England, Picturesque and Descriptive - A Reminiscence of Foreign Travel
by Joel Cook
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse


The Thames flows on past the wooded glades of Wytham Abbey, and then revives the memory of Fair Rosamond as it skirts the scanty ruins of Godstow Nunnery. This religious house upon the river-bank was founded in the reign of Henry I., and the ruins are some remains of the walls and of a small chapter-house in which Rosamond's corpse was deposited. It was at Woodstock, in Oxfordshire, then a royal palace, that in the twelfth century Henry II. built "Fair Rosamond's Bower" for his charmer, who was the daughter of Lord Clifford. This bower was surrounded by a labyrinth. Queen Eleanor, whom the king had married only from ambitious motives, was much older than he, and he had two sons by Rosamond, whom he is said to have first met at Godstow Nunnery. The bower consisted of arched vaults underground. There are various legends of the discovery of Rosamond by Eleanor, the most popular being that the queen discovered the ball of silk the king used to thread the maze of the labyrinth, and following it found the door and entered the bower. She is said to have ill-treated and even poisoned Rosamond, but the belief now is that Rosamond retired to the nunnery from sorrow at the ultimate defection of her royal lover, and did not die for several years. The story has been the favorite theme of the poets, and we are told that her body was buried in the nunnery, and wax lights placed around the tomb and kept continually burning. Subsequently, her remains were reinterred in the chapter-house, with a Latin inscription, which is thus translated:

"This tomb doth here enclose the world's most beauteous rose— Rose passing sweet erewhile, now naught but odor vile."


As we float along the quiet Thames the stately towers and domes of the university city of Oxford come in sight, and appear to suddenly rise from behind a green railway embankment. Here the Cherwell flows along the Christ Church meadows to join the great river, and we pause at the ancient Ousenford—or the ford over the Ouse or Water—a name which time has changed to Oxford. The origin of the famous university is involved in obscurity. The city is mentioned as the scene of important political and military events from the time of King Alfred, but the first undisputed evidence that it was a seat of learning dates from the twelfth century. Religious houses existed there in earlier years, and to these schools were attached for the education of the clergy. From these schools sprang the secular institutions that finally developed into colleges, and common interest led to the association from which ultimately came the university. The first known application of the word to this association occurs in a statute of King John. In the thirteenth century there were three thousand students at Oxford, and Henry III. granted the university its first charter. In those early times the university grew in wealth and numbers, and intense hostility was developed between the students and townspeople, leading to the quarrels between "Town and Gown" that existed for centuries, and caused frequent riots and bloodshed. A penance for one of these disturbances, which occurred in 1355 and sacrificed several lives, continued to be kept until 1825. The religious troubles in Henry VIII.'s time reduced the students to barely one thousand, but a small part of whom attended the colleges, so that in 1546 only thirteen degrees were conferred. In 1603 the university was given representation in Parliament; it was loyal to Charles I., and melted its plate to assist him, so that after his downfall it was plundered, and almost ceased to have an existence as an institution of learning; it has since had a quiet and generally prosperous history. The university comprises twenty-one colleges, the oldest being University College, founded in 1249, and the youngest the Keble Memorial College, founded in 1870. University College, according to tradition, represents a school founded by King Alfred in 872, and it celebrated its millennial anniversary in 1872. Balliol College, founded between 1263 and 1268, admits no one who claims any privilege on account of rank or wealth, and is regarded as having perhaps the highest standard of scholarship at Oxford. Christ Church College is the most extensive in buildings, numbers, and endowments, and is a cathedral establishment as well as college. There are now about eighty-five hundred members of the university and twenty-five hundred undergraduates. The wealth of some of the colleges is enormous, and they are said to own altogether nearly two hundred thousand acres of land in different parts of the kingdom, and to have about $2,100,000 annual revenues, of which they expend not over $1,500,000, the remainder accumulating. They also have in their gift four hundred and forty-four benefices, with an annual income of $950,000. It costs a student about $1200 to $1500 a year to live at Oxford, and about $325 in university and college fees from matriculation to graduation, when he gets his degree of B.A., or, if inattentive, fails to pass the examination, and, in Oxford parlance, is said to be "plucked."


The enumeration of the colleges which make up the university will naturally begin with the greatest, Christ Church, founded by Cardinal Wolsey, of which the principal facade extends four hundred feet along St. Aldate's Street, and has a noble gateway in the centre surmounted by a six-sided tower with a dome-like roof. Here hangs the great bell of Oxford, "Old Tom," weighing seventeen thousand pounds, which every night, just after nine o'clock, strikes one hundred and one strokes, said to be in remembrance of the number of members the college had at its foundation. Wolsey's statue stands in the gateway which leads into the great quadrangle, called by the students, for short, "Tom Quad." Here are the lodgings of the dean and canons, and also the Great Hall, the finest in Oxford, and the room where the sovereign is received whenever visiting the city. The ancient kitchen adjoins the hall, and near by is the entrance to the cathedral, which has been restored, and the ancient cloisters. From the buildings a meadow extends down to the rivers, the Cherwell on the left and the Thames (here called the Isis) on the right, which join at the lower part of the meadow. Beautiful walks are laid out upon it, including the famous Oxford promenade, the Broad Walk, a stately avenue of elms bordering one side of the meadow. Here, on the afternoon of Show Sunday, which comes immediately before Commemoration Day, nearly all the members of the university and the students, in academic costume, make a promenade, presenting an animated scene.

Corpus Christi College was founded by Bishop Fox of Winchester in 1516, and its quadrangle, which remains much as at the foundation, contains the founder's statue, and also a remarkable dial, in the centre of which is a perpetual calendar. This college is not very marked in architecture. It stands at the back of Christ Church, and adjoining it is Merton College, founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton. His idea was to forbid the students following in after life any other pursuit than that of parish priest. The chapel of Merton is one of the finest in Oxford, and its massive tower is a city landmark. The entrance-gateway, surmounted by a sculptured representation of St. John the Baptist, is attractive, and the two college quadrangles are picturesque, the "Mob Quad," or library quadrangle, being five hundred years old, with the Treasury and its high-pitched ashlar roof and dormer windows above one of the entrance-passages. St. Alban Hall, built about 1230, adjoins Merton, and is a Gothic structure with a curious old bell-tower. Oriel College stands opposite Corpus Christi, but the ancient buildings of the foundation in 1324-26 have all been superseded by comparatively modern structures of the seventeenth century: though without any striking architectural merits, the hall and chapel of this college are extremely picturesque. Its fame is not so much from its buildings as from some of its fellows, Whately, Keble, Wilberforce, Newman, Pusey, and Arnold having been among them. St. Mary's Hall, an offshoot founded in the fourteenth century, stands near this college. All Souls College is on the High Street, and was founded in 1437, its buildings being, however, modern, excepting one quadrangle. In the chapel is a magnificent reredos, presented by Lord Bathurst, who was a fellow of All Souls, and containing figures representing most of the fellows of his time: in the library are Wren's original designs for building St. Paul's. This college was founded by Archbishop Chichele for "the hele of his soul" and of the souls of all those who perished in the French wars of King Henry V.; hence its name. We are told that the good archbishop was much troubled where to locate his college, and there appeared to him in a dream a "right godly personage," who advised him to build it on the High Street, and at a certain spot where he would be sure in digging to find a "mallard, imprisoned but well fattened, in the sewer." He hesitated, but all whom he consulted advised him to make the trial, and accordingly, on a fixed day after mass, with due solemnity the digging began. They had not dug long, the story relates, before they heard "amid the earth horrid strugglings and flutterings and violent quackings of the distressed mallard." When he was brought out he was as big as an ostrich, and "much wonder was thereat, for the lycke had not been seen in this londe nor in onie odir." The Festival of the Mallard was long held in commemoration of this event, at which was sung the "Merry Song of the All Souls Mallard," beginning—

"Griffin, bustard, turkey, capon, Let other hungry mortals gape on, And on the bones their stomach fill hard; But let All Souls men have their mallard. Oh, by the blood of King Edward, It was a wopping, wopping mallard!"

While the festival has passed away, the song is still sung at Oxford, and the tale has given rise to much literature, there having been vigorous contests waged over the authenticity of the mallard.

University College, also on the High Street, though the earliest founded, now has no building older than the seventeenth century. It has an imposing Gothic front with two tower-gateways, while the recently constructed New Building is an elegant structure erected in 1850. Queen's College, founded in 1341 by Queen Philippa's confessor, and hence its name, is a modern building by Wren and his pupils. St. Edmund Hall, opposite Queen's College, is a plain building, but with magnificent ivy on its walls.


Bishop Patten of Winchester, who was surnamed Waynflete, founded Magdalen College in 1458. It stands by the side of the Cherwell, and its graceful tower, nearly four hundred years old, rises one hundred and forty-five feet—one of the most beautiful constructions in Oxford. Its quadrangles are fine, especially the one known as the Cloisters, which remains much as it was in the time of the founder, and is ornamented with rude sandstone statues erected in honor of a visit from King James I. In accordance with ancient custom, on the morning of the first of May, just as five o'clock strikes, a solemn Te Deum is sung on the top of Magdalen Tower, where the choristers assemble in surplices and with uncovered heads. When it closes the crowd on the ground below give out discordant blasts from myriads of tin horns, but the Magdalen chime of bells, said to be "the most tunable and melodious ring of bells in all these parts and beyond," soon drowns the discord, and gives a glad welcome to the opening of spring. This custom survives from the time of Henry VII., and the produce of two acres of land given to the college by that king is used to pay for a feast for the choristers, spread later in the day in the college hall. The college has a meadow and small deer-park attached, known as the Magdalen Walks, and encircled by the arms of the Cherwell, while avenues of trees along raised dykes intersect it. The avenue on the north side of this meadow is known as "Addison's Walk," and was much frequented by him when at this college. The little deer-park, a secluded spot, abounds with magnificent elms. It was at Magdalen that Wolsey was educated, being known as the "Boy Bachelor," as he got his B.A. degree at the early age of fifteen. The Botanic Garden is opposite Magdalen College, having a fine gateway with statues of Charles I. and II. Magdalen College School, a modern building, but an organization coeval with the college, is a short distance to the westward.

