The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT. AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XIX. NO. 534.] SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1832. [PRICE 2_d_
* * * * *
OUR LADY'S CHAPEL,
[Illustration: ST. SAVIOUR, SOUTHWARK.]
The Engraving represents the interior of the Virgin Mary's Chapel,
commonly called the Lady Chapel, and appended to the ancient collegiate
church of St. Saviour, Southwark. The exterior view of the Chapel will be
found in No. 456 of _The Mirror_. About eighteen months since part of the
western side of the High-street was removed for the approach to the New
London Bridge, when this Chapel was opened to view; but its dilapidated
appearance was rather calculated to interest antiquarian than public
curiosity. The London Bridge Committee recommended the parishioners of St.
Saviour to cause the Chapel to be pulled down, and their selfish
suggestion would have been complied with, had not some enlightened and
public-spirited individuals stepped forth to frustrate the levellers. The
parishioners now became two parties. One contended for the restoration of
the Chapel, as "one of the most chaste and elegant specimens of early
pointed architecture of the thirteenth century of which this country can
boast." The levellers, whose muckworm minds, and love of the arts is only
shown in that of money-getting--maintained that the demolition of the
Chapel would be "a pecuniary saving;" but theirs was a penny-wise and
pound-foolish spirit; for, by removing the Chapel, a greater expense would
be incurred than in its restoration. The folks could not understand plain
figures, and so resolved to take the sense and nonsense of the parish, and
the subject has been decided by a majority of 240 in favour of repairing
the Chapel. The funds for this purpose, it should be understood, were in
course of provision by public subscription, so that the blindness of party
zeal threatened to reject a special advantage--the public would find the
money if they would allow the Chapel to remain--whereas, had the
demolition taken place, the parishioners must themselves have defrayed the
consequent expenses. Historians loudly condemn the royal and noble thieves
who plundered the Coliseum and the Pantheon to build palaces, yet there
are men in our times, who would, if they could, take Dr. Johnson's hint to
pound St. Paul's Church into atoms, and with it macadamize their roads; or
fetch it away by piecemeal to build bridges with its stones, and saw up
its marble monuments into chimneypieces.
The church of St. Saviour is built in the form of a cathedral, with a nave,
side aisles, transepts, a choir, with its side aisles; and the chapel of
St. John, which now forms the vestry, and the chapel of the Virgin Mary,
or Our Lady. To the east end of the latter there has since been added a
small chapel, called the Bishop's Chapel. Another chapel, (of St. Mary
Magdalen,) was also connected with the south aisle of the church. The
parishioners seem to have hitherto neglected the Lady Chapel, and to have
shown their cupidity in ages long past. Through the influence of Dr.
Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, they were allowed to _purchase_ the church
of that wholesale sin-salesman, Henry VIII.; but after the parish had
obtained the grant of the church, they let the Lady Chapel to one Wyat, a
baker, who converted it into a bake-house. He stopped up the two doors
which communicated with the aisles of the church, and the two which opened
into the chancel, and which, though visible, still remain masoned up.
In 1607, Mr. Henry Wilson, tenant of the Chapel of the Holy Virgin, found
himself inconvenienced by a tomb "of a certain cade," and applied to the
vestry for its removal, which was very "friendly" consented to, "making
the place up again in any reasonable sort." In this state it continued
till the year 1624, when the vestry restored it to its original condition,
at an expense of two hundred pounds. "More than that sum," observes the
Rev. Mr. Nightingale, "I should conceive would now be required to repair
this venerable part of St. Saviour's Church in such a manner as is
absolutely necessary. The pillars have in a great degree lost their
perpendicular position: the mouldings and mullions of the windows are
distorted in the most shameful manner; the walls are rapidly hastening to
their final decay; and the whole place appears to be destined to become
once more the resort of hogs and vermin of every description. That this
should be the case is a great disgrace to the parish, and an insult
to the diocese, in which St. Saviour's Church holds so conspicuous a
The roof of the Chapel is divided into nine groined arches, supported by
six octangular pillars in two rows, having small circular columns at the
four points. At the back of the altar-screen of the church are some
tracery compartments, probably, according to Mr. Bray, once affording
through them a view of this chapel. In the east end, on the north side,
are three lancet-shaped windows, forming one great window, divided by
slender pillars, and having mouldings, with zig-zag ornaments. The tracery
windows on the south side are masoned up, but much of the original tracery
remains. At the north-east corner are remains of sharp-pointed arches;
here also is an enclosure with table, desk, and elevated seat. This part
is, properly speaking, the Bishop's Court; but this name is common to the
whole chapel, in which the Bishop of Winchester holds his Court; and in
which are held the visitations for the Deanery of Southwark.
The annexed view was taken from the north-west entrance, and shows the
character of the groined roof, the supporting pillars, and the entrance to
the Bishop's Chapel adjoining, by an ascent of two steps; this Chapel
being named from the Tomb of Bishop Andrews, formerly standing in the
centre of it. We recommend the reader to a clever paper in the _Gentleman's
Megazine_ for the present month, in which the writer proves that Our
Lady's Chapel, so far from being an excrescence, as has been idly stated,
"bears the same relation to the church an the head does to the body."
 Stow--These have lately been re-opened.--ED. M.
 Parish Books.
 Hist. and Antiq. Paroch. Church, St. Saviour, Southwark, 4to. 1818.
 This Screen is about to be partially restored at an expense of about
L800. now in course of subscription among the more respectable and
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror_.)
Sleeping in night-mare's thunderstorm-wove lap,
On sunless mountain high above the pole;
With ice for sheets, and lightning for a cap,
And tons of loadstones weighing on his soul;
And eye out-stretched upon some vasty map
Of uncouth worlds, which ever onward roll
To infinite--like Revelation's scroll.
Now falling headlong from his mountain bed
Down sulph'rous space, o'er dismal lakes;
Now held by hand of air--on wings of lead
He tries to rise--gasping--the hands' hold breaks,
And downward he reels through shadows of the dead,
Who cannot die though stalking in hell's flakes,
Falling, he catches his heart-string on some hook, and--wakes.
 Where did the Sportsman's Letters come from?--ED.
* * * * *
There is nothing to be said in favour of fashion, and yet how many are
contented implicitly to obey its commands: its rules are not even dictated
by the standard of taste, for it is constantly running into extremes and
condemns one day what it approves the next.
There are some people so incorrigibly stupid and prosing, that wherever
they are anxious of securing respect, silence would be their best policy.
As we advance in age, it is singular what a revolution takes place in our
feelings. When we arrive at maturity an unkind word is more cutting and
distresses us more than any bodily suffering; in our youth it was the
There is nothing so ravishing to the proud and the great (with all their
resources for enjoyment) as to be thought happy by their inferiors.
Such are the casualties of life, that the presentiment of fear is far
wiser than that of hope; and it would seem at all times more prudent to be
providing against accident, than laying out schemes of future happiness.
The character of any particular people may be looked for with best success
in their national works of talent.
There is no absurdity in approving as well as condemning the same
individual; for as few people are always in the right, so on the other
hand it is improbable they should be always in the wrong.
The most elegant flattery is at second hand; viz., to repeat over again
the praises bestowed by others.
Ignorance, simple, helpless ignorance, is not to be imputed as a fault;
but very often men are wilfully ignorant.
We have fewer enemies than we imagine: many are too indolent to care at
all about us, and if the stream of censure is running against us, the
world is too careless to oppose it. If we could hear what is said of us in
our absence we should torment ourselves without real cause, for we should
seldom hear the real sentiments of the speaker; many things are said in
mere wantonness, and many more from the desire of being brilliant.
