Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 53, No. 331, May, 1843

Part 3 out of 6

loves point and antithesis, who tells us Sir Joshua "poured" out his
wines, (the distribution of which he had otherwise spoken of,) that the
_stint_ to the servants may have its fullest opposition. And again, as
to the humbler, does he not contradict himself? He prefaces the fact
that Sir Joshua gave a hundred guineas to Gainsborough, who asked sixty,
for his "Girl and Pigs," thus--"Reynolds was commonly humane and
tolerant; he could indeed afford, both in fame and purse, to commend and
aid the timid and needy."--P. 304. This is qualifying vilely a generous
action, while it contradicts his assertion of being sparing of "a kindly
word and a guinea." Nor are the occasional criticisms on passages in the
"Discourses" in a better spirit, nor are they exempt from a vulgar taste
as to views of art; their sole object is, apparently, to depreciate
Reynolds; and though a selection of individual sentences might be picked
out, as in defence, of an entirely laudatory character, they are
contradicted by others, and especially by the sarcastic tone of the
Life, taken as a whole. But it is not only in the Life of Reynolds that
this attempt is made to depreciate him. In his "Lives" of Wilson and
Gainsborough, he steps out of his way to throw his abominable sarcasm
upon Reynolds. One of many passages in Wilson's Life says, "It is
reported that Reynolds relaxed his hostility at last, and, becoming
generous when it was too late, obtained an order from a nobleman for two
landscapes at a proper price." So he insinuates an unworthy hypocrisy,
while lauding the bluntness of Wilson. "Such was the blunt honesty of
his (Wilson's) nature, that, when drawings were shown him which he
disliked, he disdained, or was unable to give a courtly answer, and made
many of the students his enemies. Reynolds had the sagacity to escape
from such difficulties, by looking at the drawings and saying 'Pretty,
pretty,' which vanity invariably explained into a compliment."--P. 207.
After having thus spoken shamefully of Sir Joshua Reynolds in the body
of his work, he reiterates all in a note, confirming all as his not
hasty but deliberate opinion, having "now again gone over the narrative
very carefully, and found it impossible, without violating the truth, to
make any alteration of importance as to its facts;" and though he has
omitted so much which might have been given to the honour of Reynolds,
he is "unconscious of having omitted any enquiry likely to lead him
aright."--P. 320. He may have made the enquiry without using the
information--a practice not inconsistent in such a biographer. For
instance, when he assumes, that in the portrait of Beattie, the figures
of Scepticism, Sophistry, and Infidelity, represent Hume, Voltaire, and
Gibbon; remarking, that they have survived the "insult of Reynolds." An
enquiry from Northcote ought to have led him to conclude otherwise, for
Northcote, who had the best means of knowing, says, "Because one of
those figures was a lean figure, (alluding to the subordinate ones
introduced,) and the other a fat one, people of lively imaginations
pleased themselves with finding in them the portraits of Voltaire and
Hume. But Sir Joshua, I have reason to believe, had no such thought when
he painted those figures." We have done with this disgusting Life. We
would preserve to art and the virtue-loving part of mankind the great
_integrity_ of the character of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Documents and
testimonies are sufficient to establish as much entire worth as falls to
the lot and adornment of the best; and to bring this conviction, that,
for the justice, candour, liberality, kindness, and generosity, which he
showed in his dealings with all, even his professional rivals, if he had
not had the extraordinary merit of being the greatest British painter,
he deserved, and will deserve, the respect of mankind; and to have had
his many and great virtues recorded in a far other manner than in that
among the "Lives of the British Painters." His pictures may have faded,
and may decay; but his precepts will still live, and tend to the
establishment and continuance of art built upon the soundest principles;
and the virtues of the man will ever give a grace to the profession
which he adorned, and, for the benefit of art, contribute mainly to his
own fame.

"Nihil enim est opere aut manu factum, quod aliquando non conficiat et
consumat Vetustas; at vero haec tua justitia et lenitas animi florescet
quotidie magis, ita ut quantum operibus tuis dinturnitas detrahet,
tantum afferet laudibus."

"He had," says Burke, "from the beginning of his malady, a distinct view
of his dissolution; and he contemplated it with that entire composure,
which nothing but the innocence, integrity, and usefulness of his life,
and an unaffected submission to the will of Providence, could bestow."

* * * * *



In the summer of 1838, in the pleasant little county of Huntingdon, and
under the shade of some noble elms which form the pride of Lipscombe
Park, two young men might have been seen reclining. The thick, and
towering, and far-spreading branches under which they lay, effectually
protected them from a July sun, which threw its scorching brilliancy
over the whole landscape before them. They seemed to enjoy to the full
that delightful _retired openness_ which an English park affords, and
that easy effortless communion which only old companionship can give.
They were, in fact, fellow collegians. The one, Reginald Darcy by name,
was a ward of Mr Sherwood, the wealthy proprietor of Lipscombe Park; the
other, his friend, Charles Griffith, was passing a few days with him in
this agreeable retreat. They had spent the greater part of the morning
strolling through the park, making short journeys from one clump of
trees to another, and traversing just so much of the open sunny space
which lay exposed to all the "bright severity of noon," as gave fresh
value to the shade, and renewed the luxury of repose.

"Only observe," said Darcy, breaking silence, after a long pause, and
without any apparent link of connexion between their last topic of
conversation and the sage reflection he was about to launch--"only
observe," and, as he raised himself upon his elbow, something very like
a sigh escaped from him, "how complete, in our modern system of life, is
the ascendency of woman over us! Every art is hers--is devoted to her
service. Poetry, music, painting, sculpture--all seem to have no theme
but woman. It is her loveliness, her power over us, that is paraded and
chanted on every side. Poets have been always mad on the beauty of
woman, but never so mad as now; we must not only submit to be
sense-enthralled, the very innermost spirit of a man is to be
deliberately resigned to the tyranny of a smooth brow and a soft eye.
Music, which grows rampant with passion, speaks in all its tones of
woman: as long as the strain lasts we are in a frenzy of love, though it
is not very clear with whom, and happily the delirium ends the moment
the strings of the violin have ceased to vibrate. What subject has the
painter worth a rush but the beauty of woman? We gaze for ever on the
charming face which smiles on us from his canvass; we may gaze with
perfect license--that veil which has just been lifted to the brow, it
will never be dropt again--but we do not gaze with perfect impunity; we
turn from the lovely shadow with knees how prone to bend! And as to the
sculptor, on condition that he hold to the pure colourless marble, is he
not permitted to reveal the sacred charms of Venus herself? Every art is
hers. Go to the theatre, and whether it be tragedy, or comedy, or opera,
or dance, the attraction of woman is the very life of all that is
transacted there. Shut yourself up at home with the poem or the novel,
and lo! to love, and to be loved, by one fair creature, is all that the
world has to dignify with the name of happiness. It is too much. The
heart aches and sickens with an unclaimed affection, kindled to no
purpose. Every where the eye, the ear, the imagination, is provoked,
bewildered, haunted by the magic of this universal syren.

"And what is worse," continued our profound philosopher--and here he
rose from his elbow, and supported himself at arm's length from the
ground, one hand resting on the turf, the other at liberty, if required,
for oratorical action--"what is worse, this place which woman occupies
in _art_ is but a fair reflection of that which she fills in real life.
Just heavens! what a perpetual wonder it is, this living, breathing
beauty! Throw all your metaphors to the winds--your poetic
raptures--your ideals--your romance of position and of circumstance:
look at a fair, amiable, cultivated woman, as you meet her in the
actual, commonplace scenes of life: she is literally, prosaically
speaking, the last consummate result of the creative power of nature,
and the gathered refinements of centuries of human civilization. The
world can show nothing comparable to that light, graceful figure of the
girl just blooming into perfect womanhood. Imagination cannot go beyond
it. There is all the marvel, if you think of it, in that slight figure,
as she treads across the carpet of a modern drawing-room, that has ever
been expressed in, or given origin to, the nymphs, goddesses, and angels
that the fancy of man has teemed with. I declare that a pious heathen
would as soon insult the august statue of Minerva herself, as would any
civilized being treat that slender form with the least show of rudeness
and indignity. A Chartist, indeed, or a Leveller, would do it; but it
would pain him--he would be a martyr to his principles. Verily we are
slaves to the fair miracle!"

"Well," said his companion, who had all this time been leisurely pulling
to pieces some wild flowers he had gathered in the course of the
morning's ramble, "what does it all end in? What, at last, but the old
story--love and a marriage?"

"Love often where there is no possibility of marriage," replied Darcy,
starting up altogether from his recumbent posture, and pacing to and fro
under the shadow of the tree. "The full heart, how often does it swell
only to feel the pressure of the iron bond of poverty! This very
sentiment, which our cultivation refines, fosters, makes supreme, is
encountered by that harsh and cruel evil which grows also with the
growth of civilization--poverty--civilized poverty. Oh, 'tis a frightful
thing, this well-born, well-bred poverty! There is a pauper state,
which, loathsome as it is to look upon, yet brings with it a callousness
to endure all inflictions, and a recklessness that can seize with
avidity whatever coarse fragments of pleasure the day or the hour may
afford. But this poverty applies itself to nerves strung for the
subtlest happiness. No torpor here; no moments of rash and unscrupulous
gratification--unreflected on, unrepented of--which being often repeated
make, in the end, a large sum of human life; but the heart incessantly
demands a genuine and enduring happiness, and is incessantly denied. It
is a poverty which even helps to keep alive the susceptibility it
tortures; for the man who has never loved, or been the object of
affection, whose heart has been fed only by an untaught imagination,
feels a passion--feels a regret--it may be far more than commensurate
with that envied reality which life possesses and withholds from him.
No! there is nothing in the circle of human existence more fearful to
contemplate than this perpetual divorce--irrevocable, yet pronounced
anew each instant of our lives--between the soul and its best
affections. And--look you!--this misery passes along the world under the
mask of easy indifference, and wears a smiling face, and submits to be
rallied by the wit, and assumes itself the air of vulgar jocularity. Oh,
this penury that goes well clad, and is warmly housed, and makes a mock
of its own anguish--I'd rather die on the wheel, or be starved to death
in a dungeon!

"My excellent friend!" cried Griffith, startled from his quiescent
posture, and tranquil occupation, by the growing excitement of his
companion, "what has possessed you? Is it the daughter of our worthy
host--is it Emily Sherwood, the nymph who haunts these woods--who has
given birth to this marvellous train of reflection? to this rhapsody on
the omnipresence of woman, which I certainly had never discovered, and
on the misery of a snug bachelor's income, which to me is still more
incomprehensible? I confess, however, it would be difficult to find a
better specimen of this fearfully fascinating sex."--

"Pshaw!" interrupted Darcy, "what is the heiress of Lipscombe Park to
me?--a girl who might claim alliance with the wealthiest and noblest of
the land--to me, who have just that rag of property, enough to keep from
open shame one miserable biped? Can a man never make a general
reflection upon one of the most general of all topics, without being met
by a personal allusion? I thought you had been superior, Griffith, to
this dull and hackneyed retort."

"Well, well; be not wroth"--

"But I _am_. There is something so odious in this trite and universal
banter. Besides, to have it intimated, even in jest, that I would take
advantage of my position in this family to pay my ridiculous addresses
to Miss Sherwood--I do declare, Griffith, I never will again to you, or
any other man, touch upon this subject, but in the same strain of
unmeaning levity one is compelled to listen to, and imitate, in the
society of coxcombs."

