BY RICHARD GRANT WHITE
Now I will tell you a little—it can be but a little—about life in the "great houses," as they are called here. When you are asked to come to one, a train is suggested, and you are told that a carriage will be at the station to meet you. Somehow the footman manages to find you out. At —— which is a little station at which few people get out, I had hardly left the train when a very respectable-looking person, not a footman, stept up to me and said, "Lord ——'s carriage is waiting for you, sir." The carriage and the footman and coachman were, of course, on the other side of the building. My drive from the station to —— took quite as long a time as it took me to come down by rail from London, altho we went at a grand trot. The country was beautiful, stretching off on both sides in broad fields and meadows, darkened in lines by hedges, and in spots by clumps of trees. The roads were very narrow—they seemed rather like lanes—and this effect was increased by the high walls and hedges on either side. Two carriages had hardly room to pass in some places, with careful driving. Being in Lord ——'s well-known carriage, I was quite in state, and the country folk, most of them, bowed to me as I went on; and of course I followed the apostolic injunction, and condescended unto men of low estate.
And, by the way, yesterday afternoon (for a day has passed since I began this letter, and I am now at ——) Lady —— drove me through their park and off to ——, the dowager Lady ——'s jointure house, and I had the honor of acknowledging for her all the numerous bobs and ducks she received from the tenants and their children. So, you see, I shall be in good training when I come into my estate. When and where I entered the park, either here or at ——, I could not exactly make out. There were gates and gates, and the private grounds seemed to shade off gradually into the public. I know that the park extended far beyond the lodge. The house at —— is very ugly. It was built by Inigo Jones, and, never handsome, was altogether spoiled by tasteless alterations in the last century. The ugliness of English country houses built at that time is quite inexpressible.
I ought to have said that the ——s are in mourning;... and it was very kind of them to invite me. I was met at the door by a dignified personage in black, who asked me if I would go up to Lady ——'s room. She welcomed me warmly, said that Lord —— had been called away for a few hours, and offered me tea from a tiny table at her side. And, by the way, you are usually asked to come at a time which brings you to five-o'clock tea. This gives you an opportunity to rub off the rough edge of strangeness, before you dress for dinner. Lady ——'s own room was large and hung with tapestry, and yet it was cosy and homelike. The hall is large and square, and the walls are covered with old arms. The staircase is good, but not so grand as others that I have seen; that at ——, for instance, where there was an oriel window on the first landing. This one has no landing; it is of polished oak, but is carpeted.
Lady —— is a very attractive and elegant woman, sensible, sensitive, and with a soft, gentle way of speech and action, which is all the more charming, as she is tall. Her tea was good. She talked well, and we got on together very satisfactorily. Presently a nurse brought in her two little daughters. I thought she must have approved of her savage Yankee guest; for she encouraged them to come to me and sit upon my knees; and all mothers are shy about that. Soon in popped Lord ——, and gave me the heartiest welcome that I have received since I have been in England. He has altered somewhat since he was in New York; is grown a little stouter, and a very little graver, but is just the same frank, simple fellow as when you saw him. About seven o'clock I was asked if I would like to go up to my room. He went with me,—an attention which I found general; and "directly he had left me," according to the phrase here, a very fine-mannered person, in a dress coat and a white tie, appeared, and asked me for my keys.
I apprehended the situation at once, and submitted to his ministrations. He did everything for me except actually to wash my face and hands and put on my clothes. He laid everything that I could need, opened and laid out my dressing-case, and actually turned my stocking's. Dinner at eight. I take in Lady ——. Butler, a very solemn personage, but not stout nor red-faced. I have seen no stout, red-faced butler since I have been in England. Dining room large and handsome. Some good portraits. Gas in globes at the walls; candles on the table. Dinner very good, of course. Menu written in pencil on a porcelain card, with the formula in gilt and a coronet. Indeed, the very cans that came up to my bedroom with hot water were marked with coronet and cipher. I was inclined to scoff at this, at first, as ostentatious; but after all, as the things were to be marked, how could it be done better?
After dinner, a very pleasant chat in the drawing-room until about eleven o'clock, when Lord —— sent Lady —— to bed. She shakes hands on bidding me good-night, and asks if half-past nine o'clock is too early for breakfast for me. I was tempted to say that it was, and to ask if it couldn't be postponed till ten; but I didn't. The drawing-room, by the way, altho it was handsome and cheerful, was far inferior in its show to a thousand that might be found in New York, many of which, too, are quite equal to it in comfort and in tasteful adornment. Lord —— and I sit up awhile and chat about old times and the shooting on Long Island, and when I go to my room I find that, altho I am to stay but two days, my trunk has been unpacked and all my clothes put into the wardrobe and the drawers, and most carefully arranged, as if I were going to stay a month. My morning dress has been taken away.
In the morning the same servant comes, opens my window, draws my bed curtain, prepares my bath, turns my stockings, and in fact does everything but actually bathe and dress me, and all with a very pleasant and cheerful attentiveness. At a quarter past nine the gong rings for prayers. These are generally read by the master of the household in the dining-room, with the breakfast table laid; but here in a morning-room. After breakfast you are left very much to yourself. Business and household affairs are looked after by your host and hostess; and you go where you please and do what you like.
On Sunday I of course went to church with the family: a charming old church; tower of the time of Edward III.; some fine old monuments. We merely walked through the park a distance of about the width of Washington Square, passed through a little door in the park wall, and there was the church just opposite. It was Harvest Thanksgiving day, a festival recently introduced in England, in imitation of that which has come down to us from our Puritan forefathers. There was a special service; and the church was very prettily drest with oats, flowers, grass, and grapes, the last being substituted for hops, as it was too late for them. The offerings were for the Bulgarians; for everything now in England is tinged with the hue of "Turkish horrors."
After service Lord —— took me to the chantry, where the tombs of the family are. It was to show me a famous statue, that of a Lady —— and her baby, at the birth of which she died, it dying soon, too. The statue is very beautiful, and is the most purely and sweetly pathetic work in sculpture that I ever saw. It had a special interest for me because I remembered reading about it in my boyhood; but I had forgotten the name of the subject, and I had no thought of finding it here in a little country church.
WINDSOR [Footnote: From "Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands."]
BY HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
About eleven o'clock we found ourselves going up the old stone steps to the castle. It was the last day of a fair which had been holden in this part of the country, and crowds of the common people were flocking to the castle, men, women, and children pattering up the stairs before and after us.
We went first through the state apartments. The principal thing that interested me was the ball room, which was a perfect gallery of Vandyke's paintings. Here was certainly an opportunity to know what Vandyke is. I should call him a true court painter—a master of splendid conventionalities, whose portraits of kings are the most powerful arguments for the divine right I know of.
The queen's audience chamber is hung with tapestry representing scenes from the book of Esther. This tapestry made a very great impression upon me. A knowledge of the difficulties to be overcome in the material part of painting is undoubtedly an unsuspected element of much of the pleasure we derive from it; and for this reason, probably, this tapestry appeared to us better than paintings executed with equal spirit in oils. We admired it exceedingly, entirely careless what critics might think of us if they knew it....
From the state rooms we were taken to the top of the Round Tower, where we gained a magnificent view of the Park of Windsor, with its regal avenue, miles in length, of ancient oaks; its sweeps of greensward; clumps of trees; its old Herne oak, of classic memory; in short, all that constitutes the idea of a perfect English landscape. The English tree is shorter and stouter than ours; its foliage dense and deep, lying with a full, rounding outline against the sky. Everything here conveys the idea of concentrated vitality, but without that rank luxuriance seen in our American growth. Having unfortunately exhausted the English language on the subject of grass, I will not repeat any ecstasies upon that topic.
After descending from the tower we filed off to the proper quarter, to show our orders for the private rooms. The state apartments, which we had been looking at, are open at all times, but the private apartments can only be seen in the queen's absence, and by special permission, which had been procured for us on this occasion by the kindness of the Duchess of Sutherland.
One of the first objects that attracted my attention when entering the vestibule was a baby's wicker wagon, standing in one corner; it was much such a carriage as all mothers are familiar with; such as figures largely in the history of almost every family. It had neat curtains and cushions of green merino, and was not royal, only maternal. I mused over the little thing with a good deal of interest....
In the family breakfast room we saw some fine Gobelin tapestry, representing the classical story of Meleager. In one of the rooms, on a pedestal, stood a gigantic china vase, a present from the Emperor of Russia, and in the state rooms before we had seen a large malachite vase from the same donor. The toning of this room, with regard to color, was like that of the room I described in Stafford House—the carpet of green ground, with the same little leaf upon it, the walls, chairs, and sofas covered with green damask.
The whole air of these rooms was very charming, suggestive of refined taste and domestic habits. The idea of home, which pervades everything in England, from the cottage to the palace, was as much suggested here as in any apartments I have seen. The walls of the different rooms were decorated with portraits of the members of the royal family, and those of other European princes.