The man who feels he is in the right is seldom dogmatical, for truth is
always calm and requires not violence to enforce her arguments: we should
desist from the contest the moment we feel anxious about victory, because
that anxiety must make us less particular about the truth.
Quickness of intellect is no proof of solidity: the deepest rivers flow on
The reason why there are so few instances of heroism in modern times is
the total decay of political virtue: we are broken up into small parties
and associate only with our families, thus forgetting the public, in our
regard for private interest: the ancients were taught rather to live for
the benefit of the whole community.
An over-refined philosophy begets sensitiveness, and is as little to be
coveted as a moderate share of it is beneficial.
It seems to be the business of life to lay by fresh cause for anxiety and
discontent by increasing our estate; whereas we should rather know how to
lose it all, and yet be contented.
There are some people, who though very amiable in the main, and obliging
in their offices to others, have yet that most unhappy propensity of being
gloomy over every thing.
It is one of the wisest provisions of Fortune that the same vices which
ruin our estates, take away also the means of enjoying them by depriving
us of health.
There is more virtue in obscurity than is commonly supposed; and perhaps
there have been nobler specimens of magnanimity in low life, than even the
page of history can boast.
Knowledge of the world must be combined with study, for this, as well as
better reasons: the possession of learning is always invidious, and it
requires considerable tact to inform without a display of superiority, and
to ensure esteem, as well as call forth admiration.
Deceit has the effect of impoverishing, as well as enriching, men: the
prodigal becomes poor by pretending to be richer than he really is, while
seeming poverty is the very making of a miser.
* * * * *
STANZAS TO THE SPIRIT OF MORNING.
(_For the Mirror_.)
Angel of morn! whose beauteous home
In light's unfading fountain lies;
Whose smiles dispel night's sable gloom,
And fill with splendour earth and skies,
While o'er the horizon pure and pale,
Thy beams are dawning, thee I hail.
The star that watches, pure and lone,
In yon clear heaven so silently,
Looks trembling from its azure throne
Upon thy beaming glories nigh;
And yields to thee first-born of day,
Reluctantly its heavenly sway.
Sweet spirit, with that early ray,
Which steals so softly through the gloom,
Trembling and brightening in its way,
What beauties o'er creation come;
Ere thy unclouded smiles arise
In all their splendour through the skies.
The rosy cloud--the azure sky,
Earth--ocean, with its heaving breast,
Where thy bright hues reflected lie,
And there in varying beauty rest,
Rejoice in thee; and from the grove,
To hail thee, bursts the voice of love.
Eternal beauty round thee dwells,
And joy thine early steps attends,
While music wildly breathing swells,
And with thy gales of perfume blends:
Pure, beautiful you smile above,
Like youth's fond dreams of hope and love.
Thy skies of blue, thy beaming light,
Thy gales so balmy, wild, and free,
Thy lustre on the mountain's height,
Have charms beyond all else for me;
Whilst my glad spirit fain would rise
To hail and meet thee in the skies.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER.
BRITAIN'S HISTORICAL DRAMA.
We understand Mr. Pennie's design, in this volume, to be the chronological
arrangement of certain incidents of each king's reign in a series of
National Tragedies. There are four such tragedies in the present portion,
commencing with Arixina in which figure Julius Caesar, Cassfelyn, and
Cymbaline, and extending to Edwin and Elgiva: the titles of the
intervening pieces are the Imperial Pirate and the Dragon King. There is
much wild and beautiful romance in the diction, but we take the most
attractive portion to be the lyrical portion, as the Chants, Dirges, and
Choruses. We recommend them as models for the play-wrights who do such
things for the acting drama, and if the poetship to a patent theatre be
worth acceptance, we beg to commend Mr. Pennie to the notice of managers.
The poet of the King's Theatre figures in the bills of the day, and yet he
is but a translator.
It is difficult to select an entire scene for quotation, so that we take a
specimen from Arixina:
CHORUS OF BARDS.
Mightiest of the mighty thou!
Regal pearl-wreaths decked thy brow;
On thy shield the lion shone,
Glowing like the setting sun!
And thy leopard helmet's frown,
In the day of thy renown,
O'er thy foemen terror spread,
Grimly flashing on thy head.
Master of the fiery steed,
And the chariot in its speed,--
As its scythe-wedged wheels of blood
Through the battle's crimson flood,
Onward rushing, put to flight
E'en the stoutest men of might,--
Age to age shall tell thy fame;
Thine shall be a deathless name!
Bards shall raise the song for thee
In the halls of Chivalry.
His shall he a noble pyre!
Robes of gold shall feed the fire;
Amber, gums, and richest pearl
On his bed of glory hurl:
Trophies of his conquering might,
Skulls of foes, and banners bright,
Shields, and splendid armour, won
When the combat-day was done,
On his blazing death-pile heap,
Where the brave in glory sleep!
And the Romans' vaunted pride,
Their eagle-god, in blood streams dyed,
Which, amid the battle's roar,
From their king of ships he tore;
Hurl it, hurl it in the flame,
And o'er it raise the loud acclaim!
Let the captive and the steed
On his death-pile nobly bleed;
Let his hawks and war-dogs share
His glory, as they claimed his care.
Silent is his hall of shields
In Rath-col's dim and woody fields,
Night-winds round his lone hearth sing
The fall of Prythian's warlike king!--
Now his home of happy rest
Is in the bright isles of the west;
There, in stately halls of gold,
He with the mighty chiefs of old,
Quaffs the horn of hydromel
To the harp's melodious swell;
And on hills of living green,
With airy bow of lightning sheen,
Hunts the shadowy deer-herd fleet
In their dim-embowered retreat.
He is free to roam at will
O'er sea and sky, o'er heath and hill,
When our fathers' spirits rush
On the blast and crimson gush
Of the cloud-fire, through the storms,
Like the meteor's brilliant forms,
He shall come to the heroes' shout
In the battle's gory rout;
He shall stand by the stone of death,
When the captive yields his breath;
And in halls of revelry
His dim spirit oft shall be.
Shout, and fill the hirlass horn,
Round the dirge-feast quaff till morn;
Songs and joy sound o'er the heath,
For he died the warrior's death!
Garlands fling upon the fire,
His shall be a noble pyre!
And his tomb befit a king,
Encircled with a regal ring
Which shall to latest time declare,
That a princely chief lies there,
Who died to set his country free,
Who fell for British liberty;
His renown the harp shall sing
To mail clad chief and battle-king,
And fire the mighty warrior's soul
Long as eternal ages roll!
The Notes to each Tragedy are very abundant. Indeed, they are of the most
laborious research. We quote an extract relative to "grinning skulls" as
"The British warriors preserved the bones of their enemies whom they slew;
and Strabo says of the Gauls (who were, as he informs us, far less
uncivilized than the Britons, but still nearly resembled them in their
manners and customs,) that when they return from the field of battle they
bring with them the heads of their enemies fastened to the necks of their
horses, and afterwards place them before the gates of their cities. Many
of them, after being anointed with pitch or turpentine, they preserve in
baskets or chests, and ostentatiously show them to strangers, as a proof
of their valour; not suffering them to be redeemed, even though offered
for them their weight in gold. This account is also confirmed by Diodorus.
Strabo says that Posidonius declared he saw several of their heads near
the gates of some of their towns,--a horrid barbarism, continued at
Temple-bar almost down to the present period."
