England, Picturesque and Descriptive - A Reminiscence of Foreign Travel
by Joel Cook
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Standing on the west side of the Kensington Gardens is the plain, irregular red brick structure known as Kensington Palace, which was originally Lord Chancellor Finch's house. William III bought it from his grandson, and greatly enlarged it. Here died William and Mary, Queen Anne, and George II., and here Victoria was born. Perhaps the most interesting recent event that Kensington Palace has witnessed was the notification to this princess of the death of William IV. He died on the night of June 19, 1837, and at two o'clock the next morning the Archbishop of Canterbury and the lord chamberlain set out to announce the event to the young sovereign. They reached Kensington Palace about five o'clock, early, but in broad daylight, and they knocked and rang and made a commotion for a considerable time before they could arouse the porter at the gate. Being admitted, they were kept waiting in the courtyard, and then, seeming to be forgotten by everybody, they turned into a lower room and again rang and pounded. Servants appearing, they desired that an attendant might be sent to inform the princess that they requested an audience on business of importance. Then there was more delay, and another ringing to learn the cause, which ultimately brought the attendant, who stated that the princess was in such a sweet sleep she could not venture to disturb her. Thoroughly vexed, they said, "We are come to the queen on business of state, and even her sleep must give way to that." This produced a speedy result, for, to prove that it was not she who kept them waiting, Victoria in a few minutes came into the room in a loose white nightgown and shawl, with her hair falling upon her shoulders and her feet in slippers, shedding tears, but perfectly collected. She immediately summoned her council at Kensington Palace, but most of the summonses were not received by those to whom they were sent till after the early hour fixed for the meeting. She sat at the head of the table, and, as a lady who was then at court writes, "she received first the homage of the Duke of Cumberland, who was not King of Hanover when he knelt to her; the Duke of Sussex rose to perform the same ceremony, but the queen with admirable grace stood up, and, preventing him from kneeling, kissed him on the forehead. The crowd was so great, the arrangements were so ill made, that my brothers told me the scene of swearing allegiance to their young sovereign was more like that of the bidding at an auction than anything else."


The finest of all the public buildings of the British government in London, the Houses of Parliament, are on the bank of the Thames in Westminster, and are of modern construction. The old Parliament Houses were burnt nearly fifty years ago, and Sir Charles Barry designed the present magnificent palace, which covers nearly eight acres and cost $20,000,000. The architecture is in the Tudor style, and the grand facade stretches nine hundred and forty feet along a terrace fronting on the Thames. It is richly decorated with statues of kings and queens and heraldic devices, and has two pinnacled towers at each end and two in the centre. At the northern end one of the finest bridges across the Thames—the Westminster Bridge—is built, and here rises the Clock Tower, forty feet square and three hundred and twenty feet high, copied in great measure from a similar tower at Bruges. A splendid clock and bells are in the tower, the largest bell, which strikes the hours, weighing eight tons and the clock-dials being thirty feet in diameter. The grandest feature of this palace, however, is the Victoria Tower, at the south-western angle, eighty feet square and three hundred and forty feet high. Here is the sovereign's entrance to the House of Peers, through a magnificent archway sixty-five feet high and having inside the porch statues of the patron saints of the three kingdoms—St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick—and one of Queen Victoria, between the figures of Justice and Mercy. From the centre of the palace rises a spire over the dome of the Central Hall three hundred feet high. In constructing the palace the old Westminster Hall has been retained, so that it forms a grand public entrance, leading through St. Stephen's Porch to St. Stephen's Hall, which is ninety-five feet long and fifty-six feet high, where statues have been placed of many of the great statesmen and judges of England. From this a passage leads to the Central Hall, an octagonal chamber seventy feet across and seventy-five feet high, with a beautiful groined roof. Corridors adorned with frescoes stretch north and south from this Central Hall to the House of Commons and the House of Peers. The former is sixty-two feet long, and constructed with especial attention to acoustics, but it only has seats for a little over two-thirds of the membership of the House, and the others must manage as they can. The Speaker's chair is at the north end, and the ministers sit on his right hand and the opposition on the left. Outside the House are the lobbies, where the members go on a division. The interior of the House is plain, excepting the ceiling, which is richly decorated. The House of Peers is most gorgeously ornamented, having on either side six lofty stained-glass windows with portraits of sovereigns, these windows being lighted at night from the outside. The room is ninety-one feet long, and at each end has three frescoed archways representing religious and allegorical subjects. Niches in the walls contain statues of the barons who compelled King John to sign Magna Charta. There are heraldic devices on the ceilings and walls, and the throne stands at the southern end. The "Woolsack," where sits the lord chancellor, who presides over the House, is a seat near the middle of the room, covered with crimson cloth. When the sovereign comes to the palace and enters the gateway at the Victoria Tower, she is ushered into the Norman Porch, containing statues and frescoes representing the Norman sovereigns, and then enters the Robing Room, splendidly decorated and having frescoes representing the legends of King Arthur. When the ceremony of robing is completed, she proceeds to the House of Peers through the longest room in the palace, the Victoria Gallery, one hundred and ten feet long and forty-five feet wide and high. Historical frescoes adorn the walls and the ceiling is richly gilded. This gallery leads to the Prince's Chamber, also splendidly decorated, and having two doorways opening into the House of Peers, one on each side of the throne. In this palace for six months in every year the British Parliament meets.


When the Marble Arch was taken from Buckingham Palace, it was removed to Hyde Park, of which it forms one of the chief entrances at Cumberland Gate. This magnificent gate, which cost $400,000, leads into probably the best known of the London parks, the ancient manor of Hyde. It was an early resort of fashion, for the Puritans in their time complained of it as the resort of "most shameful powdered-hair men and painted women." It covers about three hundred and ninety acres, and has a pretty sheet of water called the Serpentine. The fashionable drive is on the southern side, and here also is the famous road for equestrians known as Rotten Row, which stretches nearly a mile and a half. On a fine afternoon in the season the display on these roads is grand. In Hyde Park are held the great military reviews and the mass-meetings of the populace, who occasionally display their discontent by battering down the railings. At Hyde Park Corner is a fine entrance-gate, with the Green Park Gate opposite, surmounted by the Wellington bronze equestrian statue. The most magnificent decoration of Hyde Park is the Albert Memorial, situated near the Prince's Gate on the southern side. The upper portion is a cross, supported by three successive tiers of emblematic gilt figures, and at the four angles are noble groups representing the four quarters of the globe. This was the masterpiece of Sir Gilbert Scott, and is considered the most splendid monument of modern times. It marks the site of the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851, in which Prince Albert took great interest: there are upon it one hundred and sixty-nine life-size portrait figures of illustrious artists, composers, and poets, while under the grand canopy in the centre is the seated figure of the prince. Opposite is the Royal Albert Hall, and behind this the magnificent buildings of the South Kensington Museum, which grew out of the Exhibition of 1851, and the site for which was bought with the surplus fund of that great display. This is a national museum for art and manufactures allied to art. Its collections are becoming enormous and of priceless value, and include many fine paintings, among them Raphael's cartoons, with galleries of sculpture and antiquities and museums of patent models. There are art-schools and libraries, and the buildings, which have been constructing for several years, are of rare architectural merit. The Royal Albert Hall is a vast amphitheatre of great magnificence devoted to exhibitions of industry, art, and music. It is of oval form, and its external frieze and cornice are modelled after the Elgin Marbles. Opposite it are the gardens of the Horticultural Society.