After this we went thro the kitchen department—saw the silver and gold plate of the table; among the latter were some designs which I thought particularly graceful. To conclude all, we went through the stables. The men who showed them told us that several of the queen's favorite horses were taken to Osborne; but there were many beautiful creatures left, which I regarded with great complacency. The stables and stalls were perfectly clean, and neatly kept; and one, in short, derives from the whole view of the economies of Windsor that satisfaction which results from seeing a thing thoroughly done in the best conceivable manner.
BLENHEIM [Footnote: From "Famous Homes of Great Britain and Their Stories." A.H. Malan, Editor. By arrangement with the publishers, G.P. Putnam's Sons. Copyright, 1899.]
BY THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH.
The architecture of the house itself clearly indicates the taste and training of its builder. Vanbrugh shared the enthusiasm of the day for classical work, as understood and developed, whether well or ill, by the Italians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; but with characteristic disregard of law, he thought to combine classical severity with the fancifulness natural in a northerner and a playwright. Thus, while the general scheme of the south front, for instance, is distinctly severe, the massive towers at its ends are surmounted by fantastic masses of open stone-work, most quaintly finished off with arrangements of cannon-balls and coronets. Throughout he repeatedly made use of classical members with strange disregard to their structural intention. Silvester, the French artist employed to make designs for the decoration of the salon, sniffed contemptuously at Vanbrugh's Gothic tendencies. "I can not approve of that double line of niches. It suggests the facade of a Gothic church." And then with savage delight he announced his discovery that much of the design was merely an unintelligent imitation of the Palazzo Farnese at Florence.
Certainly, in spite of Vanbrugh's attempt to achieve at once dignity and lightness, the probable impression made by the building on the casual observer is, that it is ponderous without being stately, and irregular without being tasteful. But the final feeling of any one whose fate it is to study it at leisure will assuredly be one of respect, even of enthusiasm, for the ability of Vanbrugh. It takes time to realize the boldness of the general design and the solidity of the masonry. In many parts there are about as many feet of solid stone as a modern architect would put inches of lath and plaster. The negative qualities of integrity and thoroughness are rare enough in work of the present day, now that the architect has delegated to the contractor the execution of his design.
The interior proportions of the rooms are generally admirable, and so perfectly was the work carried out that it is possible to look through the keyholes of ten doors, and see daylight at the end, over three hundred feet off. It is noticeable, further, that the whole was designed by a single man, there being no subsequent additions, as there are, for instance, at Chatsworth and Wentworth. Vanbrugh is responsible for good and bad qualities alike. One would imagine a priori that he had everything in his favor—unlimited money and a free hand. Far from this being the case, the stupendous work was accomplished under difficulties greater than any long-suffering architect ever had to contend with.
The beginning of the building was most auspicious. In 1705, the year after Blenheim, Queen Anne, in accordance with an address of the Commons, granted Marlborough the royal estate of which Woodstock was the center, with moneys to build a suitable house. The nation was anxious to show its gratitude to the General under whom English troops had won their first considerable victory on foreign soil since Agincourt; the Queen was for doing all in her power for her dear Mrs. Freeman; Marlborough saw in the scheme a dignified and legitimate method of perpetuating his fame; and so Vanbrugh was commissioned to build a house which should be worthy of all three. The work was at once begun on the existing scale. Difficulties sprang up when the Duchess began to lose, by her abuse of it, the power which she had always possessed over the Queen; when, too, it was seen that the architect's estimate bore no sort of relation to the actual cost. Vanbrugh was often in the greatest straits for money, and wrote piteously to the Duchess and the Lord Treasurer Godolphin without the slightest effect. Things naturally grew worse when both the Duke and Duchess were dismissed from all their posts, in 1711; and at last, in 1721, the disputes culminated in a lawsuit successfully brought against the Duke by the workmen for arrears of pay, the defendant's contention being that the Treasury was liable for the whole expense. The Duchess vented her displeasure on the unfortunate architect, whom she never credited with doing anything right. She carefully kept his letters, and made spiteful endorsements on them for the benefit of her counsel at the trial.
While Sarah was perpetually involving herself in quarrels with her architect, the Duke was indirectly furthering the progress of the building by a succession of victories abroad. Without taking an active part, he was yet much interested in the house, always looking forward to the time when he should live there in peace with his wife. When on a campaign he wrote to her nearly every other day, and in almost every letter there is a personal touch, showing his ever-present love for her, his keen anxiety to keep her love, and to win her approval of everything he did.
The main interest of Marlborough's later life centered in Blenheim. The Duchess had done the lion's share of the work of superintendence; it remained for him to arrange the many works of art he had bought and had been given during the war. There still exists an account of the prices he paid for tapestries made in Brussels, most of which are now on the walls of the house. Over the south front was placed a bust of Louis XIV., a trophy taken from the gates of Tournay....
Changes of fashion and of taste have left their mark on Blenheim; and, as the old oaks recall the joyousness of the Middle Ages, and the elms and cedars have a certain air of eighteenth-century stateliness, so perhaps the orchids, with their exotic delicacy, may be held typical of the decadent present. From the house many treasures, once part of its adornment, are now missed; and while books, pictures, and gems have disappeared, modern ideas of comfort have suggested the insertion of electric lights and telephones. To regret the treasures of the past is a commonplace; it would seem fitter to make the best of the advantages of the present.
WARWICK [Footnote: From "Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands."]
BY HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
When we came fairly into the courtyard of Warwick Castle, a scene of magnificent beauty opened before us. I can not describe it minutely. The principal features are the battlements, towers, and turrets of the old feudal castle, encompassed by grounds on which has been expended all that princely art of landscape gardening for which England is famous—leafy thickets, magnificent trees, openings, and vistas of verdure, and wide sweeps of grass, short, thick, and vividly green, as the velvet moss we sometimes see growing on rocks in New England. Grass is an art and a science in England—it is an institution. The pains that are taken in sowing, tending, cutting, clipping, rolling, and otherwise nursing and coaxing it, being seconded by the misty breath and often falling tears of the climate, produce results which must be seen to be appreciated....
Here, under the shade of lofty cedars, has sprung and fallen an hereditary line of princes. One can not but feel, in looking on these majestic trees, with the battlements, turrets, and towers of the old castle everywhere surrounding him, and the magnificent parks and lawns opening through dreamy vistas of trees into what seems immeasurable distance, the force of the soliloquy which Shakespeare puts into the mouth of the dying old king-maker, as he lies ebreathing out his soul in the dust and blood of the battlefield....
I have described the grounds first, but, in fact, we did not look at them first, but went into the house where we saw not only all the state rooms, but, through the kindness of the noble proprietor, many of those which are not commonly exhibited; a bewildering display of magnificent apartments, pictures, gems, vases, arms and armor, antiques, all, in short, that the wealth of a princely and powerful family had for centuries been accumulating.
The great hall of the castle is sixty-two feet in length and forty in breadth, ornamented with a richly carved Gothic roof, in which figures largely the family cognizance of the bear and ragged staff. There is a succession of shields, on which are emblazoned the quarterings of successive Earls of Warwick. The sides of the wall are ornamented with lances, corselets, shields, helmets, and complete suits of armor, regularly arranged as in an armory.
Here we saw the helmet of Cromwell, a most venerable relic. Before the great, cavernous fireplace was piled up on a sled a quantity of yew-tree wood. The rude simplicity of thus arranging it on the polished floor of this magnificent apartment struck me as quite singular. I suppose it is a continuation of some ancient custom.
Opening from this apartment on either side are suites of rooms, the whole series being three hundred and thirty-three feet in length. These rooms are all hung with pictures, and studded with antiques and curiosities of immense value. There is, first, the red drawing-room, and then the cedar drawing-room, then the gilt drawing-room, the state bedroom, the boudoir, etc., etc., hung with pictures by Vandyke, Rubens, Guido, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Paul Veronese, any one of which would require days of study.
I walked to one of the windows of these lordly apartments, and while the company were examining buhl cabinets, and all other deliciousness of the place, I looked down the old gray walls into the amber waters of the Avon, which flows at their base, and thought that the most beautiful of all was without. There is a tiny fall that crosses the river just above here, whose waters turn the wheels of an old mossy mill, where for centuries the family grain has been ground. The river winds away through the beautiful parks and undulating foliage, its soft, grassy banks dotted here and there with sheep and cattle, and you catch farewell gleams and glitters of it as it loses itself among the trees.
Gray moss, wallflowers, ivy, and grass were growing here and there out of crevices in the castle walls, as I looked down, sometimes trailing their rippling tendrils in the river. This vegetative propensity of walls is one of the chief graces of these old buildings.