The King's Hall, commonly known as Brasenose College, and over the entrance of which is a prominent brazen nose, still retains its chief buildings as originally founded by the Bishop of Lincoln and Sir Richard Sutton in 1512. The entrance-tower was recently restored, and the rooms occupied by Bishop Heber, who was a member of this college, are still pointed out, with their windows looking upon a large horse-chestnut tree in the adjoining Exeter Gardens. This famous college is said to occupy the spot where King Alfred's palace stood, and hence its name of the King's Hall, which the king in his laws styled his palace. The part of the palace which was used for the brew-house, or the brasinium, afterwards became the college, and as early as Edward I. this found ocular demonstration by the fixing of a brazen nose upon the gate. This is also a relic of Friar Bacon's brazen head. We are told that this famous friar, who lived at Oxford in the thirteenth century, became convinced, "after great study," that if he should succeed in making a head of brass which could speak, "he might be able to surround all England with a wall of brass." So, with the assistance of another friar and the devil, he went to work and accomplished it, but with the drawback that the brazen head when finished was "warranted to speak in the course of one month," but it was uncertain just when it would speak, and "if they heard it not before it had done speaking, all their labor would be lost." They watched it three weeks, but fatigue overmastered them, and Bacon set his servant on watch, with orders to awaken them if the head should speak. At the end of one half hour the fellow heard the head say, "Time is;" at the end of another, "Time was;" and at the end of a third half hour, "Time's past," when down fell the head with a tremendous crash. The blockhead thought his master would be angry if disturbed by such trifles, and this ended the experiment with the brazen head. Yet Friar Bacon was a much wiser man than would be supposed by those who only know him from this tale. He was esteemed the most learned man ever at the great university, and it is considered doubtful if any there in later years surpassed him.


William of Wykeham founded the New College, or the College of St. Mary Winton, in 1380. It has a noble entrance, and in a niche above the gateway is the Virgin, to whom an angel and the founder are addressing themselves in prayer. The chapel has a massive detached bell-tower, and in its windows are some fine stained glass, while the silver staff of William of Wykeham is still preserved there. The cloisters are extensive and picturesque, the ribbed roof resembling the bottom of a boat, while the restored hall has a fine oaken roof. The New College gardens are enclosed on three sides by the ancient walls of the city, which are well preserved, and the enclosure is one of the most beautiful in Oxford. Through a door in a corner of the gardens there is a passageway opening out of one of the bastions of the old walls into a strip of ground called the "Slype," where a fine view is had of the bastions, with the college bell-tower and chapel behind them. In making a recent addition to the buildings of this college on the edge of the "Slype," the workmen in digging for the foundations discovered the remains of a mammoth.

New College Lane leads to Radcliffe Square, in the centre of which is located the handsome Radcliffe Library, with colleges, churches, and schools all around the square. Dr. Radcliffe, who was the court-physician of King William III. and Queen Anne, founded this library, which is in a handsome rotunda surmounted by a dome on an octagonal base. The structure, which is one hundred feet in diameter, rises to a height of one hundred and forty feet, and from the top there is a fine view of the city. To the northward, at a short distance, are the Schools, a quadrangular building, now chiefly occupied by the famous Bodleian Library. From Radcliffe Square the entrance is through a vaulted passage, the central gate-tower being a remarkable example of the combination of the five orders of architecture piled one above the other. In this building, on the lower floor, the public examinations of the candidates for degrees are held, while above is the library which Sir Thomas Bodley founded in the sixteenth century, and which contains three hundred thousand volumes, including many ancient and highly-prized works in print and manuscript.

Lincoln College was founded by Richard Flemyng, Bishop of Lincoln, in 1427. Here John Wesley was a member, and the pulpit from which he preached is still kept as a precious relic. Opposite to Lincoln is Jesus College, founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1571, though others assisted; it was intended to be exclusively for Welshmen, but this has since been changed. The chapel has a double chancel. Alongside of Lincoln is Exeter College, founded by Walter Stapleton of Exeter in 1314: this is one of the largest colleges, the greater part of the buildings being modern; they are among the finest in Oxford. The hall, restored in the present century, has a high-pitched timber roof, while the chapel, which is one of the most remarkable edifices in Oxford, has a thin, small spire that is conspicuous from a great distance. The Ashmolean Museum adjoins Exeter College, and next to this is the Sheldonian Theatre, built in 1669 by Archbishop Sheldon of Canterbury, where the annual commemoration is held and the honorary degrees are conferred. Not far away is Wadham College, founded in 1613 by Nicholas Wadham and Dorothy his wife. It has excellent buildings and a most beautiful garden. There is a new Museum of Natural History in the park near by, and also Keble College, founded in 1868 as a memorial of Rev. John Keble, the author of the Christian Year. Its buildings are of variegated brick, the chapel being the loftiest, most costly, and finest of its style in Oxford. The building is a perfect glare of coloring.

Trinity College was founded in 1554 by Sir Thomas Pope. Its tower and chapel are Grecian, and the chapel has a most beautiful carved screen and altarpiece. The library contains a chalice that once belonged to St. Alban's Abbey. Kettel Hall, now a private dwelling, is a picturesque building in front of Trinity. On Broad Street, where Trinity stands, is also Balliol College, founded in the thirteenth century by John Balliol. None of the existing buildings are earlier than the fifteenth century, while the south front, with its massive tower, has just been rebuilt. It was here that the martyrs Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley were burned. A little farther along the same street is St. John's College, which Sir Thomas White founded in 1557. It is fronted by a terrace planted with fine elms. Its quadrangles and cloisters are much admired, especially the venerable oriel windows and quaint stone gables of the library. St. John's gardens are regarded as among the most attractive in Oxford. Opposite St. John's are the university galleries, with their display of the Pomfret Marbles and Raphael and Michel Angelo's paintings and drawings, and behind this building is Worcester College, founded in 1714 by Sir Thomas Cookes. Its gardens contain a lake. Pembroke College is opposite Christ Church, and was founded in 1624 in honor of the Earl of Pembroke, then the chancellor of the university. While its entrance-gateway and hall, recently built, are fine, the other buildings are not attractive. The chief remembrance of Pembroke is of Dr. Samuel Johnson, who occupied apartments over the original gateway, but was compelled by poverty to leave the college before taking his degree. This completes the description of the colleges, halls, and schools of the great university, which presents an array of institutions of learning unrivalled in any part of the world, and of which Englishmen are justly proud.


There are some fine churches in Oxford, notably the university church of St. Mary the Virgin, conspicuous from its Decorated spire rising one hundred and eighty-eight feet, which is a memorial of Queen Eleanor of Castile. A short distance to the westward is All Saints Church. Fronting Christ Church is St. Aldate's Church, also with a lofty spire and Decorated tower. Like most English towns, Oxford had a castle, but its remains are now reduced to a solitary tower, a few fragments of wall, and a high mound. This castle has long been the property of Christ Church, and was used for a prison, whence Cranmer and his fellow-martyrs went to the stake. The old tower was built in the days of William Rufus. Beneath the ruins is a crypt known as Maud's Chapel. In the centre of the mound is an octagonal vaulted chamber, approached by a long flight of steps, and containing a well. It was in this castle that the empress Maud was besieged by King Stephen in 1141, but escaped in the night, the castle surrendering next morning. The ground was covered with snow at the time, and the empress, with three attendants, clad in white, passed unnoticed through the lines of the besiegers and crossed the Thames on the ice. Just before this Maud escaped from the castle of Devizes as a dead body drawn on a hearse. The castle of Oxford has been in a dilapidated condition since Edward III.'s time. As an evidence of the change of opinion, the Martyrs' Memorial stands on St. Giles Street in honor of the martyrs who found the old tower of the castle their prison-house until the bigots of that day were ready to burn them at the stake in front of Balliol College.

The intersection of the four principal streets of old Oxford makes what is called the Carfax (a word derived from quatre voies), and here in the olden time stood a picturesque conduit. Conduits in former years were ornaments in many English towns, and some of them still remain in their original locations. This conduit, which stood in the way of traffic, was presented as a nuisance as long ago as the time of Laud, and Lord Harcourt in 1787 removed it to his park at Nuneham. One of the curious changes that have come over some Oxford landmarks is related of a group of statues in the entrance to the Schools, where the Bodleian Library is located. This group represents Mater Academia giving a book to King James I., sitting in his chair of state, while winged Fame trumpets the gift throughout the world. When the king saw this, embellished with appropriate mottoes, all of which were gloriously gilt, the ancient historian says he exclaimed, "By my soul! this is too glorious for Jeamy," and caused the gilded mottoes to be "whited out." Originally, the statue of the king held a sceptre in his right hand, and a book, commonly taken for the Bible, in his left. Both have disappeared. The sceptre is said to have fallen upon the passing of the Reform Bill, and the book came down about the time of the abolition of the University Tests. The eastern part of Oxford is meadow-and garden-land, extending down to the two famous rivers which unite just below the town, and along whose shores the racing-boats in which the students take so much interest are moored. Pretty bridges span both streams, and we follow down the Thames again, skirting along its picturesque shores past Iffley, with its romantic old mill and the ancient church with its square tower rising behind, well-known landmarks that are so familiar to boating-men, till we come to Nuneham Park, with the old Carfax Conduit set on an eminence, and Blenheim Woods looming up in the background, as we look towards Oxford.