Going down into the heart of the old city of London, and standing in the street called the Poultry, the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange are seen over on the other side, with Threadneedle Street between them, and Lombard Street on the right hand, the region that controls the monetary affairs of the world. Turning round, the Mansion House is behind the observer, this being the lord mayor's residence and the head-quarters of the city government. The Royal Exchange has been thrice built and twice burned—first in the great fire of 1666, and afterwards in 1838. The present Exchange, costing $900,000, was opened in 1844, and is three hundred and eight feet long, with a fine portico on the western front ninety-six feet wide, and supported by twelve columns, each forty-one feet high. Within is an open area surrounded by an arcade, while at the rear is Lloyds, the underwriters' offices, where the business of insuring ships is transacted in a hall ninety-eight feet long and forty feet wide. Wellington's statue stands in front of the Exchange, and in the middle of the central area is a statue of Queen Victoria. The Bank of England, otherwise known as the "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street," covers a quadrangular space of about four acres, with a street on each side. It is but one story high, and has no windows on the outside, the architecture being unattractive. The interior is well adapted for the bank offices, which are constructed around nine courts. The bank has been built in bits, and gradually assumed its present size and appearance. It was founded in 1691 by William Paterson, but it did not remove to its present site until 1734. Its affairs are controlled by a governor, deputy governor, and twenty-four directors, and the bank shares of $500 par, paying about ten per cent. dividends per annum, sell at about $1400. It regulates the discount rate, gauging it so as to maintain its gold reserves, and it also keeps the coinage in good order by weighing every coin that passes through the bank, and casting out the light ones by an ingenious machine that will test thirty-five thousand in a day. It also prints its own notes upon paper containing its own water-mark, which is the chief reliance against forgery. The bank transacts the government business in connection with the British public debt of about $3,850,000,000, all in registered stock, and requiring two hundred and fifty thousand separate accounts to be kept. Its deposits aggregate at least $130,000,000, and its capital is $72,765,000. The bank is the great British storehouse for gold, keeping on deposit the reserves of the joint-stock banks and the private bankers of London, and it will have in its vaults at one time eighty to one hundred millions of dollars in gold in ingots, bullion, or coin, this being the basis on which the entire banking system of England is conducted. It keeps an accurate history of every bank-note that is issued, redeeming each note that comes back into the bank in the course of business, and keeping all the redeemed and cancelled notes. The earliest notes were written with a pen, and from this they have been improved until they have become the almost square white pieces of paper of to-day, printed in bold German text, that are so well known, yet are unlike any other bank-notes in existence. Around the large elliptical table in the bank parlor the directors meet every Thursday to regulate its affairs, and—not forgetting they are true Englishmen—eat a savory dinner, the windows of the parlor looking out upon a little gem of a garden in the very heart of London. The Mansion House, built in 1740, is fronted by a Corinthian portico, with six fluted columns and a pediment of allegorical sculpture. Within is the Egyptian Hall, where the lord mayor fulfils what is generally regarded as his chief duty, the giving of grand banquets. He can invite four hundred persons to the tables in this spacious hall, which is ornamented by several statues by British sculptors, over $40,000 having been expended for its ornamentation. The lord mayor also has a ball-room and other apartments, including his Venetian parlor and the justice room where he sits as a magistrate. From the open space in front of the Mansion House diverge streets running to all parts of London and the great bridges over the Thames.


The four Inns of Court in London have been described as the palladiums of English liberty—the Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn, and Gray's Inn. There are over three thousand barristers members of these Inns, and the best known is probably Lincoln's Inn, which is named after De Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, who died in 1312, and had his house on its site, his device, the lion rampant, being adopted by the Inn. The ancient gatehouse, which opens from Chancery Lane, is nearly four hundred years old. The Inn has an old hall dating from 1506, and also a fine modern hall, the Newcastle House, one hundred and twenty feet long, built in Tudor style, with stained-glass windows and having life-size figures of several eminent members in canopied niches. Here is Hogarth's celebrated picture of "Paul before Felix." The Inn has a valuable library, and among its members has counted More, Hale, Selden, Mansfield, and Hardwicke.

Across Fleet Street, and between it and the Thames, is the Temple, a lane dividing it into the Inner and the Middle Temple, while obstructing Fleet Street there was the old Temple Bar, one of the ancient city gates, which has recently been removed. The name is derived from the Knights Templar, who existed here seven centuries ago; and they afterwards gave the site to certain law-students who wished to live in the suburbs away from the noise of the city. Here in seclusion, for the gates were locked at night, the gentlemen of these societies in a bygone age were famous for the masques and revels given in their halls. Kings and judges attended them, and many were the plays and songs and dances that then enlivened the dull routine of the law. The Inner Temple has for its device a winged horse, and the Middle Temple a lamb. Some satirist has written of these—

"Their clients may infer from thence How just is their profession: The lamb sets forth their innocence, The horse their expedition."

Here is the old Templar Church of St. Mary, built in 1185 and enlarged in 1240. Formerly, the lawyers waited for their clients in this ancient church. During recent years England has erected magnificent buildings for her law courts. The new Palace of Justice fronts about five hundred feet on the Strand, near the site of Temple Bar, which was taken away because it impeded the erection of the new courts, and they cover six acres, with ample gardens back from the street, the wings extending about five hundred feet northward around them. A fine clock-tower surmounts the new courts. In this part of the Strand are many ancient structures, above which the Palace of Justice grandly towers, and some of them have quaint balconies overlooking the street.

While in old London the feasting that has had so much to do with the municipal corporation cannot be forgotten, and on Bishopsgate Street we find the scene of many of the famous public dinners, savory with turtle-soup and whitebait—the London Tavern. Not far distant, and on the same street, is Sir Paul Pindar's House, a quaint structure, now falling into decay, that gives an excellent idea of mediaeval domestic architecture.


Fronting upon Great Russell Street, to which various smaller streets lead northward from Oxford Street, is that vast treasure-house of knowledge whose renown is world-wide, the British Museum. The buildings and their courtyards cover seven acres, and have cost nearly $5,000,000 to construct. The front is three hundred and seventy feet long, the entrance being under a grand portico supported by rows of columns forty-five feet high. This vast museum originated from a provision in the will of Sir Hans Sloane in the last century, who had made a valuable collection and directed that it be sold to the government for $100,000. Parliament, accepting the offer, in 1753 created the museum to take charge of this and some other collections. The present site, then Montagu House, was selected for the museum, but it was not until 1828 that the present buildings were begun, and they have only recently been finished. The reading-room, the latest addition, is the finest structure of its kind in the world, being a circular hall one hundred and forty feet in diameter and covered with a dome one hundred and six feet high. It cost $750,000, and its library is believed to be the largest in the world, containing seven hundred thousand volumes, and increasing at the rate of twenty thousand volumes annually. Its collection of prints is also of rare value and vast extent, and by far the finest in the world.


Let us now take a brief glance at some well-known London sights. The two great heroes who are commemorated in modern London are Wellington and Nelson. Trafalgar Square commemorates Nelson's death and greatest victory, the Nelson Column standing in the centre, with Landseer's colossal lions reposing at its base. Passing eastward along the Strand, beyond Charing Cross and Somerset House, we come to Wellington Street, which leads to Waterloo Bridge across the Thames. This admirable structure, the masterpiece of John Rennie, cost $5,000,000, and was opened on the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo in 1817. It is of granite, and with the approaches nearly a half mile long, crossing the river upon nine arches, each of one hundred and twenty feet span. Passing westward from Trafalgar Square, we enter Pall Mall, perhaps the most striking of the London streets in point of architecture. Here are club-houses and theatres, statues and columns, and the street swarms with historical associations. On the south side are the Reform and Carlton Clubs, the headquarters respectively of the Liberal and Conservative parties, and a little beyond, on the same side, the row of buildings of all sizes and shapes making up the War Office. Among them is a quaint old Queen-Anne mansion of brick, with a curious pediment and having many windows. This is Schomberg House, shorn of one wing, but still retained among so much that is grand around it. Also in Pall Mall is Foley's celebrated statue of Sidney Herbert, one of the most impressive in London—the head drooped sadly and reflectively, indicating that it is the image of a conscientious war-minister, who, overweighted with the responsibility of his office, was cut off prematurely. Although not one of the greatest men of England, Herbert's fame will be better preserved by his finer statue than that of many men who have filled a much larger space in her history. Marlborough House has an entrance on Pall Mall, and adjoining its gate is the curious and elaborately decorated building of the Beaconsfield Club. Over the doorway the semicircular cornice does duty for a balcony for the drawing-room windows above. The doorway itself is an imposing archway strangely cut into segments, one forming a window and the other the door.

London contains in the West End many squares surrounded by handsome residences, among them probably the best known being Belgrave, Russell, Bedford, Grosvenor, Hanover, and Cavendish Squares. Eaton Square is said to be the largest of these, Grosvenor Square the most fashionable, and Cavendish Square the most salubrious and best cultivated. The line of streets leading by Oxford Street to the Marble Arch entrance to Hyde Park is London's most fashionable route of city travel, and on Tottenham Court Road, which starts northward from Oxford Street, is the "Bell Inn" at Edmonton. It is not a very attractive house, but is interesting because it was here that Johnny Gilpin and his worthy spouse should have dined when that day of sad disasters came which Cowper has chronicled in John Gilpin's famous ride. The old house has been much changed since then, and is shorn of its balcony, but it has capacious gardens, and is the resort to this day of London holiday-makers. It is commonly known as "Gilpin's Bell," and a painting of the ride is proudly placed outside the inn. Tottenham Court Road goes through Camden Town, and here at Euston Square is the London terminus of the greatest railway in England—the London and North-western Company. Large hotels adjoin the station, and the Underground Railway comes into it alongside the platform, thus giving easy access to all parts of the metropolis. This railway is one of the wonders of the metropolis, and it has cost about $3,250,000 per mile to construct. The original idea seems to have been to connect the various stations of the railways leading out of town, and to do this, and at the same time furnish means of rapid transit from the heart of the city to the suburbs, the railway has been constructed in the form of an irregular ellipse, running all around the city, yet kept far within the built-up portions. It is a double track, with trains running all around both ways, so that the passenger goes wherever he wishes simply by following the circuit, while branch lines extend to the West End beyond Paddington and Kensington. It is constructed not in a continuous tunnel, for there are frequent open spaces, but on a general level lower than that of the greater part of London, and the routes are pursued without regard to the street-lines on the surface above, often passing diagonally under blocks of houses. The construction has taxed engineering skill to the utmost, for huge buildings have had to be shored up, sewers diverted, and, at the stations, vast spaces burrowed underground to get enough room. In this way London has solved its rapid-transit problem, though it could be done only at enormous cost. The metropolis, it will be seen, has no end of attractions, and for the traveller's accommodation the ancient inns are rapidly giving place to modern hotels. Among London's famous hostelries is the "Old Tabard Inn" in the Borough, which will probably soon be swept away.