"At all events," said Griffith, "give me leave to say that _I_ admire
Miss Sherwood, and that I shall think it a crying shame if so beautiful
and intelligent a girl is suffered to fall into the clutches of this
stupid baronet who is laying siege to her--this pompous, empty-headed
Sir Frederic Beaumantle."

"Sir Frederic Beaumantle," said Darcy, with some remains of humour, "may
be all you describe him, but he is very rich, and, mark me, he will win
the lady. Old Sherwood suspects him for a fool, but his extensive
estates are unincumbered--he will approve his suit. His daughter makes
him a constant laughing-stock, she is perpetually ridiculing his
presumption and his vanity; but she will end by marrying the rich
baronet. It will be in the usual course of things; society will expect
it; and it is so safe, so prudent, to do what society expects. Let
wealth wed with wealth. It is quite right. I would never advise any man
to marry a woman much richer than himself, so as to be indebted to her
for his position in society. It is useless to say, or to feel, that her
wealth was not the object of your suit. You may carry it how you
will--what says the song?

'_She_ never will forget;
The gold she gave was not thy _gain_,
But it must be thy _debt_.'

"But come, our host is punctual to his dinner hour, and if we journey
back at the same pace we have travelled here, we shall not have much
time upon our hands." And accordingly the two friends set themselves in
motion to return to the house.

Our readers have, of course, discovered that, in spite of his
disclaimer, Reginald Darcy _was_ in love with Emily Sherwood. He was,
indeed, very far gone, and had suffered great extremities; but his pride
had kept pace with his passion. Left an orphan at an early age, and
placed by the will of his father under the guardianship of Mr Sherwood,
Darcy had found in the residence of that gentleman a home during the
holidays when a schoolboy, and during the vacations when a collegian.
Having lately taken his degree at Cambridge, with high honours, which
had been strenuously contended for, and purchased by severe labour, he
was now recruiting his health, and enjoying a season of well-earned
leisure under his guardian's roof. As Mr Sherwood was old and gouty, and
confined much to his room, it fell on him to escort Emily in her rides
or walks. She whom he had known, and been so often delighted with, as
his little playmate, had grown into the young and lovely woman. Briefly,
our Darcy was a lost man--gone--head and heart. But then--she was the
only daughter of Mr Sherwood, she was a wealthy heiress--he was
comparatively poor. Her father had been to him the kindest of guardians:
ought he to repay that kindness by destroying, perhaps, his proudest
schemes? Ought he, a man of fitting and becoming pride, to put himself
in the equivocal position which the poor suitor of a wealthy heiress
must inevitably occupy? "He invites me," he would say to himself, "he
presses me to stay here, week after week, and month after month, because
the idea that I should seek to carry away his daughter never enters into
his head. And she--she is so frank, so gay, so amiable, and almost fond,
because she has never recognized, with the companion of her childhood,
the possibility of such a thing as marriage. There is but one part for
me--silence, strict, unbroken silence!"

Charles Griffith was not far from the truth, when he said that it would
be difficult to find a better specimen of her fascinating sex than the
daughter of their host. But it was not her beauty, remarkable as this
was--it was not her brightest of blue eyes, nor her fairest of
complexions, nor those rich luxuriant tresses--that formed the greatest
charm in Emily Sherwood. It was the delightful combination she displayed
of a cheerful vivacious temper with generous and ardent feelings. She
was as light and playful as one of the fawns in her own park, but her
heart responded also to every noble and disinterested sentiment; and the
poet who sought a listener for some lofty or tender strain, would have
found the spirit that he wanted in the gay and mirth-loving Emily

Poor Darcy! he would sit, or walk, by her side, talking of this or that,
no matter what, always happy in her presence, passing the most delicious
hours, but not venturing to betray, by word or look, how very content he
was. For these hours of stolen happiness he knew how severe a penalty he
must pay: he knew and braved it. And in our poor judgment he was right.
Let the secret, stealthy, unrequited lover enjoy to the full the
presence, the smiles, the bland and cheerful society of her whom his
heart is silently worshipping. Even this shall in future hours be a
sweet remembrance. By and by, it is true, there will come a season of
poignant affliction. But better all this than one uniform, perpetual
torpor. He will have felt that mortal man _may_ breathe the air of
happiness; he will have learned something of the human heart that lies
within him.

But all this love--was it seen--was it returned--by her who had inspired
it? Both, both. He thought, wise youth! that while he was swallowing
draught after draught of this delicious poison, no one perceived the
deep intoxication he was revelling in. Just as wisely some veritable
toper, by putting on a grave and demure countenance, cheats himself into
the belief that he conceals from every eye that delectable and
irresistible confusion in which his brain is swimming. His love was
seen. How could it be otherwise? That instantaneous, that complete
delight which he felt when she joined him in his rambles, or came to sit
with him in the library, could not be disguised nor mistaken. He was a
scholar, a reader and lover of books, but let the book be what it might
which he held in his hand, it was abandoned, closed, pitched aside, the
moment she entered. There was no stolen glance at the page left still
open; nor was the place kept marked by the tenacious finger and thumb.
If her voice were heard on the terrace, or in the garden--if her
laugh--so light, merry, and musical, reached his ear--there was no
question or debate whether he should go or stay, but down the stairs, or
through the avenues of the garden--he sprung--he ran;--only a little
before he came in sight he would assume something of the gravity
becoming in a senior wrangler, or try to look as if he came there by
chance. His love was seen, and not with indifference. But what could the
damsel do? How presume to know of an attachment until in due form
certified thereof? If a youth will adhere to an obstinate silence, what,
we repeat, can a damsel do but leave him to his fate, and listen to some
other, who, if he loves less, at least knows how to avow his love?


We left the two friends proceeding towards the mansion; we enter before
them, and introduce our readers into the drawing-room. Here, in a
spacious and shaded apartment, made cool, as well by the massive walls
of the noble edifice as by the open and protected windows, whose broad
balcony was blooming with the most beautiful and fragrant of plants, sat
Emily Sherwood. She was not, however, alone. At the same round table,
which was covered with vases of flowers, and with books as gay as
flowers, was seated another young lady, Miss Julia Danvers, a friend who
had arrived in the course of the morning on a visit to Lipscombe Park.
The young ladies seemed to have been in deep consultation.

"I can never thank you sufficiently," said Miss Danvers, "for your
kindness in this affair."

"Indeed but you can very soon thank me much more than sufficiently,"
replied her more lively companion, "for there are few things in the
world I dislike so much as thanks. And yet there is one cause of
thankfulness you have, and know not of. Here have I listened to your
troubles, as you call them, for more than two hours, and never once told
you any of my own. Troubles! you are, in my estimation, a very happy,
enviable girl."

"Do you think it then so great a happiness to be obliged to take refuge
from an absurd selfish stepmother, in order to get by stealth one's own
lawful way?"

"One's own way is always lawful, my dear. No tautology. But you _have_
it--while I"----

"Well, what is the matter?"

"Julia, dear--now do not laugh--I have a lover that _won't speak_. I
have another, or one who calls himself such, who has spoken, or whose
wealth, I fear, has spoken, to some purpose--to my father."

"And you would open the mouth of the dumb, and stop the mouth of the


"Who are they? And first, to proceed by due climax, who is he whose
mouth is to be closed?"

"A baronet of these parts, Sir Frederic Beaumantle. A vain, vain, vain
man. It would be a waste of good words to spend another epithet upon
him, for he is all vanity. All his virtues, all his vices, all his
actions, good, bad, and indifferent, are nothing but vanity. He praises
you from vanity, abuses you from vanity, loves and hates you from
vanity. He is vain of his person, of his wealth, of his birth, of his
title, vain of all he has, and all he has not. He sets so great a value
on his innumerable and superlative good qualities, that he really has
not been able (until he met with your humble servant) to find any
individual of our sex on whom he could, conscientiously, bestow so great
a treasure as his own right hand must inevitably give away. This has
been the only reason--he tells me so himself--why he has remained so
long unmarried; for he has rounded the arch, and is going down the
bridge. To take his own account of this delicate matter, he is
fluctuating, with an uneasy motion, to and fro, between forty and

"Old enough, I doubt not, to be your father. How can he venture on such
a frolicsome young thing as you?"

"I asked him that question myself one day; and he told me, with a most
complacent smile, that I should be the perfect compendium of
matrimony--he should have wife and child in one."

"The old coxcomb! And yet there was a sort of providence in that.--Now,
who is he whose mouth is to be opened?"

"Oh--he!--can't you guess?"

"Your cousin Reginald, as you used to call him--though cousin I believe
he is none--this learned wrangler?"

"The same. Trust me, he loves me to the bottom of his heart; but because
his little cousin is a great heiress, he thinks it fit to be very proud,
and gives me over--many thanks to him--to this rich baronet. But here he

As she spoke, Darcy and Griffith entered the room.

"We have been canvassing," said Emily, after the usual forms of
introduction had been gone through, "the merits of our friend, Sir
Frederic Beaumantle. By the way, Reginald, he dines here to-day, and so
will another gentleman, whom I shall be happy to introduce to you,
Captain Garland, an esteemed friend of mine and Miss Danvers'."

"Sir Frederic seems," said Griffith, by way merely of taking part in the
conversation, "at all events, a very good-natured man. I have seen him
but once, and he has already promised to use all his influence in my
behalf, in whatever profession I may embark. If medicine, I am to have
half-a-dozen dowagers, always ailing and never ill, put under my charge
the moment I can add M.D. to my name; not to speak of certain mysterious
hints of an introduction at court, and an appointment of physician
extraordinary to Her Majesty. I suppose I may depend upon Sir Frederic's

"Oh, certainly," said Miss Sherwood, "you may depend upon Sir Frederic
Beaumantle's promises; they will never fail; they are inexhaustible."

"The fool!" said Darcy with impatience, "I could forgive him any thing
but that ridiculous ostentation he has of patronizing men, who, but they
have more politeness than himself, would throw back his promises with
open derision."

"Reginald," said Miss Sherwood, "is always forgiving Sir Frederic every
fault but one. But then that one fault changes every day. Last time he
would pardon him every thing except the fulsome eulogy he is in the
habit of bestowing upon his friends, even to their faces. You must know,
Mr Griffith, that Sir Frederic is a most liberal chapman in this
commodity of praise: he will give any man a bushel-full of compliments
who will send him back the measure only half filled. Nay, if there are
but a few cherries clinging to the wicker-work he is not wholly

"What he gives he knows is trash," said Darcy; "what he receives he
always flatters himself to be true coin. But indeed Sir Frederic is
somewhat more just in his dealings than you, perhaps, imagine. If he
bestows excessive laudation on a friend in one company, he takes it all
back again in the very next he enters."

"And still his amiability shines through all; for he abuses the absent
friend only to gratify the self-love of those who are present."

The door opened as Miss Sherwood gave this _coup-de-grace_ to the
character of the baronet, and Sir Frederic Beaumantle was announced, and
immediately afterwards, Captain Garland.

Miss Sherwood, somewhat to the surprise of Darcy, who was not aware that
any such intimacy subsisted between them, received Captain Garland with
all the cordiality of an old acquaintance. On the other hand she
introduced the baronet to Miss Danvers with that slightly emphatic
manner which intimates that the parties may entertain a "high
consideration" for each other.

"You are too good a herald, Sir Frederic," she said, "not to know the
Danverses of Dorsetshire."

"I shall be proud," replied the baronet, "to make the acquaintance of
Miss Danvers."

"She has come to my poor castle," continued Miss Sherwood, "like the
distressed princess in the Faery Queen, and I must look out for some
red-cross knight to be her champion, and redress her wrongs."