In the state bedroom were a bed and furnishings of rich crimson velvet, once belonging to Queen Anne, and presented by George III. to the Warwick family. The walls are hung with Brussels tapestry, representing the gardens of Versailles as they were at the time. The chimney-piece, which is sculptured of verde antique and white marble, supports two black marble vases on its mantel. Over the mantel-piece is a full-length portrait of Queen Anne, in a rich brocade dress, wearing the collar and jewels of the garter, bearing in one hand a scepter, and in the other a globe. There are two splendid buhl cabinets in the room, and a table of costly stone from Italy; it is mounted on a richly carved and gilt stand.
The boudoir, which adjoins, is hung with pea-green satin and velvet. In this room is one of the most authentic portraits of Henry VIII., by Holbein, in which that selfish, brutal, unfeeling tyrant is veritably set forth, with all the gold and gems which, in his day, blinded mankind; his fat, white hands were beautifully painted....
After having examined all the upper stories, we went down into the vaults underneath—vaults once grim and hoary, terrible to captives and feudal enemies, now devoted to no purpose more grim than that of coal cellars and wine vaults. In Oliver's time, a regiment was quartered there; they are extensive enough, apparently, for an army.
The kitchen and its adjuncts are of magnificent dimensions, and indicate an ancient amplitude in the way of provision for good cheer worthy an ancient house; and what struck me as a still better feature was a library of sound, sensible, historical, and religious works for the servants.
We went into the beer vaults, where a man drew beer into a long black jack, such as Scott describes. It is a tankard, made of black leather, I should think half a yard deep. He drew the beer from a large hogshead, and offered us some in a glass. It looked very clear, but, on tasting, I found it so exceedingly bitter that it struck me there would be small virtue for me in abstinence.
KENILWORTH [Footnote: From Scott's "Kenilworth." Kenilworth is now the most stately ruined castle in England. Its destruction dates from the Civil War, when it was dismantled by soldiers under Cromwell. Then it was allowed to decay. Scott describes it as it was in Queen Elizabeth's time.]
BY SIR WALTER SCOTT
The outer wall of this splendid and gigantic structure enclosed seven acres, a part of which was occupied by extensive stables, and by a pleasure garden, with its trim arbors and parterres, and the rest formed the large base-court, or outer-yard, of the noble castle. The lordly structure itself, which rose near the center of this spacious enclosure, was composed of a huge pile of magnificent castellated buildings, apparently of different ages, surrounding an inner court, and bearing in the names attached to each portion of the magnificent mass, and in the armorial bearings which were there blazoned, the emblems of mighty chiefs who had long passed away, and whose history, could ambition have lent ear to it, might have read a lesson to the haughty favorite, who had now acquired and was augmenting the fair domain. A large and massive keep, which formed the citadel of the castle, was of uncertain tho great antiquity. It bore the name of Caesar, perhaps from its resemblance to that in the Tower of London so called.
Some antiquaries ascribe its foundation to the time of Kenelph, from whom the castle had its name, a Saxon King of Mercia, and others to an early era after the Norman Conquest. On the exterior walls frowned the escutcheon of the Clintons, by whom they were founded in the reign of Henry I., and of the yet more redoubted Simon de Montfort, by whom, during the Barons' wars, Kenilworth was long held out against Henry III. Here Mortimer, Earl of March, famous alike for his rise and his fall, had once gaily revelled in Kenilworth, while his dethroned sovereign, Edward II. languished in its dungeons. Old John of Gaunt, "time-honored Lancaster," had widely extended the castle, erecting that noble and massive pile which yet bears the name of Lancaster's buildings: and Leicester himself had outdone the former possessors, princely and powerful as they were, by erecting another immense structure, which now lies crusht under its own ruins, the monument of its owner's ambition. The external wall of this royal castle was, on the south and west sides, adorned and defended by a lake partly artificial, across which Leicester had constructed a stately bridge, that Elizabeth might enter the castle by a path hitherto untrodden, instead of the usual entrance to the northward, over which he had erected a gate-house, or barbican, which still exists, and is equal in extent, and superior in architecture, to the baronial castle of many a northern chief.
Beyond the lake lay an extensive chase, full of red-deer, fallow-deer, roes, and every species of game, and abounding with lofty trees, from among which the extended front and massive towers of the castle were seen to rise in majesty and beauty. We can not but add that of this lordly palace, where princes feasted and heroes fought, now in the bloody earnest of storm and siege, and now in the games of chivalry, where beauty dealt the prize which valor won, all is now desolate. The bed of the lake is but a rushy swamp and the massive ruins of the castle only serve to show what their splendor once was, and to impress on the musing visitor the transitory value of human possessions, and the happiness of those who enjoy a humble lot in virtuous contentment.
ALNWICK [Footnote: From "Visits to Remarkable Places."]
BY WILLIAM HOWITT
A visit to Alnwick is like going back into the old feudal times. The town still retains the moderate dimensions and the quiet air of one that has grown up under the protection of the castle, and of the great family of the castle. Other towns, that arose under the same circumstances, have caught the impulse of modern commerce and manufacture, and have grown into huge, bustling, and noisy cities, in which the old fortified walls and the old castle have either vanished, or have been swallowed up, and stand, as if in superannuated wonder, amid a race and a wilderness of buildings, with which they have nothing in common. When, however, you enter Alnwick, you still feel that you are entering a feudal place. It is as the abode of the Percys has presented itself to your imagination. It is still, quaint, gray, and old-worldish....
In fact, the whole situation is fine, without being highly romantic, and worthy of its superb old fabric. In the castle itself, without and within, I never saw one on English ground that more delighted me; because it more completely came up to the beau ideal of the feudal baronial mansion, and especially of that of the Percys, the great chieftains of the British Border—the heroes of Otterburn and Chevy Chase.
Nothing can be more striking than the effect at first entering within the walls from the town; when, through a dark gloomy gateway of considerable length and depth, the eye suddenly emerges into one of the most splendid scenes that can be imagined; and is presented at once with the great body of the inner castle, surrounded with fair semi-circular towers, finely swelling to the eye, and gaily adorned with pinnacles, battlements, etc. The impression is still further strengthened by the successive entrances into the second and third courts, through great massy towers, till you are landed in the inner court, in the very center of this great citadel.
An idea may be formed of the scale of this brave castle, when we state that it includes, within its outer walls, about five acres of ground; and that its walls are flanked with sixteen towers, which now afford a complete set of offices to the castle, and many of them retain not only their ancient names, but also their original uses.
The castle courts, except the center one, are beautifully carpeted with green turf, which gives them a very pleasant aspect. In the center of the second court is a lion with his paw on a ball, a copy of one of the lions of St. Mark at Venice....
The inner court is square, with the corners taken off; and on the wall opposite to the entrance are medallion portraits of the first Duke and Duchess. Near the gateway appear the old wheels and axle which worked the great well, over which is the figure of a pilgrim blessing the waters. Within the gateway you enter an octagon tower, where the old dungeon still remains in the floor, covered with its iron grate. It is eleven feet deep, by nine feet eight inches and a half square at the bottom. In the court are two other dungeons, now or formerly used for a force-pump to throw water up to the top of the castle; and one now not used at all—which could all be so closed down as to exclude the prisoners from both sound and light....
Having wandered thus around this noble pile, it is time to enter it. Of the interior, however, I shall not say much more than that it is at once a fitting modern residence for a nobleman of the high rank and ancient descent of the proprietor, and in admirable keeping with its exterior. The rooms are fitted up with light Gothic tracery on the walls, very chaste and elegant; and the colors are so delicate and subdued, that you are not offended with that feeling of over-fineness that is felt at Raby.
You ascend by a noble staircase, surrounded with armorial escutcheons instead of a cornice, to a suite of very spacious and handsome rooms, of which the principal are the saloon, dining-room, breakfast-room, library, and chapel. The ceilings are finely worked into compartments with escutcheons and pendants. The walls of the saloon are covered with crimson silk, sprigged with yellow flowers; those of the dining-room, with pale buff, and white moldings, rich tracery and elegant compartmented ceiling. In the center of some of the arches you see the crescent, the crest of the Percys.
On the whole, it is a noble and highly satisfactory mansion; but still it is when you get without again that you feel the real antiquity and proud dignity of the place. The fame of the Percy and the Douglas seems to be whispered by every wind that plays around those old towers.
HAMPTON COURT [Footnote: From "Visits to Remarkable Places."]
BY WILLIAM HOWITT
To the visitors of cultivated taste and historic knowledge, Hampton Court abounds with subjects of reflective interest of the highest order. It is true, that, compared with some of our palaces, it can lay no claims to antiquity; but from the days of Henry VIII. to those of George III., there are few of them that have witnessed more singular or momentous events.
Overbearing despot as Wolsey [who built it] was, there is something magnificent in the sweep of his ambition, and irresistibly interesting in the greatness of his fall. He was the last of those haughty prelates in the good old Catholic times who rose up from the dust of insignificance into the most lordly and overgrown magnificence; outdoing monarchs in the number of their servants, and in the pomp of their state. Equaling the great Cardinals who have figured on the Continent, Ximenes, Richelieu, Mazarin, and De Retz, in political ability and personal ambition, he exceeded all in the wealth which he unhesitatingly seized, and the princely splendor in which he lived.