To describe London, as we said before, would fill a volume, but space forbids lingering longer, and we will pass out of the metropolis, after devoting brief attention to one of its historical mansions, the well-known Holland House. This fine old building of the time of James I. stands upon high ground in the western suburbs of London, and its history is interwoven with several generations of arts, politics, and literature. The house is of red brick, embellished with turrets, gable-ends, and mullioned windows. As its park has already been partly cut up for building-lots, the end of the celebrated mansion itself is believed to be not far off. Built in 1607, it descended to the first Earl of Holland, whence its name. Surviving the Civil Wars, when Fairfax used it for his head-quarters, it is noted that plays were privately performed here in Cromwell's time. In 1716, Addison married the dowager Countess of Holland and Warwick, and the estate passed to him, and he died at Holland House in 1719, having addressed to his stepson, the dissolute Earl of Warwick, the solemn words, "I have sent for you that you may see how a Christian can die." Two years later the young earl himself died. In 1762 the estate was sold to Henry Vassall Fox, Baron Holland, the famous Whig, who died there in 1774. It is related that during his last illness George Selwyn called and left his card. Selwyn had a fondness for seeing dead bodies, and the dying lord remarked, "If Mr. Selwyn calls again, show him up: if I am alive I shall be delighted to see him, and if I am dead he would like to see me." He composed his own epitaph: "Here lies Henry Vassall Fox, Lord Holland, etc., who was drowned while sitting in his elbow-chair." He died in his elbow-chair, of water in the chest. Charles James Fox was his second son, and passed his early years at Holland House. Near the mansion, on the Kensington Road, was the Adam and Eve Inn, where it is said that Sheridan, on his way to and from Holland House, regularly stopped for a dram, and thus ran up a long bill, which Lord Holland ultimately paid.

The house, built like half the letter H, is of red brick with stone finishings, and in the Elizabethan style, with Dutch gardens of a later date. Much of the old-time decorations and furniture remains. The library, a long gallery, forms the eastern wing, and contains a valuable collection, including many manuscripts and autographs. There are fine pictures and sculptures, with old clocks, vases, cabinets, and carvings, and also a celebrated collection of miniatures. For over two centuries it was the favorite resort of wits and beauties, painters and poets, scholars, philosophers, and statesmen. Lord Brougham says that in the time of Vassall, Lord Holland, it was the meeting-place of the Whig party, his liberal hospitality being a great attractive force, and Macaulay writes that it can boast a greater number of inmates distinguished in political and literary history than any other private dwelling in England. After Vassall's death his nephew maintained the reputation of Holland House, dying in 1840, when the estates descended to his only son, the late Lord Holland, who also kept up the character of the mansion. But now, however, the glory of the famous old house is slowly departing, and has chiefly become a fragrant memory.

Eastward from London is the great park which the queen in May opened with much pomp as a breathing-ground for the masses of that densely-populated region, the east end of the metropolis—Epping Forest. This beautiful enclosure originally consisted of nine thousand acres, but encroachments reduced it to about one-third that size. Reclamations were made, however, and the park now opened covers five thousand six hundred acres—a magnificent pleasure-ground.


The river Thames, steadily gathering force after sweeping through London past the docks, and receiving upon its capacious bosom the vast commerce of all the world, encircles the Isle of Dogs (where Henry VIII. kept his hounds) below the city, and at the southern extremity of the reach we come to Greenwich. Here go many holiday-parties to the famous inns, where they get the Greenwich fish-dinners and can look back at the great city they have left. Here the ministry at the close of the session has its annual whitebait dinner. Greenwich was the Roman Grenovicum and the Saxon Green Town. Here encamped the Danes when they overran England in the eleventh century, and their fleet was anchored in the Thames. It became a royal residence in Edward I.'s time, and Henry IV. dated his will at the manor of Greenwich. In 1437, Greenwich Castle was built within a park, and its tower is now used for the Observatory. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, then held Greenwich, and was the regent of England during Henry VI.'s minority. He was assassinated by rivals in 1447, and the manor reverted to the Crown. The palace was enlarged and embellished, and Henry VIII. was born there in 1491. He greatly improved the palace, and made it his favorite residence, Queen Elizabeth being born there in 1533. King Edward VI. died at Greenwich in 1553, and Elizabeth, enlarging the palace, kept a regular court there. It was her favorite summer home, and the chronicler of the time, writing of a visit to the place, says, in describing the ceremonial of Elizabeth's court, that the presence-chamber was hung with rich tapestry, and the floor, after the then fashion, was covered with rushes. At the door stood a gentleman in velvet with a gold chain, who introduced persons of distinction who came to wait upon the queen. A large number of high officials waited for the queen to appear on her way to chapel. Ultimately she came out, attended by a gorgeous escort. She is described as sixty-five years old, very majestic, with an oblong face, fair but wrinkled, small black, pleasant eyes, nose a little hooked, narrow lips, and black teeth (caused by eating too much sugar). She wore false red hair, and had a small crown on her head and rich pearl drops in her ears, with a necklace of fine jewels falling upon her uncovered bosom. Her air was stately, and her manner of speech mild and obliging. She wore a white silk dress bordered with large pearls, and over it was a black silk mantle embroidered with silver thread. Her long train was borne by a marchioness. She spoke graciously to those whom she passed, occasionally giving her right hand to a favored one to kiss. Whenever she turned her face in going along everybody fell on their knees. The ladies of the court following her were mostly dressed in white. Reaching the ante-chapel, petitions were presented her, she receiving them graciously, which caused cries of "Long live Queen Elizabeth!" She answered, "I thank you, my good people," and then went into the service.

King James I. put a new front in the palace, and his queen laid the foundation of the "House of Delight," which is now the central building of the Naval Asylum. King Charles I. resided much at Greenwich, and finished the "House of Delight," which was the most magnificently furnished mansion then in England. King Charles II., finding the palace decayed, for it had fallen into neglect during the Civil Wars, had it taken down, and began the erection of a new palace, built of freestone. In the time of William and Mary it became the Royal Naval Asylum, the magnificent group of buildings now there being extensions of Charles II.'s palace, while behind rises the Observatory, and beyond is the foliage of the park. The asylum was opened in 1705, and consists of quadrangular buildings enclosing a square. In the south-western building is the Painted Hall, adorned with portraits of British naval heroes and pictures of naval victories. The asylum supports about two thousand seven hundred in-pensioners and six thousand out-pensioners, while it has a school with eight hundred scholars. By a recent change the in-pensioners are permitted to reside where they please, and it has lately been converted into a medical hospital for wounded seamen. Its income is about $750,000 yearly. The Greenwich Observatory, besides being the centre whence longitude is reckoned, is also charged with the regulation of time throughout the kingdom.

The Thames, which at London Bridge is eight hundred feet wide, becomes one thousand feet wide at Greenwich, and then it pursues its crooked course between uninteresting shores past Woolwich dockyard, where it is a quarter of a mile wide, and on to Gravesend, where the width is half a mile; then it broadens into an estuary which is eighteen miles wide at the mouth. Almost the only thing that relieves the dull prospect along the lower Thames is Shooter's Hill, behind Woolwich, which rises four hundred and twelve feet. Gravesend, twenty-six miles below London Bridge by the river, is the outer boundary of the port of London, and is the head-quarters of the Royal Thames Yacht Club. Its long piers are the first landing-place of foreign vessels. Gravesend is the head-quarters for shrimps, its fishermen taking them in vast numbers and London consuming a prodigious quantity. This fishing and custom-house town, for it is a combination of both, has its streets filled with "tea-and shrimp-houses."


On the opposite bank of the Thames is Tilbury Fort, the noted fortress that commands the navigation of the river and protects the entrance to London. It dates from Charles II.'s time, fright from De Ruyter's Dutch incursion up the Thames in 1667 having led the government to convert Henry VIII.'s blockhouse that stood there into a strong fortification. It was to Tilbury that Queen Elizabeth went when she defied the Spanish Armada. Leicester put a bridge of boats across the river to obstruct the passage, and gathered an army of eighteen thousand men on shore. Here the queen made her bold speech of defiance, in which she said she knew she had the body of but a weak and feeble woman, but she also had the heart and stomach of a king, and rather than her realm should be invaded and dishonor grow by her, she herself would take up arms. She had then, all told, one hundred and thirty thousand soldiers and one hundred and eighty-one war-vessels, but the elements conquered the "Invincible Armada," barely one-third of it getting back to Spain.

Thus we have traced England's famous river from its source in the Cotswolds until it falls into the North Sea at the mouth of the broad estuary beyond Sheerness and the Nore. Knowing the tale of grandeur that its banks unfold, Wordsworth's feelings can be understood as he halted upon Westminster Bridge in the early morning and looked down the Thames upon London: its mighty heart was still and its houses seemed asleep as the tranquil scene inspired the great poet to write his sonnet:

"Earth has not anything to show more fair; Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This city now doth like a garment wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendor valley, rock, or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will; Dear God! the very houses seem asleep, And all that mighty heart is lying still."



Harrow—St. Albans—Verulam—Hatfield House—Lord Burleigh—Cassiobury—Knebworth—Great Bed of Ware—The river Cam—Audley End—Saffron Walden—Newport—Nell Gwynn—Littlebury—Winstanley—Harwich—Cambridge—Trinity and St. John's Colleges—Caius College—Trinity Hall—The Senate House—University Library—Clare College—Great St. Mary's Church—King's College—Corpus Christi College—St. Catharine's College—Queen's College—The Pitt Press—Pembroke College—Peterhouse—Fitzwilliam Museum—Hobson's Conduit—Downing College—Emmanuel College—Christ's College—Sidney-Sussex College—The Round Church—Magdalene College—Jesus College—Trumpington—The Fenland—Bury St. Edmunds—Hengrave Hall—Ely—Peterborough—Crowland Abbey—Guthlac—Norwich Castle and Cathedral—Stamford—Burghley House—George Inn—Grantham—Lincoln—Nottingham—Southwell—Sherwood Forest—Robin Hood—The Dukeries—Thoresby Hall—Clumber Park—Welbeck Abbey—Newstead Abbey—Newark—Hull—William Wilberforce—Beverley—Sheffield—Wakefield—Leeds—Bolton Abbey—The Strid—Ripon Cathedral—Fountains Abbey—Studley Royal—Fountains Hall—York—Eboracum—York Minster—Clifford's Tower—Castle Howard—Kirkham Priory—Flamborough Head—Scarborough—Whitby Abbey—Durham Cathedral and Castle—St. Cuthbert—The Venerable Bede—Battle of Neville's Cross—Chester-le-Street—Lumley Castle—Newcastle-upon-Tyne—Hexham—Alnwick Castle—Hotspur and the Percies—St. Michael's Church—Hulne Priory—Ford Castle—Flodden Field—The Tweed—Berwick—Holy Isle—Lindisfarne—Bamborough—Grace Darling.


The railway running from London to Edinburgh, and on which the celebrated fast train the "Flying Scotchman" travels between the two capitals, is the longest in Britain. Its route northward from the metropolis to the Scottish border, with occasional digressions, will furnish many places of interest. On the outskirts of London, in the north-western suburbs, is the well-known school founded three hundred years ago by John Lyon at Harrow, standing on a hill two hundred feet high. One of the most interesting towns north of London, for its historical associations and antiquarian remains, is St. Albans in Hertfordshire. Here, on the opposite slopes of a shelving valley, are seen on the one hand the town that has clustered around the ancient abbey of St. Albans, and on the other the ruins of the fortification of Verulam, both relics of Roman power and magnificence. On this spot stood the chief town of the Cassii, whose king, Cassivelaunus, vainly opposed the inroads of Caesar. Here the victorious Roman, after crossing the Thames, besieged and finally overthrew the Britons. The traces of the ancient earthworks are still plainly seen on the banks of the little river Ver, and when the Romans got possession there arose the flourishing town of Verulam, which existed until the British warrior-queen. Boadicea, stung by the oppressions of her race, stormed and captured the place and ruthlessly massacred its people. But her triumph was short lived, for the Romans, gaining reinforcements, recaptured the city. This was in the earlier days of the Christian era, and at a time when Christian persecutions raged. There then lived in Verulam a prominent man named Alban, a young Roman of good family. In the year 303 a persecuted priest named Amphibalus threw himself upon the mercy of Alban, and sought refuge in his house. The protection was granted, and in a few days the exhortations of Amphibalus had converted his protector to Christianity. The officials, getting word of Amphibalus' whereabouts, sent a guard to arrest him, whereupon Alban dismissed his guest secretly, and, wrapping himself in the priest's robe and hood, awaited the soldiers. They seized him, and took him before the magistrates, when the trick was discovered. He was given the alternative of dying or sacrificing to the gods of Rome, but, preferring the crown of martyrdom, after cruel torments he was led to his doom. He was to be taken across the Ver to be beheaded, but miracles appeared. The stream, which had been a-flood, quickly dried up, so that the multitude could pass, and this so touched the executioner that he refused to strike the blow and declared himself also a convert. The executioner's head was quickly stricken off, and another headsman obtained. Alban meanwhile was athirst, and at his prayer a spring broke from the ground for his refreshment. The new executioner struck off Alban's head, but in doing so his eyes dropped from their sockets. On the spot where Alban died the abbey was afterwards built. His martyrdom did not save Amphibalus, who was soon captured and put to death at Redburn, a few miles away, where his relics were afterwards discovered and enshrined, like those of his pupil, in the abbey.

The sacrifice of the protomartyr brought its fruits. Verulam became Christian, and within a century was paying him the honors of a saint. In the eighth century King Offa of Mercia, having treacherously murdered King Ethelbert, became conscience-stricken, and to propitiate Heaven founded the abbey. He built a Benedictine monastery, which was richly endowed, and gradually attracted the town away from Verulam and over to its present site. This monastery existed until the Norman Conquest, when it was rebuilt, the ruins of Verulam serving as a quarry. Thus began the great abbey of St. Albans, which still overlooks the Ver, although it has been materially altered since. It prospered greatly, and the close neighborhood to London brought many pilgrims as well as royal visits. The abbots were invested with great powers and became dictatorial and proud, having frequent contests with the townsfolk; and it is recorded that one young man who applied for admission to the order, being refused on account of his ignorance, went abroad and ultimately became Pope Adrian IV. But he bore the abbot no ill-will, afterwards granting it many favors. Cardinal Wolsey was once the abbot, but did not actively govern it. In 1539 its downfall came, and it surrendered to King Henry VIII. The deed of surrender, signed by thirty-nine monks, is still preserved, and the seal is in the British Museum. The abbey is now in ruins; the church and gateway remain, but the great group of buildings that composed it has mostly disappeared, so that the old monastery is almost as completely effaced as Verulam. But the church, by being bought for $2000 for the St. Albans parish church, is still preserved, and is one of the most interesting ecclesiastical structures in England; yet its great length and massive central tower are rather unfavorable to its picturesqueness, though the tower when seen from a distance impresses by its grandeur and simplicity. In this tower, as well as in other parts of the church, can be detected the ancient bricks from Verulam. The ground-plan of St. Albans Church is a Latin cross, and it is five hundred and forty-eight feet long. The western part was erected in the twelfth, and the greater portion of the nave and choir in the thirteenth century. The floor of the choir is almost paved with sepulchral slabs, though of the two hundred monuments the church once contained barely a dozen remain. At the back of the high altar was the great treasury of the abbey, the shrine enclosing St. Alban's relics, but this was destroyed at the Reformation: some fragments have been since discovered, and the shrine thus reproduced with tolerable completeness. On the side of the chapel is a wooden gallery, with cupboards beneath and a staircase leading up to it. In the shrine and cupboards were the abbey treasures, and in the gallery the monks kept watch at night lest they should be despoiled. This vigilance, we are told, was necessary, for rival abbeys were by no means scrupulous about the means by which they augmented their stores of relics. This quaint gallery, still preserved, is five hundred years old. Near the shrine is the tomb of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, brother of King Henry V. and regent during the minority of Henry VI., who was assassinated at Windsor. The tomb was opened in 1703, and the skeleton found buried among spices and enclosed in two coffins, the outer of lead. The vault remained opened, and visitors purloined good Humphrey's bones till nearly all had disappeared, when the authorities concluded it was better to close up the vault and save what remained. The massive gatehouse, which still exists, was built in Richard II.'s reign, and was used for a jail until not long ago they determined to put a school there. In front of it the martyr Tankerfield was burnt, and buried in 1555 in a little triangular graveyard which still exists. Fox, in his Book of Martyrs, relates that he endured the pain with great constancy, and testified to the last against the errors of his persecutors.

In the town of St. Albans, near the abbey and at the junction of two streets, stands the ancient clock-tower, built in the early part of the fifteenth century, and mainly of flint. It occupies the site of an earlier one said to have been erected by two ladies of Verulam, who, wandering alone in the woods and becoming lost, saw a light in a house, sought refuge there, and erected the tower on the site as a memorial of their deliverance. The bell in this tower was in former days used to ring the curfew. The town itself has little to show. In the church of St. Peter, among the monumental brasses, is the one to a priest often quoted, that reads:

"Lo, all that here I spent, that some time had I; All that I gave in good intent, that now have I; That I neither gave nor lent, that now abie[A] I; That I kept till I went, that lost I."

Edward Strong, the mason who built St. Paul's Cathedral in London under the direction of Wren, is also buried in this church. Its chief tenants, however, are the slain at the second battle of St. Albans in the Wars of the Roses. At the first of these battles, fought in 1455 on the east side of the town, Henry of Lancaster was wounded and captured by the Duke of York. The second battle, a much more important contest, was fought on Shrove Tuesday, February 17, 1461, at Barnard's Heath, north of the town, and near St. Peter's Church. Queen Margaret of Lancaster led her forces in person, and was victorious over the Yorkists under the Earl of Warwick, liberating the captive king, who was in the enemy's camp, and following the battle by a ruthless execution of prisoners. King Henry, who had gone to St. Alban's shrine in tribulation when captured in the earlier contest, also went there again in thanksgiving when thus liberated six years later. The town of St. Albans, by the growth of time, has stretched across the Ver, and one straggling suburb reaches into the north-western angle of the ruins of ancient Verulam, where it clusters around the little church of St. Michael within the Roman city. This is a plain church, built in patches, parts of it nearly a thousand years old, and is the burial place of Francis Bacon, who was Baron of Verulam and Viscount St. Albans. Within a niche on the side of the chancel is his familiar effigy in marble, where he sits in an arm-chair and contemplatively gazes upward. From these ruins of Verulam is obtained the best view of St. Alban's Abbey, with the town in the background, overlooked by its clock-tower.

[Footnote A: This word means expiate.]


A short distance east of St. Albans is Hatfield, and in a fine park in the suburbs stands the magnificent mansion of the Marquis of Salisbury—Hatfield House. The place is ancient, though the house is completely modern. The manor was given by King Edgar to the monastery at Ely, and, as in course of time the abbot became a bishop, the manor afterwards became known as Bishops Hatfield, a name that it still bears. The oldest portion of the present buildings was erected in the reign of Henry VII., and in the time of his successor it passed into possession of the Crown. Here lived young Edward VI., and he was escorted by the Earl of Hertford and a cavalcade of noblemen from Hatfield to London for his coronation. The youthful king granted Hatfield to his sister Elizabeth, and here she was kept in Queen Mary's reign after her release from the Tower. She was under the guardianship of Sir Thomas Pope when, in November, 1558, Queen Mary died, and Sir William Cecil sent messengers from London to apprise Elizabeth that the crown awaited her. We are told that when they arrived the princess was found in the park, sitting under a spreading oak—a noble tree then, but time has since made sad havoc with it, though the remains are carefully preserved as one of the most precious memorials at Hatfield. The family of Cecil, thus introduced to Hatfield, was destined to continue associated with its fortunes. Sir William came to the manor on the next day, and then peers and courtiers of all ilks flocked thither to worship the rising sun. On the following day the queen gave her first reception in the hall and received the fealty of the leading men of every party; but she did not forget Cecil, for her earliest act was to appoint him her chief secretary, lord treasurer, and adviser—a tie that continued for forty years and was only sundered by death. Cecil was afterwards made Lord Burghley, and the confidence thus first reposed in him within the hall that was afterwards to become the home of his descendants was most remarkable. "No arts," writes Lord Macaulay, "could shake the confidence which she reposed in her old and trusty servant. The courtly graces of Leicester, the brilliant talents and accomplishments of Essex, touched the fancy, perhaps the heart, of the woman, but no rival could deprive the treasurer of the place which he possessed in the favor of the queen. She sometimes chid him sharply, but he was the man whom she delighted to honor. For Burghley she forgot her usual parsimony, both of wealth and dignities; for Burghley she relaxed that severe etiquette to which she was unreasonably attached. Every other person to whom she addressed her speech, or on whom the glance of her eagle eye fell, instantly sank on his knee. For Burghley alone a chair was set in her presence, and there the old minister, by birth only a plain Lincolnshire esquire, took his ease, while the haughty heirs of the Fitzalans and De Veres humbled themselves to the dust around him. At length, having survived all his early coadjutors and rivals, he died, full of years and honors."

But it was not until after his death that Hatfield came into possession of his family. He built Burghley House near Stamford in Lincolnshire, and left it to his younger son, Sir Robert Cecil. After Elizabeth's death, King James I. expressed a preference for Burghley over Hatfield, and an exchange was made by which Hatfield passed into possession of Sir Robert, who had succeeded his father as chief minister, and, though in weak health and of small stature, was a wise and faithful servant of the queen and of her successor. In Elizabeth's last illness, when she persisted in sitting propped up on a stool by pillows, he urged her to rest herself, and inadvertently said she "must go to bed." The queen fired up. "Must!" cried she. "Is must a word to be addressed to princes? Little man, little man, thy father if he had been alive durst not have used that word." Sir Robert did not survive the queen many years, and to him King James's peaceful succession to the throne is said to have been greatly due. The king made him the Earl of Salisbury, and the title descended for several generations, until, in 1773, the seventh earl was promoted to the rank of marquis, and now Robert Cecil, the third Marquis of Salisbury and one of the leaders of the Conservative party, presides over the estates at Hatfield. The chief entrance to Hatfield House is on the northern side, and above it rises a cupola. The buildings form three sides of an oblong, the longer line fronting the north and the two wings pointing towards the south. They are of brick, with stone dressings and facings, and are admired as a faithful example of the excellent domestic architecture of the early part of the seventeenth century. The approach through the park from the town is of great beauty, the grand avenue, bordered by stately trees, conducting the visitor to a court in front of the house enclosed by a balustrade with handsome gates. Within the building the most remarkable features are the galleries, extending along the entire southern front. The gallery on the ground floor was formerly a corridor, open on one side to the air; but at a comparatively recent period this has been enclosed with glass, and thus converted into a gallery paved with black and white marble, and ornamented with arms and armor, some being trophies from the Armada and others from the Crimea. Here is the rich saddle-cloth used on the white steed that Queen Elizabeth rode at Tilbury. There are a fine chapel and attractive state-apartments, but around the old house there lingers a tale of sorrow. The western wing was burned in 1835, and the dowager marchioness, the grandmother of the present marquis, then five years old, perished in the flames, which originated in her chamber. This wing has been finely restored, and the room in which she was burned contains her portrait, an oval medallion let into the wall over the fireplace. It is the sweet and sunny face of a young girl, and her tragic fate in helpless age reminds of Solon's warning as we look at the picture: "Count no one happy till he dies." In the gallery at Hatfield are portraits of King Henry VIII. and all six of his wives. In the library, which is rich in historical documents, is the pedigree of Queen Elizabeth, emblazoned in 1559, and tracing her ancestry in a direct line back to Adam! The state bedrooms have been occupied by King James, Cromwell, and Queen Victoria. In the gardens, not far from the house, is the site of the old episcopal palace of Bishops Hatfield, of which one side remains standing, with the quaint gatehouse now used as an avenue of approach up the hill from the town to the stables. There is a fine view of the town through the ancient gateway. Here lived the princess Elizabeth, and in the halls where kings have banqueted the marquis's horses now munch their oats. Immediately below, in the town, is Salisbury Chapel, in which repose the bones of his ancestors.

Also in Hertfordshire are Cassiobury, the seat of the Earls of Essex, whose ancestor, Lord Capel, who was beheaded in 1648 for his loyalty to King Charles I., brought the estate into the family by his marriage with Elizabeth Morison; and Knebworth, the home of Lord Lytton the novelist, which has been the home of his ancestors since the time of Henry VII., when it was bought by Sir Robert Lytton. The "Great Bed of Ware" is one of the curiosities of the county—a vast bed twelve feet square, originally at the Saracen's Head Inn. It was built for King Edward IV., and was curiously carved, and has had a distinguished place in English literary allusions. The bed still exists at Rye House in Hertfordshire, where it was removed a few years ago. A dozen people have slept in it at the same time.


Journeying farther from London, and into the county of Essex, we come to the little river Cam, and on the side of its valley, among the gentle undulations of the Essex uplands, is seen the palace of Audley End, and beyond it the village of Saffron Walden. Here in earlier times was the abbey of Walden, which, when dissolved by Henry VIII., was granted to Sir Thomas Audley, who then stood high in royal favor. But almost all remains of this abbey have disappeared, and Sir Thomas, who was Speaker of the House, got the grant because of his industry in promoting the king's wishes for the dissolution of the religious houses, and was also made Lord Audley of Walden. This, as Fuller tells us, was "a dainty morsel, an excellent receipt to clear the Speaker's voice, and make him speak clear and well for his master." But he did not live long to enjoy it, although giving the estate his name, and it passed ultimately to the Duke of Norfolk, after whose execution it became the property of his son, Lord Thomas Howard, whom Queen Elizabeth made Baron Walden, and King James appointed lord treasurer and promoted to be Earl of Suffolk. He built the great palace of Audley End, which was intended to eclipse every palace then existing in England. It was begun in 1603, and was finished in 1616, the date still remaining upon one of the gateways. King James twice visited Audley End while building, and is said to have remarked, as he viewed its enormous proportions, that the house was too large for a king, though it might do for a lord treasurer. It cost over $1,000,000, but no accurate account was kept, and the earl was so straitened by the outlay, that after being dismissed from office he was compelled to sell out several other estates, and died nearly $200,000 in debt. The second and third earls tried to maintain the white elephant, but found it too heavy a burden, and the latter sold the house to King Charles II. for $250,000, of which $100,000 remained on mortgage. It was known as the New Palace, and became a royal residence. It consisted of a large outer court and a smaller inner one. Around these the buildings were constructed from one to three stories high, with towers at the corners and centres of the fronts. The impression produced by the design is said not to have been very favorable, it being insufficiently grand for so vast a pile, and while it was a pleasant residence in summer, the want of facilities for heating made it in winter little better than a barn. When Pepys visited Audley End in 1660 and 1668, his chief impression seems to have been of the cellars, for he writes: "Only the gallery is good, and, above all things, the cellars, where we went down and drank of much good liquor. And, indeed, the cellars are fine, and here my wife and I did sing, to my great content." It was in the following year that the house was sold to the king. In 1701, however, it passed back to the fifth Earl of Suffolk, and about twenty years later a large part of the structure was taken down. Three sides of the great court, including the gallery referred to by Pepys, were demolished, and Audley End was reduced to the buildings around the smaller quadrangle; this was further reduced in 1749, so that the house assumed its present appearance of three sides of a square, open towards the east, and thus remains an excellent type of an early Jacobean mansion, its best view being from the garden front. Within it has fine apartments, and contains the only authentic portrait of George II. that is known. This king would never sit for his picture, and the artist by stealth sketched his likeness from a closet near the staircase of Kensington Palace, where he had an excellent view of the peculiar monarch. It is, as Thackeray says, the picture of a "red-faced, staring princeling," but is believed true to nature nevertheless. Lady Suffolk, it seems, was one of his few favorites. Audley End has been for a long time in possession of the Barons of Braybrooke, and is their principal seat. Lord Cornwallis, of American Revolutionary remembrance, was a member of this family, and his portrait is preserved here.

Over the undulating surface of the park, barely a mile away, can be seen the pretty spire of Saffron Walden Church, with the village clustering around it. Here on a hill stand the church and the castle, originally of Walden, but from the extensive cultivation of saffron in the neighborhood the town came to have that prefix given it; it was grown there from the time of Edward III., and the ancient historian Fuller quaintly tells us "it is a most admirable cordial, and under God I owe my life, when sick with the small-pox, to the efficacy thereof." Fuller goes on to tell us that "the sovereign power of genuine saffron is plainly proved by the antipathy of the crocodile thereto; for the crocodile's tears are never true save when he is forced where saffron groweth, whence he hath his name of croco-deilos, or the saffron-fearer, knowing himself to be all poison, and it all antidote." Saffron attained its highest price at Walden in Charles II.'s time, when it was as high as twenty dollars a pound, but its disuse in medicine caused its value to diminish, and at the close of the last century its culture had entirely disappeared from Walden, though the prefix still clings to the name of the town. While saffron was declining, this neighborhood became a great producer of truffles, and the dogs were trained here to hunt the fungus that is so dear to the epicure's palate. The church of St. Mary, which is a fine Perpendicular structure and the most conspicuous feature of Saffron Walden, was built about four hundred years ago, though the slender spire crowning its western tower is of later date, having been built in the present century. In the church are buried the six Earls of Suffolk who lived at Audley End, and all of whom died between 1709 and 1745. The ruins of the ancient castle, consisting chiefly of a portion of the keep and some rough arches, are not far from the church, and little is known of its origin. There is a museum near the ruins which contains some interesting antiquities and a fine natural-history collection. The newly-constructed town-hall, built in antique style, overhanging the footway and supported on arches, is one of the most interesting buildings in Saffron Walden: the mayor and corporation meeting here date their charter from 1549. Not far away, at Newport, lived Nell Gwynn in a modest cottage with a royal crown over the door. She was one of the numerous mistresses of Charles II., and is said to have been the only one who remained faithful to him. She bore him two sons, one dying in childhood, and the other becoming the Duke of St. Albans, a title created in 1684, and still continued in the persons of his descendants of the family of Beauclerc. Nell was originally an orange-girl who developed into a variety actress, and, fascinating the king, he bought her from Lord Buckhurst, her lover, for an earldom and a pension. Nell is said to have cost the king over $300,000 in four years. She had her good qualities and was very popular in England, and she persuaded the king to found Chelsea Hospital for disabled soldiers, and he also bore her genuine affection, for his dying words were, "Let not poor Nelly starve." She survived him about seven years. Also in the neighborhood, at Littlebury, was the home of Winstanley, the builder of the first Eddystone Lighthouse, who perished in it when it was destroyed by a terrific storm in 1703.

Digressing down to the coast of Essex, on the North Sea, we find at the confluence of the Stour and Orwell the best harbor on that side of England, bordered by the narrow and old-fashioned streets of the ancient seaport of Harwich. Here vast fleets seek shelter in easterly gales behind the breakwater that is run out from the Beacon Hill. From here sail many steamers to Rotterdam and Antwerp in connection with the railways from London, and the harbor-entrance is protected by the ancient Languard Fort, built by James I. on a projecting spit of land now joined to the Suffolk coast to the northward. One of the most interesting scenes at Harwich is a group of old wrecks that has been utilized for a series of jetties in connection with a shipbuilder's yard. Weather-beaten and battered, they have been moored in a placid haven, even though it be on the unpicturesque coast of Essex.


Returning to the valley of the Cam, we will follow it down to the great university city of Cambridge, fifty-eight miles north of London. It stands in a wide and open valley, and is built on both banks of the river, which is navigable up to this point, so that the town is literally the "Bridge over the Cam." The situation is not so picturesque or so favorable as that of the sister university city of Oxford, but it is nevertheless an attractive city, the stately buildings being admirably set off by groups and avenues of magnificent trees that flourish nowhere to better advantage than in English scenery. The chief colleges are ranged along the right bank of the Cam, with their fronts away from the water, while behind each there is a sweep of deliciously green meadowland known as the "Backs of the Colleges," surrounded by trees, and with a leafy screen of foliage making the background beyond the buildings. While the greater part of modern Cambridge is thus on the right bank of the river, the oldest portion was located on a low plateau forming the opposite shore. It is uncertain when the university was first established there. Henry Beauclerc, the youngest son of William the Conqueror, studied the arts and sciences at Cambridge, and when he became king he bestowed many privileges upon the town and fixed a regular ferry over the Cam. By the thirteenth century scholars had assembled there and become a recognized body, according to writs issued by Henry III. In 1270 the title of a university was formally bestowed, and the oldest known collegiate foundation—Peterhouse, or St. Peter's College—had been established a few years before. Cambridge has in all seventeen colleges, and the present act of incorporation was granted by Queen Elizabeth. The Duke of Devonshire is the chancellor. The student graduates either "in Honors" or "in the Poll." In the former case he can obtain a distinction in mathematics, classics, the sciences, theology, etc. The names of the successful students are arranged in three classes in a list called the Tripos, a name derived from the three-legged stool whereon sat in former days one of the bachelors, who recited a set of satirical verses at the time the degrees were conferred. In the Mathematical Tripos the first class are called Wranglers, and the others Senior and Junior Optimes. Thus graduate the "Dons" of Cambridge.


Let us now take a brief review of the seventeen colleges of Cambridge. In Trinity Street is Trinity College, founded in 1546 by Henry VIII. It consists of four quadrangular courts, the Great Court being the largest quadrangle in the university, and entered from the street by the grand entrance-tower known as the King's Gateway. On the northern side of the quadrangle are the chapel and King Edward's Court, and in the centre of the southern side the Queen's Tower, with a statue of Queen Mary. In the centre of the quadrangle is a quaint conduit. The chapel is a plain wainscoted room, with an ante-chapel filled with busts of former members of the college—among them Bacon and Macaulay—and also a noble statue of Newton. Trinity College Hall is one hundred feet long and the finest in Cambridge, its walls being adorned with several portraits. It was in Trinity that Byron, Dryden, Cowley, Herbert, and Tennyson were all students. There are said to be few spectacles more impressive than the choral service on Sunday evening in term-time, when Trinity Chapel is crowded with surpliced students. In the Master's Lodge, on the western side of the quadrangle, are the state-apartments where royalty is lodged when visiting Cambridge, and here also in special apartments the judges are housed when on circuit. Through screens or passages in the hall the second quadrangle, Neville's Court, is entered, named for a master of the college who died in 1615. Here is the library, an attractive apartment supported on columns, which contains Newton's telescope and some of his manuscripts, and also a statue of Byron. The King's (or New) Court, is a modern addition, built in the present century at a cost of $200,000. From this the College Walks open on the western side, the view from the gateway looking down the long avenue of lime trees being strikingly beautiful. The Master's Court is the fourth quadrangle.

Adjoining Trinity is its rival, St. John's College, also consisting of four courts, though one of them is of modern construction and on the opposite bank of the river. This college was founded by the countess Margaret of Richmond, mother of Henry VII., and opened in 1516, having been for three centuries previously a hospital. It is generally regarded from this circumstance as being the oldest college at Cambridge. The gateway is a tower of mingled brick and stone and one of the earliest structures of the college. Entering it, on the opposite side of the court is seen the New Chapel, but recently completed, a grand edifice one hundred and seventy-two feet long and sixty-three feet high, with a surmounting tower whose interior space is open and rises eighty-four feet above the pavement. The roof and the windows are richly colored, and variegated marbles have been employed in the interior decoration. The eastern end is a five-sided apse; the ceiling is vaulted in oak, while the chapel has a magnificent screen. Between the first and second courts is the hall, recently enlarged and decorated, and the library is on the northern side of the third court. It is a picturesque room of James I.'s time, with a timbered roof, whitened walls, and carved oaken bookcases black with age. The second court is of earlier date, and a fine specimen of sixteenth-century brickwork. On the southern side is an octagonal turret, at the top of which is the queer little room occupied by Dr. Wood, whose statue is in the chapel. When he first came to college from his humble home in the north of England he was so poor that he studied by the light of the staircase candle, and wrapped his feet in wisps of hay in winter to save the cost of a fire. He became the Senior Wrangler, and in due course a Fellow, and ultimately master of the college. To this was added the deanery of Ely. Dying, he bequeathed his moderate fortune for the aid of poor students and the benefit of his college. Of the third court the cloister on the western side fronts the river. The New Court, across the Cam, is a handsome structure, faced with stone and surmounted by a tower. A covered Gothic bridge leads to it over the river from the older parts of the college. In the garden along the river, known as the Wilderness, Prior the poet is said to have laid out the walks. Here among the students who have taken recreation have been Wordsworth and Herschel, Wilberforce and Stillingfleet.


It took two founders to establish Gonville and Caius College, and both their names are preserved in the title, though it is best known as Caius (pronounced Keys) College. Its buildings were ancient, but have been greatly changed in the present century, so that the chief entrance is now beneath a lofty tower, part of the New Court and fronting the Senate House. This New Court is a fine building, ornamented with busts of the most conspicuous men of Caius. Beyond is the smaller or Caius Court of this college, constructed in the sixteenth century. The "Gate of Virtue and Wisdom" connects them, and is surmounted by an odd turret. On the other side is the "Gate of Honor," a good specimen of the Renaissance. The "Gate of Humility" was removed in rebuilding the New Court. Thus did this college give its students veritable sermons in stones. The founders of Caius were physicians, and among its most eminent members were Hervey and Jeremy Taylor. Adjoining Caius is Trinity Hall, as noted for the law as its neighbor is for medicine, and immediately to the south is a group of university buildings. Among these is the Senate House, opened in 1730, where the university degrees are conferred. It has a fine interior, especially the ceiling, and among the statues is an impressive one of the younger Pitt. The most exciting scene in the Senate House is when the result of the mathematical examination is announced. This for a long time was almost the only path to distinction at Cambridge. When all are assembled upon a certain Friday morning in January, one of the examiners stands up in the centre of the western gallery and just as the clock strikes nine proclaims to the crowd the name of the "Senior Wrangler," or first student of the year, with a result of deafening cheers; then the remainder of the list is read. On the following day the recipients of degrees and visitors sit on the lower benches, and the undergraduates cram the galleries. Then with much pomp the favored student is conducted to the vice-chancellor to receive his first degree alone. The University Library is near by, and, as it gets a copy of every book entered for English copyright, it has become a large one. Some of the manuscripts it contains are very valuable, particularly the Codex Beza, a manuscript of the Gospels given in 1581 by Beza.

Adjoining Trinity Hall is the beautiful court of Clare College, dating from the time of the Civil Wars, when it replaced older structures. Its exterior is most attractive to visitors, exhibiting the pleasing architecture of the sixteenth century. The river-front is much admired, while the gateway is marked by quaint lantern-like windows. In the library is one of the rare Bibles of Sixtus V., and in the Master's Lodge is kept the poison-cup of Clare, which is both curious and beautiful. The gentle lady's mournful fate has been told by Scott in Marmion. Tillotson and other famous divines were students at Clare, and the college also claims Chaucer, but this is doubtful, though the college figures in his story of the "Miller of Trumpington," and also adjuts upon Trumpington Street. Upon the opposite side of this street is Great St. Mary's Church, the university church, an attractive building of Perpendicular architecture and having fine chimes of bells. Here the vice chancellor listens to a sermon every Sunday afternoon in term-time. Formerly, on these occasions, the "heads and doctors" of the university sat in an enclosed gallery built like a sort of gigantic opera-box, and profanely called the "Golgotha." A huge pulpit faced them on the other end of the church, and the centre formed a sort of pit. Modern improvements have, however, swept this away, replacing it with ordinary pews.


Trumpington Street broadens into the King's Parade, and here, entered through a modern buttressed screen pierced with openings filled with tracery, is King's College. It was founded by Henry VI. in 1440, and in immediate connection with the school at Eton, from which the more advanced scholars were to be transferred. The great King's Chapel, which gives an idea of the grand scale on which this college was to be constructed, is the special boast of Cambridge. It is two hundred and eighty feet long, forty-five feet wide, and seventy-eight feet high, with a marvellously fretted roof of stone, and large windows at the sides and ends filled with beautiful stained glass. This is the most imposing of all the buildings in Cambridge, and occupies the entire northern side of the college court. Its fine doorway is regarded as the most pleasing part of the exterior design. The stained-glass windows are divided into an upper and lower series of pictures. The lower is a continuous chain of gospel history, while the upper exhibits the Old-Testament types of the subjects represented below. Although designed on such a magnificent scale, the Wars of the Roses interfered with the completion of King's College, and even the chapel was not finished until Henry VIII.'s reign. The other college buildings are modern.

Adjoining King's is Corpus Christi College, the buildings being almost entirely modern. Of the ancient structure one small court alone remains, a picturesque steep-roofed building almost smothered in ivy. Corpus Christi Hall is said to have been partly designed after the great hall of Kenilworth. In its library are the famous manuscripts rescued from the suppressed monasteries, there being four hundred interesting and curious volumes of these precious documents, which are most jealously guarded. Opposite Corpus is St. Catharine's College, with a comparatively plain hall and chapel. Behind this is Queens' College, an antique structure, though not a very ancient foundation. Its entrance-tower is of brick, and a quaint low cloister runs around the interior court. Within is Erasmus's Court, where are pointed out the rooms once occupied by that great scholar. Across the river a wooden bridge leads to a terrace by the water-side with an overhanging border of elms, and known as Erasmus's Walk. This college was founded by the rival queens, Margaret of Anjou and Elizabeth Widvile, and though it is very proud of having had the great scholar of the Reformation within its halls, he does not seem to have entirely reciprocated the pleasure; for he complains in a letter to a friend that while there "he was blockaded with the plague, beset with thieves, and drugged with bad wine." Returning to Trumpington Street, we find on the western side the University Printing Press, named from the younger statesman the Pitt Press. He represented the university in Parliament, and the lofty square and pinnacled tower of this printing-office is one of the most conspicuous objects in Cambridge. Yet even this structure has its contrasts, for the "Cantabs" consider that its architecture is as bad as its typography is good.