"It is not the first time," said the lady thus introduced, "that I have
heard of the name of Sir Frederic Beaumantle."

"I dare say not, I dare say not," answered the gratified baronet. "Mine,
I may venture to say, is an historic name. Did you ever peruse, Miss
Danvers, a work entitled 'The History of the County of Huntingdon?' You
would find in it many curious particulars relating to the Beaumantles,
and one anecdote especially, drawn, I may say, from the archives of our
family, which throws a new light upon the reign and character of Charles
II. It is a very able performance is this 'History of the County of
Huntingdon;' it is written by a modest and ingenious person of my
acquaintance, and I felt great pleasure in lending him my poor
assistance in the compilation of it. My name is mentioned in the
preface. Perhaps," he added with a significant smile, "it might have
claimed a still more conspicuous place; but I hold it more becoming in
persons of rank to be the patrons than the competitors of men of

"I should think," said Miss Danvers very quietly, "it were the more
prudent plan for them to adopt. But what is this anecdote you allude

"An ancestor of mine--But I am afraid," said the baronet, casting a
deprecatory look at Miss Sherwood, "that some here have read it, or
heard me repeat it before."

"Oh, pray proceed," said the young lady appealed to.

"An ancestor of mine," resumed the baronet, "on being presented at the
Court of Charles II., soon after the Restoration, attracted the
attention of that merry monarch and his witty courtiers, by the antique
fashion of his cloak. 'Beaumantle! Beaumantle!' said the king, 'who gave
thee that name?' My ancestor, who was a grave man, and well brought up,
answered, 'Sire, my godfathers and my godmothers at my baptism.' 'Well
responded!' said the king with a smile; 'and they gave thee thy raiment
also, as it seems.' These last words were added in a lower voice, and
did not reach the ear of my ancestor, but they were reported to him
immediately afterwards, and have been treasured up in our family ever
since. I thought it my duty to make it known to the world as an
historical fact, strikingly illustrative of a very important period in
our annals."

"Why, your name," said Miss Danvers, "appears to be historical in more
senses than one."

"I hope soon--but I would not wish this to go beyond the present
company," said Sir Frederic, and he looked round the circle with a
countenance of the most imposing solemnity--"I hope soon that you will
hear of it being elevated to the peerage--that is, when Sir Robert Peel
comes into power."

"You know Sir Robert, then?" said Griffith, with perfect simplicity.

"Public men," said Sir Frederic, "are sufficiently introduced by public
report. Besides, Mr Griffith--we baronets!--we constitute a sort of
brotherhood. I have employed all my influence in the county, and I may
safely say it is not little, to raise the character and estimation of
Sir Robert, and I have no doubt that he will gladly testify his
acknowledgment of my services by this trifling return. And as it is well
known that my estates"--

But the baronet was interrupted in mid career by the announcement of

Miss Sherwood took the arm of Captain Garland, and directed Sir Frederic
to lead down Miss Danvers.

"You will excuse my father," she said, as they descended, "for not
meeting us in the drawing-room. His gout makes him a lame pedestrian. We
shall find him already seated at the table."

At the dinner-table the same arrangement was preserved. Miss Sherwood
had placed Captain Garland by her side, and conversed almost exclusively
with him; while the Baronet was kept in play by the sedulous flattery of
Miss Danvers.

After a few days, it became evident to all the household at Lipscombe
Park that a new claimant for the hand of Miss Sherwood had appeared in
the person of Captain Garland. The captain did not reside in the house,
but, on the pretence of a very strong passion for trout-fishing, he had
taken up his quarters in apartments within a most convenient distance of
the scene of operations. It was not forgotten that, at the very time he
made his appearance, Miss Danvers also arrived at the Park, and between
these parties there was suspected to be some secret understanding. It
seemed as if our military suitor had resolved to assail the fort from
within as well as from without, and therefore had brought down with him
this fair ally. Nothing better than such a fair ally. She could not only
chant his praises when absent, (and there is much in that,) but she
could so manoeuvre as to procure for the captain many a _tete-a-tete_,
which otherwise would not fall to his share. Especially, (and this task
she appeared to accomplish most adroitly,) she could engage to herself
the attentions of his professed and redoubtable rival, Sir Frederic
Beaumantle. In fifty ways she could assist in betraying the citadel from
within, whilst he stood storming at the gates, in open and most
magnanimous warfare. Darcy was not slower than others to suspect the
stratagem, and he thought he saw symptoms of its success. His friend
Griffith had now left him; he had no dispassionate observer to consult,
and his own desponding passion led him to conclude whatever was most
unfavourable to himself. Certainly there was a confidential manner
between Miss Sherwood and these close allies, which seemed to justify
the suspicion alluded to. More than once, when he had joined Miss
Sherwood and the captain, the unpleasant discovery had been forced upon
him, by the sudden pause in their conversation, that he was the _one too

But jealousy? Oh, no! What had _he_ to do with jealousy? For his part,
he was quite delighted with this new attachment--quite delighted; it
would set at rest for ever the painful controversy so often agitated in
his own breast. Nevertheless, it must be confessed that he felt the
rivalry of Captain Garland in a very different manner from that of Sir
Frederic Beaumantle. The baronet, by virtue of his wealth alone, would
obtain success; and he felt a sort of bitter satisfaction in yielding
Emily to her opulent suitor. She might marry, but she could not love
him; she might be thinking of another, perhaps of her cousin Reginald,
even while she gave her hand to him at the altar. But if the gallant
captain, whose handsome person, and frank and gentlemanly manners,
formed his chief recommendation, were to be the happy man, then must her
affections have been won, and Emily was lost to him utterly. And
then--with the usual logic of the passions, and forgetting the part of
silence and disguise that he had played--he taxed her with levity and
unkindness in so soon preferring the captain to himself. That Emily
should so soon have linked herself with a comparative stranger! It was
not what he should have expected. "At all events," he would thus
conclude his soliloquy, "I am henceforward free--free from her bondage
and from all internal struggle. Yes! I am free!" he exclaimed, as he
paced his room triumphantly. The light voice of Emily was heard calling
on him to accompany her in a walk. He started, he flew. His freedom, we
suppose, gave him wings, for he was at her side in a moment.

Reginald had intended, on the first opportunity, to rally his cousin
upon her sudden attachment to the captain, but his tongue absolutely
refused the office. He could not utter a word of banter on the subject.
His heart was too full.

On this occasion, as they returned from their walk through the park,
there happened one of those incidents which have so often, at least in
novels and story-books, brought about the happiness of lovers, but which
in the present instance served only to bring into play the most painful
feelings of both parties.

A prize-fight had taken place in the neighbourhood, and one of the
numerous visitors of that truly noble exhibition, who, in order to do
honour to the day, had deprived Smithfield market of the light of his
countenance, was returning across the park from the scene of combat,
accompanied by his bull-dog. The dog, who doubtless knew that his master
was a trespasser, and considered it the better policy to assume at once
the offensive, flew at the party whom he saw approaching. Emily was a
little in advance. Darcy rushed forward to plant himself between her and
this ferocious assailant. He had no weapon of defence of any kind, and,
to say truth, he had at that moment no idea of defending himself, or any
distinct notion whatever of combating his antagonist. The only
reflection that occurred to his mind was, that if the animal satiated
its fury upon him, his companion would be safe. A strong leg and a stout
boot might have done something; Darcy, stooping down, put the fleshy
part of his own arm fairly into the bulldog's jaws; assured that, at all
events, it could not bite two persons at the same time, and that, if its
teeth were buried in his own arm, they could not be engaged in
lacerating Emily Sherwood. It is the well-known nature of the bull-dog
to fasten where it once bites, and the brute pinned Darcy to the ground,
until its owner, arriving on the spot, extricated him from his very
painful position.

In this encounter, our senior wrangler probably showed himself very
unskilful and deficient in the combat with wild beasts, but no conduct
could have displayed a more engrossing anxiety for the safety of his
fair companion. Most men would have been willing to reap advantage from
the grateful sentiment which such a conduct must inspire; Darcy, on the
contrary, seemed to have no other wish than to disclaim all title to
such a sentiment. He would not endure that the incident should be spoken
of with the least gravity or seriousness.

"I pray you," said he, "do not mention this silly business again. What I
did, every living man who had found himself by your side would have
done, and most men in a far more dexterous manner. And, indeed, if
instead of yourself, the merest stranger--the poorest creature in the
parish, man, woman, or child, had been in your predicament, I think I
should have done the same."

"I know you would, Reginald. I believe," said Emily, "that if the merest
idiot had been threatened with the danger that threatened me, you would
have interposed, and received the attack yourself. And it is because I
believe this of you, Reginald"----

Something apparently impeded her utterance, for the sentence was left

"For this wound," resumed Darcy, after a pause, and observing that
Emily's eye was resting on his arm, "it is really nothing more than a
just penalty for my own want of address in this notable combat. You
should have had the captain with you," he added; "he would have defended
you quite as zealously, and with ten times the skill."

Emily made no answer; and they walked on in silence till they entered
the Hall. Reginald felt that he had been ungracious; but he knew not how
to retrieve his position. Just before they parted, Emily resuming, in
some measure, her natural and cheerful manner, turned to her companion,
and said--"Years ago, when you were cousin Reginald, and condescended to
be my playfellow, the greatest services you rendered were to throw me
occasionally out of the swing, or frighten me till I screamed by putting
my pony into a most unmerciful trot; but you were always so kind in the
_making up_, that I liked you the better afterwards. Now, when you
preserve me, at your own hazard, from a very serious injury--you do it
in so surly a manner--I wish the dog had bitten me!" And with this she
left him and tripped up stairs.

If Darcy could have followed her into her own room, he would have seen
her throw herself into an armchair, and burst into a flood of tears.


Miss Danvers, it has been said, (from whatever motive her conduct
proceeded, whether from any interest of her own, or merely a desire to
serve the interest of her friend, Captain Garland,) showed a disposition
to engross the attentions of Sir Frederic Beaumantle as often as he made
his appearance at Lipscombe Park. Now, as that lady was undoubtedly of
good family, and possessed of considerable fortune, the baronet was not
a little flattered by the interest which a person who had these
excellent qualifications for a judge, manifestly took in his
conversation. In an equal degree was his dignity offended at the
preference shown by Miss Sherwood for Captain Garland, a man, as he
said, but of yesterday, and not in any one point of view to be put in
comparison with himself. He almost resolved to punish her levity by
withdrawing his suit. The graver manner, and somewhat more mature age of
Miss Danvers were also qualities which he was obliged to confess were
somewhat in her favour.

The result of all this was, that one fine morning Sir Frederic
Beaumantle might have been seen walking to and fro in his own park, with
a troubled step, bearing in his hand a letter--most elaborately
penned--carefully written out--sealed--but not directed. It was an
explicit declaration of his love, a solemn offer of his hand; it was
only not quite determined to whom it should be sent. As the letter
contained very little that referred to the lady, and consisted almost
entirely of an account, not at all disparaging, of himself and his own
good qualities, it was easy for him to proceed thus far upon his
delicate negotiation, although the main question--to whom the letter was
to be addressed--was not yet decided. This letter had indeed been a
_labour of love_. It was as little written for Miss Sherwood as for Miss
Danvers. It was composed for the occasion whenever that might arise; and
for these ten years past it had been lying in his desk, receiving from
time to time fresh touches and emendations. The necessity of making use
of this epistle, which had now attained a state of painful perfection,
we venture to say had some share in impelling him into matrimony. To
some one it must be sent, or how could it appear to any advantage in
those "Memoirs of Sir Frederic Beaumantle," which, some future day, were
to console the world for his decease, and the prospect of which (for he
saw them already in beautiful hot-pressed quarto) almost consoled
himself for the necessity of dying? The _intended_ love-letter!--this
would have an air of ridicule, while the real declaration of Sir
Frederic Beaumantle, which would not only adorn the Memoirs above
mentioned, but would ultimately form a part of the "History of the
County of Huntingdon." We hope ourselves, by the way, to have the honour
of editing those Memoirs, should we be so unfortunate as to survive Sir

But we must leave our baronet with his letter in his hand, gazing
profoundly and anxiously on the blank left for the superscription, and
must follow the perplexities of Reginald Darcy.