Lastly, _Speaking and Moving Stones_:
"Girald Cambrensis gives an account of a speaking-stone at St. David's in
Pembrokeshire. 'The next I shall notice is a very singular kind of a
monument, which I believe has never been taken notice of by any
antiquarian. I think I may call it an oracular stone: it rests upon a bed
of rock, where a road plainly appears to have been made, leading to the
hole, which at the entrance is three feet wide, six feet deep, and about
three feet six inches high. Within this aperture, on the right hand, is a
hole two feet diameter, perforated quite through the rock sixteen feet,
and running from north to south. In the abovementioned aperture a man
might lie concealed, and predict future events to those that came to
consult the oracle, and be heard distinctly on the north side of the rock,
where the hole is not visible. This might make the credulous Britons think
the predictions proceeded solely from the rock-deity. The voice on the
outside was distinctly conveyed to the person in the aperture, as was
several times tried.'--_Arch. Soc. Ant. Lond_. vol. viii.
"The moving stones, or Logans, were known to the Phoenicians as well us
the Britons. Sanconiatho, in his Phoenician History, says, that Uranus
devised the Boetylia, Gr.; Botal or Bothal, Irish; Bethel, Heb., or stones
that moved _as having life_.--Damascius, an author in the reign of
Justinian, says he had seen many of these Boetylia, of which wonderful
things were reported, in Mount Libanus, and about Heliopolis, in Syria."
The volume, a handsome octavo of more than 500 pages, has been, we
perceive, published by subscription: the list contains about 400 names,
with the King at the head. This is sterling patronage, yet not greater, if
so great, as Mr. Pennie deserves. The Preface, we think, somewhat
unnecessarily long: it needed but few words to commend the drama of our
early history to the lovers of literature, among whom we do not reckon him
who is insensible to the charms of such plays as Cymbeline, Julius Caesar,
the Winter's Tale, or Macbeth. Mr. Pennie mentions the popularity of
Pizarro, "which faintly attempts to delineate the customs of the Peruvians"
as a reason for "the hope that is in him" respecting the fate of his own
tragedies. To our minds, Pizarro is one of the most essentially dramatic
or stage-plays of all our stock pieces. It is of German origin, though
Sheridan is said to have written it over sandwiches and claret in Drury
Lane Theatre. The country, the scenery, and costume have much to do with
this stage effect, and even aid the strong excitement of conflicting
passions which pervades every act. Its representation is a scene-shifting,
fidgeting business, but its charms tempt us almost invariably to sit it
Returning to Mr. Pennie's Tragedies, we must add that a more delightful
collection of notes was never appended to any poem. Would that all
commentators had so assiduously illustrated their text. Here is none of
the literary indolence by which nine out of ten works are disfigured, nor
the fiddle-faddle notes which some folks must have written in their dreams.
* * * * *
SNATCHES FROM EUGENE ARAM.
_A Landlord's Benevolence_.--No sooner did he behold the money, than a
sudden placidity stole over his ruffled spirit:--nay, a certain benevolent
commiseration for the fatigue and wants of the traveller replaced at once,
and as by a spell, the angry feelings that had previously roused him.
_A "Rich" Man_.--One who "does not live so as not to have money to lay by."
_An old Soldier_.--Set me a talking, and let out nothing himself;--old
soldier every inch of him.
_A Scholar_.--A man not much inclined to reproduce the learning he had
acquired:--what he wrote was in very small proportion to what he read.
_Study of Mankind_.--There seems something intuitive in the science which
teaches us the knowledge of our race. Some men emerge from their seclusion,
and find, all at once, a power to dart into the minds and drag forth the
motives of those they see; it is a sort of second sight, born with them,
_Happiness_.--No man can judge of the happiness of another. As the moon
plays upon the waves, and seems to our eyes to favour with a peculiar beam
one long track amidst the waters, leaving the rest in comparative
obscurity; yet all the while she is no niggard in her lustre--for the rays
that meet not our eyes seem to us as though they were not, yet _she_, with
an equal and unfavouring loveliness, mirrors herself on every wave: even
so, perhaps, Happiness falls with the same brightness and power over the
whole expanse of life, though to our limited eyes she seems only to rest
on those billows from which the ray is reflected back upon our sight.
_Influence of Cities_.--When men have once plunged into the great sea of
human toil and passion, they soon wash away all love and zest for innocent
enjoyments. What was once a soft retirement, will become the most
intolerable monotony; the gaming of social existence--the feverish and
desperate chances of honour and wealth, upon which the men of cities set
their hearts, render all pursuits less exciting, utterly dull and insipid.
_Love_.--There is a mysterious influence in nature, which renders us, in
her loveliest scenes, the most susceptible to love. * * In all times,
how dangerous the connexion, when of different sexes, between the scholar
and the teacher! Under how many pretences, in that connexion, the heart
finds the opportunity to speak out.
_Passion_--The doubt and the fear--the caprice and the change, which
agitate the surface, swell also the tides of passion.
_Poverty_--makes some humble but more malignant.
_Want_.--How many noble natures--how many glorious hopes--how much of the
seraph's intellect, have been crushed info the mire, or blasted into guilt,
by the mere force of physical want?
_Benevolence_.--How poor, even in this beautiful world, with the warm sun
and fresh air about us, that alone are sufficient to make us glad, would
be life, if we could not make the happiness of others.
_Eloquence_.--The magic of the tongue is the most dangerous of all spells.
_Genius_.--There is a certain charm about great superiority of intellect,
that winds into deep affections which a much more constant and even
amiability of manners in lesser men, often fails to reach. Genius makes
many enemies, but it makes sure friends--friends who forgive much, who
endure long, who exact little; they partake of the character of disciples
as well as friends.
_Experience_.--'Tis a pity that the more one sees, the more suspicious one
grows. One does not have gumption till one has been properly cheated--one
must be made a fool very often in order not to be fooled at last!
_Cat-kindness_.--Paw to-day, and claw to-morrow.
_London at Night_.--One of the greatest pleasures in the world is to walk
alone, and at night, (while they are yet crowded) through the long
lamp-lit streets of this huge metropolis. There, even more than in the
silence of woods and fields, seems to me the source of endless, various
_How easy it is to forget!_--The summer passes over the furrow, and the
corn springs up; the sod forgets the flower of the past year; and the
battlefield forgets the blood that has been spilt upon its turf; the sky
forgets the storm; and the water the noon-day sun that slept upon its
bosom. All Nature preaches forgetfulness. Its very order is the progress
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
A DAY AT LULWORTH.
The abolition of monasteries, which succeeded the former revolution in
France, caused a fraternity of Trappists to seek refuge from the general
persecution of religious orders under the protection of the proprietor of
Lulworth Castle, on the coast of Dorsetshire; their patron being a rigid
Catholic, and much governed by the priests. They had been established many
years when I visited them; my curiosity being excited by the current
reports of the severities to which their order subjected them in the
habitual discipline of the convent. The day selected for the visit was
quite in harmony with the objects in view; a cold, bleak, cloudy morning,
which terminated in rain, without a single ray of the sun to enliven a
December gloom. Mr., now Cardinal, Weld was paying his temporal and
spiritual devotions at the Quirinal Palace and the shrine of St. Peter;
but, in the absence of the family from Lulworth, his huntsman regularly
exercised a small pack of harriers round the neighbouring hills among the
goss covers, for the amusement of a few sportsmen and his own profit.
Three of us proceeded one morning to enjoy our customary diversion; but
the bleakness of the wind which swept the hills overlooking the sea
induced the huntsman to keep the hounds at home, and we, in consequence,
determined to make up for our disappointment by riding over to Lulworth.
In summer, this little retired spot is an object of attraction, from its
romantic cove and fine castle; while many parties, doubtless, are drawn
there by the savoury idea of boiled lobsters, usually provided for their
refreshment at the small public-house of the village; where "mine host"
was wont to rivet the attention of the juvenile portions of his guests
especially, while the older refused him not their ears, to tales of the
castle and the convent, about which, as in most Catholic families of
distinction, and among religious institutions, there hung a cloud of
mystery, which the young votaries of worldly enjoyments love to penetrate.