When we enter, therefore, the gates of Hampton Court, and are struck with the magnificent extent of the erection, which at that time not only, according to Rapin, "was a stately palace, and outshined all the king's houses," but was one of the most splendid structures in Europe, we can not help figuring to ourselves the proud Cardinal surveying its progress, and musing over the wonders of that career which had brought him, if not from the humble estate of the son of a butcher, yet from an origin of no great condition, or it could not have remained dubious to this period—the wealthiest man in Europe, the most potent in political influence, and the ardent aspirant to the Popedom itself....
It was only at Hampton Court that his vast train of servants and attendants, with the nobility and ambassadors who flocked about him, could be fully entertained. These, as we learn from his gentleman-usher, Cavendish, were little short of a thousand persons; for there were upon his "cheine roll" eight hundred persons belonging to his household, independent of suitors, who were all entertained in the hall. In this hall he had daily spread three tables. At the head of the first presided a priest, a steward; at that of the second a knight, as treasurer; and at the third his comptroller, who was an esquire.... Besides these, there was always a doctor, a confessor, two almoners, three marshals, three ushers of the hall, and groom. The furnishing of these tables required a proportionate kitchen; and here were two clerks, a clerk-comptroller, and surveyor of the dressers; a clerk of the spicery; two cooks, with laborers and children for assistants: turnspits a dozen; four scullery-men; two yeomen of the pastry, and two paste-layers. In his own kitchen was his master-cook, daily drest in velvet or satin, and wearing a gold chain. Under him were two other cooks and their six laborers; in the larder a yeoman and groom; in the scullery a yeoman and two grooms; in the ewry two yeomen and two grooms; in the buttery the same; in the cellar three yeomen and three pages; in the chandlery and the wafery, each two yeomen; in the wardrobe the master of the wardrobe and twenty assistants; in the laundry, yeoman, groom, thirteen pages, two yeoman-purveyors and groom-purveyor; in the bake-house, two yeomen and two grooms; in the wood-yard one yeoman and groom; in the barn a yeoman; at the gate two yeomen and two grooms; a yeoman of his barge; the master of his horse; a clerk and groom of the stables; the farrier; the yeoman of the stirrup; a maltster; and sixteen grooms, each keeping four horses.
There were the dean and sub-dean of his chapel; the repeater of the choir; the gospeler, the epistler, or the singing priest; the master of the singers, with his men and children. In the vestry were a yeoman and two grooms. In the procession were commonly seen forty priests, all in rich copes and other vestments of white satin, or scarlet, or crimson. The altar was covered with massy plate, and blazed with jewels and precious stones. But if such were his general establishment, not less was the array of those who attended on his person. In his privy chamber he had his chief chamberlain, vice-chamberlain, and two gentlemen-ushers. Six gentlemen-waiters and twelve yeomen; and at their head nine or ten lords to attend on him, each with their two or three servants, and some more, to wait on them, the Earl of Derby having five. Three gentlemen-cupbearers, gentlemen-carvers, and servers to the amount of forty in the great and the privy chamber; six gentlemen-ushers and eight grooms. Attending on his table were twelve doctors and chaplains, clerk of the closet, two clerks of the signet, four counsellors learned in the law, and two secretaries.
He had his riding-clerk; clerk of the crown; clerk of the hamper and chaffer; clerk of the cheque for the chaplains; clerk for the yeomen of the chamber; and "fourteen footmen garnished with rich running-coates, whensoever he had any journey;" besides these, a herald-at-arms, sergeant-at-arms, a physician, an apothecary, four minstrels, a keeper of the tents, an armorer; an instructor of his wards in chancery; "an instructor of his wardrop of roabes;" a keeper of his chamber; a surveyor of York, and clerk of the green cloth....
I am afraid the story of Henry VIII. coming to see this splendid palace on its first being built, and saying in a jealous surprize, "My Lord Cardinal, is this a dwelling for a subject?" and the courtly Cardinal replying, "My gracious liege, it is not intended for a subject; it is meant only for the greatest and most bounteous king in Christendom," is too good to be true; for altho Wolsey did give up this favorite palace to his royal master, it was long afterward, and only on the palpable outbreak of his displeasure, as a most persuasive peace-offering; an offering which, tho especially acceptable, failed nevertheless to ensure lasting peace. The sun of the great Cardinal was already in its decline....
Henry VIII. used to keep his court here frequently in great state, and here he used to celebrate Christmas in all its ancient festivity. Here he lost his third wife, Jane Seymour, a few days after the birth of his son Edward VI., and felt or affected much grief on that account, perhaps because he had not had the pleasure of cutting off her head. Here he married his sixth wife, Lady Catherine Parr, widow of Neville, Lord Latimer, and sister of the Marquis of Northampton. This lady, who had the hardihood to marry this royal Bluebeard, after he had divorced two wives and chopped off the heads of two others, narrowly escaped the fate she so rashly hazarded. The very warrant for her committal to the Tower, whence she was only to be brought forth to be burned at the stake for heresy, was signed, and on the point of execution, when she accidentally became aware of it, and managed to soothe the ferocious tyrant by the most artful submission to his conceit of his theological learning, and by rubbing his ulcerated leg.
Here, as we have said, Edward VI. was born; and three days after he was baptized in the king's chapel in the palace in great state—Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, and the Duke of Norfolk, being god-fathers. Hampton Court was appropriated by the guardians of Edward as his residence, and he was residing here when the council rose against the authority of the Protector Somerset, and was removed by him hence to Windsor Castle, lest the council should obtain possession of his person. Here Bloody Mary, and her husband, Philip of Spain, passed their honeymoon in great retirement; and here—when they were desirous of effacing from the mind of their sister, the Princess Elizabeth, the recollection of her imprisonment at Woodstock, and the vain attempts of their arch-rascal priest Stephen Gardiner, Lord Chancellor and Bishop of Winchester, to coerce her into popery, or to convict her of heresy, and probably bring her to the flaming stake—they invited her to spend some time with them, and set on foot banquets, maskings, and all sorts of revelries.
Here they kept Christmas with her as royally as the father, Henry VIII., had kept it in his day; Elizabeth being seated at the royal table with their majesties, next the cloth of state, and, at the removal of the dishes, served with a perfumed napkin and plate of confect by the Lord Paget. Here, too, during her stay, they gave a grand tournament, wherein two hundred spears were broken by contending knights. Here Elizabeth also, when she was become the potent queen instead of the jealously-watched sister, continued occasionally to assemble her brilliant court, and to hold merry Christmas, as Mary, Edward, and her father had done before. Here also the especial festivals of the Christmases of 1572 and 1593 were kept by her....
The entrance to the portion of the palace built by Wolsey is by a sort of outer court of great extent, the gates of which have their pillars surmounted by a large lion and unicorn as supporters of the crown royal, and each of the side gates by a military trophy. Along the left side of the area are barracks and such offices; the greater part of the right side is open toward the river, and there stand nine as lofty and noble elms, in a row, as perhaps any part of England can match. Two gateways are before you; the one to the left leading to the kitchen-court, the center one to the first quadrangle. This chief gateway has been restored, in excellent keeping with the old building, and has a noble aspect as you approach it, being flanked with octagon towers, pierced with a fine pointed arch, over which are cut, in rich relief, the royal arms, and above them projects a large and handsome bay-window, framed of stone.
You now enter by a Gothic archway the first of the courts of Wolsey remaining. These two are said to have been the meanest then in the palace. There were originally five; the three finest of which were pulled down to make way for William III.'s great square mass of brickwork. The writers who saw it in its glory, describe it in entireness as the most splendid palace in Europe. Grotius says, "other palaces are residences of kings, but this is of the gods." Hentzner, who saw it in Elizabeth's time, speaks of it with astonishment, and says, "the rooms being very numerous, are adorned with tapestry of gold, silver, and velvet, in some of which were woven history pieces; in other Turkish and Armenian dresses, all extremely natural. In one chamber are several excessively rich tapestries, which are hung up when the queen gives audience to foreign ambassadors. All the walls of the palace shine with gold and silver. Here is likewise a certain cabinet called Paradise, where, besides that every thing glitters so with silver, gold, and jewels, as to dazzle one's eyes, there is a musical instrument made all of glass except the strings."
It was, indeed, a Dutch taste which leveled all these stately buildings to the ground, to erect the great square mass which replaced them. A glorious view, if old drawings are to be believed, must all that vast and picturesque variety of towers, battlements, tall mullioned windows, cupolas and pinnacles, have made, as they stood under the clear heaven glittering in the sun....
