden time, 27;
state of roads in, 27;
by what evidenced, 27;
progress of passenger in, 27;
roads of London in William and Anne’s time, 28;
evidenced by characteristics of coachmen, 28;
numbers of lamps then used, 28;
old highway to London, poetically called “the road of the swans,” 28.
London cemeteries, 269;
custom of burying the dead in ancient times, 269;
from whence derived, 269;
opposite character of present customs, 269;
objections to, 270;
ashes of the dead only brought within the temples anciently, 270;
misplacing of our dead in cities, 270;
arguments in favour of open cemeteries, 270;
remarks on both, 273, 274;
different position of our churches when first built, 274;
proposed rating for burial of dead, 274;
opportunities offered for suburban cemeteries, 273, 275;
death less repulsive in a cemetery, 275;
allusion to and description of Joseph’s funeral, 276;
epidemic referred to in connexion with present subject, 277;
various characteristics of, 278, 279, 280, 281;
sexton and grave-digger how affected by, 280;
pure air to be agitated for in connexion with extra-mural interments, 282.
London poor, characteristics of, 136;
habits of life comfortless, 136;
neighbourhood of Whitechapel and Bethnal Green, inhabited by, 136;
associations connected with “Home” in their life, 136;
hunger, and work, and sleeplessness, modes of reckoning time, 137;
Mr. Mayhew’s work alluded to, 137;
their condition reflected on, 137;
emigration in connexion with, 138;
holidays of the, 293.
London Bridge, old, 25;
descriptive and historical references, 25.

Mansion House, 65;
when built, 65;
before which Lord Mayor resided in his own house, 65;
Egyptian Hall, where Lord Mayor entertains his guests, 66;
value of plate then used, 66;
princely style of Lord Mayor, 66;
allowance made him to support the dignity, sword of Lord Mayor described, 66;
mace likewise, 66;
collar and jewel, description of, taken from Illustrated London News, 66;
costume of Lord Mayor, 66;
Mansion House, where standing, 66.
Market held under name of Farringdon is still held, 66.
Markets, vegetable and fruit, 212.
Mark Lane, 94.
Mary Frith, where buried, 193;
her exploits, 193.
Mary Overy, or Mary of the ferry, 249.
May-pole in the Strand, 202;
by whom removed, 202;
at what time restored, 202, 203;
account of in the “City’s Loyalty displayed,” 203.
Merchant tailors’ school, 66;
connected with it Duck’s foot lane, corruption of Duke’s foot lane, 66;
eminent men there educated, 67;
among whom James Shirley, 67.
Mercers’ School, 60;
former situation of, 60;
said to be one of the oldest schools founded in London, 60;
what ground occupied by, 60;
by whom founded, 60.
Mermaid tavern, 49;
mentioned by Ben Johnson, 49.
Michael’s, St., College-hill, 60;
by whom built 60;
altar-piece contained in, 60;
what made by Whittington’s executors, 60;
who is there buried 60.
Mildred-street church, built by Wren, 49.
Milton’s baptism recorded on a stone in the wall beside a door in Allhallows, 48;
together with other names, 48.
Mincing-lane, 93.
Monument, descriptive notices of, 77.

Nelson’s monument, 36.
New parks, 227;
necessity of, illustrated by various details, 228.
New London Bridge, 67.
Newgate, 183;
neighbourhood peculiar to, described, 183;
crowd assembled to see execution in, 183;
of whom composed, 183;
time allotted for execution, 183;{304}
cries attendant on, and caused by, 183;
characteristics of workmen erecting scaffold, 184;
characteristics of parties attending executions, 184;
exhibition of such devoid of any terror to them, 185;
effects of it on them, 185;
youthfulness of parties attending, 185;
various details illustrative of pernicious effects of thus witnessing, 188;
details of prisoner forexecution, 190.
Northumberland, Earls of, 26.

Objects dwelt on in this work, 191.
Octarchy, when and by whom destroyed, 24.
Olave, St., 96.
Old change and Watling-street, 46;
church of St. Austin, in connexion with, 46.
Old Fish-street, contains church of St. Mary’s Somerset, built by Wren, 46.
Old Mint, 251.
Old city moat, 153;
neighbourhood of land in description of, 153.

