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A Walk from London to Fulham
by Thomas Crofton Croker
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Joshua Sylvester, who was born in 1563 or 1564, and died in 1618, thus describes the village of North End, Fulham, where his uncle Plumbe resided, and he (Sylvester) formed the attachment which is the subject of his poem:—

I was wont (for my disport) Often in the summer season, To a Village to resort Famous for the rathe ripe peason, Where beneath a Plumb-tree shade Many pleasant walks I made.

And Norden, whom we consider as the father of English topography, dates the address "to all courteous gentlemen," prefixed to his account of Middlesex and Hertfordshire, from his "poore home, near Fulham, 4th November, 1596."

Here, then, we have a mass of facts, which render it impossible for us to doubt that the Golden Lion, Fulham, must have been, according to the custom of the times, frequented by Florio and his brother-in-law Daniel; by Fletcher; by Henry Condell, Shakespeare's fellow-player; by some one of the name of Burbadge; by Joshua Sylvester, and John Norden, about the years 1595 and 1596. Is there not, then, every reasonable presumption that our immortal Shakespeare was also a member of this clique?

[Picture: Fireplaces in the old Golden Lion]

On the pulling down of the Old Inn by Mr. Powell, the panelling was purchased by Mr. Street, of Brewer Street, and was afterwards sold to Lord Ellenborough, for the fitting up of his Lordship's residence, Southam House, Cheltenham.

Fulham High Street, which extends from the London Road to Church Row, appears to have been denominated Bear Street, and is called in the more ancient parish books Fulham Street. The direct approach to Fulham Church is by Church Row, which branches off to the right of the High Street. On the left of the churchyard entrance is the Vicarage. The present vicar is the Rev. R. G. Baker. Opposite the vicarage is a piece of ground, which was consecrated in 1843 by Bishop Blomfield, who is buried there. Upon this recent addition to the burial-ground formerly stood Miss Batsford's seminary for young gentlemen. There are several curious old monuments in the church, which have been described and engraved by Faulkner, to whose work the curious reader may be referred. In the churchyard are the tombs and monuments of several of the old bishops of London—Compton, Robinson, Hayter, Gibson, Terrick, Lowth, Sherlock, and Randolph.

The grave of that distinguished author and brilliant wit, Theodore Hook, is immediately opposite the chancel window. The stone bears the plain inscription "Theodore Edward Hook, died 24th August, 1841, in the fifty-third year of his age."

[Picture: Old entrance to Pryor's Bank, 1844] {188b}

Leaving the church by the other entrance, we are in Church Lane. The first house opposite the gate of the churchyard is Pryor's Bank, to which a separate chapter of our little volume is devoted, so that we can pass on immediately to the next house, Thames Bank, the present residence of Mr. Baylis, whose well-known taste will no doubt soon change its present aspect. Granville Sharp's {188a} House stood opposite. It was pulled down about twenty-five years ago. John's Place (erected 1844) is on the site.

Next to Thames Bank, formerly stood Egmont Villa, the residence of Theodore Hook, and the house in which he died, now pulled down, the back of which, is shown in the annexed sketch. This house, though of the smallest dimensions, was fitted up with much good taste. [Picture: Back of Egmont Villa] There was a small boudoir on the side of the drawing-room, which was very rich in articles of virtu, more especially in some remarkably fine carvings, attributed to Cellini, Brustolini, and others. These were left to Hook by his brother, the late Dean of Worcester. As an improvisatore, Hook was unapproachable. In regard to his literary merits, let the following suffice, taken from the late Mr. Barham's life of Hook, published in 1848:—

"There can be no need," says the Editor, "at this day to enter upon any lengthened criticism of Theodore Hook's merits as a novelist; they have been discussed over and over again, with little variety of opinion, by every reviewer of the kingdom. Indeed, both his faults and his excellencies lie on the surface, and are obvious and patent to the most superficial reader; his fables, for the most part ill knit and insufficient, disappoint as they are unfolded; repetitions and omissions are frequent: in short, a general want of care and finish is observable throughout, which must be attributed to the hurry in which he was compelled to write, arising from the multiplicity and distracting nature of his engagements. His tendency to caricature was innate; but even this would probably have been in a great measure repressed, had he allowed himself sufficient time for correction: while, on the contrary, in detached scenes, which sprang up as pictures in his mind, replete with comic circumstance, in brilliant dialogue and portraiture of character, not to mention those flashes of sound wisdom with which ever and anon his pages are lighted up, his wit and genius had fair play, revelling and rioting in fun, and achieving on the spur of the moment those lasting triumphs which cast into the shade the minor and mechanical blemishes to which we have adverted."

Hook was a successful dramatist, and an extensive journalist. Of his novels, 'Gilbert Gurney' may be considered to be the most remarkable.

Hook's furniture was sold by George Robins, in September, 1841. In 1855 the aqueduct was erected by the Chelsea Water Works Company, for conveying the water from Kingston-upon-Thames to the metropolis, and it was necessary that the contractor, Mr. Brotherhood, should get possession of Egmont Villa, to enable them to erect the tower on the Fulham side. Here the piles and timbers of the old Bishop's Ferry, used for the conveyance of passengers across the river from Putney to Fulham, before the old bridge was built, were discovered. It was subsequently considered desirable to pull the villa down; and there now remains no trace of the house in which Hook lived and died, and which stood within a few paces of his grave. Bowack mentions that Robert Limpany, Esq., "whose estate was so considerable in the parish that he was commonly called the Lord of Fulham," resided in a neat house in Church Lane. He died at the age of ninety-four. Beyond the Pryor's Bank on the right, is the Bishop's Walk, which runs along the side of the Thames for some little distance, and from hence a view of the Bishop's Palace is obtained. This palace has been from a very early period the summer residence of the Bishops of London. The land consists of about 37 acres, and the whole is surrounded by a moat, over which are two bridges.

Following the course of the Bishop's Walk, we come to the road leading to Craven Cottage, originally built by the Margravine of Anspach, when Countess of Craven, and since altered and improved by Walsh Porter, who occasionally resided in it till his death in 1809. Craven Cottage was considered the prettiest specimen of cottage architecture then existing. The three principal reception-rooms were equally remarkable for their structure, as well as their furniture. The centre, or principal saloon, supported by large palm-trees of considerable size, exceedingly well executed, with their drooping foliage at the top, supporting the cornice and architraves of the room. The other decorations were in corresponding taste. The furniture comprised a lion's skin for a hearth-rug, for a sofa the back of a tiger, the supports of the tables in most instances were four twisted serpents or hydras: in fact, the whole of the decorations of the room were of a character perfectly unique and uniform in their style. This room led to a large Gothic dining-room of very considerable dimensions, and on the front of the former apartment was a very large oval rustic balcony, opposed to which was a large, half-circular library, that became more celebrated afterwards as the room in which the highly-gifted and talented author of 'Pelham' wrote some of his most celebrated works.

Craven Cottage was the residence of the Right Hon. Sir E. Bulwer-Lytton, from whom it passed to Mr. Baylis, now of Thames Bank, who parted with it to Sir Ralph Howard, its present occupant, who removed the door shown in the annexed cut, through which the library is seen.

[Picture: Door of Egyptian Hall at Craven Cottage]

Returning to Church Lane, we come out at the bridge, built in 1729, and close to which is Willow Bank, the late residence of Mr. Delafield and General Conyers. The Ferry belonged to the See of London, and it was necessary that the consent of the Bishops should be had, for the erection of the bridge and consequent destruction of their Ferry; it was, therefore, stipulated for the right of themselves, their families, and all their dependents, that they should pass over the bridge toll free, which right exists at the present time; and passengers are often very much astonished at hearing the exclamation of "Bishop!" shouted out by the stentorian lungs of bricklayers, carpenters, or others, who may be going to the palace, that being the pass-word for the privilege of going over. The architect of the bridge was the eminent surgeon, W. Cheselden, who died in 1752, and is buried in the graveyard attached to Chelsea Hospital. His tomb is close to the railings of the new road, leading from Sloane Street to the Suspension Bridge at Chelsea. Cheselden was for many years, surgeon of Chelsea Hospital.

[Picture: The Swan Tavern]

Standing by the Ferry is the Swan Tavern, a characteristic old house, with a garden attached, looking on to the river, and scarcely altered in any of its features since Chatelaine published his views of "The most agreeable Prospects near London," about 1740. It is a good specimen of a waterside inn, and appears to have been erected about the time of William III.

At the foot of the bridge is 'The Eight Bells' public-house, where the Fulham omnibuses leave for London.

[Picture: Approach to Putney Bridge]

Bridge Street brings us to the point at which we turned off at the termination of the High Street, and on the right-hand side as we look towards London is Church Street (formerly Windsor Street, according to Faulkner), leading up to the Ship Tavern, and thence into the King's Road.

The Charity School is in Church Street. This building was erected in 1811.

Retracing our steps towards London, we come to the George at Walham Green, which turns off to the left. The church stands on the right hand side. Opposite Walham House, near the church, is North End Lodge, the residence of the late Mr. Albert Smith, and where he died on the 23rd May, 1860. As novelist, dramatist, and lecturer, he had achieved considerable reputation; and his unexpected death, at the early age of forty-four, brought to a sudden close the most popular monologue entertainment of this, or of any, time. Mr. Smith was an amusing writer and a most genial companion, and was ever ready to assist a professional brother in the hour of need. Against the brick wall, close to the gate of North End Lodge, is a slab with the inscription "From Hyde Park Corner, 3 miles 17 yards." We are now in North End, where there are many houses of interest which deserve attention; we will therefore go out of the direct road and return to London by way of North End.



CHAPTER VI.

NORTH END.

NORTH END may be described as a series of residences on each side the lane, more than a mile in length, which runs from the church at Walham Green to the main road from Kensington to Hammersmith. There were but few houses in it when Faulkner published his map in 1813. Market gardens were on both sides the road, and the gardeners cottagers were very old. [Picture: Panelled Door] The panelled door, here represented, was fitted to one of them, and evidently was fashioned in the seventeenth century. The celebrated bookseller, Jacob Tonson, lived for some time at North End. At York Cottage, which is on the right hand side of the road, about a quarter of a mile from the church, resided for many years Mr. J. B. Pyne, the landscape painter. At a short distance beyond, the road from Old Brompton crosses into Fulham Fields. Here, at one corner, is a house (Hermitage Lodge) which was originally constructed as stables to the residence of Foote, the dramatist and comedian, {196} which still stands on the opposite side of the road leading to Brompton, and where he lived for many years, expending large sums upon its improvement. It is now called "The Hermitage," and is completely surrounded by a large garden enclosed by high walls.

[Picture: Hermitage Lodge (1844) and The Hermitage]

Exactly opposite to this house, in the angle of the road, stands an old house in a moderate-sized garden (Cambridge Lodge). Francis Bartolozzi, the celebrated engraver, who arrived in England in 1764, came to reside here in 1777. He was born at Florence in 1730, and died at Lisbon in 1813. His son, Gaetano Bartolozzi, father to the late Madame Vestris, was born in 1757, and died August 25th, 1813. Passing up the road, beside market gardens, is the old garden wall of Normand House, with some curious brick gates (now closed in): the house is very old; the date, 1661, is in the centre arch, over the principal gateway, and it is said to have been used as a hospital for persons recovering from the Great Plague in 1665. [Picture: Bartolozzi's House] Sir E. Bulwer Lytton has resided here. In 1813 "it was appropriated for the reception of insane ladies" (Faulkner), and it is now a lunatic asylum for ladies, with the name of "Talfourd" on a brass plate. A little further on the road, out of which we have turned, is a cottage to the right named Wentworth Cottage. Here Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall once resided. The willow in front of the cottage was planted by them from a slip of that over the grave of Napoleon at St. Helena. The land opposite this cottage is now to be let on building lease. This district, now known as "Fulham Fields," was formerly called "No Man's Land," and according to Faulkner, the local historian, contained, in 1813, "about six houses." One of these was "an ancient house, once the residence of the family of Plumbe," which was pulled down about twenty-three years ago, and replaced by a cluster of dwellings for the labourers in the surrounding market gardens, which extend from Walham Green nearly to the Thames in a north-west direction; "the North End Road," as it is called, forming the eastern boundary of "Fulham Fields." To establish the connection of Sylvester's lines, quoted in the late Mr. Crofton Croker's Paper on the "Golden Lion," with this locality, the antiquary who pointed it out observed that—

"Our poet had an uncle named William Plumbe, who resided at North End, Fulham, having married the widow of John Gresham, the second son of Sir John Gresham, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1547, and which lady was the only daughter and heir of Edward Dormer of Fulham. Here it was, while visiting his uncle, that Sylvester formed the attachment which is the subject of his poem (see the folio edition of his works, 1621). Uncle Plumbe had been a widower; and from monuments which exist, or existed, in the parish church of Fulham, appears to have departed this life on the 9th February, 1593-4, aged sixty. In the previous May, his widow had lost her son Edmund (or Edward) Gresham, at the age of sixteen; and seriously touched by the rapid proofs of mortality within her house, from which the hand of death had within twelve months removed both a husband and a child, made preparations for her own demise by recording her intention to repose beside their remains: and to her husband's memory she raised, in Fulham Church, a monument 'of alabaster, inlaid and ornamented with various-coloured marble,' leaving a space after her name for the insertion of the date of her death and age, which appear never to have been supplied."

The arms of "Dormer, impaled with Gresham," we are told remain, "those of Plumbe are gone." Sylvester's "Triumph of Faith" is consecrated "to the grateful memory of the first kind fosterer of our tender Muses, by my never sufficiently honoured dear uncle, W. Plumb, Esq." It is not our intention to linger over the recollections connected with the age of Elizabeth in Fulham Fields or at North End, although there can be no doubt that a little research might bring some curious local particulars to light connected with the history of the literature, the drama, and the fine arts of that period,

The gardens here provide the London markets with a large supply of vegetables. A very primitive form of draw-well was common here, consisting of a pole, balanced horizontally on an upright, the bucket being affixed to a rope at one end. [Picture: Draw-well] The pole is pulled downward for the bucket to descend the well, and when filled, is raised by the weight of wood attached to the opposite end of the pole. This mode of raising water is still in use in the East, and Wilkinson, in his 'Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians,' Series I. vol. ii. p. 4, has engraved representations of this machine, from paintings on the walls of Thebes, of the time of the Pharaohs. [Picture: Cottage in Fulham Fields] In "Fulham Fields" are still standing many old cottages, inhabited by market-gardeners. A sketch, taken in 1844, of one of the best examples then existing, is here given as a specimen.

A little beyond "Wentworth Cottage," the road branches off, the turning to the right going to Hammersmith, and that to the left leading to Fulham. Hammersmith was a part of Fulham until 1834, when it was formed into a separate parish by Act of Parliament.

[Picture: Elm House] Returning to the lane at North End, immediately beyond Bartolozzi's house, is an old wall, apparently of the time of Charles II., enclosing a tall peculiar-looking house, now called Elm House, once the residence of Cheeseman the engraver, of whom little is known, except that he was a pupil of Bartolozzi, and lived in Newman Street about thirty years ago. He is said to have been very fond of music, and having a small independence and less ambition, he was content to engrave but little, and with his violoncello and musical friends, passed a very happy life.

A little further on the opposite side of the road stood Walnut-Tree Cottage (pulled down in 1846), once the residence of Edmund Kean, and also of Copley the artist, which took its name from the tree in the fore-court. [Picture: Walnut-Tree Cottage] We then come to the North End Sunday and Day Schools, erected in 1857. The road here curves round by the wall of Kensington Hall, a large mansion on the right, built by Slater, the well-known butcher of Kensington, and it has been called in consequence Slater's Mansion. It is at present a school, kept by Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, but it is to be let or sold.

A little further to the left is Deadman's Lane. Here, in the midst of garden grounds, stands a venerable and isolated fabric, which would appear to have been built in the reign of James I. This lane leads to Hammersmith, but a more agreeable way has been made opposite Edith Villas, called Edith Road. The land is to be let on building lease; and here once stood the house of Cipriani, the painter. [Picture: Cipriani's House] Cipriani was born at Florence, in 1727, and died in London in 1785. He came to England in 1755; and he was one of the members of the Royal Academy at its foundation in 1769, when he was employed to make the design for the diploma given to Academicians and Associates on their admission, which was engraved by Bartolozzi. The character and works of this artist are thus described by Fuseli: "The fertility of his invention, the graces of his composition, and the seductive elegance of his forms, were only surpassed by the probity of his character, the simplicity of his manners, and the benevolence of his heart." A few plates were engraved by himself after his own designs.

Another curve of the road brings us to the site of Dr. Crotch's house, where a row of houses, called Grove Cottages, have been built. [Picture: Dr. Crotch's House] Dr. Crotch was, in 1797, at the early age of twenty-two, appointed Professor of Music in the University of Oxford, where he received the degree of Doctor of Music. In 1822 he was appointed Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. He performed for the last time in public in 1834 in Westminster Abbey, during the royal festival, and died 20th December, 1847, while sitting at dinner. Dr. Crotch has composed numerous pieces for the organ and pianoforte, and published, in 1812, 'Elements of Musical Composition and Thorough Bass,' and subsequently specimens of various styles of music of all ages. W. Wynne Ryland, the engraver, lived in this house before Dr. Crotch inhabited it.

Opposite where Dr. Crotch's house formerly stood, facing a turning which is called on one side Lawn Terrace, on the other Ashton Terrace, is a large brick mansion inhabited by Richardson the novelist before his removal to Parson's Green. It is of the period of William III., the appearance of which may be recognized from the annexed sketch. In the garden was a summer-house, in which the novelist wrote before the family were up, and he afterwards, at the breakfast table, communicated the progress of his story. [Picture: House of Richardson] How little the exterior has been altered in the last fifty years, a comparison of this sketch, made in 1844, with the print prefixed to the 4th volume of Richardson's 'Correspondence,' will show at a glance. Sir Richard Phillips's print was published by him May 26, 1804. Then, as now, this mansion was divided into two houses, and the half nearest to the eye was that occupied by the novelist, the other half was the residence of a Mr. Vanderplank, a name which frequently occurs in 'Richardson's Correspondence.' Richardson's house has been subsequently inhabited by the late Sir William and Lady Boothby, the latter, better known to the public as that charming actress Mrs. Nisbett. A few extracts from 'Richardson's Correspondence' may here prove interesting.