The church of Iffley is beautifully situated on the Thames, but little is known of its origin or history. It was in existence in 1189, when King Henry II. died, and its architecture indicates that it could scarcely have been built much before that time. It is an unusually good specimen of the Norman style, and is in wonderful preservation, considering its age. This church is peculiarly rich in its doorways, having three of great value, and each differing from the other. The southern doorway is enriched with sculptured flowers, a style that is almost unique in Norman architecture; it also contains rudely carved imitations of Roman centaurs. On the south side of the church is an ancient cross and one of the most venerable yew trees in the kingdom, in the trunk of which time has made a hollow where a man could easily conceal himself. There is not on all the Thames a scene more loved by artists than that at Iffley, with its old mill and church embosomed in foliage, and having an occasional fisherman lazily angling in the smooth waters before them, while the Oxford oarsmen, some in fancy costumes, paddle by.


If we go up the Cherwell towards the northern part of Oxfordshire, a brief visit can be paid to the famous town of Banbury, noted for its "castle, cross, and cakes." This was an ancient Roman station, and the amphitheatre still exists just out of town. The castle was built in the twelfth century, and many conflicts raged around it. Queen Elizabeth granted the castle to Lord Saye and Sele, and one of his successors first organized the revolt against Charles I. at his neighboring mansion of Broughton. Banbury was a great Puritan stronghold, and it is related that when a book descriptive of Banbury was being printed in those days, it contained a sentence describing Banbury as remarkable for its cheese, cakes, and ale. One Camden, looking at the press while the sheet was being printed, thought this too light an expression, and changed the word ale into zeal, so that the town became noted for Banbury zeal as well as cheese and cakes. The old castle, after standing several desperate sieges, was demolished by the Puritans, and nothing now remains excepting the moat and a small remnant of wall on which a cottage has been built. The Banbury cakes are mentioned as early as 1686, and they are still in high repute, being sent to all parts of the world. The Banbury cheese of which Shakespeare wrote is no longer made. The Banbury cross has been immortalized in nursery-rhymes, but it was taken down by the Puritans. The rhyme tells the little folk.

"Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross, To see a fine lady ride on a white horse; With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes."

Diligent research has developed some important information about this fine lady. It appears that in "the Second Edward's reign a knight of much renown, yclept Lord Herbert, chanced to live near famous Banbury town." Now, this knight had one son left, and "fearless and brave was he; and it raised the pride in the father's heart his gallant son to see." The poetic tale goes on to relate "that near Lord Herbert's ancient hall proud Banbury Castle stood, within the noble walls of which dwelt a maiden young and good;" with much more to the same effect. There is the usual result: the knight loves the lady, has a mortal combat with the rival, and nearly loses his life. The fair lady nurses him with care, but as he gradually sinks she loses hope and pines away. A holy monk lived in the castle, and, noticing her despondency, offers to effect a cure. He prescribes: "To-morrow, at the midnight hour, go to the cross alone: for Edward's rash and hasty deed perhaps thou mayst atone." She goes there, walks around the cross, and Edward is cured. Then all rejoice, and a festival is ordered, whereat,

"Upon a milk-white steed, a lady doth appear: By all she's welcomed lustily in one tremendous cheer: With rings of brilliant lustre her fingers are bedecked, And bells upon her palfrey hung to give the whole effect."

A noble cavalier rode beside her, and the result has been

"That even in the present time the custom's not forgot; But few there are who know the tale connected with the spot, Though to each baby in the land the nursery-rhymes are told About the lady robed in white and Banbury Cross of old."

Broughton Castle is a fine castellated mansion a short distance south-west of Banbury. It dates from the Elizabethan era, and its owner, Viscount Saye and Sele, in Charles I.'s reign, thinking that his services were not sufficiently rewarded, took the side of Parliament, in which his son represented Banbury. When the king dissolved Parliament, it assembled clandestinely in Broughton Castle. Here the Parliamentary leaders met in a room with thick walls, so that no sounds could escape. Here also were raised the earliest troops for the Parliament, and the "Blue-coats" of the Sayes were conspicuous at the battle of Edgehill, which was fought only a few miles away. Immediately afterwards King Charles besieged Broughton Castle, captured and plundered it. This famous old building witnessed in this way the earliest steps that led to the English Revolution, and it is kept in quite good preservation. Subsequently, when Oliver Cromwell became the leader of the Parliamentary party, he held his Parliament in Banbury at the Roebuck Inn, a fine piece of architecture, with a great window that lights up one of the best rooms in England of the earlier days of the Elizabethan era. A low door leads from the courtyard to this noted council-chamber where Cromwell held his Parliament, and it remains in much the same condition as then.

Through Oxfordshire is laid out one of those picturesque water-ways of the olden time—the Berks and Wilts Canal—which, though almost superseded by the omnipresent railway, still exists to furnish pretty scenery with its shady towing-paths and rustic swing-bridges. Almost the only traffic that remains to this canal, which comes out upon the Thames near Oxford, is carrying timber. The growth of English timber is slow, but some is still produced by the process of thinning the woods so as to make shapely trees, for otherwise the tall trunks would force themselves up almost without spreading branches.


Not far away from Oxford is the manor of Woodstock, where "Fair Rosamond's Bower" was built by King Henry II. This manor was an early residence of the kings of England, and Henry I. built a palace there, adding to it a vast park. Of this palace not a sign is now to be seen, but two sycamores have been planted to mark the spot. The poet Chaucer lived at Woodstock, and is supposed to have taken much of the descriptive scenery of his Dream from the park. Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III., was born at Woodstock. Henry VII. enlarged the palace, and put his name upon the principal gate; and this gate-house was one of the prisons of the princess Elizabeth, where she was detained by her sister, Queen Mary. Elizabeth is said to have written with charcoal on a window-shutter of her apartment, in 1555, a brief poem lamenting her imprisonment. Her room had an arched roof formed of carved Irish oak and colored with blue and gold, and it was preserved until taken down by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. In the Civil War the palace was besieged, and after surrender, unlike most similar structures, escaped demolition. Cromwell allotted it to three persons, two of whom pulled down their portions for the sake of the stone. Charles II. appointed the Earl of Rochester gentleman of the bedchamber and comptroller of Woodstock Park, and it is said that he here scribbled upon the door of the bedchamber of the king the well-known mock epitaph:

"Here lies our sovereign lord, the king. Whose word no man relies on; He never says a foolish thing, Nor ever does a wise one."

In Queen Anne's reign Woodstock was granted to John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, for his eminent military services. The condition of the grant, which is still scrupulously performed, was that on August 2d in every year he and his heirs should present to the reigning monarch at Windsor Castle one stand of colors, with three fleurs-de-lis painted thereon. The estate was named Blenheim, after the little village on the Danube which was the scene of his greatest victory on August 2, 1704. Ten years later, the duchess Sarah took down the remains of the old palace of Woodstock, and Scott has woven its history into one of his later novels. Hardly any trace remains of old Woodstock, and the only ruin of interest is a curious chimney-shaft of the fourteenth century, which a probably inaccurate tradition says was part of the residence of the Black Prince.

Woodstock Park covers twenty-seven hundred acres, and is nearly twelve miles in circuit, abounding with fine trees and having an undulating surface, over which roam a large herd of deer and a number of kangaroos. When the manor was granted to the Duke of Marlborough, Parliament voted a sum of money to build him a palace "as a monument of his glorious actions." The park is entered through a fine Corinthian gateway, built by the duchess Sarah in memory of her husband the year after his death. A pretty stream of water, the river Glyme, with a lake, winds through a valley in front of the palace, and is crossed by a stately stone bridge with a centre arch of one hundred feet span. Not far from this bridge was Fair Rosamond's Bower, now marked by a wall; beyond the bridge, standing on the lawn, is the Marlborough Column, a fluted Corinthian pillar one hundred and thirty-four feet high, surmounted by the hero in Roman dress and triumphal attitude. This monument to the great duke has an account of his victories inscribed on one face of the pedestal, while on the others are the acts of Parliament passed in his behalf, and an abstract of the entail of his estates and honors upon the descendants of his daughters. Parliament voted $2,500,000 to build Blenheim Palace, to which the duke added $300,000 from his own resources. The duke died seventeen years after the palace was begun, leaving it unfinished. We are told that the trees in the park were planted according to the position of the troops at Blenheim. The architect of the palace was John Vanbrugh, of whom the satirical epitaph was written:

"Lie heavy on him, Earth, for he Laid many a heavy load on thee."