Paper-staining Hall, 51;
pictures and antiquities connected with, 51.
Parks, 222;
characteristics and purposes of, 222, 223.
Park, St. James’s, 223;
in the time of Henry VIII., 223;
chase added to it by him, 223;
localities comprised in, 223;
laws connected with, 223;
death of Henry soon after, 223;
few features of the old park remaining, 223;
connected with it Buckingham Palace, 223;
beauty of walks beside the canal, and water fowl nurtured in, 224;
fine trees connected with, 224;
spot for love-making since the days of Charles II., 224;
mention of the “Mall,” by Horace Walpole, 224.
Park, Green, 224;
possesses little interest—house in it, residence of Samuel Rogers, 224;
distinguished men who have been guests there during the last half century, 224.
Park, Hyde, various characteristics of detailed, 225, 226.
Park, Regent’s, attractions to, 227;
Zoological Gardens and Colosseum, 227;
old house of Mary-le-bonne in connexion with, 227;
bowling-green of the Duke of Buckingham, 227.
Paul’s wharf, 44.
Peter House, note connected with, 48.
Peter the Dutchman, 24;
works erected by, 24.
Pilgrim fathers, 135.
Poor, holidays of the London, 293.
Prerogative court, 37.
Pudding-lane, 79.
Punch, reference to, 193.
Purveyors of fish to the court, notices of, 80.

Queenhithe quay, 53;
notices connected with, 53.
Queenhithe, 79.
Queen-street, notice of, 59.
Queen of Henry VIII., pin-money furnished by customs from Queenhithe, 79.

Rag-fair, 146;
price of admission to, 146;
details descriptive of, 146;
exposure to weather in, 146;
scenes occurring in described, 146;
various characteristics of, 147.
Richard III. rebuilt the church of Allhallows-Barking, 95, 96;
great antiquity of it proved by pillars, inscriptions, monuments, brasses, 96.
Roman lamp, 49.
Roman hypocaust, 22.

Samian ware, where lying, 22.
Seething-lane, 94;
church of Allhallows, Barking, connected with, 94.
Shakspeare, 27.
Sheriff’s court, descriptive details of, 163, 164.
Shrine, silver-gilt, 95.
Simon’s report to commissioners of sewers, allusion to, 86.
Sir John Watts entertained James I., 155.
Smithfield, 174;
intended abolishment of market, of, 174;
descriptive notices of, 174;
eating-houses connected with, 174;
drover connected with, description of, 175;
dogs connected with, description of, 175;
descriptive notices of, 175;
characteristics of it on Sunday night, 176;
Smithfield butchers, capabilities of, 176;
Friday, day on which to see it, 176;
haymarket connected with it, 178;
characteristics illustrative of it, and incidental to it, 178, 179;
illustrative description of it, and connected with it, 179;
historical details connected with, 181.
Somerset House, 204;
to what purposes used, 204.
Southwark entrance to London, 252;
contained in former days Shakspeare’s theatre and Bear-garden, 252;
different feature presented by it at present day, 252;
specially in connexion with vehicles, 252.
Spital Sermons, where preached, 173.
Statue of Queen Elizabeth, anecdote connected with, 199.
St. Andrew’s-Undershaft, 147;
why so called detailed by Stowe, 148;
who is buried there, 147.
St. Catherine-Cree, 147;
by whose authority said to be buried there, 147;
Hans Holbein and Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, 147;
consecration of the same described by Prynne, 147.
St. Clement’s, 76.
St. Clement Danes, why so called, 201.
St. Dunstan’s church, 92;
Mr. Elmes’ notice of Sir Christopher Wren in connexion with, 93;
quarrel in it described by Stowe, 93.
St. Giles’s, Cripplegate, 164, 165.
St. Helen’s, 150;
monuments in, 150;
buried there Sir T. Gresham and the rich Spencer, 150;
allusion to nuns connected with, 150.
St. James’s and St. Giles’s, origin of wooden puppets—see “Douglas Jerrold’s Magazine,” 199.
St. Magnus, 78.{305}
St. Mary’s-Mounthaw—the Saxon name of the hawthorn berry, 46.
St. Mary’s-Woolnoth, 75;
Dr. Shuite connected with, 75.
St. Mary’s church, Abchurch-lane, 76.
St. Maudlin, notice connected with, 47.
St. Michael and St. Peter’s churches, Cornhill, 67;
notices connected with, 67.
St. Mary-le-Savoy, 205;
of what it is the remains, by whom destroyed, 205;
present chapel when built, 205.
St. Nicholas’s Cold Abbey, 47.
St. Paul’s, 29;
appearance of, 29;
characteristics of, 29;
charity children connected with, 30;
festival, description of, 30;
appearance, contrasted with that of ancient amphitheatres, 34;
detailed description of the building, 35;
architect, 35;
size of clock, 35;
bell striking the hour, 35;
weight of it, 35;
whispering gallery, 35;
clock-room, 35;
library, 35;
model room, 35;
monuments in, to Nelson, 36;
Abercrombie, 36;
Lord Cornwallis, and various others, 36;
paintings in it by Sir James Thornhill, 36;
door in the dome, purpose of, 36;
shadow of St. Paul’s indicative of its size, 36;
hours of divine service, 36.
St. Paul’s school, 46;
by whom founded, 46;
trustees to it, 46;
notice of its connexion with Anne Boleyn, 46.
St. Saviour’s church, founded by Mary of the Ferry, a Saxon maiden, 249;
legend connected with her, 249;
buried there, Gower, Fletcher, and Massinger, 249;
Shakspeare attended brother’s funeral there, 249.
Stonehenge, 19.
Stone, Mr., 76.
Strand, early appearance of, 22.
Street amusements, 254;
a means of livelihood to many, 254;
Punch and Judy, 255;
illustrative description of their influences, 255;
descriptive details of Punch and Judy, 255;
descriptive details of spectators, 256;
organ-boy and monkey, 256;
descriptive details of monkey, 256-259;
caravan and fat boy, 259;
characteristics of, 259;
dancing girl, 259;
tumbler, characteristics of, 259;
balancers, description and characteristics of, 260;
stilt dancers, performances of, 260;
street telescopes, 260;
Jack-in-the-Green, 261;
Guy Fawkes, 261.
Surrey, earl of, where buried, 95.

Thames-street, 67;
notices connected with, and crowds witnessed in, 78;
steamers calling at places on Thames, 78;
evidencing population of London, 78;
Lower Thames-street, description of, 81.
Thames, poisonous state of, for fish, 85;
Mr. Butcher’s evidence in connexion with, 85;
James Newland’s evidence in connexion with, 85;
description by Stowe, 86;
traffic on it opposed to supply of fish, 86.
Three-cranes, Vintry-street, notices connected with, 59.
Times’ office, Printing-house-square, 37.
Tower, 103;
remains of London mentioned in connexion with, 103;
ancient foundation discovered in last century, 103;
Fitz-Stephen’s description alluded to, 103, 104;
various notices in connexion with this building;
defence of;
purposes for which used;
money expended on it, 105;
wall defended by Edmund Ironside where tower now stands, 104;
William the Norman, Rufus, and Henry I. in connexion with, 104;
architect of White Tower, Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, 104;
Longchamp held the tower for Richard I.;
Henry III. beautified it, 105;
strengthened by Edward I., 105;
repaired by Edward III., 105;
description of by Paul Hentzner, a foreigner in the reign of Elizabeth, 105;
Nichols’ progress of James I.;
description of Lion tower, 106;
stories from “London Spy,” illustrative of lions’ habits, 109;
Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, imprisoned in Bell Tower, 110;
letter to Cromwell from him, 110;
Bloody tower, notices connected with, 111;
Salt tower, notices connected with, 111;
Bowyer tower, notices connected with, 112;
Rats’ dungeon, 113;
White tower, 113;
Jewel tower and description of regalia, 114, 115, 116;
description of horse armoury, 116;
description of Queen Elizabeth’s armoury, 119;
chronicle of Queen Jane, 120;
“Ende of Lady Jane Dudley.” 120;
quotations from, 120, 121;
names of celebrated persons confined in tower, 121, and anecdotes connected with them, 122, 123;
extract from Illustrated London News, 124.