That good understanding which apparently existed between Emily and
Captain Garland seemed rather to increase than to diminish after the
little adventure we recorded in the last chapter. It appeared that Miss
Sherwood had taken Darcy at his word, and resolved not to think any the
more kindly of him for his conduct on that occasion. The captain was
plainly in the ascendant. It even appeared, from certain arrangements
that were in stealthy preparation, that the happiness of the gallant
lover would not long be delayed. Messages of a very suspicious purport
had passed between the Park and the vicarage. The clerk of the parish
had been seen several times at Lipscombe. There was something in the
wind, as the sagacious housekeeper observed; surely her young _missus_
was not going to be married on the sly to the captain! The same thought,
however, occurred to Darcy. Was it to escape the suit of Sir Frederic
Beaumantle, which had been in some measure countenanced by her father,
that she had recourse to this stratagem?--hardly worthy of her, and
quite unnecessary, as she possessed sufficient influence with her father
to obtain his consent to any proposal she herself was likely to approve.
Had not the state of his own feelings made him too interested a party to
act as counsellor or mediator, he would at once have questioned Emily on
the subject. As it was, his lips were closed. She herself, too, seemed
resolved to make no communication to him. The captain, a man of frank
and open nature, was far more disposed to reveal his secret: he was once
on the point of speaking to Darcy about his "approaching marriage;" but
Emily, laying her finger on her lip, suddenly imposed silence on him.

One morning, as Darcy entered the breakfast-room, it was evident that
something unusual was about to take place. The carriage, at this early
hour, was drawn up to the door, and the two young ladies, both dressed
in bridal white, were stepping into it. Before it drove off Miss
Sherwood beckoned to Darcy.

"I have not invited you," she said, "to the ceremony, because Captain
Garland has wished it to be as private as possible. But we shall expect
your company at breakfast, for which you must even have the patience to
wait till we return." Without giving any opportunity for reply, she drew
up the glass, and the carriage rolled off.

However Darcy might have hitherto borne himself up by a gloomy sense of
duty, by pride, and a bitter--oh, what bitter resignation!--when the
blow came, it utterly prostrated him. "She is gone!--lost!--Fool that I
have been!--What was this man more than I?" Stung with such reflections
as these, which were uttered in such broken sentences, he rapidly
retreated to the library, where he knew he should be undisturbed. He
threw himself into a chair, and planting his elbows on the table,
pressed his doubled fists, with convulsive agony, to his brows. All his
fortitude had forsaken him: he wept outright.

From this posture he was at length aroused by a gentle pressure on his
shoulder, and a voice calling him by his name. He raised his head: it
was Emily Sherwood, enquiring of him, quite calmly, why he was not at
the breakfast-table. There she stood, radiant with beauty, and in all
her bridal attire, except that she had thrown of her bonnet, and her
beautiful hair was allowed to be free and unconfined. Her hand was still
upon his shoulder.

"You are married, Emily," he said, as well as that horrible stifling
sensation in the breast would let him speak; "you are married, and I
must be for evermore a banished man. I leave you, Emily, and this roof,
for ever. I pronounce my own sentence of exile, for I _love_ you,
Emily!--and ever shall--passionately--tenderly--love you. Surely I may
say this now--now that it is a mere cry of anguish, and a misery
exclusively my own. Never, never--I feel that this is no idle
raving--shall I love another--never will this affection leave me--I
shall never have a home--never care for another--or myself--I am
alone--a wanderer--miserable. Farewell! I go--I know not exactly
where--but I leave this place."

He was preparing to quit the room, when Emily, placing herself before
him, prevented him. "And why," said she, "if you honoured me with this
affection, why was I not to know of it till now?"

"Can the heiress of Lipscombe Park ask that question?"

"Ungenerous! unjust!" said Emily. "Tell me, if one who can himself feel
and act nobly, denies to another the capability of a like disinterested
conduct--denies it rashly, pertinaciously, without cause given for such
a judgment--is he not ungenerous and unjust?"

"To whom have I acted thus? To whom have I been ungenerous or unjust?"

"To me, Reginald--to me! I am wealthy, and for this reason alone you
have denied to me, it seems, the possession of every worthy sentiment.
She has gold, you have said, let her gold content her, and you withheld
your love. She will make much boast, and create a burdensome obligation,
if she bestows her superfluous wealth upon another: you resolved not to
give her the opportunity, and you withheld your love. She has gold--she
has no heart--no old affections that have grown from childhood--no
estimate of character: she has wealth--let her gratify its vanity and
its caprice; and so you withheld your love. Yes, she has gold--let her
have more of it--let her wed with gold--with any gilded fool--she has no
need of love! This is what you have thought, what your conduct has
implied, and it was ungenerous and unjust."

"No, by heaven! I never thought unworthily of you," exclaimed Darcy.

"Had you been the wealthy cousin, Reginald, of wealth so ample, that an
addition to it could scarcely bring an additional pleasure, would you
have left your old friend Emily to look out for some opulent alliance?"

"Oh, no! no!"

"Then, why should I?"

"I may have erred," said Darcy. "I may have thought too meanly of
myself, or nourished a misplaced pride, but I never had a disparaging
thought of you. It seemed that I was right--that I was fulfilling a
severe--oh, how severe a duty! Even now I know not that I was wrong--I
know only that I am miserable. But," added he in a calmer voice, "I, at
all events, am the only sufferer. You, at least, are happy."

"Not, I think, if marriage is to make me so. I am not married,
Reginald," she said, amidst a confusion of smiles and blushes. "Captain
Garland was married this morning to Miss Julia Danvers, to whom he has
been long engaged, but a silly selfish stepmother"----

"Not married!" cried Darcy, interrupting all further explanation.--"Not
married! Then you are free--then you are"----But the old train of
thought rushed back upon his mind--the old objections were as strong as
ever--Miss Sherwood was still the daughter of his guardian, and the
heiress of Lipscombe Park. Instead of completing the sentence, he
paused, and muttered something about "her father."

Emily saw the cloud that had come over him. Dropping playfully, and most
gracefully, upon one knee, she took his hand, and looking up archly in
his face, said, "You love me, coz--you have said it. Coz, will you marry
me?--for I love you."

"Generous, generous girl!" and he clasped her to his bosom.

"Let us go in," said Emily, in a quite altered and tremulous voice, "let
us join them in the other room." And as she put her arm in his, the
little pressure said distinctly and triumphantly--"He is mine!--he is

* * * * *

We must take a parting glance into old Mr Sherwood's room. He is seated
in his gouty chair; his daughter stands by his side. Apparently Emily's
reasonings have almost prevailed; she has almost persuaded the old
gentleman that Darcy is the very son-in-law whom, above all others, he
ought to desire. For how could Emily leave her dear father, and how
could he domicile himself with any other husband she could choose, half
so well as with his own ward, and his old favourite, Reginald?

"But Sir Frederic Beaumantle," the old gentleman replied, "what is to be
said to him? and what a fine property he has!"

As he was speaking, the door opened, and the party from the breakfast
table, consisting of Captain Garland, and his bride, and Reginald,
entered the room.

"Oh, as for Sir Frederic Beaumantle," said she who was formerly Miss
Danvers, and now Mrs Garland, "I claim him as mine." And forthwith she
displayed the famous declaration of the baronet--addressed to herself!

Their mirth had scarcely subsided, when the writer of the letter himself
made his appearance. He had called early, for he had concluded, after
much deliberation, that it was not consistent with the ardour and
impetuosity of love, to wait till the formal hour of visiting, in order
to receive the answer of Miss Danvers.

That answer the lady at once gave by presenting Captain Garland to him
in the character of her husband. At the same time, she returned his
epistle, and, explaining that circumstances had compelled the captain
and herself to marry in a private and secret manner, apologized for the
mistake into which the concealment of their engagement had led him.

"A mistake indeed--a mistake altogether!" exclaimed the baronet,
catching at a straw as he fell--"a mistake into which this absurd
fashion of envelopes has led us. The letter was never intended, madam,
to be enclosed to you. It was designed for the hands"----

And he turned to Miss Sherwood, who, on her part, took the arm of
Reginald with a significance of manner which proved to him that, for the
present at least, his declaration of love might return into his own
desk, there to receive still further emendations.

"No wonder, Sir Frederic," said Mr Sherwood, compassionating the
baronet's situation--"no wonder your proposal is not wanted. These young
ladies have taken their affairs into their own hands. It is _Leap-Year_.
One of them, at least, (looking to his daughter,) has made good use of
its privilege. The initiative, Sir Frederic, is taken from us."

The baronet had nothing left but to make his politest bow and retire.

"Reginald, my dear boy," continued the old gentleman, "give me your
hand. Emily is right. I don't know how I should part with her. I will
only make this bargain with you, Reginald--that you marry us both. You
must not turn me out of doors."

Reginald returned the pressure of his hand, but he could say nothing. Mr
Sherwood, however, saw his answer in eyes that were filling
involuntarily with tears.

* * * * *



The subject of greatest metropolitan interest which has occurred for
many years, is the introduction of wood paving. As the main battle has
been fought in London, and nothing but a confused report of the great
object in dispute may have penetrated beyond the sound of Bow bells, we
think it will not be amiss to put on record, in the imperishable brass
and marble of our pages, an account of the mighty struggle--of the
doughty champions who couched the lance and drew the sword in the
opposing ranks--and, finally, to what side victory seems to incline on
this beautiful 1st of May in the year 1843.