The hall, the chapel, the withdrawing-room, are all splendid specimens of Gothic grandeur, and possess many historic associations. In the hall, Surrey wrote on a pane of glass some of his verses to Geraldine; and there, too, it is said, the play of Henry VIII., exhibiting the fall of Wolsey in the very creation of his former glory, was once acted, Shakespeare himself being one of the performers!
CHATSWORTH AND HADDON HALL [Footnote: From "A Walk From London to John O'Groats."]
BY ELIHU BURRITT
It was a pleasure quite equal to my anticipation to visit Chatsworth for the first time, after a sojourn in England, off and on, for sixteen years. It is the lion number three, according to the American ranking of the historical edifices and localities of England. Stratford-upon-Avon, Westminster Abbey and Chatsworth are the three representative celebrities which our travelers think they must visit if they would see the life of England's ages from the best standpoints. And this is the order in which they rank them. Chatsworth and Haddon Hall should be seen the same day if possible; so that you may carry the impression of the one fresh and active into the other. They are the two most representative buildings in the kingdom. Haddon is old English feudalism edificed. It represents the rough grandeur, hospitality, wassail and rude romance of the English nobility five hundred years ago. It was all in its glory about the time when Thomas-a-Becket, the Magnificent, used to entertain great companies of belted knights of the realm in a manner that exceeded regal munificence in those days—even directing fresh straw to be laid for them on his ample mansion floor, that they might not soil the bravery of their dresses when they bunked down for the night. The building is brimful of the character and history of that period. Indeed, there are no two milestones of English history so near together, and yet measuring such a space of the nation's life and mariners between them, as this hall and that of Chatsworth.
It was built, of course, in the bow and arrow times, when the sun had to use the same missiles in shooting its barbed rays into the narrow apertures of old castles—or the stone coffins of fear-hunted knights and ladies, as they might be called. What a monument this to the dispositions and habits of the world, outside and inside of that early time! Here is the porter's or warder's lodge just inside the huge gate. To think of a living being with a human soul in him burrowing in such a place!—a big, black sarcophagus without a lid to it, set deep in the solid wall. Then there is the chapel. Compare it with that of Chatsworth, and you may count almost on your fingers the centuries that have intervened between them. It was new-roofed soon after the discovery of America, and, perhaps, done up to some show of decency and comfort. But how small and rude the pulpit and pews—looking like rough-boarded potato-bins! Here is the great banquet-hall, full to overflowing with the tracks and cross-tracks of that wild, strange life of old. There is a fire-place for you, and the mark in the chimney-back of five hundred Christmas logs. Doubtless this great stone pavement of a floor was carpeted with straw at banquets, after the illustrious Becket's pattern.
Here is a memento of the feast hanging up at the top of the kitchenward door—a pair of roughly-forged, rusty handcuffs amalgamated into one pair of jaws, like a muskrat trap. What was the use of that thing, conductor? "That sir, they put the 'ands in of them as shirked and didn't drink up all the wine as was poured into their cups, and there they made them stand on tiptoe up against that door, sir, before all the company, sir, until they was ashamed of theirselves." Descend into the kitchen, all scarred with the tremendous cookery of ages. Here they roasted bullocks whole, and just back in that dark vault with a slit or two in it for the light, they killed and drest them. There are relics of the shambles, and here is the great form on which they cut them up into manageable pieces. It would do you good, you Young America, to see that form, and the cross-gashes of the meat ax in it. It is the half of a gigantic English oak, which was growing in Julius Caesar's time, sawed through lengthwise, making a top surface several feet wide, black and smooth as ebony. Some of the bark still clings to the under side. The dancing-hall is the great room of the building. All that the taste, art and wealth of that day could do, was done to make it a splendid apartment, and it would pass muster still as a comfortable and respectable salon. As we pass out, you may decipher the short prayer cut in the wasting stone over a side portal, "God Save the Vernons." I hope this prayer has been favorably answered; for history records much virtue in the family, mingled with some romantic escapades, which have contributed, I believe, to the entertainment of many novel readers.
Just what Haddon Hall is to the baronial life and society of England five hundred years ago, is Chatsworth to the full stature of modern civilization and aristocratic wealth, taste and position. Of this it is probably the best measure and representative in the kingdom; and as such it possesses a special value and interest to the world at large. Were it not for here and there such an establishment, we should lack way-marks in the progress of the arts, sciences and tastes of advancing civilization.
EATON HALL [Footnote: From "English Note Books." By permission of, and by arrangement with, the publishers of Hawthorne's works, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1870 and 1898.]
BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
The Church of St. John is outside of the city walls of Chester. Entering the East gate, we walked awhile under the Rows, bought our tickets for Eaton Hall and its gardens, and likewise some playthings for the children; for this old city of Chester seems to me to possess an unusual number of toy-shops. Finally we took a cab, and drove to the Hall, about four miles distant, nearly the whole of the way lying through the wooded Park. There are many sorts of trees, making up a wilderness, which looked not unlike the woods of our own Concord, only less wild. The English oak is not a handsome tree, being short and sturdy, with a round, thick mass of foliage, lying all within its own bounds. It was a showery day. Had there been any sunshine, there might doubtless have been many beautiful effects of light and shadow in these woods. We saw one or two herds of deer, quietly feeding, a hundred yards or so distant. They appeared to be somewhat wilder than cattle, but, I think, not much wilder than sheep. Their ancestors have probably been in a half-domesticated state, receiving food at the hands of man, in winter, for centuries. There is a kind of poetry in this, quite as much as if they were really wild deer, such as their forefathers were, when Hugh Lupus used to hunt them.
Our miserable cab drew up at the steps of Eaton Hall, and, ascending under the portico, the door swung silently open, and we were received very civilly by two old men—one, a tall footman in livery; the other, of higher grade, in plain clothes. The entrance-hall is very spacious, and the floor is tessellated or somehow inlaid with marble. There was statuary in marble on the floor, and in niches stood several figures in antique armor, of various dates; some with lances, and others with battle-axes and swords. There was a two-handed sword, as much as six feet long; but not nearly so ponderous as I have supposed this kind of weapon to be, from reading of it. I could easily have brandished it.
The plainly drest old man now led us into a long corridor, which goes, I think, the whole length of the house, about five hundred feet, arched all the way, and lengthened interminably by a looking-glass at the end, in which I saw our own party approaching like a party of strangers. But I have so often seen this effect produced in dry-goods stores and elsewhere, that I was not much imprest. There were family portraits and other pictures, and likewise pieces of statuary, along this arched corridor; and it communicated with a chapel with a scriptural altar-piece, copied from Rubens, and a picture of St. Michael and the Dragon, and two, or perhaps three, richly painted windows. Everything here is entirely new and fresh, this part having been repaired, and never yet inhabited by the family. This brand-newness makes it much less effective than if it had been lived in; and I felt pretty much as if I were strolling through any other renewed house. After all, the utmost force of man can do positively very little toward making grand things or beautiful things. The imagination can do so much more, merely on shutting one's eyes, that the actual effect seems meager; so that a new house, unassociated with the past, is exceedingly unsatisfactory, especially when you have heard that the wealth and skill of man has here done its best. Besides, the rooms, as we saw them, did not look by any means their best, the carpets not being down, and the furniture being covered with protective envelops. However, rooms can not be seen to advantage by daylight; it being altogether essential to the effect, that they should be illuminated by artificial light, which takes them somewhat out of the region of bare reality. Nevertheless, there was undoubtedly great splendor—for the details of which I refer to the guide-book. Among the family portraits, there was one of a lady famous for her beautiful hand; and she was holding it up to notice in the funniest way—and very beautiful it certainly was. The private apartments of the family were not shown us. I should think it impossible for the owner of this house to imbue it with his personality to such a degree as to feel it to be his home. It must be like a small lobster in a shell much too large for him.
After seeing what was to be seen of the rooms, we visited the gardens, in which are noble conservatories and hot-houses, containing all manner of rare and beautiful flowers, and tropical fruits. I noticed some large pines, looking as if they were really made of gold. The gardener (under-gardener I suppose he was) who showed this part of the spectacle was very intelligent as well as kindly, and seemed to take an interest in his business. He gave S—— a purple everlasting flower, which will endure a great many years, as a memento of our visit to Eaton Hall. Finally, we took a view of the front of the edifice, which is very fine, and much more satisfactory than the interior—and returned to Chester.
HOLLAND HOUSE [Footnote: From "Homes and Haunts of the Most Eminent British Poets."]
BY WILLIAM HOWITT
Of Holland House, the last residence of Addison, it would require a long article to give a fitting idea. This fine old mansion is full of historic associations. It takes its name from Henry Rich, earl of Holland, whose portrait is in Bilton. It was built by his father-in-law, Sir Walter Cope, in 1607, and affords a very good specimen of the architecture of that period. The general form is that of a half H. The projection in the center, forming: at once porch and tower, and the two wings supported on pillars, give great decision of effect to it. The stone quoins worked with a sort of arabesque figure, remind one of the style of some portions of Heidelberg Castle, which is what is called on the Continent roccoco. Here it is deemed Elizabethan; but the plain buildings attached on each side to the main body of the house, with their shingled and steep-roofed towers, have a very picturesque and Bohemian look. Altogether, it is a charming old pile, and the interior corresponds beautifully with the exterior. There is a fine entrance-hall, a library behind it, and another library extending the whole length of one of the wings and the house upstairs, one hundred and five feet in length. The drawing-room over the entrance-hall, called the Gilt Room, extends from front to back of the house, and commands views of the gardens both way; those to the back are very beautiful.
In the house are, of course, many interesting and valuable works of art; a great portion of them memorials of the distinguished men who have been accustomed to resort thither. In one room is a portrait of Charles James Fox, as a child, in a light blue dress, and with a close, reddish, woolen cap on his head, under which show lace edges. The artist is unknown, but is supposed to be French. The countenance is full of life and intelligence, and the "child" in it is, most remarkably, "the father of the man." The likeness is wonderful. You can imagine how, by time and circumstance, that child's countenance expanded into what it became in maturity. There is also a portrait of Addison, which belonged to his daughter. It represents him as much younger than any other that I have seen. In the Gilt Room are marble busts of George IV. and William IV. On the staircase is a bust of Lord Holland, father of the second earl and of Charles Fox, by Nollekens. This bust, which is massy, and full of power and expression, is said to have brought Nollekens into his great repute. The likeness to that of Charles Fox is very striking. By the same artist there are also the busts of Charles Fox, the late Lord Holland, and the present earl. That of Frere, by Chantry, is very spirited. There are also, here, portraits of Lord Lansdowne, Lord John Russell, and family portraits. There is also a large and very curious painting of a fair, by Callot, and an Italian print of it.
In the library, downstairs, are portraits of Charles James Fox—a very fine one; of the late Lord Holland; of Talleyrand, by Ary Scheffer, perhaps the best in existence, and the only one which he said that he ever sat for; of Sir Samuel Romilly; Sir James Mackintosh; Lord Erskine, by Sir Thomas Lawrence; Tierney; Francis Horner, by Raeburn, so like Sir Walter Scott, by the same artist, that I at first supposed it to be him; Lord Macartney, by Phillips; Frere, by Shea; Mone, Lord Thanet; Archibald Hamilton; late Lord Darnley; late Lord King, when young, by Hoppner; and a very sweet, foreign fancy portrait of the present Lady Holland. We miss, however, from this haunt of genius, the portraits of Byron, Brougham, Crabbe, Blanco White, Hallam, Rogers, Lord Jeffrey, and others. In the left wing is placed the colossal model of the statue of Charles Fox, which stands in Bloomsbury Square.
In the gardens are various memorials of distinguished men. Among several very fine cedars, perhaps the finest is said to have been planted by Charles Fox. In the quaint old garden is an alcove, in which are the following lines, placed there by the late earl:
"Here Rogers sat—and here for ever dwell With me, those pleasures which he sang so well."
Beneath these are framed and glazed a copy of verses in honor of the same poet, by Mr. Luttrell. There is also in the same garden, and opposite this alcove, a bronze bust of Napoleon, on a granite pillar, with a Greek inscription from the Odyssey, admirably applying the situation of Ulysses to that of Napoleon at St. Helena: "In a far-distant isle he remains under the harsh surveillance of base men."
The fine avenue leading down from the house to the Kensington road is remarkable for having often been the walking and talking place of Cromwell and General Lambert. Lambert then occupied Holland House; and Cromwell, who lived next door, when he came to converse with him on state affairs, had to speak very loud to him, because he was deaf. To avoid being overheard, they used to walk in this avenue.
The traditions regarding Addison here are very slight. They are, simply, that he used to walk, when composing his "Spectators," in the long library, then a picture gallery, with a bottle of wine at each end, which he visited as he alternately arrived at them; and that the room in which he died, tho not positively known, is supposed to be the present dining-room, being then the state bed-room. The young Earl of Warwick, to whom he there address the emphatic words, "See in what peace a Christian can die!" died also, himself, in 1721, but two years afterward. The estate then devolved to Lord Kensington, descended from Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, who sold it, about 1762, to the Right Honorable Henry Fox, afterward Lord Holland. Here the early days of the great statesman, Charles James, were passed.
ARUNDEL [Footnote: From "Cathedral Days." By permission of, and by arrangement with, the publishers, Little, Brown & Co. Copyright, 1887.]
BY ANNA BOWMAN DODD
Such a vast architectural mass as Arundel Castle, implanted in Saxon, Roman, and feudal military necessities, strikes its roots deep and wide. The town appeared, in comparison, to be but an accidental projection on the hillside. The walls grow out of the town as the trunks of a great tree shoot forth from the ground—of a different growth, but an integral part of it.
Topographically, Arundel has only a few features, yet they are fine enough to form a rich ensemble. There is the castle, huge, splendid, impressive, set like a great gray pearl on the crown of the hill. On one side spreads the town; on the other, the tall trees of the castle park begirt its towers and battlements. At the foot of the hill runs the river—a beautiful sinuous stream, which curves its course between the Down hillsides out through the plains to the sea. Whatever may have been the fate of the town in former times, held perhaps at a distance far below in the valley, during troublous times when the castle must be free for the more serious work of assault or defense, it no longer lies at the foot of its great protector. In friendly confidence it seems to sit, if not within its arms, at least beside its knee....
There is no escaping the conclusion that a duke, when one is confronted with his castle, does seem an awfully real being. The castle was a great Catholic stronghold, the Dukes of Norfolk being among the few great families which have remained faithful, since the Conquest, to the See of Rome. The present Duke of Norfolk, by reason of the fervor of his piety, his untiring zeal and magnificent generosity, is recognized as the head of the Catholic party in England. To learn that he was at present on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, and that such was his yearly custom, seemed to shorten distance for us. It made the old—its beliefs, its superstitions, its unquestioning ardor of faith—strangely new. It invested the castle, which appealed to our consciousness as something remote and alien, with the reality of its relation to medieval life and manners.
The little cathedral which crowns the hill—the most prominent object for miles about, after the castle—is the gift of the present Duke. It is a pretty structure, pointed Gothic in style, consciously reproduced with all the aids of flying buttresses, niches, pinnacles, and arches. It was doubtless a splendid gift. Perhaps in the twenty-first century, when the weather has done its architectural work on the exterior, and when the interior has been finely dimmed with burned incense, when stained glass and sculptured effigies of saints have been donated by future dukes, it will be a very imposing edifice indeed.
But all the beauty of ecclesiastical picturesqueness lies across the way. Hidden behind the lovely beech-arched gateway rests the old parochial church. In spite of restoration the age of six centuries is written unmistakably on the massive square bell-tower, the thirteenth-century traceries, and the rich old glass. It is guarded by a high wall from the adjoining castle-walls, as if the castle still feared there were something dangerously infectious in the mere propinquity of such heresies.
It has had its turn at the sieges that have beset the castle. From the old tower there came a rattling hail when Waller's artillery flashed forth its fire upon the Royalist garrison in the castle. The old bells that peal out the Sunday chimes seem to retain something of the jubilant spirit of that martial time. There was a brisk military vigor in their clanging, suggestive of command rather than of entreaty, as if they were more at home when summoning fighters than worshipers.
All is peace now. The old church sits in the midst of its graves, like an old patriarch surrounded by the dead whom he has survived....
In looking up at the castle from the river, as a foreground, one has a lovely breastwork of trees, the castle resting on the crown of the hill like some splendid jewel. Its grayness makes its strong, bold outlines appear the more distinct against the melting background of the faint blue and white English sky and the shifting sky scenery....
The earliest Saxon who built his stronghold where the castle now stands must have had an eye for situation, pictorially considered, as well as that keen martial foresight which told him that the warrior who commanded the first hill from the sea, with that bastion of natural fortifications behind him, the Downs, had the God of battle already ranged on his side. The God of battle has been called on, in times past, to preside over a number of military engagements which have come off on this now peaceful hillside.
There have been few stirring events in English history in which Arundel Castle has not had its share. As Norman barons, the Earls of Arundel could not do less than the other barons of their time, and so quarreled with their king. When the Magna Charta was going about to gain signers, these feudal Arundel gentlemen figured in the bill, so to speak. The fine Baron's Hall, which commemorates this memorable signing, in the castle yonder, was built in honor of those remote but far-sighted ancestors. The Englishman, of course, has neither the vanity of the Frenchman nor the pride of the Spaniard. But for a modest people, it is astonishing what a number of monuments are built to tell the rest of the world how free England is.
The other events which have in turn destroyed or rent the castle—its siege and surrender to Henry I., the second siege by King Stephen, and later the struggle of the Cavaliers and Roundheads for its possession, during the absence abroad of the then reigning Earl—have been recorded with less boastful emphasis. The recent restorations, rebuildings, and enlargements have obliterated all traces of these rude shocks. It has since risen a hundred times more beautiful from its ruins. It is due to these modern renovations that the castle presents such a superb appearance. It has the air of careful preservation which distinguishes some of the great royal residences—such as Windsor, for instance, to which it has often been compared; its finish and completeness suggests the modern chisel. It is this aspect of completeness, as well as the unity of its fine architectural features, which makes such a great castle as this so impressive. As a feudal stronghold it can hardly fail to appeal to the imagination. As the modern palatial home of an English nobleman, it appeals to something more virile—to the sense that behind the medieval walls the life of its occupants is still representative, is still deep and national in importance and significance. Pictorially, there is nothing—unless it be a great cathedral, which brings up quite a different order of impressions and sensations—that gives to the landscape such pictorial effect as a castle.
PENSHURST [Footnote: From "Visits to Remarkable Places."]
BY WILLIAM HOWITT
England, among her titled families, can point to none more illustrious than that of Sidney. It is a name which carries with it the attestation of its genuine nobility. Others are of older standing in the realm. It is not one of those to be found on the roll of Battle Abbey. The first who bore it in England is said to have come hither in the reign of Henry III. There are others, too, which have mounted much higher in the scale of mere rank; but it may be safely said that there is none of a truer dignity, nor more endeared to the spirits of Englishmen.
Of this distinguished line, the most illustrious and popular was unquestionably Sir Philip. The universal admiration that he won from his contemporaries is one of the most curious circumstances of the history of those times. The generous and affectionate enthusiasm with which he inspired both his own countrymen and foreigners, has, perhaps, no parallel....
The first view which I got of the old house of Penshurst, called formerly both Penshurst Place and Penshurst Castle, was as I descended the hill opposite to it. Its gray walls and turrets, and high-peaked and red roofs rising in the midst of them; and the new buildings of fresh stone, mingled with the ancient fabric, presented a very striking and venerable aspect.
It stands in the midst of a wide valley, on a pleasant elevation; its woods and park stretching away beyond, northward; and the picturesque church, parsonage, and other houses of the village, grouping in front. From whichever side you view the house, it strikes you as a fitting abode of the noble Sidneys. Valleys run out on every side from the main one in which it stands; and the hills, which are everywhere at some distance, wind about in a very pleasant and picturesque manner, covered with mingled woods and fields, and hop-grounds.
The house now presents two principal fronts. The one facing westward, formerly looked into a court, called the President's Court, because the greater part of it was built by Sir Henry Sidney, the father of Sir Philip, and Lord President of the Council established in the Marches of Wales. The court is now thrown open, and converted into a lawn surrounded by a sunk fence, and overlooking a quiet valley of perhaps a mile in length, terminated by woody hills of great rural beauty.
This front, as well as the northern one, is of great length. It is of several dates and styles of architecture. The facade is of two stories, and battlemented. The center division, which is of recent erection, has large windows of triple arches, with armorial shields between the upper and lower stories. The south end of the facade is of an ancient date, with smaller mullioned windows; the northern portion with windows of a similar character to those in the center, but less and plainer. Over this facade shows itself the tall gable of the ancient banqueting-hall which stands in the inner court. At each end of this facade projects a wing, with its various towers of various bulk and height; some square, of stone, others octagon, of brick, with a great diversity of tall, worked chimneys, which, with steep roofs, and the mixture of brick-work and stone-work all through the front, give a mottled, but yet very venerable aspect to it.
The north and principal front, facing up the park, has been restored by its noble possessor, and presents a battlemented range of stone buildings of various projections, towers, turrets, and turreted chimneys, which, when the windows are put in, which is not yet fully done, will have few superiors among the castellated mansions of England....
In the center of the inner court stands the old banqueting-hall, a tall gabled building with high red roof, surmounted with the ruins of a cupola, erected upon it by Mr. Perry, who married the heiress of the family, but who does not seem to have brought much taste into it. On the point of each gable is an old stone figure—the one a tortoise, the other a lion couchant—and upon the back of each of these old figures, so completely accordant with the building itself, which exhibits under its eaves and at the corners of its windows numbers of those grotesque corbels which distinguish our buildings of an early date, both domestic and ecclesiastical, good Mr. Perry clapped a huge leaden vase which had probably crowned aforetime the pillars of a gateway, or the roof of a garden-house....
The south side of the house has all the irregularity of an old castle, consisting of various towers, projections, buttresses, and gables. Some of the windows show tracery of a superior order, and others have huge common sashes, introduced by the tasteful Mr. Perry aforesaid. The court on this side is surrounded by battlemented walls, and has a massy square gatehouse leading into the old garden, or pleasaunce, which sloped away down toward the Medway, but is now merely a grassy lawn, with the remains of one fine terrace running along its western side....
The old banqueting-hall is a noble specimen of the baronial hall of the reign of Edward III., when both house and table exhibited the rudeness of a martial age, and both gentle and simple revelled together, parted only by the salt. The floor is of brick. The raised platform, or dais, at the west-end, advances sixteen feet into the room. The width of the hall is about forty feet, and the length of it about fifty-four feet. On each side are tall Gothic windows, much of the tracery of which has been some time knocked out, and the openings plastered up. At the east end is a fine large window, with two smaller ones above it; but the large window is, for the most part, hidden by the front of the music gallery.
In the center of the floor an octagon space is marked out with a rim of stone, and within this space stands a massy old dog, or brand-iron, about a yard and a half wide, and the two upright ends three feet six inches high, having on their outer sides, near the top, the double broad arrow of the Sidney arms. The smoke from the fire, which was laid on this jolly dog, ascended and passed out through the center of the roof, which is high, and of framed oak, and was adorned at the spring of the huge groined spars with grotesque projecting carved figures, or corbels, which are now taken down, being considered in danger of falling, and are laid in the music gallery.
ENGLISH LITERARY SHRINES
STRATFORD-ON-AVON [Footnote: From "The Sketch Book." Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.]
BY WASHINGTON IRVING
Thou soft flowing Avon, by thy silver stream Of things more than mortal sweet Shakespeare would dream; The fairies by moonlight dance round his green bed, For hallowed the turf is which pillowed his head.
I had come to Stratford on a poetical pilgrimage. My first visit was to the house where Shakespeare was born, and where, according to tradition, he was brought up to his father's craft of wool-combing. It is a small, mean-looking edifice of wood and plaster, a true nestling-place of genius, which seems to delight in hatching its offspring in by-corners. The walls of its squalid chambers are covered with names and inscriptions in every language, by pilgrims of all nations, ranks, and conditions, from the prince to the peasant; and present a striking instance of the spontaneous and universal homage of mankind to the great poet of nature.
The house is shown by a garrulous old lady, in a frosty red face, lighted up by a cold blue anxious eye, and garnished with artificial locks of flaxen hair, curling from under an exceedingly dirty cap. She was peculiarly assiduous in exhibiting the relics with which this, like all other celebrated shrines, abounds. There was the shattered stock of the very matchlock with which Shakespeare shot the deer, on his poaching exploits. There, too, was his tobacco-box; which proves that he was a rival smoker of Sir Walter Raleigh; the sword also with which he played Hamlet; and the identical lantern with which Friar Laurence discovered Romeo and Juliet at the tomb! There was an ample supply also of Shakespeare's mulberry-tree, which seems to have as extraordinary powers of self-multiplication as the wood of the true cross; of which there is enough extant to build a ship of the line.
The most favorite object of curiosity, however, is Shakespeare's chair. It stands in the chimney-nook of a small gloomy chamber, just behind what was his father's shop. Here he may many a time have sat when a boy, watching the slowly-revolving spit, with all the longing of an urchin; or, of an evening, listening to the crones and gossips of Stratford, dealing forth churchyard tales and legendary anecdotes of the troublesome times in England. In this chair it is the custom of everyone who visits the house to sit: whether this be done with the hope of imbibing any of the inspiration of the bard, I am at a loss to say; I merely mention the fact; and mine hostess privately assured me that, tho built of solid oak, such was the fervent zeal of devotees, that the chair had to be new-bottomed at least once in three years. From the birthplace of Shakespeare a few paces brought me to his grave.... We approached the church through the avenue of limes, and entered by a Gothic porch, highly ornamented with carved doors of massive oak. The interior is spacious, and the architecture and embellishments superior to those of most country churches. There are several ancient monuments of nobility and gentry, over some of which hang funeral escutcheons, and banners dropping piecemeal from the walls. The tomb of Shakespeare is in the chancel. The place is solemn and sepulchral. Tall elms wave before the pointed windows, and the Avon, which runs at a short distance from the walls, keeps up a low perpetual murmur. A flat stone marks the spot where the bard is buried. There are four lines inscribed on it, said to have been written by himself, and which have in them something extremely awful. If they are indeed his own, they show that solicitude about the quiet of the grave which seems natural to fine sensibilities and thoughtful minds:
"Good friend, for Jesus' sake, forbeare To dig the dust inclosed here. Blessed be he that spares these stones, And curst be he that moves my bones."