One of the most romantic incidents in the business-like and hospitable life of Richardson, was his correspondence with, and introduction to Lady Bradshaigh, the wife of a Lancashire Baronet, whom he tried to prevail upon to visit him at North End. After the appearance of the fourth volume of Clarissa Harlowe, a lady, who signed herself Belfour, wrote to Richardson, stating a report that prevailed, that the history of Clarissa was to terminate in a most tragical manner, and requesting that her entreaties may avert so dreadful a catastrophe.

This correspondence with Mrs. Belfour commenced in October, 1748; and she thus concludes her letter to the novelist, her ladyship taking care to mystify her identity by giving her address, Post-office, Exeter, although resident at Haigh in Lancashire. "If you disappoint me," she writes, "attend to my curse."

"May the hatred of all the young, beautiful, and virtuous for ever be your portion, and may your eyes never behold anything but age and deformity! May you meet with applause only from envious old maids, surly bachelors, and tyrannical parents; may you be doomed to the company of such! and after death may their ugly souls haunt you!

"Now make Lovelace and Clarissa unhappy if you dare!

"Perhaps you may think all this proceeds from a giddy girl of sixteen; but know I am past my romantic time of life, though young enough to wish two lovers happy in a married state. As I myself am in that class, it makes me still more anxious for the lovely pair. I have a common understanding, and middling judgment, for one of my sex, which I tell you for fear you should not find it out."

The correspondence thus commenced goes on, until the vanity of Richardson induces him to describe to his unknown correspondent his private circumstances: and to a hint given in the January following by Lady Bradshaigh, of her intention to visit London before she is a year older, when she "shall long to see" Mr. Richardson, and "perhaps may contrive that, though unknown to him," he replies,—

"But do not, my dear correspondent (still let me call you so) say, that you will see me, unknown to myself, when you come to town. Permit me to hope, that you will not be personally a stranger to me then."

This is followed by an acknowledgment from Madame Belfour, that she is not his "Devonshire lady," having but very little knowledge of the place, though she has a friend there; observing archly, "Lancashire, if you please;" adding an invitation, if he is inclined to take a journey of two hundred miles, with the promise of "a most friendly reception from two persons, who have great reason to esteem" him "a very valuable acquaintance."

Richardson responded to this invitation by another—

"But I will readily come into any proposal you shall make, to answer the purpose of your question; and if you will be so cruel as to keep yourself still incognito, will acquiesce. I wish you would accept of our invitation on your coming to town. But three little miles from Hyde Park Corner. I keep no vehicle."

(This was before the age of omnibuses.)

—"but one should be at yours, and at your dear man's command, as long as you should both honour us with your presence. You shall be only the sister, the cousin, the niece—the what you please of my incognito, and I will never address you as other than what you choose to pass for. If you knew, Madam, you would not question that I am in earnest on this occasion; the less question it, as that at my little habitation near Hammersmith, I have common conveniences, though not splendid ones, to make my offer good."

Richardson, in the letter from which this passage has been extracted, is again led away by his vanity into a description of his person, and very plainly hints at a meeting in the Park, through which he goes "once or twice a week to" his "little retirement." He describes himself as

"Short, rather plump than emaciated, about five foot five inches; fair wig; lightish cloth coat, all black besides; one hand generally in his bosom, the other a cane in it, which he leans upon under the skirts of his coat usually, that it may imperceptibly serve him as a support, when attacked by sudden tremors or startings and dizziness." . . . "Of a light-brown complexion; teeth not yet failing him; smoothish faced and ruddy cheeked; at some times looking to be about sixty-five, at other times much younger; a regular even pace, stealing away ground, rather than seeming to get rid of it; a grey eye, too often overclouded by mistiness from the head; by chance lively—very lively it will be if he have hope of seeing a lady whom he loves and honours; his eye always on the ladies"—and so on.

In return to this description, Lady Bradshaigh on the 16th December, 1749, half promises a meeting in an appointed place, for she tells the elderly gentleman with "a grey eye, too often overclouded by mistiness from the head," but "by chance lively," "that she will attend the Park every fine warm day, between the hours of one and two. I do not," adds this perfect specimen of a literary coquette,

"Say this to put you in the least out of your way, or make you stay a moment longer than your business requires; for a walk in the Park is an excuse she uses for her health; and as she designs staying some months in town, if she misses you one day she may have luck another."

And Lady Bradshaigh proceeds to present, as if in ridicule of Richardson's portrait as drawn by himself, her own.

"In surprise or eagerness she is apt to think aloud; and since you have a mind to see her, who has seen the King, I give you the advantage of knowing she is middle aged, middle sized, a degree above plump, brown as an oak wainscot, a good deal of country red in her cheeks: altogether a plain woman, but nothing remarkably forbidding."

Any one might think that a meeting would immediately have followed these communications, and that the novel-writer and the novel-reader would have presented themselves to each other's gaze for admiration, at the time and place appointed, and thus the affair which their letters have left upon record might have been satisfactorily wound up in one volume. But this did not accord with the sentimental typographical taste of the times, which required the dilution of an idea into seven or eight volumes to make it palatable. For we are told that a young Cantab, who, when asked if he had read Clarissa, replied, "D—-n it, I would not read it through to save my life," was set down as an incurable dunce. And that a lady reading to her maid, whilst she curled her hair, the seventh volume of Clarissa, the poor girl let fall such a shower of tears that they wetted her mistress's head so much, she had to send her out of the room to compose herself. Upon the maid being asked the cause of her grief, she said, "Oh, madam, to see such goodness and innocence in such distress," and her lady rewarded her with a crown for the answer.

January the 9th (1749-50) has arrived—the tantalizing Lady Bradshaigh, the unknown Mrs. Belfour has been in London six weeks, and the novelist begins "not to know what to think" of his fair correspondent's wish to see him. "May be so," he writes,

"But with such a desire to be in town three weeks; on the 16th December to be in sight of my dwelling, and three weeks more to elapse, yet I neither to see or hear of the lady; it cannot be that she has so strong a desire."

Let any one imagine the ridiculousness of the situation of "dear, good, excellent Mr. Richardson" at this time. He had, he confesses,

"Such a desire to see one who had seen the King, that" (he speaking of himself, says) "though prevented by indisposition from going to my little retirement on the Saturday, that I had the pleasure of your letter, I went into the Park on Sunday (it being a very fine day) in hopes of seeing such a lady as you describe, contenting myself with dining as I walked, on a sea biscuit which I had put in my pocket, my family at home, all the time, knowing not what was become of me.—A Quixotte!

"Last Saturday, being a fine warm day, in my way to North End, I walked backwards and forwards in the Mall, till past your friend's time of being there (she preparing, possibly, for the Court, being Twelfth Night!) and I again was disappointed."

On the 28th January, nineteen days after this was written, Lady Bradshaigh, in a letter full of satirical banter, which, however, it may be questionable if Richardson did not receive as replete with the highest compliments to his genius, says,

"Indeed, Sir, I resolved, if ever I came to town, to find out your haunts, if possible, and I have not 'said anything that is not,' nor am at all naughty in this respect, for I give you my word, endeavours have not been wanting. You never go to public places. I knew not where to look for you (without making myself known) except in the Park, which place I have frequented most warm days. Once I fancied I met you; I gave a sort of a fluttering start, and surprised my company; but presently recollected you would not deceive me by appearing in a grey, instead of a whitish coat; besides the cane was wanting, otherwise I might have supposed you in mourning."

Could anything exceed this touch about "a grey, instead of a whitish coat," except the finishing one of the "mole upon your left cheek?"

"To be sure on the Saturday you mention, I was dressing for court, as you supposed, and have never been in the Park upon a Sunday; but you cannot be sure that I have not seen you. How came I to know that you have a mole upon your left cheek? But not to make myself appear more knowing than I am, I'll tell you, Sir, that I have only seen you in effigy, in company with your Clarissa at Mr. Highmore's, where I design making you another visit shortly."

All this and much more is followed by a most tantalizing and puzzling P.S. to poor Richardson. His fair, or rather "brown as an oak-wainscot, with a good deal-of-country-red in her cheeks" correspondent, requests him "to direct only to C. L., and enclose it to Miss J., to be left at Mrs. G.'s" etc. etc., previously observing that, "whenever there happens to be a fine Saturday I shall look for you in the Park, that being the day on which I suppose you are called that way."

Roused into desperation, Richardson on the 2nd February writes to Mrs. Belfour as follows:—

"What pains does my unkind correspondent take to conceal herself! Loveless thought himself at liberty to change names without Act of Parliament. I wish, madam, that Lovelace—'A sad dog,' said a certain lady once, 'why was he made so wicked, yet so agreeable?'

"Disappointed and chagrined as I was on Friday night with the return of my letter, directed to Miss J—-, rejected and refused to be taken in at Mrs. G—-'s, and with my servant's bringing me word that the little book I sent on Thursday night, with a note in it, was also rejected; and the porter (whom I have never since seen or heard of, nor of the book) dismissed with an assurance that he must be wrong; my servant being sent from one Mrs. G—- to another Mrs. G—- at Millbank; yet I resolved to try my fortune on Saturday in the Park in my way to North End. The day indeed, thought I, is not promising; but where so great an earnestness is professed, and the lady possibly by this time made acquainted with the disappointment she has given me, who knows but she will be carried in a chair to the Park, to make me amends, and there reveal herself? Three different chairs at different views saw I. My hope, therefore, not so very much out of the way; but in none of them the lady I wished to see. Up the Mall walked I, down the Mall, and up again, in my way to North End. O this dear Will-o'-wisp, thought I! when nearest, furthest off! Why should I, at this time of life? No bad story, the consecrated rose, say what she will: and all the spiteful things I could think of I muttered to myself. And how, Madam, can I banish them from my memory, when I see you so very careful to conceal yourself; when I see you so very apprehensive of my curiosity, and so very little confiding in my generosity? O Madam! you know me not! you will not know me!

"Yesterday, at North End, your billet, apologizing for the disappointment was given me. Lud! lud! what a giddy appearance! thought I. O that I had half the life, the spirit! of anything worth remembering I could make memorandums.

"Shall I say all I thought? I will not. But if these at last reach your hands, take them as written, as they were, by Friday night, and believe me to be,

"Madam, "Your admirer and humble Servant, "S. RICHARDSON."

Sir Walter Scott says, that "the power of Richardson's painting of his deeper scenes of tragedy has never been, and probably never will be, excelled;" and in Mrs. Inchbald's 'Life of Richardson,' we read, that "as a writer he possessed original genius, and an unlimited command over the tender passions." He carried on a foreign literary correspondence, and was on terms of intimacy with many eminent and literary persons of his time, particularly Dr. Young, Dr. Johnson, Aaron Hill, and Arthur Onslow, Esq., Speaker of the House of Commons.

A short distance further on, we enter the Hammersmith Road, opposite a tavern called "The Bell and Anchor," which stands beside the turnpike, and passing about twenty shops on the left towards Hammersmith, we notice in the fore-court of a house called "The Cedars," two noble cedar trees of immense girth, one of which is represented in the accompanying cut. This was formerly the residence of Sir James Branscomb, who, according to Faulkner, "in his early days had been a servant to the Earl of Gainsborough, and afterwards, for upwards of forty years, carried on a lottery office in Holborn. He was a common-councilman of the Ward of Farringdon Without, and received the honour of knighthood during his shrievalty." The house has been a ladies' boarding-school for many years. From the Kensington Road we can return direct to London, having in this chapter departed from our even course on the Fulham Road for the purpose of visiting the North End district.

[Picture: Tree in the fore-court of "The Cedars"]



CHAPTER VII.

THE PRYOR'S BANK, FULHAM.

Nestling in trees beneath the old tower of Fulham Church, which has been judiciously restored by Mr. George Godwin, there may be seen from Putney Bridge a remarkable group of houses, the most conspicuous of which will be conjectured from a passing glance to belong to the Gothic tribe. This house, which has been a pet kind of place of the Strawberry Hill class, is called the Pryor's Bank, and its history can be told in much less than one hundredth part of the space that a mere catalogue of the objects of interest which it has contained would occupy. In fact, the whole edifice, from the kitchen to the bedrooms, was a few years since a museum, arranged with a view to pictorial effect; and if it had been called "The Museum of British Antiquities" it would have been found worthy of the name.

In a print, published about forty years since, by J. Edington, 64 Gracechurch Street, of Fulham Church, as seen from the river, the ancient aspect of the modern Pryor's Bank is preserved. [Picture: Fulham Church] The situation of this humble residence having attracted the fancy of Mr. Walsh Porter, he purchased it, raised the building by an additional story, replaced its latticed casements by windows of coloured glass, and fitted the interior with grotesque embellishments and theatrical decorations. The entrance hall was called the robber's cave, for it was constructed of material made to look like large projecting rocks, with a winding staircase, and mysterious in-and-out passages. [Picture: Vine Cottage] One of the bed-rooms was called, not inaptly, the lion's den. The dining-room represented, on a small scale, the ruins of Tintern Abbey; and here Mr. Porter had frequently the honour of receiving and entertaining George IV., when Prince of Wales. It was then called Vine Cottage, {213} and having been disposed of by Mr. Porter, became, in 1813, the residence of Lady Hawarden; and, subsequently, of William Holmes, Esq., M.P., who sold it to Mr. Baylis and Mr. Lechmere Whitmore about 1834.

By them a luxurious vine which covered the exterior was cut down, and the cottage, named after it, replaced by a modern antique house. Mr. Baylis being a zealous antiquary, his good taste induced him to respect neglected things, when remarkable as works of art, and inspired him and his friend Mr. Whitmore with the wish to collect and preserve some of the many fine specimens of ancient manufacture that had found their way into this country from the Continent, as well as to rescue from destruction relics of Old England. In the monuments and carvings which had been removed from dilapidated churches, and in the furniture which had been turned out of the noble mansions of England—the "Halls" and "old Places"—Mr. Baylis saw the tangible records of the history of his country; and, desirous of upholding such memorials, he gleaned a rich harvest from the lumber of brokers' shops, and saved from oblivion articles illustrative of various tastes and periods, that were daily in the course of macadamisation or of being consumed for firewood.

The materials thus acquired were freely used by him in the construction of a new building upon the site of Vine Cottage, and adapted with considerable skill; but when neither the vine nor the cottage were in existence, it appeared to Mr. Baylis ridiculous to allow a misnomer to attach itself to the spot. After due deliberation, therefore, respecting the situation upon a delightful bank of gravel, and the association which an assemblage of ecclesiastic carvings and objects connected with "monkish memories," there collected, were likely to produce upon the mind, the new house was styled the "Pryor's Bank."

As Horace Walpole's villa was celebrated by the Earl of Bath, so the charms of the Pryor's Bank have been sung in "the last new ballad on the Fulham regatta"—a jeu d'esprit circulated at an entertainment given by the hospitable owners in 1843:—

"Strawberry Hill has pass'd away, Every house must have its day; So in antiquarian rank Up sprung here the Pryor's Bank, Full of glorious tapestry,— Full as well as house can be: And of carvings old and quaint, Relics of some mitr'd saint, 'Tis—I hate to be perfidious— 'Tis a house most sacrilegious.

"Glorious, glowing painted glass, What its beauty can surpass? Shrines bedeck'd with gems we see, Overhung by canopy Of embroider'd curtains rare— Wondrous works of time and care! Up stairs, down stairs, in the hall, There is something great or small To attract the curious eye Into it to rudely pry.

"Here some niche or cabinet Full of rarities is set; Here some picture—'precious bit'— There's no time to dwell on it; Bronzes, china—all present Each their own sweet blandishment. But what makes our pleasure here, Is our welcome and our cheer; So I'll not say one bit more,— Long live Baylis and Whitmore!"

I would endeavour to convey some idea of the Pryor's Bank and its now dispersed treasures as they were in 1840, in which year we will suppose the reader to accompany us through the house and grounds; but before entering the house, I would call attention to a quiet walk along the garden-terrace, laved to its verdant slope by the brimming Thames. [Picture: Terrace at Pryor's Bank] Suppose, then, we leave those beautiful climbing plants—they are Chilian creepers that so profusely wanton on the sunny wall—and turning sharply round an angle of the river front, cut at once, by the most direct walk, the parties who in luxurious idleness have assembled about the garden fountain; and, lest such folk should attempt to interrupt us in our sober purpose, let us not stop to see or admire anything, until we reach the bay-window summer-house at the end of the terrace. "How magnificent are those chestnut-trees!" I hear you exclaim; "and this old bay-window!"

Ay, this summer-house which shelters us, and those noble balusters which protect the northern termination of the terrace, how many thoughts do they conjure up in the mind! [Picture: Fountain at Pryor's Bank] These balusters belonged to the main staircase of Winchester House. Do you remember Winchester House in Broad Street, in the good city of London, the residence of "the loyal Paulets?" Perhaps not. There is, however, a print of its last appearance in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for April, 1839, and by which you will at once identify this summer-house as the bay-window of the principal apartment. Indeed the editor tells you that "the greater part of the remaining ornamental wood-work has been purchased by Thomas Baylis, Esq., F.S.A., who is fitting up with it the kitchen and some of the new rooms of his house, Pryor's Bank, Fulham."

It is stated in the same magazine, that in 1828 the motto of the Paulets, AYMES LOYAULTE, was to be seen in the windows of the principal apartment on the first floor, in yellow letters, disposed in diagonal stripes; which motto, it is added, "was probably put there by the loyal Marquis of Winchester, in the time of Charles I., by whom the same sentence was inscribed in every window of his residence at Basing House, in Hants, which he so gallantly defended against the Parliamentarians." {218}

Now, is it not more probable that the recollection of this motto in the windows of his paternal mansion, conveyed through the medium of coloured glass, indelibly stamped by sunshine (or daguerreotyped, as we might term it) upon the youthful mind of the gallant marquis those feelings of devoted loyalty which influenced his after conduct, and led him to inscribe with the point of his diamond ring the same motto upon the windows of Basing House? [Picture: Turn Buckle] Be this as it may, it is gratifying to know that many of the panes of glass which bore that glorious yellow letter motto in Winchester House, at the period when it was doomed to be taken down, are preserved, having been with good taste presented to the present Marquis of Winchester; and two or three which were overlooked have come into the possession of Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence. But much of the diamond-shaped glass in this bay-window, as it stood upon the terrace of the Pryor's Bank, was ancient, and very curious. You could not fail to remark the quaint window-latch, termed "a Turn Buckle."

Had we time to linger here, how amusing it might be to attempt to decipher the monograms, and names, and verses inscribed upon the various lozenge-shaped panes of glass, which practically exemplified the phrase of "diamond cut diamond."

The fragments of the old Royal Exchange, with a Burmese cross-legged idol perched thereon—the urn to the memory of "POOR BANQUO;" the green-house, with its billiard-table, and even an alcove, the most charming spot in "the wide world" to talk sentiment in, must not detain us from returning to another angle of the river front, after [Picture: Alcove: and Angle of the River Front] glancing at which, we enter the outer hall or passage, wainscoted with oak and lined above with arras, separated from the inner hall by an oak screen, which was usually guarded upon gala nights by most respectable "Beef-eaters," who required the production of invitation [Picture: Inner Hall with oak screen] cards from all visitors. They permit us to pass without question; and that is a very proper example for you to follow, and a good reason why you should not question me too closely:—

"Do you think that I Came here to be the Pryor's Bank directory?"

You must use your own eyes, and judge for yourself. I will tell you, however, all that I know as briefly as possible, and point out whatever occurs to me in our scamper, for a scamper it can only be termed: just such a kind of run as a person makes through London who has come up by railroad to see all its wonders in a week. But I cannot allow you to examine so closely that curiously carved oak chimney-piece in the inner hall, although I admit that it may be as early as Henry VIII.'s time, and those interesting old portraits. Where shall we begin? You wish to inspect everything. Suppose, then, we commence with the kitchen, and steam it up-stairs to the dormitories, going at the rate of a high-pressure engine.

You are already aware that the kitchen was panelled with oak from the drawing-room of Winchester House, and now you see the whole style of fitting-up accords with that of "bygone days." Look, for instance, towards the kitchen window, and you will find that the various cupboards, presses and dressers—even the cooking utensils—correspond; but, although modern improvements have not been lost sight of, antique forms have been retained. Let one example suffice, that of an ancient gridiron, of beautiful and elaborate workmanship.

[Picture: Kitchen Window: and Ancient Gridiron]

The history of the plates and dishes displayed in this kitchen would afford an opportunity for a dissertation on the rise and progress of the fine arts in this country, as they present most curious and important specimens of early drawing, painting, and poetry. The old English plate was a square piece of wood, which indeed is not quite obsolete at the present hour. The improvement upon this primitive plate was a circular platter, with a raised edge; but there were also thin, circular, flat plates of beech-wood in use for the dessert or confection, and they were gilt and painted upon one side, and inscribed with pious, or instructive, or amorous mottoes, suited to the taste of the society in which they were produced. Such circular plates are now well known to antiquaries under the name of "roundels," and were at one time generally supposed by them to have been used as cards for fortune-telling, or playing with at questions and answers. More sober research into their origin and use shows that they were painted and decorated with conventional patterns by nuns, who left blank spaces for the mottoes, to be supplied by the more learned monks; and a set of these roundels generally consisted of twelve. As specimens of the style of these mottoes about the time of Henry VII. or VIII. the following may be taken:—

"Wheresoever thou traveleste, Este, Weste, Northe, or Southe, Learne never to looke A geven horsse in the mouthe."

"In friends ther ys flattery, In men lyttell trust, Thoughe fayre they proffer They be offten unjuste."

There are many sets of verses for roundels extant in manuscript, and a few have been printed; indeed, it appears likely that to the love for this species of composition we owe Tusser's "Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry," and most of his other admonitory verses.

After the Reformation, coloured prints superseded the painted and manuscript "poesies" of the nuns and monks, and the elder De Passe, and other artists of the period of James I. and Charles I., produced a variety of oval and circular engravings, which were pasted upon roundels and varnished over. The subjects generally selected were those which naturally arranged themselves into a set of twelve, as the months. By the Puritans the beechen roundels thus decorated were regarded with especial dislike, and they returned to the use of the unadorned trencher and "godly platter." When the "Merry Monarch" was restored he brought over with him from Holland plates and dishes manufactured at Delft, where the porcelain known as Faenza, Faience, Majolica, and Fynlina ware, made during the fifteenth century in the North of Italy, and upon the embellishments of which, according to Lamartiniere, the pencils of Raffaelle, Giulio Romano, and the Caracci, were employed, had been successfully, although coarsely imitated. And it must be confessed that many of the old Dutch plates, dishes, and bowls, upon the kitchen-shelves of the Pryor's Bank, deserved to be admired for boldness of design, effective combinations of colour, and the manual dexterity displayed in the execution of the patterns. The superior delicacy of the porcelain of China, which about this time began to be imported freely into England from the East caused it to be preferred to the "Dutch ware," and the consequence of international commerce was, that the Chinese imitated European devices and patterns upon their porcelain, probably with the view of rendering the article more acceptable in the Dutch and English markets. But while the Chinese were imitating us, we were copying their style of art in the potteries of Staffordshire, with the commercial manufacturing advantage given by the power of transferring a print to the clay over the production of the same effect by means of the pencil, an idea no doubt suggested by our roundels of Charles I.'s time, and which process became of the same relative importance as printing to manuscript. This was the origin of our common blue-and-white plate, or what is known as "the willow pattern," where

"Walking through their groves of trees, Blue bridges and blue rivers, Little think those three Chinese They'll soon be smash'd to shivers."

The popularity of this porcelain pattern must not be ascribed to superior beauty or cheapness, for to the eye of taste surely a pure plain white plate is infinitely superior to an unfeeling copy of a Chinese pagoda, bridge, and willow-tree "in blue print." The fact is that the bugbear of a vulgar mind—"fashion"—long rendered it imperative upon every good housewife and substantial householder to keep up a certain dinner-set of earthenware, consisting of two soup-tureens and a relative proportion of dishes and vegetable-dishes, with covers, soup-plates, dinner-plates, and dessert-plates, which were all to correspond; and should any accidental breakage of crockery take place, it was a manufacturing trick to make it a matter of extra-proportionate expense and difficulty readily to replace the same unless it happened to be of "the blue willow pattern." The practice, however, of using for the dessert-service plates of Worcester china painted by hand, and the execution of many of which as works of art call for our admiration as much as any enamel, created a taste for forming what are called harlequin sets, among which, if a few plates happen to be

"Smash'd to shivers,"

the value of the whole set is only proportionately depreciated, and what has been broken may perhaps be advantageously replaced.

[Picture: Earl of Essex]

If you like, we will return to the inner hall, where is a portrait of the celebrated Earl of Essex, an undoubted original picture, dated 1598, three years previous to his being beheaded (Zucchero), and from it at once enter the library, or breakfast-room. Here there is a superbly carved Elizabethan chimney-piece.

[Picture: Elizabethan chimney-piece]

What are you about? You should not have touched so thoughtlessly that "brass inkstand," as you call it. It is actually a pix, or holy box, {227} which once contained the host, and was considered "so sacred, that upon the march of armies it was especially prohibited from theft." We are told that Henry V. delayed his army for a whole day to discover the thief who had stolen one. You may admire the pictures as much as you please; they are odd and hard-looking portraits to my eye; but they are historically curious, and clever, too, for their age. [Picture: Pix, or Holy Box] Could you only patiently listen to a discussion upon the characters of the originals of the portraits that have hung upon these walls, or the volumes that have filled these shelves; you might gain a deeper insight into the workings of the human heart than, perhaps, you would care to be instructed by. There were in the next room—the dining-room—into which we may proceed when you please, for only by a sliding door between the library and dining-room are they separated—such pictures! [Picture: Sliding door into dining-room] An unquestionable 'Henry VIII.,' by Holbein; a 'Queen Mary,' by Lucas de Heere, from the collection of the late Mr. Dent; and a glorious 'Elizabeth,' that had belonged to Nathaniel Rich of Eltham, who we know from the particulars of sale that were in the Augmentation Office, was the purchaser of Eltham Palace, when disposed of by the Parliament after the death of Charles I.; and we also know from Strype's Annals of the Reformation, that Elizabeth visited Eltham and passed some days there in 1559, and that she made her favourite Sir Christopher Hatton keeper of the royal palace there.

You should not disturb those books; you will look in vain for the publication of George III.'s 'Illustration of Shakspeare,' and corrected in the autograph of the king for a second edition. How remarkable are the opinions entertained by His Majesty respecting Doctors Johnson and Franklin, and how curious are some of the notes! This book is the true history of his reign, and would be worth to us fifty black-letter Caxtons. Mr. Thorpe of Piccadilly can tell you all about it. [Picture: Monastic chair and damask curtains] Oh, never mind that manuscript in its old French binding, and those exquisitely-wrought silver clasps, and dear old Horace Walpole's books. We must enter the dining-room. Here sit down in this monastic chair, and look around you for five minutes. This chair Mr. Baylis picked up in Lincoln; and the curtains beside it, they came from Strawberry Hill, and are of genuine Spitalfields damask. There is no such damask to be had now. Eighty years ago were these curtains manufactured, and yet they are in most excellent condition. The greater portion of the Gothic oak panelling around us originally formed the back of the stalls in the beautiful chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford. During the late repairs this panelling was removed and sold. Much of it was purchased by the Marquess of Salisbury for Hatfield House, and the remainder Mr. Baylis bought. More of the oak panelling in the room, especially the elaborately-wrought specimens and the rich tracery work, have been obtained from Canterbury Cathedral, York Minster, St. Mary's Coventry, and other churches.

[Picture: Ornate chimney-piece]

The chimney-piece is a rich composition of ancient carving; the canopy came from St. Michael's Church, Coventry, and in the niches are some fine figures of the kings and queens of England. [Picture: Knight's armour] The fire-back is an interesting relic, as it is the original one placed in the great dining-hall of Burghley House, by Elizabeth's minister, whose arms are upon it, with the date 1575. The sideboard, with its canopy of oak, assimilates with the fitting of the room, and had upon its shelves a glittering display of ancient glass and early plate. Salvers and cups of singular forms and beautiful shapes arose proudly up, one above the other, with dishes of Raffaelle ware beneath them. But I cannot help seeing that the steel-clad knight, who keeps guard in a recess by the sideboard, attracts more of your attention. [Picture: Leathern black jack and iron jug] The effigy is an excellent suit of fluted armour of Henry VIIth's time; and in the opposite recess, those huge drinking-vessels are only an honest old English leathern black jack and an iron jug; the former from St. Cross, Winchester, the latter from the castle of some German baron, and full of feudal character.

As for the other relics in the dining-room, I will only particularise two or three more; and they are a pair of round and solid well-carved pendents from the chancel of the church of Stratford-on-Avon, which have been removed from their original station immediately over the tomb of Shakspeare; and are now, as you see, inverted and used here as footstools.

"Think of that, Master Brooke!"

The other relic is that matchless piece of sculptured oak [Picture: Effigy in oak of Emperor Rudolph II.] which represents the Emperor Rudolph II., the size of life (five feet six inches in height), and which was brought from Aix-la-Chapelle by the late Sir Herbert Taylor. What may have been its former history I cannot tell you, but it resembles in execution the exquisite Gothic figures in the chimney-piece of the town-hall at Bruges, and is of about the same height and size.

Are you willing to forsake the thoughtful soberness of antique oak-panelling for the tinsel of Venetian gold and the richness of Genoa velvet, Florentine tapestry, and Persian arras? If so, we will ascend to the drawing-rooms and gallery. But stay a moment and permit this lady and oddly-dressed gentleman to pass us on their exit from the gallery, where they have been rehearsing some charming entertainment for the evening, or getting up some piece of fanciful mummery to amuse the idle guests who have congregated around the garden fountain. [Picture: Couple exiting from gallery] The light is not favourable for seeing all the pictures that deserve inspection on the staircase—you had better ascend; and now, having reached the head of the semi-staircase, our course is along this lobby to the opposite door-way, which is that of the drawing-room.

Let us enter at once, and in our tour of the Pryor's Bank regard the ante-drawing-room as a kind of middle or passage-room, belonging either to the gallery or the drawing-room. I admit that the arrangement of the house, which, however, is very simple, appears puzzling at first: the reason of this is, that the senses are often deceived, from mirrors here and there being so judiciously arranged, that they reflect at happy angles objects which would otherwise escape observation. It is impossible to convey an idea of the whole effect of the Pryor's Bank, made up as it has been of carvings of unrivalled richness, grace, and variety, solemn and grotesque. Statues are there, some of the highest class of art, others which belong to an early Gothic period, and yet an harmonious effect has been produced. Where will you take up your position for a general view? At the other end? or in the oriel window looking on the Bishop's Walk?

[Picture: Oriel Window. Venetian Table]

Now if it were not for that richly gilt Venetian table, the companion to which is in the possession of the Earl of Harrington, we might have an excellent view of that magnificently embellished recess, upon the merits of which Mr. Baylis is commenting to another oddly equipped gentleman. There certainly is something going forward in the fancy-dress way. On this Venetian table stands a French astronomical clock; upon it are silver medallions of Louis XIII. and XIV., and among its ornaments the monograms of these monarchs appear.

Here is a group, in ivory, of bacchanals, with attendant boys; a genuine piece of Fiamingo's work, cut from solid ivory, and formerly in the collection of the Vatican. Here, [Picture: Group in Ivory: Tapestried Recess] come this way, we may as well pick up something of the history of this tapestried recess, the canopy and seats of which, and the three other recesses in the drawing-room, are fashioned out of the remains of a large throne or dais brought from Florence, and which had belonged to the Medici family. The materials are of the richest possible kind, being flowers of floss silk upon a ground-work of gold thread, interspersed with silver. The effect produced by this combination is gorgeous in the extreme. "And those figures?" That nearest the eye is a statue of the Emperor Rudolph of Hapsburgh, admirably carved in oak, the armour is of silver damasked with gold. The other figure, and a corresponding one on the opposite side of the room, represent Gothic queens, whose robes have been restored in the illuminated style of decoration. "And the tapestry in the recess?" Listen to what Mr. Baylis is saying. "Thinking over it," remarked Sir Bulwer Lytton to me, "I have very little doubt but that my guess was right—that the fisherman is meant for Antony and the lady for Cleopatra; it was a favourite story in the middle ages, how Antony, wishing to surprise Cleopatra with his success in angling, employed a diver to fix fishes on his hook. Cleopatra found him out, and, in turn, employed a diver of her own to put waggishly a salt (sea) fish on his hook." The story is in Plutarch, and the popularity of the anecdote may be seen by the use Shakspeare makes of it. Charmian says,—

"'Twas merry when You wagered on your angling; when your diver Did hang a salt fish on his hook, which he With fervency, drew up." {235}

It is no doubt correctly conjectured by Sir Bulwer Lytton, that many subjects in tapestry (not Scriptural) have their explanation in Plutarch, the fashionable classic source of tale and legend for our fathers of the middle ages. Shakspeare, it need scarcely be observed, depends on him for all his classic plots; and he was no less a favourite on the Continent than with us. If you observe the attitude and expression of Cleopatra, for so we will consider her, you will perceive that there is something impressive, as well as smiling, about her which would suit the words she is supposed to have uttered, when she had laughed sufficiently at the trick she played him, and which, to the best of my recollection, ran thus, "Leave fishing to us smaller potentates; your angling should be for cities and kingdoms."

Every article of the furniture merits your attention. Here is a Venetian chair; {236} it is one of a set of twenty-six, with a sofa, brought from the Gradenigo Palace, and is carved and gilt all over,—the back, and seat, and cushions for the arms, being Genoa red velvet. [Picture: Venetian chair] Fourteen of these chairs, with the sofa, are in this room; the other twelve were purchased by the Earl of Lonsdale.

Vases of Dresden china, marqueterie tables, and a shrine (see page 237) of gilt carved work at one end of the room, reflected in mirrors of gigantic dimensions, dazzle the senses; and its ceiling studded with blue and gold pendants, and its walls all painted over with quaint devices like the pages of a missal. Also a magnificent Gothic chimney-piece (see page 238) of Carrara marble, fitted with brass-work of ormolu and chimney-glass. The chimney was removed from the grand Gothic-room at Carlton House, and cost George IV. many hundred pounds. Indeed the drawing-room of the Pryor's Bank seems to be more like some scene in an enchanted palace, than in an every-day residence upon the bank of the river Thames.

[Picture: Shrine]

The ante-room is not less splendidly furnished. Its ceiling is even more elaborately embellished than that of the drawing-room, for the heads of mitred abbots, jolly monks, and demure nuns look down upon us from each intersection of the groining.

A Florentine cabinet (see page 239), of mosaic work in lapis lazuli, pietra dura, topaz, agates, etc., one of the finest specimens of the kind ever seen,—it eventually came into the possession of Mr. Hurst, who asked fifteen hundred [Picture: Gothic Chimney-piece] guineas for it—a magnificent carved oak chimney-piece (see page 240); chairs which belonged to Queen Elizabeth; and among other pictures, an undoubted one by Janssen, of "Charles II. dancing at the Hague," must not detain us, although it be a duplicate of the celebrated picture in the possession of Her Majesty, with which the history of this is completely identical, both having been purchased from the same individual at the same period.

[Picture: A Florentine Cabinet]

"And that portrait of Elizabeth?" It was given by Charles II. to Judge Twysden. "And that other portrait?" Yes, it is Lord Monteagle; not of Exchequer documentary fame, but of Gunpowder Plot notoriety. And there are portraits of Katharine of Aragon and Prince Arthur from Strawberry Hill. I positively cannot allow you to dwell on that chimney-piece of Raffaelle design, carved in oak and coloured in ultra-marine and gold.

I entirely agree with you in thinking it a pity that the [Picture: Carved Oak chimney-piece] vast labours of our ancestors—things upon which they bestowed so much time and thought—should be blown into oblivion by the mere breath of fashion. How much nobler is the fashion to respect, cherish, and admire them!