Pembroke College, near the Pitt Press, has a chapel designed by Christopher Wren and recently enlarged. This was the college of Spenser and Gray, the latter having migrated from the neighboring Peterhouse because of the practical jokes the students played upon him. It was also Pitt's college. Opposite Pembroke is Peterhouse, or St. Peter's College, the most ancient foundation in Cambridge, established by Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, in 1284. Beyond Peterhouse is the Fitzwilliam Museum, a most successful reproduction of classic architecture, built and maintained by a legacy of $500,000 left by Viscount Fitzwilliam in 1816. It contains an excellent art and literary collection, which was begun by the viscount. This is regarded as probably the finest classical building constructed in the present century in England. A short distance beyond, at the end of a water-course, is an attractive hexagonal structure with niched recesses and ornamental capstones. This is Hobson's Conduit, erected in 1614 by Thomas Hobson. This benefactor of Cambridge was a carrier between London and the university, and is said to have been the originator of "Hobson's Choice." The youngest foundation at Cambridge is Downing College, erected in 1807, an unobtrusive structure, and near by is Emmanuel College, built on the site of a Dominican convent and designed by Wren. It was founded by Sir Walter Mildmay, the Puritan, in 1584, who on going to court was taxed by Queen Mary with having erected a Puritan college. "No, madam," he replied, "far be it from me to countenance anything contrary to your established laws, but I have set an acorn, which when it becomes an oak God alone knows what will be the fruit thereof." Sir William Temple was educated at Emmanuel. Christ's College is near by, chiefly interesting from its associations with Milton, whose rooms are still pointed out, while a mulberry tree that he planted is preserved in the garden. Latimer and Paley, with a host of other divines, were students here. This college was founded by Queen Margaret, mother of Henry VII., and some beautiful silver plate, her gift to the Fellows, is still preserved. At Sidney-Sussex College Cromwell was a Fellow in 1616, and his crayon portrait hangs in the dining-hall. Owing to want of means, he left without taking a degree. An oriel window projecting over the street is said to mark his chamber. Upon Bridge Street is the Round Church, or St. Sepulchre's Church, obtaining its name from its circular Norman nave, this being one of the four "Temple churches" still remaining in England. Across the Cam stands Magdalene College, founded in 1519 by Baron Thomas Audley of Walden. Within the building behind it are the literary collections of Samuel Pepys, who was secretary to the Admiralty in the reigns of Charles II. and James II., together with the manuscript of his famous diary, a book of marvellous gossip, recording the peccadilloes of its author, the jealousy of his wife, and the corruptions of the court. He was educated at Magdalene.

Jesus Lane leads out of Bridge Street to Jesus College, remotely placed on the river-bank, and of which the chief building of interest is the chapel, a fine Gothic structure. This college is upon the site of a Benedictine nunnery founded in 1133, and is entered by a lofty brick gate-tower which is much admired, and was constructed soon after the foundation of the college in 1497 by the Bishop of Ely, whose successors until this day retain the gift of the mastership. From Jesus Lane a path leads down to the boat-houses on the river bank, where each college has a boat-club wearing a distinctive dress. The racecourse is at the Long Reach, just below the town. Of the ancient Cambridge Castle, built by the Conqueror in 1068, nothing remains but the mound upon Castle Hill, where the county courts are now located. Cambridge, however, has little besides its university buildings to attract attention. In the suburbs are two colleges for the instruction of lady students, and two miles away is Trumpington, near which is the site of the mill told of in Chaucer's Canterbury tale of the Miller of Trumpington. The place is now used for gates to admit the river-water into Byron's Pool, which is so called because the poet frequently bathed in it when he was an undergraduate of Trinity College.


The river Cam below Cambridge flows through that country of reclaimed marshland which ultimately ends in the Wash, between Norfolk and Lincolnshire, and is known as the Fenland. This "Great Level of the Fens" has been drained and reclaimed by the labors of successive generations of engineers, and contains about six hundred and eighty thousand acres of the richest lands in England, being as much the product of engineering skill as Holland itself. Not many centuries ago this vast surface, covering two thousand square miles, was entirely abandoned to the waters, forming an immense estuary of the Wash, into which various rivers discharge the rainfall of Central England. In winter it was an inland sea and in summer a noxious swamp. The more elevated parts were overgrown with tall reeds that in the distance looked like fields of waving corn, and immense flocks of wild-fowl haunted them. Into this dismal swamp the rivers brought down their freshets, the waters mingling and winding by devious channels before they reached the sea. The silt with which they were laden became deposited in the basin of the Fens, and thus the river-beds were choked up, compelling the intercepted waters to force new channels through the ooze; hence there are numerous abandoned beds of old rivers still traceable amid the level of the Fens. This region now is drained and dyked, but in earlier times it was a wilderness of shallow waters and reedy islets, with frequent "islands" of firmer and more elevated ground. These were availed of for the monasteries of the Fenland—Ely, Peterborough, Crowland, and others, all established by the Benedictines. The abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, although situated some distance from the marshland, may also be classed among the religious houses of the Fens. This abbey, which is a short distance east of Cambridge, was built in the eleventh century as the shrine of St. Edmund, King of East Anglia, who was killed by the Danes about the year 870. It soon became one of the wealthiest English monasteries, and was the chief religious centre of that section. Only ruins remain, the chief being the abbey-gate, now the property of the Marquis of Bristol, and the Norman tower and church, which have recently been restored. In the suburbs of Bury is Hengrave Hall, one of the most interesting Tudor mansions remaining in the kingdom. Originally, it was three times its present size, and was built by Sir Thomas Kytson about 1525. Its gate-house is rich in details, and the many windows and projections of the southern front group picturesquely.

Following the Cam northward from Cambridge through the marshland, we come to the Isle of Ely, the great "fortress of the Fens," and standing upon its highest ground the cathedral of Ely. Here St. Etheldreda founded a monastery in the seventh century, which ultimately became a cathedral, Ely having been given a bishop in 1109. The present buildings date all the way from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, so that they give specimens of all Gothic styles. The cathedral is five hundred and thirty-seven feet long, and from the summit of its western tower can be gained a fine view of the spreading fens and lowlands of Cambridgeshire, amid which stands the Isle of Ely. One of the finest views of this tower is that obtained from the road leading to Ely Close. Before drainage had improved the surrounding country this was one of the strongest fortresses in England, and it was also one of the last to yield to the Norman Conquest, its reduction causing King William heavy loss. Afterwards he regarded it as among his most loyal strongholds. The lofty tower, and indeed the whole cathedral, are landmarks for the entire country round, and from the rising ground at Cambridge, fully twenty miles to the southward, can be seen standing out against the sky. From the dykes and fields and meadows that have replaced the marshes along the Cam and Ouse the huge tower can be seen looming up in stately grandeur. It is almost the sole attraction of the sleepy little country town. The great feature of this massive cathedral is the wonderful central octagon, with its dome-like roof crowned by a lofty lantern, which is said to be the only Gothic dome of its kind in existence in England or France. We are told that the original cathedral had a central tower, which for some time showed signs of instability, until on one winter's morning in 1321 it came down with an earthquake crash and severed the cathedral into four arms. In reconstructing it, to ensure security, the entire breadth of the church was taken as a base for the octagon, so that it was more than three times as large as the original square tower. Magnificent windows are inserted in the exterior faces of the octagon, and the entire cathedral has been recently restored. It was to Bishop Cox, who then presided over the see of Ely, that Queen Elizabeth, when he objected to the alienation of certain church property, wrote her famous letter:

"PROUD PRELATE: You know what you were before I made you what you are; if you do not immediately comply with my request, by God, I will unfrock you."


The bishop, it is almost unnecessary to say, surrendered. The town contains little of interest beyond some quaint old houses.


North-westward of Ely, and just on the border of the Fenland, Saxulf, a thane of Mercia who had acquired great wealth, founded the first and most powerful of the great Benedictine abbeys of this region in the year 655. Around this celebrated religious house has grown the town of Peterborough, now one of the chief railway-junctions in Midland England. The remains of the monastic buildings, and especially of the cathedral, are magnificent, the great feature of the latter being its western front, which was completed in the thirteenth century, and has three great open arches, making probably the finest church-portico in Europe. On the left of the cathedral is the chancel of Becket's Chapel, now a grammar-school, while on the right is the ancient gateway of the abbot's lodgings, which has become the entrance to the bishop's palace. The main part of the cathedral is Norman, though portions are Early English. It is built in the form of a cross, with a smaller transept at the western end, while the choir terminates in an apse, and a central tower rises from four supporting arches. Within the cathedral, over the doorway, is a picture of old Scarlet, Peterborough's noted sexton, who buried Catharine of Arragon and Mary Queen of Scots. The nave has an ancient wooden roof, carefully preserved and painted with various devices. The transept arches are fine specimens of Norman work. Queen Catharine lies under a slab in the aisle of St. John's Chapel, but the remains of Queen Mary were removed to Westminster Abbey by James I., to the magnificent tomb he prepared there for his mother.

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