Leaving our horses at the inn, we walked directly up to the convent
situated a little way beyond the village, impressed with feelings which
the stories we had heard unavoidably excited. Nor were these feelings
diminished by the gloomy solitude and silence of the scenery around,
interrupted only by the howling wind and the roaring of the waves, which
beat against the precipitous rocks surrounding the cove, and sustaining
the massive walls of the castle.
A plain white-washed building, with few and small windows, apparently
created out of a barn or granary and an old farm-house, was encircled by a
high wall enclosing also a muddy courtyard, and a garden destined to
supply the fraternity merely with the necessary herbs and seeds on which
the meagre-fed brethren were nourished. We lifted the heavy knocker of a
rude door surmounted by a crucifix, and a lay-brother, resembling him
represented in the Opera of the Duenna, answered our modest knocking. An
order from "the family" was demanded; and for want of it we urged our
special journey (about twenty miles), names, and rank; all of which was
transmitted to the superior, while we remained some time unbidden in the
courtyard, where the only sign of life was the deep barking of an old
house-dog, who rivalled his human associates in misanthropy.
At length the creaking hinges of the door were heard again, and, with an
injunction to be sparing of speech, we were bidden to follow the animated
shadow which flitted in the owl-light before us, through various winding
passages. Had I been alone, and had that crime which has lately so shocked
humanity been then in existence, I think I should have "pulled in
resolution," and told the miserable _cicerone_ that I would call another
time. But, as companionship imparts courage, on we went, filled with vivid
recollections of Mrs. Radcliffe's romances, accompanied with an urgent
curiosity also to see, for the first time, living monks and a real
monastery. One of the former passed us in our way, clothed in the dingy
habit of his order fastened round the waist with a twisted cord. He bowed
as he passed; and we were told, in a whisper, that he was recently arrived;
and from not associating with the rest of the brethren, and having a
separate apartment, he was supposed to be a man of rank, known only to the
superior, and concerning whom conjecture was rife, but no inquiry
permitted. What this recluse really was my story will hereafter disclose.
The general furniture of the convent appeared to be neat and clean, but of
coarse materials and rude construction, while its scantiness evinced
either the penury of the institution, or the denial which formed part of
the monastic discipline peculiar to the order of La Trappe. There might be
a third explanation of the ill-lighted bareness of the walls and floors,
together with the general aspect of privation and devotion, an explanation
which occurred to us subsequently--there might have been studied effect
and deception in their display before visiters.
We entered the refectory and the dormitory, neither of which bore any sign
of luxury, nor even of ordinary comfort. The needful repose of man seemed
scarcely provided for in the one, nor the "creature comforts" in the other.
Meat was forbidden, except when prescribed for the health of the inmates.
Vegetable broth, bread, and water, formed, we were told, the chief
resources of the culinary department of the convent; and, in the very act
of enjoying these, around the disconsolate-looking table, the superior was
accustomed to remind the brotherhood occasionally during the repast not to
indulge the appetite for food, so as to divert their thoughts for an
instant from heaven. This spiritual memento was introduced by the rap of a
stout oaken-stick upon the table; when instantly, every hand raised to the
mouth was arrested and held still where it was, until a second rap
permitted it to proceed in its carnal office, the interval being employed
in silent ejaculation to the Deity, or perhaps, with some, in "curses not
loud but deep" against the inexorable superior, who so compelled them to
mortify a not unnatural desire.
In the dormitory a similar mortification nightly awaited the unconscious
sleepers, although "upon uneasy pallets stretching them," in the
occasional tinkling of an obtrusive bell, that peremptorily hurried them
from their recumbent position to the cold stones of the chapel, where on
bended knees they were obliged to pray and meditate.
From the refectory and the dormitory we were conducted to the chapel, with
renewed injunctions to ask no questions while there, and to preserve the
strictest silence. Here we found about thirty, I think, of the brethren,
in their coarse black habits and cord belts, with rosary, shaved crowns,
and fixed eyes; some kneeling, and others prostrate upon the stony
floor,--picturesquely grouged, _a la Rembrandt_, about the steps of the
altar and other parts of the chapel. All were silent and motionless, and
regarded our intrusion no more than if they were so many marble statues.
Some of the monks were old and haggard, and others young and better
conditioned than might be conceived of men fed, or rather starved, as they
were represented to be. Their features appeared generally to be coarse and
vulgar. The chapel itself was perfectly plain, and unadorned but by a few
of the customary figures and paintings, representing disgusting situations
of saints and martyrs under voluntary torture and privation. Lamps that
"shed a pale and ineffectual light," crucifixes, and images of the Virgin
and Son, were duly scattered about the niches of the chapel.
From the chapel we were conducted to the superior's room, a small
scantily-furnished apartment, with however an appearance of greater
comfort than elsewhere about the building, from the presence of a plain
chair and table, some religious books, a cot, and a little fire. The
superior himself possessed somewhat more of the aspect of a gentleman than
the rest of the brethren, as well as the dim light of a lamp allowed us to
observe his figure; of which certainly, whatever might have been his mode
of living, rotundity formed no such feature as I have seen among the jolly
monks in Spain and Portugal. He related to us the habits of his order,
from which we learnt further particulars than had been related by the
_cicerone_. Silence seemed to be the rule of the establishment during the
whole twenty-four hours, the exceptions being very few: one of the
brethren, we were told, had never been known to speak for about thirty
years, in accordance with a vow, and was supposed to have become dumb.
When one monk met another, the salutation was limited to this simple
expression--"Brother, we must die." And lest this fact should not have
been sufficiently kept in recollection, a grave was constantly open in the
burying-ground at hand, the digging of which was a source of bodily
exercise and recreation to the brethren; a new one being always made when
a tenant was found for that which already gaped to receive him.
I need scarcely observe, that from the rigid silence vowed and practised,
the order of La Trappe includes no females in its over-zealous ordinances.
The only books allowed those who could read were Missals and the Bible,
which were constantly in their hands.
Medical aid was not denied, when occasion required it, from one qualified
to practise among the Weld colony in the village, who of course was no
heretic; but the ordinary management of the _materia medica_, furnished by
the garden, rested with such of the fraternity as were gifted in the art
In addition to all the mortification of the flesh pointed out to us, we
were given to understand that the twisted cords around the waist were
frequently employed in self-inflicted scourgings at the altar, to which
the superior exhorted the brethren as a penance for past, and humiliation
for future, sins; a ceremony which, by all accounts, was in some instances
unjustly taken out of the hands of the public executioner, while in others,
perhaps, the cord might not at all have been misapplied if its adjustment
to the neck, instead of the waist, had been anticipated by the same
 See _Mirror_, vol. xvi p. 201.
* * * * *
Through the still midnight--hark'--that startling sound
Tells of deed of blood! a soldier's hand
With aim too true himself hath reft of life!
* * * Beneath that roof
For many days none had heard sounds of gladness.
He was distressed--each fond retainer then
Softened his voice to whispers--each pale face
Did but reflect the sadness fixed in his:
Save where the two--two fair and lovely ones,
Too young for guilt or sorrow, or to know
Such words as wordlings know them--save where they,
Pranking in childhood's headlong gaiety,
Sent the loud shout--like laughter through the tomb--
And mocked his anguish, with their joyousness.
Oh, that in sleep, some cry of joy or pain
From forth those lips had bursten piercingly,
When that sad Man his daring hand had lain,
Maddened with hours of musing, on his death!
Then would great Nature, o'er the soldier's heart
Her power have all recovered; his seared soul
With gushing tears enflooded, been restored;
Mistaken Honour, false chivalric Pride,
Flown with the Tempter;--life have been preserved,--
And unendangered an immortal soul.