And now we are again within the gallery, and look upon the ante-room through the private entrance, and in another second we might be within the bay-window of the gallery; for, place these sketches together at a right angle, side by side, and the part of the sofa which appears in one, is only the continuation of the same seat in the other. But this must not make you think that the Pryor's Bank is but a miniature affair, or give you a contemptible idea of the size. You should rather take your general notion of the proportions of the gallery from a glance at that lady who is studying with so much attention the part she has undertaken to enact, and look up as to the comparative height of the window at the top compartments made up of ancient [Picture: Bay-Window: Private Entrance] painted glass, charged with the arms of some of the medieval kings of England, among which you cannot fail to notice those of Richard III. Those two elaborately-wrought lanterns which depend from the groined ceiling, formerly hung in the Gothic conservatory of Carlton House, and the recesses of the walls are adorned with eleven full-length portraits of kings and queens of Spain painted upon leather.

Look at those ebony and ivory couches, and this ebony chair, from which justice was formerly meted out by the Dutch and English rules to the Cingalese; and see here this great chair, so profusely carved and cushioned with rich black velvet worked with gold. [Picture: Black velvet chair] It is said to have been the Electoral coronation chair of Saxony; and the date assigned to it in the 'Builder' is 1620. The armorial bearings embroidered upon the back would probably settle the question; but I know little of foreign heraldry beyond the fact that sufficient attention is not paid to it in this country.

Attached to the gallery at the opposite end of the lobby from which we entered the drawing-room, there is a boudoir, or robing-room—a perfect gem in its way. [Picture: Nell Gwynne's mirror] You have only to touch this spring, and that picture starts from the wall and affords us free egress. Just take one peep into this fairy boudoir.

There hangs against the wall Nell Gwynne's mirror, in its curious frame of needlework. Oh! You wish to take a peep at yourself in Nelly's looking-glass? Odds, fish! mind you do not overset that basset table of Japan manufacture—another Strawberry Hill relic. Now, are you satisfied? Those beautiful enamels, and that charming Bermudian brain-stone, the wonderful network of which infinitely exceeds the finest lace? Well, I must admit that some philosophy is required to feel satisfied when revelling among the ornaments of palaces, the treasures of monasteries, and the decorations of some of the proudest mansions of antiquity; and did we not turn our eyes and regard the infinitely superior works of Nature, alike bountifully spread before the poor and the rich man, the heart might feel an inward sickening at the question. In the state carved-oak bed-room is a finely carved walnut-wood German cabinet of the true Elizabethan period.

[Picture: German cabinet (Eizabethan period)]

Though within the walls of the Pryor's Bank, or any other human habitation, all that is rich in art may be assembled, yet, without the wish to turn these objects to a beneficial purpose, they become only a load of care; but when used to exalt and refine the national taste, they confer an immortality upon the possessor, and render him a benefactor to his species; when used, also, as accessories to the cultivation of kindly sympathies and the promotion of social enjoyment, they are objects of public utility. The revival of old-fashioned English cordiality, especially at Christmas, had been always a favourite idea with the owners of the Pryor's Bank, and in 1839 they gave an entertainment which, like

"O'Rourke's noble feast, will ne'er be forgot By those who were there or those who were not."

They were fortunate in securing the aid of Theodore Hook, of pleasant, and, alas! of painful memory, who was their neighbour, with that of some other friends and acquaintances, who thoroughly entered into the whim of recalling olden times by the enactment of masques and other mummeries.

Hook, in his manuscript journal of Thursday, the 26th of December, 1839, notes that he was engaged to dine with Lady Quentin at Kew:—

"Weather dreadful, so resolved to write her an excuse and came home in coach early, so up to Baylis's, where I was asked to dine. They came here, and we walked up together; so to rehearsal, and then back again to bed."

Hook's letter, in a feigned hand, to Mr. Baylis upon this occasion ran thus:—

"Sir,—Circumstancis hoeing too the Fox hand wether in Lunnun as indered me of goen two Q. wherefor hif yew plese i ham reddy to cum to re-ersal two nite, in ten minnits hif yew wil lett the kal-boy hof yewer theeter bring me wud—if you kant reed mi riten ax Mister Kroften Kroker wich his a Hanty queerun like yewerself honly hee as bin longer hatit yewers two kommand,

"TEE HEE OOK."

"Master Bailies hesquire, Manger hof thee, T.R.P.B. and halso Proper rioter thereof."

On Saturday, Hook records in his 'Diary' his having refused his "firmest friend's command" that he should dine with him—"because," writes Hook, "I cannot on account of the things to be done at Pryor's Bank."

Of the memorable Monday, the 30th of December, Hook notes:—

"To-day, not to town, up and to Baylis's; saw preparations. So, back, wrote a little, then to dinner, afterwards to dress; so to Pryor's Bank, there much people,—Sir George and Lady Whitmore, Mrs. Stopford, Mrs. Nugent, the Bully's, and various others, to the amount of 150. I acted the 'Great Frost' with considerable effect. Jerdan, Planche, Nichols, Holmes and wife, Lane, Crofton Croker, Giffard, Barrow. The Whitmore family sang beautifully; all went off well."

The part of the Great Frost to which Hook alludes was in a masque, written for the occasion, and printed and sold in the rooms, for the benefit of the Royal Literary Fund; and among the record of miscellaneous benefactions to this most admirable charity are registered—"Christmas masquers and mummers at the Pryor's Bank, Fulham, the seat of Thomas Baylis, Esq., F.S.A., and William Lechmere Whitmore, F.S.A. (1840), 3 pounds 12s. 6d." Thus carrying out in deed as well as act the benevolent feelings of the season.

What little plot there was in this production had reference to the season, the house in which it was performed, and temporary events. Egomet, an imp, most piquantly personified by Mr. John Barrow, opened the affair in a moralising strain prophetically applicable to the moment.

After stating who and what he was, he starts:—

"But I'm all over wonder. Surely the kitchen must be somewhere under? But where's the room?—the matchless little chamber, With its dark ceiling, and its light of amber— That fairy den, by Price's pencil drawn, Enchantment's dwelling-place? 'Tis gone—'Tis gone! The times are changed, I said, and men grown frantic, Some cross in steamboats o'er the vast Atlantic; Some whirl on railroads, and some fools there are Who book their places in the pendant car Of the great Nassau—monstrous, big balloon! Poor lunatics! they think they'll reach the moon! All onward rush in one perpetual ferment, No rest for mortals till they find interment; Old England is not what it once has been, Dogs have their days, and we've had ours, I ween. The country's gone! cut up by cruel railroads, They'll prove to many nothing short of jail-roads. The spirit vile of restless innovation At Fulham e'en has taken up his station. I landed here, on Father Thames's banks, To seek repose, and rest my wearied shanks; Here, on the grass, where once I could recline, Like a huge mushroom springs this mansion fine. Astounding work! but yesterday 'twas building; And now what armour, carving, painting, gilding! Vexed as I am, yet loth to be uncivil, I only wish the owner at the —-!"

Father Thames (Mr. Giffard), who had been slumbering between two painted boards, respectively inscribed "MIDDLESEX COUNTY BANK" and "SURREY BANK," and surrounded by flower-pots filled with bulrushes and sedge, roused by the intended imprecation upon their host, here interrupted Egomet, and entered into a long dialogue with him, in which he detailed all his grievances so far as gas and steam were concerned. At length he feels the influence of Hook as "the Great Frost," who turns

"The old blackguard to solid ice."

Upon which Egomet's remark was, that—

"The scene to Oxford shifted in a trice is, This river-god—no longer Thames, but Isis."

Father Christmas (Mr. Crofton Croker) then appeared with a long speech about eating, drinking, and making merry, and the wondrous power that a good fire and a cheerful glass have upon the heart. Beholding "poor Thames a-cold"—"an icy, heartless river"—the question follows, what

"Do I the matter see? I'll thaw you soon—begone to Battersea, There let thy icebergs float in Chelsea Reach."

The Great Frost, too, after much buffoonery, turns himself into

"A pleasant fall of fleecy snow,"

which he effected by the vigorous use of the kitchen dredging-box, and an ample supply of flour, therewith bepowdering Jolly Christmas, Father Thames, and Egomet, so plentifully as to leave no doubt upon the minds of the audience respecting the transformation.

Another Christmas revel followed, and then came "a Grand Tournament," in which a contest between "the Blue Knight" (Mr. Lechmere Whitmore), and "the Yellow Knight" (Mr. Baylis), each mounted upon hobby-horses, was most fiercely executed. Nor was the Giant Cormoran (fourteen feet in height), nor the Queen of Beauty, nor the Dragon Queen wanted to complete the chivalry of this burlesque upon the memorable meeting at Eglinton.

The fun which now became

"fast and furious,"

and to which an impudent but most amusing jester (Mr. Jerdan) mainly contributed, was checked only by the announcement of supper; and as the guests descended the stairs from the gallery, or assembled on the lobby, they beheld their cheer borne in procession from the kitchen, headed by a military band and a herald-at-arms. A cook, with his cap and apron of snowy whiteness, placed a boar's head

"Bedeck'd with bays and rosemary,"

upon the table; then came two ancient halberdiers, followed by a serving-man in olden livery, carrying the wassail-bowl; then another herald in his tabard, and servitors with Christmas-pie, and brawn, and soup, and turkey, and sirloin of beef, and collared brawn, whereof was an abundant supply, and of the most magnificent dimensions. Father Christmas, carving-knife in hand, and belted with mincepies, and his attendant Egomet, with followers bearing holly, ivy, and mistletoe, brought up the rear. Then was sung "beautifully," as Hook notes, by four voices, the Oxford chant of

"The boar's head in hand bear I."

And here we must drop the curtain, but not without stating that several of the guests felt the enjoyment of the evening so warmly, that it was in long debate among them what suitable acknowledgment in recollection of it should be made to Mr. Baylis and Mr. Whitmore; and, that the actors in the masque presented these gentlemen with an ancient charter horn, which had belonged to the Pickard family, and which they were fortunate enough to secure. The height of this horn, which is supposed to be that of the Highland buffalo—an animal said to be extinct nearly three hundred years—is one foot two inches, its length is one foot six inches, its width at the top five and a half inches; and it is capable of containing one gallon.

Upon this most gratifying memorial to the owners of the Pryor's Bank, of the esteem created by their hospitality, suitable inscriptions were placed by the donors, with the motto:—

"While Thames doth flow, or wine is drank, par-hael to all at Pryor's Bank. +unc-hael."

The remembrance of the pleasant hours passed within the walls of the Pryor's Bank will not easily be forgotten, though the character of the interior is changed since this was written. The first sale took place on the 3rd May, 1841, and five following days: and there was a subsequent sale on the 25th May, 1854, and four following days. Both these sales took place on the premises, and the Auctioneer, on both occasions, was Mr. Deacon.

Pryor's Bank is now let to Mr. E. T. Smith, of Her Majesty's and Drury Lane Theatres.



INDEX OF PLACES.

ACACIA Cottage, 148. "Admiral Keppel," 75. Albany Lodge, 147. Alexander Square, 73-4. Alfred Place, 73. Amelia Place, 76. Amyot House, 120. Arundel House, 152-4. Ashton Terrace, 202. Audley Cottage, 164.

BATTERSEA Bridge, 94. Bear Street, Fulham, 187. "Bell and Anchor," 210. "Bell and Horns," 58. Bishop's Walk, 190. Bolingbroke Lodge, 147. Bolton House, 118. Boltons, 96. Bostocke's Arbour, 88. "Brickhills," 131. Bridge Street, 193. Brightwells, 166. Brompton, 24. — Crescent, 64-7. — Grange, 63. — Grove, 43, 48. — — Lower, 44. — — Upper, 43. — Hall, 87. — National School, 38. — New Church (Holy Trinity), 54. — Park, 62. — Road, 29. — Row, 26, 38, 42. — Square, 51-4. Broom Lane, 169. Brunswick Cottage, 156. Bull Alley, 135. Bull Lane, 135. — Public House, 135. "Bunch of Grapes," 43. Burleigh House, 121. Burlington House, 181. — Road, Fulham, 181. Butchers' Almshouses, Walham Green, 138.

CAMBRIDGE Lodge, 196. Cancer Hospital, 84, Carey Villa, 167. "Cedars, The," 210. Cemetery, West London and Westminster, 127. Chelsea New Church, 80, 81. — Park, 89, 90, 93.Church Lane, 187. — Row, Fulham, 187. — Street, Brompton, 87. — — Fulham, 193. Churchfield House, 173. Claybrooke House, 181. Consumption Hospital, 85. Corder's, Mrs., Preparatory School, 118. Craven Cottage, 190-1. Cremorne Gardens, 127. Crescent House, 64. "Crown and Sceptre," 40.

DANCER'S Nursery, 172. Deadman's Lane, 201. Door, Old, Fulham Fields, 195. Draw Well in Fulham Fields, 199. Drury Lodge, 169. Dungannon House, 147.

EARL'S Court, 58. East End House, Parson's Green, 164. Edith Grove, 127. — Road, 201. — Villas, 201. Eel Brook, 141. Egmont Villa, 188. "Eight Bells," 193. Elm House, 200. Exhibition Road, 62.

"FLOUNDER Field," 72. Foote's House (North End), 196. — Stables (North End), 196. Fowlis Terrace, 87. Fulham, 180. — Almshouses, 181. — Aqueduct, 189. — Bridge, 192. — Charity School, 193. — Church, 187. — Ferry, 192. — Fields, 195, 197-9. — High Street, 181, 187. — Lodge, 173-7. — Palace, 190. — Park Road, 177. — Street, 187. — Vicarage, 187. — Workhouse, 181.

GARDENER'S House, Old, Fulham Fields, 199. "George, The," 193. Gilston Road, 96. Gloucester Buildings, Brompton, 25. — Row, Brompton, 25. — — Knightsbridge, 26. "Goat in Boots," 94-5. "Golden Lion," Fulham, 181-6. Gore Lodge, Fulham, 181. — — Old Brompton, 62. Grove House, 44-7. — Place, 43, 47. "Gunter Arms," 126. — Grove, 127.

HANS Place, 30, 37. — — Attic at, 83. Heckfield Lodge, 120. — Villa, 147. Hermitage, Brompton, 44, 47. — North End, 196. — Lodge, North End, 195-6. High Elms House, 155. Holcroft's Hall, 180. — Priory, 181. Hollywood Brewery, 118. — Place, 126. Honey Lane, 127. Hooper's Court, 25. Hospital for Consumption, 85.

IVY Cottage, 169. — House, Old Red, 170. — Lodge, 177.

JEWS' Burial-ground, 87. John's Place, 188.

KENSINGTON Canal, 127, 134. — Gore Estate, 59. — Hall, 200. — Road, 211. "Keppel, Admiral," 75. — Street, 75. King's Road, 24. Knightsbridge, 24. — Green, 25. — High Row, 30.

LANSDOWNE Villas, 126. Lauman's Academy, 166. Lawn Terrace, 202. Little Chelsea, 94.

MACHINE for Raising Water (Fulham Fields), 199. Main Fulham Road, 24. Manor Hall, 96. — House, 96. Marlborough Road, 75. Michael's Grove, 63. — Place, 50, 67, 70-2. Military Academy, Chelsea, 119. Montpellier Square, 40. Mulberry House, 120. Munster House, 170-2. — Terrace, 173. Mustow House, 170.

NATIONAL School, Brompton, 38. — Society, Practising School of, 134. New Street, 30, 37. "No Man's Land," 197. Normal School Chapel, 130. Normand House, 196. North End, 195-211. — — Lodge, 193. — — Road, 197. — Terrace, 73.

ODELL'S Place, 115. Old Brompton Road, 58. Onslow Square, 82. Oratory of St. Philip Neri, 58. Osborn's Nursery, 172. Ovington Square, 47.

PARADISE Row, 114. Park Cottage, 147. — House, 154-5. — Walk, 95. Parson's Green, 164-9. — — Lane, 164. Pelham Crescent, 76, 79. — Place, 79-80. Percy Cross, 141, 155. Peterborough House, 166-9. Pollard's School, 58. Pond Place, 80. Porch, Old, of Arundel House, 153. Prince Albert's Road, 62. Pryor's Bank, 187, 212-249. Pump, Old, in Arundel House, 153. Purser's Cross, 141, 154-5.

QUEEN'S Buildings, Brompton, 25, 30. — — Knightsbridge, 25, 29, 30. — Elm, 88-9. — Turnpike, 87. — Row, Knightsbridge, 25. Quibus Hall, 155.

RAWSTORNE Street, 40. Read's, Miss, Academy, 118. Rectory House, Parson's Green, 165. "Red Lion," 40. Reformatory School, Fulham, 181. Rightwells, 166. "Rising Sun," 135. Robert Street, 83-4. — — Upper, 83. Rosamond's Bower, 156-164. Rosamond's Bower, Old, 156. — Dairy, 157.

ST. LUKE'S Church, Chelsea, 80, 83. St. Mark's Chapel, 130. — College, 130. — Terrace, 130. St. Mary's Place, 96. St. Peter's Villa, 170. St. Philip's Orphanage, 96. Salem Chapel, 136. "Sand Hills," The, 90. Sandford Bridge, 134. School, Practising, at St. Mark's College, 134. Selwood's Nursery, 89. Selwood Place, 89. Seymour Place, 96, 98. — Terrace, 96, 98. Shaftesbury House, 100-12. — — Garden of, 104-5. Sign, Old ("White Horse" at Parson's Green), 164. Sir John Scott Lillie's Road, 127. "Sisters of Compassion," 44. Sloane Square, 24. — Street, 24. "Somerset Arms," 96. South Kensington Museum, 59-61. Stamford Road, 135. — Villas, 135. Stanley Grove, 132-3. — — House, 131-2. — House, 131. Swan Tavern, Fulham, 192. — — and Brewery, Walham Green, 135. Sydney Place, 83. — Street, 83.

TAVISTOCK House, 118. Thames Bank, 187. Thistle Grove, 93-4. Thurloe Place, 61.

VEITCH'S Royal Exotic Nursery, 130. Vine Cottage, 213-14.

WALHAM Green, 136-7. — House, 193. — Lodge, 147. Walnut Tree Cottage, 200. — — Walk, 121. Wansdon Green, 137. — House, 137. Warwick House, 120. Wentworth Cottage, 197. West Brompton Brewery, 118. Western Grammar School, 73. "White Horse," old sign of, 164. Willow Bank, 192. Windsor Street, 193. Winter Garden, Old Brompton, 62. Workhouse, additional, to St. George's, Hanover Square, 100.

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