The palace is a massive structure, with spacious portals and lofty towers, and its principal front, which faces the north, extends three hundred and forty-eight feet from wing to wing, with a portico and flight of steps in the centre. The interior is very fine, with magnificently-painted ceilings, tapestries, statuary, and a rare collection of pictures. The tapestries represent Blenheim and other battles, and there are one hundred and twenty copies of famous masters, made by Teniers. A stately statue of Queen Anne stands in the library. There are costly collections of enamels, plaques, and miniatures; on the walls are huge paintings by Sir James Thornhill, one representing the great duke, in a blue cuirass, kneeling before Britannia, clad in white and holding a lance and wreath; Hercules and Mars stand by, and there are emblem-bearing females and the usual paraphernalia. We are told that Thornhill was paid for these at the rate of about six dollars per square yard. The duchess Sarah also poses in the collection as Minerva, wearing a yellow classic breastplate. Among other relics kept in the palace are Oliver Cromwell's teapot, another teapot presented by the Duc de Richelieu to Louis XIV., two bottles that belonged to Queen Anne, and some Roman and Grecian pottery. The great hall, which has the battle of Blenheim depicted on its ceiling, extends the entire height of the building; the library is one hundred and eighty-three feet long; and in the chapel, beneath a pompous marble monument, rest the great duke and his proud duchess Sarah, and their two sons, who died in early years. The pleasure-gardens extend over three hundred acres along the borders of the lake and river, and are very attractive. They contain the Temple of Health erected on the recovery of George III. from his illness, an aviary, a cascade elaborately constructed of large masses of rock, a fountain copied after one in Rome, and a temple of Diana. This great estate was the reward of the soldier whose glories were sung by Addison in his poem on the Campaign. Addison then lived in a garret up three pair of stairs over a small shop in the Haymarket, London, whither went the Chancellor of the Exchequer to get him to write the poem, and afterwards gave him a place worth $1000 a year as a reward. The Marlboroughs since have been almost too poor to keep up this magnificent estate in its proper style, for the family of Spencer-Churchill, which now holds the title, unlike most of the other great English houses, has not been blessed with a princely private fortune. Not far from Woodstock is Minster Lovel, near the village of Whitney. Some fragments of the house remain, and it has its tale of interest, like all these old houses. Lord Lovel was one of the supporters of the impostor Simnel against Henry VII., and his rebellion being defeated in the decisive battle at Stoke in Nottinghamshire, Lord Lovel escaped by unfrequented roads and arrived home at night. He was so disguised that he was only known by a single servant, on whose fidelity he could rely. Before daybreak he retired to a subterranean recess, of which this servant retained the key, and here he remained several months in safe concealment. The king confiscated the estate, however, and dispersed the household, so that the voluntary prisoner perished from hunger. During the last century, when this stately house was pulled down, the vault was discovered, with Lord Lovel seated in a chair as he had died. So completely had rubbish excluded the air that his dress, which was described as superb, and a prayer-book lying before him on the table, were entire, but soon after the admission of the air the body is said to have fallen into dust.


A pleasant and old-fashioned town, not far away from Oxford, is Bicester, whereof one part is known as the King's End and the other as the Market End. Here is the famous Bicester Priory, founded in the twelfth century through the influence of Thomas a Becket. It was intended for a prior and eleven canons, in imitation of Christ and his eleven disciples. The priory buildings remained for some time after the dissolution of the religious houses, but they gradually disappeared, and all that now exists is a small farm-house about forty feet long which formed part of the boundary-wall of the priory, and is supposed to have been a lodge for the accommodation of travellers. In the garden was a well of never-failing water held in high repute by pilgrims, and which now supplies a fish-pond. The priory and its estates have passed in regular succession through females from its founder, Gilbert Basset, to the Stanleys, and it is now one of the possessions of the Earl of Derby. Bicester is an excellent specimen of an ancient English market-town, and its curious block of market-buildings, occupied by at least twenty-five tenements, stands alone and clear in the marketplace. There are antique gables, one of the most youthful of which bears the date of 1698. On the top is a promenade used by the occupants in summer weather. In the neighboring village of Eynsham is said to be the stone coffin that once held Fair Rosamond's remains, but it has another occupant, one Alderman Fletcher having also been buried in it in 1826. Eynsham once had an abbey, of which still survives the shaft of a stone cross quaintly carved with the figures of saints. It is a relic probably of the thirteenth century, but nothing remains of the abbey beyond a few stones that may have belonged to it. It was near Eynsham, not very long ago, that a strange dark-green water-plant first made its appearance in the Thames, and spread so rapidly that it soon quite choked the navigation of the river, and from there soon extended almost all over the kingdom. The meadows and the rivers became practically all alike, a green expanse, in which from an eminence it was difficult to tell where the water-courses lay. This plant was called the "American weed," the allegation being that it came over in a cargo of timber from the St. Lawrence. It caused great consternation, but just when matters looked almost hopeless it gradually withered and died, bringing the navigation welcome relief.


Crossing over into Berkshire, we find, a short distance south of Oxford, on the bank of the Thames, the ruins of the once extensive and magnificent Abingdon Abbey, founded in the seventh century. It was here that Henry, the son of William the Conqueror, was educated and gained his appellation of Beauclerc. The gatehouse still remains, and is at present devoted to the use of fire-engines, but there is not much else remaining of the abbey save a remarkable chimney and fireplace and some fragments of walls. We are told that the Saxons founded this abbey, and that the Danes destroyed it, while King Alfred deprived the monks of their possessions, but his grandson AEdred restored them. The abbey was then built, and became afterwards richly endowed. For six centuries it was one of the great religious houses of this part of England; and the Benedictines, true to their creed, toiled every day in the fields as well as prayed in the church. They began the day by religious services; then assembled in the chapter-house, where each was allotted his task and tools, and after a brief prayer they silently marched out in double file to the fields. From Easter until October they were thus occupied from six in the morning until ten o'clock, and sometimes until noon. Thus they promoted thrift, and as their settlement extended it became the centre of a rich agricultural colony, for they often, as their lands expanded, let them out to farmers. A short distance from Abingdon is Radley, which was formerly the manor of the abbey, and contains a beautiful little church, wealthy in its stores of rich woodwork and stained glass; it stands in the middle of the woods in a charming situation, with picturesque elm trees overhanging the old Tudor building. Radley House is now a training-school for Oxford, and it has a swimming-school attached, in which have been prepared several of the most famous Oxford oarsmen, swimming being here regarded as a necessary preliminary to boating. Near by is Bagley Wood, the delicious resort of the Oxonians which Dr. Arnold loved so well. The village of Sunningwell, not far from Radley, also has a church, and before its altar is the grave of Dean Fell, once its rector, who died of grief on hearing of the execution of Charles I. From the tower of this church Friar Bacon, the hero of the story of the brazen head, is said to have made astronomical observations: this renowned friar, Roger Bacon, has come down to us as the most learned man that Oxford ever produced. Bacon's Study was near the Folly Bridge, across the Thames on the road to Oxford, and it survived until 1779, when it was taken down. Among the many legends told of Bacon is one that he used such skill and magic in building the tower containing this study that it would have fallen on the head of any one more learned than himself who might pass under it. Hence, freshmen on their arrival at Oxford are carefully warned not to walk too near the Friar's Tower. Bacon overcame the greatest obstacles in the pursuit of knowledge; he spent all his own money and all that he could borrow in getting books and instruments, and then, renouncing the world, he became a mendicant monk of the order of St. Francis. His Opus Majus—to publish which he and his friends pawned their goods—was an epitome of all the knowledge of his time.

Other famous men came also from Abingdon. Edmund Rich, who did so much to raise the character of Oxford in its earlier days, was born there about the year 1200; his parents were very poor, and his father sought refuge in Eynsham Abbey. We are told that his mother was too poor to furnish young Rich "with any other outfit than his horsehair shirt, which she made him promise to wear every Wednesday, and which probably had been the cause of his father's retirement from their humble abode." Rich went from Eynsham to Oxford, and soon became its most conspicuous scholar; then he steadily advanced until he died the Archbishop of Canterbury. Chief-Justice Holt, who reformed the legal procedure of England, was also a native of Abingdon; he admitted prisoners to some rights, protected defendants in suits, and had the irons stricken off the accused when brought into court, for in those days of the cruel rule of Judge Jeffreys the defendant was always considered guilty until adjudged innocent. Holt originated the aphorism that "slaves cannot breathe in England:" this was in the famous Somerset case, where a slave was sold and the vendor sued for his money, laying the issues at Mary-le-Bow in London, and describing the negro as "there sold and delivered." The chief-justice said that the action was not maintainable, as the status of slavery did not exist in England. If, however, the claim had been laid in Virginia, he said he would have been obliged to allow it; so that the decision was practically on technical grounds. Lord Campbell sums up Holt's merits as a judge by saying that he was not a statesman like Clarendon, or a philosopher like Bacon, or an orator like Mansfield, yet his name is held in equal veneration with theirs, and some think him the most venerated judge that ever was chief-justice. There is a really good story told of him by Lord Campbell. In his younger days Holt was travelling in Oxfordshire, and stopped at an inn where the landlady's daughter had an illness inducing fits. She appealed to him, and he promised to work a cure: which he did by writing some Greek words on a piece of parchment and telling her to let her daughter wear the charm around her neck. Partly from the fact that the malady had spent itself, and possibly also from the effect of her imagination, the girl entirely recovered. Years rolled on and he became the lord chief-justice, when one day a withered old woman was brought before the assizes for being a witch, and it was proven that she pretended to cure all manner of cattle diseases, and with a charm that she kept carefully wrapped in a bundle of rags. The woman told how the charm many years before had cured her daughter, and when it was unfolded and handed to the judge he remembered the circumstance, recognized his talisman, and ordered her release.


As we continue the journey down the Thames the shores on either hand seem cultivated like gardens, with trim hedgerows dividing them, pretty villages, cottages gay with flowers and evergreens, spires rising among the trees; and the bewitching scene reminds us of Ralph Waldo Emerson's tribute to the English landscape, that "it seems to be finished with the pencil instead of the plough." The surface of the river is broken by numerous little "aits" or islands. We pass the little old house and the venerable church embosomed in the rural beauties of Clifton-Hampden. We pass Wallingford and Goring, and come to Pangbourne and Whitchurch, where the little river Pang flows in between green hills. Each village has the virtue that Dr. Johnson extolled when he said that "the finest landscape in the world is improved by a good inn in the foreground." Then we come to Mapledurham and Purley, where Warren Hastings lived, and finally halt at Caversham, known as the port of Reading. Here the Thames widens, and here in the olden time was the little chapel with a statue of the Virgin known as the "Lady of Caversham," which was reputed to have wrought many miracles and was the shrine for troops of pilgrims. In Cromwell's day the chapel was pulled down, and the statue, which was plated over with silver, was boxed up and sent to the Lord Protector in London. They also had here many famous relics, among them the spear-head that pierced the Saviour's side, which had been brought there by a "one-winged angel." The officer who destroyed the chapel, in writing a report of the destruction to Cromwell, expressed his regret at having missed among the relics "a piece of the holy halter Judas was hanged withal." Lord Cadogan subsequently built Caversham House for his residence. Reading, which is the county-town of Berkshire, is not far away from Caversham, and is now a thriving manufacturing city, its most interesting relic being the hall of the ancient Reading Abbey, built seven hundred years ago. It was one of the wealthiest in the kingdom, and several parliaments sat in the hall. The ruins, still carefully preserved, show its extent and fine Norman architecture.