* * * * *
THE LATE MR. MUNDEN.
Great actors have two lives, or rather they have double deaths. Their
leave-taking of the public, their "retirement," as biographers call it, is
one death; since a playgoer then considers an actor dead "to all intents
and purposes"--a very _non est_. Public regrets are showered about your
great actor, and by some he is forgotten with the last trump of his praise.
He "retires:" that is, he looks out for a cottage in the country, far
removed from his former sphere of action, (as plain John Fawcett did the
other day,) or he diverges to a snug box in the suburbs of London, still
lingering about the great stage, as did honest Joseph Munden about seven
years since. People in the boxes or pit look out for his successor in the
bills of the play--then say "we ne'er shall look upon his like again,"
(the greatest, though perhaps the most equivocal, tribute ever paid to
genius,) but a few months reconcile them to the loss; they approve the
successor, though they deplore the change, "and though the present they
regret, they are grateful for the past." Then comes your actor's second
farewell--his final exit--and "last of all comes death." A line or two in
a newspaper tells you that Munden died on Monday last. One exclaims "I
thought he had been dead these seven years;" but another, of more grateful
and reflective temperament, throws down the "_diurnal_" to lament the
death of the man as he had hitherto regretted the loss of the actor. His
former regret too is resuscitated. A mere paragraph rounds the little life
of your actor, his entrances and exits, and he who "appeared" on one stage
in 1790, as Sir Francis Gripe and Jemmy Jumps, disappeared from that
greater stage, or all the world, as Joseph Munden. We have often thought
these _farewells_ of actors must be with them dismal affairs, especially
in old age. They must remind them of a last farewell, and we know
The sense of death is most in apprehension.
But, is this fitting for the obituary of a _comic_ actor? Yes, we reply,
and as both are but occasions of appeal to the passions, we may think the
death of a tragedian less striking than the former, since all tragedies
end with death, and death in itself is but a scene of tragedy. Is any
lament of Shakspeare's heroes more touching than his apostrophe to the
scull of Yorick, the King's jester, the mad fellow that poured a flagon of
Rhenish on the clown's head: "a fellow of infinite jest; of most excellent
fancy. Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of
merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock
your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?"
Munden was the son of a poulterer in Brooke's Market, Holborn, where he
was born in the year 1758. His father died soon afterwards, leaving his
widow with slender means, and Munden was thrust upon the world to seek his
fortune at twelve years of age. He was placed in an apothecary's shop, but
soon left it for an attorney's office. Perhaps, like Dr. Wolcot, he
fancied the clinking of the pestle and mortar said "Kill 'em again! kill
'em again." From the attorney's office, he "fell off," as Hamlet's Ghost
would say, to a law-stationer's shop, and became "a hackney writer:" the
technicality needs not explanation: to hack at anything is neither the
road to fame nor a good meal. He was apprenticed in Chancery Lane: his
master died and was succeeded by an older man, of the square-toed
fraternity, who taxed Munden with being a Macaroni more than a tradesman.
Munden, in consequence, parted from his master, and once more returned to
the office of a solicitor. They who remember Munden, a staid-dressing man
in later years, may smile at his early observance of the glass of fashion.
About this time Munden appears to have first imbibed a taste for the stage,
and with it an admiration of the genius of Garrick; indeed, he had seen
more of Garrick's acting than had any of his contemporaries in 1820, Quick
and Bannister excepted. What a fine president would Munden have been of
the _Garrick Club_, the members of which probably know as much about
Garrick as they care about Thespis. Acquaintance with an actor fed Munden's
_penchant_ for the stage, but did not fill his pocket. Both started for
Liverpool, the actor upon an engagement, but Munden in _hope_ of one; the
latter engaged in the office of the Town Clerk, but only realized his hope
in copying for the theatre, walking in processions, and bearing banners,
at one shilling per night! At length he _acted_ the _first Carrier_ in
_Henry IV_. He next joined a company at Rochdale, which he soon left, and
returning to Liverpool, smothered his dramatic passion for two years, when
he started for Chester, with a light heart, a bundle wardrobe, and a
guinea. He entered Chester with his "last shilling," which he paid for
admission to the theatre, little thinking of provision for the night. Yet
Munden, in later life, was a prudent, parsimonious man. At the close of
the performance he fell in with a person who had been a butcher's
apprentice in Brooks's Market, and who remembering young Joseph's antic
tricks, gave him good cheer, and money for his return to London. On the
road, necessity overtook him, when meeting a Warwickshire militia-man, who
was marching to the town at which he was billeted, Munden prevailed on the
soldier to represent him as a comrade. The trick told: he was ordered to
the general mess-room and received as one among the warriors; and his
lively humour made him king of the company for the night. Next morning the
regiment mustered, and Munden was told to follow and be enlisted; but, as
he had obtained all he wished, a supper and a bed, he left his military
friends to their glory, and proceeded to London. Here he again returned
to the law, but once more emerged from it, and joined a company at
Leatherhead, as a representative of old men. But the theatre was burnt.
Munden next played at Windsor with tolerable success, at half a guinea per
week; and subsequently at Colnbrook and Andover. He returned to London,
and thence went to Canterbury, in 1780, to play low comedy characters,
where he first became what theatrical biographers term "a favourite."
After other provincial engagements and a short trial of management at
Sheffield, Munden appeared December 2, 1790, (a few nights after the first
appearance of Incledon,) at Covent Garden Theatre as _Sir Francis Gripe_,
in the _Busy Body_, and _Jemmy Jumps_ in the _Farmer_; his success in
which parts after the impressions made by Parsons and Edwin was little
short of a miracle. His popularity now became settled. He was the original
representative of _Old Rapid, Caustic, Brummagem, Lazarillo, (Two Strings
to your Bow,) Crack, Nipperkin, Sir Abel Handy, Sir Robert Bramble, Old
Dornton_, &c. In 1797 and 1798, he played at the Haymarket, but his summer
vacations were chiefly filled up by engagements at the provincial theatres.
Munden remained at Covent Garden Theatre till 1813, when he joined the
Drury Lane company. Here he remained until May 31, 1824, when he took his
farewell of the stage, in the characters of _Sir Robert Bramble, (Poor
Gentleman_,) and _Old Dozy_, (in _Past Ten o'clock_.) He _read_ his
farewell address, thus rendering it strikingly ineffective, since his
spectacles became obscured with tears. The leave-taking had, however, a
touch of real tragedy, which few could withstand. He now retired with a
respectable fortune, and lived in genteel style in Bernard-street, Russell
Square, till his 74th year.
Munden's style of acting was exuberant with humour. His face was his
fortune: it was all changeful nature: his eye glistened and rolled, and
lit up alternately every corner of his laughing face: "then the eternal
tortuosities of his nose, and the alarming descent of his chin, contrasted,
as it eternally was, with the portentous rise of his eyebrows." He has
been blamed for grimace, but it should be remembered that many of his
characters verged on caricatures. That he could play comic characters
chastely was amply shown in his Polonius; and touch the finer feelings of
our nature was exemplified in his Old Dornton, in Holcroft's catching play
of the _Road to Ruin_. The fine discrimination evinced by Munden in the
grief and joy of the exclamations "Who would be a father," and "Who would
_not_ be a father," will not soon be forgotten. We think we see and hear
his stout figure, in black, with florid face, and powdered hair, his
raised and clasped hands,--rushing out of the lockup-house scene in all
the fervid extasy of a father rejoicing at the escape of his son from
destruction. In Crack, Dozey, Nipperkin, and other drunken characters, his
drollery was irresistible. His intoxication displayed as much
discrimination as his pathetic performances. Who can forget his stare in
being detected in his fuddling as Dozey, and his plea for drinking to
"_wa-ash_ down your honour's health:" or his _anti-polarity_ as Nipperkin,
when his very legs seemed drunk beneath him; his attempt to set down the
keg would stagger the disbelievers of perpetual motion. Again, who did not
relish the richness of his voice, and the arch crispness which he gave to
some words, while others came not trippingly off his tongue, but lingered
and jarred with an effect which accounts for so many imitators. His mouth
had a peculiar twist, somewhat resembling that of Mathews, which at times
almost forbad his plain speaking.
We have seen that Munden was
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Had ta'en with equal thanks.
As he ripened, he became tinged with the old gentlemanly vice. He almost
made penury his hobby. Oxberry's widow asked him, after his retirement, to
play for her benefit: he said he could not, but that, if ever he performed
again, he would present her with 100_l_. It is related of him too, that a
friend asking him for a keepsake, he exchanged his old cotton umbrella for
his friend's silk one. Elliston and Munden were on good terms, though men
of very opposite habits. Munden had played twelve nights for Elliston at
Leamington. The manager had his wine, and the actor his brandy and water,
in the greenroom; before leaving the town, Munden sent for his bill at the
next tavern--14 glasses as many shillings. He asked Elliston to contribute
3_s_. which the manager refused to do, as Munden had drunk his wine; "but,"
retorted Munden, screwing his features up to the very point of exaction,
"Sip-pings, remember sip-pings," alluding to Elliston's occasional visits
to his glass, while he was playing his part. It is said too, though we
know not how truly, that Munden was once seen, walking to Kentish Town,
with four mackerel, suspended from his fingers by a twig, he having
purchased the fish at a low price in Clare-Market. But this is venial: for
a _string of fish_ is one of the parcels which John Wilkes said, a
gentleman may carry. Munden was a willing diner-out, and his conviviality
made him a welcome guest at any board. His hospitality at home was
unbounded; and above all, he has left an exemplary character for honesty
and integrity: he was one of those
Whose blood and judgment are so well comingled
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please.
Mr. Munden has left a widow, a son, and a daughter to share his
 The recital of these circumstances induced O'Keefe to introduce the
incident in the part of Nipperkin, in _Springs of Laurel_, or "Rival
 Oxberry appeared on the stage for the last time, this night, as
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF _NEW WORKS_.
MEMOIRS OF SIR RALPH ESHER,
_By Leigh Hunt, Esq._
These volumes exhibit a lively picture of the gayest and most profligate
periods of the history of the English Court. The writer, Sir Ralph Esher,
is an adventurer in the Court of our Second Charles, where he is
introduced by luckily securing a feather that escapes from the hat of one
of the ladies of the Court on horseback. The work opens with some account
of the writer's family, of some antiquity, in the county of Surrey, with a
few delightful sketches of the great men of the period. Witness this
slight outline of
"I rode one day on purpose to see Cooper's Hill, because Mr. Denham had
written a poem upon it; and hearing that Cowley was coming to see Mr.
Evelyn at Wootton, I went there and waited all the morning, till I saw him
arrive. He had a book in his hand, with his finger between the leaves, as
if he had been reading. He was a fleshy, heavy man, not looking in good
health, and had something of a stare in his eye. Before he entered the
gate, he stooped down to pinch the cheeks of some little children at play;
and afterwards, when I heard he was put in prison, I could not, for the
life of me, persuade myself that he deserved it."
The third chapter describes one of Charles's visits to Durdans, a rural
retreat built with materials from Nonsuch in the vicinity. The opening has
all the summer freshness of a race-day morning at Epsom:
"The bells awoke me in the morning, ringing a merry peal. When the wind
died, they seemed to be calling towards London; when it rose again, they
poured their merriment through the town, as if telling us that the King
was coming. I got up, and went into the street, where the people were
having their breakfasts under the trees, as the gentry do in the time of
the races. It was a very animated scene. The morning was brilliant. A fine
air tempered the coming warmth. The tables set out with creams and cakes
under the trees, had a pretty country look, though the place was crowded.
Everybody was laughing, chattering, and expecting; and the lasses, in
their boddices and white sleeves, reminded me of Miss Warmestre."
The arrival of the King and his mistress is beautifully told, as are the
costumes described, nay, coloured, for they are like highly-finished
_Charles and his Court at Epsom_.
"The King!--The silence now seemed to become more silent; and in spite of
the opinions in which I had been brought up, I felt what it was to be in
the presence of one who inherited sovereign power. His Majesty himself
alighted first, and together with Buckingham, presented his hand to assist
the Queen. Then came a handsome boy, Mr. Crofts (afterwards Duke of
Monmouth); and last, assisted by her cousin the Duke, the long looked for
beauty, beautiful indeed, triumphantly beautiful. She looked around, and
the spectators could hardly refrain from another shout.
"The dress at that time was well calculated to set off a woman to
advantage. Lady Castlemain was dressed in white and green, with an open
boddice of pink, looped with diamonds. Her sleeves were green, looped up
full on the shoulders with jewelry, and showing the white shift beneath,
richly trimmed with lace. The boddice was long and close, with a very low
tucker. The petticoat fell in ample folds, but not so long as to keep the
ankles unexposed; and it was relieved from an appearance of too much
weight by the very weightiness of the hanging sleeves, which
counterpoising its magnitude, and looking flowery with lace and ribbons,
left the arms free at the elbows, and fell down behind on either side. The
hair was dressed wide, with ringlets at the cheeks; and the fair vision
held a fan in one hand, while the Duke led her by the other. When she had
ascended the steps, and came walking up the terrace, the lowness of her
dress in the bosom, the visibility of her trim ankles, and the flourishing
massiness of the rest of her apparel, produced the effect, not of a woman
over-dressed, but of a dress displaying a woman; and she came on,
breathing rosy perfection, like the queen of the gardens.
"I did not see all this at the time; there was not leisure for it; but I
had the general impression, which I reduced into detail afterwards. The
spectators forgot everybody but the King and her. His Majesty, at that
period of his life, (he was little more than thirty,) looked at his best,
and I thought I never saw a manlier face, or a more graceful figure. He
was in mulberry coloured velvet and gold. He not only took off his hat in
return to our salutations, but persisted in keeping it so, as if in the
presence of the whole people of England. This fairly transported us. The
royal features were strong, somewhat grim even, and he had a black brow
and a swarthy complexion, reminding us of the southern part of his stock;
but there was good temper in the smile of his wide though not unhandsome
mouth; and his carriage was eminently that of the gentleman. Lady
Castlemain at that time was little more than twenty. The Queen, though
short of stature, was young also, and looked handsomer than we expected;
and as all parties seemed pleased, and his Majesty's little son came on
the other side of the lady of the bed-chamber, we pretended to ourselves,
that things were not so bad as report made them; though never more
convinced, that everything which had been related was true."
An animated snatch from court life:
"I passed a delightful winter, carrying messages, going to plays, dining,
drinking, dressing, and hearing the King and his courtiers talk. By
degrees I was encouraged to talk myself. I got a reputation for being both
a hearty and a judicious admirer of wit and poetry, and this procured me
the regard of the men I was most anxious to please. Lord Buckhurst liked
me because I was discriminating; Sir John Denham, because I listened with
respect; Sir Charles Sedley, because none of his similes were lost on me;
and Mr. Waller, because I thought him the greatest poet that ever was, I
had some misgiving on that point, when I thought of poor Mr. Cowley, who
died not long afterwards. Mr. Sprat (lately made Bishop of Rochester, then
the Duke of Buckingham's chaplain,) took me to see that great and good man
in his retreat in the country, where he talked so delightfully of rural
pleasures, that I began to sigh after my old fields, till I heard him say
he had realized nothing but agues, and that the Arcadians in his vicinity
were anything but what they should be. He thought, however, he should find
them a little higher up the river."
_Lely's Portrait of Cromwell_
is thus introduced in the second volume:
"Oliver now stood erect, with his back to a fire-place, and resembled the
picture which had been lately painted of him by Lely. The artist flattered
him perhaps in the general air, as far as it implied ordinary good
breeding, and an habitual urbanity of carriage; and yet the momentary look
may not have been flattered even in that respect; for as the greater
includes the less, so the princely serenity which Cromwell could assume as
well as any man, or rather which was natural to him in his princely
moments, involved of necessity whatever is of the like quality in the
self-possession of an ordinary gentleman. You have heard what Cromwell
said, when Lely was about to paint this picture? He desired him to omit
nothing that could complete the likeness, however it might tell against
smoothness and good looks. Not a wart, or a wrinkle was to be left out.
Lely accordingly produced a stronger and bluffer face than is usual with
him; though it is to be doubted, whether the sense of beauty to which he
afterwards made such a sacrifice of his pencil, would have permitted him
to go to the extent of Cromwell's direction, granting even that the
instinct of a courtier had not prevented it. Nor are we to suppose, that
Cromwell himself, however great a man, was displeased to think that his
warts and wrinkles had been found less inimical to pleasingness of aspect,
than might have been looked for. Be this as it may, I was afterwards when
I came to see the picture, highly struck with the resemblance it bore to
him at the period of this interview. If there was any defect on the wrong
side it was, that the eyes were not fine enough; not sufficiently deep and
full of meaning. And yet they are not vulgar eyes, in Lely's picture. The
forehead, and the open flow of hair on either side, as if he was looking
out upon the realm he governed, and the air of it was breathing upon him,
are wonderfully like; and so is the determined yet unaffected look of the
mouth. The nose, which in every face is, perhaps, the seat of refinement
or coarseness, (at least I have never found the symptom fail) is hardly
coarse enough; and in a similar proportion, it is wanting in power.
Cromwell's nose looked almost like a knob of oak. Indeed, throughout his
face there was something of the knobbed and gnarled character of that
monarch of our woods. I will add, that as this picture was painted
immediately after Cromwell's accession to the sovereign power, the
princely aspect of the sitter was never more genuine, perhaps, than at
that moment. But there was one thing which Lely assuredly took upon
himself to qualify; to wit, the redness of the nose. It was too red in
ordinary, though not so much so as his libellers gave out, nor so
distinguished in colour from the rest of his face. When he was moved to
anger, the whole irritability of his nature seemed to rush into both nose
and cheeks; and this produced an effect, the consciousness of which was,
perhaps, of no mean service in helping him to control himself. Upon the
whole if many princes have had a more graceful aspect, few have shown a
more striking one, and fewer still have warranted the impression by their
The work, as our readers may imagine, is from first to last, an ever
shifting round of adventure. It has its dark shades as well as its lively
tints. The Great Plague and Fire furnish ample materials for the former,
as do the court beauties and _intriguantes_ for the latter. An episodal
narrative of the Plague is one of the most touching pieces in the whole
work. At present we subjoin one of
_The Great Fire._
"I was pondering one night, as I was sitting in the parlour at
Mickleham, looking at a beautiful moon, and delaying to go to bed, when
Bennett came in and told me, that there was a dreadful fire in London. One
of the tradesmen had brought news of a dreadful fire the day before; but
as every fire was dreadful, and I had seen the good people of London run
away from a cow, crying out, a "mad bull," I had thought nothing of it,
and was prepared to think as little of the new one. The old gentleman,
however, assuring me that both fires were one and the same, that it had
burnt a whole night and day, and was visible as far as Epsom, I thought it
time to see into the truth of the matter. I ordered my horse, and
promising to bring back a correct account, purely to satisfy the house
that there was no such thing, (for some of the domestics had kindred in
London,) I set off at a round gallop, looking towards the north, as if I
could already discern what I had doubted. Nobody was stirring at
Leatherhead; but at Epsom, sure enough, there was a great commotion, all
the people being at their doors, and vowing they saw the fire; which,
however, I could not discern. That there was a fire, however, and a
dreadful one, was but too certain, from accounts brought into the town
both by travellers and the inhabitants; so with the natural curiosity
which draws us on and on upon much less occasions, especially on a road, I
pushed forward, and soon had pretty clear indications of a terrible fire
indeed. I began to consider what the King might think of it, and whether
he would not desire to have his active servants about him. At Morden the
light was so strong, that it was difficult to persuade one's-self the fire
was not much nearer; and at Tooting you would have sworn it was at the
next village. The night was, nevertheless, a very fine one, with a
brilliant moon. Not a soul seemed in bed in the villages, though it
was ten o'clock. There was a talk of the French, as if they had caused it.
By degrees, I began to meet carts laden with goods; and on entering the
borders of Southwark, the expectation of the scene was rendered truly
awful, there was such a number of people abroad, yet such a gazing silence.
Now and then one person called to another; but the sound seemed as if in
bravado, or brutish. An old man, in a meeting of cross-roads, was
haranguing the people in the style of former years, telling them of God's
judgments, and asserting that this was the pouring out of that other vial
of wrath, which had been typified by the Fiery Sword,--a spectacle
supposed to have been seen in the sky at the close of the year sixty-four.
The plague was thought to have been announced by a comet.
"Very different from this quieter scene, was the one that presented itself,
on my getting through the last street, and reaching the water-side. The
comet itself seemed to have come to earth, and to be burning and waving in
one's face, the whole city being its countenance, and its hair flowing
towards Whitehall in a volume of fiery smoke. The river was of a bloodish
colour like the flame, and the sky over head was like the top of a
pandemonium. From the Tower to St. Paul's there was one mass of fire and
devastation, the heat striking in your eyes, and the air being filled with
burning sparkles, and with the cries of people flying, or removing goods
on the river. Ever and anon distant houses fell in, with a sort of
gigantic shuffling noise, very terrible. I saw a steeple give way, like
some ghastly idol, its long white head toppling, and going sideways, as if
it were drunk. A poor girl near me, who paced a few yards up and down,
holding her sides as if with agony, turned and hid her eyes at this
spectacle, crying out, 'Oh, the poor people! oh the mothers and babies!'
She was one of the lowest of an unfortunate class of females. She thought,
as I did, that there must be a dreadful loss of lives; but it was the most
miraculous circumstance of that miraculous time, that the fire killed
nobody, except some women and infirm persons with fright.