Use of donkey, 177.

Various pageants at Lord Mayor’s Show in olden times, 160.
Vintners’ Hall, notices of, and historical details connected with, 53.
Virgin Mary’s Image set up by Edward I., 95.

Walbrook, descriptive notices of, 60;
church of St. Stephen’s connected with, 61.
Walworth, lord mayor, slew Wat Tyler, 80.
Waste land in England and Ireland, 139;
cost of reclaiming, 139.
Wat Tyler, picture of the death of, 160.
Westminster Abbey, associations connected with, and feelings arising from, 217;
Pix office, 217;
Saxon architecture of, 217;
various details, architecture, pavements, and other matters connected with the abbey, 218, 219;
its present aspect same as it was before Norman invasion, 218;
mosaic pavement, brought from Rome by Abbot Ware, 218;
great portion of abbey by Henry III., 218;
shrine of Edward the Confessor, 219;
tomb of Queen Eleanor, 219;
Richard II. and his queen, connected with Shakspeare’s mention of him, 219;
Bolingbroke, in connexion with, 219;
Henry the Fifth’s monument, feelings awakened by, 210;
want of harmony{306} in monuments, 220;
art with reference to them better understood formerly than now, 220;
proved by the tombs of our kings in Westminster Abbey, 220;
and by the introduction of modern statues and ornaments, 220;
screen erected by Blore, 220;
monument of Sir Francis Vere in eastern aisle of the transept, 220;
Poet’s Corner, associations connected with, 220;
Chaucer’s monument, 220;
first poet buried here, 220;
Spencer next poet buried here, 221;
his funeral, by whom probably attended, 221;
Beaumont and Drayton, Ben Jonson, Cowley, Dryden, Gay, Prior, and Addison, buried here, 221;
monuments erected to poets buried elsewhere, 221;
the author of the “Pleasures of Hope,” the last true poet buried here, 221;
notes descriptive of his funeral, 221;
Henry IV., death referred to, 221;
Henry Seventh’s chapel, details illustrative of its beauty, 221;
brass screen enclosing Henry the Seventh’s tomb, beauty of, 222;
Cromwell, where buried, 222;
to where taken afterwards, 222.
Where horses are kept by owners in London, difficulty of ascertaining, 177.
Whitechapel, 141;
number of objects in neighbourhood, and extent of interesting portion, make selection a difficulty, 141;
neighbourhood of Whitechapel alluded to in article “Ancient London,” 141;
contrast between present and past appearances, 141;
butchers’ shops in, 142;
old-school class of butchers, 142;
characteristics of, 142; viands sold in, 142;
characteristics of dinners there, 142;
ham and beef houses, 145;
fish sold there, 145;
pigeon-fanciers living there, 145;
pigeon-keeping practised there, 145;
good arising from this taste, 145;
details connected with practice, 145;
pigeon-decoying practised, 145;
means of, explained, 145.
Whitefriars, of what service to traders formerly, 192;
privileges taken away by Act of Parliament, 192;
situation peculiarly ineligible from local neighbourhood, 193.
William and Anne, 28.
William the Conqueror, 28.

Zoological Gardens, 227;
scenery in them described, 227;
aviaries containing specimens from Peru and Mexico, 227;
aquatic fowls, 227;
varieties of every kind there assembled, 227.

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Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
King Wiliam IV.=> King William IV. {pg 67}
more gaceful than swan=> more graceful than swan {pg 158}
Arras rich with hunstman, hawk, and hound=> Arras rich with huntsman, hawk, and hound {pg 158}
the unmannerly mobility=> the unmannerly nobility {pg 160}
our fprincipal vices of the City=> four principal vices of the City {pg 161}
Such as he herds=> Such as the herds {pg 188}
has became a bad word=> has become a bad word {pg 198}

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