Come, then, to our aid, oh ye heavenly Muses! who enabled Homer to sing
in such persuasive words the fates of Troy and of its wooden horse; for
surely a subject which is so deeply connected both with wood and horses,
is not beneath your notice; but perhaps, as poetry is gone out of
fashion at the present time, you will depute one of your humbler
sisters, rejoicing in the name of Prose, to give us a few hints in the
composition of our great history. The name of the first pavier, we fear,
is unknown, unless we could identify him with Triptolemus, who was a
great improver of Rhodes; but it is the fate of all the greatest
benefactors of their kind to be neglected, and in time forgotten. The
first regularly defined paths were probably footways--the first
carriages broad-wheeled. No record remains of what materials were used
for filling up the ruts; so it is likely, in those simple times when
enclosure acts were unknown, that the cart was seldom taken in the same
track. As houses were built, and something in the shape of streets began
to be established, the access to them must have been more attended to. A
mere smoothing of the inequalities of the surface over which the oxen
had to be driven, that brought the grain home on the enormous _plaustra_
of the husbandman, was the first idea of a street, whose very name is
derived from _stratum_, levelled. As experience advanced, steps would be
taken to prevent the softness of the road from interrupting the draught.
A narrow rim of stone, just wide enough to sustain the wheel, would, in
all probability, be the next improvement; and only when the gentle
operations of the farm were exchanged for war, and the charger had to be
hurried to the fight, with all the equipments necessary for an army,
great roads were laid open, and covered with hard materials to sustain
the wear and tear of men and animals. Roads were found to be no less
necessary to retain a conquest than to make it; and the first true proof
of the greatness of Rome was found in the long lines of military ways,
by which she maintained her hold upon the provinces. You may depend on
it, that no expense was spared in keeping the glorious street that led
up her Triumphs to the Capitol in excellent repair. All the nations of
the _Orbis Antiquus_ ought to have trembled when they saw the beginning
of the Appian road. It led to Britain and Persia, to Carthage and the
White Sea. The Britons, however, in ancient days, seem to have been
about the stupidest and least enterprising of all the savages hitherto
discovered. After an intercourse of four hundred years with the most
polished people in the world, they continued so miserably benighted,
that they had not even acquired masonic knowledge enough to repair a
wall. The rampart raised by their Roman protectors between them and the
Picts and Scots, became in some places dilapidated. The unfortunate
natives had no idea how to mend the breach, and had to send once more
for their auxiliaries. If such their state in regard to masonry, we
cannot suppose that their skill in road-making was very great; and yet
we are told that, even on Caesar's invasion, the Britons careered about
in war-chariots, which implies both good roads and some mechanical
skill; but we think it a little too much in historians to ask us to
believe BOTH these views of the condition of our predecessors in the
tight little island; for it is quite clear that a people who had arrived
at the art of coach-making, could not be so very ignorant as not to know
how to build a wall. If it were not for the letters of Cicero, we should
not believe a syllable about the war-chariots that carried amazement
into the hearts of the Romans, even in Kent or Surrey. But we here
boldly declare, that if twenty Ciceros were to make their affidavits to
the fact of a set of outer barbarians, like Galgacus and his troops,
"sweeping their fiery lines on rattling wheels" up and down the
Grampians--where, at a later period, a celebrated shepherd fed his
flocks--we should not believe a word of their declaration. Tacitus, in
the same manner, we should prosecute for perjury.

The Saxons were a superior race, and when the eightsome-reel of the
heptarchy became the _pas-seul_ of the kingdom of England, we doubt not
that Watling Street was kept in passable condition, and that Alfred,
amidst his other noble institutions, invented a highway rate. The
fortresses and vassal towns of the barons, after the Conquest, must have
covered the country with tolerable cross-roads; and even the petty wars
of those steel-clad marauders must have had a good effect in opening new
communications. For how could Sir Reginald Front-de-Boeuf, or Sir
Hildebrand Bras-de-Fer, carry off the booty of their discomfited rival
to their own granaries without loaded tumbrils, and roads fit to pass

Nor would it have been wise in rich abbots and fat monks to leave their
monasteries and abbeys inaccessible to pious pilgrims, who came to
admire thigh-bones of martyred virgins and skulls of beatified saints,
and paid very handsomely for the exhibition. Finally, trade began, and
paviers flourished. The first persons of that illustrious profession
appear, from the sound of the name, to have been French, unless we take
the derivation of a cockney friend of ours, who maintains that the
origin of the word is not the French _pave_, but the indigenous English
pathway. However that may be, we are pretty sure that paving was known
as one of the fine arts in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; for, not to
mention the anecdote of Raleigh and his cloak--which could only happen
where puddles formed the exception and not the rule--we read of Essex's
horse stumbling on a paving-stone in his mad ride to his house in the
Strand. We also prove, from Shakspeare's line--

"The very stones would rise in mutiny"--

the fact of stones forming the main body of the streets in his time; for
it is absurd to suppose that he was so rigid an observer of the unities
as to pay the slightest respect to the state of paving in the time of
Julius Caesar at Rome.

Gradually London took the lead in improving its ways. It was no longer
necessary for the fair and young to be carried through the mud upon
costly pillions, on the backs of high-stepping Flanders mares. Beauty
rolled over the stones in four-wheeled carriages, and it did not need
more than half-a-dozen running footmen--the stoutest that could be
found--to put their shoulders occasionally to the wheel, and help the
eight black horses to drag the ponderous vehicle through the heavier
parts of the road. Science came to the aid of beauty in these
distressing circumstances. Springs were invented that yielded to every
jolt; and, with the aid of cushions, rendered a visit to Highgate not
much more fatiguing than we now find the journey to Edinburgh. Luxury
went on--wealth flowed in--paviers were encouraged--coach-makers grew
great men--and London, which our ancestors had left mud, was now stone.
Year after year the granite quarries of Aberdeen poured themselves out
on the streets of the great city, and a million and a half of people
drove, and rode, and bustled, and bargained, and cheated, and throve, in
the midst of a din that would have silenced the artillery of Trafalgar,
and a mud which, if turned into bricks, would have built the tower of
Babel. The citizens were now in possession of the "fumum et opes
strepitumque Romae;" but some of the more quietly disposed, though
submitting patiently to the "fumum," and by no means displeased with the
"opes," thought the "strepitumque" could be dispensed with, and plans of
all kinds were proposed for obviating the noise and other inconveniences
of granite blocks. Some proposed straw, rushes, sawdust; ingenuity was
at a stand-still; and London appeared to be condemned to a perpetual
atmosphere of smoke and sound. It is pleasant to look back on
difficulties, when overcome--the best illustration of which is
Columbus's egg; for, after convincing the sceptic, there can be no
manner of doubt that he swallowed the yelk and white, leaving the shell
to the pugnacious disputant. In the same way we look with a pleasing
kind of pity on the quandaries of those whom we shall call--with no
belief whatever in the pre-Adamite theory--the pre-Macadamites.

A man of talent and enterprise, Mr Macadam, proposed a means of getting
quit of one of the objections to the granite causeways. By breaking them
up into small pieces, and spreading them in sufficient quantity, he
proved that a continuous hard surface would be formed, by which the
uneasy jerks from stone to stone would be avoided, and the expense, if
not diminished, at all events not materially increased. When the
proposition was fairly brought before the public, it met the fate of all
innovations. Timid people--the very persons, by the by, who had been the
loudest in their exclamations against the ancient causeways--became
alarmed the moment they saw a chance of getting quit of them. As we
never know the value of a thing till we have lost it, their attachment
to stone and noise became more intense in proportion as the certainty of
being deprived of them became greater. It was proved to the satisfaction
of all rational men, if Mr Macadam's experiment succeeded, and a level
surface were furnished to the streets, that, besides noise, many other
disadvantages of the rougher mode of paving would be avoided. Among
these the most prominent was slipperiness; and it was impossible to be
denied, that at many seasons of the year, not only in frost, when every
terrestrial pathway must be unsafe; but in the dry months of summer, the
smooth surfaces of the blocks of granite, polished and rounded by so
many wheels, were each like a convex mass of ice, and caused unnumbered
falls to the less adroit of the equestrian portion of the king's
subjects. One of the most zealous advocates of the improvement was the
present Sir Peter Laurie, not then elevated to a seat among the Equites,
but imbued probably with a foreknowledge of his knighthood, and
therefore anxious for the safety of his horse. Sir Peter was determined,
in all senses of the word, to _leave no stone unturned_; and a very
small mind, when directed to one object with all its force, has more
effect than a large mind unactuated by the same zeal--as a needle takes
a sharper point than a sword. Thanks, therefore, are due, in a great
measure, to the activity and eloquence of the worthy alderman for the
introduction of Macadam's system of road-making into the city.

Many evils were certainly got rid of by this alteration--the jolting
motion from stone to stone--the slipperiness and unevenness of the
road--and the chance, in case of an accident, of contesting the hardness
of your skull with a mass of stone, which seemed as if it were made on
purpose for knocking out people's brains. For some time contentment sat
smiling over the city. But, as "man never is, but always to be, blest,"
perfect happiness appeared not to be secured even by Macadam. Ruts began
to be formed--rain fell, and mud was generated at a prodigious rate;
repairs were needed, and the road for a while was rough and almost
impassable. Then it was found out that the change had only led to a
different _kind_ of noise, instead of destroying it altogether; and the
perpetual grinding of wheels, sawing their way through the loose stones
at the top, or ploughing through the wet foundation, was hardly an
improvement on the music arising from the jolts and jerks along the
causeway. Men's minds got confused in the immensity of the uproar, and
deafness became epidemic. In winter, the surface of Macadam formed a
series of little lakes, resembling on a small scale those of Canada; in
summer, it formed a Sahara of dust, prodigiously like the great desert.
Acres of the finest alluvial clay floated past the shops in autumn; in
spring, clouds of the finest sand were wafted among the goods, and
penetrated to every drawer and wareroom. And high over all, throughout
all the main highways of commerce--the Strand--Fleet Street--Oxford
Street--Holborn--raged a storm of sound, that made conversation a matter
of extreme difficulty without such stentorian an effort as no ordinary
lungs could make. As the inhabitants of Abdera went about sighing from
morning to night, "Love! love!" so the persecuted dwellers in the great
thoroughfares wished incessantly for cleanliness! smoothness! silence!

"Abra was present when they named her name," and, after a few gropings
after truth--a few experiments that ended in nothing--a voice was heard
in the city, that streets could be paved with wood. This was by no means
a discovery in itself; for in many parts of the country ingenious
individuals had laid down wooden floors upon their farm-yards; and, in
other lands, it was a very common practice to use no other material for
their public streets. But, in London, it was new; and all that was
wanted, was science to use the material (at first sight so little
calculated to bear the wear and tear of an enormous traffic) in the most
eligible manner. The first who commenced an actual piece of paving was a
Mr Skead--a perfectly simple and inartificial system, which it was soon
seen was doomed to be superseded. His blocks were nothing but pieces of
wood of a hexagon shape--with no cohesion, and no foundation--so that
they trusted each to its own resources to resist the pressure of a
wheel, or the blow of a horse's hoof; and, as might have been foreseen,
they became very uneven after a short use, and had no recommendation
except their cheapness and their exemption from noise. The fibre was
vertical, and at first no grooves were introduced; they, of course,
became rounded by wearing away at the edge, and as slippery as the
ancient granite. The Metropolitan Company took warning from the defects
of their predecessor, and adopted the patent of a scientific French
gentleman of the name of De Lisle. The combination of the blocks is as
elaborate as the structure of a ship of war, and yet perfectly easy,
being founded on correct mechanical principles, and attaining the great
objects required--viz. smoothness, durability, and quiet. The blocks,
which are shaped at such an angle that they give the most perfect mutual
support, are joined to each other by oaken dowels, and laid on a hard
concrete foundation, presenting a level surface, over which the impact
is so equally divided, that the whole mass resists the pressure on each
particular block; and yet, from being formed in panels of about a yard
square, they are laid down or lifted up with far greater ease than the
causeway. Attention was immediately attracted to this invention, and all
efforts have hitherto been vain to improve on it. Various projectors
have appeared--some with concrete foundations, some with the blocks
attached to each other, not by oak dowels, but by being alternately
concave and convex at the side; but this system has the incurable defect
of wearing off at the edges, where the fibre of the wood, of course, is
weakest, and presents a succession of bald-pated surfaces, extremely
slippery, and incapable of being permanently grooved. A specimen of this
will be often referred to in the course of this account, being that
which has attained such an unenviable degree of notoriety in the
Poultry. Other inventors have shown ingenuity and perseverance; but the
great representative of wooden paving we take to be the Metropolitan
Company, and we proceed to a narrative of the attacks it has sustained,
and the struggles it has gone through.