The Thames flows on past Sonning, where the Kennet joins it, a stream "for silver eels renowned," as Pope tells us. Then the Lodden comes in from the south, and we enter the fine expanse of Henley Reach, famous for boat-racing. It is a beautiful sheet of water, though the university race is now rowed farther down the river and nearer London, at Putney. Our boat now drifts with the stream through one of the most beautiful portions of the famous river, past Medmenham Abbey and Cliefden to Maidenhead. Here for about ten miles is a succession of beauties of scenery over wood and cliff and water that for tranquil loveliness cannot be surpassed anywhere. Who has not heard of the charming rocks and hanging woods of Cliefden, with the Duke of Westminster's mansion standing on their pinnacle?


We come to Maidenhead and Taplow, with Brunel's masterpiece of bridge-building connecting them, its elliptical brick arches being the broadest of their kind in the kingdom. Below this, as beauties decrease, we are compensated by scenes of greater historical interest. Near Maidenhead is Bisham Abbey, the most interesting house in Berkshire. It was originally a convent, and here lived Sir Thomas Russel, who at one time was the custodian of the princess Elizabeth. He treated her so well that she warmly welcomed him at court after becoming queen.

Bisham is a favorite scene for artists to sketch. Bray Church, where officiated the famous "Vicar of Bray," Symond Symonds, is below Maidenhead. This lively and politic vicar lived in the troubled times of King Henry VIII., Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. Having seen martyrs burnt at Windsor, but two miles off, he found the fires too hot for his tender temper, and therefore changed his religion whenever events changed his sovereign. When taxed with being a religious changeling, his shrewd answer was, "Not so, for I always keep my principle, which is this—to live and to die the Vicar of Bray." The old church, nestling among the trees, is attractive, and we are told that an ancient copy of Fox's Book of Martyrs, which was chained to the reading-desk in Queen Elizabeth's time, is still preserved here for the edification of the faithful.


Soon the famous Eton College comes into view on the northern bank of the river—an institution dear to the memory of many English schoolboys. The village consists of a long, narrow street which is extended across an iron bridge to Windsor, on the southern bank of the Thames. Henry VI. founded the "College of the Blessed Mary of Eton beside Windsor" as early as 1440. The older parts of the buildings are of red brick, with stone dressings and quaint, highly ornamental chimneys, and they are clustered around two quadrangles. Here are the Lower and Upper Schools and the Long Chamber. About thirty-five years ago fine new buildings were erected in similar style to the old buildings, which provide a beautiful chapel, schools, and library (though books are said to be scarce there), and extensive dormitories. Adjoining them to the north-east are the Playing Fields on the broad green meadows along the river's edge, with noble elms shading them. In the Upper School of the ancient structure high wooden panelling covers the lower part of the walls, deeply scarred with the names of generations of Eton boys crowded closely together. In earlier times all used to cut their names in the wood, but now this sculpturing is only permitted to those who attain a certain position and leave without dishonor. Thus the panelling has become a great memorial tablet, and above it, upon brackets, are busts of some of the more eminent Etonians, including the Duke of Wellington, Pitt, Fox, Hallam, Fielding, and Gray. In the library are kept those instruments of chastisement which are always considered a part of schoolboy training, though a cupboard hides them from view—all but the block whereon the victim kneels preliminary to punishment. More than once have the uproarious boys made successful raids and destroyed this block or carried it off as a trophy. But vigorous switching was more a habit at Eton in former days than it is now. Of Head-master Keate, who was a famous flogger a half century ago, and would frequently practise on a score of boys at one seance, the scholars made a calculation to prove that he spent twice as much time in chastisement as in church, and it is recorded that he once flogged an entire division of eighty boys without an intermission. On another occasion he flogged, by mistake, a party who had been sent him for confirmation. Tall stories are also told of Eton flogging and "rug-riding"—the latter being a process whereby a heavy boy was dragged on a rug over the floors to polish them. Down to 1840 the Eton dinners consisted entirely of mutton, with cold mutton served up for supper, but this regulation diet is now varied with an occasional service of beef and other courses. Games are no inconsiderable part of the English schoolboy's education, and the Duke of Wellington said that in the "Playing Fields" of Eton the battle of Waterloo was won. These fields, "where all unconscious of their doom the little victims play," contain one of the finest cricket-grounds in England. The boys divide themselves into "dry bobs" and "wet bobs," the former devoted to cricket and the latter to boating. The procession of the boats is the great feature of June 4th, the "Speech Day." Of late years the Eton volunteer corps has attained great proficiency, being a battalion of over three hundred of the larger boys. This famous college is one of the preparatory schools for the universities. It is a world in miniature, where the boy finds his own level, and is taught lessons of endurance, patience, self-control, and independence which stand him in good service throughout after-life.


Across the Thames, on the southern bank, the antique and noble towers of Windsor Castle now rise high above the horizon. This is the sovereign's rural court, and is probably the best known by the world of all the English castles. The name is given various derivations: some ascribe it to the river's winding course; others to "Wind us over," in allusion to a rope-ferry there in ancient times; others to "Wind is sore," as the castle stands high and open to the weather. From the Saxon days Windsor has been a fortress, but the present castle owes its beginning to Edward III., who was born at Windsor and built its earliest parts, commencing with the great Round Tower in 1315. The ransoms of two captive kings, John of France and David of Scotland, paid for the two higher wards. It was at Windsor that King Edward instituted the Order of the Garter, which is the highest British order of knighthood. Being impressed with the charms of Alice, Countess of Salisbury, but she resisting his advances, out of the gallantries of their coquetry came the circumstance of the king's picking up her garter dropped at a ball and presenting it to her. Some of the nobles smiled at this, which the king noticing, said, "Honi soit qui mal y pense" ("Evil be to him who evil thinks"), adding that shortly they would see that garter advanced to such high renown as to be happy to wear it. Froissart, in giving the legend telling of this institution of the Garter, says that it arose out of the chivalrous self-denial that leads virtue to subdue passion. Henry VI. was born at Windsor; Edward IV. added St. George's Chapel to the castle; Henry VII. built the Tomb House, and Henry VIII. the gateway to the Lower Ward; Queen Elizabeth added the gallery of the north terrace; and in Charles II.'s reign the fortress, which it had been until that time, was converted into a sort of French palace. Thus it remained until George IV., in 1824, thoroughly restored it at a cost of $7,500,000. The great gateways are known as Henry VIII.'s, St. George's, and King George IV.'s, while within is the Norman or Queen Elizabeth's Gate. The Round Tower or Keep was built for the assemblage of a fraternity of knights which King Edward intended to model after King Arthur's "Knights of the Round Table," but the project was abandoned after the institution of the Order of the Garter.

The Round Tower stands upon an artificial mound, and what was formerly its surrounding ditch is now a sunken garden. From its commanding battlements twelve counties can be seen, and the Prince of Wales is constable of this tower, as indeed of the whole castle. This fine old keep was the castle-prison from the time of Edward III. to that of Charles II. The poet-king, James I. of Scotland, captured when ten years old by Henry IV., was the first prisoner of note. Here he fell in love with Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Duke of Somerset, and he tells in a quaint poem the romance which ended in her becoming his queen. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, brought to the block by Henry VIII., was also confined there, and he too lamented his captivity in poetry. From the top of the keep the dome of St. Paul's in London can be seen. The castle was mercilessly plundered in the Civil Wars, till Cromwell interfered for its protection. In its present condition the castle has three grand divisions in the palatial parts—the state apartments, looking north; the queen's private apartments, looking east; and the visitors' apartments, looking south. The south and east sides of the quadrangle contain over three hundred and seventy rooms. Southward of the castle is the Windsor Great Park, to which the "Long Walk," said to be the finest avenue of the kind in Europe, runs in a straight line for three miles from the principal entrance of the castle to the top of a commanding eminence in the park called Snow Hill. Double rows of stately elms border the "Long Walk" on either hand, and it terminates at the fine bronze equestrian statue of George III., standing on the highest part of Snow Hill.

St. George's Chapel, a beautiful structure of the Perpendicular Gothic, was begun four hundred years ago, and contains the tomb of Edward IV., who built it. In 1789, more than three hundred years after his interment, the leaden coffin of the king was found in laying a new pavement. The skeleton is said to have been seven feet long, and Horace Walpole got a lock of the king's hair. Here also lie Henry VI., Henry VIII., and Charles I. The latter's coffin was opened in 1813, and the king's remains were found in fair preservation. The close companionship of Henry VIII. and Charles in death is thus described by Byron:

"Famed for contemptuous breach of sacred ties, By headless Charles see heartless Henry lies."

The tradition of "Herne the Hunter," which Shakespeare gives in the Merry Wives of Windsor, is said to be founded on the fact that Herne, a keeper of Windsor Forest, having committed some offence, hanged himself upon an oak tree. His ghost afterwards was to be seen, with horns on its head, walking round about this oak in the neighborhood of the castle.