"I took boat, and got to Whitehall, where I found the King in a more
serious and stirring humour than ever I saw him. Mr. Pepys, begging God to
forgive him for having an appetite at such a crisis, and interrupting his
laughter at the supper they gave him, with tears of pity and terror, had
brought word to his Majesty that the whole city would be destroyed, if
some of the houses were not blown up. The King accordingly not only
dispatched myself and many others to assist, but went in person with his
brother, and did a world of good. I never saw him look so grim, or say so
many kind things. Wherever he went, he gave the people a new life, for
they seemed dead with fright. Those who had not fled, (which they did by
thousands into the fields where they slept all night,) seemed only to have
been prevented from doing so, by not knowing what steps to take. The Lord
Mayor, a very different one from his predecessor, who showed a great deal
of courage during the plague, went about like a mad cook with his
handkerchief, perspiring, and lamenting himself; and nobody would have
taken the citizens for the same men who settled my court friends at the
battle of Naseby. The court, however, for that matter, was as frightened
as the city, with the exception of the King and one or two others; so
terrible is a new face of danger, unless there is some peculiar reason for
meeting it. The sight indeed of the interior of the burning city, was more
perilous, though not so awful, as its appearance outside. Many streets
consisted of nothing but avenues between heaps of roaring ruins; the sound
of the fire being nothing less than that of hundreds of furnaces, mixed up
with splittings, rattlings, and thunderous falls; and the flame blowing
frightfully one way, with a wind like a tempest. The pavement was hot
under one's feet; and if you did not proceed with caution, the fire singed
your hair. All the water that could be got seemed like a ridiculous
dabbling in a basin, while the world was burning around you. The blowing
up of the houses marked out by the King, was the ultimate salvation of
some of the streets that remained; but as a whole, the city might be
looked upon as destroyed. I observed the King, as he sat on his horse at
the beginning of Cheapside, and cast his eyes up that noble thoroughfare;
and certainly I had never seen such an expression in his countenance
"The fire raged four days and nights; and on the fifth of September,
London, from the Tower to Fleet-street, was as if a volcano had burst in
the midst of it, and destroyed it, the very ruins being calcined, and
nothing remaining in the most populous part, to show the inhabitants where
they had lived, except a church here and there, or an old statue. I looked
into it, three days afterwards, when the air was still so hot, that it was
impossible to breathe; and the pavement absolutely scorched the soles of
"The loss of property by the fire was of course far greater than that by
the plague, and yet assuredly it was not felt a thousandth part so much,
even in the city; for money, even with the lovers of it, is not so great a
thing, after all, as their old habits and affections. The wits at court
never chose to say much about the plague; but the fire, after the fright
was over, was a standing joke. And the beneficial consequences to the city
itself soon became manifest, in the widening and better building of the
streets, an improvement which came in aid of the cleanliness that was
resorted to against the plague; so that instead of a judgment against the
King and his government, Rochester said, in his profane way, that heaven
never showed a judgment of a better sort."
We need scarcely add our commendation of these delightful volumes. Each
page teems with life, and everywhere to use an expression of the writer,
his "soul rises with springy freshness." The portraits, and to use a
familiar term of artists, the bits of painting, have the touches of a
master-hand, and they are interwoven with genius which enlivens art and
 At or near Mickleham, by the way, the writer might have commanded a
distant view of the burning City. On a fine, clear day we have often
discerned the dome of St. Paul's from one of the hills rising from
Mickleham to Norbury Park.
 Evelyn, speaking of this night, says, that it was "light as day for
about ten miles round about, after a dreadful manner."--_Memoirs_, vol.
i. p. 391. second edit 4to. Sir Ralph does not seem to make the light
so strong, though he does not absolutely say it was otherwise. Perhaps
Evelyn speaks of a later hour. The flames appear to have become
visible afterwards to the distance of forty miles.--_Edit._
* * * * *
AN ODD STORY.
About 150 years since, there was in France one Captain Coney, a gallant
gentleman of ancient extraction, and Governor of Coney Castle. He fell in
love with a young gentlewoman and courted her for his wife. There was
reciprocal love between them, but her parents, understanding it, by way of
prevention, shuffled up a forced match between her and one Mr. Fayel, who
was heir to a great estate. Hereupon Captain Coney quitted France in
discontent, and went to the wars in Hungary against the Turks, where he
received a mortal wound, near Buda. Being carried to his quarters he
languished four days, but a little before his death, he spoke to an old
servant, of whose fidelity and truth he had ample experience, and told him
he had a great business to trust him with, which he conjured him to
perform; that after his death he should cause his body to be opened, take
out his heart, put it in an earthen pot, and bake it to a powder, then put
the powder into a handsome box, with the bracelet of hair he had long worn
about his left wrist, (which was a lock of Madame Fayel's hair,) and put
it amongst the powder with a little note he had written to her with his
own blood, and after he had given him the rites of burial, to make all
speed to France and deliver the box to Madame Fayel. The old servant did
as his master had commanded him, and so went to France; and coming one day
to Monsieur Fayel's house, he suddenly met him with one of his servants,
who knowing him to be Captain Coney's servant, examined him; and finding
him timorous, and to falter in his speech, he searched him, and found the
said box in his pocket, with the note which expressed what it contained;
then he dismissed the bearer, with injunction that he should come no more
thither. Monsieur Fayel, going in, sent for his cook, and delivered him
the powder, charging him to make a well relished dish of it, without
losing a jot, for it was a very costly thing, and enjoined him to bring it
in himself, after the last course at supper. The cook bringing in his dish
accordingly, Monsieur Fayel commanded all to leave the room, and began a
serious discourse with his wife. That ever since he had married her, he
observed she was always melancholy, and he feared she was inclining to
consumption, wherefore he had provided a very precious cordial, which he
was well assured would cure her, and for that reason obliged her to eat up
the whole dish: she afterwards much importuned him to know what it was,
when he told her she had eaten Coney's heart, and drew the box out of his
pocket, and showed her the note and the bracelet. After a sudden shout of
joy, she with a deep-fetched sigh said, "This is a precious cordial
indeed," and so licked the dish, adding, "it is so precious that it is a
pity ever to eat anything after it." She then went to bed, where in the
morning she was found dead.
* * * * *
_A Singing Paganini_.--In the year 1760, La Paganini, an admirable singer
and actress, came to London from Berlin. Her reputation was so great, that
when she had her benefit at the Opera, such a crowd assembled as was never
before witnessed on a like occasion, not one third of the company that
presented themselves at the Opera House doors being able to obtain
admission. Caps were lost, and gowns torn to pieces, without number or
mercy, in the struggle to get in. Ladies in full dress, who had sent away
their servants and carriages were obliged to appear in the streets, and
walk home in great numbers without caps or attendants. Luckily the weather
was fine, and did not add to their distress by rain or wind, though their
confusion was greatly augmented by its being broad daylight, and the
streets full of spectators, who (says her biographer) could neither
refrain from looking nor laughing at such splendid and uncommon
* * * * *
The old Teutonic word _rick_ is still preserved in the termination of our
English _bishoprick_. Stubbs, in his libel, _The Discovery of a Gaping
Gulf_, &c. imprinted 1579, says, "The queen has the _kingrick_ in her own
power."--Notes to Pennie's _Britain's Historical Drama_.
* * * * *
"I love a friend that's frank and just,
To whom a tale I can entrust,
But when a man's to slander given,
From such a friend protect me heaven."
* * * * *
_Sea Coal_.--In the reign of Edward the First, dyers and brewers began to
use sea coal. In consequence of an application from the nobility, &c. he
published a proclamation against it, as a public nuisance. And afterwards,
under a commission of Oyer and Terminer, the commission ordered that all
who had "contumaceously" disobeyed the proclamation, should be punished by
"pecuniary mulcts." P.T.W.
* * * * *
_Witty Optics_.--A Jew went into a coffee-house to offer some spectacles
for sale: one of the company, after trying several pairs, wishing to amuse
himself at the Jew's expense, exclaimed, "Oh, these suit me very well; I
see through them very well, and through you too, friend, and discern that
you are a rogue." The Jew taking them from him and clapping them on his
own nose, very composedly replied, "then our eyes are alike, for I see
that you are the same."
* * * * *
_Cromwell's Fun_.--Before the trial of Charles I., the chiefs of the
Republican party and the general officers met to concert the model of the
intended new government. One day, after the debates on this most
interesting and important subject, Ludlow informs us, that Cromwell, by
way of frolic, threw a cushion at his head, and even in the high court of
justice, in that solemn moment when he took the pen to sign the warrant
for the unhappy monarch's execution, he could not forbear the levity of
daubing the face of his neighbour with the ink. G.M.
* * * * *
The Conclusion of "Brighton in 1743," in our
* * * * *
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