So long ago as July 1839, the inventor explained to a large public
meeting of noblemen and men of science, presided over by the Duke of
Sussex, the principle of his discovery. It consisted in a division of
the cube, or, as he called it, the stereotomy of the cube. After
observing, that "although the cube was the most regular of all solid
bodies, and the most learned men amongst the Greeks and other nations
had occupied themselves to ascertain and measure its proportions, he
said it had never hitherto been regarded as a body, to be anatomized or
explored in its internal parts. Some years ago, it had occurred to a
French mathematician that the cube was divisible into six pyramidical
forms; and it therefore had struck him, the inventor, that the natural
formation of that figure was by a combination of those forms. Having
detailed to his audience a number of experiments, and shown how the
results thereby obtained accorded with mathematical principles, he
proceeded to explain the various purposes to which diagonal portions of
the cube might be applied. By cutting the body in half, and then
dividing the half in a diagonal direction, he obtained a figure--namely,
a quarter of the cube--in which, he observed, the whole strength or
power of resistance of the entire body resided; and he showed the
application of these sections of the cube to the purposes of paving by
wood." Such is the first meagre report of the broaching of a scientific
system of paving; and, with the patronage of such men of rank and
eminence as took an interest in the subject, the progress was sure and

In December 1839, about 1100 square yards were laid down in Whitehall,
and a triumph was never more complete; for since that period it has
continued as smooth and level as when first it displaced the Macadam; it
has never required repair, and has been a small basis of peace and
quietness, amidst a desert of confusion and turmoil. Since that time,
about sixty thousand yards in various parts of London, being about
three-fourths of all the pavement hitherto introduced, attest the public
appreciation of the Metropolitan Company's system. It may be interesting
to those who watch the progress of great changes, to particularize the
operations (amounting in the aggregate to forty thousand yards) that
were carried out upon this system in 1842:--

St Giles's, Holborn
Foundling Estate
Hammersmith Bridge
St Andrew's, Holborn
Jermyn Street
Old Bailey
Newgate Street, eastern end
Southampton Street
Lombard Street
Oxford Street
Regent Street;

besides several noblemen's court-yards, such as the Dukes of Somerset
and Sutherland's, and a great number of stables, for which it is found
peculiarly adapted.

The other projectors have specimens principally in the Strand; that near
the Golden Cross, being by Mr Skead; that near Coutts's Bank, Mr
Saunders; at St Giles's Church, in Holborn, Mr Rankin; and in the city,
at Gracechurch Street, Cornhill, and the Poultry, Mr Cary. The Poultry
is a short space lying between Cheapside and the Mansion-house,
consisting altogether of only 378 square yards. It lies in a hollow, as
if on purpose to receive the river of mud which rolls its majestic
course from the causeway on each side. The traffic on it, though not
fast, is perpetual, and the system from the first was faulty. In
addition to these drawbacks, its cleansing was totally neglected; and on
all these accounts, it offered an excellent point of attack to any
person who determined to signalize himself by preaching a crusade
against wood. Preachers, thank heaven! are seldom wanted; and on this
occasion the part of Peter the Hermit was undertaken by Peter the
Knight; for our old acquaintance, the opponent of causeways, the sworn
enemy to granite, the favourer of Macadam, had worn the chain of office;
had had his ears tickled for a whole year by the magic word, my lord,
was as much of a knight as Sir Amadis de Gaul, and much more of an
alderman; had been a great dispenser of justice, and sometimes a
dispenser with law; had made himself a name, before which that of the
Curtises and Waithmans grew pale; and, above all, was at that very
moment in want of a grievance. Sir Peter Laurie gave notice of a motion
on the subject of the Poultry. People began to think something had gone
wrong with the chickens, or that Sir Robert had laid a high duty on
foreign eggs. The alarm spread into Norfolk, and affected the price of
turkeys. Bantams fell in value, and barn-door fowls were a drug. In the
midst of all these fears, it began to be whispered about, that if any
chickens were concerned in the motion, it was Cary's chickens; and that
the attack, though nominally on the hen-roost, was in reality on the
wood. It was now the depth of winter; snowy showers were succeeded by
biting frosts; the very smoothness of the surface of the wooden pavement
was against it; for as no steps were taken to prevent slipperiness, by
cleansing or sanding the street--or better still, perhaps, by roughing
the horses' shoes, many tumbles took place on this doomed little portion
of the road; and some of the city police, having probably, in the
present high state of English morals, little else to do, were employed
to count the falls. Armed with a list of these accidents, which grew in
exact proportion to the number of people who saw them--(for instance, if
three people separately reported, "a grey horse down in the Poultry," it
did duty for three grey horses)--Sir Peter opened the business of the
day, at a meeting of the Commissioners of Sewers for the City of London,
on the 14th of February 1843. Mr Alderman Gibbs was in the chair. Sir
Peter, on this occasion, transcended his usual efforts; he was inspired
with the genius of his subject, and was as great a specimen of slip-slop
as the streets themselves. He requested a petition to be read, signed by
a Mr Gray, and a considerable number of other jobmasters and livery
stable-keepers, against wood pavement; and, as it formed the text on
which he spoke, we quote it entire:--

"To the Commissioners of Sewers--

"The humble memorial of your memorialists, humbly
showeth,--That in consequence of the introduction of wood
pavements into the City of London, in lieu of granite, a very
great number of accidents have occurred; and in drawing a
comparison between the two from observations made, it is found
where one accident happened on the granite pavement, that ten
at least took place upon the wood. Your memorialists therefore
pray, that, in consequence of the wood pavement being so
extremely dangerous to travel over, you would be pleased to
take the matter into your serious consideration, and cause it
to be removed; by doing which you will, in the first place, be
removing a great and dangerous nuisance; and, secondly, you
will be setting a beneficial and humane example to other
metropolitan districts."

Mr Gray, in addition to the memorial, begged fully to corroborate its
statements, and said that he had himself twice been thrown out by the
falling of his horse on the wood, and had broken his shafts both times.
As he did not allude to his legs and arms, we conclude they escaped
uninjured; and the only effect created by his observation, seemed to be
a belief that his horse was probably addicted to falling, and preferred
the wood to the rough and hard angles of the granite. Immediately after
the reading of the stablemen's memorial, a petition was introduced in
favour of wood pavement from Cornhill, signed by all the inhabitants of
that wealthy and flourishing district, and, on the principles of fair
play, we transcribe it as a pendant to the other:--

"Your petitioners, the undersigned inhabitants of the ward of Cornhill
and Birchen Lane, beg again to bring before you their earnest request,
that that part of Cornhill which is still paved with granite, and also
Birchen Lane, may now be paved with wood.

"Your petitioners are well aware that many complaints have been received
of the wood paving in the Poultry; but they beg to submit to you that no
reports which have been, or which may be made, of the accidents which
have occurred on that small spot, should be considered as in any way
illustrative of the merits of the general question. From its minuteness,
and its slope at both extremities, it is constantly covered with
slippery mud from the granite at each end; and that, together with the
sudden transition from one sort of paving to another, causes the horses
continually to stumble on that spot. Your petitioners therefore submit
that no place could have been selected for experiment so ill adapted to
show a fair result. Since your petitioners laid their former petition
before you, they have ascertained, by careful examination and enquiry,
that in places where wood paving has been laid down continuously to a
moderate extent--viz. in Regent Street, Jermyn Street, Holborn, Oxford
Street, the Strand, Coventry Street, and Lombard Street--it has fully
effected all that was expected from it; it has freed the streets from
the distracting nuisance of incessant noise, has diminished mud,
increased the value of property, and given full satisfaction to the
inhabitants. Your petitioners, therefore, beg to urge upon you most
strongly a compliance with their request, which they feel assured would
be a further extension of a great public good."

In addition to the petition, Mr Fernie, who presented it, stated "that
the inhabitants (whom he represented) had satisfied themselves of the
advantages of wood paving before they wished its adoption at their own
doors. That enquiries had been made of the inhabitants of streets in the
enjoyment of wood paving, and they all approved of it; and said, that
nothing would induce them to return to the old system of stone; that
they were satisfied the number of accidents had not been greater on the
wood than they had been on the granite; and that they were of a much
less serious character and extent."

Sir Peter on this applied a red silk handkerchief to his nose; wound
three blasts on that wild horn, as if to inspire him for the charge; and
rushed into the middle of the fight. His first blow was aimed at Mr
Prosser, the secretary of the Metropolitan Company, who had stated that
in Russia, where wooden pavements were common, a sprinkling of pitch and
strong sand had prevented the possibility of slipping. Orlando Furioso
was a peaceful Quaker compared to the infuriate Laurie. "The admission
of Mr Prosser," he said, "proves that, without pitch and sand, wood
pavements are impassable;" and fearful was it to see the prodigious
vigour with which the Prosser with two _s_'s, was pressed and assaulted
by the Proser with only one. Wonder took possession of the assemblage,
at the catalogue of woes the impassioned orator had collected as the
results of this most dangerous and murderous contrivance. An old woman
had been run over by an omnibus--all owing to wood; a boy had been
killed by a cab--all owing to wood; and it seemed never to have occurred
to the speaker, in his anti-silvan fury, that boy's legs are
occasionally broken by unruly cabs, and poles of omnibuses run into the
backs of unsuspecting elderly gentlemen on the roads which continue
under the protecting influence of granite or Macadam. He had seen horses
fall on the wooden pavements in all directions; he had seen a troop of
dragoons, in the midst of the frost, dismount and lead their un-roughed
horses across Regent Street; the Recorder had gone round by the squares
to avoid the wooden districts; one lady had ordered her coachman to
stick constantly to stone; and another, when she required to go to
Regent Street, dismissed her carriage and walked. The thanks he had
received for his defence of granite were innumberable; an omnibus would
not hold the compliments that had been paid him for his efforts against
wood; and, as Lord Shaftesbury had expressed his obligations to him on
the subject, he did not doubt that if the matter came before the House
of Lords, he would bestow the degree of attention on it which his
lordship bestowed on all matters of importance. Working himself us as he
drew near his peroration, he broke out into a blaze of eloquence which
put the Lord Mayor into some fear on account of the Thames, of which he
is official conservator. "The thing cannot last!" he exclaimed; "and if
you don't, in less than two years from this time, say I am a true
prophet, put me on seven years' allowance." What the meaning of this
latter expression may be, we cannot divine. It seems to us no very
severe punishment to be forced to receive the allowance of seven years
instead of one, the only explanation we can think of is, that it
contains some delicate allusion to the dietary of gentlemen who are
supposed to be visiting one of the colonies in New Holland, but in
reality employ themselves in aquatic amusements in Portsmouth and
Plymouth harbour "for the space of seven long years"--and are not
supposed to fare in so sumptuous a manner as the aldermen of the city of

"The poor horses," he proceeded, "that are continually tumbling down on
the wood pavement, cannot send their representatives, but I will
represent them here whenever I have the opportunity"--(a horse laugh, as
if from the orator's constituents, was excited by this sally.) "But,
gentlemen, besides the danger of this atrocious system, we ought to pay
a little attention to the expense. I maintain you have no right to make
the inhabitants of those streets to which there is no idea of extending
the wood paving, pay for the ease and comfort, as it is called, of
persons residing in the larger thoroughfares, such as Newgate Street and
Cheapside. But the promoters say, 'Oh I but we will have the whole town
paved with it'--(hear, hear.) What would this cost? A friend of mine has
made some calculations on this point, and he finds that, to pave the
whole town with wood, an outlay of twenty-four millions of money must be

It was generally supposed in the meeting that the friend here alluded to
was either Mr Joseph Hume or the ingenious gentleman who furnished Lord
Stanley with the statistics of the wheat-growing districts of Tamboff.
It was afterwards discovered to be a Mr Cocker Munchausen.