Just below Windsor the Thames passes between Runnimede, the "Meadow of Council," where the barons encamped, and Magna Charta Island, where King John signed the great charter of English liberty. The river sweeps in a tranquil bend around the wooded isle, where a pretty little cottage has been built which is said to contain the very stone whereon the charter was signed. The river Coln falls into the Thames, and "London Stone" marks the entrance to Middlesex and the domain of the metropolis. We pass Staines and Chertsey, where the poet Cowley lived, and then on the right hand the river Wey comes in at Weymouth. Many villages are passed, and at a bend in the Thames we come to the place where Caesar with his legions forded the river at Cowey Stakes, defeated Cassivelaunus, and conquered Britain. In his Commentaries Julius Caesar writes that he led his army to the Thames, which could be crossed on foot at one place only, and there with difficulty. On arriving, he perceived great forces of the enemy drawn up on the opposite bank, which was fortified by sharp stakes set along the margin, a similar stockade being fixed in the bed of the river and covered by the stream. These facts being ascertained from prisoners and deserters, Caesar sent the cavalry in front and ordered the legions to follow immediately. The soldiers advanced with such impetuosity, although up to their necks in the water, that the Britons could not withstand the onset and fled. A couple of miles below, at Hampton, Garrick lived in a mansion fronted by a rotunda with a Grecian portico. We pass Hampton Court and Bushey Park, which revive memories of Wolsey, Cromwell, and William III., and then on the opposite bank see the two charming Dittons—"Thames" and "Long" Ditton—of which Theodore Hook has written:

"When sultry suns and dusty streets proclaim town's 'winter season,' And rural scenes and cool retreats sound something like high treason, I steal away to shades serene which yet no bard has hit on, And change the bustling, heartless scene for quietude and Ditton.

"Here, in a placid waking dream, I'm free from worldly troubles, Calm as the rippling silver stream that in the sunshine bubbles; And when sweet Eden's blissful bowers some abler bard has writ on, Despairing to transcend his powers, I'll ditto say for Ditton."

Then we pass Kingston, where several Saxon kings were crowned, and the coronation-stone, marked with their names, it is said, still remains in the market-place. Teddington Lock is the last upon the Thames, and a mile below is Eel-Pie Island, lying off Twickenham, renowned for the romance that surrounds its ancient ferry. Near here lived the eccentric Horace Walpole, at Strawberry Hill, while in Twickenham Church is the monument to the poet Pope, which states in its inscription that he would not be buried in Westminster Abbey. Pope's villa no longer exists, and only a relic of his famous grotto remains. The widening Thames, properly named the Broadwater, now sweeps on to Richmond, and if that far-famed hill is climbed, it discloses one of the finest river-views in the world.


Here ends the romantic portion of the Thames. The beauty of Nature is no longer present, being overtopped by the stir and roar of the great Babel, for the metropolis has reached out and swallowed up the suburban villages, although some of the picturesque scenes remain. Many bridges span the river, which on either hand gradually transforms its garden-bordered banks into the city buildings, and the Thames itself bears on its bosom the valuable commerce that has chiefly made the great capital. When King James I. threatened recalcitrant London with the removal of his court to Oxford, the lord mayor sturdily yet sarcastically replied, "May it please Your Majesty, of your grace, not to take away the Thames too?" This river, so beautiful in its upper loveliness, stands alone in the far-reaching influence of the commerce that its lower waters bear. It has borne us from the Cotswolds to London; while to properly describe the great city would take volumes in itself. Without attempting such a task, we will only give a brief summary of some of the more striking objects of interest that the great British metropolis presents.

The origin of the vast city whose population now approximates four millions is obscure. It was a British settlement before the Romans came to England, and its name of Llyn Dyn, the "City of the Lake," was transformed by the conquerors into Londinium. When Caesar crossed the Thames he thought the settlement of too little importance for mention, and it does not seem to have been occupied as a Roman station until a century afterwards, and was not walled round until A.D. 306. The old wall was about three miles in circumference, beginning near the present site of the Tower, and some slight traces of it remain. The "London Stone" on Cannon Street was the central stone or milliarium from which distances were measured and the great Roman highways started. A worn fragment of this stone, protected by iron bars, now stands against the wall of St. Swithin's Church. When Jack Cade entered London, Shakespeare tells us, he struck his sword on this stone and exclaimed, "Now is Mortimer lord of this city." Wren caused it to be encased, for protection, with a new stone hollowed for the purpose; it now stands very near its original position. London in the sixth century became the capital of the Saxon kingdom of Essex, and in the ninth century the Danes destroyed it. King Alfred a few years afterwards rebuilt London, but it stood barely seven years when it was burned. Finally, it was again rebuilt, and again captured by the Danes, Canute setting himself up as king there. Some relics of these Danes remain. St. Olaf was their saint, and Tooley Street is but a corruption of his name. They had a church and burial-place where now St. Clement-Danes stands awry on the Strand—a church that is of interest not only on its own account, but for the venerable antiquity it represents. The Saxons drove out the Danes, and the Normans in turn conquered the Saxons, the Tower of London coming down to us as a relic of William the Conqueror, who granted the city the charter which is still extant. Henry I. gave it a new charter, which is said to have been the model for Magna Charta. In the twelfth century London attained the dignity of having a lord mayor. It sided with the House of York in the Wars of the Roses, and in Elizabeth's reign had about one hundred and fifty thousand population, being then about two miles south of Westminster, with fields between, and having the Tower standing apart from the city farther down the Thames. The plague devastated it in 1665, carrying off sixty thousand persons, and next year the Great Fire occurred, which destroyed five-sixths of the city within the walls, and burned during four days. This fire began at Pudding Lane, Monument Yard, and ended at Pie Corner, Giltspur Street. To commemorate the calamity the Monument was erected on Fish Street Hill, on the site of St. Margaret's Church, which was destroyed. It is a fluted Doric column of Portland stone, erected by Wren at a cost of $70,000, and is two hundred and two feet high. The inscriptions on the pedestal record the destruction and restoration of the city; and down to the year 1831 there was also an inscription untruthfully attributing the fire to "the treachery and malice of the popish faction;" this has been effaced, and to it Pope's couplet alluded:

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

A vase of flames forty two feet high, made of gilt bronze, crowns the apex, up to which leads a winding staircase of three hundred and forty-five steps. The structure has often been compared to a lighted candle, and the balcony at the top, having been selected as a favorite place for suicides to jump from, is now encaged with iron-work to prevent this.

London was rebuilt in four years after the Great Fire, and the first stone of the new St. Paul's was laid in 1675, when the city had, with the outlying parishes, a half million population. Its growth was slow until after the American Revolution, and it began the present century with about eight hundred thousand people. The past seventy years have witnessed giant strides, and it has made astonishing progress in the elegance of its parks and new streets and the growth of adornments and improvements of all kinds. London has become, in fact, a world within itself.


Among a multitude of famous objects in London, three stand out boldly prominent—St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower. St. Paul's, the cathedral church of the bishops of London, is the finest building in the Italian style in Great Britain; but, unfortunately, in consequence of the nearness of the surrounding houses, no complete general view is attainable. The first church was built there by King Ethelbert in 610; it was destroyed by fire in the eleventh century, and then old St. Paul's was built, suffering repeatedly from fire and lightning, and being finally destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666. It was a large church, with a spire rising five hundred and twenty feet. The money-lenders and small dealers plied their vocations in its middle aisle, known as Paul's Walk, while tradespeople took possession of the vaults and cloisters, a baker made a hole in a buttress for his bakeoven, and several buildings were planted against the outer walls, one being used as a theatre. The ruins were not disturbed for eight years after the fire, when Wren began rebuilding, the cathedral being finished in thirty-five years. The architect, bishop, and master-mason who laid the corner-stone were all living at the completion—a singular circumstance. Wren got $1000 a year salary, and for this, said the Duchess of Marlborough, he was content to be dragged up to the top in a basket three or four times a week. The building cost $3,740,000, chiefly raised by subscription. It is the fifth of the churches of Christendom in size, being excelled by St. Peter's and the cathedrals at Florence, Amiens, and Milan. In ground plan it is a Latin cross five hundred feet long, with a transept of two hundred and fifty feet in length; the nave and choir are one hundred and twenty-five feet wide and the sides one hundred feet high. The majestic dome, which is the glory of the cathedral, rises three hundred and sixty-five feet, and the surmounting lantern carries a gilt copper ball and cross. The grand front towards the west, facing Ludgate Hill, is approached by a double flight of steps from an area which contains a statue of Queen Anne. The portico is in two divisions, with Corinthian columns supporting the pediment, which bears a bas-relief of the conversion of St. Paul, and has a statue of St. Paul at the apex, with statues of St. Peter at the sides. Bell-towers rise from each side of the portico to a height of two hundred and twenty feet, surmounted by domes. The large bell, "Great Paul," which has just been placed in the tower, is the heaviest in England, weighing nearly seventeen tons. Within the cathedral the cupola has a diameter of one hundred and eight feet, and rises two hundred and twenty-eight feet above the pavement; around it runs the famous Whispering Gallery. Beneath the centre of the pavement lie the remains of Lord Nelson in the crypt, for St. Paul's has been made the mausoleum of British heroes on sea and land. Here, among others, are monuments to Napier, Ponsonby, Cornwallis, Nelson, Howe, Collingwood, Pakenham, Sir John Moore, Abercrombie, Rodney, St. Vincent, and also a noble porphyry mausoleum for the Duke of Wellington. Some of the heroes of peace also have monuments in St. Paul's, among them Dr. Johnson, Howard the philanthropist, Sir Astley Cooper the surgeon, Bishop Middleton, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Turner, Rennie the engineer, and also Wren. The memory of the great architect is marked by a marble slab, with the inscription, "Reader, do you ask his monument? Look around."