The inscription on the tombstone has not been without its effect. It has prevented the removal of his remains from the bosom of his native place to Westminster Abbey, which was at one time contemplated. A few years since also, as some laborers were digging to make an adjoining vault, the earth caved in, so as to leave a vacant space almost like an arch, through which one might have reached into his grave. No one, however, presumed to meddle with the remains so awfully guarded by a malediction; and lest any of the idle or the curious, or any collector of relics, should be tempted to commit depredations, the old sexton kept watch over the place for two days, until the vault was finished, and the aperture closed again. He told me that he had made bold to look in at the hole, but could see neither coffin nor bones; nothing but dust. It was something, I thought, to have seen the dust of Shakespeare.
I had now visited the usual objects of a pilgrim's devotion, but I had a desire to see the old family seat of the Lucy's at Charlecot, and to ramble through the park where Shakespeare, in company with some of the roisterers of Stratford, committed his youthful offense of deer-stealing. The old mansion of Charlecot and its surrounding park still remain in the possession of the Lucy family, and are peculiarly interesting from being connected with this whimsical but eventful circumstance in the scanty history of the bard. As the house stood at little more than three miles' distance from Stratford, I resolved to pay it a pedestrian visit, that I might stroll leisurely through some of those scenes from which Shakespeare must have derived his earliest ideas of rural imagery.
My route for a part of the way lay in sight of the Avon, which made a variety of the most fanciful doublings and windings through a wide and fertile valley; sometimes glittering from among willows, which fringed its borders; sometimes disappearing among groves, or beneath green banks; and sometimes rambling out into full view, and making an azure sweep around a slope of meadow land. This beautiful bosom of country is called the Vale of the Red Horse. A distant line of undulating blue hills seems to be its boundary, while all the soft intervening landscape lies in a manner enchained in the silver links of the Avon.
After pursuing the road for about three miles, I turned off into a foot-path, which led along the borders of fields and under hedgerows to a private gate of the park; there was a stile, however, for the benefit of the pedestrian; there being a public right of way through the grounds. I delight in these hospitable estates, in which everyone has a kind of property—at least as far as the foot-path is concerned. I now found myself among noble avenues of oaks and elms, whose vast size bespoke the growth of centuries. The wind sounded solemnly among their branches, and the rooks cawed from their hereditary nests in the tree tops. The eye ranged through a long lessening vista, with nothing to interrupt the view but a distant statue, and a vagrant deer stalking like a shadow across the opening.
I had now come in sight of the house. It is a large building of brick, with stone quoins, and is in the Gothic style of Queen Elizabeth's day, having been built in the first year of her reign. The exterior remains very nearly in its original state, and may be considered a fair specimen of the residence of a wealthy country gentleman of those days. A great gateway opens from the park into a kind of courtyard in front of the house, ornamented with a grass-plot, shrubs, and flower-beds. The gateway is in imitation of the ancient barbican; being a kind of outpost and flanked by towers; tho evidently for mere ornament, instead of defense. The front of the house is completely in the old style; with stone shafted casements, a great bow-window of heavy stone work, and a portal with armorial bearings over it, carved in stone. At each corner of the building is an octagon tower, surmounted by a gilt ball and weathercock.
The Avon, which winds through the park, makes a bend just at the foot of a gently sloping bank, which sweeps down from the rear of the house. Large herds of deer were feeding or reposing upon its borders; and swans were sailing majestically upon its bosom.
After prowling about for some time, I at length found my way to a lateral portal, which was the every-day entrance to the mansion. I was courteously received by a worthy old housekeeper, who, with the civility and communicativeness of her order, showed me the interior of the house. The greater part has undergone alterations, and been adapted to modern tastes and modes of living; there is a fine old oaken staircase; and the great hall, that noble feature in an ancient manor-house, still retains much of the appearance it must have had in the days of Shakespeare. The ceiling is arched and lofty; and at one end is a gallery, in which stands an organ. The weapons and trophies of the chase, which formerly adorned the hall of a country gentleman, have made way for family portraits. There is a wide hospitable fire-place, calculated for an ample old-fashioned wood fire, formerly the rallying place of winter festivity. On the opposite side of the hall is the huge Gothic bow-window, with stone shafts, which looks out upon the court-yard. Here are emblazoned in stained glass the armorial bearings of the Lucy family for many generations, some being dated in 1558....
I regretted to find that the ancient furniture of the hall had disappeared; for I had hoped to meet with the stately elbow-chair of carved oak, in which the country Squire of former days was wont to sway the scepter of empire over his rural domains; and in which might be presumed the redoubted Sir Thomas sat enthroned in awful state, when the recreant Shakespeare was brought before him. As I like to deck out pictures for my entertainment, I pleased myself with the idea that this very hall had been the scene of the unlucky bard's examination on the morning after his captivity in the lodge. I fancied to myself the rural potentate, surrounded by his body-guard of butler, pages, and the blue-coated serving-men with their badges; while the luckless culprit was brought in, forlorn and chapfallen, in the custody of game-keepers, huntsmen, and whippers-in, and followed by a rabble rout of country clowns. I fancied bright faces of curious housemaids peeping from the half-opened doors; while from the gallery the fair daughters of the Knight leaned gracefully forward, eying the youthful prisoner with that pity "that dwells in womanhood." Who would have thought that this poor varlet, thus trembling before the brief authority of a country Squire, and the sport of rustic boors, was soon to become the delight of princes; the theme of all tongues and ages; the dictator to the human mind; and was to confer immortality on his oppressor by a caricature and a lampoon!
I now bade a reluctant farewell to the old hall. My mind had become so completely possest by the imaginary scenes and characters connected with it, that I seemed to be actually living among them. Everything brought them as it were before my eyes; and as the door of the dining-room opened, I almost expected to hear the feeble voice of Master Silence quavering forth his favorite ditty:
"Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all, And welcome merry Shrove-tide!"
On returning to my inn, I could not but reflect on the singular gift of my poet; to be able thus to spread the magic of his mind over the very face of nature; to give to things and places a charm and character not their own, and to turn this "working-day world" into a perfect fairy land. He is indeed the true enchanter, whose spell operates, not upon the senses, but upon the imagination and the heart. Under the wizard influence of Shakespeare I had been walking all day in complete delusion. I had surveyed the landscape through the prism of poetry, which tinged every object with the hues of the rainbow. I had been surrounded with fancied beings; with mere airy nothings, conjured up by poetic power; yet which, to me, had all the charm of reality. I had heard Jacques soliloquize beneath his oak; had beheld the fair Rosalind and her companion adventuring through the woodlands; and, above all, had been once more present in spirit with fat Jack Falstaff, and his contemporaries, from the august Justice Shallow down to the gentle Master Slender, and the sweet Anne Page.
NEWSTEAD ABBEY [Footnote: From "English Note Books." By permission of, and by arrangement with, the publishers of Hawthorne's works, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1870-1898.]
BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
Our drive to Newstead lay through what was once a portion of Sherwood Forest, tho all of it, I believe, has now become private property, and is converted into fertile fields, except where the owners of estates have set out plantations.... The post-boy calls the distance ten miles from Nottingham. He also averred that it was forbidden to drive visitors within the gates; so we left the fly at the inn, and set out to walk from the entrance to the house. There is no porter's lodge; and the grounds, in this outlying region, had not the appearance of being very primly kept, but were well wooded with evergreens, and much overgrown with ferns, serving for cover for hares, which scampered in and out of their hiding-places. The road went winding gently along, and, at the distance of nearly a mile, brought us to a second gate, through which we likewise passed, and walked onward a good way farther, seeing much wood, but as yet nothing of the Abbey.
At last, through the trees, we caught a glimpse of its battlements, and saw, too, the gleam of water, and then appeared the Abbey's venerable front. It comprises the western wall of the church, which is all that remains of that fabric, a great, central window, entirely empty, without tracery or mullions; the ivy clambering up on the inside of the wall, and hanging over in front. The front of the inhabited part of the house extends along on a line with this church wall, rather low, with battlements along its top, and all in good keeping with the ruinous remnant. We met a servant, who replied civilly to our inquiries about the mode of gaining admittance, and bade us ring a bell at the corner of the principal porch. We rang accordingly, and were forthwith admitted into a low, vaulted basement, ponderously wrought with intersecting arches, dark and rather chilly, just like what I remember to have seen at Battle Abbey; and, after waiting here a little while, a respectable elderly gentlewoman appeared, of whom we requested to be shown round the Abbey. She courteously acceded, first presenting us to a book, in which to inscribe our names.