Twenty-four millions of money! and all to be laid out on wood! The
thought was so immense that it nearly choked the worthy orator, and he
could not proceed for some time. When at last, by a great effort, he
recovered the thread of his discourse, he became pathetic about the fate
of one of the penny-post boys, (a relation--"we guess"--of the deceased
H. Walker, Esq. of the Twopenny Post,)--who had broken his leg on the
wooden pavement. The authorities had ordered the lads to avoid the wood
in future. For all these reasons, Sir Peter concluded his speech with a
motion, "That the wood pavement in the Poultry is dangerous and
inconvenient to the public, and ought to be taken up and replaced with
granite pavement."

"As in a theatre the eyes of men,
After some well-graced actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him who enters next
Thinking his prattle to be tedious,
Even so, or with more scorn, men's eyes
Were turned on----Mr Deputy Godson!"

The benevolent reader may have observed that the second fiddle is
generally a little louder and more sharp set than the first. On this
occasion that instrument was played upon by the worthy deputy, to the
amazement of all the connoisseurs in that species of music in which he
and his leader are known to excel. From his speech it was gathered that
he represented a district which has been immortalized by the genius of
the author of Tom Thumb; and in the present unfortunate aspect of human
affairs, when a comet is brandishing its tail in the heavens, and
O'Connell seems to have been deprived of his upon earth--when poverty,
distress, rebellion, and wooden pavements, are threatening the very
existence of _Great_ Britain, it is consolotary to reflect that under
the guardianship of Deputy Godson _Little_ Britain is safe; for he is
resolved to form a cordon of granite round it, and keep it free from the
contamination of Norway pines or Scottish fir. "I have been urged by my
constituents," he says, "to ask for wood pavement in Little Britain; but
I am adverse to it, as I think wood paving is calculated to produce the
greatest injury to the public.

"I have seen twenty horses down on the wood pavement
together--(laughter.) I am here to state what I have seen. I have seen
horses down on the wood pavement, twenty at a time--(renewed laughter.)
I say, and with great deference, that we are in the habit of conferring
favours when we ought to withhold them. I think gentlemen ought to pause
before they burden the consolidated rate with those matters, and make
the poor inhabitants of the City pay for the fancies of the wealthy
members of Cornhill and the Poultry. We ought to deal even-handed
justice, and not introduce into the City, and that at a great expense, a
pavement that is dirty, stinking, and everything that is

In Pope's Homer's Iliad, it is very distressing to the philanthropic
mind to reflect on the feelings that must agitate the bosom of Mr Deputy
Thersites when Ajax passes by. In the British Parliament it is a
melancholy sight to see the countenance of some unfortunate orator when
Sir Robert Peel rises to reply, with a smile of awful import on his
lips, and a subdued cannibal expression of satisfaction in his eyes.
Even so must it have been a harrowing spectacle to observe the effects
of the answer of Mr R.L. Jones, who rose for the purpose of moving the
previous question. He said, "I thought the worthy alderman who
introduced this question would have attempted to support himself by
bringing some petitions from citizens against wood paving--(hear.) He
has not done so, and I may observe, that from not one of the wards where
wood pavement has been laid down has there been a petition to take any
of the wood pavement up. What the mover of these resolutions has done,
has been to travel from one end of the town to the other, to prove to
you that wood paving is bad in principle. Has that been
established?--(Cries of 'no, no.') I venture to say they have not
established any thing of the kind. All that has been done is this--it
has been shown that wood pavement, which is comparatively a recent
introduction, has not yet been brought to perfection--(hear, hear.) Now,
every one knows that complaints have always been made against every new
principle, till it has been brought to perfection. Look, for instance,
at the steam-engine. How vastly different it now is, with the
improvements which science has effected, from what it was when it was
first introduced to the notice of the world! Wherever wood pavement has
been laid down, it has been approved of. All who have enjoyed the
advantage of its extension, acknowledge the comfort derived from it. Sir
Peter Laurie asserts that he is continually receiving thanks for his
agitation about wood paving, and that an omnibus would not hold the
compliments he receives at the West End. Now, I can only say, that I
find the contrary to be the case; and every body who meets me exclaims,
'Good God! what can Sir Peter Laurie be thinking about, to try and get
the wood paving taken up, and stone paving substituted?' So far from
thanking Sir Peter, every body is astonished at him. The wood pavement
has not been laid down nearly three years, and I say here, in the face
of the Commission, that there have not been ten blocks taken up; but had
granite been put down, I will venture to say that it would, during the
same period, have been taken up six or seven times. Your books will
prove it, that the portion of granite pavement in the Poultry was taken
up six or seven times during a period of three years. When the wood
paving becomes a little slippery, go to your granite heaps which belong
to this commission, or to your fine sifted cinder heaps, and let that be
strewed over the surface; that contains no earthy particles, and will,
when it becomes imbedded in the wood, form such a surface that there
cannot be any possibility be any slipperiness--(hear, hear!) Do we not
pursue this course in frosty weather even with our own stone paving?
There used to be, before this plan was adopted, not a day pass but you
would in frosty weather see two, three, four, and even five or six
horses down together on the stone paving--('Oh! oh!' from Mr Deputy
Godson.) My friend may cry 'oh! oh!' but I mean to say that this
assertion is not so incongruous as the statement of my friend, that he
saw twenty horses down at once on the wood pavement in Newgate Street,
(laughter.) I may exclaim with my worthy friend the deputy on my left,
who lives in Newgate Street, 'When the devil did it happen? I never
heard of it.' I stand forward in support of wood paving as a great
public principle, because I believe it to be most useful and
advantageous to the public; which is proved by the fact, that the public
at large are in favour of it. If we had given notice that this court
would be open to hear the opinions of the citizens of London on the
subject of wood paving, I am convinced that the number of petitions in
its favour would have been so great, that the doors would not have been
sufficiently wide to have received them."

Mr Jones next turned his attention to the arithmetical statements of Sir
Peter; and a better specimen of what in the Scotch language is called a
stramash, it has never been our good fortune to meet with:--

"We have been told by the worthy knight who introduced this motion, that
to pave London with wood would cost twenty-four millions of money. Now,
it so happens that, some time since, I directed the city surveyor to
obtain for me a return of the number of square yards of paving-stone
there are throughout all the streets in this city. I hold that return in
my hand; and I find there are 400,000 yards, which, at fifteen shillings
per yard, would not make the cost of wood paving come to twenty-four
millions of money; no, gentlemen, nor to four millions, nor to three,
nor even to one million--why, the cost, gentlemen, dwindles down from
Sir Peter's twenty-four millions to L300,000--(hear, hear, and

"If I go into Fore Street I find every body admiring the wood pavement.
If I go on Cornhill I find the same--and all the great bankers in
Lombard Street say, 'What a delightful thing this wood paving is! Sir
Peter Laurie must be mad to endeavour to deprive us of it.' I told them
not to be alarmed, for they might depend on it the good sense of this
court would not allow so great and useful an improvement in street
paving to retrograde in the manner sought to be effected by this
revolution. I shall content myself with moving the previous

It is probable that Mr Jones, in moving the previous question, contented
himself a mighty deal more than he did Sir Peter; and the triumph of the
woodites was increased when Mr Pewtress seconded the amendment:--

"If there is any time of the year when the wood pavement is more
dangerous than another, probably the most dangerous is when the weather
is of the damp, muggy, and foggy character which has been prevailing;
and when all pavements are remarkably slippery. The worthy knight has
shown great tact in choosing his time for bringing this matter before
the public. We have had three or four weeks weather of the most
extraordinary description I ever remember; not frosty nor wet, but damp
and slippery; so that the granite has been found so inconvenient to
horses, that they have not been driven at the common and usual pace. And
I am free to confess that, under the peculiar state of the atmosphere to
which I have alluded, the wood pavement is more affected than the
granite pavement. But in ordinary weather there is very little
difference. I am satisfied that, if the danger and inconvenience were as
great as the worthy knight has represented, we should have had
applications against the pavement; but all the applications we have had
on the subject have been in favour of the extension of wood pavement."

The speaker then takes up the ground, that as wood, as a material for
paving, is only recently introduced, it is natural that vested interests
should be alarmed, and that great misapprehension should exist as to its
nature and merits. On this subject he introduces an admirable
illustration:--"In the early part of my life I remember attending a
lecture--when gas was first introduced--by Mr Winson. The lecture was
delivered in Pall-Mall, and the lecturer proposed to demonstrate that
the introduction of gas would be destructive of life and property. I
attended that lecture, and I never came away from a public lecture more
fully convinced of any thing than I did that he had proved his position.
He produced a quantity of gas, and placed a receiver on the table. He
had with him some live birds, as well as some live mice and rabbits;
and, introducing some gas into the receiver, he put one of the animals
in it. In a few minutes life was extinct, and in this way he deprived
about half a dozen of these animals of their life. 'Now, gentlemen,'
said the lecturer, 'I have proved to you that gas is destructive to
life; I will now show you that it is destructive to property.' He had a
little pasteboard house, and said, 'I will suppose that it is lighted up
with gas, and from the carelessness of the servant the stopcock of the
burner has been so turned off as to allow an escape of gas, and that it
has escaped and filled the house.' Having let the gas into the card
house, he introduced a light and blew it up. 'Now,' said he, 'I think I
have shown you that it is not only destructive to life and property; but
that, if it is introduced into the metropolis, it will be blown up by

We have now given a short analysis of the speeches of the proposers and
seconders on each side in this great debate; and after hearing Mr
Frodsham on the opposition, and the Common Sergeant--whose objection,
however, to wood was confined to its unsuitableness at some seasons for
horsemanship--granting that a strong feeling in its favour existed among
the owners and inhabitants of houses where it has been laid down; and on
the other side, Sir Chapman Marshall--a strenuous woodite--who
challenged Sir Peter Laurie to find fault with the pavement at
Whitehall, "which he had no hesitation in saying was the finest piece of
paving of any description in London;" Mr King, who gave a home thrust to
Sir Peter, which it was impossible to parry--"We have heard a great deal
about humanity and post-boys; does the worthy gentleman know, that the
Postmaster has only within the last few weeks sent a petition here,
begging that you would, with all possible speed, put wood paving round
the Post-office?" and various other gentlemen _pro_ and _con_--a
division was taken, when Sir Peter was beaten by an immense majority.

Another meeting, of which no public notice was given, was held shortly
after to further Sir Peter's object, by sundry stable-keepers and
jobmasters, under the presidency of the same Mr Gray, whose horse had
acquired the malicious habit of breaking its knees on the Poultry. As
there was no opposition, there was no debate; and as no names of the
parties attending were published, it fell dead-born, although advertised
two or three times in the newspapers.

On Tuesday, the 4th of April, Sir Peter buckled on his armour once more,
and led the embattled cherubim to war, on the modified question, "That
wood-paving operations be suspended in the city for a year;" but after a
repetition of the arguments on both sides, he was again defeated by the
same overwhelming majority as before.

Such is the state of wood paving as a party question among the city
authorities at the present date. The squabbles and struggles among the
various projectors would form an amusing chapter in the history of
street rows--for it is seen that it is a noble prize to strive for. If
the experiment succeeds, all London will be paved with wood, and
fortunes will be secured by the successful candidates for employment.
Every day some fresh claimant starts up and professes to have remedied
every defect hitherto discovered in the systems of his predecessors.
Still confidence seems unshaken in the system which has hitherto shown
the best results; and since the introduction of the very ingenious
invention of Mr Whitworth of Manchester, of a cart, which by an
adaptation of wheels and pullies, and brooms and buckets, performs the
work of thirty-six street-sweepers, the perfection of the work in Regent
Street has been seen to such advantage, and the objections of
slipperiness so clearly proved to arise, not from the nature of wood,
but from the want of cleansing, that even the most timid are beginning
to believe that the opposition to the further introduction of it is
injudicious. Among these even Sir Peter promises to enrol himself, if
the public favour continues as strong towards it for another year as he
perceives it to be at the present time.

And now, dismissing these efforts at resisting a change which we may
safely take to be at some period or other inevitable, let us cast a
cursory glance at some of the results of the general introduction of
wood pavement.

In the first place, the facility of cleansing will be greatly increased.
A smooth surface, between which and the subsoil is interposed a thick
concrete--which grows as hard and impermeable as iron--will not generate
mud and filth to one-fiftieth of the extent of either granite roads or
Macadam. It is probable that if there were no importations of dirt from
the wheels of carriages coming off the stone streets, little
scavengering would be needed. Certainly not more than could be supplied
by one of Whitworth's machines. And it is equally evident that if wood
were kept unpolluted by the liquid mud--into which the surface of the
other causeways is converted in the driest weather by water carts--the
slipperiness would be effectually cured.

In the second place, the saving of expense in cleansing and repairing
would be prodigious. Let us take as our text a document submitted to the
Marylebone Vestry in 1840, and acted on by them in the case of Oxford
Street; and remember that the expenses of cleansing were calculated at
the cost of the manual labour--a cost, we believe, reduced two thirds by
the invention of Mr Whitworth. The Report is dated 1837:--

"The cost of the last five years having been, L16,881
The present expense for 1837, about 2,000
The required outlay 4,000
And the cleansing for 1837 900
Gives a total for six years of L23,781

"Or an annual expenditure averaging L3963; so that the future
expenses of Oxford Street, maintained as a Macadamized
carriage-way, would be about L4000, or 2s. 4d per yard per

"In contrast with this extract from the parochial documents,
the results of which must have been greatly increased within
the last three years, the Metropolitan Wood-Paving Company, who
have already laid down above 4000 yards in Oxford Street,
between Wells Street and Charles Street, are understood to be
willing to complete the entire street in the best manner for
12s. per square yard, or about L14,000--for which they propose
to take bonds bearing interest at the rate of four-and-a-half
per cent per annum, whereby the parish will obtain ample time
for ultimate payment; and further, to keep the whole in repair,
inclusive of the cost of cleansing and watering, for one year
gratuitously, and for twelve years following at L1900 per
annum, being less than one-half the present outlay for these

Whether these were the terms finally agreed on we do not know; but we
perceive by public tenders that the streets can be paved in the best
possible manner for 13s. or 12s. 6d. a yard; and kept in repair for 6d.
a yard additional. This is certainly much cheaper than Macadam, and we
should think more economical than causeways. And, besides, it has the
advantage--which one of the speakers suggested to Sir Peter
Laurie--"that in case of an upset, it is far more satisfactory to
contest the relative hardness of heads with a block of wood than a mass
of granite."

We can only add in conclusion, that advertisements are published by the
Commissioners of Sewers for contracts to pave with wood Cheapside, and
Bishopsgate Street, and Whitechapel. Oh, Sir Peter!--how are the mighty

* * * * *






Pale, at its ghastly noon,
Pauses above the death-still wood--the moon;
The night-sprite, sighing, through the dim air stirs;
The clouds descend in rain;
Mourning, the wan stars wane,
Flickering like dying lamps in sepulchres!
Haggard as spectres--vision-like and dumb,
Dark with the pomp of Death, and moving slow,
Towards that sad lair the pale Procession come
Where the Grave closes on the Night below.


With dim, deep sunken eye,
Crutch'd on his staff, who trembles tottering by?
As wrung from out the shatter'd heart, one groan
Breaks the deep hush alone!
Crush'd by the iron Fate, he seems to gather
All life's last strength to stagger to the bier,
And hearken----Do those cold lips murmur "Father?"
The sharp rain, drizzling through that place of fear,
Pierces the bones gnaw'd fleshless by despair,
And the heart's horror stirs the silver hair.


Fresh bleed the fiery wounds
Through all that agonizing heart undone--
Still on the voiceless lips "my Father" sounds,
And still the childless Father murmurs "Son!"
Ice-cold--ice-cold, in that white shroud he lies--
Thy sweet and golden dreams all vanish'd there--
The sweet and golden name of "Father" dies
Into thy curse,--ice-cold--ice-cold--he lies
Dead, what thy life's delight and Eden were!


Mild, as when, fresh from the arms of Aurora,
When the air like Elysium is smiling above,
Steep'd in rose-breathing odours, the darling of Flora
Wantons over the blooms on his winglets of love.--
So gay, o'er the meads, went his footsteps in bliss,
The silver wave mirror'd the smile of his face;
Delight, like a flame, kindled up at his kiss,
And the heart of the maid was the prey of his chase.


Boldly he sprang to the strife of the world,
As a deer to the mountain-top carelessly springs;
As an eagle whose plumes to the sun are unfurl'd,
Swept his Hope round the Heaven on its limitless wings.
Proud as a war-horse that chafes at the rein,
That kingly exults in the storm of the brave;
That throws to the wind the wild stream of its mane,
Strode he forth by the prince and the slave!


Life, like a spring-day, serene and divine,
In the star of the morning went by as a trance;
His murmurs he drown'd in the gold of the wine,
And his sorrows were borne on the wave of the dance.
Worlds lay conceal'd in the hopes of his youth,
When once he shall ripen to manhood and fame!
Fond Father exult!--In the germs of his youth
What harvests are destined for Manhood and Fame!


Not to be was that Manhood!--The death-bell is knelling
The hinge of the death-vault creaks harsh on the ears--
How dismal, O Death, is the place of thy dwelling!
Not to be was that Manhood!--Flow on bitter tears!
Go, beloved, thy path to the sun,
Rise, world upon world, with the perfect to rest;
Go--quaff the delight which thy spirit has won,
And escape from our grief in the halls of the blest.


Again (in that thought what a healing is found!)
To meet in the Eden to which thou art fled!--
Hark, the coffin sinks down with a dull, sullen sound,
And the ropes rattle over the sleep of the dead.
And we cling to each other!--O Grave, he is thine!
The eye tells the woe that is mute to the ears--
And we dare to resent what we grudge to resign,
Till the heart's sinful murmur is choked in its tears.

Pale at its ghastly noon,
Pauses above the death-still wood--the moon!
The night-sprite, sighing, through the dim air stirs;
The clouds descend in rain;
Mourning, the wan stars wane,
Flickering like dying lamps in sepulchres.
The dull clods swell into the sullen mound;
Earth, one look yet upon the prey we gave!
The Grave locks up the treasure it has found;
Higher and higher swells the sullen mound--
Never gives back the Grave!

* * * * *


Hark, as hoarse murmurs of a gathering sea--
As brooks that howling through black gorges go,
Groans sullen, hollow, and eternally,
One wailing Woe!
Sharp Anguish shrinks the shadows there;
And blasphemous Despair
Yells its wild curse from jaws that never close;
And ghastly eyes for ever
Stare on the bridge of the relentless River,
Or watch the mournful wave as year on year it flows,
And ask each other, with parch'd lips that writhe
Into a whisper, "When the end shall be!"
The _end_?--Lo, broken in Time's hand the scythe,
And round and round revolves Eternity!

* * * * *


Past the despairing wail--
And the bright banquets of the Elysian Vale
Melt every care away!
Delight, that breathes and moves for ever,
Glides through sweet fields like some sweet river!
Elysian life survey!
There, fresh with youth, o'er jocund meads,
His youngest west-winds blithely leads
The ever-blooming May.
Thorough gold-woven dreams goes the dance of the Hours,
In space without bounds swell the soul and its powers,
And Truth, with no veil, gives her face to the day,
And joy to-day and joy to-morrow,
But wafts the airy soul aloft;
The very name is lost to Sorrow,
And Pain is Rapture tuned more exquisitely soft.
Here the Pilgrim reposes the world-weary limb,
And forgets in the shadow, cool-breathing and dim,
The load he shall bear never more;
Here the Mower, his sickle at rest, by the streams,
Lull'd with harp-strings, reviews, in the calm of his dreams,
The fields, when the harvest is o'er.
Here, He, whose ears drank in the battle-roar,
Whose banners stream'd upon the startled wind
A thunder-storm,--before whose thunder tread
The mountains trembled,--in soft sleep reclined,
By the sweet brook that o'er its pebbly bed
In silver plays, and murmurs to the shore,
Hears the stern clangour of wild spears no more!
Here the true Spouse the lost-beloved regains,
And on the enamell'd couch of summer-plains
Mingles sweet kisses with the west-wind's breath.
Here, crown'd at last--Love never knows decay,
Living through ages its one BRIDAL DAY,
Safe from the stroke of Death!

* * * * *


Ha, ha I take heed--ha, ha! take heed,[10]
Ye knaves both South and North!
For many a man both bold in deed
And wise in peace, the land to lead,
Old Swabia has brought forth.

Proud boasts your Edward and your Charles,
Your Ludwig, Frederick--are!
Yet Eberhard's worth, ye bragging carles!
Your Ludwig, Frederick, Edward, Charles--
A thunder-storm in war.

And Ulrick, too, his noble son,
Ha, ha! his might ye know;
Old Eberhard's boast, his noble son,
Not he the boy, ye rogues, to run,
How stout soe'er the foe!

The Reutling lads with envy saw
Our glories, day by day;
The Reutling lads shall give the law--
The Reutling lads the sword shall draw--
O Lord--how hot were they!

Out Ulrick went and beat them not--
To Eberhard back he came--
A lowering look young Ulrick got--
Poor lad, his eyes with tears were hot--
He hung his head for shame.

"Ho--ho"--thought he--"ye rogues beware,
Nor you nor I forget--
For by my father's beard I swear
Your blood shall wash the blot I bear,
And Ulrick pay you yet!"

Soon came the hour! with steeds and men
The battle-field was gay;
Steel closed in steel at Duffingen--
And joyous was our stripling then,
And joyous the hurra!

"The battle lost" our battle-cry;
The foe once more advances:
As some fierce whirlwind cleaves the sky,
We skirr, through blood and slaughter, by,
Amidst a night of lances!

On, lion-like, grim Ulrick sweeps--
Bright shines his hero-glaive--
Her chase before him Fury keeps,
Far-heard behind him, Anguish weeps,
And round him--is the Grave!

Woe--woe! it gleams--the sabre-blow--
Swift-sheering down it sped--
Around, brave hearts the buckler throw--
Alas! our boast in dust is low!
Count Eberhard's boy is dead!

Grief checks the rushing Victor-van--
Fierce eyes strange moisture know--
On rides old Eberhard, stern and wan,
"My son is like another man--
March, children, on the Foe!"

And fiery lances whirr'd around,
Revenge, at least, undying--
Above the blood-red clay we bound--
Hurrah! the burghers break their ground,
Through vale and woodland flying!

Back to the camp, behold us throng,
Flags stream, and bugles play--
Woman and child with choral song,
And men, with dance and wine, prolong
The warrior's holyday.

And our old Count--and what doth he?
Before him lies his son,
Within his lone tent, lonelily,
The old man sits with eyes that see
Through one dim tear--his son!


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