The outside elevation of the cathedral is of two orders of architecture—the lower, Corinthian, having windows with semicircular headings, while the upper, Composite, has niches corresponding to the windows below. The entablature of each story is supported by coupled pilasters, while the north and south walls are surmounted by balustrades. Each arm of the transept is entered by an external semicircular portico, reached by a lofty staircase. Above the dome is the Golden Gallery, whence there is a grand view around London, if the atmosphere permits, which it seldom does. Above the lantern is the ball, weighing fifty-six hundred pounds; above this the cross, weighing thirty-three hundred and sixty pounds.


This is the most renowned church in England, for in it her sovereigns have been crowned, and many of them buried, from the days of Harold to Victoria, and it contains the graves of her greatest men in statesmanship, literature, science, and art. The abbey is the collegiate church of St. Peter's, Westminster, and stands not far away from the Thames, near Westminster Hall and the Parliament Houses. Twelve hundred years ago its site was an island in the Thames known as Thorney Island, and a church was commenced there by Sebert, king of Essex, but was not completed until three centuries afterwards, in the reign of King Edgar, when it was named the "minster west of St. Paul's," or Westminster. The Danes destroyed it, and Edward the Confessor rebuilt it in the eleventh century. Portions of this church remain, but the present abbey was begun by Henry III. nearly seven hundred years ago, and it was not completed until Edward III.'s time. Henry VII. removed the Lady Chapel, and built the rich chapel at the east end which is named after him. Wren ultimately made radical changes in it, and in 1714, after many changes, the abbey finally assumed its present form and appearance. It has had a great history, the coronations alone that it has witnessed being marked events. They usually were followed by banquets in Westminster Hall, but over $1,300,000 having been wasted on the display and banquet for George IV., they were discontinued afterwards. At Queen Victoria's coronation the crown was imposed in front of the altar before St. Edward's Chapel, the entire nave, choir, and transepts being filled by spectators, and the queen afterwards sitting upon a chair which, with the raised platform bearing it, was covered with a cloth of gold. Here she received the homage of her officers and the nobility. The ancient coronation-chair, which is probably the greatest curiosity in the abbey, is a most unpretentious and uncomfortable-looking old high-backed chair with a hard wooden seat. Every sovereign of England has been crowned in it since Edward I. There is a similar chair alongside it, the duplicate having been made for the coronation of William and Mary, when two chairs were necessary, as both king and queen were crowned and vested with equal authority. Underneath the seat of the coronation-chair is fastened the celebrated Stone of Scone, a dark-looking, old, rough, and worn-edged rock about two feet square and six inches thick. All sorts of legends are told of it, and it is said to have been a piece of Jacob's Pillar. Edward I. brought it from Scotland, where many generations had done it reverence, and the old chair was made to contain it in 1297. These priceless accessories of the coronation ceremony, which will some day do service for the Prince of Wales, are kept alongside the tomb of Edward the Confessor, which for centuries has been the shrine of pilgrims, and they are guarded by the graves of scores of England's kings and queens and princes.

The abbey's ground-plan has the form of a Latin cross, which is apsidal, having radiating chapels. Henry VII.'s Chapel prolongs the building eastward from the transept almost as much as the nave extends westward. Cloisters adjoin the nave, and the western towers, built by Wren, rise two hundred and twenty-five feet, with a grand window beneath them. The church is five hundred and thirty feet long. The nave is one hundred and sixty-six feet long and one hundred and two feet high; the choir, one hundred and fifty-five long; the transept, two hundred and three feet long, and on the south arm one hundred and sixty-five feet high. A great rose-window, thirty feet in diameter, is in the north end of the transept, with a fine portico, beneath which is the beautiful gateway of the abbey. In the interior the height of the roof is remarkable, and also the vast number of monuments, there being hundreds of them. Magnificent woodwork in carving and tracery adorns the choir, and its mosaic pavement comes down to us from the thirteenth century, the stones and workmen to construct it having been brought from Rome. The fine stained-glass windows are chiefly modern. But the grand contemplation in Westminster Abbey is the graves of the famous dead that have been gathering there for nearly eight centuries. No temple in the world can present anything like it. Wordsworth has written:

——"Be mine in hours of fear Or grovelling thought to find a refuge here, Or through the aisles of Westminster to roam, Where bubbles burst, and folly's dancing foam Melts if it cross the threshold—where the wreath Of awestruck wisdom droops."

Of the nine chapels surrounding the east end of the abbey, the most interesting are those of Edward the Confessor, beyond the altar, and of Henry VII., at the extreme eastern end. The shrine of King Edward above referred to occupies the centre of his chapel, and was formerly richly inlaid with mosaics and precious stones, which, however, have been carried off. Henry VII.'s Chapel is a fine specimen of the architecture of his time, and the monuments of Queens Elizabeth and Mary of Scotland are in the north and south aisles. In the south transept is the Poets' Corner, with monuments to all the great poets, and here, as well as in nave and choir and the north transept, are monuments of hundreds of illustrious Englishmen. In making these burials there is a sort of method observed. Chaucer's interment in the Poets' Corner in 1400 led the south transept to be devoted to literary men. The north transept is devoted to statesmen, the first distinguished burial there being the elder Pitt in 1778. The organ is on the north side of the nave, and here the eminent musicians repose. In the side chapels the chief nobles are buried, and in the chancel and its adjoining chapels the sovereigns. Isaac Newton in 1727 was the first scientist buried in the nave, and that part has since been devoted to scientific men and philanthropists. Probably the finest tomb in the abbey is that of the elder Pitt, which bears the inscription, "Erected by the King and Parliament as a testimony to the virtues and ability of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, during whose administration, in the reigns of George II. and George III., Divine Providence exalted Great Britain to a height of prosperity and glory unknown to any former age." One of the finest of the stained-glass windows in the nave is the double memorial window in memory of the poets Herbert and Cowper, erected by an American, George W. Childs. George III. and the British sovereigns since his reign have their tombs at Windsor, preferring that noble castle for their last resting-place.

Upon the east side of the abbey is St. Margaret's, the special church of the House of Commons. Its east window contains the celebrated stained-glass representation of the Crucifixion, painted in Holland, which General Monk buried to keep the Puritans from destroying. Sir Walter Raleigh is entombed here, and an American subscription has placed a stained-glass window in the church to his memory, inscribed with these lines by James Russell Lowell:

"The New World's sons, from England's breasts we drew Such milk as bids remember whence we came. Proud of her past, wherefrom our present grew, This window we inscribe with Raleigh's name."


On the northern bank of the Thames, standing in a somewhat elevated position a short distance east of the ancient city-walls, is the collection of buildings known as the Tower. The enclosure covers about twelve acres, encircled by a moat now drained, and a battlemented wall from which towers rise at intervals. Within is another line of walls with towers, called the Inner Ballium, having various buildings interspersed. In the enclosed space, rising high above all its surroundings, is the great square White Tower, which was the keep of the old fortress. Tradition assigns a very early date to this stronghold, but the written records do not go back earlier than William the Conqueror, who built the White Tower about 1078. It was enlarged and strengthened by subsequent kings, and Stephen kept his court there in the twelfth century. The moat was made about 1190. Edward II.'s daughter was born there, and was known as Joan of the Tower. Edward III. imprisoned Kings David of Scotland and John of France there. Richard II. in Wat Tyler's rebellion took refuge in the Tower with his court and nobles, numbering six hundred persons, and in 1399 was imprisoned there and deposed. Edward IV. kept a splendid court in the Tower, and Henry VI., after being twice a prisoner there, died in the Tower in 1471. There also was the Duke of Clarence drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, and the two youthful princes, Edward V. and his brother, were murdered at the instance of Richard III. Henry VII. made the Tower often his residence. Henry VIII. received there in state all his wives before their marriages, and two of them, Anne Boleyn and Catharine Howard, were beheaded there. Here the Protector Somerset, and afterwards Lady Jane Grey, were beheaded. The princess Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower, and James I. was the last English sovereign who lived there. The palace, having become ruinous, was ultimately taken down. The Tower during the eight hundred years it has existed has contained a legion of famous prisoners, and within its precincts Chaucer, who held an office there in Richard II.'s reign, composed his poem The Testament of Love, and Sir Walter Raleigh wrote his History of the World.

The "Yeomen of the Guard," a corps of forty-eight warders, who are meritorious soldiers, dressed in the uniform of Henry VIII.'s reign on state occasions, and at other times wearing black velvet hats and dark-blue tunics, have charge of the exhibition of the Tower. The entrance is in a small building on the western side, where years ago the lions were kept, though they have since been all sent to the London Zoological Garden. From this originated the phrase "going to see the lions." At the centre of the river-front is the "Traitor's Gate," through which persons charged with high treason were formerly taken into the Tower. It is a square building erected over the moat, and now contains a steam pumping-engine. Opposite it is the Bloody Tower, where the young princes were smothered and where Raleigh was confined. Adjoining is the Wakefield Tower, with walls thirteen feet thick. Passing through the Bloody Tower gateway to the interior enclosure, a large number of curious guns are seen, and the Horse Armory at the base of the White Tower is filled with specimens of ancient armor artistically arranged. In this collection the systems of armor can be traced from the time of Edward I. to that of James II., and there are suits that were worn by several famous kings and warriors. Above, in Queen Elizabeth's Armory, is more armor, and also trophies of Waterloo and other battles, and a collection of every kind of weapon in the Tower. There are also specimens of instruments of torture and many other curiosities on exhibition.

The White Tower, which has walls fourteen feet thick in some parts, covers a space one hundred and sixteen by ninety-six feet, and is ninety-two feet high, with turrets at the angles. Each floor is divided into three rooms, with stone partitions seven feet thick. On the second floor is St. John's Chapel, and on the third the council-chamber of the early kings, with a dark, massive timber roof; in this chamber Richard II. resigned his crown; it is now filled with a vast collection of arms. The Salt Tower, which is at an angle of the enclosure, was formerly a prison; and in another part of the grounds is the Jewel House, where the crown jewels are kept; they are in a glass case, protected by an iron cage, and the house was built for them in 1842. Queen Victoria's state crown, made in 1838, after her coronation, is the chief. It consists of diamonds, pearls, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds set in silver and gold, and has a crimson velvet cap with carmine border, lined with white silk. It contains the famous ruby given to Edward the Black Prince by the King of Castile, and which is surrounded by diamonds forming a Maltese cross. The jewels in this crown are one large ruby, one large sapphire, sixteen other sapphires, eleven emeralds, four rubies, one thousand three hundred and sixty-three brilliant diamonds, one thousand two hundred and seventy-three rose diamonds, one hundred and forty-seven table diamonds, and two hundred and seventy-seven pearls. Among the other crowns is St. Edward's crown, of gold embellished with diamonds, used at all coronations, when it is placed upon the sovereign's head by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This crown was stolen from the Tower by Blood in 1761. There are also the Prince of Wales' crown, the queen's crown, the queen's diadem, St. Edward's Staff, four feet seven inches long, made of beaten gold and surmounted by an orb said to contain part of the true cross, and carried before the sovereign at coronation; the royal sceptre (surmounted by a cross), which the archbishop places in the sovereign's right hand at coronation; the rod of equity (surmounted by a dove), which he places in the left hand; several other sceptres; the pointless sword of Mercy, the swords of Justice, and the sacred vessels used at coronation. Here is also the famous Koh-i-noor diamond, the "Mountain of Light," which was taken at Lahore in India. The ancient Martin or Jewel Tower, where Anne Boleyn was imprisoned, is near by; the barracks are on the north side of the Tower, and behind them are the Brick and Bowyer Towers, in the former of which Lady Jane Grey was imprisoned, and in the latter the Duke of Clarence was drowned; but only the basements of the old towers remain. The Tower Chapel, or church of St. Peter's, was used for the cemetery of the distinguished prisoners who were beheaded there, and in its little graveyard lie scores of headless corpses, as well as the remains of several constables of the Tower. In front of it was the place of execution, marked by an oval of dark stones. The Beauchamp Tower stands at the middle of the west side of the fortress, built in the thirteenth century and used as a prison; there are numerous inscriptions and devices on the walls made by the prisoners. Here Lady Jane Grey's husband carved in antique letters "Iane." In the Bell Tower, at the south-western angle, the princess Elizabeth was confined, and in the present century it was the prison of Sir Francis Burdett, committed for commenting in print on the proceedings of the House of Commons. The Tower Subway is a tunnel constructed recently under the Thames from Tower Hill to Tooley Street for passenger traffic. The Duke of Wellington was constable of the Tower at one time, and its barracks are sometimes occupied by as many as eight thousand troops. This ancient fortress always has a profound interest for visitors, and no part of it more than the Water-Gate, leading from the Thames, the noted "Traitor's Gate," through which have gone so many victims of despotism and tyranny—heroes who have passed

"On through that gate, through which before Went Sydney, Russell, Raleigh, Cranmer, More."


The Archbishop of Canterbury, the primate of England, who crowns the sovereigns, has his palace at Lambeth, on the south side of the Thames, opposite Westminster, and its most noted portion is the Lollards' Tower. The Lollards, named from their low tone of singing at interments, were a numerous sect exerting great influence in the fourteenth century. The Church persecuted them, and many suffered death, and their prison was the Lollards' Tower, built in 1435, adjoining the archiepiscopal palace. This prison is reached by a narrow stairway, and at the entrance is a small doorway barely sufficient for one person to pass at a time. The palace itself was built in the days of the Tudors, and the gatehouse of red brick in 1499. The chapel is Early English, its oldest portion built in the thirteenth century. All the Archbishops of Canterbury since that time have been consecrated there. There is a great hall and library, and the history of this famous religious palace is most interesting. At the red brick gatehouse the dole is distributed by the archbishop, as from time immemorial, to the indigent parishioners. Thirty poor widows on three days of the week each get a loaf, meat, and two and a half pence, while soup is also given them and to other poor persons. The archbishops maintain this charity carefully, and their office is the head of the Anglican Church.

Bow Church, or St. Mary-le-Bow on Cheapside, is one of the best known churches of London. It is surmounted by one of the most admired of Wren's spires, which is two hundred and twenty-five feet high. There is a dragon upon the spire nearly nine feet long. It is the sure criterion of a London Cockney to have been born within sound of "Bow Bells." A church stood here in very early times, said to have been built upon arches, from which is derived the name of the Ecclesiastical Court of Arches, the supreme court of the province of Canterbury, a tribunal first held in Bow Church. Another of Wren's noted churches is St. Bride's, on Fleet Street, remarkable for its beautiful steeple, originally two hundred and thirty-four feet high. It has been much damaged by lightning. The east window of St. Bride's is a copy on stained glass of Rubens' painting of "The Descent from the Cross." This church contains several famous tombs.


We will now take a brief view of Westminster, the region of palaces, and first of all pause at the most ancient and famous of them, Whitehall, of which only the Banqueting House remains. This was originally the residence of the Archbishops of York, and here lived Cardinal Wolsey in great splendor until his downfall, when Henry VIII. took Whitehall for his palace and made large additions to the buildings, entering it as a residence with his queen, Anne Boleyn. The sovereigns of England lived in Whitehall for nearly two centuries, and in Charles I.'s reign it contained the finest picture-gallery in the kingdom. This unhappy king was beheaded in front of the Banqueting House, being led to the scaffold out of one of the windows. James II. left Whitehall when he abandoned the kingdom, and accidental fires in the closing years of the seventeenth century consumed the greater part of the buildings. The Banqueting House, which is one hundred and eleven feet long and a fine structure of Portland stone, is all that remains, and it is now used as a royal chapel, where one of the queen's chaplains preaches every Sunday. Rubens' paintings commemorating King James I. are still on the ceiling.

In the district of Whitehall is also the army headquarters and office of the commander-in-chief, the Duke of Cambridge—now known popularly as the "Horse Guards," because in front of it two mounted horsemen stand on duty all day in horse-boxes on either side of the entrance. The clock surmounting the building in its central tower is said to be the standard timekeeper of London for the West End. A carriage-way leads through the centre of the building to St. James Park, a route which only the royal family are permitted to use. Not far away are the other government offices—the Admiralty Building and also "Downing Street," where resides the premier and where the secretaries of state have their offices and the Cabinet meets. Here are the Treasury Building and the Foreign Office, and from this spot England may be said to be ruled. In this neighborhood also is Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police, where the chief commissioner sits and where lost articles are restored to their owners when found in cabs or omnibuses—an important branch of police duty. It obtained its name from being the residence of the Scottish kings when they visited London.


When the palace in Whitehall was destroyed the sovereigns made their residence chiefly at St. James Palace, which stands on the north side of St. James Park. This building is more remarkable for its historical associations than for its architecture. It was originally a leper's hospital, but Henry VIII., obtaining possession of it, pulled down the old buildings and laid out an extensive park, using it as a semi-rural residence called the Manor House. Its gatehouse and turrets were built for him from plans by Holbein. Queen Mary died in it, and in its chapel Charles I. attended service on the morning of his execution, and we are told that he walked from the palace through the park, guarded by a regiment of troops, to Whitehall to be beheaded. Here lived General Monk when he planned the Restoration, and William III. first received the allegiance of the English nobles here in 1688, but it was not used regularly for state ceremonies until Whitehall was burned. From this official use of St. James Palace comes the title of "The Court of St. James." Queen Anne, the four Georges, and William III. resided in the palace, and in its chapel Queen Victoria was married, but she only holds court drawing-rooms and levees there, using Buckingham Palace for her residence. Passing through the gateway into the quadrangle, the visitor enters the Color Court, so called from the colors of the household regiment on duty being placed there. The state apartments are on the south front. The great sight of St. James is the queen's drawing-room in the height of the season, when presentations are made at court. On such occasions the "Yeomen of the Guard," a body instituted by Henry VII., line the chamber, and the "Gentlemen-at-Arms," instituted by Henry VIII., are also on duty, wearing a uniform of scarlet and gold and carrying small battle-axes covered with crimson velvet. Each body has a captain, who is a nobleman, these offices being highly prized and usually changed with the ministry.


We have been to the queen's country-home at Windsor, and will now visit her town-house, Buckingham Palace, which is also in St. James Park. Here stood a plain brick mansion, built in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham, and in which was gathered the famous library of George III., which is now in the British Museum. The house was described as "dull, dowdy, and decent," but in 1825 it was greatly enlarged and improved, and Queen Victoria took possession of the new palace in 1837, and has lived there ever since. Her increasing family necessitated the construction of a large addition in 1846, and a few years afterwards the Marble Arch, which till then formed the entrance, was moved from Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park, and a fine ball-room constructed instead. This palace contains a gorgeously-decorated throne-room and a fine picture-gallery, the grand staircase leading up to the state-apartments being of marble. The gardens of Buckingham Palace cover about forty acres: in them are a pavilion and an attractive chapel, the latter having been formerly a conservatory. At the rear of the palace, concealed from view by a high mound, are the queen's stables or mews, so called because the royal stables were formerly built in a place used for keeping falcons. In these stables is the gaudily-decorated state coach, built in 1762 at a cost of $38,000. Marlborough House, the town-residence of the Prince of Wales, adjoins St. James Palace, but is not very attractive. It was originally built for the first Duke of Marlborough, who died in it, and is said to have been designed by Wren, having afterwards been enlarged when it became a royal residence.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse