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Title: Palace and Hovel

Phases of London Life

Author: Daniel Joseph Kirwan

Release Date: October 12, 2017 [eBook #55732]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by deaurider, Graeme Mackreth,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
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Internet Archive


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Beautifully Illustrated with Two Hundred Engravings, and a finely executed Map of London.


Hartford, Conn.:

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.

Hartford, Conn.


Samuel L.M. Barlow, Esq.,




True Gentleman in Every Quality and Duty of Life,





Unvarying Friendship borne by him for the author


In offering this volume to the Public, the result of a year's experience and labor, I must indeed feel gratified, and more than rewarded, if any of those who may peruse its pages shall find in them a tithe of the pleasure which I enjoyed in journeying in and about the nooks, crannies, and curious places, of what may be justly called the greatest and most populous City of the Modern World.

Believing that a Metropolis of Three and a Half Millions of people should be observed and described, if observed and described at all, in a large and comprehensive sense, in order that a thorough knowledge of it may be obtained by those who will do me the honor of turning the leaves of this book, I have not hesitated to take my readers into places which they might shrink from visiting alone, and which are rarely or ever seen by the stranger, in London. Therefore have I sketched its Haunts of Vice, Misery, and Crime, as well as its fairer and brighter aspects, with no faltering in my purpose, so that the American people might see London as I saw it, and as it exists To-Day.

The material employed in making the book was gathered from personal observation, while acting as a Special Correspondent of the New York World, in London, and I cannot do less than make an acknowledgment of the kindness of its Editor, Mr. Manton Marble, by whose permission I have used some portions of the matter embodied in this work.


Hartford, August 1st, 1870.

  1. One More Unfortunate      Frontispiece
  2. Grand Staircase, Buckingham Palace—Illuminated Title-Page.
  3. Bird's-Eye View of London,
  4. Initial Letter,
  5. The London Stone,
  6. Thank you, Sir,
  7. The Rock and Chain, Tail Piece,
  8. Initial Letter,
  9. Sword, &c., Tail Piece,
  10. Entrance to Docks,
  11. I Don't Think it Will Hurt me,
  12. Forest, Initial Letter,
  13. Buckingham Palace      (Full Page,)
  14. Portrait of Queen Victoria,
  15. John Brown Exercising the Queen,
  16. Fancy Sketch, Tail Piece,
  17. Lion on Guard, Initial Letter,
  18. Purty Bill Showing us in,
  19. Wont you Take Something?
  20. Snake Swallowing,
  21. "Bilking Bet takes the Chair,"
  22. "Teddy the Kinchin's Song,"
  23. Explosive Materials, Tail Piece,
  24. Initial Letter,
  25. Cogers' Hall, Debating Club,
  26. Snake in the Grass, Tail Piece,
  27. Initial Letter,
  28. Conservative Club House,
  29. Carlton Club House,
  30. Oxford and Cambridge Club House,
  31. United Service Club House,
  32. Architectural Sketch, Tail Piece,
  33. Initial Letter,
  34. Westminster Abbey,
  35. Shakespeare's Tomb,
  36. Tomb of Milton,
  37. Tomb of Mary Queen of Scots,
  38. Coronation Chair,
  39. Gauntleted Hand and Sword, Tail Piece,
  40. Initial Letter,
  41. Victoria Theatre in the New Cut,      (Full Page,)
  42. Rag Fair,
  43. A Cell Window, Initial Letter,
  44. The Last Execution at Newgate,
  45. Fetters and Chain, Tail Piece,
  46. Broken Wheel, Initial Letter,
  47. Doctors' Commons,
  48. Eagle and Snake, Tail Piece,
  49. Initial Letter,
  50. A Bohemian Carouse,
  51. A Water Scene, Tail Piece,
  52. Tower of London      (Full Page,)
  53. Initial Letter,
  54. Traitors' Gate,
  55. The Crown Jewels,
  56. Imperial Orb, Ampulla and other Jewels,
  57. The State Salt-Cellars,
  58. Cannon, Tail Piece,
  59. Initial Letter,
  60. The Cadgers' Meal,
  61. Raft Timber, Tail Piece,
  62. The Old Oak, Initial Letter,
  63. Bathing in Hyde Park,
  64. The Labyrinth,
  65. The Crystal Palace,
  66. The Promenade, Tail Piece,
  67. Fort and Water Scene, Initial Letter,
  68. Portrait of the Prince of Wales,
  69. Prince and Cabman,
  70. Broken Wagon and Dead Horse, Tail Piece,
  71. Blood-Hounds in the Leash, Initial Letter,
  72. Portrait of Lady Mordaunt,
  73. Portrait of the Duke of Hamilton,
  74. Portrait of the Marquis of Waterford,
  75. Portrait of the Marquis of Hastings,
  76. Mounted Cannon, Initial Letter,
  77. Houses of Parliament      (Full Page,)
  78. Portrait of William Ewart Gladstone
  79. The Legislative Bar-Maid,
  80. Portrait of John Bright,
  81. The Student, Tail Piece,
  82. Initial Letter,
  83. "Could you Make it a Tanner?"
  84. The Speaker of the House,
  85. First Lord of the Admiralty,
  86. Portrait of Robert E. Lowe,
  87. Gladstone Speaking in the House of Commons      (Full Page,)
  88. Landscape, Tail Piece,
  89. Initial Letter,
  90. The Pocket-Book Game,
  91. Steam Frigate, Tail Piece,
  92. A Broadside, Initial Letter,
  93. The Sewer Hunter,
  94. Blood-Hound, Tail Piece,
  95. Island, Initial Letter,
  96. Cats Receiving Rations,
  97. The Great Porter Tun,
  98. Initial Letter,
  99. The Harvard Crew      (Full Page,)
  100. Bridge, Tail Piece,
  101. Initial Letter,
  102. The Oxford Crew,      (Full Page,)
  103. The University Race,      (Full Page,)
  104. Beautiful Craft, Tail Piece,
  105. Initial Letter,
  106. Hospital Ship "Dreadnought,"
  107. Jonathan Wild's Skeleton,
  108. Initial Letter,
  109. Coke Peddler,
  110. Bum Boatman,
  111. "I Gets it for Cigar Stumps,"
  112. Street Acrobats,
  113. Punch and Judy,
  114. Initial Letter,
  115. Nelson's Monument,
  116. Damaged Tree, Tail Piece,
  117. Initial Letter,
  118. Nursery in the Foundling Hospital,
  119. Washing the Waifs,
  120. Landscape, Tail Piece,
  121. Initial Letter,
  122. Breakfast Stall, Covent Garden Market      (Full Page,)
  123. The Orange Market,
  124. Going to Market, Tail Piece,
  125. Fancy Piece, Initial Letter,
  126. Wild and Desolate, Tail Piece,
  127. Initial Letter,
  128. Foreign Cafe in Coventry Street
  129. Canteen of the Alhambra,
  130. The Old Sinner,
  131. Rough and Ready, Tail Piece,
  132. In the Haymarket,
  133. Initial Letter,
  134. St. Paul's Cathedral,
  135. Sharp-Shooter, Initial Letter,
  136. "Beautiful Miss Neilson,"
  137. A Gin Public in the New Cut,
  138. A Gallery of the "Vic,"
  139. Putting on Airs, Tail Piece,
  140. Initial Letter,
  141. An Auction at Billingsgate Fish Market,      (Full Page,)
  142. Initial Letter,
  143. Lincoln's Inn,
  144. Fancy Sketch, Tail Piece,
  145. An English Oak, Initial Letter,
  146. Bankers' Eating-House,
  147. The Bank of England,
  148. "I Began to Perspire,"
  149. Carpet-Bag, Tail Piece,
  150. London Bridge, (Full Page,)
  151. Forest Scene, Initial Letter,
  152. Temple Bar, Fleet Street,
  153. The New Blackfriars Bridge,
  154. Bridge and Water Scene, Tail Piece,
  155. Initial Letter,
  156. Windsor Castle,
  157. Tail Piece,
  158. Initial Letter,
  159. Loading the Prison Van,
  160. Detective Irving,
  161. Before the Lord Mayor,
  162. Bible and Hand, Initial Letter,
  163. Portrait of Spurgeon,
  164. Portrait of Father Ignatius,
  165. "Lothair" (Marquis of Bute,)
  166. Ruins, Tail Piece,
  167. Initial Letter,
  168. "Scott's" in the Haymarket,
  169. The Midnight Mission,      (Full Page,)
  170. "Skittles" and the Princess Mary,
  171. A Row in Cremorne,
  172. Sword and Purse, Initial Letter,
  173. Portrait of "Mabel Grey,"
  174. Portrait of "Anonyma,"
  175. Portrait of "Baby Hamilton,"
  176. Mabel Grey at Home,
  177. Portrait of "Alice Gordon,"
  178. Snake and Dove, Initial Letter,
  179. A Meal at a Cheap Lodging House,      (Full Page,)
  180. "Damnable Jack,"
  181. Statue of George Peabody,
  182. Tail Piece,
  183. Initial Letter,
  184. Old "Smudge," the Cabby,
  185. "A Hansom Cab,"
  186. "One Hundred Rats in Nine Minutes,"
  187. The Rat-Catcher,
  188. "Paddy's Goose,"
  189. Waiting for the Tide,
  190. Ruins, Tail Piece,
  191. "The Times" Office,
  192. The Sub-Editors' Room, "Daily Telegraph" Office,
  193. Portrait of James Anthony Froude,
  194. Portrait of Algernon Charles Swinburne,
  195. Portrait of John Stewart Mill,
  196. Portrait of Benjamin Disraeli,
  197. Portrait of John Ruskin,
  198. Portrait of Charles Kingsley,
  199. Portrait of Anthony Trollope,
  200. Tail Piece,
  201. Initial Letter,
  202. Half-Penny Soup House,    (Full Page,)
  203. A Pawn-Broker's Shop,
  204. A Third Class Railway Carriage,
  205. Tail Piece,
  206. Map of London,

View from the Cupola of St. Paul's Cathedral—Population of London—Its Wealth and Poverty—Interesting Statistics, 17
The Thames Embankment—The Tunnel—The Subway—Tunnel Thieves—Pneumatic Railway, 24
Custom-House Duties—Immense Wine Vaults under the Docks—Hoisting and Discharging Cargoes—London and West India Docks—Opposition to the New Dock System—Dock Laborers, 28
St. James—Whitehall—Buckingham Palace—Magnificence of the Queen's Residence—The Grand Staircase—Queen's Library—The Famous John Brown, 42
Underground Life—A Friendly Visit among Thieves and Pick-Pockets—The Midnight Feast, 58
Society of Cogers—The Most Worthy Grand—News of the Week—Interesting Debates—Irish Orator and Scotch Presbyterian—Liberals and Conservatives—"Where are we now?"—Farce and Tragedy, 76
Aristocratic Members—Entrance and Subscription Fees—How Managed and Supported—Architectural Splendor—Choice Wines and Luxurious Dinners—Interesting Statistics—A Model Kitchen—Heavy Swell Club, 92
Its Dimensions and Architectural Construction—Its Wealth and Immense Revenues—The Burial-Place of the Kings and Queens—Magnificence of their Tombs—Tomb of Shakespeare—Tomb of Milton—Tomb of Mary Queen of Scots—Coronation of William the Conqueror—The Massacre, 107
The New Cut—Heathenism of the Costers—Marriage Relation—Old Clothes District—Petticoat Lane—Congress of Rags—Modus Operandi of Selling, 128
Dying for an Idea—Execution of Barrett—Man in the Mask—Famous Criminals—Pestiferous Prison—The Old Bailey Court—Hotel Regulations—Drinking from St. Giles' Bowl, 145
Marriage Licenses—Divorces—Ecclesiastical Court—High Court of Admiralty—Paying the Piper—Legal Scoundrelism—The Last Will and Testaments of Shakespeare, Milton, and of Napoleon Bonaparte—The Forgotten Sailor, 159
Carlisle Arms—A Pint of Cooper—Cockerell's Lodgings—Fitz and Dawson, or the Radical and Conservative Reporter—The Short Hand Reporter—Dawson's Story—A Song from the Speaker—Beautiful Potato, 167
Its History and Dimensions—Council Chamber—Jolly Bishops and Royal Prisoners—The Traitor's Gate—Anne Boleyn—Princess Elizabeth—Heroism of Lady Jane Grey upon the Scaffold—The Crown Jewels—What can be seen for a Sixpence, 183
Under the Arches—Vagrancy and Pauperism—The Family Gathering—The Cadger's Meal—A Confirmed Vagrant—The Girl Molly—The Hopeful Son—The Cadger's Story, 207
Regent's and Hyde Parks—Dimensions of the Public Parks and Gardens—What they Contain—Bathing in Hyde Park—Richmond Park with its Forests and Hunting Grounds—Hampton Court Park—Its Labyrinth—The Crystal Palace—Veteran Musicians—Greenwich Park—Grand Observatory, 216
Vagabonds in Kingly Robes—Prince of Wales and his Personal Friends—The Prince and the London Brewer as Firemen—Lord Carington as a Coachman—His Cowardly Assault upon Greenville Murray—The Prince and Cabman—Infamy of the Prince—A Mad King, 226
Lord Carington—Lady Mordaunt, Divorce Proceedings, and Interesting Testimony—Love Letters of the Prince—Duke of Hamilton—The Fastest Young Man in England—The Marquis of Waterford—Marquis of Hastings—Duke of Newcastle—Earl of Jersey—Lord Clinton and others, 240
Westminster Palace and Houses of Parliament—Interior of the House of Commons—Bobbies and Cabbies—Strangers' Gallery—The Legislative Bar-Maid—William Ewart Gladstone—England's Greatest Commoner John Bright, 270
Reporters' Gallery—Dr. Johnson taking Notes—The Speaker and his Wig—Important Personages—First Lord of the Admiralty—Peers in the Gallery—Gladstone's Early Life—The Eloquence of the Premier—The Sarcasm of Disraeli—Ducal Houses—Upper House of Parliament—Privileges of the Peers, 285
The Old Jewry—Central Detective's Office—Relics of Crimes—Inspector Bailey—Experience of Mr. Funnell—The Pocket-Book Game—New York a Precious bad Place—Police Districts—Expenses Attending them—River Thieves, 318
The City Honey-Combed—2,000 Miles of Sewerage—An Unlawful and Dangerous Business—Prizes Found—The Hunter's Story—Great Battle with the Rats—Victory at last, 330
The English a Great Beer-Drinking People—Amount of Exports—Barclay and Perkins—A Princely Firm—Cats on Guard—The House of Hanbury, Buxton & Co.—Great Porter Tun—Libraries in the Establishments—Quantities of Beer used in London, 337
Police Arrangements—Thomas Hughes, M.P.—Dark Blue and Magenta—On the Tow-Path—A Frightful Jam—Booths and Shows—Badges and Rosettes—The Dear Old Flag, 344
On Board the Press Boat—The Harvard Crew—Loring's Condition—Simmons the Pride of the Crew—The Oxford Crew—"Little Corpus," the Coxswain—The Start—Harvard Leads—Burnham's bad Steering—Oxford's Vengeance Stroke—The Last Desperate Struggle—Beaten by Six Seconds—Fair Play and Courtesy, 362
"Domesday Book"—Oldest Books in England—Hospital Ship "Dreadnought"—A Gaudy Show—The Queen's Stage-Coach—Jonathan Wild's Skeleton—The Lord Mayor's State Coach—Installation of a London Sheriff, 382
Street Hawkers—Venders of Old Boots and Shoes—The Dog Fancier—Bird Sellers—Coke Peddlers—Bum Boatman—Stock in Trade—How Dick gets his Porridge—"I Gets it for Cigar-Stumps"—Street Acrobats—Punch and Judy Show, 391
Its Origin—Laying the Foundation—Reading Room—Departments of the Museum—The Galleries and Saloons—The Three Libraries—What can be seen—Nelson's Monument—Pictures and Works of Art in the National Gallery—The Great Masters—Free to the Working People, 410
Infanticide—The Benevolent Captain—Foundling Hospital—Admission of Children—Great Numbers Received—How they Dine—How they Sleep—Washing the Waifs—Charitable Institutions—An Interesting Sight—Innumerable Bequests, 420
Amount of Food Sold—Inspections—Metropolitan Cattle Market—New Smithfield Market—Covent Garden Market—Hot Coffee Girl—Vegetable Market—The Baked Potato Man—The Jews' Orange Market, 435
Waterloo Bridge—The Pale-Faced Girl—Three O'clock in the Morning—Weary of Life—A Leap from the Parapet—Fruitless Attempt to Save—A Sad Sight—The Wages of Sin is Death, 452
Leicester Square—Foreign Cafe in Coventry Street—The Abode of Sir Joshua Reynolds—The Residence of William Hogarth—Royal Alhambra Palace—The Great Social Evil—"Wotten Wow"—In the Canteen—The Old Sinner—The Tulip and the Daisy, 461
The Haymarket by Night—The Argyle Rooms—Fast Young Men—Paint and Jewelry—Silks and Satins—Free and Easy—Barnes'—"Holborn Casino"—A Magnificent Saloon—Good Night, 476
Its History and Dimensions—Destruction of Old St. Paul's—Annual Revenues—Prices of Admission—Monuments to Nelson—Burial-Place of Wellington—Nelson's Funeral—A Grand Sight—"I am the Resurrection and the Life," 486
Beautiful Miss Neilson—The Lord Chamberlain a Censor—Royal Victoria Theatre—Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres—A "Gin Public" in the New Cut—The Gallery of the "Vic"—The Chorus of "Immensekoff," 493
Profit on Fish—Oyster Boats—Number of Fishing Vessels—The Fish Woman—The Old Style of Dress—Breakfast at Billingsgate—Capital Invested—Immense Sales, 508
Number of Students—Gray's Inn—The New Hall of Lincoln's Inn—Parliament Chamber—How to become a Lawyer—Procuring Admission—"Hall Dinners"—Cup of "Sack"—The Toast—Irish Students, 518
Its History—The Riots—Ledgers and Money-Bags—A Powerful Corporation—Bankers' Eating-House—Great Panic of 1825—In the Vaults—Making Sovereigns—Marking Room—How the Coin is Tested—Celebrated Counterfeiters, 526
History of Old London Bridge—The Fire of 1632—Where Traitors' Heads were Suspended—Temple Bar—Traffic of London Bridges—Southwark and Waterloo Bridges—The New Blackfriars Bridge—Suspension Bridges—Acrobatic Feats—Scott, the American Diver, 547
Great number of Apartments—The Round Tower—The Audience Chamber—Throne Room—Visit to the Queen's Bedroom—An Elegant Apartment, 556
The "Old Bailey"—Its Jurisdiction—The Lord Mayor's Court—The Trial of a Young Forger—The Judges' Dinner—Loading the Prison Van—The Mansion House—Detective Irving—The Forger Harwood—How Justice is Administered, 566
Churches and Sects—Bishop of London—Archbishop of Canterbury—Spurgeon—"Apocalypse  Cumming"—Church of England—Father Ignatius—Roman Catholic Lords—Marquis of Bute, 576
The Great Parade Ground—"Scott's" in the Haymarket—Oysters in every Style—Prostitutes and Abandoned Women—The Midnight Mission—Rev. Baptist Noel—Cremorne Gardens at Chelsea—A Row at Cremorne—"Skittles" and the Princess Mary of Cambridge, 587
Goodwood Races—Men of the Turf—Swarms of People—The Barouche and Four—Beauty of its Occupants—"Anonyma" and the Chestnut Mare—"Mabel Grey" and "Baby Hamilton"—The Race for the Goodwood Cup—The Itinerant Preacher—Mabel Grey at Home—"The Kitten"—Alice Gordon, 598
Eve of the Great Derby Race—Visit to Westminster—Lodging House of Jack Scrag—Four-Penny Beds—Unpleasant Bed-Fellow—Attacking the Enemy—A Lucky Escape—Crowded Buildings—Eminent Philanthropists—Model Lodging Houses—Munificent Gifts—George Peabody's Statue, 615
"Old Smudge," the Cabby—A "Hansom" Cab—Rates of Fares—A Convivial Pup—The Rat Pit—The Terrier "Skid"—The Match for £50—Skid Slaughters a Hundred Rats in 8:40—Paddy's "Goose," or "The White Swan"—Please Excuse me—Waiting for the Tide—Cured of the Blues, 626
Work and Wages—Influence of London Journals—Management of the Press—Circulation and Delivery of Papers—Celebrated Writers—James Anthony Froude—Algernon Charles Swinburne—John Stewart Mill—Benjamin Disraeli—John Ruskin—Charles Kingsley, Anthony Trollope, and others, 636
Half-Penny Soup House—The Little Cast-aways and Waifs Provided for—Visit to the Work-House of St Martin's—The Workers' Uniform—The Old Pauper—Daily Rations—Schools—Trades—Struggles and Trials of the London Poor—Pawn-Brokers' Shops—Third Class Railway Carriages, 655

[Pg 17]



I N the civilized world perhaps such another sight cannot be witnessed, as that which greets the eye from the great Cupola of St. Paul's, when the view is taken on a bright summer morning, after daybreak has settled on the leads and huge gilded cross of this, the most mighty of English Cathedrals.

I saw this vast expanse of brick, stone, and mortar, one delicious, but hazy September morning, from the outer circle of the dome, and I shall never forget that peopled metropolis which lay swarming below me like a vast human hive.

For a radius of ten miles, the roofs and spires of countless religious edifices, dwelling-houses, banks, the tall cones of storied monuments, the delicate tracery of a forest of slender masts, and the smoky chimneys of innumerable breweries, manufactories, and gas-houses, met my vision, which had already begun to weary long before any of the individual characteristics of the British metropolis had segregated themselves from the aggregate mass.

[Pg 18]

Directly before me, and almost at my feet, lay the turbid Thames, winding in and out sinuously under bridges, and heaving from the labor which the paddles of numerous steam craft impressed in its dirty yellow bosom. These small steamers were of a black and red, mixed, color, and it was only through a glass that I could discern where the two colors met and divided. Passing under the huge stone bridges, their smoke stacks seemed to break in two parts for an instant as they shot under an arch of the huge spans of London or Waterloo Bridges; gracefully as a gentleman bows to his partner in a quadrille, and then the black funnels went back to their original erect but raking position with great deliberation.

I had secured an eyrie in the top of St. Paul's at an early hour with the aid of a greasy half crown, which I had slipped to an old toothless verger with his silver-tipped wand, and he readily gratified my wish to allow me egress from the Whispering gallery which encircles the interior dome of the Cathedral, to a point where, giddily, I might lean out and look all over the great city.

"It's as good as my place is worth, sir," said he, "to let you look out here. A man who was a little light headed from drinking tumbled from this window some years ago, and was broken to pieces on the cobble stones below."

The danger did not prevent me from looking long and greedily at the splendid coup d'[oe]il.



Far up the river to the left the queerly shaped toy turrets and massive ramparts and quadrangles of the Tower broke through the morning haze in shapely and artistic masses, and at the back of the green spot of grass which surmounts Tower Hill, the square, solid, and substantial looking Mint showed where Her Majesty's sworn servants were already at work employed in making counterfeit presentments of her features for circulation in trade and commerce. The Norman tower and flanking buttresses of St. Saviour's, Southwark, next came in range, followed by the long oval glass roof of the Eastern Railway Terminus, facing Cannon street, where is erected London Stone, upon which Jack Cade sat in triumph[Pg 19] before the dirty, noisy, rabble, which had followed his fortunes; and now I can see Guy's Hospital with its hundred windows, the Corinthian Royal Exchange in Cornhill, the massive Guildhall where many a bloated Britisher has fed on the fat of the land; the Mansion House in which the Lord Mayor occasionally does petty offenders the honor of sentencing them to the Bridewell; and now the view enlarges to the southward, and the eye takes in the fine Holborn Viaduct, lately honored by the Queen's presence; Barclay and Perkin's massive caravanserai for the brewing of beer, and the gray stones of St. Sepulchre's where the passing bell is always tolled for the condemned Newgate prisoner just before execution. The square, gray blocks of this fortress of crime gloom in an unpitying way below me, and there now is the court yard of Christ's Hospital with the gowned and bare headed school lads at their morning game of foot ball, and their shouts peal upward, even up as high as the dome of St. Paul's, like the chimes of merry music. The great piles of Somerset house and the Custom House frown down on the busy river, and the sound of the bell of St. Clement Dane's in the Strand, striking six o'clock, mingles with the mighty thunder whirr of the incoming train from Dover, which dashes like a demon over the Charing Cross bridge and into its station. Structure after structure rises on the retina, the Treasury Buildings and Horse Guards in Parliament street, Marlborough House, the British Museum, Buckingham Palace, the University College, the Nelson and York Monuments, the splendid club houses in Pall Mall and St. James; Apsley House and Hyde Park with its lakes of silvery water, Westminster Abbey, the Clock and Victoria Towers surmounting the Parliament Houses which[Pg 20] overhang the Thames, Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Chief Dignitary of the English State Church and Milbank Penitentiary down in dusty Westminster, and by the way this prison with its eight towers looks like a cruet stand and its towers certainly represent the caster bottles. With its parterre of trees in the central square, the quadrangles of Chelsea Hospital, and the dome of the Palm House in Kensington Garden next come under inspection, and finally I became weary in endeavoring to pierce the haze which the sun had broken into annoying fragments, and failing to penetrate farther than Vauxhall bridge, I give up the task and draw in my head after a last look at the Catherine and West India docks, bewildered and confused by the very immensity of wealth and population which is centered and aggregated below, under and in the shadow of St. Paul's, the Mother Church of Great Britain.



The verger says with a weak and wheezy voice:

"This is a werry great city, sir. They do say as how there's more nor three millions of hooman beings in this 'ere metropolis, and how they all gets a living is a blessed puzzle to me. I gets an occasional sixpence, and Americans seem to be more generous than any other visitors. Thank you, sir."

London is a wonderful city in many ways. The year 1866 brought the number of the inhabitants to the total of 3,186,000.[Pg 21] This is a population larger than that of Pekin, and as large and a half as that of London's great rival, Paris. It has a greater number of edifices devoted to religious worship than the Eternal City, Rome. Its commerce exceeds that of New York, Glasgow, Cork, Havre, and Bremen in gross. It sends abroad missionaries of all known sects, to convert the heathen and blackamoor, and for them and their wives there is a larger amount of money collected in London than could by any possibility be subscribed in all the other great cities of the world combined for a like purpose. It numbers among its population more prostitutes and unfortunate females than Paris, there being according to a calculation made by a former bishop of Oxford, 30,000 of this wretched class, alone, who are strictly professionals.

London has work houses to accommodate 150,000 paupers under the parochial system, for which the residents or freeholders of every parish in the metropolitan district are taxed at an annual rate of fourteen pounds ten shillings per pauper, and yet men, women, and children die of starvation, weekly, in the slums of St. Giles, Saffron Hill, Bethnal Green, and Shoreditch.

For a penny the young thief or abandoned street girl can listen to hoarse fiddling, obscene jests, and the lowest of low slang songs at some penny "gaff" in Whitechapel, and on a benefit night at Covent Garden, or the Haymarket, the man who is known in society will have to pay twenty-five or thirty shillings or from six to ten dollars to hear the musical warblings of a Patti or a Nillson.

There are one hundred and three hospitals in London in which all the complaints, frailties, and mishaps of poor human nature are supposed to be provided for, and yet it will be much easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, or a rich man to get a free pass into paradise, than that a poor wretch without friends or influence should be able to find a bed in an hospital, unless he can succeed by a miracle in dodging the sentinels which red tape has placed at every entrance to these vaunted institutions.

[Pg 22]

Down in the quiet and aristocratic dwellings of Pimlico, you shall find such ladies as "Nelly Holmes," or "Skittles," and in St. John's Wood a "Mabel Gray," and in a delicious villa at Fulham, a "Formosa," spending in one night's Corinthian revelry the yearly salary of a bank clerk, or hazarding at a game of cards the life-time pittance of a sewing woman. And with these painted women shall be found night after night the curled darlings of the Pall Mall clubs, some of them mere youths who bear names as old as Magna Charta, and once as spotless perhaps as those of Sidney or Hampden.

At Blanchard's, in Regent street, you may dine for a pound upon the choicest variety of dishes, cooked by a French Chef, who would scorn a gift of the Order of the Garter were it given to him without the proper culinary brevet to accompany it; and at a ham and beef shop in Oxford street you may fill yourself to repletion, taking as a basis a pork saveloy for a penny, a "penn'orth" of bread as a second layer, a mutton-pie for "tuppence," a tart for a penny, and a pint of porter for "tuppence," and then as a relish of a literary kind, you can look at the great evening paper of London, the Echo, written in the most scholarly English, without any fee. Or you can go down Camden Town way, or up into Tottenham Court Road and get a kidney pie for two pence, or an eel stew for two-pence half penny, with a dry bun for a penny, and a good glass of Bass's ale for three half pence. And then you can go to Morley's or the Langham Hotel and pick your teeth and no one will be the wiser.

For other amusements there is the Zoological Gardens in the Regent's Park, with the amusing elephant, the comic kangaroo, the graceful hippopotamus, the sleepy alligator, a band of music, lots of very pretty English girls, a score of impudent waiters in the restaurant to give you cold dishes when you call for hot ones, and all these delights may be enjoyed on six-penny days, and when you come out from the wild beasts, if you be thirsty it will only cost you a half-penny for a chair in the Regent's Park with its noble avenues of stately trees, and the little old woman at the little old house which juts off the gate[Pg 23] will hand you a bottle of cooling ginger beer, a popular Cockney drink, for one penny.

In the National Gallery, a magnificent structure which faces the Nelson Monument in Trafalgar Square, one of the finest collections of paintings in the world is hung. Here is the noble Turner Gallery, bought for the nation and free to all for copying or inspection. Here are Corregio's, Angelos', Titians, the masterpieces of Velasquez, Murillo, Paul Veronese, the best things done by Etty, Landseer, Stanfield, Wilkie, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and nearly all of that glorious galaxy whose names have been painted too deeply in their grand canvasses ever to efface. All this is free to the public, poor and rich alike, but on Sunday, British piety bolts the lofty doors in their hapless faces.

The Londoners have the finest public parks in the world. The flower beds in Hyde Park, Battersea Park, Victoria Park, Regent's Park, Kensington Gardens, and the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, are wonderful for their beauty and constant freshness, and in the Serpentine, a clear stream in Hyde Park, there is no hindrance from bathing, though the stream laves the margin of Piccadilly, one of the principal thoroughfares of the city, where many of the richest and most powerful of the nation have their mansions.

This is London in brief. But a rapid and imperfect glance can be given of the wonderful city in the opening chapter of this book, but it is my purpose to give such details as I hope may instruct and amuse my readers, in the chapters that shall follow.


[Pg 24]



T HE Thames, the great river of England, which enriches London with the cargoes of its thousand ships, weekly, rises in the southeastern slopes of the Cotswold Hills. For about twenty miles it belongs wholly to Gloucestershire, when for a short distance it divides that county from Wiltshire. It then separates Berkshire first from Oxfordshire, and then from Buckinghamshire. It afterward divides the counties of Surrey and Middlesex, and to its mouth those of Kent and Essex.

It falls into the sea at the Nore, which is about one hundred and ten miles nearly due east from the source, and about twice that distance measured along the windings of the river.

From having no sandbar at its mouth like the Mersey outside of Liverpool, it is navigable for sea vessels to London bridge, a distance of forty-five miles from the Nore, or nearly a fourth of its entire length. The area of the basin drained by the Thames is estimated at about six thousand five hundred miles.

The progress of half a century has made wonderful changes in the river.

Wharves have taken the place of trim gardens, and the dirty coal scow is now found where the nobleman's state barge formerly anchored.

No man, it is said, can count the national debt of England, but who can give an adequate idea of the number of millions of tons that annually pass through this highway?

[Pg 25]

The flow of land water through Teddington Weir is annually 800,000,000 gallons. This is the main body of the river within the metropolitan area, not counting the additions it receives from rain-falls and other sources.

Since the removal of the old London Bridge, the tide has been lower upon an average. Shoals have been brought to light, before unknown, and the result has been that nothing but a most constant and unremitting dredging has enabled the Thames Conservancy Board to keep the river navigable.

It requires but a glance at Blackfriar's Bridge to determine how much longer it will take to remove all the gravel from the bed of the river, and leave the solid London clay as its bed.

Every old bridge when removed leaves so many tons of gravel which eventually finds its way to the mouth of the Thames, and there forms shoals.

The channel of the river thus deepened, becomes more and more brackish every year, and it can be but a question of time, as to how and from what source the inhabitants are to derive their water supply for drinking purposes.

At the East India Docks the tide falls fourteen inches lower than formerly, and it is a fact that the low water at London Docks is lower than the low water at Sheerness, sixty miles below.

At present the tide at London Bridge has a rise of 18 feet. This river at almost any tide can float the largest ships, being 33 feet in depth at London Bridge.

The river water when found at low tide near the city is much prized for its power of self-purification, and is much in requisition for sea voyages, for the reason that it contains so large a percentage of organic matter.

There are few or no fish to be found in the Thames in the neighborhood of the city or below, owing to the impurities prevailing from drainage and sewage. This fact is particularly to be noticed in the vicinity of the town of Barking on the Thames, where is located the outfall for all the sewage of dirty London. Formerly salmon were very plentiful at the Nore, and the last one there caught sold at fifteen shillings per pound.

[Pg 26]

The Thames embankment, which was first proposed by Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul's Cathedral, is now almost completed. This magnificent roadway, one of the finest in Europe, and which gives the modern observer some conception of what the Appian Way or Via Sacra were in the palmy day of ancient Rome, is fifty feet broad, and three and a half feet above the highest high-water mark. The embankment, which is constructed of Portland stone, and extends on the Surrey side from Westminster to Vauxhall bridge, a distance of nearly a mile, and on the Middlesex shore from Westminster to Blackfriar's bridge, a distance of fully a mile. The embankment is lined on both sides with trees which throw a pleasant shade under the summer sun, and serve to protect the thousands of people of both sexes, who seek in the evening a breath of fresh air always grateful to the tired and sweltering citizen.

At different points, on both sides of the river, the embankment has magnificent stone terraces with stone stairs to enable wayfarers, who seek transportation up and down the river, to get on and off the numerous ferry boats that swarm and ply all over the Thames from Richmond to Rotherhithe.

A description of the Thames tunnel, now closed to the public, may appropriately be included in this chapter. It was commenced by a joint stock company in 1824, after designs by Sir Isambard Brunel. Early in December, 1825, the first horizontal shaft was sunk. The difficulties encountered in the construction of the great engineering work can scarcely be overestimated. For a distance of five hundred and forty-four feet all went well, but at this point the river burst into the shaft, while the workmen were at labor, filling the excavation entirely in fifteen minutes, but fortunately no lives were lost. With great difficulty the water was pumped out and work resumed.

After adding fifty-two feet to the original length of the shaft, the turbid Thames again broke through.

Six men by this accident were smothered in the rush of angry waters, the remaining laborers escaping. Thrice again[Pg 27] the river broke into the succeeding excavations, and at length the tunnel was completed to the Wapping side of the river.

Here a shaft was sunk from the surface to meet it. In sinking this shaft, three distinct lines of piles, showing the existence of wharves below the present level of the Thames, were discovered.

March 25, 1843, nineteen years after its commencement, this monument of British stupidity and dogged obstinacy, the Tunnel, was opened to the London public. As an investment it has never paid a dollar; as a convenience it was a swindle on the general public, but for the wild Arabs of London, and the lowest order of shameful women, it rivaled the infamous Adelphi Arches as a rendezvous; calling into existence a distinct class known as "Tunnel Thieves," who, conscious of the fact that strangers would naturally visit this much lauded work, were always waiting in secret hiding places to plunder the unsuspecting visitor of his watch or valuables.

To take the place of this absurd tunnel, a Thames Subway has been devised, starting at Tower Hill, and continuing under the bed of the river to a point near Blackfriar's Bridge. The Thames subway is in a manner similar to the Pneumatic Railway. Shafts are sunk on either side of the river, and vehicles constructed like a horse railway car, are used to convey passengers to and fro under the river, for a fare of two pence per head. These vehicles are lighted by lamps, and a conductor is attached to each car. Powerful engines at either end furnish the force which propels these underground vehicles.


[Pg 28]



I F you leave King William Street just at the foot of London Bridge, and turn to the left, you will find your way into a grouping of streets, narrow and steep, a few only of which admit of carriage and horse traffic.

This is the region of the world-renowned London Docks, the basins which hold the greatest commerce known to any city on the globe; a commerce before which the ancient traffic of Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, and Sicily, the granary of the ancient world, was as nothing.

The lower stories of the houses in this district, which smell of tar, resin, and other merchantable commodities, are let out as offices, and the upper as warehouse floors; the pavement is narrow and the roads are as bad as broken staves and long neglect can make them; dirty boys in sailor's jackets play at leap frog over the street posts; legions of wheelbarrows encumber the broader part of these thoroughfares; packing cases stand at the doors of houses, and iron cranes and levers peep out from the upper stories.

No man, it has been said, could ever tell how much money lies hidden away in the vaults of the Bank of England, and it is about as difficult to count up the tons of produce which London exports and imports annually.

For instance, during one year, (1865), the number of car[Pg 29]goes entered and cleared coastwise, (which besides British ports includes the shores from the Elbe to Brest,) was 30,820, and their tonnage, 5,263,565.

As many as fifty thousand ships of all classes enter and leave the Thames in twelve months, or about seventy vessels per day, exclusive of all the innumerable kinds of miscellaneous small craft.

The entire French commercial navy consists of twelve thousand vessels, an aggregate of perhaps one million seven hundred thousand tons, a little more than a quarter of the number of ships and the same percentage of tonnage that enters and leaves this world metropolis of London.

If the ships that move to and fro on the bosom of the Thames be supposed to average one hundred and fifty feet in length one with another, they would reach, placed stem and stern together, upward of thirteen hundred miles, or nearly half way across the Atlantic.


The Custom House duties, with a very low tariff for the port of London, during one year amounts to sixty-eight millions of dollars in gold, and the declared real value of exports from London for the same time amounted to one hundred and seventy millions of dollars in gold. The declared real value of the imports registered at the huge granite custom house on the Thames, for the port of London, for 1869, from foreign and colonial ports, was four hundred millions of dollars in gold, or as much as the total value of the real estate on New York island in 1870.

Englishmen are very fond of coffee it seems, for they imported thirty million pounds of the fragrant berry in 1869. The choleric temper of the people may find an explanation in the six million pounds of pepper received in London. London also imported seven million gallons of rum, although it is supposed to be the great beer drinking city of the world. Eighty thousand gallons of gin, sixty million pounds of tea, thirty-eight million pounds of tobacco, nine million six hundred and fifty-seven thousand and thirty-four gallons of foreign wines, two million cwts. of raw sugar, and two million seven hundred[Pg 30] sixty-two thousand two hundred and forty-eight gallons of brandy were imported in 1869. These articles of merchandise were all held in bond at the London Custom House, and from these figures my readers may form some idea of the magnitude of the commerce of this great city.

Russia sent one thousand three hundred vessels and received three hundred and ninety-one vessels, Sweden one thousand one hundred and twenty-one vessels and received five hundred and twenty vessels, France sent one thousand four hundred and sixteen vessels and received one thousand three hundred and eighty-two vessels, Holland sent nine hundred and twenty-four vessels and received seven hundred and fourteen vessels, Cuba sent three hundred and twelve vessels and received sixty-two vessels, United States sent four hundred and twelve vessels and received three hundred and seventeen vessels, China sent two hundred and eight vessels and received one hundred and thirty vessels in 1869.

I have not space here to enumerate all the petty nationalities, whose merchants trade with London, but the above table, obtained from the custom house authorities and therefore authentic, may serve to indicate what the trade of London is, and the vast interests which gather there. The United States does not figure so conspicuously as might be expected here, the Alabamas and Floridas perhaps have something to do with the paucity of American commerce with the commercial metropolis of England.


The most wonderful of all the London sights are the huge artificial basins, bound in masses of masonry and known as the London Docks. No other city in the world can boast of such magnificent artificial basins, where millions of tons of shipping can be accommodated. It is enough to make an American feel humiliated to pay a visit to these wonderful docks, and to be forced to compare them with the rotten wooden wharves which environ the great city of New York, and which are honored with the title of docks.

The principal docks of London are those which I give below with their water areas, cost, and the number of vessels which they accommodate:

[Pg 31]

Commercial Docks, 75 acres, 150 acres,   200 £610,000
London Docks, 40  " 100  "   320 900,000
West India Docks, 90  " 295  " 1104 1,600,000
East India Docks, 18  " 31  "   112 380,000
St. Catharine's Docks, 15  " 24  "   160 2,252,000
Surrey Docks and Canal, 71  " 40  "   300 423,000
Victoria Docks, 90  " ½ mile frontage,   400 1,072,871
Brentford Dock and Canal, 90 miles long, 16 acres, 2,000,000
Regent's Canal, 8½ miles long,   300

The Commercial Dock is chiefly used by vessels in the oil, corn, timber, and tobacco trade; and there is floating space for fifty thousand loads of lumber, and the warehouses afford storage for one hundred and fifty thousand quarters of corn, while the yards of the company will hold four million pieces of deals, and staves without number. The lock in the South Commercial Dock is two hundred and twenty feet long by forty-eight feet wide, with a depth of twenty-two feet, and will admit vessels of twenty-six feet draught. Five hundred thousand tons of shipping have been received here in a year, representing about one thousand five hundred vessels of various tonnage.

The London Docks extend from East Smithfield to Shadwell and have twelve thousand four hundred and forty feet of wharf frontage, and are intended principally for the reception of vessels laden with wines, brandy, tobacco, and rice.

There are forty warehouses for the storage of merchandise of every description, convenient in arrangement, and magnificent in design and execution. The cubical capacity of the warehouses is two hundred and forty-nine thousand four hundred and thirty tons; two hundred and thirty-one thousand one hundred and forty-seven for dry goods, and eighteen thousand two hundred and eighty-three for wet goods.

The tobacco house in these docks sends its very strong odor all over the Thames, and it is as good as the flavor of a Havana cigar almost to smell this huge warehouse as you pass by on the river in a steamboat. This warehouse is the largest[Pg 32] of its kind in the world, covering five acres of ground, and is rented by the government at fourteen thousand pounds a year of the company, for all the London Docks are owned by stock companies, and this perhaps explains the economy displayed in their construction, and their useful adaptability to the commerce of London.



The tobacco warehouse will contain twenty-four thousand hogsheads of tobacco, each hogshead holding one thousand two hundred pounds, the total capacity being equal to thirty thousand tons of general merchandise.


Under the London Docks are the finest vaults in the world, vast catacombs of the precious vintages garnered from every famous vineyard in the globe. The vaults in the London docks cover an area of eighteen acres, and afford accommodation for eighty thousand pipes of wine. One of the vaults alone is seven acres in extent, and the tea warehouses will[Pg 33] hold one hundred and twenty thousand chests of that fragrant herb.

To go into these vast wine vaults is indeed a treat. It is like entering a City of the dead, only that instead of the skeletons of human beings piled on top of each other, you find an Aceldama of casks, pipes, barrels, hogsheads, and butts, bonded and stored tier upon tier, until the eye becomes wearied, and a man wonders how all those costly vintages can ever be consumed.

There is no difference between night and day in these dim deep recesses under the London streets. The vaults are only separated from the bed of the Thames by a thick wall, and at noonday, gas has to be turned on to light the way to the enormous storehouses of wine and brandy. Passes are granted by the companies and the owners of liquors on bond, called "tasting permits," which gives the privilege to the visitor to ask an attendant for a sample of any wine, or wines and liquors that he may choose to taste.

Armed with one of these permits I visited the London docks one day with a friend, and we penetrated the gloomy cavern's entrance, and finally found our way to a part of the vaults where were stored thousands of pipes of the delicious golden brown vintage of Xeres de la Frontera.

My friend was one of those wandering Americans you are always sure to light upon abroad, who makes your acquaintance whether you like it or not, and who cries out frantically whenever he sees a foreign flag.

"By Gad—Sir, that flag is all good enough in its way—but I tell you it does not come up to our flag of beauty and glory—now I'll put it to you—does it?"

A grimy looking cellar man who smelled like an old claret bottle that had long remained uncorked, wearing an apron and carrying a wooden hammer for tapping, came to us and said, politely, on presentation of our orders:

"The horders are werry correct, sir. Would you like to try a little old Sherry, sir, fine as a sovrin and sparkling as the sun?"

[Pg 34]

"Well, I don't care if I do take a little sherry—I don't think it will hurt me—do you think it will?" said my friend.

He then took about half a pint of fine golden sherry, and after taking it he seemed all at once to discover a new beauty in the architecture of the vaults, although he had condemned the place when he entered it, as a "chilly, stinking hole, not fit for a dog, by Gad, sir."

While he was delivering himself most eloquently on the merits of the sherry, I had an opportunity to look about me and examine the place.



Different parties were going from cask to cask, from hogshead to hogshead, like my friend, trying each vintage, and tasting brandies, and gins, and wines to their heart's content.

I thought to myself, what a splendid boon these vaults would be to a New York corner loafer, without restriction and with full liberty to drink till he died like a soldier, contending to the last against the enemy which deprives a man of his[Pg 35] brains. The attendants here never object to the amount called for, and a tasting permit admits to all the privileges.

We were now standing in an arched alcove devoted exclusively to the wines of Madeira, Teneriffe, and the Canary Islands. Some of these huge casks held as many as seven hundred gallons, and the rich, old, musty and fruity odors that came from them were truly revivifying to my friend, who was loquacious under the influence of the sherry.

"This ere sexshin is for the Madeery," said the bung starter. "Will you try a little Madeery, sir?" said he.

"Well I don't care if I do take a little Madeira—I don't think it will hurt me. Now I put it to you this way—I don't think it will hurt me if I am moderate?"

He seemed to relish this heavy and fruity wine very much, and before he left the alcove he had "tasted" a good deal of the Canary also smacking his lips lusciously.

There is considerable skill displayed in the building of the arches of the range of vaults, and with the dim lights of the sperm lamps, burning—as it is not deemed safe to have gas in the vaults where spirits are stored—the vaults very much resemble the crypts under the cloisters in Westminster Abbey, or the vaults under St. Paul's.

The method for hoisting cargoes from the holds of ships to the grading, which is level with the opening in the vaults is very perfect. The opening in the wall of the basin or docks is eighteen feet high, and large hogsheads can be hoisted and lowered at once into the vaults instead of being temporarily deposited on the quay.


In the old times before steam had been discovered and these magnificent docks had been built, an East Indiaman of eight hundred tons took a month to discharge her cargo, or if of one thousand two hundred tons, six weeks were required for the labor, and their goods had to be taken from Blackwall to London Bridge in lighters, when they were placed on the quay exposed to dock rats and river thieves as goods are in New York, where the private watchmen on the rotten wooden docks are generally to be found in league with the thieves.

[Pg 36]

At St. Katharine's Docks the time occupied on an average in discharging a vessel of three hundred tons is eight hours, and for one of six hundred tons two days and a half. In one instance one thousand one hundred casks of tallow were discharged in six hours, but of course this was unusually rapid work. One of the cranes in the St. Katharine's Docks cost about twenty-five thousand dollars, and will raise from forty to sixty tons at a time.

There is a wharf attached to the St. Katharine Docks, which Parliament compelled the company to construct at a cost of nearly a million of dollars, and the warehouses will contain one hundred and ten thousand tons of goods and merchandise. The depth of water in the St. Katharine's Docks is twenty-eight feet at spring tide, at dead tide twenty-four feet, and at low water ten feet, so that vessels of eight hundred tons register are docked and undocked without the slightest difficulty. There is a water frontage and quays of one thousand five hundred feet in the St. Katharine Docks. The wharfage of the London Docks is one thousand two hundred and sixty feet in length and nine hundred and sixty feet in breadth. The capital of the London Docks company is about twenty-five million dollars in gold, and as many as three thousand laborers are employed in the London Docks in a day.

The walls surrounding the London Docks cost sixty-five thousand pounds in construction, and all these walls are so high (nearly thirty feet,) that they present an impregnable barrier to thieves and depredators.

The receipts for one year in the London Docks were over three million dollars, currency; the salaries and wages amounted to about one million dollars, and the revenue customs paid about eleven hundred thousand dollars. These figures show that the company is in a prosperous state, and gives the municipal governments of our American Atlantic cities the best reasons, when others which I have already enumerated are combined, why New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Portland, Savannah and Charleston, should have stone docks to equal those of London and Liverpool in magnitude and solidity.

[Pg 37]

Having made a lengthened inspection of the London Docks I turned to leave and could not find my friend who had accompanied me. After some difficulty I discovered him afar off at the other end of the vaults discussing with the cellarman what liquor he was next to taste.

"Yer honor might just taste a little of the Hennesey Brandy of 1832—it is very fine and runs down like hile."

"By Gad, sir, the very thing—now that you mention it I will try a little, just a leetle Hennesey brandy. I'll put it to you in this way—I don't think it can hurt me—and the cellarman says it's just like oil. Now I recollect that oil never intoxicates. I will take just the faintest tint."

He did take the "faintest tint," perhaps a good sized glass-full, and he became so jolly, and affectionate, and good natured, embracing me and also the cellarman, that the latter personage had at last to call a cab into which my friend was carried, and after being propped up he was driven to his hotel. The cellarman said to me:

"We've two agents as comes 'ere sober, bless 'em, and goes away drunk; but they hurts nobody but themselves, bless them."


I went from the London Docks to the West India Docks, about a mile and a half distant, at the Isle of Dogs, a small islet in the Thames near Blackwall. These numerous basins and warehouses occupy three times the space of the London Docks, or about two hundred and ninety-five acres, with a canal three quarters of a mile in length as a feeder. The Import Dock is five hundred and ten feet in length, and about the same measurement in width. The Export Dock is about the same length and is about four hundred feet wide. The docks and warehouse are enclosed by a wall of masonry five feet thick, that seems as if it would endure as long as the port of London is open to commerce and merchandise, and the value of twenty millions of pounds is here stored by its owners.

I gave an employee of the company a shilling to take me through, and he was not at all backward in showing me the treasures under the care of the company.

[Pg 38]

"These are the biggest docks in Lunnun, sir," said he: "say what they will on the other docks. We will hold two hundred million tons of merchandise here, sir, and we will not be crowded at all. Why, sir, I've seen as much as two hundred thousand casks of sugar, five hundred thousand bags of coffee, fifty thousand pipes of Jimaky rum, ten thousand pipes of Madeery, twenty-five thousand tons of logwood, and lots of other things here and we were not full.

"I've seen an acre of 'ogsheads of tibaccy, eight feet high, and piles of cinnamon, spices, pepper, indigo, salt pork, hides and leather, Hindian corn, mahogany, and sich like, and no one of us, sir, ever knows the walley of them, and I suppose Mr. Bright hiself would be more nor puzzled to tell the walley, and I've heard as how he has got a preshis head for figgers."

Formerly when steamers employed paddle wheels as a means of locomotion, the docks were very much crowded, but the use of the universal screw has given much more space for berthways. There is, however, great risks in these docks, of fire, from steam vessels, and I believe the rates are much higher for steam craft than for sailing vessels. Small offices and compact frame houses for the company's officers, revenue officers, warehousemen, clerks, engineers, coopers and other petty attachees, have been provided within the ground area of all these stone basins, and everything connected with the docks is done in a systematic and business like way that is truly wonderful. When I recollected that less than fifty years ago London had no inclosed docks at all, and no accommodation for shipping but a long and straggling line of private quays, under the management of firms who had no public interests to serve, (and in fact when the present system of docks was at first proposed it met with almost universal opposition, particularly from the interested parties,) I was amazed at the progress made in a half century.

There is not such a city in the world, perhaps, for the number of corporations, guilds, societies, and titled people, who derive and did derive emolument and income, of one kind or another, from these private quay and wharfage receipts.

[Pg 39]


Therefore when the citizens of London became thoroughly awakened to the possibility of substituting for these rotten old timber wharves and tumble down old stone piers, a thorough, efficient, and lasting system of dockage, the interested people began to clamor most hideously about their "vested rights." These two words have always stood in England as a safeguard to protect some oppressive or corporate interest.

The "Tackle House" and City Porter Companies complained that if the import and export business were removed beyond the city limits, their right to the exclusive privilege of unloading and delivering all merchandise imported into the city would be worthless. The carmen who enjoyed a similar privilege and monopoly made the same complaint, and they stated that Christ's Hospital, an institution much revered by all Londoners, derived an income of four thousand pounds a year from the licenses under which they held their monopoly; the watermen, who were then numbered by thousands, foretold that the establishment of docks would deprive one half of their number of bread; the lightermen stated that they had a capital of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds invested in tackle and craft, employed to transport merchandise, which capital would be annihilated if ships were allowed to discharge their cargoes on quays within docks; the proprietors of the "legal quays" as they were called, and the "sufferance wharves," or wharves which held no legal title, all prophesied that the trade of London would be ruined at once if the new system of docks was established.

However these people differed in some details of their grievances, they all concurred in stating that unloading ships in closed docks would be more expensive than discharging them into lighters in the river.

On the other hand the advocates of the new system estimated on paper that the unloading of five hundred hogsheads of sugar from a vessel could be done in the new docks for about three hundred and fifty dollars of American money less than under the old lighterage and open quay system, to say nothing of the greater safety of the property thus enclosed in dock walls.

[Pg 40]

Finally, Parliament passed an act creating the new docks and granting a compensation of four hundred and eighty-six thousand and eighty-seven pounds to the proprietors of the legal quays in addition to the sum of one hundred and thirty-eight thousand seven hundred and ninety-one pounds which was paid to persons having "vested rights" in the mooring claims on the river. Altogether the cost of the different London Docks, including ground purchases, etc., was about thirty millions of dollars. The West India Docks were the first opened in 1802, and the citizens of London have, I am sure, no cause to regret the decision which gave them the finest and safest system of wharfage in the world.

The passenger traffic, by water, which transpires daily between London and Continental cities and towns is incalculable. This of course does not include the traffic almost as great between London and American and Colonial ports.

You can go from London to New York in a splendid stateroom with every comfort and luxury at sea, for about one hundred and thirty dollars, or you can take passage in a steerage, herding like a beast as best you may for about forty dollars, by steam.

I can safely recommend the Inman Line of Steamships which ply between New York and Liverpool, as the best afloat, the most punctual and the most comfortable. This line has nineteen fine steamers constantly plying between Europe and America.


From London to Cork the fare, first class, is about twenty-three English shillings, and to Dublin twelve shillings. From London to Edinburgh, first class, by sea, fifteen shillings. London to Calais, by rail and sea, twenty-five shillings, to Havre, eleven shillings. London to Ostend, Belgium, fifteen shillings; to Antwerp, twenty shillings; to Hamburg, two pounds; to Rotterdam one pound; to Belfast, forty-five shillings; to Dundee, twenty shillings. London to Malta twelve pounds; to Maderia sixteen pounds sixteen shillings; to Oporto, eight pounds eight shillings; to Marseilles, twelve pounds ten shillings; to Rio Janeiro, thirty pounds; to St. Petersburg,[Pg 41] six pounds six shillings; to Glasgow, twelve shillings; to Liverpool, twenty shillings; to Stockholm, eighty-four shillings; to Brussels, forty-eight shillings; to Genoa, twelve pounds; Leghorn, fifteen pounds; Naples, eighteen pounds; Christiana, Norway, eighty shillings, and Copenhagen, sixty-three shillings.

I give these fares as I believe it may be of some use to Americans, who design to travel, to know the correct rates of Continental travel. It is much pleasanter to travel to the continent by sea from London than by rail, the accommodations are better, the views of the best. There is no hurry, you may get your meals regularly, it is more healthful and certainly much cheaper, as the above fares are all for first class passages, and it is easy to obtain second or third class accommodations for a very great deal less money.

In concluding this chapter on the Port of London, I may say that it is almost impossible to name a place for which passage cannot be obtained, by sea from London, and vessels are leaving daily and hourly for their various destinations, from the many wharves and docks that line the Thames between London and Westminster bridges, a distance of two miles, on the river.

Thirty thousand men find employment, daily, as laborers, in the London Docks. Men who have been reduced by want, misfortune, or by drunkeness, find in these vast commercial reservoirs, a precarious means of subsistence, earning from eighteen pence to two shillings a day, half of which generally goes for beer, or potations of a heavier and more spirituous kind. This kind of labor is unskilled, and has for its propulsion mere manual strength, so that, when a man fails in everything else, he may possibly succeed as a dock laborer. The public houses frequented by the laborers are situated in the dark alleys and crowded courts near the river, and all of them partake of the brutal, low appearance which distinguishes the London coal heaver and dock lifter.

[Pg 42]



L ONDON is studded with palaces some of which were constructed by Royalty itself—some of which were confiscated by royalty, and others again were bought by royalty from the nobles of England, or from those persons who had amassed great wealth.

The Court of St. James is a household word among diplomats, and is used as a threat by ambassadors at Vienna, or perhaps as a phrase of mediation at Washington, St. Petersburg, or Paris, but generally this name is used by belligerent envoys with threat and menace at Constantinople, Athens, Honduras, or Lisbon. English statecraft and diplomacy always tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, and an English Cabinet never fails to measure the strength of a nation before trying conclusions with it.

Even the Sultan himself, and he is by common consent supposed to be a very sick man, could pass the dirty looking pile of St. James palace at the lower end of Pall Mall, near St. James street, without a tremor, and the only signs of royalty or power are the bear skin caps and red coats of a couple of guardsmen, who walk up and down with their muskets at a support, in a most melancholy and bored manner before the gates.


This is one of the chief residences of royalty in the metropolis. In 1532, his majesty by the Grace of God, King Henry[Pg 43] the Eighth, cast his eyes upon St. James Hospital, a place set apart for lepers, fourteen of whom were residing there at the time, and being convinced of the healthfulness of the situation, the inmates were driven forth, a small pension given to each, and on the site of the hospital for physical lepers, this moral leper erected what is now known as the palace of St. James, for the reception of the unfortunate but giddy Anne Boleyn.

During the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth the palace was deserted, but with the advent of the Stuarts, St. James became a royal nursery.

The ill-fated Charles the First had a passionate fondness for this palace, and on the morning of his execution attended divine service in the chapel which he had fitted up.

After the restoration, James II furnished St. James at great expense; and from this period St. James became with hardly an intermission the abode of royalty. George the Second died here mumbling. George IV was born, and passed much of his time here. As a royal residence it has fallen away from its ancient splendor and is now only used on occasions of state solemnity; yet it is one of the best planned palaces in Europe for comfort, and possesses a fine gallery of paintings.

Whitehall, or the palace that is known by that name, was formerly called York House, and for three centuries before the time of Cardinal Wolsey, was the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

After the death of Wolsey its name was changed to Whitehall, from a large hall in the building painted entirely white. Wolsey fitted up the palace in a style of grandeur never equaled, much less excelled by any other subject of the English crown, and being occupied by the king on the demise of Wolsey, it was called the King's Palace of Westminster.

When Queen Elizabeth died it was refitted by King James, and enlarged—but was destroyed by fire in 1619. Immediately after its destruction James determined to rebuild it, and a portion of the palace was completed at a cost of fifteen thousand pounds, but such extravagance could not be allowed in those[Pg 44] days, parliament refusing to grant money to continue the building, and the fanatical monarch, whose memory has survived because of his hatred of tobacco, was forced to suspend operations for want of funds.

The ceiling of the banqueting-room, a work of Rubens and for which he was paid three thousand pounds, is said to be one of the finest efforts of that most gifted artist's pencil.

In the time of the Protector Cromwell, one of the rarest collections of paintings ever made in the world, and of immense value—which had been accumulated here by successive kings, was ordered to be sold by Cromwell in accordance with the Puritan belief that to possess paintings or statuary was conducive of image worship in the owner. Charles the First was really a great admirer of works of art, and had he lived he would no doubt have made Whitehall the finest palace of Europe.

Cromwell occupied Whitehall as a residence for his family after the execution of King Charles I, for butcher as he was, and strict republican as he pretended to be, he was not above enjoying the good things of this life, and despite his cadaverous countenance he could appreciate a soft bed and a tender piece of roast beef with the jolliest of cavaliers.

On the 10th of April, 1691, a fire broke out in the apartments of the bad Duchess of Portsmouth who occupied a portion of Whitehall, (this woman was a mistress of Charles II,) and in 1698 the entire structure was consumed with the exception of the banqueting-hall, and nothing but the walls were left standing.

This hall was altered to a chapel by King George II, and since that time has been used for that purpose, the clergyman always being a royal chaplain. Over the door is a bust of the founder, and the brilliant frescos of the ceiling pieces of Rubens are all that is left of the once magnificent palace of Whitehall.


[Pg 47]The residence of the Queen, when in London, is generally supposed to be Buckingham Palace, a long gloomy looking building in St. James Park, not a stones' throw from the Marble Arch in Hyde Park or Westminster Abbey. The same big flashy looking soldiers in red coats, and hideous grenadier bearskins are to be seen marching up and down opposite this palace gate just as they do about St. James Palace, or at the Horse Guards in Parliament street.



St. James Park is a pretty place with fine shady trees, and here in the mall or wide walk of the park was played a century ago, and still farther back in the days of paint, powder, and patches, and garden masquerades, the game of "pell mell."

Buckingham Palace, though much frequented by the Queen, and situated pleasantly as far as appearances go, is not a healthy place of residence at all. The Queen frequently has complained of its dampness, she having often contracted bad colds there. This I have on the authority of her former chaplain.

George the IV had a Dutch predeliction for low ceilings, and as he never lived on good terms with his wife, whom he used to call a Fat Dutch Hog, no accommodations were made for Queen Caroline his spouse, in Buckingham Palace.

The palace was occupied by this monarch, for whom it was built, in 1825. This king was one of the most profligate of men and a roue—and yet had the reputation of being the finest gentleman in Europe, but he never spared man in his rage nor woman in his lust.

John, Duke of Buckingham, lived in a house on the site of the palace, in 1703, from which circumstance it has derived its name.

I had special permission to visit this palace while the Queen was absent on her summer tour in Scotland; it being a great favor to be admitted, and it was only by great perseverance and difficulty that I obtained entrance to the royal abode.

One bright morning I called about ten o'clock, and after presenting my order of admittance was allowed to enter.

I was bewildered by its sumptuous magnificence. Fancy a noble hall surrounded with a double row of marble columns, every one composed of a single piece of veined Carrara marble, with gilded bases and capitals; the tout ensemble being[Pg 48] a splendid perspective of over one hundred and fifty feet. The steps of the grand staircase are also of the purest marble. The Library, Council room, and Sculpture gallery are all most beautifully decorated.


The Library is used for a waiting room for deputations, which as soon as the Queen is ready to receive them pass across the Sculpture Gallery into the hall, and thence ascend by the Grand Stairway, through the Ante-Room and the Green Drawing-room to the Throne room. The Library and adjoining rooms are fitted up in a most gaudy fashion, there being a sad want of taste displayed, either by her Majesty or her upholsterer, but by which I am not able to say.

The Sculpture Gallery contains the busts of leading statesmen of all countries, and chief among them I noticed one of Prince Albert, the late husband of the Queen, mounted on a fine pedestal. Busts of all the members of the royal family, male and female, are also here. That of the Princess Louisa is a charming, innocent looking English face; she is said to be deeply in love with a rich Catholic nobleman of the Duke of Norfolk's family.

The Picture Gallery has fine skylights so as to throw a shaded light on the works of art below, and here are to be found the master pieces of the Dutch and Flemish schools, gems of Reynolds, Watteau, Titian, Albert Durer, Rembrandt, Teniers, Ostade, Cuyps, Wouvermans, and others, formerly the collection in great part of George IV.

The Yellow Drawing room, a superb apartment, has a series of paintings in panels of the royal family, there being full length pictures of Queen Victoria, looking very fat, with the crown upon her head, and Prince Albert in his costume of Knight of the Garter, a dress which is supremely ridiculous in these days when none but priests and academicians wear such drapery.

The Throne Room is a gaudy looking apartment, very large and spacious, and like all the rooms in Buckingham palace having a very low ceiling, the prevailing decoration being curtains of striped satin, and the alcoves are hung in rich crimson[Pg 49] velvet relieved or rather bedizened with an nearly obscured gilding. William IV, the sailor king, hated this palace for its ugliness and discomfort, and this all the more that he was used to sleeping in a hammock aboard his own frigate.

The Marble Arch, an immense pile of stone now at the corner of Piccadilly and Hyde Park, formerly occupied the central position in this building, and was erected in its present position at a cost of thirty-one thousand pounds.

When the present Queen had her first child the palace was found so uncomfortable that she had to have the nursery removed to the attic, and there, while the royal child was getting its teeth cut, the Lord Chamberlain of England, who had charge of the improvements, was boiling glue and making French polish in the basement, so that altogether the queen of the greatest nation of the earth, subsequent to her honeymoon, was no better housed than a poor family in New York, dwelling in a respectable tenement house.

Parliament, however, was kind enough to grant the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds to alter and repair the building, and accordingly the palace was made habitable for her Majesty.

The Ball Room is one hundred and thirty-nine feet in length. The Supper Room is seventy-six by sixty feet—with a promenade gallery one hundred and nine feet in length, and twenty-one feet wide. There is a riding school attached, with a mews or stable for horses; here the state carriages and coaches are kept at an expense, for flunkies, grooms, masters of the horse, stable boys, feed for horses and labor, of thirty-six thousand pounds, or over two hundred thousand dollars annually.

I was allowed as a great favor to inspect the Queen's library, which is very handsomely fitted up, and wherever the eye rested for a moment it was sure to find a picture or bust of Prince Albert. There were a number of small tables of inlaid ivory, mother of pearl, and gold, covered with handsomely bound volumes of Shakespeare and other English poets. I also saw a finely bound copy of the Memoirs of the Queen, which it is supposed was written by her Majesty. This is a mistake, how[Pg 50]ever, as the entire book was written by a secretary of hers from some scanty notes provided by her, and from personal recollections. The Queen was nine months dictating the work before its publication. The Queen was in the habit of sitting four hours a day giving these reminiscences of her husband, and during this time she always had a glass of sherry and a biscuit by her side.

Very little is known of her Majesty outside of the British Isles. Almost every other female sovereign has publicity given to all her secret actions, and her private life is discussed with great personal freedom, in the cafes and clubs. A thousand stories have been set afloat and circulated in regard to Madam Isabella, lately Queen of Spain, and but a few of them are true. Rochefort in his papers, "The Lantern" and the "Marsellaise," has not hesitated to pour columns of abuse upon the head of the Empress Eugenie, a lady whose principal fault is a fondness for low necked dresses.



Two women have hitherto escaped this kind of slander, and these two are the Empress of Austria and Queen Victoria. The reason is palpable in the case of the Empress of Austria; she is an imperial lady to discuss whose private life it would be dangerous if done on Austrian territory.

In regard to the Queen of England, the reason why silence is kept in relation to her private life is because of a sneaking regard for the manners, customs, and good opinions of titled individuals among most American travelers.

[Pg 51]

The Queen has been a good wife and mother, but in these two qualities she is more than equaled by thousands of American women. She is no better and no worse than the average married woman; has her faults, her weaknesses, and her good qualities, and it is among her own people that her failings find their loudest trumpeters.

In honestly dealing with these stories I shall not stop to give the gross yarns which are spun by the Jenkinses of the press, who make what they call an honest penny by chronicling all the loose street scandal that is poured into their ears.

The London Times, the leading paper of England, has on several occasions soundly berated the Queen for her continued seclusion from the public, her exalted position being, it is said, her only excuse, and subsequent to the death of Prince Albert this seclusion was continued so long that the shopkeepers and tradesmen who profit by the receptions, festivals, and gaieties of the court, were loud in their complaints of what they deemed to be an overstrained and extravagant grief.

Several leading modistes or dress makers were obliged to give up business, owing to the Queen having closed her drawing rooms; murmuring loudly that they had been ruined by her Majesty, as their principal business was to make dresses for the ladies of rank who have nothing else to do but go to balls, parties, and drawing-room receptions when invited. Indeed for the past three years there has been a growing dissatisfaction with her Majesty, and sad stories are told of that royal lady in the English capital—chiefly the shopkeepers were enraged—although this class of people are usually the most loyal—then the Fenian affair came and was added as fuel to the general discontent.

But the worst remains to be told, and it is with no feeling of pleasure that I am compelled to lift the veil.


The story is everywhere prevalent that the seclusion of the Queen is owing to her fondness for liquor; this statement has never been openly promulgated in the papers, but is continually hinted at obscurely in the more liberal organs. It is boldly spoken of by private individuals that the temper of her[Pg 52] Majesty has of late years become very irascible and is sometimes ungovernable, and the cause is attributed to drink and its consequent delirium which has seized upon this unfortunate lady.

I was told by a clergyman who had it direct from the wife of a former chaplain of her Majesty, that the Queen was in the habit of drinking half a pint of raw liquor per day. The effects of these liberal potations are making visible havoc in her once comely face. I saw her thrice, and her inflamed face and swollen eyes gave her all the appearance of an inebriate. Perhaps the trouble caused by her scapegrace of a son, the Prince of Wales, who, without doubt, is as reckless a scamp as ever existed, has had much to do with his mother's present condition, and has driven her to drinking.

It is also notorious that the Queen has chosen for her body servant one John Brown, a raw boned, robust, and coarse Highlander, and clings to him with more warmth and tenacity than becomes a lady who carried her sorrow for a deceased husband previously to such an extravagant pitch.

This John Brown whom I saw is over six feet in height, a powerful looking fellow; but he has a face that would find favor in the eyes of very few women. He was formerly a body servant of Prince Albert, and was always an attendant on him in his hunting and fishing excursions. The Queen took notice of him at Balmoral, her summer residence in Scotland, and here she made a great pet of him.

After the death of Prince Albert the Queen attached Brown to her person, and ever since he has constantly attended her.

It is the custom of the Queen to have herself pushed around the grounds of her lodge at Balmoral in a perambulator or hand carriage when she visits that charming spot.

The person selected for this duty was the lucky John Brown. Day after day he might be seen pushing around the spacious lawn, the Majesty of England.


During her hours of idleness Brown is always allowed to converse with the Queen in a familiar manner, and it is said pre[Pg 53]sumes on her gracious condescension more than her noblest subject would dare to do.



When the Queen takes her seat in her perambulator it might often occur that a servant would spring forward with a lowly reverence to assist the royal lady, but in every instance the unfortunate flunkey would receive a rebuking frown, and in a moment after might have to undergo the mortification of a sneering laugh from Brown, who at this crisis would make his appearance—strolling in a leisurely fashion toward the perambulator, and stretching his long Celtic legs, his arms full of warm wraps in which he proceeds to enfold the person of the Queen, with as much seeming fondness as if he were the husband instead of the low lackey of royalty, without polish and breeding; then in addition to the silent rebuke of the Queen the offending servant would hear from Brown some such remark as "I say my douce laddie, dinna ya offer yer sarvices till her[Pg 54] Majesty asks ya fur them. Dinna ye be sticking yer finger in till anoother mun's haggis or ye moon be scalded."

"That will do Brown," the Queen would say to prevent a scene which would be sure to take place were Brown's violent temper not curbed in time to prevent an explosion, for the tall Highland gillie is no respecter of persons, and cares very little for royalty except in the person of its chief representative.

It is a current anecdote in the Pall Mall clubs, that the Queen's cousin, the Duke of Cambridge, who is also the commander-in-chief of the British Army, having one day desired an audience with the Queen of a private nature, waited upon her at Buckingham Palace and presented his card like any other private citizen. He was desired to wait, and did so until he became tired, and finally he was admitted to the presence, and was somewhat astonished to find the servant, John Brown, in the room.

The Duke being a member of the royal family did not hesitate to say to her majesty in a respectful way:

"Will your Majesty be so kind as to ask your footman to leave the saloon, I desire to speak to you on a matter of importance, privately."

"Very well, you may speak without intrusion," said the Queen, turning her head slightly to the window where her servant stood with his back turned coolly upon the Queen's cousin, "there is no one here but Brown, he is very discreet."


Finding that the Highlander could not be prevailed upon to leave the room, the Duke made a virtue of necessity and proceeded to state the purport of his visit. The Queen engaged in conversation with her cousin, and some minutes having elapsed the conversation turned upon different subjects. The Duke was relating a joke about the Clubs for the edification of the Queen, in which a noble person was made to assume a ridiculous position, when all at once he was interrupted with a peal of coarse and irreverent laughter, which rang through the apartments, and the Duke turning around with a thrill of[Pg 55] horror and astonishment, heard Brown scream out while he held his sides to contain his mad mirth:

"Oh! oh! What a d—d fule that fellow must have been."

The Duke for a moment stood petrified with horror, an unpleasant tremor ran down the small of his back, and then being seized with a sudden idea, he took his hat and making a low reverence left the apartment as the Queen said in an irritable tone:

"Oh! never mind, it's only Brown."

The story was too good to keep, and in a few days it was known all over London.

On the day that the Queen opened Blackfriars bridge she rode in a state carriage with Brown behind her, and the act was so flagrant that when the procession passed through the Strand, the Queen was openly hissed by the people who stood on the sidewalks and saw the burly form of the Scotsman in the carriage, so close to her Majesty.

I leave facts to speak for themselves, there is no need of comment. The great rival of Punch is a paper called the Tomahawk, published in Fleet street, and which is edited with fearless ability. The chief artist is a Matthew Morgan who excels all others of his craft in London for the beauty and spirit of his cartoons. Well, one day the Tomahawk appeared with a large two paged cartoon, in which the queen was pictured in her perambulator, and the tall form of Brown behind pushing the vehicle, while he leaned over the back and looked with an affectionate leer into the face of the sovereign of England. There was no inscription at the bottom of the picture, but it was so truthful and telling, that every person who looked, saw the whole scandalous story at a glance. Three editions of this number of the Tomahawk were sold in a few days, and in the corner of the picture the daring artist did not hesitate to sign his initials, "M.M." It is sufficient to state that no proceedings were taken, nor was a suit of libel brought against the editors who publish the paper.

I have here only recounted facts well known in England, and I set them down without malice or extenuation.

[Pg 56]

The salary or income of Queen Victoria is, I believe, about five thousand two hundred dollars a day, including Sundays, for which she also receives her regular stipend. Like other sovereigns, she does not toil or spin, yet the people must pay the bills all the same. Being of a very economical and thrifty disposition, it is supposed that her Majesty will leave a fortune of many millions of pounds to her scapegrace son when she dies, that is to say, if he has common decency enough too wait for her decease, and ceases to outrage her feelings to much.

Queen Victoria was born May 24th, 1819, and is consequently in her fifty-second year.


[Pg 57]



F INDING it necessary to have a companion with me who had a perfect knowledge of the English Metropolis, I paid a visit to the headquarters of the police in the Old Jewry, and procured from Inspector Bailey, the Chief of Police, the aid of a detective to accompany me in my nightly adventures. Shortly after midnight Sergeant Moss and myself passed through Gracechurch into Fenchurch street, by towering warehouses, and along Aldgate into High street, Whitechapel. Until we got well up into Whitechapel we had not met more than three or four persons, and they were principally individuals who had taken more ale or strong liquor than was good for their equilibrium. One person, who was evidently out of his latitude, accosted the detective and demanded of him, in a menacing but rather ludicrous way:

"I s'ay ole fel', whish ish Goodman's Feelsh? I wansh to go to Somshseet sthreeths. Goodman's Feelsh, ole boy. Show we waysh and give shixpensh, ole fel?"

"Go along and turn off to your left, and when you get home eat an onion, and it will do you good p'raps," said he, as he tried to dodge the drunken fellow, who seemed well dressed, and had some jewelry on his person.

"Eesh an onionsh. Sir, yer a gentlesmansh—ole boy. Blesh you. Blesh you," and he staggered away into the darkness, rolling like a yawl-boat in the breakers.

[Pg 58]

We turned off the Whitechapel road into Baker street, up Charles into Wellington street. The neighborhood was a poor desolate one, and every building, and every stone in the street, with the offal in the gutters, spoke of poverty and wretchedness.

Now and then a policeman spoke to us and looked sharply at me, but always they seemed civil and obliging.

The district we were now traversing was a kind of debatable land between Whitechapel and Bethnal Green. The streets, or rather lanes, ran across and along at angles and in circles of a perfect maze tending to confound ways that were well calculated to puzzle a stranger.

The lanes were, with few exceptions, not more than two or three hundred feet long, and the odor from the cellars and lodging houses was miasmatic. Shouts and yells and curses came from drunken male brutes who passed us, and now and then a wretched looking outcast of a woman, hideous with filth and bloated with gin, stole like a shadow from some of the low public houses that were, in accordance with the beer-house act, putting up their shutters.

A woman passed us with a stone bottle in one hand and a herring in the other, while we stood looking up and down the narrow street. Her eyes were bloodshot and her face seamed with dissipation and wretchedness, while she grasped the stone bottle hard, and seemed ready to defend her precious property with her life.

"Wot have you got there," said my companion seizing the stone jug and holding it to his nose. The woman was almost frenzied at this attempt, as she believed it was, to deprive her of what was far dearer to her than her life. "Give me back my gin!" she screamed, and dashed forward like a tigress to claw his eyes out. The sergeant seemed satisfied, and handed her back the stone vessel with a motion of disgust.

"That'll do, ole lady," said he, "I'd rather you'd drink that White Satan nor me. I pitys yer precious witles, that's hall, when you drinks it. Where do you live?"


"I live's in 'Purty Bill's lodgin.' I'll show it to you for a[Pg 59] brown. Come along." We followed her for a short distance, and now and then, as we passed the doorways and courts, some low blackguard would vent a little of his vile or rough humor upon our devoted heads, merely to keep his intellect in play.

"I say, ye pair of duffers, give us tuppence to get a pot o' beer, wont ye; come here, and I'll cash yer check hif you 'ave no small change," said a cut-throat looking rascal of large build who was lying across a door that seemed to open into the earth somewhere. He half rose; fell back on the broken cavern door stupefied with liquor, and began to snore like a wild beast gorged with blood.

"This is an awful district, sir," said the detective. "They doesn't stand on ceremony with you here."

We passed further down the dark street, and a very dark street it was. The atmosphere was very different from that which hung over London Bridge. The air was noisome, and the collected offal in the gutters sent up a frightful stench to the heavens. At the end of the street was a cul de sac, and before we came to it my conductor stopped at a passage, dim under the midnight sky, which ran back for some distance; I could not tell how far, owing to the darkness.

We passed into the court, which seemed to yawn wider as one progressed, between three-storied, tumble-down, dirty brick buildings, and finally we found ourselves in a yard about a hundred feet square, from the opposite side of whose buildings clothes lines depended covered with canvass jackets, ragged highlows, aprons, and two or three sou'westers, beside a lot of female articles of under-linen. There were barrows, hand carts, small jackass carts and baskets, with a few empty barrels piled up in a confused mass in the corner of the yard. Cabbage leaves, bones of fish and animals, potato skins—the remains of carniverous appetites—were strewed all round.

The detective had by this time lit a lantern which he had concealed in his breast, and thus I was enabled to look around me. He said, "This is a rum spot; but never mind, it's safe enough. Now dy'e see that cellar—that's where we are a goin' to spend an hour or two. Come along."

[Pg 60]

He pointed in the direction of the cellar, or rather an opening in the ground, at the further corner of the yard, from whose bowels issued slanting streaks of light, shouts of laughter, and yells indicative of mad revelry. Groping our way carefully over the heaps of rubbish, and around the vehicles and barrels, we arrived at the cellar, which had for an opening an aperture about six feet wide by five feet in length. The broken wooden stairs leading to the bottom had some fifteen steps.

We descended and found the door at the lowest step barring the entrance. It was fastened, and had a dirty, impenetrable pane of glass as a watchhole for the use of those inside, so that nothing could be seen from the outside of the door. We gave the door a kick, and then the shouting and laughing seemed to stop very suddenly, and there was a hustling and running about inside which betokened preparation.

A face appeared at the pane of glass, and, after a scrutiny of a minute or two, the door went back on its hinges with a grating sound. A big bullet-head protruded itself, and a voice said:

"Who is that ere? Wot does you want, and who the d—l send you at this time o' night a disturbin' of honest people in their comfortable beds?"

"Bill, it's 'Faking Johnny' as wants to hold a few moments conversation with you. The queen has just sent me with a patent of nobility for you, from Buckingham Palace. You are to be made a barronnight right hoff when you reforms," said the detective, in a jocular way, as he descended into the cellar and faced the proprietor of the den, who held a half-penny candle above his head to get a look at us both.

The master of the mansion finally recognized my companion, but did not seem at all well pleased with his visit.

"Well," he said, in a very gruff voice, "is hit bizness or pleasure? Vich? Kase, hif hits bizness you must 'elp yourself."


"Oh, pleasure by all means, Purty Bill," said the sergeant, "myself and friend here, who is a son of Henry Clay, as was[Pg 61] President of the United States of America, just wants to see how the fun is goin' on to-night, and as I knew you kept a fust-class place, Bill, I thought I would bring him around to see you. He has called on the Queen, Mr. Bright, Mr. Gladstone, the Hemperor of the French, and he expressed a great desire to see 'Purty Bill;' so here we are."



The hideous vagabond seemed touched by this piece of insidious flattery, and said in a modified tone:

"Oh, well, that's fair enough. I don't hask hanything better. But ye see I thought you might ha' wanted some of my lodgers, and so many of them have been done for lately that they are getting suspicious of my honesty, and I have to be careful. Come this way," and he held the half-penny candle over his head, which gave me a chance to observe him. The man was about six feet two inches in height, and much in form of shoulders like an ox, with loins like a prize-fighter. The face was pitted terribly with small-pox, his entire face was[Pg 62] seared, and even the corners of his eyebrows seemed eaten away by the awful disease. Hence his name of "Purty Bill." His eyes were of a greenish blue, and his attire was that of a costermonger; a smock of canvass, and knee breeches and huge shoes, whose heavy nails made rapid incisions in the clay floor of the long, dark passage through which we had to pass until we came to still another door. This door was not a door; in fact it was only a few planks strongly nailed together, and was not more than four feet high, so that we were all compelled, as "Purty Bill" lifted the latch, to put our feet in first, and making half circles of our bodies, we entered, and after descending three or four flagged steps we were at last in the cellar and establishment proper over which "Purty Bill" claimed a proprietary interest.

It was one of the strangest sights I ever saw—the interior of this Wild Beast's Den. It was a huge cellar formerly used as a brewery, of perhaps a hundred by seventy-five feet in dimension.

The ceiling, or, rather, the rough, unplaned beams which supported the roof above us, gave an appearance of great strength to the place. There was a large fireplace in the center of the cellar, around which fifty or sixty persons sat, of all ages and of both sexes. The floor was of damp clay, smooth and trodden by the feet of countless thieves, vagabonds, and prostitutes. The corners of the cellar were buried in darkness, while the center of the cavern, near the fireplace, was bright with the flames of a fire of logs, which threw a flickering light on the wooden beams, the broken chairs and stools, the pewter pots in the hands of the lodgers, and on many faces stained with dirt and ploughed up with crime and misery. There were thirty or forty berths roughly constructed as they are in the emigrant steerage of a Liverpool packet, and a heap of dirty straw in each indicated that they were used as beds by the occupants of the apartments. There was a large black pot hanging from a big hook, which depended from the brick chimney, and from this pot came a steaming odor of soup, or stew of some kind. The majority of the lodgers were sitting[Pg 63] on the bare ground, which was dry and hardened near the fire, while at a distance from its flame the ground was rather damp and the lodgers sat on broken stools or on ragged pieces of matting, broken pieces of willow ware, logs of wood, bundles of rags, or any other article, or articles, that were convertible into seats for the time being.


The room was lighted by four or five candles, which were stuck in glass bottles, the bottles being fastened to the joists which supported the berths in which the lodgers slept. The people nearest the fire had fragments of food in their hands and were evidently preparing for a grand midnight feast. Some of them were peeling potatoes, and one old fellow with rheumy eyes had a piece of bacon of five or six pounds weight between his crossed knees on a board, which he was cutting into small square lumps, and as he hacked a piece off he threw it at random into the large pot. A young girl was engaged in carving a huge cabbage-head, and her assistant was scraping carrots and parsnips. Every one seemed interested about the pot, and every one seemed to have some contribution for the feast, which I found was a co-operative one.



"Purty Bill" bustled about and found two broken stools for myself and conductor, and placed them near the fire, saying in a hospitable way:

[Pg 64]

"Gent's, this ere night is werry wet, and you might as well dry yourselves. Sit up nearer the fire. Won't ye take somethink?" and he put his huge paws on the detectives knee in a friendly way. "This is agoin to be a topper of a meal to-night, and all of us will welcome ye gents to our 'umble board. So make yerselves at 'ome, and peck a bit when it's biled."

"Wot's the idea of getting up this cram at this time of the morning, Bill? It's near two o'clock. Won't it interfere with yer lodgers' precious digestion?"

"Hinterfere with it? Wot, vith one of my lodgers? Rayther! No. Vy there's Kicking Billy as heats six blessed meals a day, and then he's all the time a lookin' for sangwiches and pigs trotters a-tween meals. Urt their digestion hindeed? Vy they 'av got stomax like them ere hanimals wot performs at Hastleys. You knows Slap-Up Peter. You used to be a stone swallower in the purfession," and the proprietor touched a man who was squatted on his haunches, smoking a dirty stump of clay pipe, with his foot. Slap-Up Peter drew the pipe out of his mouth, shook the ashes from it, dusted the venerable relic with a greasy red handkerchief, carefully placed it in his breeches pocket, and said:

"Vy don't ye keep yer big feet to yerself? Wot hanimals do you mean? Do you mean cammomiles?"

"Yes, them hanimals vith the 'umps on their hugly backs. You see, sir, Slap-Up Peter has had a good eddycation in his time, and he knows the names of the hanimals, 'cos he used to travel with the circus afore he went on the tramp to swallow stones and snakes."

"Peter," said the detective, "you must 'ave quite an 'istry. Could you tell us somethink about your past life, my boy?"

Slap-Up Peter had a melancholy face. The skin was tanned, the eyes large, black, and bulging, and the nose like a hawk's. His clothes were worn and greasy; his face was gaunt, and when he moved his body the bones seemed to creak and grate as if they had been joined together by metallic hinges. There was something mournful about the man—some queer story attached to him, I felt.

[Pg 65]


"Tell ye me 'istry, is it? Vell, I don't mind if I do; but them as hears my story mout give me somethink to drink first, for I ham werry dry. I lost my woice speaking on the Histablished Church bill tother night in Parlymint, and I've been 'oarse hever since."

"Well, take a drop, Peter," said Kicking Billy, a one-eyed and one-legged, and rascally looking fellow, who sat with his crutches between his knees, toasting his shin at the fire, and he handed a bottle to Slap-Up Peter, who took it without saying a word, and lifting it to his mouth, took a deep, deep draught without winking.

"Look at that fellow that they call Kicking Billy—the one-legged fellow, I mean," said the detective to me. "He's a returned burglar, that fellow, and has served fourteen years. This place is full of thieves. They are nearly all thieves, and this is a thieves feast," he whispered in my ear.

"My name is Peter Wilson, and I've been in the show business for sixteen years, come Christmas, man and boy. I'm thirty-eight years of age now, and they called me Slap-Up Peter when I fust began jumpin', as a hacrobat in the penny gaffs. Cos wy, I had a way of turnin' myself over a chair and coming back-handed on a somerset that used to take well, but now so many does it that the haudience don't mind it a bit. I jumped for four years, and wos counted pretty good in my line until I dislocated my wrist a doin' of the Pyramids of Hegypt, and then I vos laid hup and couldn't jump for six months and hover; so I thought I'd leave the bus'ness and happear in another character. I got married to—"

"More fool you," said Kicking Billy, sententiously, taking a drink.

"Well, hit didn't cost you nothing, no more than it did for the government to support you in Botany Bay for fourteen years. So you needn't hinterrupt me again."

"Go hon, Peter, and never mind him, its only 'is chaff."

"Well, as I wos saying," continued Slap-Up Peter, "I got married, and maybe it was rayther foolish, for when we were spliced, Judy and I—she wos an Irish gal and a good worker—[Pg 66]we went into our cash account and found that we had only one pun six shillings and height pence, not a blessed brown more. I said to Judy—she wor a good gal—

"Judy, we can't keep 'ause on twenty-six shillings capital, that's shure. That's all our fortune in silver and gold, and it won't last long. So wot will we do?"

"'Well, Peter,' said she, 'I didn't marry you for the dirty money; I married you cos' you were sich a good jumper and hacrobat, and I'll stick to you now when you can't jump any more;' for you see, Billy, my wrist was two years afore it got well."

"'Let us pad the hoof together,' said Judy, 'and we'll do the best we can. Let us two work the southern counties and we'll get long French or Hitalyan names, and we'll pick up a shillin here and there.' Cos you see," said Peter, "Judy had been born and bred in Shoreditch, and she knew all the wandering play-actors and showmen, and she wor hup to all their affs. So I next came out as 'Signor Hokenfokos, the fiery salamander of Naples, and my wife, the Baroness Padila, who had to leave her country on account of the wiolent love vich the king's son would persist in making hup to her, and she had to leave all her property, to the amount of six millions, behind her.' This was a good lay and we made from three to eight shillings a day down in Devonshire and Cornwall, wherever we could get a crowd together. I used to swaller hot iron bars, pokers, and red hot coals, and my wife used to play the hurdy-gurdy while I was swallerin' the hot coals. I improved at this werry much in two years, and then, after I had vorked the hot coals out, Judy said to me one day:

"'Peter, why don't you try and swaller snakes and swords? They are better than coals, and not so dangerous.'"


"'Yes, but I don't know how,' I said, 'and I don't like snakes at all, they are so precious slimy.' You see sir, even then I didn' know what it was to get used to a thing. Well, I commenced to swallow knives at first, and I had to oil them—that's the trick you see—with sweet oil as good as I could find[Pg 67] at eighteen pence a pint, and I had to rub this on with a piece of shammy cloth. This oil lets the knife down easily, and when I wos well drilled there wos no danger at all—only I had to be sober. My swallow was hawful bad with the hirritation for two months, but I got over that; for when I felt my throat sore I took sugar and lemon juice, and gorgled my throat and that took the soreness away."

"Tell us about the snakes, Peter," said Purty Bill. "That's a good story, sir," to the author.



"Ah! that was the most unlikely thing I hever took to. It went aginst my stomach hawful to swaller the snakes at first, and I don't believe I'd ever have done it if it hadn't been for Judy, who said to me, when I kicked agin it,—

"'Wot difference does it make, Peter, whether you swallow red hot coals or snakes? The snakes has their stings all taken out, and its nothing more than swallowin' a sausage or pork saveloy.'"

[Pg 68]

"Well, I went at it with a very bad 'art, and my old woman used to play 'Boney's March Across the Halps,' and the 'Death of Nelson,' whenever I swallowed a snake. You see I generally took a snake about fourteen or fifteen inches, or maybe a foot and a half long. The sting is out, you know, and I takes the head and puts the snake in, and if he doesn't go down why I pinches his tail, and then he rolls down the throat. It made me sea-sick at first, and the people in Sussex thought I was the devil out and out, and a good many hexamined my feet, which were in tights, to see if I had cloven feet. A goodish lot of people thinks that the snake goes entirely down the throat, but it stands to reason that the snake is more frightened than the man, and he does not go down, and hif he did he would be glad to come up, I can tell you."

"Don't you put somethink in your throat," said a boy of fourteen, who was known among the confraternity as 'Teddy the Kinchin;' "I mean, to make the snake sick if he'd go too far."


"No, that's no use at all; you see he doesn't go hall the way down. He is afraid, is the snake, and if you cough he'll come up and draw himself up and coil in a bunch in your mouth. But the duffers who pay their money think that the snake is in your stomach. It stands to reason that he'd get sick. It makes a man retch, and the first snake I swallowed I threw up and had awful vomits, but the next one I rather relished it, and it did me a sight o' good, like an oyster does after ye 'ave been drinkin at night and take's tuppence worth of natives in the morning. Well, when I began snake-swallowing it was rather new, and I had it all my own way for a long time, but finally, lots of men began to swallow snakes, and coal swallowing was not as good as it used to be; so I took to ballad singing, Judy and I. By this time we had sixty pounds saved, and we were doing well, but I made the acquaintance of a lot of Doncaster men, who knew I had the money, and before I could say 'Jack Robinson,' the money was all gone. Judy was in her confinement then, and she took on so bad about it that she died in child-bed, and the kid as well, and[Pg 69] I've been on the tramp ever since, and now I do an odd turn at anything that turns up, but mostly I sing ballads, and make sometimes a shilling a day, and sometimes eightpence and ninepence a day. Times have changed for me. Worse luck."

Here the snake-swallower's story ended.

"Slap-Up Peter, will you give us a song? and I'll give you a drink, me oul wiper," said the crippled Kicking Billy to the snake-swallower.

"Well, Billy, I don't mind if I do," said Slap-Up Peter, draining the tin skillet to the last greasy drop.

The thieves, loafers, and women gathered around the fire in a half circle, and Purty Bill heaped logs very liberally, while Slap-Up Peter chanted in a hoarse voice the song, an extract of which I give below, as near as I remember it with my recollections of the scene, the choking smoke, the blazing fire, and the band of outcasts and outlaws in the den in Whitechapel:

'Twas down in Whitechapel that once I used to dwell,
And of all the coves that knocked about, I was the greatest swell,
My highlows were the cheese, with breeches to the knees,
Oh, my toggery was quite correct—my coat was Irish frieze,
My togs from Bond street came, it's a nobby slap-up street,
In a fashionable locality—the swells the girls there meet;
Nicol's my man for shirts, with his I cut a shine,
His shop's in far famed Regent street, he's a pal-o'-mine.
Rum too-rul-um, Happy-go-Bill,
Inyuns and greens who'll buy,
Rum too-rul-um, Happy-go-Bill,
Inyuns and greens who'll buy.

"That's a fine melojous voice of yours," said Purty Bill to the singer.

"He's used to it," said one of the women.

Here's Spuds at Thrums a pound, they're prime 'uns as I've found,
Oh, I've Reds and Dukes and Flukes and Blues, I sells in going my round.
My greens are superfine, full blown and hearty are mine,
Oh, come make a deal with me, my dear; don't wait, you'll find 'em prime.
My inyuns now are new, you'll find what I says is true,
[Pg 70]In fact, the Queen, since these she's seen has cartloads just a few;
My carrots are long and red, you'll find they're well bred,
My vegetables are the cheese, bunch for you—penny-a-head.
Rum too-rul-um, &c.

"Now give us the last werse with all the 'armony," said Teddy the Kinchin, in a piping voice.

"I vill, vith moosh plesh-yar, as the Frenchman said," returned Slap-Up Peter.

Jerry, my moke's a bird, of him perhaps you've heard,
He knows his way about, he does, to match him's quite absurd;
Just see him cock his eye when grub time's getting nigh,
He likes his feed, he does indeed, he lives on cabbage-pie.
Now any girl that's kind, and a husband wants to find,
I'm ready made and so's my trade, that's if I'm to her mind;
So down to Whitechapel we'll trudge again to dwell,
And of all the coves that knock about I'll be the greatest swell.
Rum too-rul-um, &c.

"That's wot I call a topper of a song. It's so werry sentimental that it makes a gal peep. The lines are werry touchin'," said a young gal of sixteen or seventeen years of age, who was not badly dressed nor bad-looking, and who went by the name of "Bilking Bet." She was a favorite, and several of them called upon her to sing. She had just the same mock modesty, this young woman with the brassy face, as if she had been a fashionable lady at the West End, with a jointure and a coach and six.

"Wot's that young gal's name, Bill," said the detective to the boss of the thieves.

He did not seem inclined to tell at first, but said sullenly, "you don't want her do you? No? Well then that's 'Bilking Bet,' she used to be a 'coster gal but now she's on the cross."

"Oho!" said Serjeant Moss, "that's the gal as was hup before Mr. Knox at Marlboro street the other morning for snatching a lady's purse in a push."

"Yes," said Purty Bill, "but there was no proof aginst the gal. She was brought out has hinnocent as the new-born baby. She wor."

[Pg 71]


"Of course, Bill, you had that done and cooked. One of those nice little halybi's as you halways 'ave ready just to suit your customers. 'Bilking Bet' was down in Wales a waitin upon her poor sick mother, who was down with the scarlet fever, and not expected to live. My Heye? Eh, Bill, one of your old tricks? But, I say, Bill, don't you get ketched, cos its over the water to Charly with ye hif I ketch ye."

This conversation was carried on in the corner of the room, from which we could see that the group around the fire were preparing to hear a song from "Bilking Bet," who cleared her throat twice with a pull at a gin bottle—no glasses here to annoy a person—and began, in a mellow and not unpleasing voice, the following slang song which is common among the London costermongers, but is seldom heard among the thieves. The song, no doubt, she owed to her early costermonger associations, before she became a pickpocket. She was now one of the most expert in London, and was the kept mistress of a well known burglar, who had, two days before I saw her, broken open a tea shop in the Old Bailey, near Ludgate Hill.

The song was as follows:


Some chaps they talk of damsels fine,
Being angels bright and fair,
But they should only see my girl,
She is beyond compare,
She is the finest girl that's out,
Her name is Dinah Denny,
When you are out you'll hear her shout
"New Walnuts, twelve a penny!"

Chorus.—S'help me never none so clever,
As my Dinah Denny,
Can shout about, all round about
"New Walnuts, twelve a penny."

Her voice is like a dove,
And bright is her black eye,
I think she does me truly love,
[Pg 72]She looks at me so sly.
She sports the smartest side spring boots,
Eclipse her cannot many,
And shows feet small, while she does call
"New Walnuts, twelve a penny."

Chorus, &c.

Rich noblemen may dress their wives
In silk or satin dress,
But Dinah I like quite as well
In her Manchester print, "Express,"
We're going to be wed, and then
If offspring we have many,
We'll be nuts on, and christen them
"New Walnuts, twelve a penny."

Chorus, &c.



"Now I think that's werry neat and happropriate to the hoccasion," said a cockney lodger who had successfully begged two-pence from the detective to pay for his lodging, which he handed over to "Purty Bill" as soon as he got the pennies.

[Pg 73]

"I moves we put Bilking Bet in the cheer? Wot dye say, gentlemen and ladies hall, to the proposition?"

"Hall right. Bet take the cheer and give us some of yer 'Ouse of Commons."

"Bilking Bet" was escorted to the middle of the group, placed standing on a three-legged stool without any visible back, and assuming as stately an air as she was capable of, the young girl, with the most perfect sang froid, began:

"Me lords and gentlemen, and likewise the ladies. Me noble pickpockets, gonoffs, blokes, and pinchers. I am with you this hevening, for what purpose, I hask? FOR WOT PURPOSE I HASK? Why, to be present at the feast which takes place hannerally among the members of our noble purfession—shall I say dignified purfession? No; I won't."

"But ye have said it, Bet," said Kicking Billy.

"Hear! hear! Shut up, will ye, and let the gal tork," said Slap-Up Peter.

"Well," said Bet, broken down in her attempt at a speech, "I move that we have a song from 'Teddy the Kinchin.' Will he hoblige?"

"He will! he will!" said a dozen voices.


"I am sorry, me blokes, that my woice is so werry much out of tune in singing at Her Majesty's Hopera in the Haymarket, but howsumbever, as I have given hup my hengagement at that 'ouse, I'll fake you a few werses to show wot I wonce wos when I wos in woice," said this cheerful young blackguard and thief, who had a pair of eyes like a ferret, and could not have been more than seventeen years of age, as he stood there dressed in the height of his idea of the fashion, with a flashy velvet coat and satin scarf, showing a huge pin. He sang, after clearing his throat with a long drink of gin, as follows:


I am a curious comical cove
Everybody does own O,
[Pg 74]Hey ricketty Barlow, Cock-a-doodle-do!
I was born one day when father was out,
And mother she wasn't at home O,
Hey ricketty Barlow, &c.
I went to school and played the fool,
At learning was a shy man.
Hey ricketty Barlow, &c.
The boys they used to hollo out,
"There goes a Simple Simon!"
Hey ricketty Barlow, &c.
Oh lor! oh my! I'm a Simple Simon,
Oh lor! oh my! cock-a-doodle-do!
Where ere I go the folks they know,
And call me "Simple Simon;"
Hey ricketty Barlow, &c.

"Haltogether, please," said the Kinchin.



I used to "kick" the cobbler out,
And rip up people's pockets,
Hey ricketty Barlow, &c.
[Pg 75]And I was very fond of throwing stones
And lumps of mud at coppers,
Hey ricketty Barlow, &c.
But now I'm going to settle down,
Won't I cut a shine O,
Hey ricketty Barlow, &c.
I'll marry a gal with lots of Tin,
And won't I spend her rhino,
Hey ricketty Barlow, &c.
Oh lor! oh my! &c.

"Now, once more, and a good haltogether please," and the young pickpocket sat down amid thunders of applause from every one in the cellar belonging to the band of thieves.


The thieves stew was now declared ready for consumption by the chef de cuisine, and as I at least felt no appetite for such a rich dish, we left this underground den of infamy just as a few faint streaks of the coming dawn began to gild the spire of St. Boldolph's ancient church.

"That Purty Bill is one of the greatest scoundrels in London. He is a fence, and we've got him once or twice, but he minds himself now, and we are after his tricks every day. His cellar used to be a brewery, that's why he's got so much room underground, and his game is to let out lodgings, at two pence a night, for a blind, and then they can stay all day at this place until twelve o'clock at night, and if they cannot pay sure for the next night's lodging in advance, unless they are in very good circumstances, he clubs them out, and they have got to pad the hoof until daybreak, and sleep where they can. Good night." And we parted for that twenty-four hours.


[Pg 76]



S SHOE lane hath a very unromantic sound for a locality. It does not smell of the aristocracy. It hath not even a slight favor of the Landed Gentry, and no one could possibly take the trouble to find armorial bearings or hatchments for Shoe lane. Yet is Shoe lane a most eloquent place, and there is a little old public house there deemed second only in point of fame by the admirers of forensic eloquence who frequent it, to the House of Commons.

The way was long and dreary that Saturday night that I strolled from Long Acre, whose carriage-shops and leather manufacturers' stalls were all closed for the day; and the sultry London fog came down, blinding the pedestrians, as I turned from Lincoln's-Inn-fields into the better-lighted High Holborn, with the glare from its brassy gin-shops and dirty-looking old houses, that seemed all of them as if a good scouring would have done them an incalculable service in the way of a fresher appearance. I thought that Shoe lane was in a very suspicious neighborhood.

Turning to the left through Farringdon Market, a huge square seemingly devoted to the worship of highly odorous vegetables, I came into the narrow Shoe lane, which runs down at its bottom to Fleet street, just below where the gray stone arch of Temple bar bisects the Strand and Fleet street. There is nothing particularly noticeable about this part of Shoe lane.


There is a ham and beef shop, with its layers of cold meat-[Pg 77]pies piled on top of each other in the windows; and across the way there is the inevitable gin-shop, with its polished brass fender outside to keep off the boys who have no money to spend in gin, and there are the enticing signs all over the gin-shop telling of the merits of the brown-stout there vended, and the Burton ale and somebody's "entire" malt liquors which the proprietor assures the public are only genuine at his shop.

The lane is narrow here and not more than three or four men could pass abreast, although there are sidewalks to the lane, or rather apologies for sidewalks. This narrow lane is one of the few remaining relics of old London. Below, at the foot of Shoe lane, runs Fleet street—one of the busiest marts in the world, which is ever jammed and blocked with drays, cabs, and vehicles of all descriptions crowding to and fro, in sight of the mighty dome of St. Paul's; and under the pavement of that street, so famous for its publications and shops, the old River Fleet once ran in a dirty, hideous current, until it emptied its garnered filth into the Thames.

Here, opposite Shoe lane, one of the curious old conduits that formerly supplied old London with water might have been seen about the time of the wars of the Roses, when the English nobles were hard at work cutting each other's throats and making and unmaking kings for the want of something better to do. The cistern erected at the point where Shoe lane intersects Fleet street, was counted one of the handsomest in London. Stow—that quaint, old, musty chronicler—says:

"Upon it was a fair tower of stone, garnished with the image of St. Christopher on the top, and angels lower down, round about, with sweetly sounding bells before them, whereupon, by an engine placed in the tower, they, divers hours of the day and night, with hammers chimed such a hymn as was appointed." Frolicsome Anne Boleyn, the first day that she was queened, rode through Shoe lane on her way to the sacred Abbey of Westminster to receive the gilded toy upon her fair forehead, and pageantry and pomp met her at every step of her palfrey, in Cornhill, Cheapside, Fleet street, and Shoe lane.

[Pg 78]

In those days the streets and lanes of London were narrow and difficult, and the unfortunate queen that was to be might have touched the over-hanging eaves and gables of the houses in her progress through the city without leaving her saddle. The conduit in Shoe lane was grandly gilded over to do her honor, and ran wine for the whole day. At the base of the conduit a starvling poet sat reciting verses in her honor as she and her newly made ruffian of a husband passed, and no doubt this mediĉval Mormon was highly pleased with the conceit. There were towers and turrets erected to do her honor in Shoe lane, and in one of these towers, according to the chronicler, "was such several solemn instruments that seemed to be an heavenly noise, and was much regarded and praised; and, besides this, the conduit ran wine, claret and white, all the afternoon; so she, with all her company, rode forth to Temple Bar, which was newly painted and repaired, where stood also divers singing men and children, till she came to Westminster Hall, which was richly hanged with cloths of Arras."

While Prince Hal was splitting the skulls of fractious Frenchmen at Agincourt and fording the passage of the Somme, Sir Robert Ferras de Chastley held eight cottages in Shoe lane from his king. Here and there was a garden peeping forth in its floral verdure; and here was also the town residence of the Bishops of Bangor, powerful and pious prelates in their day, God wot and odds bodkins; and as early as 1378 they held the tenure by virtue of the patent of the forty-eighth of Edward the Third, which says in most barbarous Latin: "Unum messuag; unam placeam terrĉ, unam gardinum cum aliis ĉdificis in Shoe Lane, London."

Times have changed since then in Shoe lane. A bishop of Bangor now, with his train of lances, his men-at-arms, mitre, cross-bearer, and torches, would be a sight indeed in Shoe lane. How that bright-eyed bar-maid at the door of the Blue Pig would stare at his lordship! How the greasy boy in the ham and beef shop would shout at the cope and silks and velvet housings—taking them, perhaps, in an innocent way, for a part of the Lord Mayor's show! And as for the conduit run[Pg 79]ning Claret and Malmsley, the beer-swilling cockneys would not thank headless Anne Boleyn for such washy foreign stuff. Their fancy could only be fed by gin. A man-at-arms would be compelled now-a-days to wash his throat with Bass's bitter beer or brown stout, instead of sack, hippocras, or mead.


At last we are in the neighborhood of "Cogers Hall"—the hall of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Cogers. There is a gin-shop at the front, with its low doorway and flaring signs. The windows are well lit, and by the side of the bar is a long, narrow passage conducting the visitor for twenty or thirty feet to a back room, about forty feet long and twenty-five feet wide.

Off the passage are a number of small waiting-rooms, noisy and smoky, with the voices and vile pipes of the occupants. Four rows of tables run along the room, in which are present fifty or sixty persons all of the male sex. They are all decently dressed, for, although the admission is free, yet is the visitor to the Cogers Hall expected to drink or eat something, and the place, with its tariff of prices, though moderate enough to an American, would not suit a costermonger or laborer.

The roof is arched and paneled, done in a feeble imitation of the style of Sir Christopher Wren, who is popularly supposed to have built everything in London after the great fire of 1666. A handsome chandelier depends from an opening in the roof, and is ornamented with a number of glass globes, which serve to light the apartment and dissipate the thick clouds of smoke that constantly arise in the room.

There is a large, gaudy sign in the hall, on which are printed these cabalistic words: "Hot joints are served in this room from one until five." At the farther end of the room, opposite the entrance, is a paneling hollowed back in the wall, the entire room being paneled; and this paneling is shaped like a door, and is gilded. A step from the floor, in the paneling, is placed a chair of honor, which is occupied by the Most Worthy Grand, as he is styled; or, in fact, the chairman of the meeting. Those who are familiar with him go so far in their irreverence as to call this awful personage "Me[Pg 80] Grand," and whispers have been heard that his name in reality is Tompkins or Noakes.

Directly opposite this dignitary, at the other end of the room, is a place in the paneling and a chair like to that which I have already described, and this is occupied by a tall, lean man, with side whiskers of a grayish pattern, who has the title of Vice Grand.

But the Vice, or Worthy Wice, is of greatly inferior dignity to the Most Worthy Grand. He is, so to speak, an empty ornament of the feast, and his duties are simple, and confined to calling out in unison with the assemblage, "Hear, hear," or "Good." "You are Right," when the Worthy Grand, in his oracular sentences, is most happy. At other times, in a loud voice he will call the attention of the waiters, who heartily detest him for his interference, to the fact that some customer has drained his beer, or gin and hot water, and needs, therefore, to be served afresh.

Still this man is human, and will listen, when off his seat of duty, to any scandal against the Most Worthy Grand with secret pleasure. In fact, the Worthy Wice, inspired by a generous four-pence worth of gin and hot water, told me aside, in conversation, that the Worthy Grand was unfit for his high position. "He his han hass, sir. He his too Hold. And he 'as no woice watsomever, sir. Bah! that, sir, for Tompkins"—and the Worthy Wice snapped his fingers in an insane manner at the air in which his potent imagination had conjured up the semblance of the Worthy Grand. Sitting down at a table I followed the custom of the place and called for something. On each table were placed a couple of long-shanked clay pipes, and a thin-necked, big-paunched, red-clay jar, which a man sitting near explained to my satisfaction.

"You see," said he in a rather mysterious voice, "we 'aven't much ice to speak of in England; leastways, it is too dear, and this 'ere red clay 'as a peculiar wirtue—it keeps the water as cold as if it was in the waults of Bow Church."

This man was decently dressed, and was, I believe, a drover by profession. He was very fleshy and very red in the face.

[Pg 81]


Tissues of fat lay around his eyebrows in layers, and his double chin was dewlapped like one of his own beeves. He had a heavy red hand, and was, as I found out, a true Briton in every sense. I asked him why the place was called Cogers Hall. To this conundrum he confessed himself unable to answer, but after scratching his head the "Beefy One," as I shall call him, made a sign for a waiter to come to the table. "I say," said the Beefy One, "why do you call this place Cogers 'All?" The waiter could not satisfy him, but said that he would call the Master. Well, the Master came, a thin-faced, side-whiskered Englishman, with watery blue eyes and trembling lip. The counterfeit presentment of the Master hung over the Worthy Grand's chair of state, done in oil, and it seemed as if the artist had endeavored, in accordance with the spirit of the Cogers Hall, to give the face an oratorical, Gladstonian expression, and the cloak was folded around the shoulders of the Master as the toga is folded around the shoulders of Tully, in classic pictures. Besides the picture of the Master, several other pictures of Past Worthy Grands were hung as tokens of their former forensic abilities. The Master, in answer to the question why the place was called Cogers Hall, said:

"Well, you see, we calls it Cogers Hall from the Latin ko-gee-TO—to cogitate, to think. Oh, yes, sir, we have been a long time established, sir; since 1756, sir; a matter of a hundred years or so, sir. You are han Hamerican, sir. Oh, yes, sir, we've 'ad George Francis Train 'ere, sir, for many a night, sir; and 'e spoke in that chair, sir; and when he was arrested, sir, in Ireland, the Home Secretary as wos, sir, wrote to me to question me if he had spoken treason, sir, or spoke agin the Queen, sir. Cos ye see, sir, the principle of an Englishman, sir, is to allow every man liberty to say wot he likes, sir, so long as he does not speak agin the Queen or speaks treason. That's an Englishman's principle, sir."

And George Francis Train had spoken in this very room! I could fancy the feelings of poor Artemus Ward when he stood at the tomb of Shakespeare at Stratford. These wooden chairs and benches were hallowed in my eyes henceforward.[Pg 82] Men had sat upon those chairs who had listened to the fervid eloquence of a Train, and perhaps some of these very men had survived. Civis Americanus sum.

As the night came on apace, the smoky, old-fashioned, paneled room began to fill up, and before long nothing could be seen but rows of men lining the small tables, puffing vigorously from the long clay pipes, and at intervals taking deep draughts from the large, brightly burnished metal pots, holding a pint each, or perhaps sipping fourpenny glasses of hot gin and water. Along with the little jar of hot water which the waiter brought on demand, were little saucers of sugar—these little saucers never containing, by any chance, more than three lumps of sugar, and each of these lumps being equalized in size with a mathematical nicety. Some of the visitors, more hungry than others, satisfied their longings with "Welsh Rabbits," at sixpence apiece; or, when the rabbits had, in addition, two eggs cooked with them, the Welsh rabbit was called a "Golden Buck," and the waiter, in his greasy tail coat, raised his demand to eightpence.

In a few minutes the Worthy Vice, a gray-bearded man with a meek face and in shabby-genteel clothes, took his seat, and all the chairs in the apartment were turned around by those who occupied them in order that they might hear and see better. The Worthy Vice, who is sometimes entered on the bills of the performance as a "Patriot" when he has to take part in a discussion, read the minutes of the last meeting of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Cogers, which were listened to quietly, and then the attention of the audience was turned to the Most Worthy Grand, who occupied the chair at the other end of the apartment. This most noble Briton, in a quavering voice, having adjusted his vest—which had a tendency to leave exposed the lower part of the shirt-bosom at his stomach where his trousers bisected—opened the proceedings with much solemnity, imitating by hems and haws, as well as he could, the manners of the dullest and most common-place orators of the House of Commons. His business as a specialty was to review the events of the week.

[Pg 83]


"I don't think, gentlemen," said he, "that my task will be a very long one this hevening in reviewing the hevents of the week. There, aw, 'asn't been much a-doing in furrin parts, ah, this week. There 'as been 'a row in Turkee again, and in, ah, fact we might say there is halways a row in Turkee, more or less. There's a man in Hegipt whom we call the Viceroy of that, ah, country, and when he, ah, wos here we gave 'im fireworks and sich, and made a blessed time about him, as we might say vulgarly, so to speak. Now, he has been a invitin' of all the sovrins of Europe on his own hook to see him and his ryal family open the Sooz Canal. Well, he has been, ah, spendin' sich a lot of money that the Sultan comes out in a long letter and calls him a Cadivar, which is a word that I can't understand, being neither Latin nor yet Greek.

"Blessed hif I knowed that ye iver understood Greek or Lating, ither, Jimmy," said an old man who sat observant of the reviewer in a corner, drinking beer from a pewter pot.

"I thank ye all the same, Mr. Wilkins, but I don't like to be interrupted when I'm speaking," answered the Most Worthy Grand.

"You're right, Me Grand. Horder! horder!" shouted several indignant voices.

"I wos goin' to say," continued the Grand, after taking a deep draught of the porter which foamed in the pewter pot on the table before him—"I wos goin' to say that the state of our neighbor, Fronse, just hover the water, is now a spektikle for mankind. There's a great hadoo about the Hemperor's 'elth; and I must say as how he is in a bad way by all accounts. Nobody knows wot his disease is. It may be liver; it may be kidneys. I might take the liberty of sayin', as a rule, kidneys is bad. No one knows wot would be the consequences if the Hemperor was to step out, wulgularly speakin'. It would p'r'aps be the cause of a general war in Europe. Hengland doesn't want any more wars. We 'ave 'ad enough of them. They does no good for the workin' man. ('Hear! hear!') We pays the piper when the dancin' is done; but we never dances ourselves."

[Pg 84]

"True as the gospel, Jimmy," from a beer drinker.

"Now, there's another question which we all 'ave heard of a good deal, and that's the Halabama claims. They are in a precious muddle, to be sure. They may be right and they may be wrong. But I must say that I don't see where the money is to come from to pay them."

"We'll never pay them. We aint got the "dibs;" leastways, I won't pay any of it," says an irreverent young man whose face was quite flushed with strong drink.

"Well, as far as that goes, if they are to be paid, we know it will come from the pockets of just such people as ourselves in the way of taxes. Its taxes halways."

"I differ from the gentleman who preceded me altogether. Prussia must 'ave the left bank of the Rhine, and I'll put sixteen bullets in the Pope's heart. I tell ye, gentlemen, the Ekumenikal Council will be the downfall of the Romish religion. I'll put sixteen bullets in the Pope's heart," cried out a tall, thin-faced man in a half-clerical suit of black, who got on his feet, and while in the act of energetically expressing his feeling, by a wave of his right hand carried away a glass globe shading the gaslight above his head. The man was very drunk apparently, but by his language seemed to be a person of education. The "Beefy One," who sat by my side, and who had reached his third bottle of beer, whispered to me:

"I say, yon is a fine fellow when he's sober, and can talk poetry by the yard, but he is very drunk, and when he's fuddled he will talk a man blind about the Pope. Will you have some beer? Do take a pot."

It was with some trouble that the fiery Scotch orator was induced to sit down and defer his assault upon the Pope until a more fitting occasion.

At this moment the Beefy One pointed out to me a tall, martial-looking person in black clothes, who seemed to be very restive and looked as if he wanted to speak. He was of large frame, about sixty years of age, and was apparently a man of considerable stamina and backbone. His white whiskers and neat dress gave him the look of a justice of the peace who had[Pg 85] dropped in to take a look at the assemblage from curiosity, and to see that the public morals and the constitution were properly taken care of.



While the Worthy Grand was making a series of remarks on the health of the Emperor Napoleon and the menacing attitude of Prussia towards France in a gentle, slipshod way, the stranger looked up at times from the four-penn'orth of gin which he ordered when he came in to give an incredulous, doubting smile to a few of the coterie who sat around him and were evident admirers of his. The Beefy One whispered to me—

"That ole gentlemun is the finest orator as ever was. I tell ye, sir, he can talk when he's agoing. There's no end to his beautiful sentiments, I do say it, although he's a Hirishman. Oh, 'e is a great horator is the Ole One."


After the review of the week's public events by the Worthy Grand, debate was in order on the topics reviewed by him. I[Pg 86] found that the debaters who jumped to their feet one after the other in a manner worthy of the most dignified legislative assemblage, were divided into two parties, liberals and conservatives. The Liberals were the most logical, strange to say; the Tories were most dogmatic and violent. The Liberals—one of them at least—wished to do away with all monarchies and established churches; while the Conservatives, principally belonging to the shopkeeping element, in the audience, were strenuously opposed to the eight-hour law and to the trades-unions. One liberal orator would liked to have seen, as he expressed it, all the kings, barons, prime ministers, and other like despots, placed in one old rotten hulk of a vessel, and then the vessel was to be scuttled on the Goodwin Sands. "And who," said the eloquent orator, "would not say that it would not be a benefit to the human race? Who would not exclaim with me," and here he looked around on his eager audience in a threatening manner, "the more of sich cattle in the rotten old hulk the better?" There was a general grunt of acquiescence from the advanced Liberals at this possibility and a deprecatory shake of the head from one Conservative with a great clay pipe.

Finally, the Irish orator got a chance, and then it was wonderful to see how, in a sarcastic tone, he humbugged his hearers for half an hour by allusions to the good time coming, when every man should have a vote, and every Irish tenant should give up the graceful and sportsmanlike habit of potting from behind the Tipperary hedges all landlords who were in the way of a freehold system. The orator waxed wroth and became pathetic at times as he reviewed the past glories of the Isle of Saints and her present degraded position among nations. Yet in that he was skilful enough, in speaking of the Fenians, to deprecate their acts mildly, but, at the same time, he told his English audience, in the most forcible tones, of the abuses and tyranny that had led to the organization of Fenianism.

"Oh, I say, O'Brien, you are a humbugging of hus with that here gammon habout '98, ye know."

"I give yes me word, me Worthy Grand and gentlemen,[Pg 87] that I do not advocate Fenianism at all, at all; but when yes dhrive min to madness by oppression, by acts of oppression such as the world has never seen, can yes blame the wu-r-rum if it turns on yes and bites."


No one could reply to this with the exception of the Scotch Presbyterian, who, again rising from his seat, denounced the Pope and Dr. Cumming as accomplices, and declared that at the first opportunity he would cheerfully encounter martyrdom to be able to "put sixteen bullets into the Pope's carcass," as he politely and charitably expressed himself. "I didn't care about your Ekumenikul Council," said he; "it will be the downfall of popishness and prelacy, and those who may go there are welcome; but as for me I would be burned to have him under my pistol."

"Oh, Mac, yer not so bad as yer purtend in yer talk. I'll engage, if his Holiness would give ye the chance, ye'd only be too glad to kiss his toe."

This raised a laugh at the Scotchman's expense, but he violently disclaimed for himself, as a true disciple of John Knox, any intention of submitting to such a degrading act of spiritual submission. The debate continued as the night waned, and at eleven o'clock, when I left the hall of discussion in Shoe lane, the subjects of vaccination, land laws, and coinage were yet to be touched upon by the speakers.

I have given but a glance at this place, which is the oldest established of its kind among a number of discussion halls and forums, whose sign-boards meet the stranger's eye in different parts of the city where most thickly populated. There is invariably a pot-house attached to these debating places, or rather the debating halls are attached to the pot-houses.

The better class of artisans and shopkeepers in a small way are principally the frequenters of the discussion halls. Mechanics with a gift of the gab, and who have five or six shillings a week to spend out of twenty-five or thirty, are to be found here in large numbers. The Most Worthy Grand and the Vice Grand are paid a fixed salary for their stated eloquence, and it is principally their duty to read all the cheap weeklies and dai[Pg 88]lies, not forgetting the Times, which is very often quoted by them as a sort of a clincher in the argument brought up. A place like this will take in five pounds of a night, and the wages paid to the bar-maids is about sixteen shillings a week. There were two here, and four waiters, who receive sixteen pounds a year and their "grub," as they call it. A small paper of rough-cut tobacco is furnished to each customer for a penny, and the consumption of this narcotic and Welsh Rabbits is encouraged, as they are quite certain to make the customers dry, and this dryness, as a matter of course, leads to the imbibition of plenteous beer and gin and water. These shops are licensed to sell spirits under the new Beer act, and they are compelled to shut off the debate at midnight. As a general thing the most advanced liberalism prevails in these places, and religious sentiments are below par with the audience. Very often it is possible to hear a well educated or scientific man debating in these halls, but, on closer survey, his accent will betray him to be some impoverished French or German physician, or reduced savan, who has no occupation in the hours of the evening, and can, therefore, afford to dispense wisdom to the thick-headed audience, gratis.

About a week after my visit to Cogers Hall I went, accompanied by Mr. Marsh, a member of the Daily Morning Telegraph's staff, and another gentleman connected with the editorial management of the Pall Mall Gazette, to take a look at another debating hall which is situated at No. 16 Fleet street. This place is quite famous in London for the virulence of its debates and the high flavor of its gin. Its Brown Stout is also above reproach.

As usual in all such places there is a public bar here, and this is located at the entrance, and is attended by the inevitable bar-maid, smiling and bedizined in all the glory of a two guinea silk dress, bought perhaps in Regent street or the Oxford Circus.


The room here was not so large a one as that at Cogers Hall in which the orators were in the habit of haranguing their auditors. There were a dozen small tables, around which chairs[Pg 89] were placed in a most picturesque confusion. Small white placards printed in blue ink were posted on the walls with the following announcement:












There was a venerable looking old fellow in the chair when we entered the Discussion Forum, who lifted a pair of gold rimmed spectacles from his nose to take a look at us. This was the chairman of the meeting, and shortly after we sat down he cried out to a tall person with a short grey raglan coat who was speaking and perspiring at the same time.

"Mister Chowley I will and cannot allow you, sir, to trample on the religious feelings of any man present in this harmonious meeting. We are all brothers here, sir, and the individual who disturbs our peace and quietness, should be to us all as the 'Eathen and the publican, sir." (Hear, hear.)

The tall man with the raglan, who did not like to be suppressed so easily, had taken his seat for a moment much against his will, but now he arose slowly and scornfully looking around him, spoke, with one hand leaning on a chair behind him, and another hand in his breast, as follows:

"Gentlemen, this his an age of science if it is an age of hanythink. Wot does my honorable and noble Roman Catholic friend wish to advance has an argument. Does he mean to[Pg 90] tell ME, with my heyes hopen in this here blessed Nineteenth Century, which we are all so proud of, and whose blessed light is the moving cause of so much mental brilliancy—does he mean to tell me for a moment that the miracle of the transposition of water into wine at the wedding of Cana wos han hactual fact. Why gents it his altogether impossible—and no reasonable man in this Nineteenth century can for a moment believe it possible. Wot would Galileo, Kepler, Faraday or sich bright lights of the Nineteenth century say to sich stories? Why gents, there is a chemical change which would have to take place before such a translation, and this chemical transformation could not take place without the assistance of other substances. (Hear, hear.) And gents, as far as the infallibility of the Pope is concerned, why I have only to say in the words of the poet, hand I mention no names, that a piece of fat pork might stick in his gullet as soon as it would stick in mine, and that's all I think of infallibility and fat pork, with the blessed light of the nineteenth century before me." (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Chowley here sat down, thoroughly satisfied with himself and auditory, who applauded him to the echo. Then a member of the Roman Catholic persuasion answered him in a long and splendid oration, which seemed to thoroughly convince every one present that the Catholic side was right, and the Protestant one a most diabolical doctrine. After each man had done his little speech, it was curious, nay amusing, to hear the adherents of either party comment upon the previous argument.

"Oh! I say," said a Presbyterian, "didn't he smash the old Pope neither."

"And wot a blessing he gave His Grace, Archbishop Manning, though?"

"Well," said an ardent Irishman, "I niver heard such a lambeastin as the heretics got to night."

"You might well say that, Pether, and didn't he scald Martin Luther with the holy wather, though," said an honest looking, hard working fellow who sat smoking a pipe.

[Pg 91]


One thing struck me in all this wilderness of argument and polemic discussion. While the two principals nearly argued their jaws off in the heat of discussion, they failed miserably to convert any of the opposite party, who sat the debate out with a heroic stupidity, understanding with much difficulty about one-third of what was said, and perhaps caring very little for the matter in hand, but sticking to their prejudices to the last, with a partisan fidelity not to be convinced by all the harangues that will take place from that night until the Day of Judgment.

And yet I could not enter a place of this kind in all London, from Temple Bar to Hammersmith, without hearing this same everlasting religious warfare of controversy.

And to add to the joke, hardly one of five of these persons who attend such discussions, were ever in a church of either the Catholic or Protestant persuasion.

Such is life—part farce, part tragedy.


[Pg 92]



W E cannot conceive of any greater contrast than that which exists between the wretchedness and squalor of the lodging houses, and the splendor and refined elegance, combined with comfort of the Club houses of London, which are chiefly situated in Pall Mall, St. James street, and the neighborhood of lower Regent street.

Club life has attained its greatest perfection in London. No city upon the Continent can compare with it for the number of its club houses, the splendor of their architecture, their luxurious furniture, and the standing in society of their members.


There are, I believe, upward of fifty clubs in London, in which all the professions, and all the stations of life find representation, with a roll of perhaps 45,000 members. The following are the principal clubs with the cost of ground and construction: Army and Navy Club, George's street, St. James' square, 1,450 members, £100,000; the Conservative Club, St. James' street, 1,500 members, £81,000; Garrick Club, King street, Convent Garden, 500 members, £25,000; Junior United Service Club, corner of Charles and Regent streets, 1,500 members, £75,000; Oxford and Cambridge Club, Pall Mall, 1,200 members, £100,000; Reform Club, 1,400 members, £120,000; University Club, Pall Mall East, 500 members, £20,000; Wyndham Club, St. James' square, 600 members, £30,000; Westminster Club, Albemarle street, 560 members, £15,000; Athenĉum, Pall Mall, 1,200 members, £60,000;[Pg 93] Carlton, Pall Mall, 800 members, £100,000; Guards Club, Pall Mall, 500 members, £40,000; Oriental, Hanover square, 800 members, £30,000; Traveler's, Pall Mall, 700 members, £30,000; Union, Cockspur street, 1,000 members, £25,000; United Service Club, Pall Mall, 1,500 members, £70,000; White's Club, St. James' street, 550 members, £20,000; Boodles, St. James' street, 500 members, £15,000; Cavendish Club, 307 Regent street, 500 members, £15,000; and Civil Service Club, 86 St. James' street, 1,000 members, £45,000.

Besides the before-mentioned clubs there are the following, which rank nearly but not quite as high among Club men:

Albert Club, 15 George street, Hanover square, 500 £10,000
Alpine Club, Trafalgar square, 600 18,000
Arlington Club, 4 Arlington street, 400 16,000
Arts Club, 17 Hanover square, 500 16,000
Arundel Club, 12 Salisbury street, Strand, 600 52,000
City of London Club, 19 old Broad street, (merchants,) 1,000 50,000
Gresham Club, City, (bankers, &c.,) 1,000 60,000
Junior Athenĉum Club, 29 King street, St. James, 800 30,000
Junior Carlton Club, 14 Regent street, 800 40,000
New Carlton Club, Albemarle street, 800 25,000
New University Club, 57 St. James' street, 600 29,000
Portland Club, Stratford Place, Oxford street, 400 18,000
Smithfield Club, Half-Moon street, Piccadilly, 300 12,000
St. James' Club, 54 St. James' street, 500 23,000
Whitehall Club, Parliament street, 500 9,000
Whittington Club, 37 Arundel street, 1,600 40,000
Clarendon Club, 86 St. James' street, 900 36,000
Junior Reform Club, Albemarle street, 800 40,000
Brooks' Club, 60 St. James' street, 575 20,000
Arthur's Club,69 St. James' Strett, 600 18,000
Law Society, Chancery Lane, 1,000 68,000
National, Whitehall-Gardens, 400 17,000
Prince's Racket and Tennis Club, Hans Place, Chelsea, 300 11,000
United University, corner Suffolk street and Pall Mall, 500 33,000
Beefsteak Society, Lyceum Theatre, 250 5,000
Club Chambers, Regent street, 400 31,000
     "      "      St. James' square, 300 17,000
Ambassador's, 106 Piccadilly, 200 16,000
Erectheum, St. James's square, 300 20,000

[Pg 94]

In these several clubs each member is elected by ballot, and pays an entrance on admission, and afterward an annual subscription, which varies like entrance fees in different clubs.

Thus, in the Athenĉum, the entrance fee is £26.5s., annual subscription, £6.6s. Arthur's, entrance £21, subscription, £10 10s. Brooks, entrance, £9 9s., subscription, £11 11s. Carlton, entrance, £15 15s., annual subscription, £10 10s. Conservative Club, £28 7s., subscription, £8 8s. Garrick Club, entrance, £21, subscription, £6 6s. Junior United Service, entrance, £30, subscription £6. Oxford and Cambridge Club, entrance, £21 5s., subscription, £6 6s. Reform Club, entrance, £21 5s., subscription, £10 10s. Travelers' Club, entrance, £31 10s. Union, entrance, £38 10s., subscription, £6 6s. United Service Club, entrance, £36, subscription, £6. Whittington, entrance, £10 10s., subscription, ladies £1, gentlemen, £2 2s. Wyndham, entrance, £27 6s., subscription, £8.

When clubs were first started they were regarded with much hostility as being most antagonistic to domestic life, and the ladies displayed an intense spirit against them. The clubs, however, survived and flourished under their enmity, and it was found that they discouraged coarse drunkenness, the prevalent vice of Englishmen; encouraged social intercourse—of which ladies partook of elsewhere; refined the manners of the members, constituted courts of honor, and tended most materially to the manufacture of gentlemen.

The London clubs are private hotels on a vast and magnificent scale. They have billiard rooms, coffee rooms, nine-pin rooms, splendid libraries, saloons, and furniture, and plate of the costliest and rarest description.


All the refreshment which a member has, whether breakfast, dinner, supper, or wine, are furnished to him at the market cost price, all other expenses being defrayed from the annual subscriptions. For a few pounds a year, advantages are to be had, which no incomes but the most ample could procure. The Athenĉum, which consists of twelve hundred members, can be taken as a good example of the rest. Among the[Pg 95] members can be reckoned a large proportion of the most eminent persons in England—civil, military, and ecclesiastical, peers, spiritual and temporal, commoners, men of the learned professions, those connected with the sciences and arts, and commerce, as well as the distinguished who do not belong to any particular class, and who have nothing to do but live on their means, bore their tailors, and admire their family genealogy, and their own figures. These men are to be met with day after day at the clubs, living with more freedom and nonchalance than they could at their own houses. For six or eight guineas a year every member has the command of an excellent library, with maps, the daily London papers, English and foreign periodicals, and every material for writing, with a flock of gorgeous flunkies, in powder and epaulettes, to attend at the nod of a member, and a host of youthful pages in buttons and broadcloths. The club is a sort of a palace with the comfort of a private dwelling, and every member is a master without having the trouble of a master. He can have whatever meat or refreshment he desires served up at all hours, with luxury and dispatch. There is a fixed place for everything, and it is not customary to remain long at table. You can dine alone, or you can invite a dozen persons to dine with you, females being excluded. From an account kept at the Athenĉum for one year, it appears that 17,323 dinners cost on an average 2s. 9¾d. each, and the average quantity of wine drank by each person at these dinners was a small fraction more than a pint for each. The bath accommodations are the finest that can be imagined.

The kitchen of the London clubs cannot be equaled in the world, and the chief cooks who have charge of the kitchens, have each an European fame. Alexis Soyer, the greatest cook since Ude or Vatel, had, for a long time, the charge of the kitchen of the Reform Club, and the kitchen of this club, of which John Bright, and all the leaders of the English liberals are members, is the finest in London.

A description of this kitchen will in a measure answer for[Pg 96] that of any other London club, and I will give it here for the information of those who are curious in such matters.

The kitchen, properly so called, is an apartment of moderate size, surrounded on all four sides by smaller rooms, which form the pastry, the poultry, the butchery, the scullery, and other subordinate offices. There are doorways but no doors, between the different rooms, all of which are formed in such a manner that the chief cook, from one particular spot, can command a view of the whole. In the centre of the kitchen is a table and a hot closet, where various knicknacks are prepared and kept to a desired heat, the closet being brought to any required temperature by admitting steam beneath it. Around the hot closet is a bench or table, fitted with drawers and other conveniences for culinary operations. A passage going around the four sides of this table separates it from the various cooking apparatus, which involve all that modern ingenuity has brought to bear on the cuisine.

In the first place there are two enormous fireplaces for roasting, each of which would, in sober truth, roast a whole sheep. The screens placed before these fires are so arranged as to reflect back almost the entire heat which falls upon them, and effectually shields the kitchen from the intense heat which would be otherwise thrown out. Then again, these screens are so provided with shelves and recesses as to bring into profitable use the radiant heat which would be otherwise wasted.


Along two sides of the room are ranges of charcoal fires for broiling and stewing, and other apparatus for other varieties of cooking. These are at a height of about three feet from the ground. The broiling fires are a kind of open pot or pan, throwing upward a fierce but blazeless heat; behind them is a framework by which gridirons may be fixed at any height above the fire, according to the intensity of the heat. Other fires open only at the top, are adapted for various kinds of pans and vessels; and in some cases a polished tin-reflector is so placed as to reflect back to the viands the heat. Under and behind and over and around, are pipes, tanks, and cisterns, in[Pg 97] abundance, containing water to be heated, or to be used more directly in the processes of cooking.

A boiler adjacent to the kitchen is expressly appropriated to the supply of steam for "steaming," for heating the hot closets, the hot iron plates and other apparatus. In another small room the meat is kept, chopped, cut, and otherwise prepared for the kitchen. There are also in the pastry room all the necessary appliances for preparing the lightest and most luscious triumphs of the art. In another room there are drawers in the bottoms of which blocks of ice are laid, and above these are placed articles of undressed food, which must necessarily be kept cool.

There is a cheerful air, an air of magnificence about these superb kitchens, which would charm a good housewife. Here all the genius that can be brought to bear upon cookery is concentrated, and the head cook would not deign to notice any person of less rank than a baronet, while in superintendence. Although there are twelve hundred members or over, yet he is not responsible to any individual one, and the only authority in the club to which he has to bow is the eight or ten members of the House Committee, whose decrees even to this great being are arbitrary.

The pots and pans are of an exceeding brightness, and the entire system is perfect. In one corner of the kitchen is a little stall or counting-house, at a desk in which sits the "Clerk of the Kitchen." Every day the chief cook provides, besides ordinary provisions which are certain to be required, a selected list which he inserts in his bill of fare—a list which is left to his judgment and skill.

Say three or four gentlemen, members of the club, determine to dine there at a given hour, they select from the bill of fare, or make a separate "order" if preferred, or leave the dinner altogether to the intellect of the chef, who is sure to be flattered by this dependence on his judgment. A little slip of paper on which is written the names of the dishes and the hour of dining, is hung on a hook in the kitchen on a black board, where there are a number of hooks devoted to different hours of the day or evening. The cooks proceed with their[Pg 98] avocations, and by the time the dinner is ready the clerk of the kitchen has calculated and entered the exact value of every article composing it, which entry is made out in the form of a bill—the cost price being that by which the charge is regulated—nothing is ever charged for the cooking. Immediately at the elbow of the clerk are bells and speaking tubes, by which he can communicate with the servants in the other parts of the building.

Meanwhile a steam engine is "serving up" the dinner. In one corner of the kitchen is a recess, on opening a door in which we see a small platform, square-shaped, calculated to hold an ordinary sized tray. This platform is connected with the shaft of a steam engine by bands and wheels, so as to be elevated through a kind of vertical trunk leading to the upper part of the building; and here are the white-aproned servants or waiters ready to take out the hot and luscious smelling viands from the platform, to the member or members of the club who are anxiously awaiting dinner.

Architecturally speaking the club houses are the finest buildings in London, and in the west end of the town, and in the vicinity of the parks they do much to beautify the city; these massive, richly decorated, and pillared palaces of exclusiveness.

The "Heavy Swell" Club of all London is the "Guards" in Pall Mall. There are three or four regiments of the Queen's Household Brigade stationed always in London to guard the sacred person of the Queen, and it is from the officers of these crack regiments that the members of the club are balloted for. These fellows are supposed to bathe in champagne, and dine off rose water; they are afraid to carry an umbrella thicker than a walking stick, they hate "low people," and devote their existence to killing time, yet are withal sensitive, honorable in many things, (except paying their grocers, wine and haberdashing bills,) and will fight as becomes the descendants of the men who dyed the sands at Hastings with their blood, to bequeath a rich and fruitful kingdom to those who now inherit it.


The Conservative Club is frequented by those athletic and[Pg 99] slow going squires and gentlemen who are always ready to applaud Mr. Disraeli in the House of Commons, and are willing to serve as special constables on days when the English democracy become restive and open their eyes to the fact of their being plundered and robbed every day of their lives. It was from the Conservative Club that Mr. Granville Murray was expelled by the secret influence of the moral Prince of Wales, simply because following his duty as a journalist he had told the hereditary regulators of England that they were out of place in the nineteenth century.



The Garrick Club is, as its name indicates, made up of artists, dramatists, actors, newspaper writers, and authors. It numbers among its members Charles Reade, Tom Taylor, Charles Dickens, Bulwer, Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trollope, Andrew Halliday, George Augustus Sala, Mr. Delane of the Times, H. Sutherland Edwards, William Howard Russell, Edward Dicey, Thornton Hunt, Editor of the Telegraph, John Ruskin, and I believe Thomas Carlyle's name was proposed as an honorary member; Charles Kean, Thackeray, Charles Matthews, Sr., who founded the club, W.H. Ainsworth, the novelist, the Blanchards, the Mayhews, Samuel Lover, Charles Lever, John Oxenford, Louis Blanc, Walter Thornbury, Lascelles Wraxall, Edmund Yates, John Hollingshead, formerly critic of the Daily News, James Greenwood, Frederick Greenwood, Brough, Dudley Costello, Lord William Lennox, Thomas Miller, Cyrus Redding, and other well known literary men belong to or have at some period or another been members of this club. American authors, artists, and actors, are always welcomed here, and among the habitues of the Garrick may be found Lester Wallack, H.E. Bateman, and others. The[Pg 100] Garrick is noted for its famous gin punch which is a specialty here, and for which the following ingredients are necessary to composition; pour half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon, then a little lemon juice, a glass of maraschino, a pint and a quarter of water, and two bottles of iced soda water. This is a most fragrant punch and not very intoxicating. The collection of pictures at the Garrick is very fine, and embraces nearly all the people, both male and female, who have made themselves famous in English histrionic art, among whom may be noticed Elliston, Macklin, Peg Woffington, Nell Gwynne, Colley Cibber, Mrs. Bracegirdle, Garrick as Richard III, John Phillip and Charles Kemble, Charles Mathews, Mrs. Siddons, Macready, Miss Inchbald, Edmund Kean, Kitty Clive, Mrs. Billington, and various others. Some of these portraits have been painted by the first of English artists. This gallery is only rivalled by that in Evan's Supper House in Convent Garden, where there is a fine and similar collection.

The Reform Club has among its members John Bright, W. E. Gladstone, Lord Hatherley, the present Lord Chancellor of England, the Duke of Argyll, W.E. Forster, Lord Dufferin, and other well known liberal nobles. About a year ago John Bright and W.E. Forster, his able aide-camp, resigned from the membership of the Reform Club, owing to the fact that a correspondent of an American journal, proposed by them, had had been black-balled in the Reform Club. This correspondent was Geo. W. Smalley of the New York Tribune. I believe that the club reconsidered their decision and admitted Mr. Smalley, and Mr. Bright and Mr. Forster are now members of the club. Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, editor of the Athenĉum, is a member of the Reform Club.


The Carlton Club ranks high among the Tory or anti-liberal clubs of London, has a very rich proprietary and a magnificent edifice in Pall Mall. The Right Hon. Spencer Horatio Walpole, one of the members for Cambridge University, and Alexander Beresford Hope, one of the proprietors of the Saturday Review, who was a member of Parliament during the American Civil War, and a bitter foe of the North, are both mem[Pg 101]bers of the Carlton Club, as is also Lord John Manners, a prominent Conservative noble, and fifth son of the Duke of Rutland. John Laird, M.P. for Liverpool, the builder of the Alabama, is also a member of the Carlton Club.

Lord Cole, a son of the Earl of Enskillen, and a chief accomplice with the Prince of Wales in the Lady Mordaunt scandal, is a member of the Carlton.



Gregory, the member for Galway, also a sympathizer with the Slaveholder's Rebellion, belongs to the Carlton. To be brief, this Carlton Club, essentially aristocratic and inimical to democracy all over the world, contributed more individual moneyed and social influence and support to Jeff. Davis than all the London Clubs put together.

I might state here that Bass, the great East India Pale Ale man, is a member of the Reform Club, while Sir Arthur Guiness, the Dublin Brown Stout man, Bass's great rival, is a member of the National Club, which is pseudo liberal. Jonathan Pim, the rich Irish Quaker, a member for Dublin City like Guiness, does not belong to any London club and keeps away from the flesh pots of Egypt. John Francis Maguire, M.P. for Cork, is a member of the Stafford Club, which numbers some of the Catholic families in its roll of membership. Sir Patrick O'Brien, an amusing Irishman who frequents the Cremorne a good deal, belongs to the Reform Club. The present Earl of Derby, late Lord Stanley, who was expected to lead the liberals in the House of Lords, but does not give much promise of doing so while he is an active member of the Carlton Club.

The Right Hon. George Goschen, a Jewish merchant, who is President of the Poor Law Board, yet quite a young man and promising, has his name inscribed on the lists of the Reform[Pg 102] and Athenĉum Clubs, and Robert Lowe, the witty, sarcastic, and clear-headed Chancellor of Exchequer, are lights in the Reform Club. Edward Sullivan, the Irish Attorney General, may be seen at the Reform, and George Henry Moore, a countryman of his, and an apologist for the Fenians, is a habitue of Brook's Club in St. James street. Sir John Evelyn Dennison, the Speaker of the House of Commons, while in town during the session, when dinner time comes, always doffs his gown and wig and toddles around to the Reform Club for a chop or steak, and a glass of wine. Vernon Harcourt, who signs himself in the Times "Historicus," represents Oxford Borough in the House of Commons, and is a member of the Oxford and Cambridge University Club. A good story is told of "Historicus." Three heavy swells of the Guards were dining at the Star and Garter at Richmond, and all three made a wager that they each could boast of the biggest bore in London as an acquaintance. The discussion wore high, and they agreed to test it by bringing each his bore to dine on a set day, and at a set hour, at the "Star and Garter." When the day came two close carriages were drawn up to the "Star and Garter," and out of each leaped one of the gentlemen who had made the wager. They were both disappointed in their bores, and came without them as they had previous engagements. A third carriage drove up, and out of it leaped the third Swell who had made the wager, with a tall gentleman in a cloak. As soon as the stranger uncovered and presented the smiling countenance of "Historicus," the two swells cried out in astonishment,

"By J-a-a-v ye knaw, that's not f-eh-ah—he's got our bo-a-h!"



[Pg 103]

Whalley, the religious madman, belongs to the Reform Club, and so does the Right Hon. Hugh Childers, First Lord of the Admiralty.

Kinglake, the historian, who bribed his way into the House of Commons, and afterwards testified to it without shame, is a member of Brooks, the Travelers, the Athenĉum, and the Oxford and Cambridge Clubs.

Sir Robert Peel, the member for Farnsworth, is to be found at Brook's and Boodle's. Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, formerly ambassador at Washington, at the Reform Club. Layard, the Nineveh discoverer and now English ambassador at Madrid, belongs to the Athenĉum Club. The O'Donoughue at the Stafford and Reform Clubs, while young Mr. Gladstone, son to the Premier, modestly drinks his wine at the New University Club. Lord Carrington, a boon companion of the Prince of Wales, is a member of the Guards Club, and Sir Francis Crossley, the great Yorkshire manufacturer, may be seen nightly during the session passing his hours in the Reform and Brook's Clubs.

Queer and strange reminiscences cling to the London Clubs like barnacles to a packet ship. At the Alfred Club, George Canning, one of the greatest men ever known in England, used to take a steak and onions alongside of Lord Byron, who was always partial to Madeira negus.

Louis Napoleon, in his cheerless and hard up days, ate his eighteenpenny dinner at the Army and Navy Club in silence, while aristocratic Englishmen sat around chaffing and joking and taking no part in the sorrows of the exiled nephew of his Uncle. Since then dynasties have changed, and now a magnificent piece of Gobelin tapestry work, the "Sacrifice of Diana," worthy to be the gift of a sovereign, hangs in the club house of which he was once a member. The Emperor presented it to the Club.

The stock of wine in the cellars of the Athenĉum is worth about $30,000, and is never allowed to run down or deteriorate, and its yearly revenue amounts to about $50,000.


The Beefsteak Club is a coterie of choice spirits who meet over the Lyceum Theatre to eat beefsteaks and drink tobys[Pg 104] of ale, each member bringing his own beefsteak and furnishing his own jokes. Several noblemen belong to it, and the President wears as his emblem of office, a golden gridiron. Peg Woffington was at one time a member of this club.



The Duke of Wellington was in the habit of dining at the United Service Club, in Pall Mall, off the roast joint of beef or mutton, and one day he was charged 1s. 3d. for his plate of meat instead of 1s., the proper charge. He declared he would not pay the extra three-pence, and denounced the swindle until the three-pence was deducted, when the old soldier became satisfied and said that he would have paid the extra charge, but that he did not wish to establish an unjust precedent whereby others might suffer.

Just one hundred years ago a man dropped down at the door of White's Club, which is still flourishing in St. James' St., and the crowd of loungers in the bow windows immediately began to lay wagers whether the man was dead or not. A charitable person suggested that he be bled, but those who had wagered refused to allow it, saying that it would affect the fairness of the bet. In 1814, a banquet was given to the allied sovereigns at White's, which cost over $50,000 of American money, and the next year after a banquet was given to the Duke of Wellington which cost £2,480 10s. 9d. George IV, and Chesterfield, the master of politeness, were members of White's Club.

During the hard winter of 1844, the aristocratic clubs of London contributed to the starving poor of the metropolis, 3,104 pounds of broken bread, 4,556 pounds of broken meat, 1,147 pints of tea-leaves, and 1,158 pints of coffee-grounds. Otherwise these leavings might have been given to swine to fatten them.

[Pg 105]


Gambling was carried on to a very high pitch at one time in the London clubs, but many have mended within twenty years. Crockford's Club House, No. 50 St. James' street, was known all over the world, and kings, princes, ambassadors, and statesmen, were inscribed upon its rolls as members. It no longer exists, however.

Crockford started in life as a fishmonger, in the old bulk-shop next door to Temple Bar Without, which he quitted for "play" in St. James'. He began by taking Watier's old club-house, where he set up a hazard-bank, and won a great deal of money; he then separated from his partner, who had a bad year, and failed. Crockford now removed to St. James' street, had a good year, and built the magnificent club house which bore his name; the decorations alone are said to have cost him £94,000. The election of the club members was vested in a committee; the house appointments were superb, and Ude was engaged as maître d'hôtel. "Crockford's" now became the high fashion. Card-tables were regularly placed, and whist was played occasionally; but the aim, end, and final cause of the whole was the hazard-bank, at which the proprietor took his nightly stand, prepared for all comers. His speculation was eminently successful. During several years, everything that anybody had to lose and cared to risk was swallowed up; and Crockford became a millionaire. He retired in 1840, "much as an Indian chief retires from a hunting-country when there is not game enough left for his tribe;" and the Club then tottered to its fall. After Crockford's death, the lease of the club-house (thirty-two years, rent £1,400) was sold for £2,900.

The Whittington Club is the only democratic club in London. It was started twenty-four years ago by Douglas Jerrold, who became its first president. It combines a literary society, with a club house, upon an economical scale, and contains dining and coffee rooms, library and reading rooms, smoking and chess rooms, and a large hall for balls, concerts, and soirees. Lectures are given here, and classes are held for the higher branches of education, fencing, dancing, etc. Ladies have all[Pg 106] the privileges of gentlemen or members in the restaurant, and in balloting, while their dues and subscriptions is half that of the male members. This is the largest club in London, and combines all classes, having a roll of 1,700 members, all of whom are to be considered active. The Whittington Club is the only one in London where a person may be proposed without having a crest, or without belonging to a "good family," which means to loaf or idle a life away, and live upon the bread which is furnished by the blood and sweat of what these dandy Club men call the "lowah closses."


[Pg 107]



T HIS is the Pantheon of England's Greatest Dead. As I stand here under the groined roof of this vast and glorious Nave, with the sunbeams streaming in through rose windows, and falling softly on sculptured figures and tombs of Kings and Queens long mouldering in the dust, their bodies recumbent in monumental brass, their hands clasped as in prayer, with heroes, and poets, and statesmen, law-givers, and royal murderers, lying silently around me on either hand, and under my feet beneath the worn and antique stones which form the pavement, I realize that I am in the Valhalla of the Anglo-Norman Race, a race that has been prolific of strong wills, great minds, and heroic deeds.

This is the most sacred spot in all Great Britain, this spot enclosed by the four walls of Westminster Abbey. It does not seem an edifice raised by human hands, rather would it appear, as I look to the roof, supported by most marvelous pillars, resembling an interlaced avenue of royal forest trees, that it had been constructed by beings of another world.

It was a grand faith that inspired Westminster Abbey, a faith that believed in sacrificing all earthly aspirations for the honor and glory of God.

Thus musing I am interrupted by a tap on the shoulder, as I stand leaning against a pillar in the gloom of the vast pile.

"Would you like to see the Habbey, sir?—its sixpence to see the Chapels—there's nine on 'em: the Hambulatory, the[Pg 108] Nave, Transept, Choir, Chapels, and Cloisters, are free—beautiful sights—only sixpence, sir."

I turned, and saw a man in a black fustian gown, bareheaded, with a tall thin stick in his right hand; he was old, and seemed to need its frail support. This was a prebendary's "Verger," a sort of a porter or Abbey guide, whose main object was to collect as many sixpences as possible, but ostensibly he was a cicerone of the monuments and architectural beauties of the Cathedral Church of St. Peter's, Westminster.

Numbers of visitors were straying in and out of the Abbey, looking at the monuments, criticising the works of art, the mural tablets, or gossiping over the ashes of dead Kings, as if they were in a concert room, while here and there might be seen some scholar or learned man delving for facts, and poring over the musty Latin of the crumbling tombs.

In Westminster Abbey rival statesmen rest in peace, the tongue of the orator is mute, side by side rest the Crowned head and the Chancellor with his great seal, the Archbishop and the Play-actor, the philanthropist and the seaman, who died by his guns on the deck of the vessel of war, the divine and the physician, the Princess and the Soubrette, all mingle common dust together.

In Westminster Abbey, the powerful, spiritual, Roman Catholic prelate has celebrated High Mass with more than Eastern magnificence, the Introit has issued forth from his lips, and the acolytes have answered his "Dominus Vobiscum" with their "Amen;" and here the stern Puritan has knelt in his less formal prayer.

Here the dread sentence of excommunication has been launched forth in all its terrors from the lips of Papal legates, enthroned, and in Abbot John Estney's room Caxton printed the first English Bible.

Here the magnificence and pomps of the coronation of a King have been followed by the solemn and beautiful burial service for the dead, and the pealing organ, and the swelling choir, reverberating through the lofty grey-grown aisles, have chained men's minds to the power of Almighty God.

[Pg 109]


Westminster Abbey is the finest and noblest specimen of Gothic architecture in all England.



Its dimensions are:

Exterior.— Length from east to west, including walls, but exclusive of Henry VII's Chapel, 416
Height of the West Tower to top of pinnacles, 225
Interior.— Length within the walls to the piers of Henry VII's Chapel, 383
Breadth at the Transept, 203
Nave.— Length, 166
Breadth, 38
Height, 102
Breadth of each Aisle, 17
Extreme breadth of nave and its aisles, 72
Choir.— Length, 156
Breadth, 31
Height, 102
Exterior.— Length from east to west, including the walls, 115
Breadth, including the walls, 80
Height of the Octagonal Towers, 71
Height to the apex of the roof, 86
Height to the top of Western Turrets, 102
Nave.— Length, 104
Breadth, 36
Height, 61
Breadth of each Aisle, 17

In a fine vault, under Henry VII's Chapel, is the burying-place of the Royal family, erected by George II, but not now used.

The cost of Henry VII's Chapel was originally about £200,000 of the present money, but since then £50,000 in addition have been expended in repairs. The roof is the most beautiful piece of work of its kind in the world, and is not excelled by any Saracenic or Moorish ornamentation known.

No living being has ever computed the cost of the Abbey itself, but the sum, altogether, since the foundations were built, must be very great.

The "Lord Abbot of Westminster" was one of the most powerful barons in England, and sat in Parliament as a great spiritual peer.

The Abbey Church, formerly arose a magnificent apex to a Royal palace, surrounded on all sides by its greater and lesser sanctuaries, (where no criminal could be arrested,) and its almonries, where a profusion of food was daily delivered to the poor, and raiment to the naked. It had its bell-towers, the principal one being 72 feet 6 inches square, with walls 20 feet thick; chapel, gate towers, boundary walls, and a train of other buildings, of which we can at the present day scarcely form an idea.


In addition to all the land around it, extending from the Thames to Oxford Street, and from Vauxhall bridge to the Church of St. Mary-le-Strand, in a demesne of three square miles, on what is now the most valuable part of London, the[Pg 111] Abbey of St. Peter's, Westminster, possessed besides, ninety-seven towns and villages, seventeen hamlets, and two hundred and sixteen manors. Its officers fed hundreds of persons daily, and one of its priests, who was not an Abbot, entertained at his Pavillion at Tothill, a King and Queen of England, with so large a retinue that seven hundred dishes did not suffice for the first table, and the Abbey butler, in the reign of Edward III, rebuilt, at his own expense, the stately gate-house which gave entrance to Tothill Street, and a portion of the wall remains to this day.

During the long ages, while men of noble Norman birth monopolized nearly every office of emolument and trust in the kingdom, nearly all the Lord Abbots of Westminster were of Norman birth or extraction. To be chosen Lord Abbot of Westminster, it was necessary for the Monks, headed by the prior, to select the Abbot "per Viam Compromissi," that is, the Monks met in a body and selected a chosen few, who, in their turn, selected the Lord Abbot. Then there was the method "per Viam Spiritus Sancti," which means by the special influence of the Holy Ghost, or all the Monks of the Abbey concurring unanimously in the election. After that the assent of the King had to be got, and the assent of the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, and even then all was not secure, for the newly elected Abbot was often forced to make the long and tedious journey to Rome and get the investiture of the Abbey from the Pontiff, in person, and sometimes this cost money, and trouble, that a person would hardly credit in these days. Abbot Richard de Kedyington, who had been prior of Sudbury, a cell subject to Westminster Abbey, on his election made the journey to Avignon, where the Pope was, for confirmation, and was three years there before he obtained investiture, and then it cost him eight thousand florins,—a large sum of money in those days—to obtain it. In 1321, when 5,500 florins had been paid, Pope John XXII remitted the remaining 2,500 florins of the debt.

Abbot Richard de Crokesley, together with a number of other nobles, and Poitevins, who had incurred the enmity of a powerful party who were opposed to court favoritism, were poisoned[Pg 112] by the steward of William, Earl of Clare, and Crokesley died July 1258, of the effects of the poison.

Phillip de Lewisham, who was elected to succeed Crokesley, was so gross and fat that he procured a dispensation, so that he would not have to go to Rome to be confirmed. An able deputation of monks went in his place, and when they returned with the Pope's confirmation, after having to pay 800 marks to certain Cardinals, who opposed it, they found that Abbot de Lewisham had died during their absence.

Gislebertus Crispinus, a monk, of the abbey of Bec, in Normandy, and belonging to one of the noblest families in that duchy, was chosen abbot in 1082. He was a very learned man, and held a great disputation at Mentz, in Germany, with a deeply versed Jew, on the "Faith of the Church against the Jews."

Gervase de Blois, an illegitimate son of King Stephen, was made abbot in 1141. This man was not fit to be a priest, being insolent, arbitrary, and unjust, and, instead of attending to his duties as head of the abbey, he was often in armor, depredating, or hunting, or hawking. He dissipated the manors, livings, tithes, vestments, and ornaments of the abbey, and was finally admonished to behave himself by Pope Innocent, but the abbot disregarded the admonition of the Pope and was then deposed by King Henry II, in 1159. He died in a year after.

The Lord Abbot Laurentius, his successor, was a wise, just, and prudent man, much trusted by King Henry II, and the Empress Maud. It was Abbot Laurentius who first obtained for himself and successors the privilege of wearing the mitre, ring, and gloves, until then the symbols of Episcopacy, and only allowed to the Bishops by the Pope. The wearing of these symbols gave the mitred abbots of Westminster, and other abbeys, the right to sit as peers in parliament, the same as bishops to whom the right belonged exclusively, before Abbot Laurentius obtained the grant.


Simon Langham was one of the greatest abbots that ever wore the mitre in the abbey. He was made Lord Chancellor of England, and Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop of Ely, and[Pg 113] Lord Treasurer of the Kingdom by Edward III. It was this prelate who deprived John Wickliffe of the mastership of Canterbury Hall, Oxford, which was the first cause of Wickliffe's investigating the scriptures.

On the 16th of January, 1540, the Abbey of Westminster, which had been established for more than nine hundred years, having been founded by King Sebert, a Saxon monarch, and his wife Ethelgoda, in honor of St. Peter who was said to have appeared to the King in a dream, was dissolved by order of Henry VIII, and the abbey was surrendered to the King by Abbot Benson and twenty-four monks. The annual revenue, which included the gross receipts, amounted to £3,977, equal to twenty times the same amount of English money of to-day.

Westminster was made a bishopric, the abbey was advanced to the dignity of a Cathedral, with an establishment of a bishop, (Thomas Thirleby, dean of the King's Chapel,) a dean, twelve prebendaries, and inferior officers. Abbot Benson, who was always on the winning side, was made dean of the Abbey, five of the monks were chosen prebendaries, four other monks were made minor canons, and four more were elected to be King's students in the University. The other twelve monks who did not approve of the change were dismissed, with pensions of from ten pounds a year to five marks. A revenue of £586 a year, and the Abbot's house was allotted to the Bishop. Dean Benson died in an unhappy state from the repeated attempts made by the rapacious nobles and courtiers to deprive him of the lands of his deanery. He was buried in the abbey, but the inscription on his tomb was obliterated. The bishopric of Westminster lasted only ten years, and was then suppressed and reunited to that of London, to which it has since belonged. Numerous attempts were made by the partisans of the See of London to rob and deprive the abbey of its lands and revenues, and hence arose the saying of "robbing Peter to pay Paul," which is explained by the fact that the patron saint of the See of London was St. Paul, while St. Peter was the guardian of the Abbey of Westminster.

[Pg 114]

In 1556, Queen Mary being on the throne, the Church of Westminster again became an abbey by order of the Queen, and John Feckenham was made abbot of Westminster. He was held in general esteem for his learning, charity, and piety, and he was continually engaged in doing good offices for the Protestants who suffered by the laws of the realm for their faith. Three years after, Mary having died, the monastery was again suppressed by order of Queen Elizabeth, and the abbot and monks were again turned out of the abbey. In 1560 the abbey, by enactment, was made a collegiate church, which it remains to this day, and was endowed with the lands which had belonged to the abbot and monastery. Since that time Westminster Abbey has been governed by a dean and chapter, and has had thirty-three deans in regular succession of the Protestant faith.

The Abbey has the following large clerical staff for its government:

One Dean, eight Prebendaries, one of whom is a Lord, and another a Bishop; a sub-Dean, an Archdeacon, a Precentor, five minor Canons, eleven Lay Clerks, two Sacrists, a Dean's Verger, a Prebendary's Verger, a High Steward, who is a Duke, a Deputy High Steward, a Coroner, a High Bailiff, Searcher and Bailiff of the Sanctuary, a High Constable, a Head Master of Westminster School, Second Master, forty Queen's Scholars on the Foundation, a Steward of the Manorial Court, two Joint Receiver's General, a Chapter Clerk and Registrar, an Auditor, a Commissory and Official Principal, a Registrar of the Consistory Court, and a Deputy Registrar, an Organist and Master of the Choristers, twelve Almsmen, four Bell-ringers, two Organ-blowers, an Abbey Surveyor, a Clerk of the Works, a Beadle of the Sanctuary, and last of all a College Porter and four Probationary Choristers, in all a staff of eighty persons, a very slight reduction upon the old administration of the Abbots of Westminster. These different office holders, in all, receive salaries of about one hundred thousand pounds a year, and the cost of the school, and the repairs of the abbey, make the sundries amount to about twenty thousand pounds a year additional.

[Pg 115]


In the general plunder of monasteries and church property, which distinguished the reign of Henry VIII, Westminster Abbey suffered severely, but it was still worse treated by the Puritans in the great civil war, the abbey being used as a barrack for the soldiers, by the Parliament, who wantonly destroyed many of the tombs and monuments that adorned the various chapels, the altars in the chapels dedicated to the different saints being thrown down, the images broken, and the richly stained windows shattered into fragments. The restoration of the edifice was intrusted to Sir Christopher Wren, who built St. Paul's, but he made a very botching piece of work in the additions which he gave to the towers at the west end.

The imitation of the Gothic style in Wren's additions are wretched and out of place in such an edifice as the Abbey. The front of the Abbey has no columns or pierced works of carving, to which the Gothic style owes so much of its lightness and elegance, and there is a mixture of ornamentation such as the broken scrolls, masques, and festoons over the grand entrance, which gives it a very heavy, flat appearance.



The Abbey is very rich in monuments of all kinds, some of which are very fine works of art. All along the walls, in the transepts and aisles, in the Nave, in the chapels, in the flooring of the Abbey, and everywhere around me I saw tablets, tombs, inscriptions, and medallions.

Among the most noticeable are those of Ben Johnson, John[Pg 116] Milton, Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English poetry and first poet buried in the Abbey, A.D. 1400, Dryden, Thomas Campbell, William Shakespeare, Oliver Goldsmith, Joseph Addison, Handel the musician, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Sir William Davenant, and Robert Southey, in the "Poet's Corner," which is situated in the south transept. They are all richly ornamented with busts, effigies of the deceased, or allegorical designs in marble, or brass, or bronze.

The tomb of Shakespeare is of marble, with a full length figure of the great poet leaning on his left elbow, and has the following epitaph written by John Milton, who was best fitted to write it:

What needs my Shakespeare for his honored bones,
The labor of an age in piled stones,
Or that his hallow'd relics should be hid
Under a star-y pointing pyramid!
Dear son of Memory, great heir of fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name,
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thyself a live-long monument,
For whilst to the shame of slow-endeavoring art
Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took;
Then thou our fancy of itself bereaving
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

Milton's epitaph is as follows:

"Three great poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy and England did adorn;
The first in loftiness of thought surpass'd.
The next in majesty—in both the last.
The force of Nature could no farther go,
To make the third, she joined the former two."—

John Gay, the author of the "Beggar's Opera," wrote his own epitaph, which is on his tomb;

"Life is a jest, and all things show it;
I thought so once; but now I know it."

[Pg 117]

There is a sarcophagus to Major John Andre who was executed as a spy by order of George Washington. It has a representation of a flag of truce, and Britannia in tears.



Mrs. Oldfield, the actress who coquetishly ordered that she should be buried in a fine Holland chemise, with a tucker, and a double ruffle of lace, and a pair of white kid gloves, has a monument with an inscription by Pope. Isaac Newton has also a very fine monument, and William Pitt's monument cost £6,000. Henry Grattan, Robert Peel, Charles James Fox, William Wilberforce, George Canning, and Lord Palmerston also have monuments.


Mary Queen of Scots, and the Queen who slew her, have magnificent monuments near each other, and similar in style. The funeral of Queen Mary, sister of Queen Elizabeth, was the last one which was celebrated in the Abbey with the ceremonial of the Roman Catholic Church. She died in 1558, and her body was brought from St. James Palace with great pomp to the Abbey, on a splendid chariot. It was met at the great entrance of the abbey by four bishops and Lord Abbott Feckenham in mitre, robes, and with crozier. The body lay all night under the hearse, with a guard of nobles and pages to watch it. On the fourteenth day of December it was interred in the vault, and a plain black tablet was erected to be placed over it by King James I, with the inscription:


James II, who sought to re-establish the Roman Catholic Faith in England, (like Queen Mary,) died at St. Germain En-Laye, in[Pg 118] France, and has no tomb in the Abbey. His intestines were given to the Irish College, in Paris, the brains to the Scotch College, and the heart to the Convent of Chaillot.

Admiral Kempenfeldt, who was drowned on the man-of-war Royal George, which sunk with eight hundred men, all of whom were lost, off Spithead, in 1782, is also buried here, with the epitaph on his tomb, written by Cowper the poet:

"Toll, toll, for the brave—
Brave Kempenfeldt is gone;
His last sea-fight is fought;
His work of glory done.
His sword was in its sheath,
His fingers held the pen,
When Kempenfeldt went down,
With twice four hundred men."—



The Chapel of Edward the Confessor, who founded the Abbey, is full of dead Kings and Queens, so full that a poet has written of the commingled Royal dust that is here reposing:

"Think how many royal bones,
Sleep within these heaps of stones.
Here they lie, had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to lift their hands.
Where, from their pulpit sealed with dust,
They preach, 'In greatness is no trust!'
Here's an acre, sown indeed,
With the richest, royalest seed,
That the earth did e'er suck in,
Since the first man died for sin."


Here lies buried Edward the Confessor, before whose tomb was kept continually burning a silver lamp. On one side stood an image of the Virgin, in silver, adorned with two jewels of immense value, presented by Eleanor, Queen to Henry III; on the other side stood an image of the Virgin, carved in ivory, presented by Thomas a-Becket. Edward I offered the Scotch[Pg 119] regalia and the antique stone on which the Kings of Scotland were crowned at Scone; this latter relic is still preserved. This shrine was composed of various colored stones, in Mosaic work; but it is so dilapidated that very little idea can be formed of its original beauty and grandeur.

Queen Editha, Queen Maud, Edward I, Henry III, Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, Queen Eleanor, Henry V, the victor of Agincourt, Queen Phillippa, Edward III—with his sword, seven feet long and weighing eighteen pounds, together with his enormous shield, hanging to his tomb,—Margaret of York, Richard II, and a host of others, are here buried. Their tombs are of magnificent workmanship, with full length figures lying recumbent and their hands clasped in prayer.

The Abbots and Priors of the abbey are buried in the walks of the Cloisters, and I stood on three of these mural slabs, and looked at the worn, full length effigies of the dead abbots, in full abbatical robes, ring on finger, mitre on head, and crozier in hand, their Latinized names almost worn away by the footsteps of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who had paced the Cloisters since they were interred, seven hundred years ago. And yet these tombs in Westminster Cloisters are but as yesterday, when compared with the Pyramids of Egypt, or a geological formation.

It was in Westminster Abbey that all the Kings and Queens of England have been crowned, and when a monarch had been crowned previously, as in the case of Henry III, whose coronation took place at Gloucester, it was thought proper to have the ceremony again performed at Westminster, in the presence of the nobles and the chief ecclesiastical dignitaries of the land; the Archbishop of Canterbury always officiating in the august ceremonial.

What wondrous scenes this proud old Abbey has witnessed! I can but enumerate a few of these however. One day in the middle of Lent, 1176, the King and his son came to London, while a Convocation of the Clergy was being held in Westminster Abbey. The Papal Legate was present, and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York were also present. Thomas a-Becket had been murdered by order of the reigning King[Pg 120] Henry II. Becket had been Archbishop of Canterbury. In the Convocation the then Archbishop of Canterbury, as Primate of the Kingdom, sat on the right hand of the Papal Legate. The Archbishop of York seeing this, when he entered the Abbey, came in a rude manner and pushing between the Primate and the Legate, as if disdaining to sit on the left hand of anybody, thrust himself into the lap of the Primate in a swash-buckling manner. The Primate would not move, and no sooner had the insult been offered than the Bishops and Chaplains in the Abbey ran to the dais and pulled my Lord of York down and threw him to the ground, and began to beat him severely. The Archbishop of Canterbury then sought to save him, and when he, the Archbishop of York, got on his feet, he straightway went to the King whom he had advised to murder Thomas a-Becket, and made complaint of the outrage which had been offered him. The King laughed at him for his pains. As he left the Abbey the monks, and priests, and bishops, with a loud shout cried out at him, "Go, traitor, thou didst betray the holy man Thomas a-Becket; go get thee hence, thy hands yet stink of blood."

When the news reached the Archbishop of York (previously) that the Archbishop of Canterbury (Becket) had been assassinated on the steps of the Altar, he ascended his pulpit and announced the fact to his congregation as an act of Divine vengeance, saying that Becket had perished in his pride and guilt like Pharaoh.

In 1297, Edward I offered at the shrine of Edward the Confessor, the famous stone, crown, and sceptre of the Scottish Sovereigns, together with the Coronation Chair, now in the Abbey, on which all English monarchs have to sit to be crowned. This chair was taken from the Abbey of Scone, in Scotland, by Edward, having been brought to Scotland by King Fergus from Ireland, three centuries before the Christian Era. Before that period, it is said to have been used for many hundred years by the Irish Kings for a like purpose.


The Scots were very eager to get the stone back for the reason that a legend existed that whoever possessed the stone[Pg 121] should rule Scotland. This old stone chair, or rather oaken chair with a stone seat,—twenty-six inches in length, sixteen inches and three quarters in breadth, and ten and a half inches in thickness—has seen many strange changes in dynasties, for every king since Edward I, has sat in it on his coronation day.

The ceremonies of coronation were very grand in the olden time and much of their splendor has passed away or has become obsolete.



One of the grandest sights ever witnessed in the Abbey was when Aldred, Archbishop of York, crowned William the Conqueror, King of England. The mail clad bodies of Norman soldiery lined every part of old London to keep down the Saxons, while William, superbly mounted, and followed by a train of two hundred and sixty barons, lords and knights, entered the Abbey. When the multitude reached the high altar, Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances, asked the Normans if they were willing to have the Duke crowned King of England, and the nobles, knights, and priests, among whom the English lordships and abbeys were already parceled out, cried aloud with one voice that they were. The Norman horsemen without the walls of the abbey hearing the shout, fancied that the Saxons within had attacked their countrymen, and immediately they set fire to the houses around the abbey, and in a few minutes the abbey was deserted of friend and foe alike with the exception of William and a few priests who stood firm, although the Duke trembled violently as the crown was placed upon his head. He[Pg 122] declared that he would treat the English people as well as the best of their kings had done, vowing by the Splendor of God, his usual oath.

The coronation of Richard I, the Lion Heart as he was called, was attended with great pomp.

On the third of September, 1189, the Archbishops of Canterbury, Rouen, Treves in Germany, and Dublin, arrayed in silken copes, and preceded by a body of clergy bearing the cross, holy water, censers and tapers, met Richard at the door of his privy chamber in Westminster Palace, and proceeded with him to the Abbey. In the midst of a numerous body of bishops and ecclesiastics, marched four barons, each with a golden candlestick and taper, then in succession—Geoffrey de Lacey with the royal cap, John the Marshal with the royal spurs of gold, and William, Earl of Striguil and Pembroke, with the golden Rod and Dove. Then came David, brother to the King of Scotland, and present as Earl of Huntington, and Robert, Earl of Leicester, supporting John the King's brother, the three bearing upright swords in richly gilded scabbards.

Following them came six barons bearing a chequered table, upon which were the King's robes and regalia, and now was seen approaching the central object of this gorgeous picture—Richard himself, under a gorgeous canopy stretched by six lances, borne by as many nobles, having immediately before him the Earl of Albemarle with the crown, and a bishop on each side. The ground on which he walked was spread with rich cloths of Tyrian dye.


At the foot of the altar, Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, administered the oath, by which Richard undertook to bear peace, honor, and reverence to God and Holy Church, to exercise right, justice, and law, and to abrogate all wicked laws and customs. He then put off all his garments from the middle upwards, like a modern prize fighter, except his shirt, which was open at the shoulders, and he was annointed on the head, breast, and arms, with oil, signifying glory, fortitude, and wisdom. He then covered his head with a fine linen cloth and set the cap thereon, placed the surcoat of velvet and dalmatica[Pg 123] over his shoulders, and took the sword of the Kingdom from the Archbishop to subdue the enemies of the Catholic Church, and then put on the golden sandals and the royal mantle, which last was splendidly embroidered, and was led to the altar, where the Archbishop charged him on God's behalf, not to presume to take this dignity upon him unless he were resolved to keep inviolably the vows he had made; to which the king replied:

"By God, His grace, I will faithfully keep them all: Amen." The crown was then handed to the Archbishop, by Richard himself, in token that he held it only from God, when the Archbishop placed it on the King's head; he also gave the sceptre into his right hand, and the royal rod into his left.

At the close of this part of the ceremony Richard was led back to the throne, and High Mass being performed with grand pomp, Richard offered as was usual, a mark of pure gold to the altar.

While the coronation was going on inside massacre and arson reigned outside of the Abbey. Before the ceremony, Richard, by proclamation had forbidden all Jews to be present at Westminster, either within or without the Abbey, but some members of that persecuted race had rashly ventured within the walls, and a hue and cry being set up at what was deemed a sacrilege, the populace ejected a prominent Israelite and beat him with sticks and stones. In a few minutes a report spread that the King had ordered the destruction of the Jews, and the furious mob spread all over the city, burning the houses and destroying the lives of the miserable Jews. Men, women, and children of tender age were burned alive in their domiciles, where resistance was made to the mob, and the cries of the murdered children blended discordantly with the sounds of the shaums, and jongleurs, and the shouts of the rabble, who were celebrating the coronation. The riot became so formidable that at last Richard, who was at dinner in Westminster Hall, ordered the Chief Justiciary of the Kingdom, Ranulf de Glanville, to go and quell it, but this was more easy to order than to perform, and the King's officers were driven back to the Hall.

Through all that night and day the pillage, arson, and mas[Pg 124]sacre continued, and the next day the King hanged three of the rabble as an atonement.

At the coronation of Henry IV, Sir John Dymoke, the Champion of England, rode into the Hall of Westminster Palace, where dinner was being served to the King, on horseback in complete armor, with a knight before him bearing his spear, and his sword and dagger by his side, and presented a label to the king on which had been written a challenge to any knight, squire, or gentleman, who dared declare that Henry was not rightful King of England. He then had a trumpet blown, and cried out that he was ready to fight in the quarrel. The label was then taken and cried by the heralds in six places in the town of Westminster, but no person seemed ready to fight although Richard II had been deposed by Henry IV and was then in a neighboring dungeon.

That most atrocious medieval fraud, Richard III, when about to be crowned King, walked barefoot from Westminster Hall to the Abbey, a distance of about six hundred feet, to let the crowds witness his resignation and humility.

When Edward VI, a boy of sixteen, was about to be crowned, he laid himself down upon the steps of the altar on his stomach while Cranmer, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, opened his shirt and rubbing the oil between his shoulder blades, anointed him.

James I, who hated tobacco and witches, forbade the people to come to Westminster to witness his Coronation, as the plague was then raging, and James did not wish to catch the distemper.


Charles I was crowned February 2, 1626, and his Queen, Henrietta, being a Catholic, was not a sharer in the Coronation, nor was she a spectator, and she would not accept the place fitted up for her in the Abbey, but stood at the window of the Palace gates to look at the crowd and procession, while her retinue of French ladies, nobles and servants, were dancing within. When Charles walked up to the altar to ascend the throne, Laud, who was Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Duke of Buckingham, Lord High Constable of England, offered him their hands on[Pg 125] either side to ascend the throne, but the King smilingly refused their hands and said:

"I have as much need to help you, as you have to assist me."

Then Laud presented the King to the great crowd of Nobles and people, and said, in an audible voice, "My masters and friends, I am here come to present unto you your King: King Charles, to whom the crown of his ancestors and predecessors is now devolved by lineal right; and therefore I desire you by your general acclamation, to testify your consent and willingness thereunto."

Not a voice answered, and there was a stillness as of the grave through the vast spaces of the Abbey. It was a bad omen of a reign, which ended so disastrously, for the listening monarch.

At last the Earl-Marshal, Lord Arundel and Howard, said to the spectators present: "Good people, I pray thee, why call ye not right lustily, 'God save King Charles?'"

Thus admonished, they with one voice exclaimed, "God save Charles, our King." In the adjoining hall, Oliver Cromwell was inaugurated Lord Protector of England, with a quiet ceremonial, attended by ushers, life guards, State coaches, the Long Parliament, and several troops of horse.

When James II was crowned, the Royal bauble tottered on his head, and this was supposed to be a prophetic omen of ill luck.

When George III was made King, with great pomp and circumstance, there was present, unknown to the crowd, a young man who must have witnessed the placing of the Golden Circlet on the brow of this fat, Hanoverian Prince, with strange emotions. He could have said with truth, "My place should have been by that chair; my father should have been sitting in it," for it was the young Pretender, Charles Stuart; the last of his royal and unfortunate race.

At all the late Coronations, the magnificent pomp and ceremonial of the Middle Ages have been omitted, and the last time that these Ceremonies were carried out was at the Coronation of George IV, when the Celebration was a very fine one.

[Pg 126]

The wood-work of the Choir was removed and boxes erected, affording an uninterrupted view of the Nave and Chancel, showing the Peers and Peeresses in all their magnificence of robes, of satins and silks, and head-dresses of feathers and diamonds. To these were added the brilliantly illuminated surcoats of the Heralds and Kings-at-arms, while the King himself sat in the royal Chair of State, which is over two thousand years old, and there received homage from the great officers of State, and Peers of the Realm, the Crown on his head and Sceptre in his hand, the Garter and George around his neck, and the velvet robes enfolding his body, which was then scorbutic from disease and dissipation.

The challenge of the Champion of England was at this ceremony delivered for the last time. After the banquet was over, at which seventeen thousand pounds of meat, three thousand fowls, one thousand dozen of wine, ten thousand plates, and seventeen thousand knives and forks, were among the items, came the challenge to all who dared to dispute the right of George to the throne of England.

It was an imposing sight, as the Duke of Wellington, with his Ducal Coronet ornamented with strawberry leaves, on his head, and in his flowing Peer's robes walked down the hall, cheered by the officers of the Life Guards, who were present. He shortly afterwards returned, mounted, and accompanied by the Marquis of Anglesey, the one-legged cavalry officer of Waterloo, and Howard, Duke of Norfolk, the Hereditary Earl Marshal of England.


The three Nobles rode gracefully to the foot of the throne, paid their homage, and then backed their horses down the lofty hall. The hall doors of the Palace opened again, and outside, in the twilight, a man in complete armor of Milan proof, appeared on horseback, outlined against the shining sky. He then moved, passed into darkness, and under the massive arch, and suddenly Howard, Wellington, and Anglesey, stood in full view of the vast assemblage, with the palace doors closed behind them. This was the finest sight of the day, as the Herald read the challenge, a glove was thrown[Pg 127] down by a gauntleted hand as a token of defiance, which was taken up instantly by Wellington, and then they all proceeded to the throne, trumpets blowing, people shouting, and flower-girls strewing the way with baskets of flowers.

The funerals of Lady Palmerston and George Peabody were the last that have taken place in Westminster Abbey, and at the funeral of the former a London reporter, in his eagerness to get an item, fell into the grave of Lady Palmerston and nearly frightened a young lady mourner out of her senses. Such is the story of this Mausoleum of Royalty and Heroism. Westminster Abbey is only equaled for the antiquity and grandeur of its mortal remains by the Abbey of St. Denis, in France, and those world-old cemeteries, the Pyramids of Egypt.


[Pg 128]



T HERE is a wide, short street, or rather road, in the heart of London. The buildings are mean, the people who cluster against their doorways and in the alleys and courts that branch from this short, wide street, are wretched in appearance; their garments are patched and in piecemeal, and when untorn they are greasy and besmeared with filth.

In this street, crowded at night—on Saturday night it is almost impassable—children of a tender age may be seen begging for coppers and soliciting assistance from those of more mature years, but to the full as wretched as themselves. Vice is in every glance of their eyes. Crime has already made its graven lines in their young faces, and their language or dialect, (for it is not a language), is a combination of uncouth sounds, obscene imagery, and slang corruptions of the English tongue.


This street, or road, is called the "New Cut," and is situated in Lambeth on the Surrey side of the Thames. It is reached from the City by Waterloo Bridge and the Waterloo road, and from the West End by Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges. Thousands are born, baptized, many beget children and die within the municipality of the Great Metropolis, and yet have never seen the New Cut—nay, have never even heard of it, or if they did, the word would have as much meaning to them as the plains of El Ghizeh, or the source of the Nile to a Bow Cockney. Yet there are thousands who are born here in this New[Pg 129] Cut who live and die in it and make a living for themselves, after a fashion, who, if not content with, are certainly unaware of any method of changing or bettering their lot in this life.

Narrow, dark, and mean streets run contiguous to the New Cut, and branch from it in a winding, snaky way. A decently-dressed man is not safe in this street, and the only sound of civilization to cheer him, once lost in the mazes of these festering lanes and alleys, teeming with low pot-houses, tap-rooms, and wild-looking children, bold, bad-looking desperadoes of men, and reckless, obscene women, is the low, rumbling sound coming like the approaching thunder to his ears every few minutes as the loaded passenger trains dash to and fro on the Northwestern and Southeastern Railways.

The New Cut runs into the Lower Marsh and is flanked by Wootton, White Horse, Collingwood, Eaton, Marlboro streets, and the Broad Wall. To the west are Thomas, Isabella, and Granby streets, and from all this misery and destitution of a quarter where the inhabitants are packed like rabbits in a well-stocked warren, the road leads through the Upper Marsh down to the rare pleasaunce or garden of the palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the most sumptous ecclesiastical retreats in England. The Archbishop's gardens, although located in the heart of a populous city, cover as much ground, it is calculated, as gives sleeping and eating room to 11,000 human beings in the New Cut district.

It is true that the river rolls sluggishly five or six hundred yards below the New Cut, and those who are tired of dog's meat, rotten vegetables, and the offal of the street markets for their common food, and of sleeping eight in a room on straw which is not even clean, can at any time deliver their bodies from further pain and starvation, and their minds from a daily never-ending struggle as to how the dog's meat and decayed offal may be procured, by a quick plunge in the river, near by.

This quarter is the principal resort of the "costermongers" of London. The word "costermonger" has an equivalent which is better known as "peddler." All those who vend or hawk vegetables, fruit, carrion meat, game, fowl, ginger beer,[Pg 130] nuts, or, in fact, any of the numerous articles or commodities of refuse merchandise found on the barrows and wagons of the London peddlers, are called by the London term "costermongers." The word is an old one used by Shakespeare, and therefore has, if none other, the merit of antiquity of the most genuine kind.

There are in London proper, embracing its suburbs, of both sexes—including men, women, and children—according to information which I had procured from the police and physicians, who have means of knowing, about 23,000 costermongers. These people are from daybreak until midnight in the open air, I might say, for their marketing is done as early as four or five o'clock in the morning; and then, after an hour or so spent in marketing, comes the cheap, scanty breakfast, consisting of a pound of bread, a "saveloy," which is a sort of a sausage, at a penny a piece, about four inches long and two inches in circumference, quite succulent to the costermonger's palate, or perhaps a piece of beef or bacon of the kind that is vended from barrows in the London streets at two pence a pound, the refuse of the butchers' shops and pieces unfit for a ready sale.

Among these refuse pieces are small portions of ham, shoulders, and pork, fragments of bacon, "snag" pieces, and mutton, and a very suspicious veal, which is often sold by these same hawkers in the suburbs to old maids for cats' meat. Sometimes the "coster" will take a pint of sloppy coffee, which he gets for three half-pence, with his brief breakfast; at other times he prefers a quartern of gin "neat," at two-pence; and again he will be satisfied with a mug of beer at two-pence. As early as 7 o'clock in the morning the hideous noises, which can only come from the throat of a costermonger, are heard in the London streets, awakening those who wish to sleep late, and, to make matters worse, no person, unless the costermonger himself, can by any application ever understand the exact words of their cries. They are only to be recognized by sound, and, therefore, it is always necessary to appear at a window or doorway in order to discover the precise article which the coster wishes you to buy.

[Pg 131]


I visited the New Cut on a Saturday night, which is the great market night, when traffic is at its height in the neighborhood. The wide, short street, which runs into a half circle at its end, was filled with people. The noise was of that indefinite kind which is hardly to be described. Stands, barrows, and wagons, having ponies and asses attached, were placed along the gutters, with smoky lamps fed with a disagreeable smelling oil, from which a dusky flame was shed over the street, showing the faces of the venders as they gave tongue to many different cries.

"Whelks," a small shell-fish, like the American mussel, were heaped in thousands on the heads of barrels and tables, and ham sandwiches, at a penny apiece, and boiled potatoes, with sheeps' trotters, oysters, fried fish, oranges, apples, plums, and, in fact, every kind of fruit and vegetable were for sale. Little ragged boys and girls, their feet bare and dirty, ran hither and thither, importuning the passers-by to purchase their matches and water-cresses. Here water-cresses and radishes are sold together in bunches at a penny a handful. Some of these small children are up as early as five o'clock in the morning, to purchase the water-cresses at Farringdon market, and from that time until midnight, or until the theatres close, they are crying their water-cresses, which they carry with them through the London streets in a basket.

The whelks are sold at two a penny, and are accounted a delicacy by the poor of London, when properly seasoned with pepper, salt, and vinegar. They are very much relished in the pot-houses of the metropolis by hard drinkers when pickled in this fashion, and in any tap-room of a Saturday night it is not uncommon to find men or women peddling these shell-fish to those who have been drinking freely. The costermongers are universally great gamblers, and earning during the week from twelve to thirty shillings, as their luck may run with the purchasing community, yet it is not an uncommon occurrence for them to gamble away as much as fifty per cent. of their week's earnings in various games of chance.

These people have no religious belief whatever, and do not[Pg 132] know anything even of the rudiments of religious instruction. To them God is some indefinite being whose attributes are unknown, and whose immutable laws are disregarded simply from utter ignorance. They never darken a church door, and tracts are received by them with the most supreme disgust.

A number of missionaries have labored among them in vain for any great result, chiefly dissenting clergymen, and, although they will listen to them patiently enough, yet they look upon them as the representatives of wealth and intelligence, and they cannot tell the difference between a Wesleyan minister who holds forth on a Sunday morning, with a big banner, calling upon them to repent, in the dark alleys of Bethnal Green and Whitechapel, and the richly beneficed divine of the Church of England who rolls by in a carriage, totally heedless of their condition, bodily or spiritual. All men who wear white neck-cloths are called parsons, and are disliked by the "costers." Besides, they have not learned to read, and tracts are useless to them, were they willing to study their contents.

The marriage relation is utterly ignored among them, and, if what the police told me be true, not ten per cent. of the costermongers who live with women and vend their goods in common are married. At fifteen years of age the young costermonger leaves father and mother to cleave to a girl of his own age, also the child of a costermonger, bred in the gutters of the metropolis, and, having purchased a barrow for ten shillings, and an ass for perhaps £2, the pair begin the world practically man and wife, but without ever dreaming of calling in the assistance of the minister to bind them together in the bonds of lawful wedlock.


A marriage certificate in a costermonger's den would, indeed, be a curious and unusual relic, as would also the marriage ring, which is looked upon in civilized society as the seal and confirmation of the wedding ceremony. They say that they cannot afford to pay a minister's fee, and as their code of morals is beneath mention they do not see the necessity of the expenditure. Their children grow up in the same way, bred, as their parents have been, to hawk and cry from[Pg 133] dawn until darkness, and thus the costermongers increase, more savage in their usages than the American aborigines.

Mind, I am now speaking of the English costermongers, for, with the Irish costermongers, both male and female, who are still lower in the social scale as far as the goods of this world go, it is different. While the English coster cares not for the visits of the minister of the Protestant faith, the Catholic priest is ever welcome among his wretched and degraded flock in Whitechapel, in the New Cut, in St. Giles, or Lambeth, and he is beloved by them in their own rude, reckless way. The Irish costermonger believes most firmly in the sanctity of the marriage ceremony. With a few exceptions, their children, however wretched and miserable their lot may be in the future life, are born in wedlock, and the slur of illegitimacy cannot be thrown up at them. They will always have a few coppers to give their priests to help those more miserable than themselves, and, though these children but rarely receive the benefits of a common English schooling, they are more eager to learn and more ready to seek instruction than the children of their English neighbors.

I inquired of one of these costermongers, who had a fried-fish stand in the New Cut, and sold sprats all cooked and ready for eating, if he could read. He seemed rather an intelligent fellow, in his way, and had by no means the uncouth, ruffianly look that I noticed in many of the men's faces who were engaged in selling vegetables, fish, whelks, and periwinkles in the street. He had a little smoky lamp depending from a sort of gallows over his cart, and he spoke cheerfully:

"Well, I'm not much of a reader, like you gentlefolks be; but I picked up a little book schoolin' at the Ragged schools by night, when I had four puns saved, last winter. The letters wor a cruel bother to me at first, and I most guv it hup at the beginning, sort o' faint-hearted; but the teacher, as wos a Miss Spencer, she wos a good gal, and she says to me (about Christmas it wor), 'Jimmy, you'll never learn to read hif you don't persewere, and I know, Jimmy, you can persewere hif you want to.' Ye see, sir, I had just gived the blessed book a kick[Pg 134] into a corner of the room, like mad; cos vy, the blessed letters wor so cranky and they wor all so mixed hup together that I lost my 'ead as it wor, and I couldn't make nothink hout of their shapes. But that gal, Miss Spencer, she wor a topper and no mistake. She guv me a kind of a smile, and bless me hif she didn't go to the corner of the room and she takes hup the book as I had flung down, with 'er pretty little fingers, and vith that she puts hit into my 'and, hand then I 'adn't the 'art to refuse the gal; and that wos the way as I larned to read; and now I reads Reynold's Weekly hevery Sunday mornin' to my maty, the boiled potato man, which is 'ere to speak for 'isself, sir."

The boiled potato man was advanced in years—a hardy, rugged-looking fellow, who seemed as if he would like to read like his "maty," but could not muster up courage to begin so late in life. I mentioned casually to him that a great Latin grammarian had, at an early stage of the world's history, made the attempt to learn Greek, being then seventy years of age. His characteristic reply made me see that my remark had struck him in the wrong place.

"Well," said he, "hif that blessed hold Latting, as ye calls 'im, had to 'awk biled pertaters from mornin' till night in the New Cut, and go 'ome to three kids vith, maybe, honly sevenpence for 'is day's vork, I'm blessed hif 'ee'd a-bother'd 'is precious hold soul a-learnin' Greek, or hany other lingo. I finds henuff to do vith the mealys, vithout a-troublin' myself habout the books as I see heverywhere I goes. N-i-c-e 'ot pertaties—hall smokin' 'ot—a-penny apiece!"



I bought a hot potato and a sprat, and left the two wondering if I had been "gaffing" or "larkin'" on 'em; and passing through the crowded street, past butchers standing at their doors in dirty aprons, sharpening their knives in a business like manner; past water-cress and match girls, who seemed to spring out of the gutters, so thick were they; past drunken, noisy women, staggering home to their miasmatic dens, with bunches of vegetables or chunks of meat in their arms, wrapped in coarse brown papers, dirty children following their foot[Pg 137]steps, gaunt and shadowy-like; past reeking, greasy coffee-shops, the very sign-boards of which were redolent of eel pies, kidney stews, and all the abominations which are devoured in this neighborhood daily and nightly, by the poor people who are forced to eat this food, the refuse of the slaughter-houses of mighty, populous London, from that stern, blind necessity which knows no law, and I came upon a crowd of the working people—costermongers, peddlers, match-women, and young lads and girls—who find habitations in the dusky lanes and frightful courts of the neighborhood. I stood before a large, dark-looking building, which seemed like a prison, its frowning, dirty facade being no evidence that it was a place of amusement. But it was a place of amusement, or, rather, a place of torture. This was the "Royal Victoria Theatre," New Cut, Lambeth.


The Victoria Theatre, or the "Vick," as it is called by its patrons, is one of the most democratic places of amusement, if not the most democratic in London. In another place I will attempt to describe the strange sights which I saw inside of its walls, but at present I shall confine myself to giving my readers a view of the "Old Clothes" district, which is chiefly inhabited by the lower class of the London Jew peddlers or hawkers.

Dick Ralph was a patrolman bold, who did duty in the "H," or Smithfield Division of the City of London police, and was rewarded for his vigilance and attention to duty by being promoted to the office of "special," under probation, in the old Jewry squad of detectives.

Dick had lately married and was the proprietor of a fine chubby boy of fifteen months old, who resembled his father in every respect, having the same red flush in the cheeks, the same black eyes, which sparkled like diamonds, and the same little chubby nose. The family lived back of St. Paul's towering pile, in a little lane or court which ran around the old sheds that formed a part of the Old Market or Newgate shambles, and was the principal fresh meat mart before the New Smithfield Market had been built.

Ralph had been detailed by Inspector Bailey to visit Petticoat lane, Houndsditch, Bevis Marks, and the Minories with[Pg 138] me, and we were to go together to the Sunday market in this district, which is almost entirely inhabited by Jews, although a greater part of the out-door trade and costermongering is done by Christian Cockneys.

I found Ralph living up a two-pair back, in one of the queerest, old-fashioned wooden houses in the Newgate shambles. Directly over my head was the dome of St. Paul's, with the morning fog clearing away from its peak, and the sun was gradually appearing to gild the tall cross on the apex, and the tower of St. Faith's, under St. Paul's. The stairs were ricketty and dark, and the wainscotting quite fanciful. A woman of twenty-five or six years of age, rather tidy in appearance, I saw holding the big chubby baby, the pride of the Ralph family. The family were at breakfast, and had been busy discussing fresh plaice and soles from Billingsgate. The baby was allowed to tumble all over the floor and bite its fingers.

"How are you this morning, sir," said patrolman Ralph; "it promises to be a pertickelerly fine Sunday does this, and a nice one for stroll to see the sights."

Ralph took down his hat and overcoat from a nail, and bidding his wife good-bye affectionately, we strolled out into the streets.

We took a walk up Newgate street to Cheapside, through the Poultry, through Cornhill, passing the Bank and Mansion House on our way, and finally opposite the Aldgate Church, with its curious old Sir Christopher Wren spire, we found ourselves standing against the railing which encloses a little green square of grass belting the church.

"Now, sir," said Dick Ralph, "we are just going into one of the worst places in London. There's a regular mob here all the time, and hits just as much as a man can do to pass the peddlers without having his 'at and coat taken hoff him by the Sheenies who are selling of hall sorts of things on the Sunday market. You can buy hanything from a gimlet here in Petticoat lane to a suit of clothes in Rag Fair."


Houndsditch is a wide street which runs down from the Aldgate High street to Bishopsgate street. At the other end is the street called the Minories, going in the direction of the[Pg 139] Tower, which frowns upon the river. Here, also, is the district called "Petticoat lane," which embraces a number of short streets, courts, lanes, and filthy alleys, with such characteristic names as "Sandy's Row," "Frying Pan alley," "Little Love court," "Catharine Wheel alley," "Hebrew Place," "Fisher's alley," "Tripe yard," "Gravel lane," "Harper's alley," "Boar's Head yard," "Stoney lane," "Swan court," and "Borer's lane."

These are only a few of the choice thoroughfares in this locality, and all of them are dirty and swarming with a class who obtain their living in the streets. There are, it is calculated, living and doing business in Petticoat lane and its lesser tributaries of streets and alleys, about six thousand men, women, and children who profess the Jewish faith, and are in humble circumstances, who have to struggle and compete with the Irish of the poorer class in the street trades, though the Jews have a monopoly of the old clothes' trade.

Houndsditch is in every way superior to the other streets which surround it. It is wider, the shops are of a better order, and it is noticeable that very few of their doors are open on a Sunday morning. As the detective and I passed through the street I noticed such names as "Abrams & Son," "L. Benjamin," "Isaacs & Co.," "Moses & Son," "Hyams & Co.," and other like names over the doors of fruit shops, jeweller shops, mercer shops, clothiers, and in one or two instances, over the doors of small publics. It is, however, not a common thing to find a Jewish name over a liquor shop door in London.

"We are in the very nick of time to see the show," said Ralph to me—it was nearly nine o'clock of the Sunday morning, and we had gone down Houndsditch about three of our New York blocks.

"The market is from eight o'clock Sunday morning until about two in the hafternoon, and the business is as brisk as can be all that time," said Ralph.

The houses were all old, and all of them had a slouching, mean look, with funny gables, grimy windows in the upper stories, and queerly peaked and stunted roofs, overhung by tubular[Pg 140] red chimneys, which stood up like rows of corn in a field when seen from a distance.

The people whom we met in the streets had an Eastern look, with peculiarly brilliant, almond-shaped eyes, and prominent noses. Some others had the Celtic features and spoke to each other with the unmistakable brogue. The policemen that we met, too, seemed to partake of the characteristics of the place, and I fancied that I could trace a resemblance in their faces to those by whom they were surrounded.

Crossing the street, we went through a court about a hundred feet wide, that seemed to lead into a covered shed, from which came a din and clamor of voices that was almost deafening.

There was a wooden building like a market covered over, to to which we ascended by a flight of three steps.

"This is the Rag Fair, sir; I suppose you heard on't before. It's a werry strange place, Rag Fair. But don't stop to look at anythink, or them as keeps the stands will tear you to pieces to make you buy."


Although I took as much heed as possible of the injunction, it was impossible not to look. It was a very queer place in more senses than one. To get an idea of it take a section of Washington Market, New York, with its stalls and blocks, and buyers and sellers; and on the walls where the pork, mutton, and beef are hung to be inspected and sold, and, instead of the flesh of the cow, pig, and peaceful sheep, hang hundreds upon hundreds of pairs of trousers—trousers that have been worn by young men of fashion, trousers without a wrinkle or just newly scoured, trousers taken from the reeking hot limbs of navies and pot boys, trousers from lumbering men-of-war's men, from spruce young shop boys, trousers that have been worn by criminals executed at Newgate, by patients in fever hospitals; waistcoats that were the pride of fast young brokers in the city, waistcoats flashy enough to have been worn by the Marquis of Hastings at a race-course, or the Count D'Orsay at a literary assemblage; take thousands of spencers, highlows, fustian jackets, some greasy, some unsoiled, shooting-coats, short-coats, and[Pg 141] cutaways; coats for the jockey and the dog-fighter, for the peer and the pugilist, pilot-jackets and sou-westers, drawers and stockings, the latter washed and hung up in all their appealing innocence, there being thousands of these garments that I have enumerated, and thousands of others that none but a master cutter could think of without a softening of the brain, take two hundred men, women, and children, mostly of the Jewish race, with here and there a burly Irishman sitting placidly smoking a pipe amid the infernal din; and shake all these ingredients up well, and you have a faint idea of what I saw in Rag Fair.

Take five thousand pair of shoes, boots, gaiters, bootees, brogans, watermen's boots, shoes of criminals, and suspicious-looking boots, taken from the feet of thieves, flashy-looking women's gaiters and cordovans purchased from prostitutes and wretched women in garrets, who had sold them to buy food or a drink of gin.

Take all these articles, scatter them around, hang them on nails and hooks depending from greasy stalls ascending to the old tumble down roof, and then the reader will have a dose offered to him such as I got when I fell on Rag Fair, Petticoat lane.

It was by far the strangest scene I had ever looked upon. London has nothing like it elsewhere, and New York, which is really destitute of any specially salient characteristic, could not in fifty years' time organize and bring together such a mass of old clothes, grease, patches, tatters, and remnants of decayed prosperity and splendor. In every old tattered trousers there was an unwritten epic; in every gaudily fashioned waistcoat there was a tale perhaps of sorrow and sadness and want, if any one could but point it out.

The patches and rents that were botched up and mended, showed the hasty repairs in the old coats that hung in platoons and files from the niches; the jagged sewing and frayed edges in each of these old garments, could they speak, would tell an astonishing tale, or furnish the groundwork of a plot for a popular drama.

[Pg 142]

The stalls were in rows, and the men and women and boys who did business there kept running about all the time I remained in the fair, shouting and screaming like possessed beings. Their great aim and object was to catch some unfortunate visitor by the lappel of his coat or snatch his elbow, his coat-tail, or any other available part of his clothing, hold on to him, shake an old waistcoat in his face, and if he didn't want a waistcoat, shake a dirty old pair of trousers in his face, talking all the time in an imploring, or may be a trembling tone, until the man would be compelled to break away by sheer force or call the police, who seemed to have enough to do in this place.



I stopped for a moment to look at a stall where about a hundred pairs of boots and shoes were displayed in rows, the thick-soled heavy-looking brogans of the laborer ranged next to the nicely-fashioned gaiter of the elegant, with their well-turned[Pg 143] toes and arching insteps, and the man, a sharp-featured Hebrew, who was proprietor, seized me and thrust a second-hand pair of boots in my face, saying at the same time:


"You wan'sh a nish pair o' bootsh? S'help, I shells you thish pair for two shillings, and they wash never made lesh than a guinea and a half! Don't you want to buy these sphlendid bootsh; s'help me, I only makes'h two pensh?"

I tried to get away, but he held to my arm and kept shaking the boots, while his sharp, black eyes glittered like sword points at the prospect of losing a sale. At last the detective, losing patience, jerked him away, and we passed on to the next slop stand.

This was kept by an old Irish woman. The Jew was all mercantile acerbity and sharpness. This old humbug of a female Celt was all treacle and honey.

"Ah, then, it's the foine gentleman that ye are. It's easy to see the good dhrop is in ye. May be it's a likin' ye'd be taking to this sphlindid waistcoat; that's all the fashion now, and it's well it 'id look on yer fine figger. And don't ye want nothing at all to wear? And shure ye wouldn't be afther goin' naked like an omaudhaun in the streets and havin' the people shoutin' after ye?"

"How much rent d'ye pay for this stall," said I to her, to get her off a topic by which she made her living.

"Is't the durty rint ye mane? Well, it's enouff for the ould hole. I pay sixpence a day in advance, and the devil resave the penny I've turned yet, this blessed mornin."

"Have you any one to support beside yourself?"

"Well, indade, I have two childher, and its small comfort they are to me. One of thim, the eldest, is down wud scarlet favir, and the docthor says it tin to one if she'll ever recover."

"You see sir," said the detective, "the people who rent stands from the men as own this place, they have to pay sixpence a day to 'old the stand. But those fellows as you see running around like lunatics, and a borin of every one, they pays two pence a day rents—cos why they 'ave no stands and honly walk habout with the clothes hon their harms."

[Pg 144]

"Yis, and I wish you'd sind them to the divil, the haythens—they niver give an honest woman a chance to make a penny be hook or be crook, wud thim runnin all over the fair."

"Halso, we never allows the 'awker as has no stands to stay in one place," said Dick Ralph, "cos hif we did, that would ruin the business of the people as pays rent for the stands. So we keeps them a movin' hon, and they doesn't like it, but we have got to do it, or else they would have rows hall the Sunday through with the nobs as keeps the stands. You see, the wery minute one of the 'awkers gets hopposite a stand, he collects a crowd and—now, there goes one now;" and he pointed to a fellow with a pair of trousers, who was bawling his goods out while a policeman had him by the neck shoving him along by main force.

"Oh, some of these lads are precious 'ard coves, I tell you, to manage. Some of them will fight and curse at you like as hif they wor made of brass. But we never talks long to them, 'cos hif we did Rag Fair would be too much for the force."

"How much a day do the hawkers make on an average?" I asked Ralph.

"Well, I can't tell, because they are sich werry 'ardened liars. I axed one the werry last Sunday as I wos 'ere. Says I, 'old Benjamin, how much do you take in on a day's work on a haverage?'"

"Oh! blesh your 'art," sez he, "some days I hash two pounds profit, and some days I makes a shillin' by 'ard vork."

"Now ye see," said Ralph, "I knew he was of gaffin me, for he was not worth two pounds, body and soul, and I don't suppose he never made more than half a crown in a day and do his best. Then Old Benjamin spends it hall in fish. The Jew peddlers here are wery fond of fish on Saturdays. They would go without a meal in three days to have a fresh mackerel on Sunday. And they are werry pertikler as to who kills the meat before they buys it."

Determining to make another attempt to see Petticoat Lane on a week day, I bade the polite policeman and the highly odorous quarter of the Old Clothes sellers, a very good day.

[Pg 145]



L ET us look at Newgate. This stern old pile of stones heaped upon stones, grey and grim, the burden of whose sighs afflict the weary skies above.

The strangest kind of a fascination hung over me as I looked at its Gate, cut in the deep wall like the entrance to a rocky cave. The spiked sill spoke of gibbets, the bars and locks and bolts of a felon gang, who dragged their blind life away, day following day, for them without hope, the outside world vacant, dumb and blank as the Ages, to their crime begotten souls, whose only music was the clank of fetters and the hoarse grating of iron hinges.

The building itself, covering half an acre, seemed sealed like a sepulchre. There was nothing to be gotten out of it, one way or the other. No one can have even looked at this terrible prison of Newgate without a shudder of despair for his kind.

Only on certain recurring Black Mondays did it yawn like a grave in the face of a great swearing mob, to put forth something into the open in the shadow of St. Sepulchre's, that was half dead; to take it back after an hour quite dead; and then it relapsed into its old, inscrutable dumbness.

Now Gate of Ivory, now Gate of Horn—now a porch above which might be inscribed the despairing legend of the Inferno, now a wicket at which the charitable might tap gently, fraught[Pg 146] with messages of mercy to the fallen creatures within—the portal of Newgate could assume chameleon hues, not always hopeless.

Next to the spikes of Newgate, the visitor must always mark for lasting remembrance, the stones of Newgate doorsteps. They are not perhaps more than eighty years old, but they look more worn than the jambs of Temple bar—more decayed than the wheel windows of the Cloisters of Westminster Abbey. They are ancient through use, and not through time.

The Hall of the Lost Footsteps at Versailles is but an empty name, but the millions of footsteps that have worn Newgate stones, must make it an abiding reality. Here have united all the crooked roads. Here have fallen the last steps on the stones of the ford of the Black River. Beyond the steps has loomed the City of Dis.

How many footsteps! how many!

Lord George Gordon, after the riots and burnings of 1780, wrecked and crazy, totters feebly up Newgate steps to die in the prison which his murderous associates had attempted to burn. Desperate Thistlewood, fresh from the loft in Cato street, where his fellow conspirators were dragged—reeking from the murder of Smithers, whose ghost followed him to the gallows, is brought here heavily chained from the Tower Dungeon, in which the ministry with frantic fear had at first immured him.

He and his gang will leave Newgate no more save by the Debtor's Door, where the Man in the Mask—one of the few unsolved mysteries of the Nineteenth century—will do his horrible office upon them and hold up to the populace five severed heads, who at first shudder, but growing hardened by the dripping sight of blood, will cry as the clumsy butcher lets the last head fall—

"Hallo, butter-fingers!"

Down Newgate steps at dead of night, how many corpses of uncoffined wretches have been borne in sacks, to be dissected at Old Surgeon's Hall, over the narrow causeway which skirts the prison.

[Pg 147]


The dread gaol keeps its secret better now. No grapnel hauls forth the dishonored carcass of the dead criminal for exposition at the Gemonian steps.

The place is doubly a Golgotha, and murder is buried on the spot where it has been slain.

Here died brave hearted Michael Barrett, the victim of the last public execution which will ever take place in Newgate, just three short years ago. How the huge metropolis seethed and boiled like a world-cauldron that day of days!

Condemned to die as a Fenian conspirator, he gave his life gallantly for his native land, and in his last hour frightened England more than a hundred living Barretts could have done.

I stood before Newgate with a member of the Old Jewry force who had seen the execution of Barrett. From the fact that the government, after that day, has prohibited any more public executions, his description of the scene will be worthy of recounting to my readers. The detective was a young man, and intelligent beyond his class. We were standing outside of the prison gate.

The lane or street of the Old Bailey, which begins at Ludgate Hill, one block below St. Paul's Cathedral, runs toward Newgate street, parallel with Giltspur street which it enters, and forms before ending a triangular space of about two acres square measurement. At the angle, formed by the Holborn Viaduct, which ends here, (Giltspur street and Newgate street,) is the old Church of St. Sepulchre. To the right and behind us, we could just trace the ornamented and beautiful facade of Christ Church Hospital. To our left and below us was the Sessions Court in the Old Bailey, a place in some respects like the Tombs Court and the Court of General Sessions in New York, were both courts to be combined. I am thus particular in order to show my readers where and how Michael Barrett, the last Newgate victim, died.

"Well, you see, Sir," said my Old Jewry friend to me, "the week as Barrett wos hung wos a busy week with us. Up all night sometimes and all day, searching the holes and corners[Pg 148] and dark places of the city for Fenians. We got information that they wos going to blow up St. Pauls, one day—another day we hears that they had a plot to bust hup the Bank of Hingland—then they were to burn down the Tower and the 'Oss Guards, and then somebody told us that they meant to send Westminster Habbey and Buckingham Palace sky high—and this way and that way we wos worrited to death with hinformation. One night I was detailed to St. Paul's to watch the crypts or vaults under the Cathedral, where the Fenians intended to put a lot of gunpowder to blow it hup. I staid there all night with some more of the men detailed, and a precious cold job it wos, we hiding among the vaults snapping our fingers and shivering like geese in a pond, and not a Fenian within three miles of us. That wos a lark, and the newspapers laughed at us, and had comic picters of us standing in the cold, for their hedification."

"Another night we hexpected them to set fire to the 'Ouses of Parlyment, and a blessed shame it would have been to have destroyed sich a fine hedifice, and there I wos night after night, a-playing hide and seek among the galleries and Towers of the 'Ouse, watching for Fenians and hexpecting to get a stab in the back, and all the time I wos wishing as how I could get relief, so as to get a pot o' beer in the King's Arms in Parlyment street."


"Well, Sir, at last came the busting and blowing up of Clerkenwell Prison, and a nice row that made all through England—and while the fellows as did it walked off quite cooly—Barrett and a few more who wos suspected, and who wos as I believe really hinnocent—of the Clerkenwell affair—wos taken and tried right over here in the Sessions Court (pointing with his hand over the wall of the Old Bailey Court), and he stood up in the dock that day as he wos found guilty, and I must say he was as brave a man as I ever saw—and defied the big wigs and all on them, and said he was not afraid to die, and then he told them that if it was twenty lives he would give it for "dear Ireland,"—thems just the words he said, and although I don't like Fenians or Fenianism, I must say for him that he was no[Pg 149] more afraid than I was, that is if you can judge from a man's face at such a hawful minute.

"The night afore his execution I was in his cell; I was let in by a friend of mine the turnkey, and I spoke to him kindly, cos you see I didn't feel exactly like as if he wos a man who had committed a common murder or robbed for a living, cos why, you see, a lawyer told me as how he was dying for an idea, like Russell or Hampden or some others of them Big Guns.

"I sez to him:

"How do you feel Mr. Barrett?"

"I feel well, thank you said he;" one of the turnkeys wos watching him, sitting up with him, and he had a light in his cell—he was ironed.

"They are putting up the scaffold," said he to me without a bit of fear.

"Yes, and I'm sorry for it," said I, "Mr. Barrett—is there anything I can do for you."

"Nothing," says he, standing up and turning down the book which he was reading, his chains clanking around his legs—"Nothing—but you see me the night before I die—tell those who employed you that Michael Barrett has made his peace with God—and is not afraid to die. Tell them," and he commenced reciting poetry like, with his eyes on the ceiling of his cell:

"Whither on the scaffold high
Or in the battle's van;
The fittest place for man to die
Is where he dies for man."

"Them's the lines as near as I can remember, for I saw them in a book after, and that made me recollect them.

"During the night they were busy in putting up the scaffold, and three or four thousand special constables were sworn in by the magistrates, cos why, they were afraid that the Fenians would rescue Barrett, and I, as well as every other man, wos armed with a six-barrelled revolver. When the morning came there must have been a hundred thousand people in the streets[Pg 150] and all around here. Hundreds staid up all night to get a chance for a good place to look at him, and there was more than three thousand women, and as many children in the crowd around the scaffold. The top of the scaffold, I mean the frame, was about twelve feet above the street, and the platform was about six feet high, so that hevery one was able to see him. Fifteen hundred police in uniform were drawn hup around Newgate, and to prevent the crowds from pushing or rescuing the prisoner, a barricade of trees was built at a distance of two hundred feet from the scaffold hevery way. Five hundred police in plain clothes were among the crowds armed with revolvers, and troops were stationed at all the barracks in the city so as to be ready for any attempt to save his life. The crowd Sir, was for all the world like a surging sea, and people were buying and selling of histers, and liquors, ginger beer, whelks, fruit and cigars, just the same as if they were at a fair, and men and boys were crying ballads and singing, and some of them were peddling Barrett's printed confession. Now you see, Sir, that was a humbug, becos Barrett never made no confession, but they sold just as well as if he had made one, at a penny a piece.

"Well, when St. Sepulchre's bell struck eight, which is always the signal, they brought him ought, and although the air was cold and some of us were shivering from standing up so long without anything to eat or drink, he never trembled at all, but looked at every man and woman of all that wos there with a smile, and a steady look.

"'He's a game un,' I heard many a man say, and our fellows who had such hard work watching the Fenians by night and by day, had no hard feelings agin the brave fellow then. The women around the scaffold waved their handkerchiefs to him, you see, Sir, the women, bless them, are always up to such blessed games, and there was some man in the crowd when the rope was put around his neck, who wore a fur coat, and seemed like an American, who cried out as loud as he could—

"Good heart—Michael Barrett—this day. All is not lost while one drop of Irish blood remains."

[Pg 151]


"I saw the man, and I made a jump for him with two of my pals, but the crowd opened and let him pass through,—it seemed a purpose like, and just then I heard a roar and a great convulsive sob, and the crowd pushed this way and crushed that way, almost smothering me, and I nearly fainted from the awful squeezing I got, and I picked up a little girl from atween my feet, and when I looked up Barrett's body was a swinging to and fro from a rope, and all was over, and believe me, Sir, I was glad of it when it was over."


It was high noon when I arrived at Newgate, and my visit was paid chiefly to that part of the prison devoted to the subsistence of the prisoners. I passed through the corridors and passages, and door after door, and hinge after hinge grated as I advanced with a companion. All around the prison are the high walls of the neighboring buildings, and attached to them are precipitous sheds with spikes to prevent the escape of pris[Pg 152]oners who may succeed in getting as far as the yard. On top of the prison is a huge circular fan which revolves and gives ventilation to the interior of the jail. This improvement was the result of the labors of the great philanthropist John Howard.

In the old days Newgate was a hell upon earth. During the Eighteenth century prisoners endured the tortures of the damned here. Jail birds were shackled to the floor to prevent their escape, and mouldy bread and stinking water was given them to drink until their stomachs loathed the appearance of food. Their beds were of stinking straw, the rain from the heavens dripped through the roof upon them, the frost and cold eat into their bones; they festered in dirt, disease, and destitution, till their limbs broke out in horrible blains, and ulcers and all kinds of agues and dysenteries swept down upon them. Then in this terrible state, after rotting for months awaiting a trial, they came into the dock at the Old Bailey with the jail fevers upon them to slay with the pestiferous miasma which exhaled from their bodies, judge, jury, and pettifogging attorneys.

The prisoners were so crowded together in dark dungeons, that the air becoming corrupted by the stench, occasioned a disease called the "goal distemper," of which they died by dozens every day. Cartloads of dead bodies were carried out of the prison and thrown in a pit in the burying-ground of Christ's Church without ceremony. The effluvia in the year 1750 was so horrible that it made a pestilence in the whole district. Four judges who sat in the Session, a Lord Mayor, several aldermen, and other civic dignitaries were carried off by the distemper, together with a number of lawyers and jurors present at the trials of Newgate criminals.


Then at last the prison was cleansed, and a system of ventilation introduced, which made some improvement in the condition of the prisoners. Still, Newgate was a disgrace to Christendom, and just one hundred years ago Parliament made a grant of £50,000 to construct a prison. Beckford, author of Vathek, and then Lord Mayor of London, laid the first stone. In 1780, Lord George Gordon, with his No-Popery rioters, burned down that part of the prison which had been constructed, and[Pg 153] set at liberty three hundred of the prisoners confined there. £40,000 in addition had to be granted before the building was completed.

On an average there are between two and three hundred prisoners held in durance in Newgate, and twelve sessions are held during the year at the adjoining Old Bailey Court for their trial. This is called the Central Criminal Court, and it is here, in this very court, that Jack Sheppard, Dick Turpin, Claude Duval, Sixteen String Jack, Tom King, and all the other heroes of the yellow covered literature, were tried, condemned, taken in fetters to Newgate, and from thence to Tyburn Tree to hang by the neck until they were dead.

The Judges of the Old Bailey Court are the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Recorder, and Common Sergeant of London, and the Judges of the Courts at Westminster Hall, who sit here by rotation to assist, by their superior legal knowledge, the inferior local magistrates.

The prison is divided into a male and female side, but beyond this there is little classification; the pickpocket, the swindler, the embezzler, the murderer, are all associated together; while the hardened offender and the one who is merely suspected of crime, but too often share the same cell, and feed at the same board.

There are separate cells, so that every one averse to society may dwell alone if he or she chooses, but in conversation with the turnkeys, I learned that the privilege was rarely claimed.

"Why, Lord bless your heart, Sir," said a turnkey to me, "there isn't one of the birds in this ere cage that wouldn't go down on his blessed knees and beg hoff if he was to be locked up alone for forty-eight hours. Ye see, sir, it sickens them, it does, to be alone and hear no one's voice but their own. There's a few of the high 'uns at first, when they come here, are werry hoffish and have a sort of a "how-dare-you-look-or-speak-to-me-air," but before three days they gets weak in the back and then they'll give a guinea a minute to look at a face if it only wor a monkey's dirty mug."

When prisoners become refractory, solitary confinement, for a[Pg 154] few days, is the punishment, and it never fails to tame the most intractable. The beds of the prisoners are in tiers one above the other, like the berths on an emigrant ship, only that they are clean almost to painfulness. The beds consist of a hard mattress and coarse coverings, sufficient in all seasons to keep them comfortably warm. A plain deal table and bench constitute the only furniture of the place, and these, with the floor, are daily scrubbed into a state of scrupulous cleanliness by the inmates of the cells. There are paved court yards in which the prisoners may walk and breathe the small quantity of pure air that can circulate between those high and gloomy walls, surmounted by formidable spikes to impede the climber.

I went into the kitchen of Newgate and found it to be a commodious and well-fitted apartment, very like the kitchen of the Reform Club, only not so luxurious, from its want of French dishes, and I found here boilers, stoves, ranges, saucepans, kettles, and all that a chef could need for his cuisine. This was not the kitchen of the Old Newgate of which Ainsworth delights to tell, where the hangman used to seethe in a cauldron of molten pitch the heads and quarters of victims executed for treason, whose several members were afterwards affixed to the spikes of Temple Bar or London Bridge.

I saw the rations of each prisoner served out in tin panikins and platters, and the bread served was as white as any I ever ate. There were three large and beautiful potatoes allotted to each one, and three ounces of boiled beef, good and tender and free from bone, just of the same quality which I had seen served a few days before in the barracks of the Grenadier Guards down in Westminster. The meat might not have all the accessories and sauces which a Delmonico or a Blanchard could provide, but it was palatable and tender to the taste.

On "off" days they have soup and thick gruel for breakfast, and sixteen ounces of bread per day. They never get beer, butter, milk, cheese, cabbage, tea, coffee, or eggs.


So, after I had seen all this "bee bread," the hunks of meat duly weighed out, the potatoes and lumps of bread packed in their panniers and delivered out from door to door—the chief[Pg 155] warder and I began to ascend a very Mont Blanc of iron staircases, and visited, one after the other, the cells of the wicked hive; in which, God knows, there was no honey making, but only wax, bitter as the book which the Apostle swallowed.

The original "comb," many stories high, had been built in one of the former yards of the gaol. The space between the different tiers of cells was quite sufficient for ventilation; but the architects had of necessity trusted more to height than to breadth, and this increased the hive-like appearance of the place. But when I came down again, the remembrance of what I had seen fresh upon me, all these iron staircases and galleries, all these shining locks, bars, numbers, plates, and "inspection holes," all these recrossing and crossing pillars, trusses, and girders, made me think that I had just left some great, bad exhibition of products of the devil's industry. One cell was, in all save its occupant, twin brother to its neighbor on either side; and so on, tier above tier, until the whole nest had been explored. I forgot to ask how many feet broad, by how many feet long, was each dungeon.

But here is one—the type of all the rest. It is as large say, as a cabinet particulier, to hold four, at Vachett's or the Moulin Rouge; but it is given up to the occupancy of one man. It is a hundred times cleaner than ever was cabinet in Paris restaurant; and here the lodger eats, reads, and sleeps. His bedding lies on a shelf on the right corner as you enter the cell. It is a pile of rugs, matting, mattress, or some other kind of bedding, packed and folded up with mathematical accuracy, with an assortment of straps and hooks disposed in corresponding order. These hooks will, by and bye, at eight o'clock, be inserted in rings in the whitewashed cell, when the prisoner will make his bed and sleep athwart his cell.

There are his gas-pipe, his basin, and mug; there is a little desk-formed table, which he can prop up with a wooden support, to eat his meals upon; there are his tin panikin and wooden spoon, his Bible, prayer-book, and hymn-book, his comb, his salt-cellar, with a neat cover of blue paper. Everything shines, glistens, sparkles, almost as bravely as the gew-[Pg 156]gaws in Mr. Benson's shop outside. The floor is of shining asphalte. The covered ceiling is without a flaw. The walls are unsmirched. A neat copy of the regulations enforced in this "hotel"—the code of discipline framed by the Sheriffs—are hung up for the prisoner's guidance. He has a ventilator, by means of which he can regulate the temperature of his cell; and I noticed that the chief warder had to tell almost every prisoner that he was keeping his cell too warm.

Among the many afflicting scenes that have taken place in the vicinity of Newgate, was that of February 23, 1807, when two men, named Haggerty and Holloway, were hanged for the murder of Mr. Steele, on Hounslow Heath. The greatest interest had been excited by the trial of these two men, and an immense crowd assembled to witness their execution.

By five o'clock in the morning every avenue was blocked up; every window that communicated a view of the place was crammed, and wagons, arranged in rows, groaned under the weight of the eager multitude. The pressure of the assemblage was tremendous; and when the criminals had been turned off—when they had given their last death struggle—the mass of the people began to move. But there was no room for them to move in.

Immediately rose the shrieks of affrighted women in the crowd, which but increased the alarm, and made each individual struggle to get out of the multitude. Hundreds were trodden under foot, and the furious and frightened crowd passed over them.

At last the confusion ceased a little, and the ground became comparatively clear.


Some who had been thrown down arose but with little damage, and went home, but forty-two were found insensible, of this number twenty-seven were quite dead, of whom three were women. Of the other fifteen many had their legs or arms broken, and some of them afterward died. Since that occurrence barriers have been erected and executions have taken place without loss of life. The system of hanging in chains has also been abolished, and Newgate may one day hope, like its brother of the Bastille, for the light of freedom to break in[Pg 157] upon its hell-holes, and show to humanity how like devils are men clad with a little brief authority.

Eighty-three years ago, the last victim, taken from Newgate to Tyburn Tree, was hung there upon the gallows in chains. The name of the criminal was John Austin. Tyburn was anciently a manor and village some miles west of London, and on this fated spot, in 1330, Roger de Mortimer was hanged, drawn, disemboweled, and quartered, for high treason. The gallows was a triangle upon three legs. Long years ago, when Dan Chaucer wrote his lays, criminals were taken to Tyburn, and hung from a lofty elm tree, which overshadowed a brook or "burn," hence the term of "Tyburn Tree." The gallows, in after years, stood on a small eminence at the corner of the Edgeware Road, where a tool-house was subsequently erected.

Beneath this spot, where the gallows formerly stood, the bones of Bradshaw, Ireton, and others, who had voted for the death of Charles I, repose, their remains, having been taken from their graves, after the Restoration, and thrown here. Around the gibbet were erected open galleries, like those at a modern race-course, from whence many thousand people, of both sexes, were wont to feast their eyes on the dying struggles of the condemned. "Mamma Douglas," an old toothless woman, held the keys of these seats, and she was, facetiously, called the Tyburn "pew opener." Prices of seats to witness the sport, varied from one and sixpence to three shillings, and in one instance, a reprieve having arrived for the prisoner in time to save his life, the mob became enraged at their disappointment, and tore up the benches. The criminal was conveyed in a cart to Tyburn, the parson chanting prayer and hymn on the route, and in passing through the quarter of St. Giles, a bowl of ale was always offered to the condemned to drink, the procession of Sheriffs, Stavesmen, and Constables, halting on the way for the purpose. Among the famous criminals executed here were Perkin Warbeck, for plotting his escape from the Tower, 1534; the Holy Maid of Kent, and her associates, 1535; the last Prior of the Charter House, same year; Southwell, the poet, 1615; Mrs. Turner, hanged in a[Pg 158] yellow starched ruff, for the poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury, 1628; John Felton, assassin of Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, 1600; and in 1662 five persons who had signed the death warrant of Charles I; 1684, Sir Thomas Armstrong (Rye House Plot); 1705, John Smith, a burglar, having been hung for fifteen minutes, a reprieve arrived, and he was cut and bled, which saved his life. Jack Sheppard was hung in 1724; Jonathan Wild, the thief taker, in 1725, and Catharine Hayes was burnt alive here in 1726, for the murder of her husband, as the indignant mob would not suffer the hangman to strangle her, as was usual, before the fire was kindled. In 1760, Earl Ferrars, who had murdered his steward, rode from the Tower to Tyburn, in his open landau, drawn by six horses, and was hanged with a silken rope, the hangman and the mob fighting for the rope, while the latter tore the black cloth on the scaffold to pieces. Oliver Cromwell's body was taken up and here, long years after he had died, hung from the tree, while his head was set on a spike of Westminster Hall. The other famous hangings were as follows: 1767, Mrs. Browning, for murder; 1774, John Rann (Sixteen-Stringed Jack), highwayman; 1775, the two Perraus, for forgery; 1777, Rev. Dr. Dodd, forgery; 1779, Rev. James Hackman, assassination of Miss Reay: he was taken from Newgate in a mourning coach. 1783, Ryland, the engraver, for forgery. 1783, John Austin, the last person executed at Tyburn.


[Pg 159]



O NE of the queerest old rookeries in London is the little old edifice in Great Knight-Rider street, just back of St. Paul's Churchyard, with its nest of courts and its ancient quadrangle, where people go to get licenses to marry—or to have divorces granted them, or to examine or prove wills—or perhaps to have a suite entered for salvage or flotsam, or jetsam,—where David Copperfield paid a thousand pounds to receive his matriculation as a proctor. This curious old relic of Roman Catholic England, where the wills of the British nation are preserved, is known as Doctors' Commons.

It is a college of civil, canon, and maritime law, and here all cases that belong to these three divisions of English law, as also divorce suits, are entered, argued, and decided.

The lawyers who practice here are all well to do, snug, aristocratic old fellows, and enjoy good living and nothing to do as no other disciples of the legal profession can.

It is called Doctor's Commons because the doctors or students at law used to eat in common, or dine together in a hall in the old days when the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledged the supremacy of the See of St. Peter.

In the Doctors' Commons are—the Court of Arches, named from having been formerly kept in Bow Church, Cheapside, originally built upon arches, and the Supreme Ecclesiastical Court of the Province of Canterbury—the other English Eccle[Pg 160]siastical Province being that of York; the Prerogative Court, where all contentions arising out of testamentary causes, are tried; the Consistory Court of the Bishop of London; and the High Court of Admiralty; all these courts hold their sittings in the college hall, the walls of which are covered with the richly-emblazoned coats of arms of all the doctors who have practiced here for two hundred years past.

The Court of Arches has a jurisdiction over thirteen parishes, or "peculiars," which form a "Deanery," exempt from the authority of the Bishop of London, and attached to the Province of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is Primate of England. This court decides, as in the days of Wolsey, in all cases of usury, simony, heresy, sacrilege, blasphemy, apostacy from Christianity, adultery, fornication, bastardy, partial and entire divorce, and many exploded offenses, which in the Nineteenth century become farcical when tried in an ecclesiastical court. Fighting or brawling in church or vestry are also offenses under the jurisdiction of this absurd old court, but they are seldom or ever brought up in these days, as the newspapers are sure to seize upon such trials as subjects for derision and satire. Still the statutes are in existence and will probably never be repealed until the Established Church of England is abolished.

There are several Registries in Doctors' Commons, under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops. Some of the very old documents connected with them are deposited for security in St. Paul's Cathedral and Lambeth Palace. At the Bishop of London's Registry, and the Registry for the Commission of Surrey, wills are proved for the respective dioceses, and marriage licences are granted. At the Vicar-General's Office and the Faculty Office, marriage licences are granted for any part of England. The Faculty Office also grants Faculties to notaries public, and dispensations to the clergy; and formerly granted privilege to eat flesh on prohibited days. At the Vicar-General's Office, records are kept of the confirmation and consecration of bishops.


Marriage licences, when required by persons who profess the[Pg 161] faith of the Established Church of England, are always procured in Doctors' Commons upon personal application to one of these old fogy Proctors, whom I saw running around the quaint quadrangle, like a hen on a hot griddle, with a roll of papers in his fleshy, fat hands. A residence of fifteen days is necessary to either bride or bridegroom, in the parish in which the marriage is to be solemnized, or not much longer than it takes a repeater to become a useful if not a legal voter in New York City. This little antique court of Doctors' Commons is in fine one of the pious swindles that the English people delight in perpetuating and groaning under, while the sinecurists make pots of money, and laugh and grow fat on the pious plunder. There are all kinds of little dodges in Doctors Commons, so that when a suitor enters here it is like a dip into chancery litigation; the victim being plucked before he leaves. Even to get married is very expensive in Doctors' Commons. The expense of an ordinary license is £2 12s. 6d.; but if either party is a minor, there is 10s. 6d. further charge; and if the party appearing swears that he has obtained the consent of the proper person having authority in law to give it, there is no necessity for either parents or minor to attend. A special license for marriage is issued after a fiat or consent has been obtained from the Archbishop, and is granted only to persons of rank, judges, and members of parliament, the Archbishop having a right to exercise his own discretion.

The expense of a Special License is usually twenty-eight guineas. This gives privilege to marry at any time or place, in private residence, or at any church or chapel situate in England; but the ceremony must be performed by a priest in holy orders, and of the Established Church. With the marriages of Dissenters, including Roman Catholics, Jews, and Quakers, the Commons has nothing to do, their licenses being obtainable of the Superintendent-Registrar. A Divorce when sought is carried through one of the courts in this profession (according to the diocese), and is conducted by a proctor; the evidence of witnesses is taken privately before an examiner of the court, and neither the husband, wife, nor any of the witnesses, need[Pg 162] appear personally in court. A suit is seldom conducted at an expense less than £200.

Then there is the High Court of Admiralty, a "precious old swindle," as a seafaring man told me it had proved to him. He was a seaman before the mast, and to get a sum of eight pounds six and four-pence, he was compelled to pay eleven pounds of costs and fees. It comprises the "Instance Court," and the "Prize Court," where the famous Lord Stowell, in one year, adjudicated upon 2,206 cases connected with the high seas.


The Instance Court has a criminal and civil jurisdiction; to the former belong piracy and other indictable offences on the high seas, which are now tried at the Old Bailey; to the latter, suits arising from ships running foul of each other, disputes about seamen's wages, bottomry, and salvage. The Prize Court applies to naval captures in war, proceeds of captured slave-vessels, &c. A silver oar is carried before the Judge as[Pg 163] an emblem of his office. The business is very onerous, as in embargoes and the provisional detention of vessels, when incautious decision might involve the country in war; the right of search is another weighty question.


The practitioners in this court are advocates (D.D.C.L.) or counsel, and proctors or solicitors. The judge and advocates wear in court, if of Oxford, scarlet robes and hoods lined with taffety; and if of Cambridge, white minever and round black velvet caps. The proctors wear black robes and hoods lined with fur.

The College has a good library in civil law and history, bequeathed by an ancestor of Sir John Gibson, judge of the Prerogative Court; and every bishop at his consecration makes a present of books.

After a case has been worked slowly through one of these ecclesiastical courts, it is then transferred to another, and after bowling the cause about for years it is just possible that it will be lost for the suitor. Suits are brought in Doctors' Commons for the most ridiculous and trivial causes, and once a man gets into the Commons, he is made to pay the piper while the sleek, fat proctors, dance right merrily to the music paid for by their unhappy victims. A case in point I will mention. The cause had just been tried in the Archdeacon's Court, at Totness, and from thence an appeal had been sought in the Court at Exeter, thence it went to the Court of Arches, and from there to the Court of Delegates, and after all this fuss and expense, the question in discussion was to know which of two persons had the legal right to hang a hat on a certain peg! This is sober truth, and no exaggeration.

But the great perfection of legal scoundrelism was, in a case where a man, named Russell, whose wife's character had been impugned by a person named Bentham, at Yarmouth, was tried. This gentleman could find no remedy in Common Law for the defamation, so he must needs go to Doctors' Commons and the Ecclesiastical Courts. The Proctor's bill amounted to £700 after the case had gone through several courts, and finally each party had to pay his own costs after the case had been contin[Pg 164]ued six or seven years; the special beauty of Ecclesiastical Courts being, that once a victim brings a suit, he is never allowed to withdraw it until it has gone the rounds of every court, thus giving fees to a score of persons, one-half of whom never hear of the case until they make up their minds to send in a bill for money. Finally, after seven years of this pious warfare, Mr. Russell, being a poor man, was ruined, and his wife's character was not half as good as when he began the suit.

The Prerogative Will Office is, however, the busiest and most interesting place in Doctor's Commons. Wills are always to be found here at half an hour's notice, and generally in a few minutes. They are kept in a fire-proof, strong room. The original wills begin with the year 1483, and the copies date from 1383. The latter are on parchment, strongly bound, with brass clasps. Here I saw the will of Shakespeare, on three folios of paper, each with his signature, and with the inter-lineation in his own handwriting: "I give unto my wife my brown, best bed, with the furniture." There is kept, also, the will of Milton, which was written when the poet was blind, and set aside by a decree of Sir Leoline Jenkins. And I saw alongside of Milton's will, the last testament of the soldier of democracy, Napoleon Bonaparte, made at St. Helena, April, 1821.

In one year 40,000 searches were made here for wills, and 7,000 extracts were made from testaments. There were, also, 5,000 commissions issued for the country. Some of the entries of wills made by the early Monks are beautiful specimens of illumination, the colors remaining fresh to this day.

Let us take a look into the Will Office, and give a glance to one of the most interesting phases of the drama of human life.


People are passing rapidly in and out of the narrow court, their bustle alone disturbing the marked quiet of the neighborhood. At the end of the court, we ascend a few steps and open a door, when the scene exhibited in the sketch is before us. All seems hurry and confusion, the solicitors turning over the leaves of bulky volumes and folios at the desks, long practice having taught them to discover at a glance the object of their[Pg 165] search; rapidly to and fro move those who are bringing the tomes and taking them back to the shelves where they belong, and as rapidly glide the pens of the numerous copyists who are transcribing or making extracts from wills, in all their little boxes, along both sides of the room.

But as we begin to look a little more closely into the densely packed occupants' faces, we see persons who are certainly not solicitors' clerks, nor officials of Doctor's Commons, but parties whose interests in a worldly point of view may be materially benefited or damaged by the investigations they are ordering to be made.

Even the weather-beaten sailor, whose rugged face one would take to be proof against any fortune, betrays a good deal of sensibility. He has just returned probably from some long voyage, and one can fancy him to have come to Doctor's Commons to see whether the relative, whom the newspapers have informed him is dead, has left him, as he expected, the means to settle down quietly in a little box at Deptford, Greenwich, or Camberwell, or some other sailor's paradise.

He steps up to the box on the right hand as directed, pays his shilling, and gets a ticket, with a direction to the calendar, in which he is to search for the name of his deceased relative. He must surely be spelling every name in that page he has turned over—ah, there it is at last; and now he hurries off, as directed to, with the calendar, to the person pointed out to him as the Clerk of Searches. A volume from one of the shelves is laid before him, the place is found, and there lies the object of his hopes and fears—the great hopeful or threatening will. Line by line his face begins to grow darker—a ghastly grin at last appears—he has not been forgotten—there is a ring perhaps, or five pounds to buy one, or some such trifle; he closes the book with a bang and a curse, and the sailor hurries back to his ship and to storm and danger on the deep, deprived of all the contentment that had so long made him satisfied with his hard lot.

But here is another picture. A lady dressed in a style of the most gorgeous splendor, whose business is of a more im[Pg 166]portant kind than a mere search—she is probably an executrix of a will—and is just leaving the office, when she meets at the door another lady, to whom she makes a low courtesy, with an expression of decided malice on her showy countenance. The successful legatee can be seen in her face, while blank and startled disappointment appears in the other woman's features.

Such is Doctors' Commons—and Such is Life.


[Pg 167]



G OING east through Oxford street, when you get near High Holborn, there is a narrow thoroughfare called Dean street. Turn down this and it will bring you to Carlisle street, a short and dark lane, a street only in name. This short street brings you to Soho Square, famous for its sauces and pickles all over the world from Calcutta to New York.

The neighborhood is a very quiet one, as by its peculiar exits and passages it is cut off from the busiest part of London on either side of it, and leaving the Holborn or Oxford street, with their crowded traffic, shops, busses, and cabs, in a moment you are in this quiet square, with its little dot of green, fresh grass; that seems a relief after the arid business waste which you have just left. Just opposite is Greek street, which leads to St. Martin's lane, where a nest of small dealers in milk, butter, eggs, and groceries herd together, and where the poor, mean chop-houses form a perfect rookery, from which comes the fumes of hot coffee, muffins, mutton chops, and kidneys all the long day. Little dirty, rosy-cheeked children play here in the gutters right merrily all the day through, and the noises of the peddlers' cries, and the joyous mirth of the children "glorious at their games," are the only sounds that break the remarkable stillness of the noonday hour.

When the gray in the sky begins to deepen, and the shades of night fall over and around this quiet square, then the scene[Pg 168] changes, and life and bustle and noisy interchange of voices fill the solitary place, which the shabby gentility of the neighborhood cannot repress or keep down. Then the coffee-shops become vocal, the pot-houses are once more vivacious, and streams of thirsty and hungry men and women pour into these places, and come out refreshed with beer and replete with cheap but plenteous food. This neighborhood is savory with macaroni and oils, betokening the presence of the Italian element, who flock to Soho Square in great numbers when they arrive in London. There are "albergos" and wine-shops where you may obtain a quarter of a fowl for ninepence, and a bottle of Marsala, which is only a darker and stronger sherry under another name, and you can get olives and brandied cherries, at dessert, for a few pence. The women who attend in these places are fat, jolly-looking persons, with rounded forms, finely shaped faces, and magnificent black hair, done up in massive bands, and they sit many hours of the day knitting on low stools at the doors of these foreign-looking inns. The customers who frequent these places are wealthy organ-grinders, men who cast figures from potters' clay and plaster of Paris, musicians and porters in the Italian warehouses along the docks, medical students, Bohemians, and the riff raff in general. One of the clay figure men wanted to sell me a well executed full length figure of Thackeray, with his spectacled, kindly face, at 7s. 6d., for which I was asked a guinea in Drury Lane, the workmanship and material being fully as good in every essential.

In the heart of Soho Square is this little dark Carlisle street, and in the centre of Carlisle street is a small, dingy public-house, called the "Carlisle Arms," which is one of the resorts of the Bohemians of London.


This old place has been from time immemorial frequented by them, and here I was brought one cool September evening by the head clerk of one of the leading publishing houses of London. This clerk was still a young man, but he had the best knowledge of books and general literature that I have ever found in a man of his position. He knew at a glance how much a book would bring, who wrote it, when it was published, and[Pg 169] how many copies were to be got, were they to be dug out of the mustiest book-stall in London. He had a familiar acquaintance with all the members of that strange tribe of litterateurs who contribute to the magazines and weekly and daily press of this the greatest newspaper city in the world. He knew who it was who wrote the last flash novel, how much he got for it, and whether he had drunk the proceeds or not. Every first and fourth class reporter in London, all the dramatic witlings and punsters, the great short-hand guns of the House of Commons, the book reviewers, and the dramatic and musical critics, were to him everyday acquaintances, and they all in turn paid him a cordial respect for his universal knowledge. I shall call him Cockerell, this marvel of booksellers' clerks.

At 8 o'clock I called at Cockerell's lodgings, which were in Rupert street, near Holborn. He lived quietly in a nice, cosy room, filled with rare and curious editions of the works of which he was most fond, and everything around the place, from the brass andirons to the quaint clock in the chimney place, betokened a steady-going, well-informed man. The "Newgate Calendar," "Cruikshank's Almanacs," for twenty years, finely illustrated, "The Slang Dictionary," "The Streets and Antiquities of London," "A History of Signboards," "Hansard's Debates," a folio "Shakespeare," "The Heads of the People," illustrated by Kenny Meadows, "Debrett's Peerage," "The Lords and Commons," several volumes of Balzac, a volume with the wills and autographs of the Doges of Venice, "Macaulay's Lays," some of "Sala's Sketches," a bound series of the Saturday Review, and some volumes of "Punch," were among his collection, besides a complete collection of the British plays, and a number of Gilray's sketches, framed, hung from the walls. "Show me a man's library, and I will tell you what he is," somebody has said, and I believe the above works, picked out of a large library, best explain the character of the head clerk who was to be my companion for the night's adventure. Putting on his collar, gloves, and an old slouch-hat, Cockerell and I reached the hall, where the maid-[Pg 170]servant, looking suspiciously at the writer, inquired from her master what time he would be home.

"I don't know, Jenny, exactly," said he, "but it will be some time before the cocks crow."

Having arrived at the "Carlisle Arms," we walked in, passing the bar, and found our way through a low passage into a back room about twelve feet wide by fifteen in length. The ceiling was low, and there was no ornament to be seen with the exception of a steel engraving of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, surrounded by a mounted staff, and surveying through a field-glass the broken columns of the first Bonaparte from an elevation on the plain of Waterloo. There were but three persons in the room, which had a round oaken table in the centre, and a quadrangle of wooden benches,—when I entered. My well-informed friend was saluted with hearty greetings by all present, and was asked what he would have to drink. This is an anachronism in English customs, for the people of this tight little island generally allow a friend to pay for his own drink, as a custom which has long ago been endorsed by the best authorities. There is no such folly known here as may be seen in every American public house, where the free and independent electors stand at a bar each hour in every day, treating one and the other with a promiscuous and reckless generosity. But among Bohemians all over the world it is different. If they cannot pay for a drink, they will call for it and treat each other with a liberality which is, to say the least, a most praiseworthy trait.


I forgot to mention that there were two vases, with faded artificial flowers, on the rusty old chimney-piece, and these flowers seemed to the Bohemians like the waters of an oasis in the desert to a party of Bedouins. All else was a blighted, sandy waste of small talk, tobacco smoke, and weak gin and water. The principal spokesman of the party, who was quite bald-headed and had but two or three teeth, rang the bell behind the door, and presently the pot-boy appeared. In the lowest of London publics the pot-boy waits upon the customers, washes the pewter pots, and cleans the tables with a dish-cloth, for a stipend of ten shillings a week in British coin. The pot-[Pg 171]boy had not more than made his appearance when in came the bar-maid, with natural light hair, one of the first bar-maids I had seen in London whose hair was not dyed.



The bar-maid surveyed the room and its occupants calmly, then asked for the orders. The pot-boy, feeling that he was only a subordinate, retired in disgust, with his dish-cloth on his left arm. One man called for "sherry weak," another for "gin and water," and a third for a "pint of cooper." The cooper was brought in a metal mug, with hoops girding it, and for this reason, I believe, the mug is called a "cooper." Pretty soon the room began to fill with stray Bohemians, who dropped in one by one and took their seats as if they feared no eviction.

In half an hour there were a dozen present, and the room was so crowded that two of them had to stand up. One or two were dandies, and wore heavy scarfs and pins, and talked French because, forsooth, they had been on the Continent.[Pg 172] Some of them were artists on the half score of comic weeklies which are to be seen in the windows of every news-shop in London. Some were wood-engravers, some were painters in a small way, and there were correspondents of the Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool papers also present. All were in the literary or artistic line, and a few had been in the gallery of the House of Commons as reporters, doing short-hand work, and there was one really clever artist, who had illustrated books by some of the best authors in England. This man was a little scant of hair on the top of the forehead, and had a light moustache. He had been to many prize-fights, and had gloated over many a frightful murder, through his sketches in the weekly illustrated newspapers. He was a merry, good-natured fellow, with a genuine fund of pleasant anecdote and a liking for Burton ale.

There was another man very quiet in appearance, and wearing a gray mixed sack coat, with his bosom open in the style of Walt Whitman. He puzzled me when I first looked at him, but after a while I found that he was a German by birth, very recondite,—from Lower Prussia, domiciled in London for many years, who had written a work with the mystical title of "Entities of God." None of his intimates had ever even read this book; with the exception of one man, (a dear friend,) who was in his debt, and had honored his friendship so far as to read the preface, but could not get any farther for a different reason from that assigned by the Heidelberg student, who, after reading a work of John Stuart Mill, threw down the book in disgust, saying that "it was too clear;" yet he was respected in this mixed assemblage of topers and clever fellows, because he had written a book that no one could understand. Such is the force of intellect.

There were two Irishmen present who sat in a corner together, drank together, gave each other a light for the pipes which they smoked, and quarreled with a fraternal regard.


One was an old man with a grey moustache, an Orangeman, who had been in America in the old days when Virginia and South Carolina ruled the Senate of the republic, and since then[Pg 173] he had been a correspondent by turns for some of the London newspapers abroad, and again a literary hack for the shabby sheets that are read in the obscure holes of the city. His friend was a much younger man, full blooded, and a thorough Irish Nationalist, although he disclaimed Fenianism. He was a reporter, and had an extensive knowledge of his professional associates on the London press. His name was Fitzgerald, and his venerable friend was known as Dawson. The German of the profound intellect was called Meyer, or Herr Meyer. The names of the French dandies I have forgotten; they were but poor specimens, and did not furnish any entertainment during the evening.

There were two reporters of the morning press at this feast of reason and flow of beer, but they did not contribute much amusement to the party, as they were discussing the respective rates of salaries on the Daily Bludgeon and the Morning Budget during the entire evening's conversation. The two Irishmen were perpetually at loggerheads about politics, "Fitz" being a Radical, Dawson a Conservative Churchman of the old school. Occasionally they gave each other the lie, and then I expected to see them striking out at each other; but in three minutes after they would vow eternal friendship, and shake each other's hand with great warmth. The name of the artist was Sullivan. Sullivan hailed the head clerk with great feeling, and as he sat down there was a drink all around.

"Well, old Cockerell," said the vivacious Fitz, "how is Slogger's book getting on with yeer people?"

"It 'ill soon be published. We have it on hand now, and expect to sell twenty thousand copies. The pictures will sell it alone, although, I must say, Slogger's text is very good for his subject. We are getting all the trade now. Every fellow that thinks he can scribble comes to us, and the big fish are also in our net. Murray must have been cut up pretty bad to find Gladstone leaving him and going to McMillan. It all comes of having a magazine. A publishing house that can command the columns of a well circulated magazine can print as many books as they like, and, what is better, they can sell[Pg 174] them. Our house does the heavy flash business, and it pays well. Old 'Swoslam' is a keen blade, and is always on the lookout for a novelty. McMillan has sold, I'm told, four editions of their magazines having the Byron article. Well, old fellow, how are you (to Sullivan), and what are you doing?"

"I'm fhoine, me dharling, and me appetite is just as good as ever, but me powers of dhrinking are failing fast. As for what I'm doing, Miss Sthabber has got me to make pictures for her new novel, which she got a hundred and fifty pounds for in the 'Thames Mag.,' and now she is going to publish it in book form. It's a nice title she has for it, 'The Red Divil of the Yallow Mountin; or, the Ghost of the Place de Greve.' I sometimes think the woman is going crazy whin she sinds for me in the mornin' to talk to her about her new books down Brompton way, where she lives. I generally find her in bed with a decanther of brandy, a pot of coffee, and a square box of cigarettes by her bedside on a table. 'Soolivan,' said she, 'I want two Convent scenes in the sixth chapter; a rocky pass, with a skeleton standing in the middle of the gap, his grisly arms outstretched, for the ninth chapter; and in the fifteenth chapter you must give me a powerful tableoo where the chief butler is discovered in the room off the banquetting hall poisoning his misthresses's wine.

"'For the details I'll trust to your powerful Irish imagination; and now, Soolivan, you low blackguard, turn your back and help yourself to the brandy while I'm putting on me wrapper, as I don't wan't you to be making fancy pictures of 'Vanus going to the Bath,' or any such gammon as that, for pot-houses, with the great female London novelist—I believe that's what they call me, isn't it, Soolivan?—as an original.' Indade, I think that Miss Sthabber is more nor half mad, but I must say that she is the divil at plots and incidents, and she drinks excellent brandy."


"Stabber is a clever woman," said Cockerell, the head clerk. "Whackem & Co., Paternoster Row, sold thirty-two thousand copies of her 'Blue-Eyed Demon' in three months, and she refused £950 for it from an Edinburgh house, so Whackem[Pg 175] must have given her more. By the way, do any of your fellows know the name of this man who has written the last new novel 'Girded with Steel?' I fancy he must be one of your newspaper fellows, because he has a lot of stuff in it about 'leader writing,' 'my note-book,' 'two columns is more than earthquake should be allowed in a newspaper,' and there are, besides, the details of editorial life which an outsider could not know. Who is he?"

"Oh, he's a young reporter on the Omniverous Clam, but I could not give his name on a pint of honor," said Fitz. "He's a clever chap, though, and will make his way. He's only been two years in the professhion, and he's the best short-hand man on the Clam now, so maybe you know who I mean now."

"It's Billingsgate," said one.

"No, it's Gravelly," said another.

"Boys, ye are not right; it's Goby, and he's five hundred and fifty pounds the betther of it, which is a nice little lump for a reporther who gets five guineas a week, and has to work like a horse for that in the session," said Fitzgerald.

"Reporthers have harder work now then they had whin I first went in the Gallery," said old Dawson. "Me father, as yez know, boys, was a reporther before me; and I might say it runs in the family. Ah! thim were good times, boys, when the ould man did his short-hand wurruk. He knew all the great reporthers of the day; and fine fellows they were, too. There was William Radcliffe, the husband of the woman who wrote all the bloodthirsty novels. Radcliffe was a mimry reporther, and he'd go to the House and sit the debates out, and nivir take a note at all, at all. Then he'd go to the office and dictate two different articles at a time to the juniors who took it all down, and out it came, sphick-and-sphan, in the morning, without a flaw.

"Then there was another grate fellow, ould Billy Woodfall, who had a paper of his own called the Diary; and that was before the House allowed the reporthers to take notes during the debates. They used to call him "Mimory Woodfall," because he'd never forget anything that he had heard; and when[Pg 176] strangers would come from the country to visit the House the first questions they would ask would be, 'Which is Woodfall?' 'Which is the Sphaker?' Me fawther told me many a story about him. He had a fashion of bringing hard-boiled eggs with him, which he carried in his hat, and whin he came to the House he'd take off his hat carefully, put it between his knees, take the eggs out, keeping his head well down for fear the Sargint-at-Arrums would see him eating, and then he'd brake the shells and eat the eggs with as great relish as if they were game pies. A reporther on an opposition paper wanted to play a joke on Billy one night, and when he laid his hat down he took the two hard-boiled eggs out and put two in the hat that had nivir been boiled at all, and when Billy wint to crack the shells the yoke sphattered all over his breeches, bedad, so it did. Billy nivir forgave the joke until the day of his death. Woodfall did all his own reporthin', and the Diary did well for a time, until the Morning Chronicle started in opposition, with Perry at the head of it. Perry hired a lot of reporthers to take notes of the debates and write them out, and by the time that Woodfall had his notes written out, the Chronicle was selling in every sthreet in London; and that was what took all the wind out of poor Billy's sails."

"Perry was a foine reporther himself, and when the House was thrying Admiral Palliser and Admiral Keppel for their loives, Perry'd send in eight or ten colyums every week of the debates, without any assistance; but, bedad, we wouldn't think much of that now. Woodfall used to say, in a joking way, that 'he had been fined by the House of Commons, confined by the House of Lords, fined and confined by the Coort of King's Binch, and indicted in the Ould Bailey,' for his offinces. Oh, them were foine times, bedad, whin you could go in and get yer nice chop and yer glass of sherry, or a sweet little sthake fresh from the rump, and maybe have the Juke of Wellington and George Canning sitting at the same table wid ye; and they'd be at the chops and sthakes too."


"Dawson, me boy, tell us about Mark Supple and the Quaker, and take another jugfull of beer to wet yer whistle," said[Pg 177] the artist, who had just withdrawn his nose from the pewter pot which he was now sadly contemplating in its mournful emptiness.

"Oh! is it Supple ye mane, Jimmy. I'll tell ye all about him, yer riverence, and I'll take a pint of sthout to strinthin' me nerves afore I begin. Ye see," said Dawson, after he had taken a long pull at the mug, "Mark was fondher of a joke than he was of his breakfast. He was a good reporther, too, and liked a little dhrop now and thin, like more of his counthrymin, God forgive thim. One night Mark was in the gallery reporthing for the Morning Chronicle, when Mr. Addington was the Sphaker. Mark was a big, raw-boned native of sweet Tipperary, and was fond of hearing a song at all times. He used to take a glass of wine or two in Bellamy's, and thin go up in the gallery and take out his note-book and whack away with the pot-hooks and colophons. Mark was a foine scholar and a janius. They say he'd dhress up a mimbir's speech, and put retterick and flowers and poethry into a dull six-mile oration, and it used to puzzle the mimbirs so that they would hardly know their own words again. Of course, they all liked Mark, and he sometimes took a good dale of freedom with thim.

"He had a mighthy quare style intirely with him, and an English mimbir who was fond of a joke, like Mark's self, said that Mark's style of reporthin' was 'a mixture of the hyperbolical, with a vane of Orientalism and a dash of the bog-throtter.' They are quick enough, God knows, to sneer about the poor bog-throtters. Well, this night was a quiet one in the House. A number of the mimbirs were asleep, some were nodding, some were at their dinners; and when Mark looked down from the gallery the Sphaker, Mr. Addington, had nothing to do, and there was a silence in the House so that you might have heard a pin dhrop. All at once Mark called out in a reckless loud voice:

"'A song from Mr. Sphaker.'

"You can imagine the horror of Mr. Addington as he stood up, his tall, thin figure stretched to its full linth, and his[Pg 178] peevish eyes scanning the House from top to bottom. Every one roared out laughing, and William Pitt had the tears sthraming down his ould, withered cheeks. After a while the House recovered its gravity, or rather its stupidity, and the Sarjint-at-Arrums began his search for the man who had hallooed in the sacred place. He went up among the reporthers, who all knew the offindhir; but none of the boys would tell on Mark, who was well liked; and, bedad, the Sarjint-at-Arrums was bursting his skin with rage. Seeing that he could not get any information, he turned to Mark, who was looking as solemn as a toomstone, and asked him if he knew who had called for a song.

"Mark purtended that he was very busy with his pencils, and, nivir sayin' a wurd, pointed his finger to a fat Quaker who sat asleep, two or three seats off, with his hands clasped quietly over the pit of his stomach. The Quaker was seized in a minute, and given into the custody of the House, vainly declaring his innocence, and was kept in confinement two hours, until Mark, in a manly way, acknowledged his crime, and was put in the Quaker's place, to meditate on his foolishness. He was brought to the Bar of the House thin, and let off, whin he promised to do betther in the future, and nivir call upon the Sphaker for another song."

"Tell us about Supple and Wilberforce, Dawson," said Fitzgerald to the veteran.

"Oh, that wasn't Supple that played the thrick on Wilberforce: that was Pether Finnerty," said Dawson. "Pether was on the Chronicle; and one night, when the House was full of business, Pether sat drinking too long in Bellamy's and lost his turn. When he got into the House, he asked some of the boys, who had been sphakin'? One of them who had been present told Pether that Wilberforce had been sphakin' for an hour.

"'What did he say?' says Pether.

"'Take out yer book, and I'll give it to ye, me boy, in a jiffy,' says the other. Pether was so far gone that he would have made Wilberforce say anything, however ridiculous, and when the other reporther began as follows, he did not see the joke:

[Pg 179]

"'Potatoes make men healthy, vigorous, and active; but, what is still more in their favor, they make men tall'—

"Did he say that, the jewel?" said Pether, who was touched with this tribute to the esculent of his native isle.


"I'll give you my word, he said it,—'and when I look around this house, and see before me such fine, vigorous specimens of Irish manhood, all reared on the potato, and think of my own stunted, weak figure and attenuated frame, I must always regret and lament that my parents did not foster me on that fragrant and genial vegetable, the beautiful potato.'"

"'Oh! murther!' said Pether; 'but Wilberforce is the fine fellow to use such poetical language;' and off he wint to the Chronicle office to write out his notes. And the next morning there it was—the thribute to the potato and all the rest of it—and all London was laughing at Wilberforce, and every one believed that he was drunk when he spoke the words. The next day Pether was brought before the bar of the House to stand his trial, and Wilberforce rose and said:

"'Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen: Were I capable of using such language as was attributed to me in a morning journal, in its reports of yesterday's debates, I would be unworthy of the attention which I now claim from this House and unfit to occupy a seat in this honorable body. Rather would I be worthy of a straight-jacket in a lunatic asylum, where I might learn better sense of the dignity of this House.' Pether was let off, like Mark Supple, and he was ever afterwards very careful in his reports. But the joke stuck to Wilberforce's coat for many a long day afther."

By this time the greater part of the Bohemians had left for their homes, and after a song and a few more stories from Fitz and Sullivan, the erratic band broke up, and the tap-room was deserted. Such was the scene—a singular one—which occurs in the old dingy Public House night after night among the wandering journalists and penny-a-liners of the London press and their associates of kindred professions. The old, haunted Public could tell many a ludicrous story of a like kind had it a tongue to speak—of the amusing, wandering, never-do-well Free Lances,[Pg 180] of the Press, who find food and clothing, and a good deal to drink, by their ephemeral contributions to the journalistic and light literature of England's metropolis.

In addition to the "Carlisle Arms" there is another resort of the higher class of writers, authors, and artists, in the neighborhood of the theatres, and this place is known to those who frequent it as the "Albion." At the Albion, there is an excellent restaurant, and well-cooked viands, and wines of the best quality, may be obtained there at reasonable prices. Choice little dinners, illuminated by wit and humor, are given here by journalists to each other.


[Pg 183]



T HE sun has risen and set for a thousand years on its gray walls; the grime and verdure of a thousand years have cemented its hoary stones; nations have grown and decayed; dynasties have been founded and wrecked irretrievably; a New World has been discovered, and inventive genius has almost changed the face of the earth and yet the Tower of London, (cemented by the blood of beasts, as the fable has it,) which saw the beginning and progress of these changes, still endures, and will no doubt endure to the end of time.



It seems a long, long time ago, that bleak Christmas day of the year 800, when the Pope of Rome placed the Iron Crown of Lombardy upon the annointed head of Charlemagne under the dome of St. Peter's, amid the huzzas of the multitude of Frankish warriors and barons who witnessed the sacred ceremony, and yet far back in that nearly barbarous age, the chroniclers tell us in their scholastic volumes of the monasteries, that a Tower existed in London and on the same spot where now the wardens patrol in their red tunics and explain historical conundrums to dull Cockneys.

And some of the chroniclers go farther back and profess to believe that the Tower is as old as the Roman occupation of Britain, and do not hesitate to say that Julius Cĉsar, who has been accused of so many good and bad deeds, was the founder of the old forbidding pile of masonry.

[Pg 184]

Be that as it may, it is old enough to have earned a lasting infamy, only once deserved in history by another grim fortress,—its twin brother and accomplice in blood and oppression, the Bastile Of Paris. That foul excresence on the fair face of the Earth has been swept away by the stormy sea of a people's vengeance, while the Tower of London still remains as a lesson of tradition, to tell of the crimes that God has permitted kings and dwellers in high places to perpetrate against the people, who have suffered and died and made no sign.

The charge to see the Tower of London is only sixpence in these days, and for a sixpence a visitor may see everything; dungeon and trap door, axe and scaffold, crown jewels and prison bars, the cages and the dungeons and graves of those who suffered and died here during the long night of centuries,—and all this for a paltry sixpence.

Amid the tramp and thunder of a hundred battles it has stood unshaken; it is too strong for the destroying hand of man; and time, as if in reverence, has trod lightly as he has stepped over its massive walls.

I saw its towers; four of them, standing up against the sky, bellshaped and surmounted by weather vanes, one day from London Bridge, and having a curiosity to see a structure, which even more than Westminster Abbey is coeval with authentic history, I walked slowly to Tower Hill, passed along the firm drawbridge, paid a sixpence and entering under the spiked portcullis, I found myself in the Lion Tower which stands at the corner of the moat or Tower ditch facing the Thames.


The extent of the Tower within the walls is twelve acres and five roods. The exterior circuit of the ditch—now a garden, or rather an apology for a garden—surrounding it, is three thousand one hundred and fifty-six feet. On the river side is a broad and handsome wharf or graveled terrace, separated by the ditch from the fortress and mounted with sixty pieces of ordnance, which are fired on the royal birthdays, or in celebration of any remarkable event. From the wharf into the Tower is an entrance by a drawbridge. Near it is a cut or short canal connecting the river with the ditch, having a water entrance[Pg 185] called the "Traitor's Gate,"—State Prisoners having been formerly conveyed by this passage to Westminster, where the two Houses of Parliament now sit, for trial. Over the Traitor's Gate is a building containing the waterworks which supply the interior with water.

Within the walls of the fortress are several streets. The principal buildings which it contains are the White or principal Tower, the ancient Chapel of St. Peter-ad-Vincula, the Ordnance-Office, the Record Office, the Jewel's House, the Stone Armory, the Grand Storehouse, and the Small Armory, besides the house belonging to the Constable of the Tower and other officers, the barracks of the garrison, and the sutler's shops, commonly used by the soldiers. It is generally a regiment of the line which serves as a garrison for the tower.

The principal entrance to the Tower is to the west. It consists of two gates on the outside of the ditch, a stone bridge built over the ditch, and a gate at the end of the bridge.

These gates are opened every morning with a strange, and for the Nineteenth century, a very fantastical ceremony.

The Yeoman-Porter with a sergeant and six men march to the Governor's house for the keys.

Having received them, he proceeds to the innermost gate, and passing that, it is again shut. He then opens the three outermost gates at each of which the guards rest their firelocks while the keys pass and repass. The gravity with which the guards perform this ceremony, and the nice precision with which they manoeuvre, is calculated to make everybody but an Englishman laugh.

On the return of the Yeoman-Porter to the innermost gate, he calls to the warden on duty to take the Queen's keys, when they open the gates, and the keys are placed in the warden's hall.

At night the same formality is used in shutting the gates; and as the Yeoman-Porter and the guard, return with the keys to the Governor's house the main guard which, with its officers, is under arms, challenges him saying:

"Who comes there?"

[Pg 186]

He answers:

"The Keys."

The challenger replies:

"Pass Keys."

The guards by order rest their firelocks and the Yeoman-Porter says:

"God save the Queen."

The soldiers then answer back:


The bearer of the keys then proceeds to the Governor's house and there leaves them.

After they are deposited with the Governor no person can enter or leave the Tower without the watchword for the night. If any person obtains permission to pass, the Yeoman-Porter attends him and the same ceremony is repeated.

The Tower is governed by its constable, called the Constable of the Tower, and the Chief Nobleman or principal person next to the blood royal, not including the Archbishop of Canterbury, is chosen to hold this office by the Queen. At coronations and other state ceremonies this officer has the custody of and is responsible for the regalia. Under him is a lieutenant, deputy-lieutenant, commonly called governor, a fort-major, gentleman porter, yeoman porter, gentleman gaoler, four quarter-gunners, and forty warders. The warder's uniform is the same as that of the Queen's Guards, or Beef Eaters.

It is rarely that the Tower is used as a State Prison, in these days. When prisoners are detained here, by application to the Privy Council they are usually permitted to walk on the inner platform during part of the day, accompanied by a warder.


The fire which took place toward the winter of 1841 destroyed a great portion of the grand armory, and materially altered the features of the Tower. The armory, said to have been the largest in Europe, was three hundred and forty-five feet in length, and was formerly used as a storehouse for the artillery train, until the stores were removed to Woolwich. A very large number of chests with arms ready for any emergency[Pg 187] were in a part of the room which had been partitioned off; and in the other part a variety of arms were arranged in elegant and fanciful devices.

A fearful destruction of property, at once curious and valuable, took place in this department; but one beautiful piece of workmanship being preserved.

This was the famous brass gun taken from Malta by the French in 1798, and sent with eight banners which hung over the gun, to the French Directory by General Bonaparte, in La Sensible, from which vessel it was captured by the English man-of-war, Seahorse.

In the Lion Tower, at the entrance, were kept the wild beasts in the olden times, for the amusement of such monarchs as James I, who was too cowardly to look upon any strife but that of chained or caged animals. Here were kept lions, tigers, bears and bulls, wild boars, dogs and fighting cocks. About one hundred and fifty years ago a young girl who was employed as servant by one of the keepers, being of a rather bold and courageous temper, she took pleasure now and then in feeding the lions, and with great imprudence one day ventured to be a little more familiar than usual with the king of beasts, relying upon his gratitude because she was in the habit of feeding the animals. This time she went too close to the cage of the lion, who caught hold of her arm and tore it from the shoulder like a shred of rotten cloth, and before any one could come to her assistance, he gave her a terrible gripe and killed her instantly.

Another individual who had charge of the lions and fed them had a very narrow escape from their claws, and he has related his story as follows:

"'Twas our custom," he says, "when we cleansed the lion's den to drive them down over night into a lower place in order to rise early in the morning and refresh their day apartments by cleaning them out; and having through a mistake, and not forgetfulness, left one of the trap doors unbolted which I thought I had carefully secured, I came down in the morning before daylight, with my candle and lantern fastened before me to my[Pg 188] button, with my implements in my hands to despatch my business, as was usual, and going carelessly into one of the dens, a lion had returned through the trap door, and lay couchant in the corner of the den, with his head toward me. The sudden surprise of this terrible sight brought me under such dreadful apprehension of the danger I was in, that I stood fixed like a statue, without the power of motion, with my eyes steadfast upon the lion and his likewise fixed upon mine.

"I expected nothing but to be torn to pieces every moment, and was fearful to attempt one step back, lest my endeavor to shun him might have made him the more eager to hasten my destruction. At last he roused himself, as though to have a breakfast off me; yet, by the assistance of Providence, I had the presence of mind to keep steady in my posture, for the reasons before mentioned.

"He moved toward me, but without expressing in his countenance either greediness or anger; but, on the contrary, wagged his tail, signifying nothing but friendship in his fawning behavior; and after he had stared me a little in the face, he raises himself up on his two hindmost feet, and laying his two fore paws upon my shoulders, without hurting me, fell to licking my face, as a further instance of his gratitude for my feeding him, as I afterwards conjectured; though then I expected every moment that he would have stripped my skin, as a poulterer does a rabbit, and have cracked my head between his teeth, as a monkey does a walnut.

"His tongue was so very rough, that with the few favorite kisses he gave me, it made my cheeks almost as rough as a pork griskin, which I was very glad to take in good part without a bit of grumbling, and when he had thus saluted me and given me his sort of welcome to his den, he returned to his place and laid him down, doing me no further damage; which unexpected deliverance occasioned me to take courage, that I shrunk back by degrees till I recovered the trap door, through which I jumped and pulled it after me, thus happily through an especial Providence, I escaped the fury of so dangerous a creature."

[Pg 189]


The Tower was for many hundreds of years an object of suspicion to the good citizens of London, who deemed the massive fortress a standing threat against their rights and privileges. Whenever a monarch wished to wrest concessions from the Londoners, to wring a large sum of money from their fears, or commit some other act of despotism, it was customary, just previous to the attempt against the people, to strengthen the Tower in its weakest part, and a ditch, or a wall, or a bastion was constructed, to enable the Governor or Constable of the Tower to hold the fortress for his Lord the King, in case the citizens should resist the attempt on their purses or their liberties.

How little the gaping Cockneys and bulbous-eyed rustics, who stroll around through the different apartments of this mighty castle, know or even dream of the great deeds, terrible crimes, and high resolves of those who have inhabited this Tower of London during a thousand years of its most eventful and troubled history.



One dark night during the first years of the reign of Henry I, before the Traitor's Gate had attained such a terrible fame as it afterward obtained from the number of the victims who have passed under its grimy arch, never to pass out except to the block on Tower Hill, a shallop with two men whose arms lie between their feet at the bottom of the boat, and a third whose arms are bound, stops at the wall where the Water Gate is now shown, and in reply to the sum[Pg 190]mons of one of the armed men, the portcullis is hoisted, and Ralph Flambard, the fighting, choleric, and rebellious Bishop of Durham, passes under the arch a prisoner to the King, and the massive iron gates, rusty even then, are shut firmly ere the sound of the boat's oars have been heard by the wardens in the Inner Tower.

In a few days he makes a number of friends among the officials of the Tower by his merry temperament, and as state prisoners were always allowed to furnish their own tables in the fortress, the jolly bishop has many a heavy carouse. Tun after tun of hippocras, canary, and sack is conveyed to him, and he dispenses those medieval beverages to the knights and men-at-arms—pages and guards, with no stinted measure. One evening the Bishop receives a long and strong coil of rope in a puncheon of Malmsley, and that very night, after he had drank all the knights, men-at-arms and wardens under the oaken tables, the jolly bishop flies to the ramparts, lowers himself down into the ditch, and like the plucky prelate that he was, escapes from Henry's wrath.

One fine summer day when Henry III is King of England, Cardinal Pandulph, the Legate of the Pope, presents himself and a long train of attendants, with sumpter and service mules, at the land postern of the Tower, and after a loud flourish of trumpets to announce his arrival, the Cardinal is admitted to the presence of the King; and throws a bag of Rose nobles on the table before the young monarch, for in those days the Majesty of Britain did not scorn to borrow 200 marks of Cardinal Pandulph, and one hundred marks of Henry, Abbot of St. Albans. The money market was very tight in those days, and Kings often held dealings with pawn-brokers, for we find Henry VIII pledging or melting down nearly all the crown regalia to satisfy his creditors.


There is an apartment of very large and fine proportions in the third story of the White or Main Tower, supported by two rows of beams. The timber ceiling is flat, and the walls are pierced with windows on one side and heavy arches appear on the other side; the whole structure being of the rudest con[Pg 191]struction, yet grand looking withal; and this is the great Council Chamber of the Tower, in which some of the most startling and memorable scenes in English history have occurred.

It is Monday, September 29, 1399. The day, which was overcast in the early morning, has turned out fair and bright, and the Council Chamber and all the approaches to it are crowded with the highest nobles, temporal and spiritual, in the land; steel clad knights, mitred abbots, proud bishops, grave judges in cap and ermine, peers and lackeys, stand on the stairs and in the ante-rooms, to catch a word or get a look at the coming grand historical farce which is to end at last in a terrible tragedy.

It is the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, and as the sun streams through the stained glass of the oriel windows, and the shouts of the London prentices at their games of ball, are wafted to the warder on the battlements, who carries his partisan to and fro; a deputation from each house of Parliament, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and other great Nobles, enters the Council Chamber to hold a conference with the reigning Monarch Richard II, now about to resign his Crown to the Protector Bolingbroke, who afterward as Henry IV, will encounter more vicissitudes and suffering than the monarch he is about so cruelly to depose.

The nobles seat themselves, the Protector enthrones himself, and a ghastly figure, that of Richard II, stalks moodily into the Chamber, clad in kingly robes, his sceptre in his hand, the Crown upon his head, and there is silence for a moment among all present. Then Richard says in a broken voice, but distinctly, "I have been King of England, Duke of Aquitaine, and Lord of Ireland about twenty-one years, which Seigneury, Royalty, Sceptre, Crown and Heritage, I now clearly resign here to my cousin, Henry of Lancaster, and I desire him here, in this open presence, in entering of the same possession, to take the sceptre;" "and so," says Froissart, "he delivered it to the Duke, who took it," and kept it, also, he might have added.

[Pg 192]

Before a year had elapsed the unfortunate monarch was put to death in Pontefract Castle by order of his successor, Henry IV.

On a May day, in 1471, the streets of London resound with music, and the populace are all in holiday attire to welcome Edward IV, who returns victorious from the battle of Barnet, where he has slain, in cold blood, Prince Edward, son to Henry VI, who is a prisoner in the Tower. Next day Henry dies in a suspicious manner, and Edward has leisure for a little while to found the Order of the Garter.

Edward dies, and he is not cold in his tomb before Richard III ascends, or rather usurps the throne.

Edward has left two boys, the eldest of whom is lawful heir to the Crown, by Elizabeth Wydville, his wife.

One dark night, the wind soughs in the trees and moans around the battlements of the fortress, as two men, Miles Forest and John Dighton, hired assassins, enter the sleeping chamber of the two young princes. They steal to the bed, and having covered the mouths of the lads with the bed-clothes and pillows, they throw their heavy bodies across the couch. There are some faint, stifled moans, for a few minutes, and then all is still but the mournful music of the storm without, for the murderers have done their work but too well.

Sir James Tyrrell, who has been in waiting outside to see that the bloody deed is accomplished, walks in, looks at the distorted features of the children, gives an order in a whisper, and the still warm bodies are carried out, and down a dark stone staircase, and are buried there beneath a heap of stones to moulder till the Resurrection.

Here comes William Wallace, patriot and hero, to the Traitor's Gate, in the year 1305, and after languishing in prison for months he is tied to horses' tails and dragged forth, through Cheapside, and thence to Smithfield, to die the death of a dog, his mutilated body being torn to pieces in the presence of a noisy and hostile rabble.

From this place, Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, is also dragged forth to St. Giles, in the Fields, and having been hung[Pg 193] up over a slow fire by a chain from the middle of his body for two hours he is slowly roasted to death. He was a follower of Wickliffe.

The Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV, is hurried to his death in the Tower by Richard III, who orders him to be drowned in a huge hogshead of sweet wine! A mode of death chosen, it is said, by the victim himself in preference to any other.

The good and pious Sir Thomas Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, eighty years of age, is imprisoned here, and is left to starve and rot in a dungeon of this place of infamy. His misery is such that the man of God has to write Secretary Cromwell, minister of Henry VIII: "Furthermore I beseech you to be good, Master, in my necessity, for I have neither shirt, nor yet other clothes, that are necessary for me to wear, but that be ragged and rent too shamefully. Notwithstanding, I might easily suffer that if they would keep my body warm. But God knoweth, also, how slender my diet is at many times. And now, in mine old age, my stomach may rot away but with a few kinds of meat, which if I want, I decay forthwith."

When this God-fearing man was taken out to be beheaded, his bones showed through his skin, and women wept and fell fainting at the cruel sight.

In the Beauchamp Tower, at the very bottom or foundation, is a subterraneous cell known as the "Rats' Dungeon," a hideous hell-hole, below low-water mark, and dark as the despair of the human souls who were confined there in the days when men were fond of cutting each others' throats for conscience sake. At high water, thousands of rats sought shelter in this dungeon until the floods subsided. Woe be to the poor wretches there confined when the rats swarmed in, screaming like human beings in agony.

In this den, prisoners were starved when the rack had failed to wring a confession from them. Here all their shrieks and struggles were drowned deep in this infernal hole with only the eye of the Almighty to look upon the maddening hor[Pg 194]rors which the wretched prisoners had to endure before Death came to relieve them.

One night with the rats was enough,—at break of day only a heap of gnawed bones remained to tell the tale.


In one of the upper stories of the Tower there is an apartment with one grated window and a rough oaken planked floor, where Anne Boleyn was confined when her royal paramour had determined to send her neck to the axe. The unhappy woman, as she passed through the Traitor's Gate, read her fate in its dread aspect, and as she passed beneath its arch she rose in the barge, fell on her knees and prayed God to have mercy on her, and defend her from her Royal lover's rage. When she was shown her apartment, its naked and forbidding aspect terrified her sore, and she cried out in a maniacal frenzy, "It's too good for me, Jesu have mercy upon me." Then she knelt down weeping and laughing like a mad woman. When her head lay on the block the executioner was afraid to strike off her head, as she refused to have her eyes bandaged, and at last he had to take off his shoes, and cause another person to approach her while he came from behind and clumsily hacked off her head.

When the Marchioness of Salisbury, an aged and venerable lady, was led to execution, she stoutly declared she was not a traitor, and refused to lay her head on the block, and the headsman was compelled to follow her all around the scaffold, striking at her as if she was a bullock, until finally her gray head was hacked off.

The Princess Elizabeth, afterwards Queen of that name, having been suspected of complicity in the hasty insurrection of Sir Thomas Wyatt, she was committed to the Tower by order of her sister, Queen Mary.

As she passed under the Traitor's Gate, through which her mother, Anne Boleyn, and Wyatt (who had fought for her) had preceded her, the proud heart of Elizabeth failed her and she burst into tears. At first she refused to get out of the boat, but seeing that force would be used, she cried out to the rowers—

[Pg 195]

"Here landeth as true a subject, being a prisoner, as ever landed at these stairs; and before Thee, oh God, I speak it, having no other friend than Thee."

Proceeding up the stairs she seated herself, and being pressed by the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir Thomas Brydges, to rise, she answered:

"Better sit here than on a worse place: for God knoweth and not I, whither you will bring me."

She lived to be Queen of England, and the mercy which was shown to her she refused to many a poor wretch, whose bones Elizabeth allowed to be gnawed clean and bare in the "Rat's Dungeon."

One more scene of horror.


As Lady Jane Gray passed out of the Tower by the postern gate to Tower Hill, she beheld the headless corpse of her husband (who had just been decapitated) carried out on a cart to be buried in the Tower chapel of St. Peter-ad-Vincula.

"All, Guilford, Guilford," said she, "the ante-past is not so bitter that thou hast tasted, and which I soon shall taste, as to make my flesh tremble; it is nothing compared to the feast of which we shall this day partake in Heaven."

Then she passed on to the scaffold.

When on the scaffold she turned to the crowd and said:

"And now good people all, while I am yet alive, I pray of you to assist me with your prayers."

Then she knelt, and turning to Father Feckenham, the Queen's chaplain, asked him:

"Shall I say this psalm?"

And Father Feckenham, who was afterwards Lord Abbot of Westminster, answered:


Then she said the psalm Miserere Mei Deus and stood up and gave her book, gloves, and handkerchief to her two attendant ladies; and she commenced to untie her gown.

The executioner said:

"Shall I assist you to disrobe, Lady Jane?"

She answered him quickly:

[Pg 196]

"Nay, leave me in peace," and her two ladies advanced and disrobed her.

The headsman then desired her to stand on the straw, after her ladies had tied a kerchief about her eyes, and as she complied with his request, she asked him:

"Will you dispatch me quickly? Will you take it off before I lay me down?"

"No, Madam," said he to the last question.

Then Lady Jane felt for the block, her eyes being bandaged, and groping, she said:

"Where is it? Where is it?"

Laying her head on the block, she said slowly:

"Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit," and at that instant, her neck being bared, there was a glitter of steel, a dull thud, and her head rolled in the sawdust.

The Jewels and Royal Regalia are kept in a glass case, well guarded by a warden, who is never allowed to leave the apartment for an instant, unless when relieved. There is a charge of sixpence extra to see the Jewel House, and a constant stream of visitors may be found in this part of the Tower, the ladies particularly taking a great interest in the splendor of the royal treasures.

St. Edward's Crown, first worn by Charles II, has since his time been worn by all the monarchs who have ascended the throne of Great Britain. This is the identical crown stolen by the daring Col. Blood, and the one which was placed on the head of Queen Victoria when she was crowned in Westminster Abbey, nearly two hundred years after it was stolen. It is a very magnificent one, surmounted with a cross of diamonds. The new crown, made purposely for her Majesty, is also here, and is made of purple velvet, hooped with silver, and richly adorned with diamonds. The ruby in it is said to have been worn by Edward, the Black Prince, five hundred years ago, and the sapphire in it is considered to be of great value; the crown altogether is estimated to be worth £100,000. King Edward's Crown is supposed to be worth at least £200,000.


The Prince of Wales' Crown is formed of pure gold, without[Pg 198] many jewels, while that of the Queen's Consort, formerly worn by Prince Albert, is enriched with pearls, diamonds and other precious stones, and is worth about £80,000.


1. Queen's Diadem. 2. Prince of Wales' Crown. 3. Old Imperial Crown. 4. Queen's Crown. 5. Queen's Coronation Bracelets. 6. Temporal Sceptre. 7. Spiritual Sceptre.

The Queen's Diadem, valued at £75,000, was made for Maria d'Este, the unfortunate Queen of James II, who stood cowering in the rain and sleet, under the walls of Lambeth Church, that awful night when her husband abdicated, and William, Prince of Orange, landed at Torbay. Before James crossed the river at Westminster, to join his wife in their flight from England, he threw the Great Seal of Britain into the Thames.

St. Edward's Staff, a part of the regalia, is four feet seven inches long, bearing at the top an Orb and Cross, the orb containing, it is said, a portion of the Cross on which our Saviour died.

The Staff is made of beaten gold, to the bottom of which is fixed a steel spike, no doubt intended for defence, as a strong arm would be able to drive it through any assailant. Nothing is known authentically of the history of this Staff, but it is supposed to date back as far as the time of the Crusades, on account of the portion of the cross which it is said to contain.

The Royal Sceptre is of gold, ornamented with precious stones; also with the rose, shamrock, and thistle, emblematical of England, Scotland, and Ireland, all in gold; the cross is richly jewelled, and contains a large diamond in the centre; the length of the Sceptre is two feet nine inches, and it is valued at £40,000.

The other jewelled articles of the regalia are valued at £300,000, and are as follows:

The Rod of Equity is three feet seven inches in length, and is made of gold set with diamonds. The Orb at the top is encircled with rose diamonds, and in the cross, which surmounts it, stands the figure of a dove with wings expanded. This is sometimes called the Sceptre with the Dove. Another sceptre called the Queen's Sceptre with the Cross, though much smaller, is very beautiful in design, and thickly set with precious stones.

[Pg 199]


The Ivory Sceptre was made for Maria d' Este, and another sceptre, found behind the wainscotting in the apartment in which the regalia was kept, is said to have been made for the Queen of William III.


1. Imperial Orb. 2. Golden Salt Cellar of State. 3. Anointing Spoon. 4. Ampulla.

There are also two other Orbs, well worthy of observation, as are also the Swords of Justice, the Ecclesiastical and Temporal; and the Sword of Mercy or the Curtana, as it is called. This is pointless, as so is its title, which could have no point when the sword was wielded by an English monarch.

Then there is the Ampulla, to hold the Holy Oil for anointing the foreheads and palms of the hands and necks of sover[Pg 200]eigns. It is said that Queen Victoria dispensed with the anointing of her royal neck, fearing that it might soil a very costly lace chemisette which she wore at her coronation. The Ampulla is made in the shape of an eagle, and the base holds the oil. Besides the jewels already mentioned, there are several others, among which are the Armillae, or Coronation Bracelets, made of gold and rimmed with pearls; the Coronation Spoon, for pouring out the oil, which is very ancient; and the Golden Salt Cellar, shaped like a castle, with Norman turrets, windows and doors. Then there are other salt cellars, a baptismal font, where the royal children are baptised, a silver wine fountain, and many other valuables which I have not room or desire to enumerate. Altogether, the crowns, diadems, sceptres and other articles of the regalia, are worth about seven millions of dollars, and they are of no use whatever, excepting for show.



It must be remembered that hundreds of people die annually of starvation in London, while these jewels, valued at seven millions of dollars, are growing rusty, and every shilling which[Pg 201] bought these jewels was wrung from the blood, labor, and misery of the ancestors of the radical voters who compose the English Trade Unions, and follow the standard of John Bright. A just and honest Parliament would order the sale of these Crown jewels, and the sum realized might find many happy homes in the New World for those who now starve in the rookeries and lanes of London.

There is only one attempt to steal the English Crown Jewels, mentioned in history, and that was a most audacious one, and planned with a skill worthy of the man who made the attempt.

The robbery was committed by Col. Thomas Blood, in 1673.

He was a native of Ireland, born in 1628.


In his twentieth year he married the daughter of a gentleman of Lancashire; then returned to his native country, and having served there as a Lieutenant in the Parliamentary forces, received a grant of land instead of pay, and was, by Henry Cromwell, son to Oliver, made a Justice of the Peace. On the Restoration of Charles II, the Act of Settlement, which deprived Blood of his possessions, made him at once discontented and desperate. He first signalized himself by his conduct during an insurrection set on foot to surprise Dublin Castle and seize the Duke of Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. This insurrection he joined and became its leader; but it was discovered on the very eve of execution, and was rendered futile.

Blood, who was neither afraid of man or devil, escaped the gallows, the fate of some of his associates, and concealing himself among the native Irish patriots in the mountains, and ultimately he escaped to Holland, where he was favorably received by Admiral de Ruyter, the Dutch Nelson.

Always ready for battle and spoil, we next find him engaged with the Covenanters in their rebellion in Scotland in 1666, when being once more on the side of the losing party, he saved his life only by stratagem.

Thenceforward Col. Blood appears only in the light of a mere adventurer, bold and capable enough to do anything his[Pg 202] passions might instigate, and prepared to seize fortune where-ever he might find her, without the slightest scruple as to the means employed. The death of his friends in the Irish insurrection, seems to have left in Blood's mind a great thirst for personal vengeance on the Duke of Ormond, whom accordingly he seized on the night of December 6th, 1676, tied him on horseback to one of his associates, and but for the timely aid of the Duke's servant, would have hanged the astonished and paralyzed noble on Tyburn Tree, where he attempted to convey him. The plan failed, but so admirably had it been contrived that Blood remained totally unsuspected as its author, although a reward of one thousand pounds was offered by King Charles for the discovery of the attempted assassins.

He now opened to the same associates an equally daring but much more profitable scheme, had it been successful: to carry off the Crown Jewels. It was thus carried out—Blood one day came to see the Regalia, dressed as a parson, and accompanied by a woman whom he called his wife; the latter professing to be suddenly taken ill, was invited by the keeper's wife into the adjoining apartment. Thus an intimacy was formed which was so well improved by Blood, that he arranged a match between a nephew of his and the keeper's daughter, and a day was appointed for the young people to meet. At the appointed hour came the pretended parson, the pretended nephew, and two others, armed with rapier blades in their canes, daggers and pocket pistols—a nice wedding party indeed.


One of the number made some pretence for staying at the door as a watch, while the others passed into the Jewel house, the parson having expressed a desire that the Regalia should be shown to his friends, while they were waiting for the approach of Mrs. Edwards, the keeper's wife, and her daughter. No sooner was the door closed than a cloak was thrown over the old man and a gag was forced into his mouth; and thus secured they told him their object, telling him at the same time that he was safe if he kept quiet. The poor old man, however, faithful to the trust imposed in him, exerted himself to the utmost in spite of the blows they dealt him, till he was stabbed[Pg 203] and became senseless. Blood now slipped the Crown under his cloak, another secreted the Orb, and a third, with great industry, was engaged in filing the Sceptre into two parts, when one of those coincidences, which a novelist would hardly dare to use, much less to invent, gave a new turn to the proceedings.

The keeper's son, who had been in Flanders, returned at this critical moment. At the door he was met by an accomplice, stationed there as a sentinel, who asked him with whom he would speak. Young Edwards replied, "I belong to the house," and hurried upstairs; and the sentinel, I suppose, not knowing how to prevent the catastrophe he must have feared otherwise than by a warning to his friends, gave the alarm.

A general flight ensued, amidst which the robbers heard the voice of the old keeper once more loudly shouting, "Treason! murder," which, being heard by the young lady, who was waiting anxiously to see her lover, she ran out into the open air, reiterating the same cry. The alarm became general and outstripped the conspirators.

A warder first attempted to stop them, but being very fat, at the charge of a pistol which was fired, he fell down without waiting to know if he was hurt, and so they passed his post. At the next door, Sill, a sentinel, not to be outdone in prudence, offered no opposition, and they passed the drawbridge.

At St. Katharine's Gate their horses were waiting for them; and as they ran along the Tower wharf they joined in the cry of "Stop the rogues," and so passed on unsuspected till Captain Beckman, a brother-in-law of young Edwards, overtook the party.

Blood fired a pistol but missed the Captain, and was immediately made prisoner.

The Crown was found under his cloak, which, prisoner as he was, he would not yield without a struggle.

"It was a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful," were the witty and ambitious fellow's first words; "it was for a Crown!"

Not the least extraordinary part of this affair was the subsequent treatment of Col. Blood. Whether it was that Blood had frightened Charles II, by his audacious threats of being[Pg 204] revenged by his numerous associates, in case of his death on the scaffold, or else captivated him by his brilliant audacity and flattery combined, it is certain that Blood, instead of being punished as he should have been, was rewarded with place, power, and influence, at court. Instead of being sent to the gallows, he was taken into especial favor, and all applications through him to the King, for favors, were successful.

It is said that Blood had told the King that he had been engaged to kill his Majesty, from among the reeds by the Thames' side, above where Battersea Bridge now spans the river, but was deterred from the crime by the air of Majesty which shone in the King's countenance.

What more delicate flattery could be administered to a King than this?

Blood died peaceably in his bed in the year 1680.

It was not to be expected that the notorious favoritism of the King toward Blood should escape satirical comment, and the Earl of Rochester, a shameless scoundrel himself, wrote, on the attempt to steal the Crown:

"Blood, that wears treason in his face,
Villian complete in parson's gown,
How much he is at Court in grace
For stealing Ormond and the Crown!
Since loyalty does no man good
Let's steal the King, and outdo Blood."

Edwards and his son were awarded £300 by a not over generous Parliament, but the delay in payment of the sum was such that Mr. Edwards was compelled to sell his claim for £120 to a Jew. In this case virtue had its own reward, but no other.


On the neighboring Tower Hill, which is now covered by fine mansions, and where the shaft has just been sunk, giving admission to the Thames Subway under the River, in the old days of violence and blood, many a noble head was brought to be hewed off by the executioner's shining axe. Lady Raleigh lived here on Tower Hill after she had been forbidden to visit her husband in the Tower. William Penn was born in a little old house in a little old dusty court on Tower Hill, and it was[Pg 205] here that he first imbibed his horror of bloodshed and capital punishment. At the "Bull," a public house on Tower Hill, on April 14, 1685, died Otway the poet, of starvation, and around the corner in a cutler's shop, which is numbered with the things that were, Felton bought a large jack-knife for ten-pence, with which he assassinated the magnificent Duke of Buckingham. At No. 48 Great Tower street, is situated the Tavern called the "Czar's Head," built on the site of an old pot-house, in which the Emperor Peter the Great, and some low companions, used to meet to drink fiery potations of brandy and smoke clay pipes.

In the very same spot, where the scaffold was formerly erected, and where the gouts of blood fell dripping from the severed necks of victims of the axe, marine stores are now sold, and sea-biscuits, pea-jackets, hour-glasses, and quadrants are offered for sale.

The scaffold was generally built on four strong posts with a platform, five feet high, and in the centre of the platform was placed the block. The victim was generally bound, unless by desire the binding was omitted.

For the gratification of those curious in such matters, it may be as well to give the bloody head roll of the most illustrious of the victims executed on Tower Hill, and the date of their decapitation.

June 22, 1535, Bishop Fisher; July 6, 1535, Sir Thomas Moore; July 28, 1540, Cromwell, Earl of Essex; May 27, 1541, Margaret Pole, Countess of Shrewsbury; Jan. 20, 1547, Earl of Surrey, the poet; March 20, 1549, Thomas Lord Seymour, of Sudeley, by order of his brother, the Protector Somerset, who was beheaded Jan. 22, 1552; Feb. 12, 1553-4, Lord Guildford Dudley; April 11, 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt; May 12, 1641, Earl of Strafford; Jan. 10, 1644-5, Archbishop Laud; Dec. 29, 1680, William Viscount Stafford, "insisting on his innocence to the very last;" Dec. 7, 1683, Algernon Sydney; July 15, 1685, the Duke of Monmouth; Feb. 24, 1716, Earl of Derwentwater and Lord Kenmuir; Aug. 18, 1746, Lords Kilmarnock and Balmerino; Dec. 8, 1746, Mr. Radcliffe, who had[Pg 206] been, with his brother, Lord Derwentwater, convicted of treason in the Rebellion of 1715, when Derwentwater was executed; but Radcliffe escaped, and was identified by the barber who, thirty-one years before, had shaved him in the Tower. Mr. Chamberlain Clark, who died in 1831, aged 92, well remembered (his father then residing in the Minories) seeing the glittering of the executioner's axe in the sun as it fell upon Mr. Radcliffe's neck. April 9, 1747, Simon Lord Lovat, the last beheading in England, and the last execution upon Tower Hill, when a scaffolding, built near Barking-alley, fell with nearly 1,000 persons on it, and twelve were killed.


[Pg 207]



A FTER leaving the Old Jewry Lane and passing up Cheapside, we came into the Poultry just as the rain had ceased, and as great rifts in the masses of fog were breaking through the opaque atmosphere. The Poultry is a short street which runs up to the Mansion House, and during the noon of the day is nearly impassable from the amount of traffic done there. Now the shops were all closed, and the bell of St. Paul's rang out for midnight, the echoes stealing over the city and the river in a ghostly way that thrilled through the hearts of the pedestrians who were darkness-bound in the streets. We passed through the Poultry into King William street, and on past Cannon street, with its warehouses and retail stores, by East Cheap, until we could see London Bridge, in all its vastness, looming up like a sleeping giant, the dark arches girding the river in seemingly everlasting bands.

The detective said: "Let's go down the stairs of the bridge and see some of the characters that find board and lodging down the steps. They're a hawful set, some on 'em."

The Thames lay at our feet, spread out like a map. The sky was clearing, and the river was very quiet. Now and then the sullen waters, driven in an eddy against the huge piers, could be heard plashing in a secret, stealthy manner, and anon they would recede and come back again, plash! plash! plash! All about us was so still; not a sound to be heard as we leaned over one of the alcoves in the bridge. Below us, to the left,[Pg 208] the Catharine Docks, full of shipping; the London Docks, full of shipping; Shadwell lined with lighter craft—all so still, and the million of masts looking ghostly in the holy light of the midnight. Over on the right, Bermondsey-way, more shipping—countless spars pointing up to the midnight skies; the Pool choked with shipping—coal barges, eel-boats, East India vessels, brigs and schooners, barks and black-hulled packets, lying high in the water; flat-bottomed barges for carrying sand and for dredging; the gray coping stones of the Tower hanging over the water, and the stillness of death on noisy Rotherhithe, and a pall over the immense West India docks.

This great river, this river of all the nations of the world, with their tributes laid at her docks and their gifts on her broad bosom—how quiet it is just now. A matchless stream for its congregated wealth. Miles of warehouses, miles of stone docks, miles of shipping, and thousands of seamen. And yet a dirty and turbid and ungrateful river at times, when it overflows the fish-stalls, when it overflows the high street in Wapping and drowns myriads of rats in Upper and Lower Thames street.


We went down the "London Stairs." Every bridge that spans the Thames has four stairs or flights of stone-steps running down to the water's edge. These stone stairs are generally twenty or twenty-five feet wide, and they run down, for a hundred broad, massive and capacious steps, to where the tide comes in. There are turns in the stairs, and stone platforms—where the magnificent stone embankment has not been completed, as it is at Westminster Bridge down the river—under whose vast arches hundreds of human beings find shelter from the inclemency of the weather. I may say here that there is not such a city in the world as London for vagrancy and vagabondism of the worst kind despite the fact that there are 7,000 police in the metropolitan district; and besides this force for prevention, the work-houses in the West District, composing Kensington, Fulham, Paddington, Chelsea, St. George's, Hanover Square, St. Margaret, and St. John, and Westminster, furnish in and out door relief to 18,000 persons. Marylebone,[Pg 209] Hampstead, St. Pancras, Islington, and Hackney, in the North District, provide for 24,820 persons. St. Giles, St. George, Bloomsbury, the Strand, Holborn, and City of London, in the Central District, provide for 19,127 persons. Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, St. George in the East, Stepney, Mile End Town, and Poplar, provide for 28,713 persons, in the East District. In the Southern District, St. Saviour, Southwark, Rotherhithe, and Bermondsey; in St. Olave's, Lambeth, Wandsworth, and Clapham, Camberwell, Greenwich, Woolwich, and Lewisham, there is provision for 38,487 persons. Here we have a total of 128,880 men, women, and children, occupants of the union work-houses of the metropolis of London, with a population of less than three and a half millions. Besides this number, there are thousands of casuals who receive lodgings in the work-houses; and outside this fearful aggregate there are roaming in and about London at least 15,000 vagrants—or, as they would be called in America, "bummers"—who do not frequent the work-houses from various reasons, and consequently have to "bunk out," as we would call it in New York.

At the bottom of some of the bridges there are heaps of rubbish and old rotting planking, some of which rubbish is carried off when the tide leaves the stones of the bridges. Then there are old boat-houses, and rows of long, stout-built boats for hire; but at night there are no persons to watch these boats, and they are used as berths to sleep in by the vagrant vagabonds who haunt the recesses of the bridges. When the tide recedes in the Thames, it generally leaves a space of twenty to two hundred feet of the inshore bottom of the river bare on the Surrey side, and this is generally a soft, drab-looking mud, with a treacherous look, where man or beast might be swallowed up without any warning. When the detective and I went down into the dark recesses of London Bridge, that night, the river was at the flood, and the rubbish was being carried away by the incoming tide. This was on the Surrey side of the river. There were about a dozen persons beneath the first archway, making, in fact, a perfect gypsy encampment. Eight of these persons were of the male sex, and beside these there were two[Pg 210] old haggard-looking women and a grown girl of twenty years or thereabouts, and a child of ten years, in all the glory of rags and destitution. The oldest man in the party might have been fifty years of age, and the others were younger, one of them being a stout, able-bodied young fellow of eighteen or nineteen. Some of the party were asleep, and were snoring most comfortably, as the rain did not penetrate to their place of sleeping; but every few minutes a gust of wind came howling down the river and burst through the arches with a mad fury, making the sleepers turn uneasily on the stone steps.



The old fellow, who seemed to be a confirmed vagrant, from his slouchy look and greasy, unpatched clothes, had built a small fire of the refuse which abounded in the arches, and he was drying pieces of driftwood that had floated from the scaffolding on the new Blackfriar's Bridge down the river. He was warming his hands and slapping them, and the little girl[Pg 211] of ten years was stooped over the fire, toasting an enormous potato on the end of a splinter of wood.


"What are you herding here for, Prindle," said the detective to the old fellow, who looked up in a morose way and muttered something under his teeth which sounded like "D—n the bobbies."

"I'm a trying to get somethink to heat. Vy vill yer foller a cove everywheres as wants to get a mouthful to heat. I haint done nothink as should bring you here arter me. I'm not hon the pad now hany more."

"I don't want yer pertikler, I don't; but stop yer jaw and keep a civil tongue in yer head, will ye," said the sergeant. "Whose gal is that ere a toasting the taty with the skiver?"

"I'm blessed hif I knows whose gal it his. Ye don't suppose that I'm the man as makes the Post-hoffice Di-rek-te-ree. She haint mine, I know, cos I'm not a fool, nor never vos, to have any children. I must say she is werry 'andy at the taties when a feller wants to get some winks. But, I say, you got nothink aginst me from the Beak, 'ave you?"

"No, I have nothing against you just at this partickler moment, but I dunno how soon I'll have," said the sergeant. "But I have brought a gentleman here who wants to get some information about this 'ere precious family of yours, and how you contrive to live, and I want you to answer him civilly, or I may find something against you that would hurt your tender feelings, you know."

"He wants some hinformation habout me and my family, does he? That's a precious lark, that is. Why doesn't he stay in his bleeding bed and cover his nose hup in the sheets. I never asked 'im about his familee, as I knows on. Wot a werry pecoolier taste he has, to be sure. Maybe he's one of them rummaging Paper chaps as is halways a torkin about the rights and dooties of the vorkin' classes, and is a-ruinin' of the country's blessed prosperity?"

"Father, answer the man civilly, will ye. Yer halways a-making trouble for yourself by yer bad tongue, and it does[Pg 212] other people harm as well as yourself. Tell him wot you have got to tell, and he'll go away."

This was said by the young girl, who now came forward and stood looking at the old man eagerly. She was robed in an old calico gown, rather tattered at the bottom, and quite besmirched with the washings of the Thames mud which had clung to the stone stairs of the bridge. The girl was well formed and tall, and her dress hung from a good figure. Her eyes were black and glittering, and her bold, coarse, handsome face was seared with the traces of evil passions, hardship, and reckless despair. The girl's face told her story before she had spoken. Childhood and girlhood reeking with the foulness of the gutters, and then the matured woman a castaway in the deadly miasma of the London slums.

"There, aint that a precious daughter for a loving father like me. Oh, she's a comfort to me in me hold hage, so she is. And she talks of wirtue and gets on the 'igh 'orse with her poor old father sometimes, and makes him veep. Oh, vot an ungrateful family I've got, to be sure. She's no better than she ought to be, anyhow."

"Oh, stop that bloody talk, old man," said the stout, able-bodied young fellow, who seemed to be a person of influence in the out-door establishment. "W'ats the use of throwin' sich things in the gal's face. Molly's a gal jest like any one else's gal when she can't get anything to eat. I don't blame her a bit."


"If I am bad, Jem," burst out the girl, raging with passion, and her eyes filled with tears, "who made me so? Who kept chiming into my ears that I had a pretty face and that I ought to sell it? Who, I say? Who was it," continued the girl, clenching her hands, and her face blazing with excitement, "that struck me last Christmas night, come two years, and pitched me out of the hole that we lived in on Saffron Hill? And then I had to seek a livin' in the streets, and when I was hungry I took money and sold myself to perdition; and then I had a father who used to steal it from me when I'd come home to sleep, and he'd take the few shillings that I earned by my[Pg 213] shame, to go and drink it, and none of ye were ashamed to live on the money that lost my poor soul. Not one of ye." Here the girl, utterly exhausted, sat down on the stones and wept as if her heart was going to break, while the ragged child, who had by this time succeeded in burning her fingers a number of times, looked on in wonder at the sudden turmoil of vagabondism. The son, a powerfully built fellow, looked up and said:

"Molly, I wish your devilish trap ud shut. Wot good does this do any of ye, I'd like to know. Here I've been hon the aggrawatin' tramp for two weeks, and I hexpected to see yes all comfortable like, when I kum home, in Saffron Hill, down St. Giles way, and here I finds yes hall a-living hunder London Bridge by night, and a-beggin, or doin' wuss, in the day time. Hits enuff to make a saint swear at his blessed liver."

"Wuss luck, Jem; wuss luck, Jem; I halways knew as how it would come to this, a-sooner or a-later," said an old crone in the corner of the archway, who was smoking a pipe and whom I believed to be fast asleep.

"Well, sir, if ye'v got no hobjection," said the stout young man, "I'll tell you our story. It isn't much of a story to tell, after all. The old man there went to be a navvy and got two shillings a day until he took to drink; when he had work on the Great Western. They used to swindle him in the Tommy shops. Them's the shops, you see, where a contractor who 'as the job to bulk it, keeps the groceries and grub for the navvies. They skin the navvies so terribly, do these Tommy shops, and when his week is up, a man has nothing left out of his vages, cos', you see, they halways manages to run up the bill as high as the week's vages. Oh! they are precious scoundrels!"

"Don't call them scoundrels, Jem. Hit's too good a name for them haltogether," said the old man, who was beginning to doze.

"Will you shut up?" savagely said the hopeful son; and then he continued, when he had taken a whiff at the pipe: "Well, by and by the old man got to drinking so much beer that the whole of the wages was drawn for lush, and he had[Pg 214] nothing to eat during the week excepting what the other men gave him for charity."

"Hevery word of that's a lie, Jem. Wot a precious talent you have, to be sure, for habusin of your poor old fayther."

"Will you shut up, d—n you?" said the dutiful son, who was fast losing his temper at being interrupted so often by his fond parent. "I wos away at sea down on a Cardiff coaster, when the old man came home, and the gal, there, Molly, was a lace-maker, and wos making eight shillings a week, and the old woman used to make penny baskets to carry fish home from the markets, and she got, I suppose, as much as—how much did you make on them ere baskets, mother?"

"Two and sevenpence ha'penny a week, Jem, and some of the stuff wos rotten has an egg, Jem, and I halways had bad hies, Jem—you know I had—a-crying for you when you wos a blessed baby."

"There, stop that bell-clapper of yours, will ye? Yez are all crazy, I think. Well, the short and the long of it wos, that the old man came home and began to drink everything that he could put his hands on, and Molly lost her place because the old un would come haround her place of business, in Tottenham Court road, and her hemployer as was said as 'ow he's blessed if he'd stand hit hany longer, 'aving such a drunken old bloke a-comin around his shop; and then the gal took to the street, and she got two months in the Bridewell for wagrancy, and when she came hout she was wuss nor ever, and then the family got put hout cos' they could not pay the rent in Saffron Hill, four bob and a tanner a week; and it all comes of that hold man a-drinking like a swine that we are here to-night hunder London Bridge."

"How can you tell sich voppers, Jem, about yer poor old fayther? Ven you was about two hinches 'igh I used to dandle ye hon me knee, and now look at yer hingratitude to the hauthor of your beink."


"Guv us a taty, Jenny," said the son to the little girl, who was now engaged in pulling three or four from the dying embers of the fire; and he snatched one and tore a piece out of it[Pg 215] eagerly, hot ashes and all. Just then a low steamer went past, with her red signal light shining like a huge glow-worm out upon the surface of the dark river, and as she went under the bridge her whistle shrieked out on the night air like a demon, and at the same moment the bell of St. Saviour's in Southwark, on the Surrey side of the river, tolled in a brazen tone the hour of one o'clock, and Sergeant Scott suggested to me that we might as well go about our business and leave the Cadgers to themselves. "Cadger" is a Cockney term for people who will not work and have no habitation, but go from one place to another, roaming loosely, picking up anything they can get, honestly if they can get it that way, and if not they will not hesitate to steal for a living, or beg when they find people charitable enough and willing to commiserate their supposed sufferings.

There are about 2,500 of this class in and around London, continually changing their places of residence, and to this class the hopeful family under London Bridge belonged.


[Pg 216]



T HE Lungs of London, through which her large masses of population find respiration and ventilation, are her parks, gardens, and pleasure grounds.

The city is admirably provided with these oases, which occur frequently in the great desert of brick and mortar.

Nothing can be more grateful to the eye of the stranger sojourning in the English metropolis, than the frequent views which he encounters of smooth bits of lawn, upon which large numbers of sheep browse peacefully; acres of flower beds, in the care of the most celebrated florists; sheets of water in which nude bathers are disporting with perfect freedom; or long and wide expanses of green trees and shrubbery, enclosed by high iron railings, but free to all the citizens to enjoy and to hold forever.


Beside the parks and gardens, London has an infinity of squares, commons, and crescents, which are surrounded by private residences and inclosed by railings and walls—such as Trafalgar Square (public), Bedford, Cavendish, St. George's, Grosvenor, Leicester, Soho, Belgrave, Euston, Finsbury, Fitzroy, Portman, Russell, Wellclose, Hanover, Brunswick, Eaton, Berkeley, Golden, Mecklenburg, Red Lion, Tavistock, and a great number of other squares which I do not now call to mind. The majority of these places have plots of grass and trees, with[Pg 217] fountains and flower-beds, varying in size from a quarter of an acre to three acres in extent. Then again others have not a blade of grass or a single shrub to dignify their lonely aridness, and the hum of cartwheels and the noise of brawling men and women, are heard all day and into the night ascending from them. Half a dozen of them, like Belgrave, Grosvenor, and Berkeley Squares, are hemmed in on all sides by the gloomy and palatial dwellings of the governing class of England, who seek to absorb even a stray blade of grass, or the leaves of a scantily clothed tree, sooner than allow the poor and degraded to enjoy them.

And so we have green spots, like Golden and Soho, and Wellclose Squares, exhibiting the various gradations from squalid poverty to shabby gentility; and in Belgrave and Grosvenor Squares we have all the indications of refinement, wealth, perfumery, silks, and satins, combined with a resolve which says to Golden and Wellclose Squares,

"You are of a different nature from us. We belong to a class which knows you not, and with whom you can never mingle—never. You are polluted and degraded. We are the salt of the earth. We lock the iron gates of our private squares, and you must not enter them; and yet we have parks and preserves, and Swiss Chalets, and villas at Mentone and Rome, and spas at Hombourg and Baden."

And accordingly and most dutifully misery shrinks by high iron walls in the heart of London, or at most will only peer furtively through the iron grating of Grosvenor and Belgrave Squares.

But the public parks belong to the people, and by the people they are enjoyed most thoroughly. Children, old and young, gray-beard and adolescent, all flock to these parks; and Regent's Park or Hyde Park, on a summer Sunday afternoon is a splendid sight, and a similar one cannot be obtained anywhere else but in Paris pleasure grounds, on a Sunday, and it was Paris that first taught London to respire through these public lungs of hers.

[Pg 218]

The dimensions of the public parks and gardens of London are as follows:

Battersea Park,    200 acres.
Kensington Gardens,    380  "
Finsbury Park (in progress),    300  "
Green Park,      71  "
Regent's Park,    450  "
Victoria Park,    290  "
Primrose Hill Park (Cricket Grounds),      50  "
St. James Park,      83  "
Hyde Park,    395  "
Southwark Park (not completed),    120  "
Kensington Oval, (for Cricket Ground),      12  "
Cremorne Garden,      10  "
Botanic Garden, Chelsea,      12  "
Royal Botanic Garden (Regent's Park),      20  "
Horticultural Gardens (Cheswick),      35  "
Kew Gardens,      60  "
Buckingham Palace Gardens,      40  "
Temple Gardens,        7  "
Zoological Gardens,      18  "
Greenwich Park,    200  "
Richmond Park, 2,253  "
5,006  "

Here are five thousand acres of parks, pleasure grounds, gardens, and cricket fields, all in fine order, and under careful and economical supervision. Surely London is well provided for in the way of open air amusement. Besides, bands play in the different parks and squares almost daily. In St. James Park, Regent's Park, and Hyde Park, bands play every afternoon in inclosures set apart for that purpose. Some of these bands are formed of old musicians and veterans who have served in the Crimean and Indian wars. There is a body of men distributed over London, who wear a uniform of semi-military fashion, and are called the "Corps of Commissionaires," who can be sent on errands, with or for packages or letters, and from this body two full bands have been formed, who earn a decent subsistence by playing in St. James Park and Regent's Park, every pleasant afternoon during summer.

[Pg 219]


In the inclosures, where these bands furnish music, chairs are arranged, and all persons who enter and take seats are expected to contribute two-pence toward the musicians for the pleasure of hearing the music.



There are also sheets of water in Regent's Park, Victoria Park, Battersea Park, St. James' Park, and Kensington Gardens. The sheet of water, or stream, in Hyde Park, is known as the "Serpentine River," from its sinuous course. This is quite a large sheet of water, and is much frequented for free bathing, on warm days in the heated term. Here, thousands of people may be seen on a sultry afternoon, plunging to and fro in the cool waters, and in case of any accident—for the water is deep—the boats, ropes and drags of the Royal Humane Society's Life Saving Apparatus, are always ready for immediate use, and numbers of people are rescued and taken from the Serpentine, and resuscitated.

When the winter months come, and the Serpentine becomes[Pg 220] frozen over, the Londoners congregate there in great numbers to skate, or play at golf or curling.

There is a large lake in the Regent's Park ornamented with small, well-wooded islands, and in Kensington Gardens there is one of the finest museums of art, science, and curiosities, in the world. There are rocky dells, and grounds for sham fights, in Hyde Park, there are the rarest exotics in the Palm House at Kew, and every known species of bird, beast, reptile, and fowl, may be found in the Zoological Gardens, which comprises eighteen acres of space in the Regent's Park.

In Richmond Park, which is ten miles distant from the London Post Office Centre, there are two thousand three hundred acres of hill, dale, plain, and forest, and here are to be found deer-parks, rabbit warrens, romantic foot-paths, ancient oaks, horse-chestnuts, and thorny ridges, with a variety of sequestered spots for pic-nics and pleasure parties. This noble park can be reached by a sail of fifteen miles on the River Thames, which is skirted by Richmond Park for some distance.

There is a grand Observatory for scientific purposes in Greenwich Park, which is noted all the world over for its correct calculations, and all the watches and clocks in Great Britain are set by Greenwich time.


Bushy Park, at Hampton Court, where there is a splendid gallery of ancient and foreign paintings and sculpture, the property of the nation, and free to the people, was formerly the residence of Cardinal Wolsey. This royal palace and park is to London what St. Cloud is to Paris. The palace stands on the banks of the Thames, and when completed, in 1526, for the great Cardinal, it contained 282 apartments, and as many beds. The Great Hall is inferior to none in England, and is ornamented with stained-glass windows, stags' heads, spears, flags, trophies, figures of men-at-arms, and other medieval ornaments, and the walls are hung with tapestry, depicting the story of the Patriarch Abraham's life. The largest grape-vine in the world grows in the park, and extends over a space of 3,000 feet. This vine was planted one hundred years ago, and produces, every year, about 2,000 bunches of black, sweet grapes,[Pg 221] which are reserved for the Queen's private table. An attendent, showing the royal vine to me, informed the writer that it was high treason to steal the grapes, and I have no doubt that he believed what he said. The Queen has, also, a bed-room here, which she wisely refrains from sleeping in, as, I have no doubt, she would catch influenza from the draughts.

But the great curiosity of Hampton Court Park, is the "Maze," an intricate complication of pathways, that wind in and out, and which have served as a standing conundrum and riddle from time immemorial, for the amusement of the Cockneys. Any one who enters this maze without a guide cannot leave it again, so intricate and puzzling are the foot-paths, which are overshadowed, embowered, and interlaced with young trees and umbrageous shrubbery. By fastidious Londoners this maze is called the "Labyrinth."



One of the most popular places of rural resort in the vicinity of London, is the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, a suburb of the metropolis, and about ten miles from the city.

It is no exaggeration to say, that next to St. Peter's, at Rome, this is the most wonderful structure in the world, and equals in point of magnificence, some of the creations of the Arabian Nights.

When the great World's Fair of 1851 ended, there was a general desire among all Englishmen, that this magnificent structure, which had held the great cosmopolitan show, should not be destroyed. A committee of some nine gentlemen was formed, by whose direction it was taken to pieces for the pur[Pg 222]pose of reconstruction. This committee had purchased the building, and a company was chartered with a capital of £500,000, in shares of £5, and so confident were the Londoners of the success of the new scheme, that the shares were quickly taken up and the operation of removing the vast building to Sydenham, its present site, was commenced.


The new structure was begun, and the first column raised, on the 5th of August, 1852; and, immediately after, several gentlemen were despatched to the principal cities on the Continent for the purpose of bringing to England casts of the finest pieces of sculpture in existence, and other specimens of the fine arts. The splendid Park, Winter Garden, and Conservatories were committed to the management of the late Sir Joseph Paxton, who invented the architectural part of the Palace of 1851. The arrangements of the various other departments were assigned to men of eminence and skill, in whose hands the structure grew, until it quickly attained its present splendor, and the New Crystal Palace was at length opened to the public on the 10th of June, 1854. Some idea of the magnitude and extent of the operations carried on in the fitting up of this enormous house of glass may be gathered from the fact, that at one time there were no fewer than 6,400 men employed in carrying out the designs of the directors. The edifice is completely transparent, being composed entirely, roof and walls, of clear glass, supported by an iron framework; and it is said that these materials are more durable than either marble or granite, and, if properly cared for, will utterly defy the ravages of time. The extreme length of the Palace, including the wings, is 2,756 feet; which, with the colonnade leading from the railway-station to the wings, gives a total length of 3,476 feet, or nearly three-quarters of a mile. The width of the great central transept is 120 feet; and its height, from the garden front to the top of the louvre, is 208 feet, or six feet higher than the Monument on Fish Hill. It consists of a basement floor, above which rise a magnificent central nave, two side-aisles, two main galleries, three transepts, and two wings. In order to avoid sameness and monotony in such an immense surface of glass, pairs[Pg 223] of columns and girders are advanced eight feet into the nave at every seventy-two feet. An arched roof covers the nave, and the centre transept towers into the air in fairy-like lightness and brilliancy. There are also recesses twenty-four feet deep in the garden fronts of all the transepts, which throw fine shadows, and relieve the continuous surface of the plain glass walls; and the whole building is otherwise agreeably broken into parts by the low square towers at the junction of the nave and transepts, the open galleries toward the garden front, and the long wings on either side. The building is heated to the genial temperature of Madeira, by an elaborate system of hot-water pipes, and the supply of water is drawn from an Artesian well. The Tropical Department, once a great feature of the Palace, has ceased to exist; having been destroyed by fire about three years ago.



There are large and beautiful pleasure grounds all around the Crystal Palace, and all the great national fetes, concerts,[Pg 224] and open air demonstrations, take place here. Patti, Nillson, and Sims Reeves, sing here in benefits for charitable associations, and for a shilling, a person may listen to ballads on Saturday afternoons, at these concerts, sung by the greatest living English tenor. Then there are acres of restaurants and dining saloons inside and outside of the Crystal Palace, and apparatus and cooking utensils are on the premises, whereby ten thousand people may find dinner, all at one time, and sit down to tables in five minutes after dinner has been ordered. During the long summer evenings, promenade concerts are held at the Crystal Palace, and fireworks are let off in the presence of great crowds, who enjoy the sports and junketings much as a New York crowd may do on a Fourth of July night, in the City Hall, or Madison Park.

The contents of the Palace itself are calculated to puzzle the brains of a philosopher. Everything wonderful, curious, precious, or difficult to find at any other place, may be found at the Crystal Palace.

Specimens of architecture, sculpture of all ages, tombs, temples, busts, statues, capitals, hieroglyphs, from Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Italy, portions and entire courts from the glorious Alhambra, gigantic relics and ruins from the Palaces of Babylon, Susa, and Nineveh; fragments of the Christian temples of Italy, the castles and churches of Germany, the Chateaux of Belgium and France, and the Cathedrals and Mansions of England, from the earliest ages to the present time, all of which are arranged in "courts" in the most systematic order.

Beside these there are many Industrial "Courts" containing the most wonderful and useful inventions of the genius and scholar. Then there are gigantic models of the tremendous animals who existed before the flood, with models of huge and hideous reptiles, and saurians, who did their level best in the same period.

Some sunny Saturdays as many as fifty thousand people pay visits to the Crystal Palace, and to see and enjoy all these won[Pg 225]ders, the charge is only one shilling, including concerts, music, fireworks, and flirtations.

The last time I was there it was on the occasion of the Royal Dramatic Fete, for the benefit of the profession, and fully a hundred thousand persons were present, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, and many of the nobility.


The entire cost of grounds and building, with works of art and curiosities, was seven million dollars. There were 15,000,000 of bricks, 6,000 tons of iron, 20,000 loads of timber, 300,000 superficial feet of glass, 1,200 iron columns, one mile and a half of clerstory windows, and other materials in proportion, used in the construction of the edifice, and the space of ground enclosed under the transparent roof is twenty-five acres, being one-fifth greater than the area of the base of the Great Pyramid.


[Pg 226]



E NGLAND has been singularly unfortunate in her Royal Families.

York and Lancaster, Plantagenet and Tudor, Stuarts or Hanoverians, they have been, with here and there an odd exception, a very bad lot, morally speaking.

It is a curious history of crime and bloodshed, of dishonor, perjury, and harlotry, this history of the Monarchs of England, since the days of William the Norman, who had three illegitimate children, and massacred thousands of his Saxon subjects every year, down to the days of George IV, the most gentlemanly blackguard of his time and of Europe.


Roll back the hoary gates of the past, and look at Richard Crookback, who reveled in blood, and died in Bosworth Ditch, a death only a little better than that of Edward IV, whose children Richard basely murdered, and we find succeeding him a scoundrel like the Eighth Henry, a brutal fiend, with his six successive wives, all of whom perished miserably, but the first and last wives, Catharine of Arragon and Catharine Parr; and then we find his two children—Mary, an honest fanatic, burning human beings for the honor of God; and next comes Elizabeth, who has been facetiously styled the Virgin Queen—with her paramours and favorites. Follow this hideous old spinster to the yawning verge of the tomb, and she is still to be seen with her parchment visage and grey hairs, seeking new[Pg 227] lovers, or butchering the unfortunate Queen of Scots, until at last the dread moment of all approaches, when she tells her horrified chaplain that she will give millions of money for a moment of time. Then we have a pusillanimous monarch, James I, who spends his best years discovering witches and writing fantastical and forgotten treatises against tobacco, or permitting a man like Bacon—whose life was worth that of a thousand Kings, to be degraded and made miserable, till at last his great, far seeing eyes are closed in a final sleep—his heart having broken to pieces in the meridian of his genius.

Then comes Charles I, a good man in his mild way, a patron of the arts, a good husband and father, but withal he is doomed to the block.

Vainly he endeavors, in battle and statecraft, to stem the onward march of the people who are determined to hurl all obstacles from their path which stand in the way of their new ideas.

And now comes up the Brewer, Oliver Cromwell, one of Carlyle's heroes, (and by the way, all of Carlyle's heroes are dripping with blood,) a most accomplished and unrelenting butcher, one who thanks God for his "precious mercies" when a thousand men, women, and children are driven over a bridge into a deep river beneath, impelled by the pikes of his ruffianly soldiery. Then he dies, and Charles II, a dissolute royal scamp succeeds, and he of course has to dig up the crumbling skeleton of Cromwell to hang it on Tyburn tree, that all men may see what manner of divinity it is that should hedge around a King.

Think of this royal vagabond, who has for his mistress a Stewart, a Duchess of Cleveland, a Louise de Queroailles, who also becomes a Duchess of Portsmouth, and last but not least, poor simple, soft hearted Mistress Nelly Gwynne, who left to the nation Greenwich Hospital to atone for her lost soul.

It might be expected that in these days of the daily newspapers and telegraph wires, of railroads, female suffrage and personal journalism, that royalty, and notably, English royalty,[Pg 228] would improve, from a slight sense of decency and a proper regard for public opinion, if for no other cause. Let us see.

Ten years ago I vainly endeavored to penetrate the dense masses who lined Broadway, New York, and filled the air with their shouts, as an open barouche, containing the then Mayor of the chief city of America, sitting on the back seat, and a fair faced youth with flabby skin and retreating chin, clad in a scarlet uniform and having an Order of the Garter pendant from his breast, passed up the thronged thoroughfare between two lines of citizen soldiery, whose bayonets, bright as silver, reflected back the many hues of the excited and surging masses.

Five hundred thousand people of both sexes had turned out in holiday attire, that ever memorable day, to do honor to a foreign prince, whose government, since that thoughtless hour, sought during the terrible confusion of a civil war, by every means in its power, by money, influence, by Alabama pirates, by unceasing and bitterly hostile journalistic attacks, by speeches in and out of Parliament—through the pulpit and the rostrum, to destroy the Republic of the West. In fact that government moved Heaven and Earth to annihilate and obliterate the liberty, union, and might of the American people.

Such a reception had not been given, twenty-five years before, to the gallant, noble-minded, and chivalric Lafayette, the companion of George Washington, one of the finest characters in all history, or the unwritten records of mankind.

This fair-faced, flabby-skinned youth, in the lobster colored and laced coat, who stood up in the open carriage, (hired from the New York Corporation hack-driver-in-chief, and charged for in the bill afterward rendered, at five times the real price,) was no less a personage than Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Fellow of Trinity House, Colonel of a Regiment of Foot, a General in the British Army, (like Captain Jinks,) Baron Renfrew, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Dublin, and eldest son of Queen Victoria that is, and in the future to be King of England and Defender of the Faith, by the Grace of God and the permission of the Radical English Trades Unions.

[Pg 229]


He was not a very bad looking lad of nineteen or twenty, that sunny afternoon, as he bowed repeatedly and raised his Generals' chapeau, with its plume of feathers, and doffed it to the radiant republican female faces, and curtesied like a backward school boy, in acknowledgement of the wild shouts which pealed upward in the clear atmosphere, although no spectator there could have accused him of having an intellectual or cultured face. How well we can all now remember, to our shame, the manner in which he was petted, and caressed, and toadied, and dined, and wined, until in the estimation of his toadies he had almost attained the stature of a God, this boy with the retreating chin and imbecile face—this hope and pride of the Guelph family.

Still with all the marked and inherent imbecility of a descendant of George III in his features, the young scion of royalty had not, at that time when I first saw him, developed the seeds of immorality, want of honor, meanness, and utter sottishness which have since made his name infamous among his subjects, and despised by the princes of Europe.

The young lad for whom America could not do too much honor in feteing and feasting, has since surrounded himself with pimps, panders, parasites, and blackguards, of the lowest kind.

His name is a bye word of scorn in the British metropolis, and for a lady of rank or position to be seen three times in his neighborhood, is certain dishonor to her and her relatives.

It was nearly ten years after that bright sunny day, in Broadway, with its shouting multitudes and noisy cheers, before I again saw His Royal Highness Albert-Edward Prince of Wales.

One night, in going through High Holborn, and being without any settled purpose as to where and how I should spend the evening, I accidentally noticed the blazing gas lamps of the "Casino," a well-known dancing hall, frequented by the loose livers and aristocratic idlers of the English Capital.

After a moment's hesitation I entered and found the place—as is usual on summer evenings at all the London dancing halls—pretty well crowded.

[Pg 230]

Scores of couples, of both sexes, were whirling frantically in the Old-World Teutonic waltz, and in the flushed faces and excited gestures of the gyrating dancers I could notice a total forgetfulness of modesty and decorum.

From the alcoves came the sounds of the clinking of wine-glasses, the rattle of Moselle bottles, the pop, pop, of champagne corks, and songs, choruses, and loud shouts of laughter, together with a Babel-jabber of many confused tongues.

My attention was attracted while listening to the music from the fine band, to a group that occupied a position which partially screened them from the glances of the larger portion of the audience and dancers, sitting and standing back as they did in an alcove.



There were a dozen persons, perhaps, in the party, of both sexes, five or six men fashionably attired, and as many women, in all the grandeur and magnificence of harlotry—open and defiant—but well-bred harlotry.

There were two central figures conversing in this group, and I could see that they were listened to with attention while speaking, one of them, particularly, a slightly bald-headed man, having secured the ears of his audience.

The other central figure was a woman, beautiful, but of that beauty which is leprous to the sight, and fatal to those who encounter it as the shade of the Upas Tree.

"Who is that man?" said I to an usher, nodding in the direction of the bald-headed person.

[Pg 231]

"That man" said the flunkey, "why, that's not a man, that's His Royal 'Ighness the Prince of Wales,—and long may he reign over us."

And this worn, blase, sottish and almost brutally stupid-looking person in the Scotch tweed suit, with drooping eye-lids and sore eyes,—as if he seldom went to bed, and then did not stay long in it, looking to be forty-five years of age; prematurely bald, and without a particle of that apparent divinity which, it is said, doth hedge a monarch, was the self-same young lad of twenty, whom I had seen environed by bayonets in Broadway, ten years before.


But how changed he was! Long nights of dissipation and debauchery had seamed the once youthful and unwrinkled features, and the under part of the face hung in heavy, adipose folds, like the dewlaps of a bullock. His figure was stout and without grace, and to me he seemed like a beer-drinking bagman or commercial peddler, half John Bull, half Hanoverian. The tweed suit, a material which he affects very much, was not at all calculated to set off or adorn his figure, and the great grandson of George III looked very undignified indeed as he leaned over the painted harlot resplendent in silks, and glistening with jewels, who is known to all wild London scapegraces, and young men about town, by the name of Mabel Gray, a name assumed for a purpose—to hide her identity with the gutters from which she has sprung.

The Prince of Wales, despite all the counsels and admonitions of the Queen (of whom whatever may be said, the merit cannot be denied her of being a good mother), has, I regret to say, the reputation of being a very sorry scamp.

His intimates are, generally, the worst and most abandoned roues of the Clubs, the lowest turf blackguards and swindlers, and when he chooses a companion who is not a swindler or a blackguard, a debauchee, or a decoy, he is sure to be a fool.

The young man standing by the side of the Prince of Wales when I entered the dancing hall, was Charles, Lord Carington, whose mother was of the great family of d'Eresby, the head of which is Lord Willoughby d'Eresby, Lord High Cham[Pg 232]berlain of England, to whom is entrusted the duty of looking after the morals of the English people and the sanctity of the British drama. It is he who gives passes to the House of Lords on Saturdays, on slips of blue paper which the unwashed are very eager to obtain; and it is also the duty of the Lord High Chamberlain to watch every new burlesque when produced, in order that the skirts of the ballet girls and blondes may be of the proper length, and not too short for the proprieties.

Lord Carington's grandfather was a rich man named Smith, who was ennobled for some reason or another, and his large fortune and title has descended to the present possessor, who is known to be one of the wildest and most rakehelly young noblemen in London. He is a lieutenant in the Guards of the Queen's Household Brigade, and one of the boon companions of the Prince of Wales. The latter is constantly to be found in company with this "Charley Carington," as he is called, who was the perpetrator of a most cowardly outrage upon the person of Mr. Grenville Murray, an aged gentleman who was supposed to be proprietor and editor of the "Queen's Messenger," a satirical weekly journal, in which Mr. Murray was said to have written several scathing articles upon the "Hereditary Legislators" of England. In one of these articles a sketch was given of Lord Carington, under the title of "Bob Coachington, Lord Jarvey," in which the practice of driving a mail coach and four horses to and fro between London and its environs and taking up passengers for money, a favorite pastime of Lord Carington, was referred to in no very flattering terms. For this supposed affront, without any positive proof to warrant the outrage, the gallant Lord Carington, aged 25 years, set upon Mr. Murray, as he was coming out of the Conservative Club, of which he was a member, and beat him badly. Mr. Murray is about 60 years of age, and was of course not able to defend himself, and when he sought justice in the usual way at the Marlborough Street Police Station, of the magistrate, Mr. Knox, he found the Prince of Wales and a number of titled ruffians sitting on the bench along side of the dispenser of justice!

[Pg 233]


Of course Mr. Murray received no justice in that Court, and not only was he refused satisfaction, but in addition an attack was made upon the person of his counsel, when a libel suit had been preferred against the "Queen's Messenger," by the aristocratic friends of Lord Carington and the Prince of Wales, who did this to intimidate him from writing farther in his journal of the scandalous conduct of the Queen's relations and the rottenness of the higher nobility.

In addition to this Mr. Murray was expelled from the Conservative Club by a ballot of one hundred and ninety votes, only ten members of the Club having the personal courage to withstand the influence and threats brought to bear against them by the Prince of Wales, Lord Carington, and their minor satellites.

Lord Carington is fond of driving his coach and four and taking up passengers in the outskirts of London, charging them a nominal fare. While sitting on the box or seat of the coach he usually holds to his lips a huge horn, which he toots like a raving maniac, much to his own satisfaction and the edification of the floating community, who with the fondness of all Englishmen for a live Lord, smile benignantly if not affectionately upon this imbecile young nobleman.

In the words of the song, the "Prince of Wales goes everywhere to see the sights of town" with Carington, and at the Dramatic fete at the Crystal Palace in 1869, while his beautiful, good, and neglected wife sat on a dais and received the donations for the Dramatic College, the Prince manifested in public his intimacy with Carington by laughing and conversing with him, arm-in-arm, much to the horror of all the pious old dowagers who were present and had heard wild stories of Lord Carington.

Mabel Grey, who has ruined scores of young aristocrats and brought them to beggary, is the reputed mistress of Lord Carington, and has made several visits with him to Paris, Baden, and other places on the Continent. It is said that he has already squandered twenty thousand pounds upon this well-bred harlot, and it is the current talk in London that the Prince of Wales has also been on terms of an improper intimacy with Mabel[Pg 234] Grey. At all events he is not ashamed to be seen speaking to her in Casinos or addressing her in public places, and the dear Prince has on several occasions been seen drinking champagne with her in the music halls and dancing rooms of the English capital. This is a very bad business for a bald-headed father of five children.



The Prince of Wales, with all his immense riches, is mean and very penurious in money matters. He will argue for fifteen minutes with a cabman in the street about an over-charge of a sixpence, and has been known to get into an altercation with ticket sellers in the box offices of places of amusement for the sake of a shilling or half a crown, in a most undignified way. One night when getting out of a cab at Cremorne the driver attempted to charge the Prince four shillings for a ride when he should have charged him but two-and-sixpence. The Prince, who was a little intoxicated, refused to pay the over-charge. The London cabbies are the most impudent,[Pg 235] brassy set of fellows I ever saw, and this cabman was more than usually pugnacious. The Prince attempted to go into the Garden, and had presented his ticket, when the cabman with a yell clutched his coat, and tore away the skirt in the struggle to get more fare. The Prince was recognized by some of the attendants of the place, and the horrified cabman was handed over to the police for assault on the blood royal. Fearing the ridicule of the London press, the Prince told the policeman to release poor Cabby, who was only too happy to escape transportation for life.


For the past seven years the Prince of Wales has been a prominent actor in almost every scene of aristocratic dissipation and debauchery which has been enacted in the English metropolis. He is well known in the coulisses of the Opera, and has openly maintained scandalous relations with ballet dancers and chorus singers. Even the shame of the thing would not restrain him from loudly and familiarly applauding and clapping his hands, whenever any of these female favorites of his came on the stage, while the strains of Beethoven or Rossini could not elicit from him as much as a smile of gratified approbation. The taste of the Prince for music may be imagined from the fact that "Champagne Charley," and "Not for Joseph," are his two most cherished melodies.

His relations with Mademoiselle Helena Schneider, the opera bouffe singer, were most notorious, and he has been known to leave the bed side of his wife in her illness to hasten to Paris at the summons of this notorious woman of Darkness, and Sin, and Shame.

Among his special female favorites, are many of the better known soubrettes of the London and Parisian theatres, and notably he was an admirer of Finette, the famous Can-can danseuse of the Alhambra.

He is flippant, shallow, and heartless, and the record of his life thus far has caused many a scalding tear to fall from the eyes of his royal mother.

The London Lancet, the highest medical authority in England, found it necessary, some eighteen months ago, to deny the[Pg 236] charge that was made openly against the Prince, which if true, would stamp him with infamy. The Princess of Wales, who is a good and noble lady in every sense—and a long suffering one in some respects—during the summer of 1869, visited the baths of Wildbad, in Germany, for the benefit of her health, which had been sadly impaired. I dare not in these pages insult my readers by giving the cause of her ill-health, which is more than whispered about in English society.

The Prince has, I believe, five handsome children—their good looks coming to them from their vigorous Norse mother, but it will not be from any precaution taken by their father, if they do not hereafter suffer from the results of his early indiscretions and follies, in the Haymarket and the purlieus of Paris.

In a good many respects the Prince of Wales resembles another Prince of Wales—one who succeeded his father as King. I mean George IV. Like him, Albert Edward is already a broken debauchee, and like George IV Albert Edward has a vicious way of making his wife suffer through his follies and disgraceful behaviour. Unless the Prince is predestined to experience a sudden and speedy conversion, it is more than probable that the next King of England will excel and put to shame the open acts of profligacy which made George IV so notorious.

One thing could be said for George IV which cannot be said for the Prince of Wales. The former was a gentleman in manner if not one at heart—but this Prince, while being thoroughly heartless and "stingy," has the breeding of a waiter in a lager beer saloon. He is heavy, slow, unready, hesitating, and flabby, without a spark of culture or a trace of the refinement which belongs to his station.


His Royal Highness has a great passion for running with the "masheen," as a New York rowdy would term it, and Captain Shaw, of the London Fire Brigade, is greatly admired by the Prince for his gallant management of that very efficient Corps. The latter has often taken a ride on a fire engine through the London streets. The Prince, while on a visit to Brighton some years[Pg 237] ago, made the acquaintance of a rich young London brewer, who had more money than brains. This was just the sort of a man to suit the Prince, being very fond of rich young men, who in many cases are only too happy to have the honor of paying the bills contracted by his Royal Highness. This eminent young brewer had, with the Prince, a similar taste for fire engines, and it was suggested by the future King of England that the brewer, who had a fund of good nature, should send to London for a fire engine, at his own expense, and have it transported to Brighton, where in course of time the Prince hoped it might afford them much amusement. The brewer of course complied with the Prince's request, and before long one of those grotesque looking fire machines, that are every now and then to be seen darting through the London streets, made its appearance at Brighton. Night after night the Prince and the brewer made the quiet villas and the Parade of Brighton resound with their shrieks and howls, as they drove at headlong speed through the watering place, the two maniacs sitting astride of the apparatus which was drawn by two horses; and finally the thing became such a nuisance to the residents of Brighton, and so many complaints reached the Queen's ears of the Prince's riotous conduct, that at last he was sent for and severely reprimanded by her Majesty, and for a few days he kept on his good behavior, to relapse again like a fever patient.

It is useless to conjecture as to the probability of the Prince succeeding to the throne, but if ever he does, he will no doubt revive the days of Charles II and his dissolute court. His beautiful and virtuous wife will perhaps fall into the place which Catharine, of Braganza, was compelled to accept as the consort of that rakehelly monarch, and Albert Edward will, no doubt, find in Lord Carington material for a successor to Sir Charles Sedley, and in the Duke of Hamilton a scamp, worthy of the reputation borne by the Earl of Rochester.

It is a mistake to think, moreover, that the Prince of Wales is alone among his family, in his vicious course, or that he has not numerous imitators among the nobles bearing some of the proudest names in England. Although he is yet but a[Pg 238] young man of thirty years of age, he has those around him who ape his immorality and copy his disregard for the usages of society.

Still, the Prince cannot be blamed for the follies of his relations. The Duke of Cambridge, cousin to the Queen, and old enough to be the father of the Prince, has as bad if not a worse reputation, than the Prince of Wales.

George Frederick William Charles, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Tipperary, and Baron of Culloden, is a first cousin of Queen Victoria, a Field Marshal and Commander-in-Chief of the English Army.

This Prince is about fifty years of age, and lives in an unlawful way with a Miss Fairbrother, by whom he has had several children, I believe. It might be expected, of a prince so closely related to the Queen, and occupying such a high position as chief of the British Army, that he would set a good example to the younger branches of the royal family. On the contrary, the Duke is well known, everywhere, as a royal rake, and his shameless amours are beyond number. The old prince is slightly bald from his course of early piety, and suffers so dreadfully from the gout, the result of early dissipation, that he is nothing but a wreck, being compelled annually to pay a visit to the mineral baths of Germany, and American travelers upon the continent at Baden, Ems, and Hombourg, will occasionally encounter an old, broken, and bloated personage, limping on a stick, who will quarrel with a waiter, in Hanoverian Deutsch, for the sake of a kreutzer, and when once excited it is very difficult to calm his rage, which, sometimes, degenerates into a helpless imbecility. This is the Duke of Cambridge.


From his illicit connection with the lady to whom I have referred, the mock-title of "Duke of Fairbrother," has been given to this illustrious Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Fancy such a Duke of Cambridge holding the baton of Wellington, and leading such soldiers as Havelock, Outram, Colin Campbell, and Napier of Magdala. And this very same imbecile Duke has had command of the English Army, and notably at the Alma, in the Crimean campaign, his conduct was such as to make[Pg 239] the spectators doubt whether he was a madman or a coward. In the heat of the fight, the Duke lost all management of him self, and began to make strange noises, and to act in a strange manner, until he was carried from the field, kicking and biting in a maniacal fashion.

For the taint is in the blood of the English Royal Family, and may never be eradicated. The Duke of Cambridge is a lineal descendant of George III, who, by his inherent madness, lost half of the British Empire, and who was in the habit of answering reasonable questions, with such replies as,—

"What, what, who, who, where, where, why, why—BLIM!" Should the Prince of Wales hereafter behave himself in an unseemly fashion, his tainted blood may, to a certain extent, be blamed for the outbreak.


[Pg 240]



W HY Londoners should presume to sneer at the morality of the volatile Parisians, has always been a sore puzzle to me. During the past fifteen years, sharp observers of society in the English Capital have been appalled by the visible and marked progress of moral and social deterioration among the people who affect to give tone, and breeding, and refinement, to all that they do or say, as leaders of society.

Polite London Society has always plumed itself upon being superior, in a moral sense, to the corresponding class in the French Capital, but it must strike those who have held such views, that there is no basis for the belief any longer, when the notorious fact is offered to them, that two of the highest personages in England are men who lead lives of immorality—I refer to the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge. I have however said enough of those two loose gentlemen, and I shall proceed to consider the subject in its larger bearings.

I boldly assert, that English Society, of the highest class, is to-day as rotten in every sense, as were the French nobility, with their mistresses and their "little establishments," before the whirlwind of the Revolution of 1793 swept away all that was of hideous corruption and infamy, never to rise again.

The proudest names among the English nobility are those which have some moral or dishonorable taint affixed to their titles, by their conduct in life.[Pg 241]


Many of my readers must recollect the termination of the famous Mordaunt case, in which the Prince of Wales was implicated, and it will also be remembered that the few facts which were developed on the trial, despite the attempt of Lord Penzance, (acting under pressure of the Throne,) to hush them up, had the effect of shaking England to the centre, socially speaking.

Miss Harriet Sarah Moncrieffe, now Lady Mordaunt, is a daughter of Sir Thomas Moncrieffe, a baronet of one of the oldest families in Scotland. The family seat is at Earn, in Perthshire, and the mansion and grounds are among the finest in North Britain. The family was a large one, four sons and six daughters being born to Sir Thomas and his wife, who was a daughter of the Earl of Kinnoul. Lady Harriet's eldest sister is married to the Duke of Athole, one of the richest and most powerful of the Scotch nobles. Then she has a sister married to the Earl of Dudley, and another to a Mr. Forbes, of a wealthy Scotch family, into which, if I be not mistaken, Lady Douglas-Hamilton, a sister of the Duke of Hamilton, is married. One of the sisters—the Duchess of Athole, has for her mother-in-law the Dowager-Duchess of Athole—who is a tried and trusted friend of Queen Victoria, being, as I believe, a Lady-in-waiting, or a Lady-of-the-bed-chamber to the Queen, or something of that sort. Altogether the family and its connections are among the very thickest cream of English aristocratic society.

In December, 1866, Lady Harriet Sarah Moncrieffe, then eighteen years of age, and surpassingly beautiful in person, and most graceful in manner, was married to Sir Charles Mordaunt, of Walton Hall, Warwickshire, who was then twenty-nine years of age, and a very wealthy bachelor, possessing one of the finest country seats, with mansion and grounds, in all England. The main buildings alone were erected at an expense of over $350,000 of American money, and to this most delightful and picturesque spot the young bride was taken to spend the honeymoon. Everything that the heart of a fashionably bred woman could desire was hers, she had troops of servants, a fine old[Pg 242] baronial mansion, a large stable full of horses, a yacht, a gallery of paintings, a villa on the Continent, equippages, diamonds, ladies'-maids, and a town house in London. And beside her lightest word was law to her loving husband. She had been presented to the Queen, and in her life-pathway sunshine fell and gladdened her young spirit. But there was a canker in the bud—a skeleton in the closet—as there always is. Lady Mordaunt had loved below her station before she married Sir Charles, and had sought to marry the object of her affection, but her mother, who was a very worldly minded woman, was determined that she should marry the rich Sir Charles Mordaunt, who had houses and lands, while "poor Robin Adair" had to go about his business.

Of course the natural consequences had to come. Sir Charles had a yacht, and now and then went on cruises to Norway and up the Baltic, and ran his craft from Erith to the Nore, and on many a sunny day the snowy jib-sail of his boat was seen from afar by those nautical minded people who frequent the breakwater at Cherbourg. When he was at home he was either hunting with the Warwickshire hounds, or looking for plover and grouse on Scotch moors. Any other spare time he had was taken up in his parliamentary duties, for he had the ineffable honor of signing "M.P." after his name.

And the young, gay, beautiful, and high spirited Lady Mordaunt—how was it with her? Being left very much alone, she developed herself. She delighted in balls, the Italian—yes, and the Bouffe Opera, she liked Croquet parties, garden parties, Crystal Palace concerts, and flirtations, and one evening, in company with Captain Farquhar, an officer of the Guards, she visited the "Alhambra," a celebrated dancing hall, which is supported by the London demi-monde.


She was young, thoughtless, and very beautiful, and to be brief, she fell among wolves, as many a woman has before. She had for escort to different places, the Prince of Wales, Sir Frederick Johnstone, Viscount Cole (eldest son of the Earl of Enniskillen), Lord Newport, Captain Farquhar, the Marquis of Blandford, and among her acquaintances were the Duke of[Pg 243] Hamilton, the Earl of Jersey, the Marquis of Waterford, and other young gentlemen, whose company or friendship alone would be enough to destroy the character of the most spotless married woman. And by the by, all these fast young noblemen are friends and boon companions of the Prince of Wales. Lady Mordaunt also knew Lord Carington, although his name did not appear in the trial for divorce.

All of these titled gentlemen whom I have mentioned, are of that class which is denominated "fast young men"—in England. They are all of good families, and are of the salt of the earth, being hereditary legislators for the English people. They gamble, own fast horses, make tremendous bets, keep mistresses, and yachts, and among this set to dishonor a young and unsuspecting married woman, and cover with disgrace an old family name, is indeed an achievement of which they feel very proud, a woman's weakness and folly being a subject for joking in their clubs, and affording much amusement to the young blackguards at covert side and in many a yacht cruise in the Mediteranean and the Baltic Seas.



Lady Mordaunt had fallen among a pack of masculine wolves. Her two sisters, the Duchess of Athole and the Countess of Dudley, vainly endeavored to save their foolish sister, and her mother, Lady Louisa Moncrieffe, and her young[Pg 244] sister, who was engaged privately to Viscount Cole—(Miss Frances Moncrieffe), and Miss Blanche Moncrieffe, used all their powers of persuasion, but Lady Mordaunt had met already with the fate of all those who frequent bad company. She was corrupted, and her only desire was now to become deserving of the title of "fast." Lady Mordaunt soon became the leader of the "fast" feminine set in London. No lady could drive such "fast" ponies as she. None could equal her for "fast" or "slangy" talk. Her highly colored attire was voted the "fastest" in London. Her male companions who were in her company and who escorted her, were all "fast," particularly the Prince of Wales, who enjoys the proud distinction of being "fast." Lady Mordaunt never accompanied her husband anywhere—he being very often absent, and besides, he was not "fast."

And Lady Mordaunt is not alone among her aristocratic sisters of London. She has a number of imitators, who talk "fast," ride "fast" horses, frequent the company of "fast" men, and visit with these last, "fast" places of amusement. This "fast" woman has now become typical in England. She dyes her hair, she paints her face, she wears flaunting and unbecoming costumes after the style of the loose living blondes who appear in burlesque; in short, she apes the manners and the attire of that hapless class of women of whom she once spoke, when she spoke of them at all—with a shuddering thrill of mingled horror and pity. A famous female English novelist—whose heroines, by the way, are all of the light-hair-dye and "fast" type—speaking of these "fast" society-women, pertinently asks:—


"Who taught the girls of England this hateful slang? who showed them—nay, obtruded upon and paraded before them these odious women? who, indeed, but the men, who recoil from their own work of their own hands, and cry out upon the consequences of their own conduct? It was not till the young Englishman learned to ridicule everything virtuous as "spoony," and everything domestic as "slow," that the women took pains to master the slang of the race-course, and to model their dress upon the costumes of the women whom they saw from their carriage windows dimly athwart the mists of midnight flitting across the Haymarket, as they were driven away from the[Pg 245] Opera-house. Be sure society decayed, like the tree to which poor Swift pointed with sad prophetic certainty, "first at top." It was not till the moral deterioration of the modern young man had become a fact but too obvious, that any fatal change was perceived in the modern young woman; it was not until a contemptuous and disrespectful demeanor to parents, newly denominated governors, relieving-officers, paters, maters, maternals; a scornful avoidance of sisters as muffs and dowdies; an utter irreverence for age, and a disdainful treatment of all woman kind,—had become distinguishing characteristics of young Mr. Bull, that poor, giddy, mistaken Miss Bull, too anxious to please the young cub, whose moral being and real interests had best been served by a judicious course of cat-o'-nine-tails, began to dye her pretty hair and paint her fresh young cheeks; it was not till the British lords flocked to the sale of a bankrupt courtesan's effects, and gave unheard-of sums for the tawdry crockery-ware of a courtesan's bedchamber, that British ladies began to slide downwards upon that fatal incline which their masters had smoothed for them."

"In the early days of the music-halls, before the nameless Captain had begun to cultivate his too famous whiskers, or the insatiable thirst of the convivial Charley had become a fact so painfully notorious,—when the prudent Joseph was yet unknown, and the Strand not yet renowned as the dweling-place of Nancy,—there was sung a song called "Mrs. Johnson," in which the singer, in a tipsy solemnity, bewailed the fact that the tastes and manners of his amiable wife were but too identical with his own. "And so does Mrs. Johnson,"—that was the ever recurring refrain. "I drink, I smoke, I swear, I stop out to unholy hours of the night," sings this Mr. Johnson of the music-halls, "and so, unhappily, does Mrs. Johnson. I am altogether a fast and disreputable individual, and I consider it very delightful to be fast and disreputable; but—and here, I confess, the shoe pinches—so does Mrs. Johnson. This midnight rioting, this hunting up of dancing-gardens and quaffing of perennial champagne, is my very ideal of man's existence; but I recoil aghast with horror before the idea of the same predilections in Mrs. Johnson." It is only a vulgar music-hall ditty; but I think there is a moral hanging to it, which our modern Juvenals would do well to consider."

"It is the story of Adam and Eve over again—"the woman tempted me, and I did eat." The historian of the future, studying the social aspects of this century from a file of Saturday Reviews, would have fair ground for believing it was because of modest women that outraged Englishmen fled to the denizens of St. John's-wood; that it was the slang and fastness of our girls that drove our men to the race-course and the betting-ring; the women tempted them. What cowards and hypocrites men must be, when they can turn upon and assail the helpless woman who has meekly and dutifully copied the model they have set up before her eyes, and at whose shrine she has seen them prostrate and worshipping!"

[Pg 246]

"The modern young man, with a selfishness as short-sighted as—selfishness, which is always short-sighted, has desired all the delights of life. He likes the society of the venal Cynthia of the minute, as his forefathers have done before him, but it has seemed too him too much trouble to disguise that liking, in deference to the feelings of purer Cynthias, as his forefathers did before him. When Junius wished to brand the Duke of Grafton with ineffable shame, he charged him with having flaunted Miss Parsons before the offended eyes of royalty; now-a-days such a reproach would seem the emptiest oratorical truism. The royalty of virtuous womanhood is offended every day by a procession of Miss Parsonses. Everywhere Miss Parsons is followed and worshipped. At covert-side, on parade of Brighton, or in lamplit gardens of Scarborough, in opera-house and on race-course, abroad or at home—the Parsonian worship is still going on. Miss Parsons has her matins and her vespers, her choral services at five o'clock, her gatherings at all hours and all places. The bells are always pealing that call the faithful of the Parsonian creed. And woman's poor little stock of logic only enables her to frame one fatal syllogism:

Miss Parsons is admired;

Miss Parsons is beloved;

Therefore to be like Miss Parsons is to be admirable and loveable."

When the season ended it was customary for Sir Charles Mordaunt to rejoin his wife at Walton Hall, and it might have been believed that after the gaieties of the winter revels, the mistress of the mansion would seek a little rest and the quiet of the country. But no. The country seat was always full of "fast" ladies and "fast" gentlemen. Sporting men and people of loose characters, whom no sensible man would admit to the presence of his wife, became the intimates of Lady Mordaunt. In fine, the Coles, Farquhars, Johnstones, Waterfords, Hamiltons, and the like, were "doing Lady Mordaunt's business for her," as I heard a London barrister express it. People began to talk about her, and she lost the respect of her friends, who dropped off one by one. Her poor old father, Sir Thomas Moncrieffe, while sitting in White's Club (the only club of which the Prince of Wales is an active member), hears his daughter's name mentioned in a very odious manner, and that of the Prince of Wales occurs in the connection. The "Pwince," says one of these small wits, "is very devoted—ah—Lady Mowdaant—I heah," and so the scandal flies. Sir Thomas is enraged, threatens the puppy, and tells Sir Charles[Pg 247] of the thunder in the air. Poor old man! It is openly stated in the club that Viscount Cole and Sir Frederick Johnstone,—the former twenty-two, and the latter thirty-two years of age, are constant visitors to her boudoir,—as often as three times in a day—so says Madame Scandal. Sir Frederick Johnstone is known to be the greatest libertine in England. He is rich, of a good family, and yet no woman will marry him, for it is whispered in society,—even among ladies—that he has become so enervated and palsied from his long course of debauchery, as to be unfit for the marriage bed—and Lord Cole is a fit rival to Lord Carington for wildness and blackguardism. I saw this same Sir Frederick Johnstone slapped in the face a dozen times at the Cremorne Gardens one night, by a fashionably attired Cyprian who had been his mistress, and who had been deserted by him, but not a blush warmed his cheek under the stinging slaps of her hand. Luxury and debauchery had emasculated him. He was no longer a man—he was a frame covered over by a handsome evening dress.


During all this time, while Lady Mordaunt was sowing the wind to eventually reap the whirlwind, her husband was ignorant of these most damnatory facts against her reputation,—which afterward became known to him. At last the scandal was bruited about so much that Sir Charles Mordaunt found it necessary to enter proceedings in the Divorce Court, at Westminster, for a separation from his wife. All England was, socially, turned upside down with amazement, when it was ascertained that the Prince of Wales was implicated. The Queen sent for Sir Charles, and begged of him to withdraw from the case, in order to secure her son's reputation from the contempt which was sure to fall upon his Royal Highness when the developments were made public. The entreaties of the Queen did not avail, however, with Sir Charles, who, with a dogged English pluck, was resolved to have justice. Then an attempt was made to bribe him, and a peerage was offered him to keep him quiet, but this did not serve, as Sir Charles refused to compromise with dishonor and shame.

Lady Mordaunt's husband had ordered her not to receive the[Pg 248] Prince of Wales at his house while he was absent, or at any other time, but the unfortunate woman had disobeyed him. She also refused to accompany Sir Charles on a fishing excursion to Norway, as she preferred to stay at home and associate with disreputable characters. He also ordered her not to receive Viscount Cole, or Sir Frederick Johnstone, but, as in the other case, the husband was disobeyed, and his house was used by them against his will during his absence. On the 27th of February, 1868, Lady Mordaunt was prematurely confined of a child which was afflicted in the eyes with a hideous disease. The first question asked by Lady Mordaunt immediately after her confinement, was of the nurse. She asked, "Is the child diseased?" The nurse answered, "My Lady, you mean deformed;" and Lady Mordaunt answered, "No, you know what I mean." This question was repeated five or six times, and, during the night, she said to her sister, Mrs. Forbes, "If you do not let me talk I will go mad," meaning thereby that she desired to make a confession. The nurse asked if she should fetch Sir Charles to her, and she said "no," but added, "This child is not Sir Charles's at all—but Lord Cole's." She then stated that she had behaved improperly with Lord Cole in June, 1867, at her husband's house. This was testified to by the nurse, and the occurrence took place at Walton Hall. She was afraid that the baby would be blind—the disease being an incurable one.

The suit for divorce was opened in the Westminster Divorce Court February 16th, 1869, and some of the most eminent and aristocratic personages in England attended. The Prince of Wales was ashamed to be present until sent for, but as he was very anxious about the result he sent his private Secretary, Sir W. Knollys, to watch the case. That gentleman was present every day, and manifested great interest in the testimony, which was very filthy, but not so filthy but that the Pall Mall Gazette and London Times, with other leading journals, should print every line of it, day by day, as it transpired in the Court. The trial continued seven days, Lord Penzance presiding, and it created as great an interest in London as the McFarland and[Pg 249] Richardson case did in New York. No ladies were admitted to the Court, but two thousand, the majority of whom were of the cultivated and respectable class, sought admission during the first three days of the trial. All the relatives, of both parties, who could attend were present. The Dowager-Lady Mordaunt, mother of Sir Charles, testified strongly against her daughter-in-law, whom she accused of shamming insanity to hide her crime and dishonor. The plea of insanity was the defence set up by Sir Thomas Moncrieffe, father of Lady Mordaunt. The testimony was very contradictory. Some of the physicians swore that Lady Mordaunt was perfectly sane, but that she feigned insanity to screen herself, while others testified that she was not in a sound condition of mind.


But the evidence was very clear against Lady Mordaunt despite of all endeavors to save her, or rather to save the Prince of Wales, through the unfortunate lady. Testimony was adduced, that, one evening in November, 1868, Lady Mordaunt absented herself from Walton Hall and went to London in company with Captain Farquhar, one of her "fast" young male friends, and that while there she stopped a whole night with him at the Palace Hotel. To blind her husband she wrote the following note to him:

Palace Hotel, Buckingham Gate, Nov. 8.

My Darling Charlie—One line to say I shall not be able to reach home by twelve o'clock train, but will come by the one which reaches at 3.50. Send carriage to meet me. I felt horribly dull by myself all yesterday evening. I have not had much time as yet to-day. I have seen Priestly and will tell you all about it when I come home.

Your affectionate wife,

Frederick Johnson, a footman of Lady Mordaunt, testified as follows:

Frederick Johnson testified:—I was formerly footman to Sir C. Mordaunt. While Captain Farquhar was staying at Walton, in the autumn of 1867, I took a note, I believe, from Mrs. Cadogan, into Lady Mordaunt's sitting-room. The captain was there. They had carving tools before them. The rest of the party were out shooting. I did not knock before entering. Lady Mordaunt told me I ought not to come in without knocking. She had[Pg 250] not told me so before. I went with Lady Mordaunt, in the spring of 1868, to the Alhambra. Captain Farquhar was there. Lady Kinnoul (with whom Lady Mordaunt was staying) went, too, in her own carriage, and Lady Mordaunt in a hired one. Lady Mordaunt left about twelve. The Captain rode part of the way home with her. I have posted three or four letters from Lady Mordaunt to him, and have also delivered a letter to him. The Prince of Wales called once in 1867; I did not see him at the house again. He also called on Lady Mordaunt while she was staying with Lady Kinnoul. I have taken letters from her Ladyship addressed to the Prince; some I took to Marlborough House, and others I posted.

Cross-examined.—Letters were given me by her Ladyship, her maid, and the butler. I posted a great many. The Prince called at Lady Kinnoul's to see Lady Mordaunt just after she had got better. She had been confined to her room.

Re-examined.—I took two or three letters to Marlborough House; two I am positive, and I think I posted three to the Prince of Wales within three days.

The strongest testimony against Lady Mordaunt was given by Miss Jessie Clark, lady's maid to the wretched woman. It was full and comprehensive, and I give it here from the official report, cooked up by the Prince of Wales' friends, with extenuating notes, which I omit.


Jessie Clarke was then called, and deposed,—I was lady's-maid to Lady Mordaunt from her marriage till she left Walton. In the autumn of 1867 Captain Farquhar came on a visit, and stayed about a week. He and Lady Mordaunt were very much together.

In November, 1867, Lady Mordaunt went up to London, and I accompanied her. We stayed at the Palace Hotel, Buckingham Gate, and remained two nights. We arrived at the hotel about 5 p.m., and about half-past ten I saw Captain Farquhar on the landing outside the sitting-room with Lady Mordaunt. The bed-room was a short distance off. I did not see him come or leave. Her ladyship went to bed about a quarter to eleven, and I called her the next morning at half-past eight. I had arranged the bed-room for her. In the morning I noticed that the books had been moved, though her ladyship never used to move anything that I arranged. The next day she was out the greater part of the day, and went out again about six. She had not returned about ten, when I went to bed, and she told me not to sit up, as she would not want me.

After returning to Walton she was taken suddenly ill in the night, and was confined to her room for a week. She then got into her sitting-room. In arranging her toilet-table I found a letter, not in an envelope, under a pincushion. I read it. [Notice to produce the letter was here proved, Dr.[Pg 251] Deane stating that he knew nothing of it.] I replaced it, and a few days afterwards showed it to the butler, then putting it back again. I afterwards saw her ladyship take it and put it into the fire. It was dated from "The Tower, Saturday," and said, "Darling, I arrived here this morning about a quarter to nine, very tired and sleepy, as you may suppose." It added that he had seen his name inserted in the Post as Farmer instead of Farquhar, and said, "So it's all right, darling, as I was afraid Charles would be suspicious if he saw my name in the arrivals at the hotel with yours." The letter was signed "Yours, Arthur." I found it the day after she left the bed-room. She seemed surprised when she found it, and said she did not think there were any letters about, and then burnt it.

In September, 1868, I had occasion one evening to go into her ladyship's bed-room, and Captain Farquhar came in. Her ladyship was not there, and the Captain did not know I was there. He walked to the table, took some flowers up, and left. During the season in 1867 and 1868, Sir Charles and Lady Mordaunt were in town. Sir Charles usually went out in the afternoon to his Parliamentary duties. The Prince of Wales called two or three times in 1867 at that time of the day, and in 1868 more frequently. In 1868 he usually came about four in the afternoon, and stayed from one to one and a half or two hours. Her ladyship was always at home and saw him. No one was in the drawing-room at the time. The Prince did not come in his private carriage. I do not remember that Sir Charles was ever at home when the Prince called in 1868.

Lord Penzance.—Sir Charles himself has told us that he was at home on one occasion, three weeks before he left for Norway.

Examination continued.—The Prince came about once a week. In March, 1868, I attended Lady Mordaunt while on a visit to Lady Kinnoul, in Belgrave-square, Sir Charles being then at Walton. The Prince came there one Sunday, for I met him leaving as I was coming in. Lady Mordaunt showed me a letter from the Prince before she was married, and I have delivered letters to her in the same hand writing; six or seven times, perhaps, in 1868. I also received two or three letters from her addressed to the Prince, which I gave the footman (Johnson) to post. During the summer of 1868, Lord Cole used to call twice or thrice a week in the afternoon, more frequently when Sir Charles was out. Lady Mordaunt was then at home. She told me we were to go home in a week after Sir Charles went to Norway [15th of June], but we did not go till the 7th of July. During that interval Lord Cole used to call, and on the 27th of June he dined there with another gentleman and lady, whom I do not know. They had not left at half-past twelve, when I went to bed. Her ladyship invariably told me not to sit up for her after twelve. We went to Paddington to take the train, Lord Cole met her there, and took the tickets, giving me mine, and handing Lady Mordaunt into a first-class empty compartment. He stood by the door till the train was starting, and then got in. He left at Reading, the first stopping[Pg 252] station. The other servants came down on the 10th, and Lord Cole also; he remained till the 14th, and the next day Sir Charles returned.

In December, 1868, I was staying with Lady Mordaunt at the Alexandra Hotel, Knightsbridge. The Duke and Duchess of Athole stayed there with her. The day after they left Sir F. Johnstone came, and left her ladyship's sitting-room about midnight. I was at Walton during her confinement, and until she left. After the nurse left, on the 27th of March, I attended on her. The note produced I found soon after the 10th of April in one of her ladyship's pockets in a dress which she had recently worn. [This was the letter read yesterday addressed to the nurse, and bidding her say nothing more about the nonsense the writer had uttered.] About the 25th of April I noticed in the paper the death of the Countess of Bradford. I showed it to Lady Mordaunt, who said, "Poor thing, I'm so sorry," and said she would have to go into mourning. I provided temporary mourning, and her ladyship directed me to get two mourning dresses, as she would not be going about much. She also selected mourning jewelry. On the 6th of May I saw her before the physicians came. She was conversing with Mrs. Forbes, who asked for some brandy and soda water, and while she was drinking it Lady Mordaunt laughed, and said, "Helen, if you drink all that I'm sure you'll be tipsy." The same evening Mrs. Cadogan called, and I took a photograph in. They were talking very comfortably. On the 12th of May, while dressing her ladyship, she remarked on the dress Lady Kinnoul wore, and said, "What a larky old thing she is." I told her Mrs. Forbes admired a certain dress of hers, and she replied that she wore it a long time at Yowle [Mrs. Forbes' residence]. Her ladyship looked at the newspapers until the time of her leaving, the 15th of May. Down to that day I constantly attended on her. I have never seen her since. I never saw anything indicative of unsound mind. She was perfectly rational and sensible, and appeared to understand everything.

Henry Bird, an old servant of the family, and butler, testified in a candid, frank way, to what he knew, as follows:


Henry Bird.—I am butler to Sir C. Mordaunt, and have been in the service of the family thirty years. Lord Cole, Captain Farquhar, and Sir F. Johnstone visited Walton Hall. In the autumn of 1867 I accompanied Sir Charles and Lady Mordaunt to Scotland. Captain Farquhar was staying at the same place, and I noticed that he and her ladyship were often together. Lady Mordaunt was more frequently with him than with other people. A few days after we returned to Walton he came to visit. He was often in her sitting room, generally alone with her. Sir Charles was frequently out shooting at the time. Jessie Clarke made a communication to me, and showed me a letter. That was about ten days after Lady Mordaunt's return to London. It was in Captain Farquhar's writing. I read it and returned it to Clarke. It was dated at the Tower, and said, "Darling,[Pg 253] I got home here, tired and weary, as you may suppose. I have read the Morning Post, and have seen that they have inserted my name as Farmer. If they had inserted it Farquhar, Sir Charles would have been suspicious." There was also an allusion to having attended a play, and the persons they had seen there. Clarke did not tell me where she had found it. I referred to the Post of November 7 and 9, 1867; Sir Charles took it in. I referred to it before I saw the letter, on account of what Clarke told me, and I put aside the two papers in my cupboard. On the 7th, among the arrivals at the Palace Hotel, Buckingham-gate, Lady Mordaunt's name is given, and on the 9th Captain Farmer's. In January, 1868, Captain Farquhar visited Walton, and staid about a week. There were other visitors, and there was not so much opportunity for him and Lady Mordaunt to be together. I once found them together in the billiard-room, standing close together near the billiard-table; they seemed startled, and I apologised and left. In 1867 and 1868 the Prince of Wales called at Sir Charles's London house—in 1868 about once a week; but one week twice. He came about four p.m., and stayed from one to two hours. I received him. Sir Charles was then at the House of Commons, or out pigeon-shooting. Lady Mordaunt gave me directions that when the Prince called no one else was to be admitted. After Sir Charles left for Norway the Prince took luncheon there once, with a sister of Lady Mordaunt and a gentleman. The last two went away together, but the Prince remained about twenty minutes alone with Lady Mordaunt. Lord Cole visited the house two or three times a week—more frequently when Sir Charles was out and after he had left for Norway. Sir Charles was seldom at home in the afternoon. Lord Cole and two others dined with Lady Mordaunt after Sir Charles's departure. The two others left about eleven, but Lord Cole stayed in the drawing-room till about a quarter to one. I knew this by hearing the front door bang, and by observing that his hat and coat were gone. I went down to Walton on the 10th of July; Lord Cole arrived the same day, and left the day before Sir Charles's return. Sir F. Johnstone, when he stayed at Walton, was often in her ladyship's sitting-room while the rest of the party were shooting or hunting. I left Walton with Sir Charles on the 5th of April, 1869. After her confinement Lady Mordaunt used to take the papers from me, and once proposed to go fishing, as she had done before; but I said it was too cold. She seemed quite rational. I went on the 20th of August to Worthington in order to accompany her to Bickley. She shook hands with me. I told her Sir Charles had gone to Scotland, and that Taylor, the gamekeeper, had gone with him. She laughed and said, "Only think of Taylor's going." She referred to the death of the Dowager-Lady Mordaunt's son, Mr. Arthur Smith, and said how sorry his father must be to lose his only son. I remained five or seven minutes.

[Pg 254]

A package of letters, a love valentine, and some flowers, which the Prince of Wales had sent Lady Mordaunt, were found by Miss Jessie Clarke, and were given to Sir Charles Mordaunt by her. It has been stated there were other letters from the Prince of Wales to Lady Mordaunt, which were destroyed in time to save the Prince from the reputation of a dastard. The letters which were found were produced in court, but were not read in the early stage of the proceedings, until the leading newspapers had by some stratagem succeeded in getting copies, which they published, to the great indignation of Lord Penzance and other toadies of the Prince. These letters I give as specimens of the style of writing, amusement, and companions, which the dear Prince affects. They are ungrammatical, silly, and slangy, and show a vivid dearth of ideas in the heir to a great kingdom.

I.—She Sends Him Muffetees.

"Sandringham, King's Lynn, January 13, 1867.

"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—I am quite shocked never to have answered your kind letter, written some time ago, and for the very pretty muffetees, which are very useful this cold weather. I had no idea where you had been staying since your marriage, but Francis Knollys told me that you are in Warwickshire. I suppose you will be up in London for the opening of Parliament, when I hope I may perhaps have the pleasure of seeing you and making the acquaintance of Sir Charles. I was in London for only two nights, and returned here Saturday. The rails were so slippery that we thought we should never arrive here. There has been a heavy fall of snow here, and we are able to use our sledges, which is capital fun.

"Believe me, yours ever sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

II.—Would Like to See Her Again.


"My Dear Lady Mordaunt,—I am sure you will be glad to hear that the Princess was safely delivered of a little girl this morning and that both are doing very well. I hope you will come to the Oswald and St. James's Hall this week. There would, I am sure, be no harm your remaining till Saturday in town. I shall like to see you again.

"Ever yours most sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

[Pg 255]

III.—She Brings Him an Umbrella.

"Marlborough House, May 7, 1867.

"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—Many thanks for your letter, and I am very sorry that I should have given you so much trouble looking for the ladies' umbrella for me at Paris. I am very glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay there. I shall be going there on Friday next, and as the Princess is so much better, shall hope to remain a week there. If there is any commission I can do for you there it will give me the greatest pleasure to carry it out. I regret very much not to have been able to call upon you since your return, but hope to do so when I come back from Paris, and have an opportunity of making the acquaintance of your husband.

"Believe me yours very sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

IV.—Hamilton's Wife is Good Looking.

"Marlborough House, Oct. 13.


"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—Many thanks for your kind letter, which I received just before we left Dunrobin, and I have been so busy here that I have been unable to answer it before. I am glad to hear that you are flourishing at Walton, and hope your husband has had good sport with the partridges. We had a charming stay at Dunrobin—from the 19th of September to the 7th of this month. Our party consisted of the Sandwiches, Grosvenors (only for a few days), Sumners, Bakers, F. Marshall, Albert, Ronald Gower, Sir H. Pelly, Oliver, who did not look so bad in a kilt as you heard; Lacelles, Falkner, and Sam Buckley, who looked first-rate in his kilt. I was also three or four days in the Reay Forest with the Grosvenors. I shot four stags. My total was twenty-one. P. John thanks you very much for your photo; and I received two very good ones, accompanied by a charming epistle, from your sister. We are all delighted with Hamilton's marriage, and I think you are rather hard on the young lady, as, although not exactly pretty, she is very nice looking, has charming manners, and is very popular with every one. From his letter he seems to be very much in love—a rare occurrence now-a-days. I will see what I can do in getting a presentation for the son of Mrs. Bradshaw for the Royal Asylum of London, St. Ann's Society. Francis will tell you result. London is very empty, but I have plenty to do, so time does not go slowly, and I go down shooting to Windsor and Richmond occasionally. On the 26th I shall shoot with General Hall at Newmarket, the following week at Knowlsley, and then at Windsor and Sandringham before we go abroad. This will be probably on the 18th or 19th of next month. You told me when I last saw you that you were probably going to Paris in November, but I suppose you have given it up. I saw in the papers that you were in London on Saturday. I wish you had let me know, as I would have made a point of calling. There[Pg 256] are some good plays going on, and we are going the rounds of them. My brother is here, but at the end of the month he starts for Plymouth on his long cruise of nearly two years. Now I shall say good-by, and hoping that probably we may have a chance of seeing you before we leave,

"I remain, yours most sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

V.—Don't Know the Height of the Ponies.

"White's, Nov. 1.

"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—Many thanks for your letter, which I received this morning. I cannot tell you at this moment the exact height of the ponies in question, but I think they are just under fourteen hands, but as soon as I know for certain I shall not fail to let you know. I would be only too happy if they would suit you, and have the pleasure of seeing them in your hands. It is quite an age since I have seen or heard anything of you, but I trust you had a pleasant trip abroad, and I suppose you have been in Scotland since. Lord Dudley has kindly asked me to shoot with him at Buckenham on the 9th of next mouth, and I hope I may, perhaps, have the pleasure of seeing you there.

"Believe me, yours ever sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

VI.—The "Great" Oliver is Coming.

"Sandringham, King's Lynn, Nov. 30.

"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—I was very glad to hear from Colonel Kingscote the other day that you had bought my two ponies. I also trust that they will suit you, and that you will drive them for many a year. I have never driven them myself, so I don't know whether they are easy to drive or not. I hope you have had some hunting, although the ground is so hard that in some parts of the country it is quite stopped. We had our first shooting party this week, and got 809 head one day, and twenty-nine woodcocks. Next week the great Oliver is coming. He and Blandford had thought of going to Algiers; but they have now given it up, and I don't know to what foreign clime they are going to betake themselves. I saw Lady Dudley at Onwallis, and I thought her looking very well. I am sorry to hear that you won't be at Buckenham when I go there, as it is such an age since I have seen you. If there is anything else (besides horses) that I can do for you, please let me know, and

"I remain, yours ever sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

VII.—Sorry to Hear That She Has Been Seedy.

"Sandringham, King's Lynn, Dec. 5.

"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—Many thanks for your letter, which I received this evening, and am very glad to hear that you like the ponies,[Pg 257] but I hope they will be well driven before you attempt to drive them, as I know they are fresh. They belonged originally to the Princess Mary, who drove them for some years, and when she married, not wanting them just then, I bought them from her. I am not surprised that you have had no hunting lately, as the frost has made the ground as hard as iron. We hope, however, to be able to hunt to-morrow, as a thaw has set in. We killed over a thousand head on Tuesday, and killed forty woodcocks to-day. Oliver has been in great force, and as bumptious as ever. Blandford is also here, so you can imagine what a row goes on. On Monday next I go to Buckenham, and I am indeed very sorry that we shall not meet there. I am very sorry to hear that you have been seedy, but hope that you are now all right again.

"Ever yours very sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

VIII.—He is Anxious.


"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—I am sorry to find by the letter that I received from you this morning that you are unwell, and that I shall not be able to pay you a visit to-day, to which I had been looking forward with so much pleasure. To-morrow and Saturday I shall be hunting in Nottinghamshire, but if you are still in town, may I come to see you about five on Sunday afternoon? And hoping you will soon be yourself again,

"Believe me, yours ever sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

IX.—He Had the Measles.



"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—I cannot tell you how distressed I am to hear from your letter that you have got the measles, and that I shall in consequence not have the pleasure of seeing you. I have had the measles myself a long time ago, and I know what a tiresome complaint it is. I trust you will take great care of yourself, and have a good doctor with you. Above all, I should not read at all, as it is very bad for the eyes, and I suppose you will be forced to lay up for a time. The weather is very favorable for your illness, and wishing you a very speedy recovery,

"Believe me, yours most sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

X.—Anxious Again.


"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—Many thanks for your kind letter. I am so glad to hear that you have made so good a recovery, and to be able soon to go to Hastings, which is sure to do you a great deal of good. I hope that perhaps on your return to London I may have the pleasure of seeing you.

"Believe me, yours very sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

[Pg 258]

XI.—The "Great" Francis is to Arrive.

Sandringham, King's Lynn, Nov. 16.

"My dear Lady Mordaunt,—I must apologise for not having answered your last kind letter, but accept my best thanks for it now. Since the 10th I have been here at Sir William Knollys' house, as I am building a totally new one. I am here en garcon, and we have had very good shooting. The Duke of Cambridge, Lord Suffield, Lord Alfred Paget, Lord de Grey, Sir Frederick Johnstone, Chaplin, General Hall, Captain (Sam) Buckley, Major Grey, and myself, composed the party; and the great Francis arrived on Saturday, but he is by no means a distinguished shot. Sir Frederick Johnstone tells me he is going to stay with you to-morrow for the Warwick races, so he can give you the best account of us. This afternoon, after shooting, I return to London, and to-morrow night the Princess, our three eldest children, and myself, start for Paris, where we shall remain a week, and then go straight to Copenhagen, where we spend Christmas, and the beginning of January we start on a longer trip. We shall go to Venice, and then by sea to Alexandria, and up the Nile as far as we can get; and later to Constantinople, Athens, and home by Italy, and I don't expect we shall be back again before April. I fear, therefore, I shall not see you for a long time, but trust to find you, perhaps, in London on our return. If you should have time, it will be very kind to write me sometimes. Letters to Marlborough House, to be forwarded, will always reach me. I hope you will remain strong and well, and wishing you a very pleasant winter,

"I remain, yours most sincerely,

"Albert Edward."

On the afternoon of the fifth day of the trial, the Prince of Wales, who had been driven by his royal mother to take the step, much against his will, appeared in court to testify, nominally at his own request, but really from a fear of public opinion. The presiding judge of the Divorce Court, Lord Penzance, when he heard that the Prince desired to testify in his own behalf, exerted himself in such an extreme fashion, as to call down the ridicule and scorn of the London press for his servile proceedings. Having been informed that the Prince was about to appear in court, this flunkey judge, who had been created a peer for something that he had done as a lawyer, was most eager, painfully eager, in fact, to accommodate his Royal Highness. The latter was treated by the judge with a respect which was a combination of profundity, enthusiasm, and excitement. One journal suggested to the learned judge, that while the[Pg 259] Prince was in attendance on the trial, it was the duty of the magistrate to have a smoking room fitted up for the special use of the Prince, while another claimed that a billiard table should be provided for the amusement of the Prince between the intervals of the evidence, and asked Lord Penzance to be careful and open court daily at an hour to suit the convenience of the Heir Apparent, who is I believe, a late riser. It is a rule of British law, that the members of the Royal family cannot be called upon to testify in any case, unless of their own free will, and then they are not asked to swear to the evidence which they may give, as their simple affirmation is deemed to be sufficient. The Prince of Wales on this occasion, however, thought it necessary to be sworn, and he testified that he knew Sir Charles and Lady Mordaunt, and that Lady Mordaunt had been an acquaintance of his before his marriage to the Princess of Wales. He also testified that he was fond of riding in hansom cabs, and lastly, he swore that there never had been any improper familiarity or criminal act between himself and Lady Mordaunt. This statement, in open court, was a great relief to the Queen, who it is said, at once upon hearing of it sent for the Prince to come to Buckingham Palace, and on his arrival he was welcomed warmly by his mother.


The next witness examined was Sir Frederick Johnstone, who testified that he had gone to dine with Lady Mordaunt at the Alexandra Hotel, in obedience to a request which she made by letter, to that effect. The dinner was a tete-a-tete one, (no one being present but Sir Frederick and Lady Mordaunt) in a private room, and it lasted from four o'clock in the afternoon until twelve o'clock at night. Sir Frederick acknowledged that the dinner took place without the knowledge of Sir Charles Mordaunt, and that he never told the latter of the circumstance afterward, although a visitor at Walton Hall. This closed the case on evidence. A paper had been found in Lady Mordaunt's handwriting, with the memoranda "280 days from June 29—April 3d," referring, as it was supposed, to her first meeting with Viscount Cole. Sir Charles Mordaunt, in his affidavit, alleged the marriage on the 6th of December, 1866, at St.[Pg 260] John's Episcopal Church, Perth; cohabitation at Walton Hall, and at 6 Belgrave-square; and adultery with Viscount Cole in May, June, and July, 1868, at Chesham-place, and in July, 1868, and January, 1869, at Walton Hall; and adultery with Sir Frederick Johnstone, in November and December, 1868, at Walton Hall, and in December, 1868, at the Alexandra Hotel, Knightsbridge; and adultery also with some person between the 15th of June, 1868, and the 28th of February, 1869.

The English aristocracy never have had such a blow dealt at their corrupt social system, as the developments of this suit impelled against them. "Reynolds' Newspaper," a London journal with a circulation of 280,000 copies weekly, spoke in thunder tones as follows, to its readers, the workingmen of London:


The great social scandal to which we have frequently alluded, has now become blazoned to the world through the instrumentality of the Divorce Court. Nothing was left undone that might hush it up, so that the Prince of Wales' name should not figure in so discreditable a business. Every effort was made to silence Sir Charles Mordaunt. A peerage was, we believe, offered him. Any place of emolument he asked for would willingly have been given him. All the honors and dignities the crown and government have it in their power to bestow would readily have been prostituted to insure his silence. Lord Penzance, at the last moment, earnestly strove to keep the name of the Prince from coming before the public. Sir Charles Mordaunt, however, was deaf to every persuasion, and, like a noble minded man and high spirited gentleman, scouted all attempts to shut his mouth; and, with contemptuous indifference to the entreaties of the judge, and disregarding the course adopted by his own counsel, at once told the whole story of his supposed dishonor, without blinking facts or concealing names. He told the court that he forbade his wife continuing her acquaintance with the Prince of Wales on account of his character. He intimated to the Prince that his visits should cease. He, however, alleges that, despite this intimation, they were surreptitiously continued; that letters of a compromising character were found; and that other circumstances occurred leading him to suppose that an improper intimacy existed between, the Prince and his wife. It should be borne in mind that when all this is said to have occurred the Prince of Wales was a married man himself, and the father of a family. The question, therefore, remains to be solved, is he an adulterer or not? Can he disprove the apparently damnatory allegations of Sir C. Mordaunt? Of course we do not wish to prejudge the case. We hope, for his own and for his[Pg 261] wife's sake, that he can completely refute the heavy accusation laid to his charge, and that he will do so at the earliest opportunity. But we have no hesitation in declaring that if the Prince of Wales is an accomplice in bringing dishonor to the homestead of an English gentleman; if he has deliberately debauched the wife of an Englishman; if he has assisted in rendering an honorable man miserable for life; if unbridled sensuality and lust have led him to violate the laws of honor and of hospitality—then such a man, placed in the position he is, should not only be expelled from decent society, but is utterly unfit and unworthy to rule over this country or even sit in its legislature."


I don't see how any writer could make a stronger case against Royalty, (however hostile his spirit,) than this fearless exposition by the English journal of wide circulation, to which I have referred. The evidence of Sir Frederick Johnstone, which I have omitted, was too disgraceful to appear in this work, although the English papers printed every line of it. Well, the case went to the jury at last, after Lord Penzance had properly and carefully manipulated them, and a verdict was brought by them "that Lady Mordaunt being of unsound mind, was totally unfit to instruct her attorneys," and thus Sir Charles Mordaunt, having been dishonored and his domestic happiness destroyed by a conspiracy of titled persons, had to be satisfied with the verdict. In these days the plea of insanity is always a convenient one, and is very useful in a desperate case. Sir Charles was not daunted, however, and appealed his case, but met with defeat again, and thus the matter rests, and will rest. It is the intention of the injured husband to visit America, as he is an admirer of our institutions. I do not wish to offer any comment whatever on the state of society in which such corruption exists. The facts must speak for themselves.

The "fastest" young man in England is undoubtedly, William Alexander, Louis, Stephen, Douglas-Hamilton, Duke of Hamilton, Marquis of Hamilton, Marquis of Douglas, Earl of Angus, Earl of Arran, Earl of Lanark, Baron Hamilton, Aven, Polmont, Macanshire, Innerdale, Abernethey and Jedburgh Forest, and premier Duke and Peer in the Peerage of Scotland, Duke of Brandon (Suffolk), and Baron Dutton in the Peerage of Great Britain, Duke of Chatherault in France, Hereditary,[Pg 262] Keeper of the Holyrood House, and Deputy Lieutenant of some county with an unpronounceable name in Scotland.

Possibly some of my readers, in going over this long line of titles, will recall the days of Bruce and Douglas, of "proud Angus," whom Marmion bearded in his hall, and of that Douglas who carried the heart of Bruce, like a Paladin, amid the lances of Spain; or perhaps the picture of Chevy Chase, and Douglas, and Percy, in armed fight, will be evoked with thoughts of the greatest historical House in Europe. Nobler descent, or more genuine historical honor, cannot be claimed by the holder of any lordly or royal title, than that which belongs to the present Duke of Hamilton, who is as yet only twenty-seven years of age. He is a first cousin of the Emperor of France by his mother, Stephanie, Duchess of Baden, a noble, beautiful, and good woman,—who married the old Duke of Hamilton; and one of his sisters is married to the Prince of Monaco, a sovereign in his own right. Two other sisters of the present Duke are nuns, having been educated in the Roman Catholic faith by their mother. The fourth sister is married to a private gentleman of large fortune.




The old Duke was in every sense a gentleman and a man of honor, but his two male descendants, the present Duke of Hamilton, and his brother, Lord Churchill Hamilton, are sad scapegraces—indeed I doubt if a rougher name would not be more appropriate. The young Duke, as soon as he came of age, fell heir to an income of £300,000 a year, and eight or nine country seats and residen[Pg 263]ces. He had no sooner entered into possession of his estate, than he was surrounded by betting men, turf blackguards, spendthrifts, abandoned women, and dissolute noblemen of his own age. Every shilling of his gigantic fortune was squandered in three or four years, and his proud old name became a by-word of scorn and reproach when it was found that his debts amounted to £130,000. He had for his associates the Earl of Jersey, the Marquis of Waterford, the Prince of Wales, Lord Carington, the Duke of Newcastle, the Earl of Winchelsea, the Earl of Westmoreland, and other bankrupt and dissolute nobles. For a long time polite society tolerated the Duke of Hamilton, because of his family, birth, and fortune, but when he lost the latter, those who formerly laughed at his wild actions and peccadilloes, now began to frown upon him as an enfant perdu. He was sowing too much wild oats, and his friends began to desert him in disgust. A bad set of men who had control of the Duke, did not hesitate to drag his proud name and title through the gutters. At last his fellow noblemen, thoroughly ashamed of him, determined to give him a lesson. His name was put up for membership in the Jockey Club, and he was black-balled with great unanimity. The Duke of an almost royal family was treated in this ignominious way by the fathers of families, and brothers of girls of stainless birth, as a caution to him. The Duke being both bankrupt and disgraced, left England for the Continent, to avoid his thousand and one creditors, who cursed him bitterly when he departed. Passing through Paris, his cousin, the Emperor, invited him to dine at the Tuilleries. The Duke returned a curt verbal answer to his imperial relative, that he could not accept the invitation, "for he had neither clothes nor manners in which to appear at the Emperor's table." That same evening he appeared in a private box at the opera, dressed in a short double-breasted shooting jacket, in company with two or three of the turfites (broken down betting men, who hung on to him for what they could get), and afterwards presided at a supper of which the less that is said the better, concerning the "ladies," who composed one-half of the twenty-four persons who sat down to table.

[Pg 264]

After the Duke left England for the Continent, a sale of his effects was had. Hundreds of purchasers attended the sale out of curiosity, as they had attended the sale of "Skittle's" furniture, or as the Parisian dandies and lorettes attended the sale of the household gods of Marguerite Gautier, afterwards known as the "Dame aux Camelias." Every article belonging to the Duke realized a value of more than two or three hundred per cent. over its original value. Crowds of "snobs" and "cads" bought whips and pipes, riding jackets, cigar cases, canes, gloves, and boots, pictures of French dancers and German soubrettes, as well as articles of crockery, at the most extravagant prices, simply because they had once been in the possession of a real live Duke, although he was a scamp. One miserable little tea-broker gave twenty-five pounds for a worn, poorly bound copy of the "Kisses of Johannes Secundus," with the idea that he was getting something very immoral—but he was disappointed of course.

I saw him twice, this Duke of Hamilton, once in a low cabaret in Paris, which had for a name the strange and I thought very inappropriate title of the "Groves of the Evangelists."

It was in a little street, or rather lane, called the Rue Belle-Cuisse, which is in the Quartier Breda.

It was a low dingy little hole, this "Groves of the Evangelist," and the people present were chiefly infantry privates of some of the line regiments, who serve as a part of the garrison of Paris. They were a hard-drinking, ruffianly lot, and the women who sat on their laps were of all the obscene birds of night that I encountered in Paris, the very worst and most abandoned.

A little girl, with a bold face and wearing a slatternly, torn dress, with a brazen pair of steely blue eyes, acted as bar-girl in this place, and measured out to the customers, petit verres of fiery Nantes brandy.

Two men, young, and fashionably dressed, sat at a table, who appeared to be strangers in Paris, although they conversed fluently enough, in French, with each other.

One of these was a fair, girlish-faced, young gentleman, with[Pg 265] hair which is always termed auburn by the poets, while, as a contradiction it is generally denominated, in police returns—"red hair." This was the Duke of Hamilton.

The second person at the table was a tall, athletic, and handsome-looking fellow, of twenty-four or five years of age, with a smooth face, daring, black eyes, and a massive head well set upon a pair of broad shoulders.

This individual was John De La Poer Beresford, Marquis of Waterford, Earl of Tyrone, Viscount Tyrone, and a Baron five times over in England and Ireland, a relation of the Archbishop of Armagh, Protestant Primate of Ireland, and having an income of about half a million dollars, annually, in his own right.




This young Marquis of Waterford, did a most dastardly thing when he seduced the wife of his bosom friend, the Hon. J.C.P. Vivian, M.P., a Junior Lord of the Treasury, who had placed the utmost confidence in the Marquis. He took Mrs. Vivian with him to Paris, and there lived with her in open adultery for some time until he became tired of his victim and then he ordered her with great coolness to return to her dishonored husband. To make the matter worse she was the mother of two lovely children. Her married sister, the Honorable Mrs. Somebody, went to Paris to attempt to reclaim her, held an interview with her, and begged of her to return to her husband. She blankly re[Pg 266]fused to do so, giving as her reason that she loved "John" too much,—"John," I need not say, being the Marquis of Waterford.

Mr. Vivian having commenced a suit for divorce, the utter villainy of the Marquis appeared when the letters of that nobleman to his quondam friend Vivian were read, in which the great trust reposed by Mr. Vivian in Waterford was most publicly made manifest.

This young nobleman is a grandson of the second Marquis of Waterford, who was distinguished as a companion to the Prince Regent, and as well for breaking off door-knockers and bell-handles—a complaint that was chronic with him, and that seems to run in the family.

The Marquis of Waterford is not quite so impoverished through his excesses as some of his friends, but I understand that his debts at one time amounted to £60,000.

My readers may recollect that, during the visit of the Prince of Wales to America, he had in the suite which accompanied him, a certain Duke of Newcastle, a young nobleman, who married, some years ago, a daughter of the great banker, Hope, who brought her husband an immense fortune. Beside these advantages there were few noblemen in England as highly connected, or as wealthy, as the Duke of Newcastle. Well, Miss Hope only served to stay the waning fortunes of this spendthrift for a short time, as he is now a bankrupt, and has to reside out of England to avoid the Sheriff's officers. While the execution was being levied in the magnificent mansion of the Duke, and before his wife could leave the premises, the Duke had gambled away thirteen thousand pounds, the last remnant of his once princely fortune. This hopeful Duke has always been very intimate with the Prince of Wales.

Another of the same reckless unprincipled set is the young Earl of Jersey, who was left an income of £50,000 a year, every shilling of which is gone. This young fool, who is endowed with the manners of a cabman, and who has a pot-house air in everything that he says or does, was deeply in debt at sixteen years of age, and before he left school he had borrowed[Pg 267] £25,000 from the Jews, who now own him body and soul. His grand-mother, the Countess of Jersey, was, I believe, a mistress of George IV.


The Marquis of Hastings, who died about two years ago, was also one of this same set of spendthrift, young harum-scarum, unprincipled scions of the Bluest Blood of which England can boast. All his magnificent fortune went in horses, and women, and yachts, and at last, when he died, at the age of 26, he had squandered some three or four millions of dollars, and, I believe, the title created as far back as 1389, became in the direct line, extinct. The Marquis lost one day at the Derby race on Lady Elizabeth, a favorite horse of his, the enormous sum of $150,000 in gold. He married a beautiful and wealthy girl, and her fortune went in the general crash after his death. He owned a magnificent yacht, and was in the habit of cruising in the Mediterranean with a coterie of dissolute young aristocrats like himself, and on board of this yacht scenes took place that might have made the cheek of Sardanapalus to blush—that is, provided that that bloated Assyrian ever blushed.



Prince Christian of Schleswig, a beggarly little German kinglet, who was allowed to marry the Princess Helena, a daughter of Queen Victoria, and a very good girl, is said to be rather wild in his ways, but his allowance, £10,000 a year from Parliament, has to satisfy him whether he likes it or not. But in 1869 Prince Christian and the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz had occasion to journey from Dover to Calais, and the[Pg 268] little German had the impudence to send a bill of sixty eight pounds expenses to Parliament, despite the fact that he received his allowance regularly. Professor Fawcett, a liberal member of Parliament, who brought in bills to abolish religious distinctions in Dublin University, and in favor of woman suffrage, demanded the items of the bill, and failing to get them, moved that the Prince Christian's bill be struck out of the estimates. To show what is thought of such unbridled extravagance—the fare being only about two pounds from Dover to Calais—I give the satire and comments of the Queen's Messenger of August 5, 1869, upon the matter. This paper is a weekly organ, published in London.

"Happily there are always two ways of looking at a question, else the following bill, which was presented last week to Parliament, might have suggested puzzling reflections:

For cost of presents made by Duke of Edinburgh during voyage to Cape and Australia, £3,374 14 0
For conveyance of Prince Christian and Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
from Dover to Calais,
68 0 0
For royal present to Peter, king of Congo, as reward for act of Christian charity, 0 12 6
For luncheon to Prince William of Hesse, 13 0 0
For providing food for inhabitants of Cephalonia after the island had been injured by earthquake, 10 9 6
For rigging-out a pier at Antwerp for reception of Prince of Wales, 2 1 0
For robes, collars, and badges for certain persons who had received honor of knighthood, 1,000 0 0
For maintenance of Congo, pirate chief, at Ascension, 38 3 0
Cost of presents to King of Masaba, by Captain of H.M. ship Investigator, 2 0 4
£4,509 0 4

Thus it costs 13l. to give a luncheon to Prince William of Hesse, and only 10l. to relieve an island full of people who are dying of famine. It requires 2l. to lay down red cloth for the Prince of Wales to walk on, and only 12s. 6d. to reward King Peter for an act of Christian charity. These are facts worth knowing. The only thing we regret is that Government should have withheld information as to the precise nature of the gift with which King Peter was gratified. Did this mighty Empire present him with six pairs of[Pg 269] cotton socks, or request him to accept a gingham umbrella second-hand? And the King of Masaba, who figures anonymously, what did he get for 2l. 0s. 4d.? Was it a pair of boots and some pocket-handkerchiefs, or a few pots of Scotch marmalade and a dozen pints of Bass? As to the other items of the bill, it is so obviously right that the country should be made to pay 68l. every time Prince Christian crosses the Channel, that we can only wonder anybody should ever have thought otherwise, and moved, as Mr. Fawcett did, that the sum be struck out of the estimates. We live in strange times, forsooth, when a prince cannot charge the cost of his railway-tickets on to the national purse without being made the subject of unmannered comments!"


And now having given as brief a resume as I possibly could of the salient characteristics of the "fast" young English aristocracy—having shown how extravagant, useless, dishonorable and unprincipled many of them are, I will close by mentioning that it is not long since the English journals were filled with the evidence on the trial of two young men who were arrested in London for dressing and appearing in public as females. They were frequently seen at the Opera, the race course, and in other public places, in company with Lord Arthur Clinton, a well-known young nobleman. Their apartments were searched, and waterfalls, chignons, puffs, and all the articles of the female toilet and female wearing apparel, were found in their possession. Brought before a magistrate, they manifested a strange and unmanly behavior, and bore without shame the details of the medical examination. Lord Clinton, in company with some other friends, had been paying their addresses to these hybrid creatures, and following in the footsteps of some of the disgusting court favorites, of which Juvenal and the Satirists of the Lower Empire speak, he was jealous of another young Lord, the cause being a rivalry for the affections of one of these hybrid things in a woman's clothes!

[Pg 270]



W HY, Sir, I do think the times 'ave changed a great deal, but I am afeered they will change wuss nor ever agin. They do say as how Gladstone has, wen he likes, a will of his own to overturn the Crown itself. And I know 'is son—'a past eight-and-twenty years the young one is. He is just a bit of a curate in yon church of St. Mary's, Lambith; and I can say for 'im as he is a hard-working man—it's no bed of ease, the parish—and 'is father, who is now more than the Queen herself, might have given young Gladstone the richest living in Ingland, and nobody to say boo to him for the favor. Yisar, I'm sixty past, last Miklemas, and man and boy I've lived in Lambeth; and now I'm broke down with the parlyatics—but I once was a good man on the river, and could pull a wherry or waterman's tub with the best on 'em."

The murky beams of an August sun were falling slantingly on the muddy waters beneath my feet as I leaned over the stone balustrades of Westminster Bridge, which connects the ancient borough of Westminster with the Surrey side of the River Thames. Far down the river, I could see craft of every description lying in the stone docks, the pride and boast of all Englishmen. Bridge after bridge loomed up in the sun's hazy beams. Waterloo, Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Vauxhall, and Lambeth Bridges, crowded with traffic and swarming with the wild, heedless, ever-bustling life of the greatest city of the[Pg 273] modern world. Under the piers of this grand bridge, nearly a thousand feet long, swept coal barges, wherries bearing noisy cockney watermen, who halloed to each other from roast-beef stomachs and brown-stout lungs, and every minute the paddling, roaring steamboats, peculiar to the Thames,—each boat about sixty feet long, their clean black hulls set off to advantage by the narrow streaks of red paint that served as an ornament to their keels, dashed to and fro, in and out of the bridge, conveying homeward clerks, shop boys, barristers, solicitors, M. P.'s, business men from the city, physicians, and here and there a stray white neck-clothed curate of the Established Church, disgusted with the latest work of Parliament, while, within a few feet of him, scarcely conscious of the visible triumph that shone over his face, sat a Dissenting preacher reading Bright's last effort in the Commons on behalf of Disestablishment.



On either side of the Thames, beginning at one end and ceasing at the other end of the Houses of Parliament, the magnificent embankment of hewn granite stone stretches, thirty or forty feet in width, for a mile each way, thousands of foot passengers traversing its massive blocks, each man and woman busy with his or her thoughts, or preoccupied with the passing vagaries of the hour.


On my right is Westminster Palace and the Houses of Parliament, the finest modern gothic buildings in the world. The dozen towers and belfries of this truly glorious edifice, gilded over with brass, glisten with the refulgent hues of the dying sunset,—for nine hundred and forty feet on the river, these massive, brown buildings, (that, on the first view, bring up memories of some grand, old Gothic Cathedral,) stretch away with tower, buttress, and pinnacle, presenting a river facade which cannot be equaled by any other edifice for legislative purposes in the world.

Beyond, to the left, on the Surrey side, I can see Lambeth Palace, with its faded reddish-brown brick piled up to the clouds, where resides his Grace, the high and puissant spiritual prince, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of England. The feverish broil and confusion of the great city are all round[Pg 274] me, and are present in, and to an extent pervade, the air above me. The whistling and puffing of the locomotives may be heard night and day as they sweep to and fro, conveying passengers and freight to and from all parts of England and the Continent, over Charing Cross Bridge. The old man by my side on the bridge, with whom I have been conversing for half an hour, is an intelligent artisan of the conservative class, benumbed and enfeebled by illness, and his poor old watery, dazed utterances confess to his astonishment at the marvelous rapidity with which one of the great strongholds of every Englishman's belief,—the Established Church, has been over-turned by the now foremost man in Britain—William Ewart Gladstone. The old man has relations in America, somewhere,—he thinks, near Cincinnati, and he asks after their health and well-being with the most implicit trust that I should know all about them, believing that the Queen City is only a few miles distant by rail from New York. Yet the relatives of his youth and manhood have been absent over twenty years, and are possibly all dead and dust by this time.



As I have a desire to pay a visit to the House of Commons, and be a witness of the proceedings of that dignified body of legislators, I bid the Old Man of Lambeth a very good day, which he acknowledges in his own fashion, and I stroll across the Bridge and down Bridges street toward the Commons. As I pass the huge and massive Clock Tower, said to be four hund[Pg 275]red feet in height, and of most beautiful design, I am warned by what I see all around me, that I am in the close vicinity of that edifice which contains within its walls annually the chosen wisdom and supposed best talent of England. Directly before me is the magnificent fane of Westminster Abbey, holding within its thousand storied urns, the ashes of the bravest, most intellectual, and most renowned, as well as the most wretched and unfortunate of Britain's dead. I can see, as I cross the bridge, the back portion of the Chapel of Henry the Seventh, with its superb and intricate net-work of tower, cornice, buttress, groined and fillagree stone-work. Cabs, four-wheelers, and open carriages, with coachmen and footmen attired in gorgeous liveries, their wigs powdered and frizzed, are driving hither and thither, the occupants of some in full dress going to dinner, or to listen to the debates which are to take place to-night in the Lords or Commons.


These magnificent flunkies wear a contemptuous look of ennui on their faces, and they survey all foot-passengers with blase glances of indifferent serenity, which I find almost impossible to describe justly. The court-yard directly opposite St. Margaret's, of Westminster, is in a hollow below the grading of the approach to the bridge, and is surrounded by a very handsome gilded iron railing, which is in turn surmounted by a row of lamps which encircle the House of Commons at night like a belt of fire. Within this enclosure are continually stationed fifty or sixty hansom cabs for the convenience of the members who may need them in the intervals of debate, and on top of these cabs are to be found the cabbies who delight to bark and bite at the unsophisticated and verdant stranger.

There are half a dozen of policemen, or "bobbies," as the cockney, in his refined slang, chooses to term them, wearing dark blue uniforms with silver gilt buttons, and the letter and number of their division on their close coat collars. The thick cloth-board hats, of a helmeted shape, that these poor fellows are compelled to wear, even in hot weather, are heavy enough to excite the compassion of the most hard-hearted person, An inspector of hacks, always on duty in the Palace Yard, may be[Pg 276] seen moving to and fro, giving instructions to the malicious cabbies, who are listening to his scoldings with the most provoking indifference, real or assumed, as the case may be.

Not being aware of the regulations, which do not permit a stranger or visitor to enter the House of Commons without being possessed of the written order of a member, I find myself notified at the splendidly arched gothic doorway that I cannot pass. Here is a difficulty I had not counted on. A friend from America, however, shows an order, which I afterwards discover only admitted one person. We pass in under the groined roof of one of the finest halls, architecturally considered, in Europe. In this hall, over six hundred years ago on a New Year's day, a monarch of the Plantagenet line fed six thousand poor people, and one may well believe the legend of old prosy Abbot Ingulph, of Croyland, as he looks around and above him at the grand dimensions of the stately hall. On either side as one enters are marble statues, life-size, of Hampden, Falkland, Walpole, Fox, Pitt, Burke, Grattan, and others,—the work of England's greatest sculptors, placed on pedestals of stone.

We are told by the policeman who attends at one of the inner doorways to seat ourselves on a stone bench in an alcove, and wait our turn as is the custom here. The Stranger's Gallery will not hold more than a hundred persons when crowded; and when a heavy debate is in progress, on a great public measure, the gallery is sure to be full. Five persons are admitted to the gallery at a time as soon as a gap is made in the benches by the departure of an equal number of spectators. Should a man leave his seat in the alcove for an instant he is certain to lose his turn, and he will be compelled to go to the bottom place and begin over again. As soon as there is room, the policeman makes a sign to those in waiting, and he marshals the five persons who have tickets, and they follow him through several passages and halls to the Lobby of the Commons—a large, square hall, beautifully decorated, and, turning to the left, they all ascend a winding stair to the ante-room, where the tickets are examined by an old, white-haired gentle[Pg 277]man who sits in a chair in evening dress, and, if correct, the batch are admitted to the Stranger's Gallery, which is on the same floor, at the end of another dark passage.


Before I leave the Lobby of the Commons, let me describe it briefly together with the Lunch Counter of the house, which even the greatest public men find it necessary to visit occasionally. It is a large square hall of lofty proportions, almost every inch of the walls and ceiling being ornamented in relief with the insignia of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

A score of the members are in the Lobby talking with one another, in an animated but not loud tone, or mayhap to some of their favored constituents who have admission. To the right is a counter running across an angle of the Lobby, at which ices, sandwiches, a glass of sherry, a glass of port, or a glass of brandy—all of a good quality, can be obtained by those of the members who do not wish to spoil a dinner by a hearty luncheon, or who do not wish to spend the time in going down stairs into a cosy suite of rooms, which I almost fancied were carved out of the beautiful oak paneling, and where a dinner nearly as good as may be found in England can be obtained at the prices and at the hours which I give in the Bill of Fare: One o'clock—Soups: Jardiniere, 1s.; Calf's Tail, 1s. Joints: Shoulder of Mutton, 2s.; Steak, stewed, 2s. Entrees: Hashed Venison, 3s.; Filet B[oe]uf au Vin, 2s.; Mutton Cutlets piquante, 2s.; Lamb Chop, 1s. 3d. Five o'clock to 6.30—Salmon, Is. 6d.; Sole, 1s.; White Bait, 1s.; Saddle of Mutton, 2s.; Cold Roast Beef, 1s. 3d.; Cold Boiled Beef, 1s. 3d.; Cold Lamb, 2s.; Cold Ham, 1s. 3d.; Lobster, 1s. 3d.; Ribs of Beef, 2s. At 7 o'clock, same prices. Puddings, 6d.; Tarts, 6d.; Wine Jelly, 6d.; French Beans, 6d.; Green Peas, 6d.; Salad, 6d.; Cheese, 4d. This is the bill of fare, for one day only, of the steward, Mr. Nicoll, who purveys for the Lords and Commons of England in both Houses.

I give the prices as a curiosity, showing on what nutriment heroes, statesmen, and orators are fed while attending St. Stephens, and how much they are taxed for their food. This may be trivial to some persons, but I contend the sum of hu[Pg 278]man existence is made up of trifles, and in England, particularly, of such substantial trifles as I have given above. Wellington gained the battle of Waterloo because his troops were well fed, while the raw levies, and even the Old Guard of Napoleon, had been fighting for three days at Ligny and Quatre Bras, and had to lie the night before Waterloo in a wet morass, hungry and exhausted. The articles of food that I have named are to be procured here at a cheaper rate and of better quality than anywhere else in London, only that to enjoy the luxuries which I have enumerated at moderate prices, it is first necessary to gain admittance to the Houses of Parliament, which can only be done through a member's order. The chops and steaks here are truly magnificent, and on a scale of grandeur commensurate with the architectural pretensions of Westminster Palace.

Besides all this, away down below the bustle and eloquence of the Commons, in those dark, quaint oak passages enclosed by marvelous paneling, the visitor is certain to find one of the most beautiful bar-maids in London to wait upon him—and hand him cold sherry at sixpence a glass.

This comely damsel had some tickets to sell. Her uncle—I think it was her uncle—it was who had broken his leg. He belonged to the Noble Order of Foresters, and it was necessary that the public should be called upon to make up a purse to have the uncle's leg set. I had a benevolent American along with me who knew not what to do with his newly cashed sovereigns, and he listened with a compassionate ear to the tale of distress. The result was a small contribution of a half sovereign to the uncle.


The bar-maid said, in presence of two of her country friends—they came from Ilfracombe, down in the country: "I am so much obliged to you, sir. My uncle is very bad. Will you have soda and brandy, sir, or will you have a little bitter beer? The bitter beer is very good after a mutton-chop and potatoes. Mr. Bright always prefers a glass of sherry when he comes down here, but Mr. Disraeli takes brandy and soda. The Hirish members, they are so jolly, and they do carry on so, and they make such jokes with us girls. I likes Lord Stanley, the mem[Pg 279]ber for Lynn, least of them all. Somehow, you can't joke with him. He looks awfully sewere, and whenever he speaks it's just like a father for all the world. You know, sir, he's got the hold Darby blood hintoo 'im, and he is a great man."

"Who do you like best in the House of Commons, sissy?" said my frolicsome American friend to the joyous bar-maid.



"Well, sir, I likes Mr. Bruce, the 'Ome Sekretary, the best of hall of them. He has sich a hinfluence. When he comes down here he always takes a steak, and he is hawful pertikler habout it as how it is to be cooked. He halways likes to have one side raw and the other side burnt. Oh, I have been so worrited about Mr. Bruce and 'is steaks—the waiters always comes to me and says, 'I say, wot kind of a man is this 'ere 'Ome Sekretary, he ought to get some silk binding on to his steaks, he is so werry pertikler.' But he always drops 'em a sixpence and that makes it hup."

The door of the members' entrance to the Commons is guarded by two persons in evening dress, who are dignified enough in presence and feature to sit in the Senate of the United States. At each side is a handsomely carved, oaken box, shaped like a sentry's hut in camp, and in the sides of these boxes are placed notches or racks where all messages and letters for the members are left in the charge of the doorkeepers, as no outsiders whatever are permitted to penetrate this entrance except[Pg 280]ing the Lords or distinguished foreigners, and the latter only by invitation of the House itself.

There are also telegraph offices in the corners of the lobby, with stained glass windows, from whence telegrams can be sent without delay to the Mediterranean, to Paris, St. Petersburg, New York, Washington, San Francisco, Madrid, Pekin, or any place in the bounds of civilization. As I turn from the contemplation of these offices, and from the benches where a number of messengers and smart-looking and handsomely-uniformed pages are in readiness to rush to the clubs in Pall Mall, to the Opera, or to the private residences of the members of the House, in obedience to the beck or nod of the "whip" of the government, (Sir Henry Brand,) in case of a division, I see before me in the doorway a magnificently attired gentleman, in black silk stockings, buckled shoes, and powdered hair and ruffles, wearing a bright sword at his hip. He looks like a picture stepped out of a frame of the period which Thackeray loved to dwell upon—when George the Third was king.

This gentleman is none other than the Sergeant-At-Arms of the House of Commons, Lord Charles James Fox Russell, a scion of the great house of Bedford, of which Earl Russell is a member. How different he looks from the sergeant-at-arms of some of our State Legislatures, or even of the National Houses of Congress. Here is no promoted bar-keeper or reformed rowdy, but a gentleman bearing one of the proudest names in England, and befitting by position and character the elevated office which he holds. It is more than easy to believe that a slung-shot or revolver could not be pulled upon this gorgeous and venerated being while in the performance of his august duties. The most malicious derringer would be silent in his awful presence, and no slung-shot, however moulded, could ever impinge that hereditary forehead.


A story is told of a man who once penetrated even to the floor of the House itself, and sat there on the benches, being taken for some new member by his colleagues who was yet to be sworn in. But before the morning broke, the House having sat all night, the horror of his position had so paralyzed him[Pg 281] that his jetty hair had turned white. Stay, as I have no ticket I will throw myself upon the country and abide the issue. I sent in to the Hon. John Francis Maguire, M.P., my card, with the written desire that I should be admitted to the gallery, and then I awaited the issue, whether for the Tower or the House.

While I waited, strolling about the gallery, a gentleman came out of the door of the Commons, upon whom every eye was turned, and walked in an upright, John Bull fashion towards the refreshment counter. A whisper went round the lobby, "That is John Bright," and then I knew that for the first time I stood in the presence of England's greatest Commoner, the apostle of the Manchester school and Tribune of the people. I who had seen so many caricatures of the great orator in Punch, which has always depicted him as a fat, pursy, vulgar-looking person, sans breeding, sans ceremonie, failed at the first glance to identify the noble-looking old man in evening dress, with an irreproachable white neck-tie, and a decidedly polished exterior, who halted at the refreshment bar to slowly sip a strawberry ice after the heat of the debate.



Every inch this was a man, as I looked at him, and a king among men, if the outward shell can serve at all to indicate what is concealed within. And he has a princely following too. For around him I can see a number of men whose names are known wherever the English language is spoken, and wherever English newspapers are printed and read,—eager to get a word or a look from him, plain John[Pg 282] Bright, once the best hated man in England, and now, by sheer force of will and dogged pluck, enshrined forever in the admiration, if not the love, of his countrymen. I have as yet only been waiting a few minutes when I see approaching me a messenger of the House, who points the writer out to a stout, compact-looking man in evening dress, of advanced years, fair complexion, and with a keen look in his face which serves as a front to a large, solid head, well set on strong shoulders. This is the Hon. John Francis Maguire, M.P. for Cork, author of "Rome and its Rulers," "The Life of Father Matthew," "The Irish in America," and editor of the Cork Examiner, a man well known in Ireland and America, and one of the Irish leaders of the Liberal side in the House.

Mr. Maguire has taken the trouble to leave his seat in the House during debate to oblige the writer of this book, and I must here make my acknowledgment for the courtesy done. Mr. Maguire hands me a slip of paper which he has procured for me from the Right Honorable John Evelyn Denison, Bart., Speaker of the House, and this order entitles me to a reserved seat on the front bench of the Gallery. I now pass the dignitary in the black stockings and buckles, who smiles most graciously at me out of the respect to the Speaker's order, and, after traversing a narrow stair, emerge into the Speaker's Gallery, and find myself at last inside the English House of Commons, of which I have heard so much and so often.

It is now after dusk, and I can hear the silvery chime of "Big Ben" in the huge clock tower of St. Stephen's, as it peals the hour of eight through the corridors and galleries. There is just now a recess among the members for consultation, and but few are on the floor of the House, the majority being in the lobby button-holing each other, and the rest, with the exception of fifteen or twenty on the seats behind the Treasury Bench, are at dinner.


There are fifty or sixty persons in the Gallery, behind and above me, the place where I sit being reserved for those whose names have been inscribed on the list of the Speaker. The Commons' Galleries run lengthwise on either side of the House,[Pg 283] for nearly a hundred feet, having an upper and lower bench, covered with green leather. The House is about forty-five feet wide, and one hundred feet long, and the ceiling is over forty feet from the ground floor, where the debates are held. It is impossible for me to convey an idea of the richness and splendor of this Hall of the Commons. Suffice to say that there is nothing to compare with it in America for architectural effect and compactness.

From above in the ceiling a flood of mellow light pours through sixty-four stained glass windows, and on either side of the House the windows are gorgeous in their designs of shields and coats of arms, indicating the living presence of the monarchy of Great Britain and Ireland. The numerous gas jets are concealed at the top of the glass panelling of the ceiling, throwing a brilliant but subdued light upon the Speaker as he sits in his high, over-hanging oak chair; on the members; on the spectators, and on the ladies who are assembled behind the glass screen at the back of and above the Speaker's chair. Beneath the Ladies' Gallery, and also behind the Speaker's chair, is the Reporters' Gallery, so arranged that each member, as he faces the Speaker, shall also face the numerous corps of reporters who are in attendance to note down whatever wheat may develop itself in the wilderness of chaff spoken in this House.

The lowest bench on the right hand of the Speaker is devoted to the Ministry, and on this side, immediately above, the supporters of the government congregate within hearing distance of the Premier, night after night, during the sessions. Whenever the Ministerial side is thin of speakers, Mr. Gladstone simply turns around, and a nod or look will bring upon his feet whatever member he thinks will best fill the gap. Underneath the Strangers' gallery is placed a special seat for the august Sergeant-at-Arms or his deputy, who is, if I mistake not, a baronet. The walls and ceiling all round are of stone of a peculiar color, which is neither brown, white, grey, nor yellow, but is a combination of all four; and I can best describe the tone of color by likening it to the hue of the bronchial[Pg 284] troches or lozenges that are sold in the druggists' shops in America. Otherwise I might call it a brownish-grey, of which John Ruskin has examples enough and to spare in his "Stones of Venice."

It is certainly a very rich color, and admirably adapted to the damp and foggy atmosphere of London. Wherever the eye may choose to rest in the Houses of Parliament, it is sure to be confronted with the emblazoning of royal and princely cognizances. On both sides of the House are the Division lobbies, where the members go to be counted by the tellers, when a division is called for. That on the west side is for the "ayes," and on the opposite side is the lobby for the "noes." There are also libraries, residences for all the officers of the House, on a scale of the most princely magnificence, and more than a score of committee-rooms abutting off the longest corridors of any public building in the world, not excepting the Escurial in Spain. Everywhere you may see acres of polished oak above and around you.


[Pg 285]



D IRECTLY in front of the gallery where I am sitting, is the Reporter's Gallery. There are fifteen boxes for their use to take notes in, each reporter sitting separately from his comrade, and writing characters for dear life. These boxes resemble private boxes in our New York Opera House, with the difference that they have no roofs above them, and are open to the public gaze. Behind these fifteen boxes are seats for twenty more reporters, to take the place of those in the boxes in turn. Each reporter takes short-hand notes for a space of ten to fifteen minutes time, and is then relieved by his colleague, waiting above him, who steps into his place as the other retires to the Reporter's Room, in the corridor, to write out his notes, and thence to take them to the newspaper office, or else, if he chooses, he may send them by the small boys waiting in the gallery, who are employed by the newspapers at a salary of from eight to twelve British shillings a week to act as messengers. Late at night, it is customary for the reporter who has notes of a very important speech—which he desires to get to the composing-rooms of his journal, to take a cab from the Palace Yard, where there are dozens of them always waiting, and thus dash off to be in time for the press. The Times keeps thirteen reporters constantly in the gallery during the session, and the Standard as many more, if I am not mistaken. These men are all expert short-hand reporters, and receive from five to eight guineas per week, according to their capability. There is also a man who re[Pg 286]mains late to get the gist of what is said and done in debate, and from his notes he makes up a clear and comprehensive summary for the morning edition. Then there is the "leader-writer," "the editor" proper, and a "special reporter," who receive cards of admission to that part of the house under the Reporter's Gallery, and consequently on the floor of the House behind the Speaker's chair. This is a high favor, and only granted most sparingly, and with discretion.

There are generally to be found about twenty reporters in the gallery, but this number is greatly increased on a "field night," when it is usual to find as many as thirty-five or forty journalists in the gallery. From what I have seen of these parliamentary reporters they seem to be very deliberate in their movements, and they do not allow anything to hurry them. They are nearly all, however, very pleasant gentlemen, and with few exceptions, men of experience and scholarly attainments, two-thirds of them being men who have taken honors at the universities, or at Harrow, Eton, or Rugby, and in not a few instances they have begun life by taking minor orders in the church, and having toyed with journalism for some time they were unable at last to resist its feverish fascination. Some few of them are in the Inns of Court—embryo barristers during the day, and at night they practise short-hand, earn a respectable living, and gain experience from England's chosen representatives up in their secluded nooks in the gallery of the House. It was not always that the press and its reporters had such privileges as they now possess in the House of Commons.


Before the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, there were no satisfactory records of the debates in the House. The fierce contests between Walpole, Windham, Pulteney, and others had, indeed, for some time before 1740, attracted attention to the proceedings of the House, and they had been regularly reported in a confused long-hand sort of fashion every month in the Gentleman's and London Magazine, the former publication commencing the debates in January, 1731, the latter in April, 1732, but no attempt can be said to have been made to convey more than the substance of the speeches until that department[Pg 287] of the Gentleman's Magazine was intrusted to gruff old Samuel Johnson, in November, 1740. This is the commencement of the era of parliamentary reporting in England. Short-hand, before that time is involved in chaos, and it is doubtful if Johnson knew anything more than the rudiments of the then crude system of stenography.

Indeed, Johnson appears to have given more of his own eloquence than of what had actually been uttered in Parliament; but still, what he did was, in all probability, only to substitute one kind of eloquence for another—a better for a worse; or, it might be, sometimes, a worse for a better—and therefore, on the whole, the speeches written by him, though less true to the letter than those given by his predecessors, may be received as a more living, and, as such, a truer representation of the real debates than had ever before been produced.

He would not take the trouble to or be guilty of the absurdity of expending his lofty rhetoric upon the version of a debate or speech which had not really attracted attention by that quality, but I suppose he reserved his strength for occasions on which those who had heard, or heard of, the original oration, would look for something more brilliant than usual. It was not, however, until after a long and severe struggle, with a desperate fight at the close, that the right of reporting the debates of Parliament was gained by the English press of that day. It is only about one hundred and thirty years ago, (in the old days of the Hanoverian and Pretender's troubles), since anything spoken in the House was allowed to be printed until after the session was dissolved. The House, in its wisdom, denounced any earlier publication of the eloquence of the honorable members as a daring act of illegality.

On the 13th of April, 1738, the House resolved "that it is an high indignity to, and a notorious breach of the privilege of this House, for any news matter or letters, or other papers, as minutes, or under any other denomination, or for any printer or publisher of any printed newspaper of any denomination to presume to insert in the said letters or papers, or to give therein any account of, the debates or other proceedings of this House, or any committee thereof, as well during the recess as the sitting of[Pg 288] Parliament, and that this House will proceed with the utmost severity against such offenders." The House of Commons, it is needless to say, has progressed somewhat since that day.

The monthly magazines, notwithstanding the resolution of the House, still continued to print the debates, although for some time they took the necessary precaution of indicating the speakers by fictitious names, to which they furnished their readers with a key when the House became dissolved. But it was not until the year 1771, nearly a century ago, that the debates began to be given to the public day by day as they occurred, and then the attempt gave rise to a contest between the House and the newspapers, which occupied the House, to the exclusion of all other business, for three weeks, when a committee was appointed, whose report, when it was read two months after, suggested whether it might not be expedient to order that the offending parties should be taken into the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms. Edmund Burke compared the decision, in his own brilliant manner, to the resolution of the bewildered convocation of mice,—that the cat, to prevent her doing future destruction, should have a bell hung to her neck, but forgot to say how the rash act was to be performed. Well, that is all past and gone now, and the only complaint made in these busy days by members of Parliament against the score of daily newspapers, published in London, is that they err in not printing enough of the speeches to satisfy each individual representative.


I noticed that the majority of the parliamentary reporters in the Gallery were considerably advanced in age, many of them wearing gray hairs, and fully sixty per cent. of the whole number that I saw were above forty years of age. Some of these gentlemen, by careful saving and strict attention to their arduous professional duties, have amassed comfortable competencies, and some of them own, in the environs of the city, snug little houses, with snug little libraries, and in some of them, I can certainly say, are to be found pleasant tables and home-comforts rarely possessed by their brethren of the note-book and pencil in America. There are, to be sure, many improvident ones in[Pg 289] London, as elsewhere, and here Bohemianism has a lower depth than it ever was known to have in America, for it is here that the really depraved and abandoned Bohemian confines himself exclusively to the consumption of gin—raw and simple gin. A low London Bohemian is a mere animal, and will beg a copper from you in the same breath that he professes his willingness to translate a Greek tragedy—to oblige the giver of the copper, or else he will favor you with an account of his days at Oxford or Trinity, when he was a "first honor" man or a B.A. But one thing I have not found as yet in London on the press, and that is an illiterate or badly taught man, such as can be met with by the score on the American press.

The House to-night is in a Committee of the Whole on the Scottish Education bill. The Ministerial benches are pretty well filled, while the Opposition benches, to the left of the Speaker's chair, are but thinly populated. Fronting the Speaker's chair of state is a table of polished mahogany, the surface of which is about ten feet wide by fifteen feet long. Directly before the chair of the Right Honorable Speaker are two low-seated chairs of less pretension, occupied by the Clerk of the House of Commons, Sir Denis Le Marchant, and his assistant, Sir Thomas Erskine May, K.C.B. The former is a smooth-faced man, having the inevitable wig upon his head, which gives him a much older appearance than his years would warrant. His shoulders are enveloped in an ample black silk gown, and a blank book of large dimensions is open before him upon whose leaves he is supposed to enter the minutes of the House. This person has a magnificent suite of apartments in a wing of the Parliament House, beside a very large salary, and is as comfortably housed as if he belonged to the royal blood of Britain. Sir Thomas Erskine May, K.C.B., seated upon his left, is a clean-shaved gentleman in evening dress, who also has apartments in the palace, and a good salary. He has nothing remarkable about his person or manner, with the exception of a very drawling voice and a hesitancy in announcing motions made by the members, or in calling a division when the House so wills it. He is the author of the continua[Pg 290]tion of Hallam's Constitutional History of England. Beside these high officials there are four "Principal Clerks," one of whom, like Sir Thomas May, enjoys the high dignity of a Knight Companion of the Bath, &c. Then there are twelve "Assistant Clerks" and twelve "Junior Clerks," with an "Accountant," an "Assistant Accountant," a "Private Secretary to the Chairman of Ways and Means;" a "Sergeant-at-Arms," who is a Lord; two "Deputy Sergeants;" a "Chaplain," no less a man than Canon Merivale, the accomplished Roman historian, who has the good sense to make his prayers at the commencement of the proceedings very short; a "Secretary to the Speaker;" a "Librarian," a poor cadet of the great overshadowing family of Howard; an "Assistant Librarian," with an Irish name; two "Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills," one of whom is Mr. R.D.F. Palgrave, of whom Americans have heard, and finally a "Taxing Officer," beside innumerable servants, of superfine bearing, correct evening dress, and consummate self-possession. I asked one of these ponderous servants, whom at first sight I took to be the "Juke of Linsther," as an Irish reporter pronounced it, if he was not awed by the dignity of the house.



"Aw," said he, in a gracious manner, "you er, I preeszhume, en Eemireken. This sawt of thing boaws me 'orrid; it does. I hev dun hit for heit yeers. I wish they wud adjoan, and I wud go to my CLUB."

[Pg 291]


Timidly I offered this gorgeous being four-pence, expecting to be rebuked in a dignified manner for my presumption by the personage who talked so fluently of "'is club." He never turned around, but, gazing steadily at the Speaker's chair, as if he was desirous of catching the Right Honorable Gentleman's eye, thrust his hand behind him, counted the pennies with his fingers, and said to the writer in a stage whisper:

"Would your 'onor pleese to make it a 'tanner'? We 'ave no perkisites in the Commons, pleese." Let me here state that a "tanner" is the slang term for sixpence, and a "bob" is a shilling among the London cockneys, servants, bar-boys, and wild children of the thousand streets and lanes of London.

When the House is in committee it is not the custom for the Speaker to be present. When the House is in open session, then the Speaker is arrayed in wig and gown, and he sits far back in the recesses of his chair, like some dried-up mummy, so closely is he swathed and covered. It is pretty hard work for a member to actually catch his eye, being so muffled up as to defy recognition by a casual observer. Yet it is a part and parcel of the British Constitution, that this Right Honorable John Evelyn Dennison should be smothered in this huge box and gown and wig on a warm August night like this. During committee proceedings the Speaker may walk out, doff his wig and gown, and dine as he has done to-night, and then come back, and finding the House still in committee, he will seat himself in his chair without his legal vesture. I have been in this House four nights, and this is the first time that I have seen the Speaker's legs—palpably. He lolls back without any of that reverence that I have heard so much of, as belonging to the Commons, and he has at last gone to sleep, like Mr. Greeley under Dr. Chapin's sermons. In the meantime, the bill, which has twenty-five clauses or sections, is being canvassed and considered by the members who stream in, now that the dinner hour has passed.

While the Speaker slumbers in a quiet way, the chief and assistant clerks of the House conduct the business, the assistant taking up the bill, and repeating as he reads each clause[Pg 292] in detail: "It is moved," or "it is proposed that a substitute," or that the "word —— instead of ——," and so on, in soporific tones, for two long hours. A number of people in the gallery are gently dozing, and visibly many of the messengers are relapsing into a blissful repose.

The Speaker's table is covered with reports, large bound and gilt volumes, books of reference, pamphlets, newspapers, costly ink-horns, and other clerical paraphernalia of the state service. The huge gilded mace of the Speaker, which lies on the further end of the table below his chair, when the House is not in committee, is now pendant under the table on a rack, to show that it is not an open session for the introduction of new measures or for the making of set speeches.



Out of six hundred and seventy or eighty members of the House, there are not present to-night more than one hundred and fifty. Many of the remaining members are scattered all over the Continent in nooks and corners. A large number may be found on the Parisian boulevards; some are at Fontainebleau; some in the Pyrenees, swallowing chalybeate waters; many are yachting in the Mediterranean, or wasting their time with the peasant girls in Isles of the Greek Archipelago; not a few are off at the races at Goodwood or Brighton; some are at Rome, burning, fuming, and cursing the garlic and salads; dozens of them are at Constantinople, at St. Petersburg, or climbing the Alps out of a sheer love of[Pg 293] danger and the reckless fondness of physical excitement inborn in the Englishman; and probably as many as could be numbered on the fingers of the hand are scattered over the American Continent in search of novelty. There are also a number of City members absent, in their out-of-town residences, compelled to forego forensic honors, at the command of wife and daughters who are packing and poking preparatory to a flight to the Rhine and Germany. The ministerial benches show a good front for the late season; first, because the government has a great deal of unfinished business on its hands, which must be transacted before Parliament is closed; and secondly, because the exertions of the government whip have been most arduous in hunting up Mr. Gladstone's supporters, and compelling them to remain in their seats, while there is work to be done by them.


With a great number of Americans, that have not visited England, there is in some way or another an abiding impression that the House of Commons is the most stately and dignified legislative body in the world. To be disabused of this notion it is only necessary for an American to sit during a night session in the gallery of the House, with a proviso that he has been a visitor at some time or another to the Senate Chamber or the House of Representatives at Washington. When a member of this House rises to claim the attention of the Speaker, it is common to find half a dozen of his fellow members rising also with him for the same purpose. A member of the government gets on his honorable legs with his face turned toward the Speaker. If on the lower bench, he will walk a little forward to the table, and if he is accustomed to speak from notes, it is more than possible that he will lay one hand on the table and with the other turn the leaves of his manuscript. If he speaks extemporaneously, he will probably lean in a lounging position forward, his two hands resting on the Speaker's table.

Many of the members who are best known to the public have this fashion, and it is most unpleasant to hear them drawl forth sentence after sentence as if they were dragged from their[Pg 294] honorable throats by sheer force. It has often been reported by English writers that American legislators have a bad fashion of elevating their legs and laying back in an irreverent attitude while listening to a debate. Also, that they expectorate freely. Well, I have seen the most distinguished statesman at present in England—I mean Mr. Gladstone—lounge and disperse his limbs, while within ten feet of the Speaker, in a fashion that would bring shouts of laughter from a crowded theatre, were the same thing done in a farce or low comedy.

Each member of the Commons, as he walks into the House, to-night, has his hat on his head. As he passes the Speaker's chair, he doffs it for an instant, but when he takes his seat the hat is replaced upon his head as before. As a general thing, a member who speaks without notes, addresses the Speaker, with his hat in one hand. They all seem to conclude whatever remarks they have to make with a jerk, and as soon as they sit down the hat is again replaced, or rather slapped on the head, with a vehement motion that seems impelled by some hidden mechanical power. Then they have a fashion of lounging in and out in a free-and-easy way during debate, that is highly suggestive of a bar-room in a frontier town.

There is rarely, or never—in the House of Commons—an exhibition of the nervous, impassioned speaking which may be heard all over America or in the Corps Legislatif. When there is a clear or telling speech made, (as far as the manner of delivery goes,)—mind, I do not speak of its effect practically—or if the eloquence is of a florid description, it will be surely spoken by one of the one hundred and five Irish members. Certainly, when Whalley or Newdegate get on their legs, to smash the Pope or to recount horrible but dramatic stories about the mysteries and child massacres of convents, there is no lack of vehemence and buncombe. But this style of oratory is confined to a few of the members who have hobbies to ride, and who cannot be driven from them even at the point of the bayonet.


Physically speaking, a majority of the members are gallant-looking fellows, and they are all dressed simply, but with the[Pg 295] taste always observed by a gentleman in the selection of articles of clothing. A small number of them wear white beaver hats, and their trowsers are cut widely at the bottom in the now prevailing fashion. With the exception of a few of the younger and more fashionable members, who frequent the race-courses, the Opera,—go to hear Schneider, lounge into the Cremorne after eleven o'clock at night, or frequent the society of such famous demi-reps as "Mabel Grey," "Baby Hamilton," "Baby Thornell," or other women who have beggared and ruined hundreds of those young men about town who have a disposition to be fast, there is a total absence of showy or loud colors in their apparel. A great many of the "fast" young men attend the session—occasionally—for the sake of common decency, or because their constituencies compel it, as in the case of a City borough the other day, where a member was rebuked by a public resolution of condemnation and asked to resign, for absence from his seat. Younger sons of noble lords look upon the House of Commons as a necessary evil, which must be "done," like an occasional visit to church, or to Richmond, or Greenwich, to eat fish.

As the members come in one by one and take their places on the benches, I find opportunities to observe and note their peculiarities and looks. That gentleman who comes in so slowly and so quietly, dressed in dark clothes, and having a head, whiskers, and general resemblance to our Longfellow, is the Right Honorable Austin H. Layard, Commissioner of Public Works, one of the Ministers, but not a member of the Cabinet, and lately appointed English Ambassador to Spain. You would take him for a literary man or a thinker, anywhere, by reason of his long, flowing, white hair and thoughtful look. Mr. Layard is the author of the celebrated book on Nineveh. He receives attention in the House always when he rises to speak of Eastern affairs. He was at one time an attache of the English embassy to the Porte, and was Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs in the administration of Earl Granville. Mr. Layard has the reputation of being rather hot tempered in debate, and at one time he earned the ill-will of the aristocratic[Pg 296] faction in the House by his persevering liberalism, but at present he is popular enough, and no one can look at his bright dark-blue eye and general appearance, without feeling that he is in the presence of a man who possesses a considerate and calmly philosophical spirit, broken at times by a sudden flash of the scholar's enthusiasm.

That gentleman with the exquisitely carved face and very red hair, with a slight dimple in his chin, and clear, frank eyes, is the Secretary of State for War, the Right Honorable Edward Cardwell, M.P. for Oxford City, and an old follower of Sir Robert Peel. He has in his time held various offices of trust under different administrations, and in June, 1866, when the forces of Col. William R. Roberts, President of the Fenian Brotherhood, invaded the Canadas, Mr. Cardwell, as Secretary for the Colonies, had his hands full of a rather difficult business, which he managed as well as the very annoying circumstances—for a British Crown Minister—would permit. I like to hear Mr. Cardwell speak. He is always ready, yet deliberate, and with these qualities he possesses a happy and easy manner in argument. The most difficult job of Mr. Cardwell's life was the management of the Governor Eyre-Jamaica business, which at its crisis covered the English administration with shame and ignominy. Mr. Cardwell had, while at Oxford, a very good reputation, which he has not as yet contradicted by his course in Parliament, of which body he was returned as a member as early as 1842. Thackeray once ran against him and was defeated.


That really handsome young gentleman, who is said to have the best-shaped leg in the House, as well as the friendship of the most charming female members of the aristocracy, as he certainly is the owner of a most beautiful head of hair, of the hue of a new guinea, such as is seen in Carlo Dolce's Virgins—is the member for Argyllshire, the Marquis of Lorne, heir presumptive to George Douglas Campbell, eighth Duke of Argyll, the Liberal Secretary of State for India in the Gladstone Cabinet, a Privy Counsellor, and a Knight of the Thistle. The young marquis, at twenty-five, has the face and skin of a[Pg 297] maiden of twenty, and I could not but observe that his trowsers were of a fashion superior to any other known trowsers in the House of Commons. I do not know whether the handsome Marquis inherits the Covenanting piety of the Argyll-Campbells, his ancestors; but he bears a wonderful resemblance to his father, the Duke, and among the frescoes in the corridors of the House there is one by Copely, entitled the "Sleep of Argyll," and I was astonished to notice the strong likeness of the young Marquis—who passed the fresco at the moment—to the face of his illustrious ancestor of two hundred years ago, as it was depicted by the artist—lying on a prison pallet. The Marquis of Lorne, while I was in the gallery, sat behind Mr. Gladstone, on an upper bench, as a Liberal, like his father who sits in the Lords. When the hereditary Campbell got up on his well-shaped legs to speak as a Scotch member on the Parochial Schools bill, he did it quietly, and in a clear, musical voice, that seemed to attract attention.

The Marquis of Lorne has a very ready delivery, though he is not as yet of great account in debate, and he is I believe, from all reports, a marvelously proper young man, compelled to exist upon about £25,000 a year, which amount will be largely augmented when the present Duke is committed to the family vaults.

That big, bulky six-footer, of great shoulders and massive limb, wearing tightly fitting clothes, his forehead overshadowed with dark, reddish-brown hair, and his whole manner indicative of pluck and a contest against life-long odds, is the Right Honorable H.C.E. Childers, member for Pontefract, and First Lord of the Admiralty, an office that in England somewhat resembles the position of Secretary of the Navy of the United States, having this difference only—that the First Lord, while in his place on the Treasury or Cabinet benches in the House of Commons, is compelled to reply to all attacks on the management of the Navy, and to defend the expenditure and estimates of that department. He is now giving facts from a pamphlet which he holds in one hand, while he rests his body on his other hand across the table in a negligent manner, as if he[Pg 298] were more used to roughing it in the bush than supporting a minister by a recapitulation of dreary statistics in the House.

Mr. Childers was at one time, I believe, a fellow-member with Mr. Robert Lowe, of the Parliament of Victoria, after both of them had exiled themselves voluntarily to the antipodes. Mr. Childers only became a member of the House in 1860, and his rise to eminence was achieved with more than American rapidity, in a country where it is a cardinal principle that a man should not receive emolument, honor, or position, until he has grown the gray hair of sixty years.

Mr. Childers is the chairman and director also of at least threescore of corporations and foundations of charity of one kind or another, and is said to be very good in figures—a necessary gift in a Lord of the Admiralty. If his mind is half as big as his whiskers, he is certainly a genius. The hard work of defending the Gladstone administration in detail is usually given to Mr. Childers, to W.E. Foster, M.P. for Bradford, or to Mr. Bruce, the Home Secretary. In all Irish matters, Mr. Chichester Fortescue, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, is expected to stand by his leader, Mr. Gladstone, and he has been of great service to him in the Irish Land Bill legislative measures. Mr. Childers, like the young Marquis of Lorne, is a Trinity College, Cambridge, man, but not an Eton boy like the former.



The next noticeable person on the ministerial bench, and by all acknowledged to be one of the ablest men in Parliament,[Pg 299] is the Right Honorable Robert Lowe, member for London University, an Oxford man, and son of a Church of England clergyman. London University, which Mr. Lowe represents, is the most liberal educational institution in England, and grants University degrees to students, irrespective of their religious belief. A short time ago the Queen opened the new London University buildings, which are, I believe, unequaled in the metropolis for beauty of design and commodious comfort. Mr. Lowe is now in his fiftieth year, and is a member of the Gladstone Cabinet, and Chancellor of the Exchequer—the office formerly held by his illustrious chief, and one of the greatest trust and responsibility in England.


As an orator Lowe has few equals, and stands in the following order of precedence: Gladstone,—Bright,—Disraeli,—Lowe,—according to the best judges. By many he is said to be superior to Disraeli in satirical power, although not his equal in vehement philippic, and not a few consider him equal in logical force to Bright. Yet, with all his ability and power, he is one of the best-hated public men in all England, and this is said to be the result of his unfortunate proclivity for satire, and for a certain unpleasant gruffness, that, spite of his education and inward natural courtesy, will break out, and in a minute demolish the labor of a year of statesmanship. I might call Mr. Lowe a pure-blooded Albino, as he is first noticeable by his bushy white eyebrows, white hair of great length, and rather pinkish eye-lids.

He has a positive, firm chin, a clear eye, and, from the abutment of his nostril to the corner of his lower lip on either side deep ridges extend, giving him in that part of the face the look of a bon vivant. The eye is very steady, and looks at a stranger of doubtful appearance with a sneering way that seems to say: "I have to be polite; but if I choose to think you an idiot, it is my own business." The ears are large, and seem to be buttoned back, as if ready for a row on the slightest provocation. Mr. Lowe is quite near-sighted, and it is said that to this defect he owed his release from holy orders, having studied for the Church at University College, Oxford. He certainly[Pg 300] would have made a very unpleasant sort of a clergyman for some of the lax and rather immoral public men who illuminate the House occasionally. He is a man of many edges, bristling all over with sharp and hard angles, and is in every way an aggressive person. Lord Palmerston, who was with every other member of the House—on the footing of a jolly good fellow, could never be brought to like Robert Lowe. Lowe never laughed at the veteran Premier's jokes.

Mr. Lowe owes his first important advancement from an ordinary station in life to the fact that when he returned to England from Sydney, he had the good fortune to contribute a smashing article to the Times, and since that time Mr. Lowe, it is understood, has been a regular outside contributor of that journal, with great good luck to back him. Mr. Lowe has also the reputation of being a very quick and facile "leader" writer upon the topics with which he is best acquainted.



Mr. Lowe once had his head well smashed by the roughs at an election row, and it is said that the memory of it has stuck to him ever since, like the caning of Charles Sumner by Preston Brooks, and, like that episode, it has served to keep old fires burning. In the memorable debates of 1866, upon the suffrage question, Mr. Lowe shone with his greatest force. With such rivals as Bright, Disraeli, Gladstone, Hardy, and Milner Gibson, it was no joke to keep on the top of the tide, but Lowe[Pg 301] never faltered in his career. The more pitiless were his adversaries in argument, the more pitiless became Robert Lowe.


The fancy, the vigor, the antithesis, the irony, wit, force, energetic subtlety, and strength of his speeches during that stormy session of 1866, are not likely to be forgotten soon, by friend or adversary, in the House of Commons. Lowe is, I believe, the only instance of a man who has at one and the same time a dimpled chin and a bad temper.

That mild-looking, dark-faced man, with neat attire and jeweled fingers, who comes in almost stealthily from behind the Speaker's chair, and takes his seat upon the Ministerial Bench, is Goschen, who represents London, and is a member of the Cabinet, President of the Poor Law Board, and son of a Leipsic bookseller of moderate circumstances.

Mr. Goschen is evidently of Jewish origin, and his rise to power has been speedy. He is still a young man—of polished manners, and more than any other member in Parliament represents the moneyed interests of the great city for which he sits. He is a Rugby and Oriel College man, and was at one time Vice-President of the Board of Trade, and afterwards Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Yet he is scarcely developing the statesmanlike power which was predicted for him by his friends who had watched his career as a Director in the Bank of England, and as the author of essays and treatises on some topics of political economy.

The middle-sized gentleman, inclined to baldness, wearing a brown coat and a mixed trousers, with straps at the bottom of the latter, and who has a slight fringe of whiskers and a round bright eye, is no less a personage than the Marquis of Hartington, Postmaster-General, a member of the Cabinet, heir presumptive to the Dukedom of Devonshire, the Earldom of Burlington, Baron Cavendish in Derbyshire and Baron Cavendish in York, chiefly celebrated for his advocacy of the Confederacy in Parliament, and a man of not exceedingly great calibre as a debater or thinker; but from the possessions which he will one day inherit in this broad and merry England, a man of most decided influence and power. He has for his family mot[Pg 302]to, "Secure in Caution," and generally sticks to it in the House.

In his young days, it is hinted that the Marquis of Hartington was in the habit of going home very late with his night key in his coat-tail pocket, and at one time it is said that the notorious "Skittles," (since dead,) had emblazoned on her handsome brougham—presented her by the Marquis—the crest of the now steady and religiously inclined Postmaster-General of Great Britain. He is just now conversing with a tall, black-whiskered man, of sharp features and equally sharp accent, in drab clothing. This is George Armistead, M.P. for Dundee, formerly a Russia merchant, and said to be a good man on committees.

A medium-sized, dark-faced, and portly person in black clothes walks in slowly by the Speaker and seats himself, with his hat bent forward over his eyes, and having a book, whose leaves he is cutting, in his hand. This is Alexander James Beresford-Hope, one of the two M.P.'s for Cambridge University—the other being the Right Hon. Spencer Horatio Walpole, whose mother was Countess of Egmont.

Mr. Beresford-Hope is part proprietor of that well known weekly and satirical journal, the Saturday Review, and is or has been a writer for the same sheet. During the Civil War in America, Mr. Beresford-Hope spoke early and often in support of the Confederacy while in Parliament, and also wrote a book favoring Jefferson Davis and his cause. In this course he had no more ardent colleague than the gentleman who now approaches him with his head moving from right to left, in a nervous fashion—I mean William Henry Gregory, member for Galway.


Mr. Hope is no doubt a good liver, and is a member of the Carlton, Athenĉum, University, Oxford and Cambridge, and New University Clubs, where, possibly, he has a great opportunity to study cookery as a fine art. His fellow member from Cambridge, who stands toying with his watch chain and drumming on the floor, bears the imposing name of Spencer Walpole, and has no decided individuality in the House. Both[Pg 303] Hope and Walpole are Conservatives, and are sadly shocked at the continued majorities of Mr. Gladstone.

The man just now speaking from notes is Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Robert Anstruther, of the Grenadier Guards, member for Fifeshire, a Harrow man, and an earnest liberal of the Scotch stamp.

The little old man in evening dress, pale face, and having a circle of white beard around his throat, who is playing with his fingers nervously, is The O'Conor Don, member for Roscommon, who is looked up to by all the Irish members.

The slender young gentleman, not yet in his twenty-fifth year, and very fashionably dressed, leaning up against the back of the Speaker's chair in conversation, is Henry George, Earl Percy, son of the Duke of Northumberland, who married the eldest daughter of the Duke of Argyll, and will one day be the proprietor of the second proudest title in England as well as of half a dozen castles, a score of manors, and three or four baronies. This young man was sent to the House of Commons by his father, the Duke of Northumberland, as a Conservative, but it is rarely that he takes the trouble to open his lips in debate. He has a very great reputation for driving tandem, and is known to be a judge of boquets and claret—young as he is as a legislator in the House of Commons—but he bears a good reputation, and has not done anything to dishonor the proud name of Percy as yet.

That young gentleman with the pointed yellow moustache and goatee of the Vandyke type, is Sir David Wedderburn, of an old Scotch family, and quite an active working young member of the opposition when led by Disraeli. Very often the peers of the Upper House may be found in the Commons, from motives of curiosity or to get intelligence of the birth of new bills before they are sent to the Upper House. They have a gallery of their own, these peers, and hardly ever trouble the floor of the House.

Occasionally a prelate of the English Established Church may be found in the Peers' Gallery of the House of Commons, listening to the debates, and to-night there are two bishops in[Pg 304] the gallery, one of whom is Dr. Fraser, Bishop of Manchester, who is said to be the most practical minded prelate in England. Dr. Fraser has a well outlined face and a very compact head, with a clear, firm eye. He is big with a scheme for the education of the working classes, and looks to be deeply interested in the debate. His companion is the Bishop of Peterborough, who is acknowledged to be the ablest speaker and clearest thinker in the English Episcopate. Viscount Bury is now on his legs. The Viscount is of all the speakers I have heard, the very dullest. He reads from notes which he takes page for page from his hat, and I am certain that I never listened to such a dreadful monotone as his voice. The Viscount dresses plainly, and yet he has a Dundreary look, the light side whiskers which he wears giving him an affected appearance. The Viscountess Bury is a daughter of Sir Allan McNab, and in her younger days was a celebrated beauty, and was a toast in fashionable society.

That young gentleman with the slight, downy moustache and gloriously handsome face, leaning over the side of the Peers' Gallery, is the Marquis of Huntley, a member of the House of Lords, and is the first Marquis in rank of the Scottish peerage. He is only twenty-three years of age, and was married a short time since in Westminster Abbey, the Prince of Wales acting as his best man, and all the notabilities of the court attending. The old, soldierly-looking man who is conversing with him and having a white rose in his button-hole, whose hair is cropped quite close, is the Earl of Fingall, who was formerly an officer in the 8th Hussars, and a hero of the Crimean war.


The medium sized gentleman with the thoroughly English face, wavy hair, and plain and unostentatious attire, who passes behind the Speaker's Chair for a moment, and then whispers to that awful dignitary, is the Duke of Richmond, the leader of the Conservative party in the House of Lords. The Duke is quite popular in England, and has a magnificent park and castle at Goodwood, where a race takes place every year, for a prize called the "Goodwood Cup." Under the administration[Pg 305] of Mr. Disraeli the Duke held the position now occupied by John Bright, who is President of the Board of Trade.

There was for some time a warm rivalry between the Duke of Richmond, Lord Cairns, and the Marquis of Salisbury, as to which of the three should lead in the House of Lords, and at one time, I believe after the death of the lion-like Earl of Derby, Lord Cairns, who used to be an Irish lawyer before he was ennobled, had the best chance from his great ability, but the high position and family of the Duke carried the day.

That plain looking man who with a slight inclination to the Speaker and doffing his hat, passes out to the Division Lobby, is Lord Stanley—now Earl Derby, since the death of his father. Lord Stanley, who is now in the House of Lords, was one of the ablest members of the House of Commons, a forcible debater, a logical reasoner, and a thorough gentleman in all respects. Lord Stanley entered political life very early, and has filled various offices of trust, being successively—Under Secretary of Foreign affairs in 1852; Secretary for the Colonies in 1858; Secretary of State for India in 1858-9, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1866-8.

The tall, dark-haired and handsome looking member who has followed Viscount Bury in debate, and who speaks so fluently without notes, and whose language and gestures are not without a certain grace and elegance, is The O'Donoghue member from Tralee, who was going to marry an Earl's daughter in order to pay his debts—but didn't. The O'Donoghue challenged Sir Robert Peel to fight a duel a few years ago, having been offended by some unparliamentary language of Peel's in the House, but the latter backed out of the row in a very undignified manner.

Lord Stanley having forgot something, comes back to find it, and searches the bench behind the spot where The O'Donoghue is speaking from, which rather confuses the Irish orator a little—but Lord Stanley apologises at once. By the way, Earl Derby is said to be engaged to the Marchioness of Salisbury, whose husband died a year ago. This will be a late marriage for both parties, the intended bride being forty-six years of[Pg 306] age with five children, the youngest of whom is a daughter twenty-two years of age, while Earl Derby is forty-four years of age, and very common-place and prosaic in his domestic habits. The Marchioness is, I believe, a daughter of Earl De La Warr.

Three men now enter the House and take seats—two in the galleries, who are soon joined by a third. This last man is the richest noble in England. He is an old man on the brink of the grave, and yet he could buy up a dozen of the members of Parliament who are fuming and fidgeting below in the freshness of good health. It is the Marquis of Westminster, who owns half of the borough from which he takes his title, and his income I have been told is something like four hundred thousand pounds a year. The Marquis is very charitable, and has spent over £100,000 in erecting model tenements for poor people in London. Beside the title of Marquis, he also bears that of Sir Richard Grosvenor, which is supposed to be derived from the French of Gros Veneur—"Great Huntsman,"—some of the ancestors of the family having acted in that capacity to the Norman Dukes at a remote period.

The other gentlemen are Earl Spencer, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a big man with a big head, a big whisker and a big look in the face, wearing a big tweed coat; and the Hon. Robert Wellesley Grosvenor, one of the members for Westminster, a Captain in the 1st Life Guards, and belonging to the family of the old Marquis of Westminster. He has for his colleague who now takes his seat, William Henry Smith, the other member for Westminster, who owns the largest news agency in the world, at No. 186 Strand.



And now the Premier is on his legs at last. I had heard of Gladstone so often that I was curious to hear his voice and look upon his face. Imagine a tall man, six feet in his stockings, with a massive head, a good strong body, sparse side whiskers just whitening with years, a pair of dark eyes, deep as an abyss, with the thoughts and struggles of a mighty spirit welling up—firm lips and cavernous eyebrows, a massive and persistent under jaw, the lines of the face strongly marked[Pg 309] and indicating by their rigidness the conflict that has been going on inwardly for years, and dress that figure up in deep black upper garments and mixed trousers, and you have something like the Premier of Great Britain as I saw him in his seat on the end of the Treasury benches in Parliament. One leg is thrown over another in a negligent and thoughtful attitude, the head being bowed forward on the breast, while every few minutes he raises his eyes with a wonderful mystery glittering in them, to the face of the member who has the floor, as if he were taking the mental measurement of the speaker. The face represents a fierce enthusiasm which can kindle into great deeds, or express with a glance great thoughts.


This wonderful man started in life as a High Churchman and Tory, believing that all bishops should know Greek and acknowledge the Apostolic Succession, and now he is an advanced Liberal, but opposes woman's suffrage as a dangerous measure. In religion Gladstone sticks to his Oxford teachings, and this is best proved by his Episcopal appointments, nearly all of whom are High Churchmen.

How grandly the sentences roll from the lips of the scholarly Premier, as he stands up to reply to some attack on the administration. Every sentence is rounded, full, concise, and flowing, and every phrase seems chosen with elegance. He is a marvelously brilliant speaker, but it is better to hear him than to read his speeches, which though perfect literary compositions, are yet, in type, brilliant and dry abstractions, while the contrary may be said of Bright's speeches, whose productions sound better in a report than they do when they are delivered.

And now he has done, and sits down, slamming his hat on his head, and reclining back, with his eyes glued on his shirt bosom; and from the Opposition benches at the other side of the House, a tall, massive figure, which is radiant with jewelry and surmounted by a poll of black curly hair, rises to answer Mr. Gladstone. The face is corrugated, the nose like an eagle's beak—curved—like those on Roman coins, or just such a nose as Titus encountered by the thousand, under piercing, almond-[Pg 310]shaped black eyes, in the Court of the Holy of Holies, when the Chosen People fell in heaps behind their shields, only glad to die for Jerusalem.

Yes, here is one of that same wonderful, plucky race, which has survived hundreds of years' of war, pestilence, famine, persecution, and contumely, and now finds its best representative in Benjamin Disraeli, the author of "Tancred," "Coningsby," "Henrietta Temple," and "Lothair," that book of books. This is the same Jew whom O'Connell thundered at thirty years ago, and whom he denounced as the lineal descendant of the impenitent thief who died upon the Cross. Thirty-three years ago this man entered Parliament and made his maiden speech, or attempted to make it,—as a member from Maidstone. The crowded House laughed at him that night,—men who were used to Canning, and Henry Brougham; to that consummate orator, Daniel O'Connell, and to the brilliant fireworks of Richard Lalor Sheil,—laughed at the young member with the Jewish beak and profile, and he sat down discomfited, but not beaten, crying out to the House, which was indulging in cock-crowing and geese-cackling at his expense, "You will not hear me now, but you shall hear me yet."

He is an older man now, and success in everything he has attempted, such as has never been given to any living man but Louis Napoleon, has rewarded his efforts. Hear how he dashes into Gladstone's eloquent sentences with his biting, withering words of sarcasm,—how he overthrows the airy edifice which the Liberals were just now contemplating,—listen to the fiery words of this master of wit and trenchant, cutting invective—invective that spares no feeling or cherished opinion, but bares the breast of the Minister like the surgeon's hand to plunge still deeper the scalpel in the roots of the wound.

Now he has done, and he sits down, and members crowd around him and congratulate him, but he receives their incense with a wearied, indifferent air, that seems to say, "I have been Premier myself, and I think it to be a small place for a man of ability."


And so the night passes on in the House, member after[Pg 311] member getting upon his honorable legs, and the small hours come on apace, and the small talk continues, and the Speaker comes in and goes out, yet still the House remains in Committee—a very wearisome night it is, and hot and close in the galleries, and many sleep the sleep of exhaustion in the legislative arena—while off in green fields and on grassy meads, by lakes and rivers, the dew falls heavily, and the English Moon shines with a soft light all over the broad land.

It is amusing to see the Speaker of the House settle a point of order when members become obstreperous, with his little cocked hat in his hand, or to see him reprimand a member who crosses the horizon of a member who is addressing the House. This last offence is considered a great breach of etiquette, and the Speaker always instructs the offender that he should have made a tour around the House to avoid giving offence to the orator. Sometimes a tired member will notice that there is not a sufficient number of members in the House to transact business, and if he wishes to escape a threatened monstrous debate, he must notify the Speaker that there is not a quorum present. Perhaps the Speaker may desire to rush some business through, and he will therefore have to be notified several times before he will take warning to count the members, which he does at last with slow reluctance.

It has been the privilege of any member (from time immemorial,) to inform the Speaker that there are strangers in the gallery, meaning ladies, reporters, or any one who is not a member of Parliament. When so notified, the Speaker, by this musty old rule, is compelled to order the strangers to leave the House. Thirty years ago Daniel O'Connell quarreled with the London Times, and that paper in revenge would not print his speeches. O'Connell determined to be even with the journal, and whenever he saw a Times' reporter in the gallery, he would cry out, "Mr. Speaker, I beg to call your attention to the fact that there are strangers in the gallery." Then the Speaker would order the galleries cleared, and the Times' reporters had to take their note books and march off disgusted. It was not long before the Times gave in and stopped the fight, and O'Connell's[Pg 312] speeches were reported with fidelity. This has always been regarded as a joke of O'Connell's, but I see that lately a Scotch member named Craufurd, who represents the town of Ayr, and is also editor of the Legal Examiner, has been putting O'Connell's joke in practice.

Miss Florence Nightingale, Miss Lydia Beckett, and Miss Harriett Martineau, as well as many other well known ladies, have been for some time working with great zeal for the repeal of the act which licenses prostitution in garrison towns. Many members of the House are opposed to the repeal of the act, and consequently when the question of repealing it came up in the House, and just as the debate had opened, the member for Ayr, Mr. Craufurd, rose and said, "Mr. Speaker, I beg to call your attention to the fact that there are strangers in the gallery," pointing to the gallery where a few ladies had placed themselves, for the purpose of hearing a question of so much moment to their sex, discussed. The Speaker and many members urged Mr. Craufurd not to look that way, and to permit the obnoxious persons to stay where they were; but with Scotch obstinacy he insisted, and Mr. Bouverie upheld him in it, saying, "I believe it is an undoubted rule of the House, sir, that if an honorable member does notice the presence of strangers, the galleries are cleared." Accordingly they were cleared; the reporters, as well as the ladies, were put out, and then the debate went on for several hours. At the close of this, the Prime minister, Mr. Gladstone, got up and lectured Mr. Craufurd for his ill-timed modesty, telling him that the feeling of the whole House was against him. The debate was therefore adjourned, by a strong vote of 229 to 88, to come up again in the presence of reporters, and most likely, of such strangers of either sex as may choose to come in.


The House of Lords is the Upper House of Parliament; in England all bills that are born in the Commons have to be confirmed by the Lords and signed by the Queen, before they become part of the statutory law of the land. There are about four hundred of these legislators in the House of Peers, for it must be understood that every nobleman does not sit by right[Pg 313] in the House of Lords. In many families the privilege is hereditary, and generation after generation a family is represented by the oldest son, who, on the death of his father, takes the seat made vacant in the Lords. The highest rank of nobility in England is that of Duke. There are eighteen nobles who enjoy the Ducal dignity in England, two in Ireland, and six in Scotland. They are as follows:

English Dukes.—Norfolk, Somerset, Richmond and Lennox, Grafton, Beaufort, St. Albans, Leeds, Bedford, Devonshire, Marlborough, Rutland, Manchester, Newcastle, Northumberland, Wellington, Buckingham and Chandos, Sutherland, and Cleveland.

Irish Dukes.—Leinster, Abercorn.

Scotch Dukes.—Hamilton and Brandon, Buccleuch, Argyll, Athole, Montrose, and Roxburghe.

There is only one Duchess in her own right—the Duchess of Inverness, which is a Scotch title. On state occasions Dukes wear velvet robes and ducal caps of state, with strawberry leaves in gold.

A stranger addressing one of these Dukes, has to begin his letter as follows:

"My Lord Duke, may it please your Grace." And in state proceedings a Duke is styled "High, Puissant, and Noble Prince." There are Dukes and Dukes. Dukes of the royal blood are still higher in rank than the noble Dukes. The eldest son of the reigning monarch always bears the title of "Prince of Wales." The eldest daughter is called the "Princess Royal." This princess is married to the Crown Prince of Prussia. These two dignitaries, according to court etiquette, are served by the attendants, when at table, on bended knees with uncovered heads. Those admitted to kiss their hands must also kneel. In the House of Lords, when the Queen is present, the Prince of Wales, as heir apparent, sits on the right hand of Her Majesty, while Prince Albert always sat on her left hand. The younger sons of the Queen, when they are Peers, sit on the left hand of the throne, but after the father dies, they sit below the Wool Sack, (a huge fiery red bed-tick[Pg 314] full of wool, on which the Lord Chancellor takes it easy when the Lords are in session,) on the bench assigned to the other Dukes.

The Prince of Wales, when on his throne, wears a robe of ermine, a cape of ermine, and a red velvet cap, with a gold tassel over a gold crown, ornamented with pearls. The younger sons and daughters have no diamonds, pearls, or crosses surmounting their diadems—unlike the Prince of Wales.

The three highest subjects after the Queen and the Royal Family in England, are: First, The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. Second, The Lord High Chancellor of England. Third, The Lord Archbishop of York. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is Primate of England, is styled in public documents, and he also writes himself, "The most Reverend Father in God, the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, by Divine Providence." The Archbishop of York signs himself, "By Divine Permission," as do all the other Bishops. There are only two Ecclesiastical Provinces in England, those of York and Canterbury, and two Archbishops. In the House of Lords the Archbishops and Bishops, (excepting the Irish Bishops now disfranchised,) sit as Spiritual Peers, and the two Archbishops wear Ducal Coronets—the Bishops wearing fillets of gold on their heads, with pearls and jewels. The Bishop of Sodor and Man, and the junior Bishops have no seats in the House of Lords. A Bishop ranks next to a Viscount. The nobility of Great Britain own three-fifths of the landed property of the Kingdom, while starvation and want run riot in the land.

England is studded with parks, villas, castles, game preserves, rabbit warrens, trout streams and deer parks, all of which are held by right of primogeniture. No poor man can enter these beautiful ancestral domains, and the severest penal punishments are meted out to those poor wretches who dare to infringe on the game laws.

The English nobility are not cowardly or treacherous, but many of the younger members are very corrupt, extravagant, and reckless, and no doubt in time their order will pass away, for they are out of place in this century.

[Pg 315]


England has nineteen Dukes, seventeen Marquises, one hundred and three Earls, one Countess (widow of an Earl), nineteen Viscounts, one Viscountess, and one hundred and fifty-two Barons.

Ireland has two Dukes, twelve Marquises, sixty-four Earls, and sixty Barons, besides twelve Viscounts. When three Irish Peers die in succession without issue, one other Irish Peer is created to fill the gap.

Scotland has seven Dukes, four Marquises, forty-four Earls, five Viscounts, and twenty-five Barons. The wife of a Duke is entitled "Duchess," the wife of a Marquis "Marchioness," the wife of an Earl is a "Countess," the wife of a Viscount is called a "Viscountess," and the wife of a Baron enjoys the title of "Baroness." The better-half of a Baronet, which is a title bestowed upon fat aldermen and rich manufacturers—being a cheap order of knighthood, conferred by the Queen, is called "My Lady This," or "My Lady That," as the case may be.

The people of England are heartily tired of their nobility, and the success of American principles upon this continent has a tendency to cause the destruction of this social outrage upon the Nineteenth Century.

Peers, or members of the House of Lords, have many privileges which others of noble blood do not enjoy. A Peer can only be tried for High Treason or murder by his Peers, who compose the House of Lords, and the trial takes place in a session of that body specially convened for that purpose, after the fashion here described.

The Peers having taken their seats in full, flowing robes, the Lord Chancellor seats himself on the Woolsack in the middle of the House of Lords, the Garter-King-at-Arms, in his gorgeous surcoat and tabard, makes proclamation of the offences against the culprit Peer. The Lord High Steward puts the question to each peer in his seat, after the evidence has been heard;

"Is the prisoner at the Bar Guilty or Not Guilty?"

Then each Peer, rising, says, "Guilty," or, "Not Guilty upon my Honor," as the case may be. A Peer cannot be[Pg 316] taken into custody unless for an indictable offence. This is also a parliamentary privilege of the members of the House of Commons, who cannot be arrested for debt while the House is in session, or while attending the proceedings, or going to or from Parliament. An old custom of England allows a Peer, going to or from Parliament, the privilege of killing one or two deer belonging to the Sovereign, after he has blown a horn. This is very seldom done now-a-days. A Peer cannot be bound over to keep the peace, excepting in the Court of Queen's Bench. Slander against a Peer is known in the courts as scan. mag. and is severely punishable.

A Peer cannot lose his title of nobility excepting by death, or when he has been attainted for High Treason. He is allowed to answer to a bill in Chancery upon his word, and is not required to take an oath. The Sovereign may degrade a Peer from his rank for wasting his estate, as in the case of George Neville, Duke of Bedford, who had led a dissolute life and had squandered all his fortune. He was deprived of his title, honors, and possessions, by Edward IV, the latter being forfeited to the Crown. If that precedent was followed in these times, a great number of scampish young nobles would lose their titles and the remnants of princely estates.

Lately, I believe, Parliament has ordered it so that a Peer may be proceeded against for debt, as in the case of the bankrupt Duke of Newcastle. Besides all these manifold privileges, which exist for the benefit of the nobility, the Diplomatic Service is chiefly for their support, and here, as in the Foreign Office, fat sinecures are available at all times, for the improvident and spendthrift nobles. Some idea of the rich prizes of the Diplomatic Service may be got from the following list of salaries of the different Ambassadors, Ministers, and Charges d'Affaires, at the principal countries with which Great Britain holds intercourse. The salaries I give are those of the Ministers alone, not including the salaries of attaches, and they are thus enumerated:


France, £10,000; Turkey, £8,000; Russia, £7,800; Austria, £8,000; Prussia, £7,000; Spain, £5,000; United States,[Pg 317] £5,000; Portugal, £4,000; Brazil, £4,000; Netherlands, £3,600; Belgium, £3,480; Italy, £5,000; Bavaria, £3,600; Denmark, £3,600; Sweden, £3,000; Greece, £3,500; Switzerland, £2,500; Wirtemberg, £2,000; Argentine Republic, £3,000; Central American Republics, £2,000; Chili, £2,000; Peru, £2,000; Columbia, £2,000; Venezuela, £2,000; Ecuador, £1,400; Coburg, £400; Dresden, £500; Darmstadt, £500; Rome, £800; Persia, £5,000; China, £6,000; and Japan, £4,000.


[Pg 318]



A BOUT ten o'clock in the evening, the rain, which had been gathering all day, came down in bucketfuls. The gutters ran like little rivers, and on Lothbury and the Poultry, and on all the buildings behind the Bank and over London Bridge there came down a hot steaming fog that almost blinded, as the rain poured against the faces of those who had to encounter the storm. The rain was hot, and the fog had a fetid, sticky odor, that seemed like the breath of a graveyard, or a festering corpse in an old vault on a hot July day.

Down below, on the river, all was quiet among the noisy Wapping boatmen, and the river below London Bridge looked gloomy and vast and dangerous as the entrance to the shades of the Inferno. Now and then, through the dense darkness and gloom which hung like a tissue over the river, came a whistle, eldritch-like, from the funnel of some Greenwich or Chelsea steamer, as she grated against the fishermen's barges, that lay like huge floating carcasses out on the bosom of the dark river; and anon came the hoarse, drunken shout of some intoxicated oyster or herring navigator, who lay in the shadow of Billingsgate Market, returned from some Flemish or Scotch port with a precious cargo of eels or sprats. London, or the City, seemed deserted and lonely. The portal of the Bank was as solemn as a churchyard.


The insurance offices in Bishopsgate and Broad streets, the money-changers' and money-brokers' haunts in Leadenhall[Pg 319] street, and the merchants' desks in Cornhill and Gracechurch street, were forsaken. A footfall seemed like an echo of past years, and while the water ran in torrents in the gutters, and while misery haunted doorsteps and dark passages, seeking shelter with dripping rags to hide its shame, the stolid policemen walked their rounds and looked sharply through the thick fog as cabs dashed by, for the West End, and the noise of the horses' feet died away under the arch of Temple Bar.

Where the Poultry, Bucklersbury, and Cheapside, form a junction, just below the Mansion House, there is a little, narrow, and short street. This street is called the "Old Jewry," and it has its outlet in Coleman street and Moorgate street, which run in the direction of Finsbury square. Behind the Old Jewry is Basinghall street, the Aldermanbury, and Finsbury square. Then there are Milk street, Wood street, Botolph street, Pudding lane, Fish street, Mark lane, Lime street, and Love lane. In all these narrow causeways, dark passages, and crooked sinuosities of brick, stone, and mortar, untold and uncounted wealth is hidden away, safely behind bolts and bars.

These tall, lowering warehouses, with their treasures of spices and silks, ingots and bars of yellow metal, where guineas are shoveled about all day as if they were plentiful as cherry-pits—have a dismal effect this sloppy, stormy night. Then the Old Jewry has its memories, some sorrowful and sad enough. Its very name a synonym for persecution and torture, a relic of steel-clad days and roystering and merciless nights, when the tribes of Israel were the playthings of the Gentiles and unbelievers.

Here, in this narrow lane, stood the proudest synagogue in all England until the year of grace 1291, when the Jews were, by edict, expelled the kingdom; and here came the Brothers of the Sack, a mendicant order of friars, to take possession of the deserted temple, one sunny May afternoon, when the orchards were blooming, and the linnets were singing in Cheapside—now a mart of all the nations of mankind. And then, in the natural order of things, came Sir Robert Fitzwalter on another sunny afternoon, to dispossess the Brothers[Pg 320] of the Sack; and this doughty knight, having the ear of the then King, turned the monks out, and they, invoking the displeasure of the Maker of all things upon Knight Fitzwalter, banner-bearer to the city and the Lord Mayor of London, left the convent and dispersed themselves severally and sorrowfully, all over the by-paths and sequestered roads and nooks of merry Old England.

The Old Jewry is about two hundred and fifty feet long. Short passages, that cannot be dignified by the title of lanes, jut off this narrow street. High buildings loom up to the sky above the heads of the passers-by, and the dome of mighty St. Paul's is hid away from the vision.

In this Old Jewry is a court-yard hidden away. There are jewelers' shops, silk-mercers' shops, and chop-houses of the better class on either side, and a man, in a blue cloth uniform of heavy fabric, walks up and down, day and night, with a pasteboard helmet on his head. His wrists are trimmed with bands of crimson and white flannel, and one row of gilt brass buttons bifurcate his blue, close-fitting coat, and meet to part no more at his throat and waist. The face of the man is homely, and his black eyes burn under his helmet of a hat, and in the glare of the street lamp. Not a soul stirring in the Old Jewry to-night but this silent patrolman, who looks up and down the lane, now to Cheapside, now over the roofs as if he would like to get a glimpse of St. Paul's, whose bell booms with an affrighting suddenness and energy on the air, through the beating rain and blinding fog.

"Is this the Central Detectives' Office?" I ask of the helmeted patrol.

"Yes, sir. This 'ere is the Central Hoffis of the City of Lunnun; the hother hoffis is down Scotland-yard way in Parliament street, hopposite the Hadmiralty and the 'Oss Gy-a-ads."

I find my way past the patrol, and around me I can see a court-yard fifty by a hundred feet in size, and at either side a gas-lamp burns dimly, and the wind whistles down from above, and the rain patters unceasingly.


It is like a play-ground or school-yard, but there is in it the[Pg 321] quietness of a deserted church. Turning to the right, I ascend two steps and enter a hall, where another morose-looking patrolman demands my business.

"Who do you want to see, sir? Oh, Hinspector Bailey. Well, sir, he is werry busy just now; got a precious 'ard case to desect; but I'll take your card and I'll try wot I can do."

In a few minutes I am ushered into the presence of the chief detective officer of the chief city of England. He sits in a room secluded from the main rooms, and as I pass through a number of these chambers a squad of men, who are sitting on chairs and lounges, look up at me quietly for a second, and, not recognizing any one whom they "want," drop their eyes immediately. The room in which Inspector Bailey sits is not a large one, and there is no superfluity of furniture, but the walls are covered with placards offering rewards for the apprehension and conviction of criminals, murderers, forgers, and other runaways from justice. Some of these are so curious that I must give a few of them:


A reward of £1 will be paid for information that shall lead to the discovery of a gold ring, the setting in which was originally arranged for a round stone, with about five small teeth or holders to fix the same; the original stone having been lost it was replaced by an oval or pear-shaped rose diamond, which was loose in the setting.

The said ring was stolen from a warehouse in the city, on the 14th inst.; and it is requested that any person hereafter offering it, for pledge or sale, may be detained until the police are informed.

Information to Inspector Bailey, City of London Police, Detective Office, 26 Old Jewry: or to the officers on duty at any of the city or metropolitan stations.

£1 10s. REWARD.



On Saturday, the 17th of April, 1869, about 4.45 in the afternoon, a four-wheeled cab, took up at Messrs. Smith, Payne & Co.'s Bank, at the end of King William street, near the Mansion House, a gentleman, 48 years of age, 5 feet 8½ inches high, dark brown hair, fresh complexion, scanty whiskers, square build, and moderately stout; with a dark-brown portmanteau, which[Pg 322] was put inside. He told the driver to take him to Finsbury square and he would tell him the number afterwards. £1 10s. reward will be paid on the required information (as to his destination) being given to Inspector Bailey, City of London Police, Detective Department, Old Jewry, E.C.

London, 8th May, 1869.

£200 Reward.


Absconded, on Friday, the 5th inst., from the employment of the Great Central Gas Company, 28 Coleman street, London, Benjamin Higgs, late of Tide-End House, Teddington, Middlesex. Description.—About 35 years of age, 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high, black hair, mustache, whiskers, and beard, pale complexion, slender build, gentleman-like appearance. Generally dressed in black or dark clothes and brown overcoat. Had a large-sized dark green-colored leather bag and a small black bag.

The said Benjamin Higgs is charged on a warrant with embezzling a large sum of money belonging to the above company: and notice is hereby given, that a reward of £100 will be paid to any person who will give such information as shall lead to his apprehension; and a further reward of £100 on recovery of the monies embezzled. A photograph of Benjamin Higgs may be seen on application at the principal police stations.

Information to be given to Messrs. Davidson, Carr, and Bannister, Solicitors, 22 Basinghall street, E.C., or to Inspector Bailey, City of London Police, Detective Department, 26 Old Jewry, E.C.

London, 18th March, 1869.

"So you would like to see London under its most unfavorable aspects. You would like to scour it by day and night, Sir. Well, you have a big job on hand, let me tell you, Sir," said a cheery voice which came from behind a low desk. This was Inspector Bailey, a very English-looking gentleman, with a ruddy oval face, reddish whiskers,—thick and neatly trimmed, and wearing a dark-mixed suit of clothes. He had clear blue eyes, this cheery-voiced inspector, and did not in any way give the idea of a detective, he looked so jolly and well-fed, and there was such a humorous, good-natured, twinkle in his eyes.


"Well," said he, "let us see what's best to do for you, sir. I'll give you the best men I have, and I can do no more. I suppose you want to see St. Giles? Well, St. Giles is not what it once was. You see they have been rooting up the worst holes, and the parish authorities are quite active, and[Pg 323] three new streets have been opened, and a great change has come over the place. But there's a terrible lot of destitution and crime and misery in the City of London still, and you can see it all if you have the heart for it. Send up Sergeant Moss," said the Inspector to a messenger.

Sergeant Moss came up from below stairs, a dark-eyed, thick-whiskered, good-looking fellow of thirty-five years, dressed like a dissenting minister, and trying to look very meek. Butter would not have melted in Sergeant Moss's mouth. He wasn't "fly" to what was going on neither. Oh, no!

"Sergeant Moss, you will take this gentleman through Ratcliffe Highway and Wapping, and show him the sailors' dens and the thieves who haunt Lower Thames street. Give him the best chances you can, and look out for Bill Blokey. He's down that way to-night, more nor likely, and if you brought him in it would be no particular harm to him or you. We got the trunk that he broke open and left behind. That will be your detail. Send me Funnell up stairs."

Mr. Funnell came. Mr. Funnell had a very huge beard, which hung down on his chest like a door-mat, and a sharp eye for business. In fact, he was all business, this cheerful Mr. Funnell. He was a first-class detective in London. But he had hard feelings against New York. It was no place for Mr. Funnell. Mr. Funnell confided to me a secret which I will now give to my readers.

"I wos wonst over in New York. That's a good many years ago. That was a long time ago. Yes, a very long time ago, in Bob Bowyer's time, when Bob was the topper, as we say. He wos the 'Awkshaw of the period, wos Bob. I wos awfully innocent then, and Bob didn't take the right care of me, and I fell into the hands of the Philistines. I went down one day to Fulton Market; I think it's just opposite some ferry where you go across, just like Southwark, and you can get very big oysters there. Well, as I wos saying, I wos werry innocent, and as I wos walking along, thinking of a good many things, when one of these fellows I believe you call the gentry on your side 'heelers'—dropped a big fat pocket-book at my feet.

[Pg 324]

"Now, mind you, I did not see him drop it, and that's where I was taken in. That made the trouble for me. I had never seen anything of that kind done in England, and of course the 'heeler' naturally insisted that the pocket-book wos mine. I tried to argue with him that the pocket-book wos not mine, but the more I argued that way the more he persewered the other way. Well, I wos perswaded against my own ideas that, perhaps, I might have lost a pocket-book, and the fellow wos so blessed positive about it too. So I fell a wictim to the infernal scoundrel, and gave him some money for the pocket-book, and, of course, the money wos worth nothink, and Bob Bowyer could do nothing for me. Ah, New York is a precious bad place.—So it is."



"Well, now, Mr. Funnell, as you have done relating your sad experiences, you will please do as I tell you. You will report to our American friend, or, rather, he will report to you early in the morning, and you will take him and show him Bil[Pg 325]lingsgate Market before daybreak. You are the best man for Billingsgate, I think, and you had better attend to that detail."

"I will meet him there or at the Fish Hill monument, at 5 o'clock in the morning, if that will do, Sir."


"That will do very well," said the Inspector. "And now we want a man for Smithfield. Who is a good man for Smithfield? Let me see," and the Inspector tapped his forehead. "I think Ralfe will do for that. He knows the Smithfield Market best, and he will show you everything, with a knowledge of what he is doing. Let Ralfe come up, and Sergeant Scott and Webb. I want to speak to them."

Ralfe, or Dick Ralfe, as he was called, was a good-looking young Englishman, who had not been long on the force, and who was in capital health and spirits, having lately been detailed, for his quickness, to special duty from the patrol to the Old Jewry.

"Mr. Ralfe, you are good on Smithfield Market. Take this gentleman there at 4 o'clock to-morrow morning. Meet him at the Smithfield Police Station at 4 o'clock in the morning, and time your inspection so that you will be able to catch Funnell at the Fish Hill Monument at 5 o'clock in the morning, so as to have him see the fish come in at Billingsgate. And now, Sergeant Scott, you will show this gentleman the Minories, Petticoat Lane, Bevis Marks, Houndsditch, and the Jews' Quarters, but those you will have to take on another day, as you have already a hard day's work before you. You had better see the market on Sunday morning, one of the greatest sights in the world, sir, I assure you, and the Rag Fair is also a grand show of the kind, I also assure you; and now, Sergeant Webb, I will give our friend in your charge when he has got through with the rest of them, and you and he can work the City, I think. You will do the Bank and the Mansion House and Newgate; and, let me see,—Funnell can take him to the Sessions and the Old Bailey Courts; and he will have to go to Scotland-yard to do the Borough of Westminster, as that is not in our jurisdiction. And now, Sir, good morning, and don't carry a watch with you in the places where you are going,[Pg 326] for some of the people are not very moral or very pious to get a look at. Good morning, Sir. Smithfield at 4 o'clock, Ralfe."

Sergeant Webb was a tall, well-built man, in the prime of life, with ruddy cheeks, and a look that resembled the expression usually worn by Mr. Seward before he lost all chances for the presidency. His face was smoothly shaved, and he looked as if he could assist with great dignity at a banquet.

Sergeant Scott was a man just above the middle height, with light brown whiskers, and an easy, good-natured manner, who had a memory well stored with anecdotes of "blokes," and "wires," and "dummies." He had, also, choice stories of distinguished people who had, during their lives, been known in the "faking" line, and could have pointed me out a number of pals who were celebrated in the "kinchin lay" for snatching "wipes" and "grabbing tanners" and "browns" from little children when they were sent to the shops for bread or milk.

At the back of the apartment in which the detectives were assembled to receive orders, stood a short, thick-set looking young man, with an amber moustache and goatee. His eyes were blue and his complexion very fair. He was dressed in a quiet manner, and nodded to each of the detectives as they passed out into the court of the Old Jewry. This was Jim Irving, the celebrated American detective, who had apprehended Clement Harwood, the great forger, just as he was about to land in New York, and he was now waiting the trial of the accused which was to take place at the Mansion House.

"Jim" was already quite familiar with the City of London, although he had been in it but a few days. He was, of course, rather astonished, at the quiet, old-fashioned way, that the English detectives had with them of waiting for a thief until he came and gave himself up. But he was very much charmed with a gorgeous seal-skin vest, for which he gave five guineas.


Seventy-five years ago, London had not more than sixty-eight policemen or constables, and the present admirable system of Police is all owing to the clear head and sagacious mind of Sir Robert Peel, who first organized it about thirty-five years ago. The old local watch of the city consisted of the Bow[Pg 327] street force of sixty-eight men, and the parish beadles, constables, headboroughs, street keepers, and watchmen, in the several wards of the City, and in many cases these so-called officers of the peace were rascals of the worst description, in league with thieves and prostitutes.

It is said that a Mr. George Vincent Dowling, (who was editor of "Bell's Life" at the time,) gave Sir Robert Peel the first idea of the present organization, which consists of a Board of three Police Commissioners, a chief Superintendent, 25 Sub-Superintendents, 136 Inspectors, 700 sergeants, and over 7,000 policemen. 4,000 men are on duty in the day-time and 3,000 in the night time. During the day they are never allowed to cease patrolling, being forbidden even to sit down. They wear dark-blue pilot woven short frock coats, buttoned up to the neck, trousers of the same material, with brass buttons on the coat and a pasteboard helmet covered with black rough felt.

The Police Districts are mapped out into divisions, the divisions into sub-divisions, the sub-divisions into sections, and the sections into beats, all being numbered and carefully defined. To every beat, certain policemen are detailed, specifically, and they are provided with little slips of pasteboard, on which are printed the routes they are to take. So thoroughly has this management been perfected, that every street, lane, road, alley, and court, within the Metropolitan District—that is, the whole of the metropolis—(excepting that part in a radius of three-quarters of a mile from St. Paul's, which is called the City of London Proper)—including the County of Middlesex, and all the parishes, 220 in number, in the Counties of Surrey, Kent, Essex, and Hertfordshire, which are not more than 15 miles from Charing Cross in any direction, comprising an area of about 700 square miles, and 90 miles in circumference, and with a population of 3,500,000,—is visited constantly, day and night, by some of the police. Within a circle of six miles from St. Paul's, the beats are traversed in periods of time varying from twenty to fifty minutes, and there are some points, such as the Bank, the Mint, the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Abbey of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Horse[Pg 328] Guards, and the Inns of Court, which are never free from inspection for a single moment.

There are 130 police stations in the metropolis, and by a telegraph signal a Police Commissioner at White Hall, in Parliament street, which is contiguous to Scotland Yard,—the headquarters of the Metropolitan Detective force, who are separated in their duties from the Old Jewry or City of London Detective force,—can concentrate in an hour and a half as many as 6,000 men for instant duty. This vast force, each man receiving but three shillings to three and sixpence a day, is really under a wonderful control. Each officer has to walk twenty miles a day in his rounds beside attending the police courts, which is equal to five miles in addition. 98,000 persons were arrested in one year—1869, of which number 40,000 were discharged. The cost of the Metropolitan Police for one year was about £525,000, and the City Police, for the same term, £60,000—the City Police numbering 700, the Metropolitan force nearly 7,000.

The expenses of the Police Courts, for 1869, was £88,240, including the salary of one Magistrate at £1,500 a year, and thirty other Magistrates at £1,200 a year, each. Sixty pounds and six shillings were expended for rattles, swords, and clubs, in the same time. The City Corporation are allowed, by act of Parliament, to have their own Police and Commissioners in the heart of the metropolis, or City proper. There is, besides, a "Horse Patrol" for public occasions; eight hundred of which were on duty on the day of the Oxford and Harvard race; a "Thames River" Police, the "Westminster Constabulary," and a "Police Office Agency," for recovery of stolen goods. Before the establishment of the Thames Police, in 1797, the annual loss by robberies alone on the river, was £750,000 a year, the depredators having various, curious names, such as "River Pirates," "Light" and "Heavy Horsemen," "Mud-larks," "Capemen," and "Scuffle-hunters."


They were frequently known to weigh a ship's anchor, hoist it with the cable into a boat, and when discovered, to hail the captain, tell him of his loss, and row away cheerily. They also[Pg 329] would cut shipping and lighters adrift, run them ashore and then clean them out. Many of the "Light Horsemen" cleared as much as thirty pounds a night, and an apprentice to a "mock-waterman" often kept his saddle horse and country seat. During the first year of the Thames Police, the saving to the West India merchants alone amounted to £150,000, and 2,200 river thieves were convicted during that time, of misdemeanor.

In those days, the magnificent docks which are now the chief ornament of London, had not been built with their high walls to keep out the swarming thieves who haunted the shipping.


[Pg 330]



H IDDEN in the bosoms of the sewers of every Great City lies a world of romance. The secrets of thousands of human beings, with their hopes and aspirations, their defeats and disappointments, are garnered, in the relics of myriad households, whose rubbish is shot through drains, to be imbedded in the accumulated masses at the bottom of the soggy sewerage.

London has two thousand miles of bricked sewers, and the entire metropolis is honey-combed by these effluvious passages.

These sewers are, of course, choked with refuse and swarming with rats and other pestiferous vermin, by night and day, and are pervaded with noxious gases, which, when inhaled, cause almost instantaneous death. The rats grow as big as kittens in the sewers, and will face strong, healthy men, and give them combat—in legions. The rats feed on offal from the butchers' slaughter houses, which is poured into the sewers, and they also subsist on the grain which comes from the breweries, in different parts of the city.

Twenty years ago, the main sewers of London, having their outlets on the river side, were completely open, and it was lawful to enter them to search for valuables, but since then so many people have died of the gases, or have lost themselves in their noxious recesses, that a law was at last passed, by which persons entering the sewers to explore them, unless they were employed as workmen, became amenable to imprisonment, and at present the law is strictly enforced.

[Pg 331]


Formerly, when the spring tides in the Thames began, it was of common occurrence for the waters to dash into the sewers, sweeping everything in their way, and very often engulfing the workmen, or others engaged illegally in searching the sewers; and days after one of these tidal floods had occurred bodies of drowned and disfigured men would be vomited from the mouths of the sewers.

Now, however, this is changed, and hanging iron doors, with hinges, are affixed to the mouths of the sewers, and are so arranged that when the tides are low the iron doors are forced open by the rubbish and wet refuse which is emptied into the Thames, and when the tides rise the volume of water forces the doors back, and the river cannot enter the sewers.

There are two or three hundred men in London, who earn a living by working in the sewers. These men, though there is a law against the practice, search the sewers, night and day, for old iron, rope, metal, money, or whatever is of value to the finder. They are called "Toshers," or "Shore-men," and are, in some things, very like the "mud-larks," who frequent the river sides.

Some of these men are very fortunate at times, and succeed in obtaining good prizes from the black, stinking mud of the sewers. Gold watches, silver milk-jugs, breast-pins, bracelets, and gold rings, are obtained by them. These sewer hunters, however, do not trouble themselves to collect coal, wood, or chips, as is the case with the mud-larks. There are better prizes for them, and accordingly, they do not waste their time on such trifles.

The Sewer-Hunter, before penetrating a sewer, provides himself with a pair of canvas trousers, very thick and coarse, and a pair of old shoes, or high-topped boots—the higher the legs the better. The coat may be of any material, only it must be of heavy fabric, and there are large pockets in the sides, where articles may be crammed at will.

They carry a bag on their backs, these sewer-hunters, and in their hand a pole, seven or eight feet long, on one end of which is fastened a large iron hoe to rake up rubbish.

[Pg 332]

Whenever they think the ground is unsafe, or treacherous, they test it with the rake, and steady their steps with the staff.

Should a Sewer-Hunter find himself sinking in a quag-mire, he immediately throws out the long pole, armed with the hoe, and seizes the first object in the sewer, to hold himself up. In some places, had the searcher no pole, he would sink, and the more he tried to extricate his person, the deeper he would imbed his body.

Use is made of the pole to rake the mud for iron, copper, or bones, and occasionally the rake turns up the remains of a human being, who may have perished in those fetid cells. Great skill is necessary in the hunter, to know always when the tide leaves and comes, so as to enable him to find articles at certain points.

The brick work in many parts is rotten, especially in old sewers, and there is great risk in traversing the channels, as sometimes, when the sewers are being flooded from the dams erected at stated intervals, the passage is flooded to a height of three feet, very suddenly, and if the Sewer-Hunter be not notified the first intimation of his danger is given by a thundering, rushing sound, and before he can escape the waters are upon him, and he is enveloped by them or hurled down with tremendous force, and swept along for miles in darkness, and filth, and despair, cut off from all human aid, no ear to hear his shouts, and no hand stretched forth to save.

In some places where the arches are unsafe, he will not dare to touch any part of the roof of the sewers, or the sides, fearing that he may be buried beneath the ruins. The main sewers are generally five feet high from floor to ceiling, but the branch sewers are much lower, and it is necessary to crawl on hands and knees to proceed. In the main sewers, there are niches built in the brick walls of some depth, with a raised platform, and the hunters always step into one of those when the sewers are being flooded, to clean them.


Rats, unless in great numbers, will not attack a man if he passes them quietly, but if driven to a corner they will fly at the intruder's face and legs in hundreds. A bite from one of these rats will swell a man's face or arms to an enormous[Pg 333] size. The men who are employed as "flushers" to clean the sewers wear leather boots, the legs of which come up to the hips, and of thick leather, and when the rats make an attack on these men, they always flash their lanterns, which are fastened to leather belts around their waists, and this frightens the vermin away, as they are not accustomed to light, and will flee from it if not molested. The big leather boots of the "flushers" cannot be bitten through by the rats.

The trenches or water-tanks for the cleansing of the sewers, are chiefly on the south side of the Thames, and as a proof of the great danger incurred by sewer-hunters from these floods of water suddenly let in on them, I am told that when a ladder was put down a sewer from the street some years ago, on which a hod-carrier was descending with a hod of brick, the rush of water from the sluice struck the ladder, and instantly, ladder, hod-carrier, and all, were swept away, and afterward the poor man was found at the mouth of the sewer, all battered, torn, bruised, and dead.

Whenever a Sewer-Hunter passes through a sewer under a street grating, he is compelled to close his lantern, else the reflection of the light through the grating would call the attention of the police, and he would be taken before a magistrate. Dogs are never taken through the sewers, for the same reason, as their barking would be noticed, although they would be an excellent defense against the rats.

Occasionally skeletons of unfortunate cats have been found in the sewers, their bones completely cleared of flesh, and nothing but a little fur remaining. I should pity the cat that strayed into a sewer, as they do occasionally from house-drains and cesspools.

As the Sewer-Hunters go along in the sewers, they often pick money from between the crevices of the brick-work, and now and then a handful of sovereigns have been taken from these crevices. Sometimes a small pick is needed to recover metals or money from the crevices where they are wedged.

One man told me that he found a small leather bag with two hundred sovereigns and some shillings in it, that had no[Pg 334] doubt been washed out from a drain. He said that he had often found money, and that he was well satisfied with his luck in general. He had been for twenty years searching the sewers, and had amassed considerable property. He told me his story as follows:



[Pg 335]


"The first night, ye know, that I went into a sewer, I had a pal with me, as is dead now. Steve Williams was his name—God rest his soul. I felt afeered when I went in and got lost two or three times, but Steve allers found me agin by hollering at me. I got the greatest fright that night I ever got in my life. We were somewhere in a sewer in old Smithfield, and there must have been a distillery somewhere there, for when I turned out of the main sewer into a branch one, I saw by the light of the lantern a thick steam beyond me. I was a little ahead of Steve, who had just got a haul of two silver table-knives and a watch chain of goold, and he was looking at the haul he made when I saw the steam a fillin of the sewer. I went along, when I got near it my head begun to get dizzy, and I fell back on my shoulders into the sewer. I got drunk in the steam from the distillery,—that's what ailed me—and it was so sudden like, that I would have lost my life if Steve hadn't been there.

"Well, Steve saved my life agin the same night. We were pretty near the mouth of the sewer on the Thames, near Wapping, where we had a boat to take us off, for in those times the peelers never meddled with us like they does now.

"Well, there was one place very ticklish in the sewer, that Steve had cautioned me about, and this place was all broken and in holes, and it was chuck full of rats. When we came by I was foolish enough to turn the light of my lantern on the broken place in the sewer, and sure enough, there was a reglar colony o' rats in a room—keeping house,—about two thousand of them—with a hall-way and a room gnawed out of the bricks, as large as the room I live in at home. There they were, all stuck together, with their eyes a glarin at me like winkin, and they all in a heap as big as a horse and cart. I never seed such a sight in my life. Steve told me to come on, and I was going, for the rats never said a word all the time, but looked at me and squealed—but just as I was turning around after Steve my foot slipped and I fell, and the lantern dropped into a pool and went out.

"I must have frightened the rats, for there was an awful[Pg 336] squealing and scampering—but they didn't all run away, for I found a hundred of them fastened on my hands, legs, face, and body, when I fell. You may be sure I hollowed and yelled, for I wasn't used to these vermin then, and the more I hollowed and beat them, the more they squealed and bit me.

"In a few minutes Steve came running back with his lantern, and seeing I was down and couldn't get up, he drove at them with his pole and killed half a dozen of them, and then they left me and jumped at him. Then we went at it for a couple of minutes, battling for our lives, and when we did beat them off we were bitten all over our bodies. I am sure if it warnt for Steve and his lantern that time, I should have been eaten up by the rats. You see, Sir, they thought when I stumbled and fell that I attacked them, for I found out since that they never begin first if they can help it."


[Pg 337]



I T is an undeniable fact, that the English are the greatest beer-drinking people in the world. The assertion may be disputed in favor of the Germans (and their beverage, lager bier,) but who can compare the thin resinous beer of Munich and Vienna with the heavy bodied, soporific, and sinewy London pale ale, Edinburgh ale, or Guiness Brown Stout, that has ever drank the latter malt liquors.

To believe in his native beer is a necessary part of the Englishman's religion, and it is with the proverbial Briton a trite saying, when an exile at Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Madrid, Constantinople, St. Petersburg, or Calcutta,

"You cawnt get a glass of hale in this blessed country—you knaw. You hawvent got the 'ops you knaw, and ye cawnt make it ye knaw."

English literature and English poetry are full of beer and redolent of malt and hops, from Chaucer and Shakespeare down to the present day. Tom Jones, Roderick Random, the Spectator, the Tatler, the Guardian, Fielding, Hume, Smollett, Pope, Addison, Dryden, Goldsmith, and Samuel Johnson, never let slip a chance to prove the virtues and efficacy of beer, and 'Alf and 'Alf.

It was in a room in Barclay & Perkins' brewery in Southwark, then owned by Mr. Thrale, that Samuel Johnson, (who,[Pg 338] if he was an obstinate, dogged, and overbearing old rascal,—yet was the father of modern English,) wrote the famous English Dictionary, and when Mr. Thrale died, Johnson being one of his executors, the property was sold to the Barclay & Perkins of that day for the sum of £135,000. The present brewery encloses fifteen acres of buildings and vats, and is the largest in the world but one.

The tribes that came from India and settled in Germany, to which Tacitus refers, were the first to introduce beer into Europe. The descendants of these long haired, fair skinned tribes, were long after, (in the sixteenth century,) the first to teach the English brewers the use of hops, for the people of England, of that day, made their beer after the manner of the ancient Egyptians, by the admixture of herbs, broom, and berries of the bay and ivy.

In 1585, there were twenty-six brewers in London and Westminster, who brewed in that year 648,960 barrels of beer, and, six years after, they exported 24,000 barrels of beer to the Low Countries and Dieppe. In 1643, the first excise duty was imposed on beer. In 1722, the brewers stored their beer to keep it mellow, for the first time, and sold it to all house-keepers to be retailed at three-pence a pot—holding over a pint. In 1869, 500,000 barrels of beer, valued at £1,800,000, were exported from London to foreign places, being one-fourth of the total amount that was exported during the same time from other ports in England.

British India took 201,000 barrels, Australia and New Zealand, 148,000 barrels, China, 35,000 barrels, Cape of Good Hope, 15,000, British West Indies, 30,000 barrels, Spain took 209 barrels, Brazil, 15,000 barrels, Russia, 6,000, and France 7,000 barrels.

Barclay and Perkins employ a capital of £2,000,000 annually in their trade, and 300 huge horses, brought from Flanders, at a cost of from £60 to £100 each. These horses consume 9,000 quarter hundreds of oats, beans, or other grain, 900 tons of clover, and 290 tons of straw for litter. The manure hops that are spent, and other refuse, are taken by a Railway Company.[Pg 339] There are five partners in the house; the firm being worth £8,000,000, and the head brewer receives a salary of £2,000 a year.


The water used for brewing purposes is that of the Thames, pumped by a steam engine, on the same ground where Shakespeare's Globe Theatre stood three hundred years ago. One hundred and fifty thousand gallons of beer can be brewed from this water, daily. There are two engines of 100 horse power each, which are nearly a hundred years old. The furnace shaft is 19 feet below the surface and 110 above it. The malt is carried from barges at the river-side, by porters, and deposited in enormous bins, each of the height and depth of a three-story house. Rats are fond of malt, but to keep them off a staff of sixty large cats are constantly employed on the premises, and all these cats are under the supervision of a big-headed or chief cat, with a long moustache and Angola blood.



It is quite a sight to witness the anxious solicitude of this[Pg 340] Chief Cat for the honor of the house of Barclay & Perkins, and for the discipline of his subordinate cats, the chief being a Thomas of the purest breed.

Thirty-six tons of coal per day are used here for brewing purposes, and the malt is stored in a huge room, with light windows, called the Great Brewhouse, built entirely of iron and brick. There is no continuous floor, but looking upwards, whenever the steaming vapor rises, there may be seen, at various heights, stages, platforms, and flights of stairs, all occupied by the Cyclopean piles of brewing vessels.

There are also huge buildings next to the brewhouse, with cooling floors, into which is pumped the "hot Wort," as it is called, or beer. The surface of the floor in one of these buildings is 10,000 feet square, and I saw men with gigantic wooden shoes swimming about in this beer, which looked like a vast lake. The beer is sometimes cooled by passing it through a refrigerator which has contact with a stream of cold spring water. The cold beer is then allowed to ferment in vast rooms or squares, as large as an ordinary block of houses,—which are made to hold 2,000 barrels. It is a strange sight to look at one of these lakes of beer, the yeast rising in masses like coral reefs in a southern sea,—upon the surface of the water, and these rock-like elevations yield, after the force of the yeast is spent, to the slightest wind, giving it the appearance of a vast ocean of beer in a storm. There is one huge vat for porter that will hold 5,000 gallons, which at selling price is worth £12,000. The Great Tun of Heidelberg holds but half of this quantity. One thousand quarter-hundreds of malt are brewed daily by Barclay & Perkins.


The great rival house to that of Barclay & Perkins, is that of Hanbury, Buxton & Co., in Brick-Lane, Spitalfields, covering eight acres; in which 275,000 gallons of water are used daily, obtained from a well 530 feet deep;—600,000 barrels of beer are brewed here annually. There are 150 vats, the largest of which contains 3,000 barrels, or about 100,000 gallons of beer. There are eight brewing coppers, three of which are capable of containing 800 barrels each. 700 quarters of malt can be[Pg 341] mashed at one time in six mash tubs;—10,000 tons of coal are used annually, and there are 200 huge horses, each horse consuming 42 pounds of food per day, or about 2,500,000 pounds per annum.

There is a library with 5,000 volumes, a billiard-room, reading-room, and savings-bank, on the premises, with a benefit Club for the workmen, each member paying sixpence a week, and receiving fourteen shillings a week in case of sickness; and on the death of his wife, £8, and in the event of his own death the family receives £18. Two companies of volunteers were raised from the 800 employees of the firm, and the men are allowed one holiday in a fortnight.

The brewery of Mr. Salt, at Burton-on-Trent, has been established for eighty years, and brews annually 25,000 barrels of that peculiarly strong and bitter ale.



In London it is calculated that about 6,500,000 barrels of ale, beer, and porter, are brewed annually, valued at about £20,000,000, and I think I am therefore correct in calling the English a beer-drinking people.

Everybody drinks beer in London. You can see laborers and dockmen sitting on benches outside of public houses, swilling what they call swipes, at two pence a pot. So if you drink at a Club you will see men as eminent as Mr. Bright, or Mr. Disraeli, calling for a "pint of Bass' East India Ale," or "a bottle of Stout." Even in work-houses beer is kept on tap,[Pg 342] and were the paupers to be deprived of their beer, they would, I believe, rise and annihilate their masters. A quart bottle of good beer or porter can be got anywhere in London for sixpence, and of all the beverages that I have ever tasted, I never found anything to equal in fragrance a drink of good London "Brown Stout" on a warm summer day. A man may procure as much good beer as he can drink at a draught, for three pence, in London, at any public house or restaurant, and it is the common custom with the Cockneys to have it at every meal, and also between meals.

They have also a fashion in large parties among the working and middle classes, of ordering what is called a "Queen Ann," which is simply three pints of beer in a large, brightly burnished metal pot with a handle, and the man who calls for it having paid, takes a drink, then wipes the edge of the pot with the cuff of his coat-sleeve, to remove the foam from his lips,—then passes it to his wife, sweetheart or his eldest child, who each in turn drink and wipe the edge of the measure; then it is passed to the stranger, and all around the board, each person being careful to wipe the "pewter" in the same fashion. This custom seems rather strange and savage at the first sight to an American, but it is the custom of the country, and therefore cannot be quarreled with.

Benjamin Franklin, as we learn by his diary, was disgusted by the beer-swilling Londoners. When a journeyman printer in London before 1776, he says—"I drank only water; the other workmen, near fifty in number, were drinkers of beer. We had an alehouse boy who attended always in the house to supply workmen. My companion at the press drank every day, a pint before breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his bread and cheese, a pint between breakfast and dinner, a pint at dinner, a pint in the afternoon about six o'clock, and another pint when he had done his work. I thought it a detestable custom, but it was necessary, he supposed, to drink strong beer, that he might be strong himself. He had four or five shillings to pay out of his wages every week for the detestable liquor."

This is pretty strong testimony from Franklin, and I find[Pg 343] that although he frequented alehouses in London, where all the men of wit and learning of the time were to be found, yet he never indulged in beer.


Any foreigner passing through a London street which is inhabited by working men and their families, or in the neighborhood of factories or other industrial establishments, if the period of the day be between twelve and one o'clock, or just after twelve, cannot fail to notice a sudden commotion and rush of men, women, and half naked children, with jugs, pewter measures, tin cans, and earthen vessels, to the neighboring tap-room or beer-house. All this large multitude are in quest of beer for the noonday meal.

At noon and night the pot boys of the innumerable beer-shops may be seen carrying out the quarts and pints daily received by those families who do not choose to lay in a stock or store of their own beer, or the mothers and children of the same families, to whom the half-penny given to the pot boy is a matter of consequence, may be seen journeying to the beer-conduits themselves, and the drinking goes on from morning until night, among truckmen, coal heavers, street pavers, mechanics in the "skittle grounds," medical students in the hospitals, law students in the Inns of Court, and "swells" in taverns.

From the gray of the morning until the hour of dark, you may see in the London streets those large drays, larger horses, huge draymen, and large casks of beer, ever present and never absent from the Londoner's eyes. Go down to the Strand, that street which borders the river, and you will see the same drays and Flemish horses emerging from the huge brewery gates, preparatory to carrying barrels of beer to tap-houses, and nine-gallon casks, the weekly allowance of a private London family, to dwelling-houses.

A competent authority has estimated that each and every inhabitant of London will drink, averaging young and old—80 gallons of beer in the year. The population is 3,500,000.

Therefore, Great is Beer, and Barclay and Perkins are its prophets.

[Pg 344]



S ELDOM—perhaps not twice in a hundred years, had such a night of excitement been known in London as that which ushered in the morning of the Twenty-Seventh of August, 1869, the ever-memorable day on which a million of half-crazy people were to witness the Great University Boat Race between Oxford and Harvard. This race, it was universally declared, would forever settle the mooted question of British pluck and American endurance, by twenty-five minutes hard pulling in two four-oared boats on the River Thames, between Putney and Mortlake.

The boasted phlegm of the English race had, as it were, disappeared before the touchstone of national rivalry, and prince, peer, peasant, and cabman alike felt that the honor of England was in the hands of Mr. Darbishire's Oxford crew.

For weeks before the race came off, the London shopkeepers, mercers, haberdashers, and drapers, had illuminated windows and doorways with neck-ties, scarfs, shoe-buckles, ribbons, silks, and hosiery, and with the greatest commercial impartiality, these articles that I have named, with a hundred others that I cannot recollect, had been made to assume the modest hues of the Oxford Dark Blue, and the blazing brilliancy of the Harvard Magenta. The merits of the men of both Universities had undergone the severest mental and conversational scrutiny in every part of the metropolis.

[Pg 345]


In a great city with a population of over three millions of Englishmen, it was but natural and just that Oxford should hold high ascendancy, and that Oxford favors should be worn almost exclusively, and that the superiority of Oxford rowing, should be with high and low a question of orthodoxy. Night settled down on the myriad roofs and church steeples of London, and ten young lads, down at the little village of Putney, with its narrow streets and old-fashioned church, braced themselves, before going to sleep, for the greatest athletic conflict that the Nineteenth century has known.

The sun broke over the London housetops on that eventful Friday morning, the Twenty-Seventh of August, with unusual brilliancy for an English sun. The weather had not been of the most promising kind for some days previous, and it was feared that the day might turn out a foggy or a rainy nuisance, and thus interfere with the pleasure which so many countless thousands had promised themselves in witnessing the race. London was astir at an early hour, and great crowds filled the streets in the direction of the railroad stations on the Surrey side of the river, and in the vicinity of the numerous steamboat wharves, for the purpose of securing an early transportation to the scene of the conflict.

At 9 o'clock the stations of the Northwestern, the Metropolitan, and the London and Northwestern Railways—at Waterloo, Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Wadsworth, Putney, Ludgate Hill, London and Blackfriars Bridges, Euston, Chalk Farm, Hammersmith, Paddington, and Westminster—were swarming with masses of men, women, and children, vainly endeavoring, struggling, pushing, and trying to obtain precedence of each other, in order to get tickets to be carried to the boat race. The different railway companies of London, in order to accommodate the tremendous number of spectators, had suspended their regular traffic and agreed to run excursion trains all day steadily until an hour before the race.

The Thames Conservancy Board, which has the power to clear the river and prevent obstructions from delaying the race, had worked manfully, and by great exertions had succeeded in[Pg 346] making every steamboat captain and owner on the river know that he would be compelled by force to remain above Putney Bridge, where the race was to begin, on penalty of £20 fine; and if rash enough to run the risk of fine, the police were to seize the offending steamer and quench her fires, and thus prevent further locomotion.

One steamboat speculator had been selling tickets at two guineas a head for the steamer Venus, and had declared openly that he would pay the fine of £20 and run the boat anyhow, despite the authorities of the river and the police who swarmed, in hundreds of small boats and tiny steam launches, all over the broad surface of the Thames.

When the steamer Venus came down to Putney Bridge, however, she was stopped very quickly, and her cheated passengers were forced to remain on board and witness the start, but the steamer was fastened at anchor and could no farther go. Passengers by this unlucky boat, who were unable to stand the broiling sun for four or five hours, debarked at Putney, and consoled themselves with mutton chops and bitter beer at the Star and Garter. Formerly, at the University races between Oxford and Cambridge, there was not only danger that the race itself would be interrupted, or perhaps lost, by the reckless rushing to and fro of the innumerable steamers that were sure to follow the progress of the boats towards Mortlake, but it was also very unsafe for passengers in small boats, wherries, or launches, to venture on the river, owing to the manner in which the steamers dashed to and fro at the bidding of the eager captains.

But the assertions in some of the American newspapers, that the Harvard crew would meet with foul-play from some scoundrel or other who might employ money to influence a master of one of those vessels, had aroused a determined energy among the members of the Thames Conservancy Board, and the result was a clear river, in one sense, from Putney to Mortlake, for the two crews.

When I say in one sense, I mean that the channel of the river was kept clear of steamboats and skiffs alike; but, while[Pg 347] the steamers were not allowed inside of the chains stretched across at Putney and Mortlake, thousands of every description of small craft lined the river for a space of five miles on both sides, on the Surrey and Middlesex shores,—but out of the path where the race-boats were to make the essay for superiority.


But two steamboats were allowed to follow the crews, and one of these was the steamer Lotus, engaged to carry the referee, Mr. Thomas Hughes, M.P., author of "Tom Brown at Oxford," "School Days at Rugby," and other well-known and popular books—Besides the umpire for each crew, the judge of the race, Sir Aubrey Paul, and a number of ladies and gentlemen specially invited. Besides this boat there was also the steamboat Sunflower, chartered for the use of the press of London and for the benefit of American correspondents in London, by one of the editors of Bell's Life. These two boats were never more than fifty yards to the rear of the Oxford and Harvard shells during the progress of the race.

At half past 1 o'clock the press boat had been advertised to leave the Temple Pier for the scene of the race. Taking a cab at the head of Regent street, I had a good opportunity to observe the streets and shops and numerous vehicles. Of the six or seven thousand cabs which are to be found at the different stands all over London, hardly one this morning but is in some way decorated for the festival. These sharp-eyed, cunning-looking cabbies, in their careless attire, each with a brass medal depending from his breast, giving his number and license, have an eye to the main chance. Their long whips are tipped with short bows of blue ribbon in the greater number, while a few have magenta ties. Out of respect for the Yankees, they will charge them to-day a shilling a head more than they dare ask from an Englishman.

The great clumsy busses, that look more like advertising vans than vehicles for the purpose of carrying passengers, are splendid this day with decoration. They are made, as the sign above each tells you, to carry twelve inside and sixteen outside. The drivers of the busses have a more respectable[Pg 348] look and are more profound in their wit than the cabbies. They have a solid British look that tells plainly of roast beef and careful usage. The cabbies are to the buss drivers a sort of gypsies, and are looked upon by them with suspicion. Every omnibus is crowded with passengers this cheerful, sunny day.

All London seems going to the race. Dry goods clerks, licensed victualers, "cads," grocers, public-house keepers, bar-boys, stable-boys, bar-maids, servant-maids, well-to-do tradesmen and their wives and children, apothecaries' assistants, golden-haired milliners nicely gloved, dressmakers' apprentices, pickpockets, peers of the United Kingdom, University men in cap and gown, Charter House boys with yellow stockings on their legs, and dark-blue frocks fastened at their waists with leather straps, wandering Americans displaying large diamonds and shocking bad hats, Westminster schoolboys on the foundation of Elizabeth, the Dean of St. Paul's in his shovel hat, city men, brokers and bankers, watermen from the Thames, professional oarsmen, Jew and Gentile;—they are all interested and will all see the race or a part of it.

I never saw anything like this great crowd before. It is believed that two hundred and fifty thousand people is the average number that are in the habit of witnessing a Cambridge and Oxford boat-race, but Cambridge has been beaten so often that the interest does not compare at one of these races with the tumultuous, all-pervading feeling that is borne in every man's bosom as he hurries along to-day. It is not so very certain that Harvard will be beaten, although it is rumored here and there that Loring, the stroke of the crew, is unwell, which rumor only tends to increase the odds on Oxford.

The Temple Pier is reached at last. We pass through an arched gateway at the bottom of a narrow street opening on the Thames. This spot is more historic even than Westminster Abbey. There before us is the Church of the Temple, seven hundred years old and black with time. All the ground around us belonged, in the old bygone days, to the Knights of the Order of the Temple. Now the place is the resort of attorneys and barristers, and in it legal people have chambers. Right[Pg 349] in the shadows of the old Norman towers and battlements of the ancient church, Jack Cade's followers rose from a swinish, drunken sleep to turn their weapons against each other, hundreds falling in the conflict.


Here in these chambers resided Chaucer, Gower, Spenser, Clarendon, Coke, Plowden, Selden, Beaumont, Congreve, Wycherley, Edmund Burke, Cowper, Samuel Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith, Pope, Eldon, Erskine, and others equally famous. Here they slept, joked, read, ate, and drank. Surely, if this ground be not hallowed, none other is. In company with a well-known American journalist, Mr. George Wilkes, I find my way to the Press boat, which is lying at the foot of the Temple Pier, off the Embankment. She is a long, double-ender, with a red streak on the upper part of her keel, and a black hull. Her steam funnel is made to be lowered at the base, working on hinges, when going under a bridge. Like all Thames boats to-day, there are two flags hoisted on her twin flag-staffs—the American and English. There is no awning, no upper-deck, to shade us from the August sun, which is now beginning to burn with an intensity peculiarly un-English.

There are, perhaps, about fifty persons on the boat, of whom two-thirds are English; the remainder Americans. They are not all newspaper men, though it was understood, before the tickets were sold, that none but newspaper men would be allowed on board.

The Englishmen wear blue scarfs and bows; the Americans sport the magenta all over their clothes. The sun falls on the broad, muddy river in slanting beams of kindling gold, making the old warehouses on both banks of the stream, with their yellow brick gables, to stand out in bold relief.

Above us is London Bridge, lowering in its immensity, and to the right is Billingsgate Market and Paul's wharf. Close upon our stern is Blackfriars Bridge, the Temple Gardens, Kings College—a massive, dirty gray structure, running along the river bank; Somerset House, the government building where all the clerical work of the administration is done, and where well-fed and well-paid clerks enjoy sinecures of the kind[Pg 350] which the Barnacle family were so fond of. Before us is Waterloo Bridge, Cecil, Duke, Salisbury, Surrey, Buckingham, Villiers, and other streets called after the mansions once inhabited by the favorites of Charles, James, and William of Blessed Memory.

At a little before two o'clock the Sunflower steams off on her journey up the river. The course of the steamer is impeded at almost every foot by small craft of all descriptions, en route to Putney and the race.

We pass, on our way down, Waterloo Bridge, Charing Cross Bridge, with its huge railroad trains thundering over our heads, bound to Dover, with passengers for the Continent; Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, with their gilt vanes, towers, and battlements glistening in the sun; Lambeth Bridge and Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Primate of England, with its gardens and red brick towers; St. Thomas Hospitals, in process of construction; Millbank Penitentiary, a gloomy, six-sided fortress of crime; Vauxhall Bridge; Pimlico Pier, where we stop a moment; the Nine Elms Road, Chelsea Bridge, and Chelsea Hospital, where a number of frisky, one-legged and one-armed veterans are disporting themselves on its smooth, grassy lawn; the Botanic Garden on the right, and the green fields and trees and silvery lake of Battersea Park on the left; Albert Bridge, Cadogan Pier, Chelsea Pier, Battersea Bridge, and the Cremorne Gardens, with its kiosks, captive balloon, statues, shady walks, fountains, and flower beds; and now we are opposite Fulham and Brompton, where the splendid and extravagant Formosas of the metropolis enjoy their ill-gotten gains in pleasant villas and cozy little houses.

We are now getting away from the thickly populated districts of London, and the bridges that cross the river are fewer and farther between, and, being generally of wood, are more rickety.

During the entire passage we are continually stopped by small craft of all kinds. The river is alive with them.


There are huge yawls, of broad bottom and clumsy construc[Pg 351]tion, containing family parties, with their provender—bread, cheese, and beer, ham pies, and beef pies, kidneys and tongues—spread out in the bottom of the boats on white cloths or in open baskets; there are long shells with crews of eight and four, carrying coxswains; single sculls, double sculls, wherries, watermen's boats, small steam launches, lighters, watermen's barges, small sloops and schooners with dirty sails and unseemly rudders, pleasure yachts, and craft of such queer shape and rig as are never seen on our American rivers.

All are bent on pleasure, and in many of the boats they are singing the slang songs of the London streets; and now and then are warbled the cheering chants of the boatmen immortalized by Dibdin and Taylor, the water poets. A couple of miles more and we are in sight of Putney Bridge, which towers aloft, rickety, worn, and decayed, thousands crossing to and fro on its frail planks to get positions for the race.

And now the full grandeur of a sight such as is seldom or ever seen bursts upon every one on board the Press boat, and even the Londoners admit, in an easy way, that the Derby Day is eclipsed by the great number of people who line the banks of the river for miles on the Surrey and Middlesex shores.

To the left, above the old bridge, is the village of Putney, with its narrow streets and noisome lanes, its green fields, festering pools, eccentric-looking mansions and houses of an humbler kind, the steeples of St. John's and St. Mary's, with their quaint clock-towers; and to the left, on the Middlesex bank, are Fulham and the Bishop of London's palace, the long grass on the Bishop's lawn waving in the breeze, and upon whose surface were stretched pic-nickers eating and drinking.

The Star and Garter at Putney, a famous hostelry, where the crew of Harvard had lodged when they first came to England, was covered all over its surface toward the river with the flags of America and England. The old wooden balconies were crowded with ladies wearing favors in their bosoms; the passages and lanes leading to the towing-path on the river swarmed with foot passengers, all having one determination and one sole object. The "Bell Inn," a rival to the Star and[Pg 352] Garter, was also glorious with colors, and all the house-owners for miles along the river had let their windows and seats on their roofs for various sums, varying from five shillings to five guineas per head.

One generous American "lady" had advertised in the Times that she would let seats in her windows to her countrymen at the modest price of two guineas per head, and she found that she had not half room enough for her compatriots. An innkeeper on the towing-path had let the front of his house for £40 to a speculator, who realized a profit of £25 on the venture. The Leander Boat-house, belonging to a well-known boating club, had a scaffolding erected fronting the river for the members and their ladies, which was covered with Union Jack bunting, the structure being the place where the Oxford crew had housed their race-boat.

Close to it was the boat-house of the London Rowing Club, an association of four hundred gentlemen, who had proved themselves warm and steady friends of the Harvard crew since their arrival here. The Harvard boat was housed here, and the staging and platform were decorated with American colors. A number of ladies, wearing red rosettes, were seated upon this balcony.

A few yards below was the modest stone house where the Harvard crew were sleeping two hours before the race. This place was enclosed by a stone wall, breast high, and shaded by green trees. Platforms were erected behind this wall, and on them I noticed seated the American Minister, Mr. Motley, the Hon. S.S. Cox, "Tom Hughes," Charles Reade, the novelist—a bluff-looking, hearty Englishman, in gray clothes—and a number of ladies, just before the race began.


Back from this house ran the High street, and, I believe, the only street of Putney, and in this street was located the unpretending place of residence of the Oxford men. The towing-path on the Surrey side of the river runs along for miles away beyond Mortlake, and on the Middlesex bank there is also a path, and on both of these paths it is customary on a race day for thousands of harmless maniacs to run along, hats and coats[Pg 355] in hand, vainly endeavoring to keep up with race-boats going at a speed greater than a mile every five minutes.



Of course, they soon lose sight of the boats after the start; yet they will still run, hallooing, cheering, and shouting like madmen. To furnish sport and amusement for the myriads of Cockneys who come by rail, steamboat, or on foot, from London and its environs, there are not wanting sharpers, players, peddlers, fighting-men, showmen, venders of all kinds of fruit, vegetables, meats, pies, drinks, ices, and all kinds of knick-knacks—things useful and useless; and these people and their wares combined make up a kind of a Bartholomew's fair on a grand scale.

The fair and its accessories covered the towing-path for three miles, and rendered the passage most difficult on this occasion for the many pedestrians. Dresses were torn, buttons pulled off, hats smashed, bonnets rumpled, hoops irretrievably wrecked, children trod on, women half suffocated and rendered faint and sick; yet, back from the river, for fifty or sixty feet, for a distance of three miles, the uproar and sale of questionable merchandise and doubtful provender never ceased for an instant.

It was a scene such as is displayed once in a man's life-time, to remain indelibly engraved on his mind ever after. One thousand policemen lined both banks of the river to keep order, but most of them were on the Surrey, or most thronged bank of the stream. A large number of those were mounted on huge black horses, and but for them many lives would have been lost on this most eventful day of days.

At the boat-houses, where the shells of the rival crews were concealed from the gaze of the crowds, outside, the jam was frightful, and very dangerous, as the police every few moments had to back their horses into the crowd to keep a passage-way clear, and on several occasions were compelled to charge the dense masses of men, women, and children.

Some time before the race came off, I made my way along the towing-path as well as I could through the swaying, surging crowds, for the purpose of taking a look at the amusements they were enjoying.

[Pg 356]

There was a large crowd around a man who stood before a circular table, the top of which revolved on a pivot. The surface was painted and divided into four triangles by colored lines. In each angle was painted the name of some famous horse, such as "Formosa," "Pretender," "Blue Gown," and "Lady Elizabeth." An indicator, like the hand of an eight-day clock, swung on a pivot in the centre of the circle.

A spectator being invited to place sixpence on the name of some favorite horse, the proprietor of the show gave the circular board a spin, and if the indicator stopped opposite the name of the horse where he had placed his money, he gained a shilling. The fellow who had this machine in operation was a hard-looking case, in a greasy cutaway velvet coat. His oratory was to the point and business-like.

"Down vith yer sixpence; and make yer bets, gentlemen. My hindicator is sure as the clock of St. Paul's and twice as waluable ha hacquisition. I don't care vether it is Formosy or Purtendir that yer bets yer bob hon. Yer take Hoxford or ye take 'Avard—

Hi gives 'er a spin
Han lets yer vin;

vich is poetry, and if ye dosn't vin, I gits the tin; vich is po-e-try agin, and is halso a favrite hexpression of the Chanselur of the Hexcheckever ven he piles hon the blessed taxis has 'as made me sell hall my property to havoid a bust hup. Try yer luck agin; thank ye sir. Formosy, sir, sure to vin or lose."

Close by this amusing blackguard is the stand of the root-beer, ginger-beer, and bitter-beer seller, who is crying out from behind his little cart:


"Valk hup and try this ere de-lee-shus bewerage, honly tuppence a bottle. If ye don't like it I gives ye yer money back, and no 'arm done. The Prinse of Vales alvays buys 'is beer hof me ven 'e isnt travelin, for the good of 'is 'ealth. Valk hup and don't be ashamed; the no-bil-e-tee and gen-te-ree hall patronizes me. Ginger-beer, ginger-beer, and may the best[Pg 357] man win, as my vife says, ven she sees two pickpockets a fightin' for a shillin'."

"Trick-hat-the-loop, ring the nail, and ye gets three h'apens. Ring the nail and ye gets three h'apens. And 'ow much does ye hinvest. Vy honly ha'apenny. A man von two hundred pun hof me last veek, and there 'e his just now agoin to bet hit all on the Hoxford crew, and ef ye don't believe me just hax 'im 'isself," said a seedy looking wretch, with a handful of small iron rings in his hand, directing his index finger to some indistinct personage in the crowd, whom no one present could recognize.

The number of apple, pear, goosberry, plum, pie, and ice-cream stands that line the path are almost incalculable to think of. Pies square, round, and triangular of shape, in all the varied stages of decay, are for sale at a penny a piece. Tarts, cheese cakes, mutton pot-pies, ham pies, suet puddings, whelks, a sort of odorous shell-fish, at half-penny apiece, green gages, and "sandviches" are shouted on every side of us.

There are all kinds of games in progress. There is the ancient and honorable game of "cockshie," and "cocoa-nut." The latter is curious. Three cocoa-nuts, hollowed out, are placed on the top of as many sticks, which are stuck upright in the ground, and the game, costing a penny, is to knock off those cocoa-nuts at three strokes, when you can claim three pence—providing, of course, that you knock off all three cocoa-nuts; which, of course, can only be done by the princely proprietor himself after hard training.

There is one noisy fellow on a little hillock, pockmarked and ferret-eyed, in a greasy woolen duster, who has drawn a large crowd around him by his peculiar and quack-like oratory. This fellow is a gem, in his way, of purest ray serene. He is a merchant of penny scarf and finger rings.

"Now," says he, elevating a scarf ring on one finger and a wedding ring on another, in sight of the wondering crowd, "hif hi was to tell you good people that these beuty-fool rings wor pure goold, vot vould you say? Vy, you vould say, in the[Pg 358] most hexitibel and hunmistakabel langvidge has could come from your blessed traps, 'ee his a harrant himposter.

"Could hi blame yer for hexpressing yer feelinks in sich langvidge? No. Hi vould say to my disturbed conscience, has was at that very moment a tearing my hinsides to pieces, 'you, Villiam Bowsley, have forsaken the good karraktir has was 'anded down to yer by hancestors who 'ad their hown hestates, 'osses, and kerridges; Villiam Bowsley, you 'ave been han harrant himpostor, and deserves to be 'ung.' Vell, does I tell ye that these ere rings is goold? No; on the contreery, I says they are brass. Vell, may be ye don't care so much for brass harticles. Ham hi a friend of brass? No, agin. But I ham a friend of Hart. I asks ye to look at this ere image of Mr. Gladstun, as is now hour blessed Pri-meer. Wos hever anything so beau-ty-fool? Look at the insinivatin smile on 'is sveet feetyures. Ven I last dined vith Mr. Gladstun—ye needn't laff, cos ye knows, perhaps, the story in the Good Book of the bad children 'oo chaffed the old Profits and wus heat hup by bares—ven I last dined vith Gladstun, hour blessed Pri-meer, he says, 'Bill'—he calls me 'Bill' ven 'ee his friendly—'Bill, them pictures on them ere kam-e-o-s as you sells is my likeness just like twins. Cos, vy,' said he, 'my maiden haunt reckignized them, and fainted avay ven she seed vun.'"

Passing along a few feet I am attracted by the noise of a loud, rough voice, that is shouting over the thickly packed heads of another crowd:

"Step hup gentlemen and take a look hat the noble hart of Self-Defence has his practised in the Royal Tent. This vay gentlemen, honly tuppens. Brisket Bill and the 'Ackney Vick Cove is a goin' to set-too. Step hup."


There is a large tent back from the path covered all over with representations of half-naked boxers in the act of defending themselves, or mauling or beating each other to pieces, and the master pugilist stands on a high bench to attract the crowd, while at the same time he can look inside of the tent and direct the ceremonies by calling time and announcing the names of the combatants. Two wretched, miserable looking women,[Pg 359] their features furrowed with want, their eyes bleared with gin, and their general appearance indicative of hard luck, cruel treatment and filth, hold each a sheet of the tent in their hands, and one of them puts out her hand to take the two pence which is the price of admission.

I pass in to the tent and find twenty or thirty hard-looking cases circling around "Brisket Bill" and the "Hackney Wick Cove," who are stripped to their waists, their features inflamed with passion, their hair cropped short, and boxing gloves on their hands. There are half a dozen burly, big soldiers in the tent belonging to different arms of the Queen's service, and two of them wear the red shell jackets and army fatigue caps of the Life Guards. Brisket Bill is a low-sized, compact, thick witted brute in corduroys and heavy hob-nailed shoes, who has been probably "starring" in the provinces, and the Hackney Cove is a tall, well-made, fresh-faced-looking young fellow, who is quite lively on his feet, and seems to rather like the punishment which Brisket gives him every now and then in the chest and face.

A ruffianly-faced scoundrel offers me a ticket to go to his boxing benefit on the next Monday night, which is declined, and at the next moment the Hackney Cove knocks Brisket Bill, with a tremendous blow, kicking at my feet, while cheers greet the feat from the Life Guards, roughs, thieves, and clodhoppers in the tent, and the Master Pugilist cries from the top of the tent outside:

"Vind hup, Brisket; 'it 'im 'ard and be done vith your larking. Give these gentlemen the vorth of their tupence. Vind hup, I say, and stop 'im."

Going down the towing path I found the crowd increasing every moment, and all streaming from the direction of London. A great number of soldiers were present all in bright uniform, without side-arms, and all carrying jaunty canes—lancers, foot guards, riflemen, artillery drivers, men of the siege train, heavy cavalry, dragoons, and light-infantry men. The majority of these warriors bold were accompanied by their sweethearts, pretty, clear-skinned English girls in their best bibs and tuckers,[Pg 360] and of course they all wore the Oxford blue on their persons. Hundreds of small dirty-faced and ragged boys swarmed in and out of the numerous tents, and many grown men were endeavoring by bawling loudly, to dispose of badges and rosettes. Some of them had pieces of wide dark blue ribbon with the words cribbed from the famous ballad of Tommy Dodd a little altered, inscribed in gilt type on them:

"Now boys, let's all go in;
Oxford—Oxford sure to win,
Tommy Dodd."

Others sold small rosettes with the words "Oxford Laurels" engraved, and Harvard badges made of red, white, and blue lutestring, bearing the arms of the United States, the eagle rampant, and screaming fiercely, while one costermonger's cart had elevated on canvas in bold letters, the words of Nelson at Trafalgar, forever classic in the English tongue:


Almost every person who passed this costermonger cart cheered or approved of the legend in some way, while as a counter irritant a party of Americans who had hired a whole house, had the Star Spangled Banner displayed with the following couplet underneath, in glaring type, and which attracted very considerable attention:

"Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: In God be our trust!"


I saw numbers of Americans, during the great excitement of that memorable day, pass and repass the sacred symbol of their country just for the sake of lifting their hats to the dear old flag. Blood is thicker than water—even if it was only a boat race. One young fellow who had been for four years studying his profession at Halle, in Germany, and had not seen the Gridiron during that time, doffed his hat twice and was cheered from the balcony in return; and when he came to[Pg 361] me and spoke, his eyelashes were humid, and, when I asked him what was the matter, he answered in a polyglot of Deutsch and English:

"Ach Gott! I've been having a blamed good cry at the sight of the Stars and Stripes."

And thus the day passed, and the sun declined in force and fell in strips of silver and gold and purple on Putney church and steeple, and on all that mad, roaring, shouting, gambling, eating, and drinking multitude, that lined both banks of the river from Putney to Mortlake—a million human beings in all—to witness ten lads struggle for less than half an hour in two frail boats.


[Pg 362]



A S I passed down the towing path toward the stone house where the Harvard crew were resting, I saw the blue blades of four slender oars elevated above the crowd, and passing through the closely wedged ranks. The men who carried them, the Oxford Four, appeared on the river's bank—four fine looking young fellows, with the coxswain, a mere lad, in their rowing suits. They were going to take a paddle preparatory to the race, for half a mile up the Thames toward the Duke of Devonshire's. They looked well, and were loudly cheered as they got into their boat. They paddled up the river.

As I passed the gate of the stone house I saw the Chevalier Wykoff and George Wilkes standing together and spoke to them both. Just at this moment the face of Loring, the stroke of the Harvard crew, appeared looking out toward the river, which was packed with boats full of people. There was something in the man's face that I did not like. I had not seen him for a few days previous. He had a huge boil under his right chin in his neck, with a white crust on the top of it; his eyes seemed wild, his manner anxious and hurried, and altogether he seemed very unsteady. I shook hands with him and asked him how he felt.


He said slowly, "Pretty well," and after we talked a few minutes he went in to prepare for the struggle. I stepped back to the towing path and spoke to Mr. Wilkes, who asked of me[Pg 363] "Who is that? Is not that Mr. Loring, the Stroke of Harvard?" I answered in the affirmative. Mr. Wilkes then asked me, "What did he say? Does he feel well?" I answered, "He says he feels pretty well?" Wilkes burst out, "Pretty well! He doesn't look like it. That man's sick." and in an instant he dashed into the crowd to find some one and I lost him for the time being.

I walked down to the "Star and Garter" inn slowly, thinking of the last look I had at Loring, and I felt astonished that he should be ready to pull a race in his condition. The man was evidently in a state of exhaustion; he looked overworked, overstrained, and out of condition for a four mile and three furlong race—he who had, when at his best, only been used to pull a three mile race, turning at a stake of a mile and a half distance.

Warned by the noise and rapid movements of the crowd that something was astir, I made my way by the Star and and Garter, out of whose windows men were handing porter bottles to their friends beneath, and, walking to the river's bank, I hailed a boat with two Thames watermen in it, who pulled me through the line of Police boats to the Press boat Sunflower, which had her steam up and was getting ready.

Getting on the deck I took a look around me. Above and at our back was the old Putney Bridge, thick with human beings of both sexes. Beneath were countless steamboats and small craft, wedged together in a dense mass, covering the river behind the bridge for acres, and at our stern a huge iron chain of Vulcanic links stretched from the Star and Garter to a point off Fulham on the Middlesex shore. The chain in the middle of the river was under water, but near both shores it was visible to all the passengers on the steamboats behind Putney Bridge, but also impassable to them, however they might rage, fume, and curse at their ill-luck and guineas thrown away.

By the side of the Press boat, the Umpire's boat—a craft similar in build and appearance—was anchored, many of the passengers wearing the rival colors; the Americans drinking[Pg 364] brandy and soda to refresh themselves, and the Englishmen giving odds on Oxford with great good will and humor.

The picture on the river was a most striking one, and worthy of a master's brush, with its vivid color, the striking dresses of the crowds, the flags and bunting from housetops and steam funnels; the green-leaved trees, their branches covered with human fruit, and the hot August sun, just losing its intensity, as a cool breeze came down from the direction of Mortlake to ruffle the surface of the river, its eddies and wavelets sparkling and dancing like diamonds of price.

It was now within a few minutes of five o'clock. There was a sudden hum above on the river, at a place called the Crab Tree, as the Oxford crew got into their boat, and the hum became distinct and swelled into a pronounced noise, and the noise became a great solid, full cheer from a hundred thousand throats, as the bright blue blades of the Oxford Four were dipped in the water, and they came paddling down the stream in their narrow shell to take position by the Umpire's boat near the bridge. They paddled easily, and took position with a quiet look in their fair English faces that impressed every American favorably.

Then there was another hum as before, when the Harvard crew came down from the boat-house of the London Rowing Club, and a tremendous cheer as their boat came up to the Middlesex shore—in among the seedy long grass.

And now let us look for a moment at the two crews as they sit there passively awaiting the order to "go." The Harvard boat is long, narrow, and the frail cedar wood timbers that compose it are polished like a steel mirror. Its nose and bow are sharp as a lancet, and amidships it is but a few inches out of the water. So frail, and yet to carry the good or bad fortune of a mighty nation's hope.


The Harvard crew wore white flannel shirts, the sleeves cut away at the shoulders, with white drawers shortened above the ankles, and white fillets bound around their temples to save their heads from the sun's rays. To a spectator they looked magnificent—all of them bronzed as they sat well forward in[Pg 365] the boat, their skins like a new guinea. Burnham, the coxswain, had his back to the steamer and faced the stroke, Mr. Loring. Burnham looked stout, massive, and in good condition. His broad back, rather too broad for a coxswain, gave an idea of endurance and "staying" more useful in a stroke than a "cox." His face was tanned, and his quick, restless eyes scanned the broad Thames with a short, momentary glance, and then they rested on Simmons, the hope of the American boat.

Burnham wore a Vandyke tuft at his chin, and a stiff, bristling mustache of sandy hue. He looked old enough to be father to the Oxford coxswain. Loring sat with both hands grasping the stroke-oar on the right side of the boat. His face was turned also, and his dark eyes had something nervous and flitting in them that I did not like. His body was as lean as a greyhound's—in fact, he was too lean for a long race. But the muscles and sinews stood out in bold relief, and the cords of flesh between the shoulder-blades were hard, and, Loring being slightly round in the shoulders, it gave him a look of great strength, more fictitious than real.

He wore a mustache and goatee—not quite so artistic in shape as Burnham's—and the hair was cropped close to his ears. His face, however, did not satisfy the Americans, who watched him closely. There was something that was indefinite, something unstrung, in the lines that should have been set and hardened like steel bars. He had a feverish look as he sat forward, with his long, massive arms, grasping the oars.

Simmons, the pride of the crew, sat behind Loring, his perfect physical form astounding the Englishmen by its massive and beautiful outline. The face was gravely handsome, the chin round yet firm, the shoulders grand in their proportions, and the loins like the waist of an oak trunk. His naked arms were marble for their shape and purity of skin, and the neck, proudly resting upon his shoulders, could not have disgraced the Sun God.

Take him altogether, I never saw such a perfect specimen[Pg 366] of manhood and physical beauty as he looked that day in the Harvard boat. And yet his eyes, usually intense and piercing, and bluish gray, which always looked a man in the face, were to-day yellowish and overcast. That lion heart, which could hardly think of defeat, was torn in a struggle to maintain composure. He and Loring for four days had been gradually weakening almost to the point of exhaustion, and these two men, upon whom the race principally depended, were perfectly aware that their form was not good, and they were well aware, also, that without their strength and health the race was lost before it began.

Simmonds towered above all his companions, and he held the wrist of his oar calmly as he could, while behind him sat Lyman, a grave, austere looking young gentleman, with a well cut face, mouth, and chin, dark hair, a resolute look, and a well shaped body; of modest, but athletic look and determination.

Lyman seemed in very good shape, though a little anxious—as was no more than natural—about Loring and Simmonds, while the most insouciant, daring looking man in the boat to-day, is that haughty, imperious looking fellow who sits in the bow, Joseph Story Fay, a man of proud will, self confidence, and great endurance. He sits seeming a careless observer of the preparatory and technical part of the programme, but those keen, watchful eyes, that seem to stab like a knife, are bent with no little solicitude on the Oxford boat, which is almost stationary a few yards distant.

The Harvard crew had a manly, bold look, taking them in a mass, and a sombre, matured appearance, their bodies and faces stained deep yellow, like a crew of Indians, and they also sat, if I may use the word, taller in their boat than the Oxford crew did in theirs.


The Oxford crew were boyish, fresh-faced fellows, compared with them, their light skins and hair making them look more juvenile in appearance, and beside, they had not such an ascetic look as the Harvards, who had lived more like monks than athletes, without any amusement or even beer—for weeks[Pg 367] training themselves to death, and working body and mind too much. The Harvard crew seemed anxious and careworn, when their faces were studied, and they were certainly not in good training condition for the race.

Loring had worked like a horse, pulling long distances in broiling suns; and the crew when together had a bad fashion of rowing the whole course, while the Oxford men contented themselves with a pull of a couple of miles at a time, being careful not to overdo the business. Then, on Sunday the Oxford men always went down to the sea-shore at Brighton, and drank beer moderately and ate fruit in a jolly sort of a way, and plenty of roast meats, while the Harvard men lived to some extent on farinaceous food and porridge and figs and mutton, a favorite dish of theirs when roasted—and to be brief, they were too anxious to win, and the consequence came in the shape of a fidgetty, nervous, and overtrained condition.

Besides, the stroke of the Harvard crew was too labored and fiery and energetic to last, for the amount of powder belonging to them. The arms were with them the great impelling power, and the recover was too high up in the chest, while the Oxford men recovered a little above the pit of the stomach, which is less wearisome and distressing. In catching the oar forward they expended too much force, and spent a great deal of strength in dropping it, while their strength would have been better used in holding the water just before the recovery.

The coxswain, too, was naturally uncertain of his Stroke and Simmonds, both men being in poor condition; and Loring told him before the race, in case that he flagged to sprinkle his face and that of Simmonds, with water. This alone was enough to make Burnham rather shaky, and not a little doubtful of his crew. A few lengths lost by wild steering or nervousness, and it would be of course impossible to win in the case of two crews so very closely matched otherwise. I say all this advisedly, and I am sure the conclusion will bear out my premises. In addition, they had tried half a dozen boats while in training, and displaced two of their crew. Whether it was[Pg 368] wise to make this change or not, I have no means of knowing, and cannot say.

The Oxford crew having paddled their boat a little nearer the Press steamer, I now had a good look at them. They all had a fresh, fair, English look, and were not, as far as I could see, at all fagged before going into the race. Darbishire, the Stroke, was the first man who caught my eye. He did not look at all burly in frame, and his figure was lower in the thwarts of the boat by a head, than that of the gigantic-framed Cornwall Celt, Mr. Tinne.

Darbishire had a merry blue eye and a turn-up nose, indicating good humor. His body was well set, his shoulders compact, and his hair, though short, had a proclivity to curl and kink. He had a broad forehead, a mouth a little turned down at the corners and arching, and his chin was moderately firm.

Yarborough was far more determined in his look, and sported a pair of thin, mutton-chop whiskers. He was the darkest-skinned and darkest-eyed man in the Oxford boat, besides being a fine oarsman and a victor of many college matches. His nose was of the snub order, and the chin dimpled, the forehead being broad and white, and the hair, like Darbishire's, inclined to curl. He was what would be a "big small" man, and was as compact and tough as a hickory nut.

Tinne was, however, the giant of the crew. I never saw a more glorious looking fellow than this clear-skinned, handsome Cornwall lad, with his splendid clearly cut profile, frank, merry face, laughing eyes, and thoroughbred look.

It was worth a day's walk to see Tinne pull. He was a man a good deal after the style of our own Simmonds, but not so gravely reserved. He was not as tall as Simmonds, but a great deal heavier, and looked as if he could pull a man-of-war's gig in a race, with those grand shoulders and hips broad as a barrel of beer. Yet, with all his great physique, his gait was as light as a girl's, and the feather of his oar when taken from the water was artistic in itself.


This huge fellow, weighing 192 pounds on the day of the race, was formidable enough to intimidate the boldest betting[Pg 371] American of us all. Tinne, like his friend Willan, the bow oar, had been president of the Oxford University Boat Club, and had never known defeat. Willan, the Bow, looked as if the matter was mere play, while he amused himself with the oar and watched Walter Brown, who held the nose of the Harvard boat from a launch, with a keen alert look. His white Guernsey shirt was open at the neck, and it showed a wonderfully muscular but white throat. His shoulders were broad across, and his fingers grasped the oar as if they were riveted with steel nails to the frail shaft.



The most innocent looking boy I ever saw in a boat was Hall, a slight, frail, girlish looking lad, and coxswain of the Oxford crew. Weighing one hundred pounds on the day of the race, and being about seventeen years of age, he was the last person that a man would choose for a coxswain, who knew nothing of the mysteries and science of the art of rowing as practiced in England. His skin was light and almost transparent, the blue veins in his face being very prominent. His hair was very light, and his eyes blue as the sky. A handsomer lad could not be found, but he seemed delicate enough to be blown away with a breath. The face was weak, and the mouth of a curious shape, the corners being drawn down, and giving him a soft, credulous look.

Looking at him there in his dark-blue jacket of thin flannel—all the rest of the crew were in white shirts cut away at the elbows, and white drawers shortened at the ankles—he looked so innocent and lady-like, that it needed but a crinoline and silk skirt to transform him into a pretty English girl of the period.

And yet that delicate boy had a great trust, and "Little Corpus," as he was called from his college at Oxford, well deserved it all, for his knowledge of the river was unrivaled, and his steering was simply perfection. Nothing could be finer. A New York betting-man, who lost heavily, declared that he was a "young weasel" for sagacity and cool nerve.

By the time I had taken a good look at both crews, the arrangements had all been made, and the two boats had been[Pg 372] brought by their coxswains up to a line stretched across the river, and the crews now lay in their boats, with bodies bent forward, their faces set, their oars grasped with energy, the coxswains with the ropes in both hands, and the stroke of each boat having his oar blade poised a few feet above the water.

Walter Brown held the nose of the Harvard boat, and John Phelps, a rugged looking Thames waterman, had his grip fastened on the Oxford boat, waiting for the word to go. Loring's eyes are blazing with unwonted fire; Darbishire seems confident and easy, with his ears dilated like a pointer, and a death-like silence reigns all over that swarming river—just now the noise was deafening; the Americans have ceased to drink any more brandy and soda; Tom Hughes looks up the river to see if all is clear; Mr. Lord, of the Thames Conservancy, reports all clear—and the bulky figure of Blakey, the starter of the race, is seen to ascend the paddle-box of the Lotus steamer, and his voice rings over the water, and is heard with a thrill, for the decisive moment has come at last.

"I shall ask," says Blakey, "are you Ready—are you Ready, and if you do not stop me I shall give the word Go, after which God speed you both."

"Are you ready?"

"No!" shouts Darbishire.

"Are you ready?"

"No!" again, distinct and clear, from Darbishire.

"Are you Ready?" No answer this time from either crew.


A hundred thousand throats, as if made of cast-iron, bellow forth: a hundred thousand eyes are dazzled for a moment as the diamond drops fall from the upraised blue blades of Oxford and the white blades of Harvard. Walter Brown executes a war dance in an instant after he has sent the Harvard shell a full length on its way. The 'Rah, 'Rah, 'Rah, of Harvard pierces the air; the masses on the banks of the river begin to show incipient symptoms of madness. Both boats are off, Harvard pulling like demons, and Oxford has just got into her careless, easy swing, pumping away like machines. The[Pg 373] two steamers start on a helter-skelter race, and the greatest boat race the world ever saw has just begun for better or for worse.


No man that day who witnessed the start of the two boats—the terrific spring of the Harvard crew, and the cool, rythmical measure of the Oxford stroke—can ever forget that moment of moments, unless, indeed, his blood be thinner than water and his pulse of ice. The Harvard crew caught the water first, and were well on their way before the crowds were recovered from the shock. Loring swept away like a tiger after his prey, and Burnham—who had won the toss for choice of position, steered in on the Middlesex shore, the Oxford crew having won a blank, and having to keep in, consequently, on the Surrey side—showing very good judgment at first, and keeping his boat well under way. It was but a minute, and Harvard was a full length clear in the water of the Oxford boat, Loring pulling forty-two strokes a minute, and Simmond's elbows going backward and forward like a steam engine.

The Oxford crew, after a pause, recovered from their slight surprise, and fell into stroke as if a piece of mechanism were propelling their narrow shell. Darbishire is now rowing beautifully, and has settled down to hard work, while Tinne's great shoulders, bob up and down with superhuman energy, his glorious chest expanded to its full power, and he pulls with the magnificence of incarnate force, while "Little Corpus," the coxswain, is as quiet as a mouse, watching every stroke of the Harvard crew, as he sets in the stern sheets of the Oxford shell.

Oxford has started with thirty-eight strokes, and now, when Mr. Darbishire sees Loring putting on the steam at forty-four, he quickens his stroke to thirty-nine, and Hall gets the boat headed a little toward the Middlesex shore.

The Star and Garter is fast disappearing from the stern of the Press boat, and the Umpire's boat follows closely, neck and neck almost. The crowds at a place called the "Creek," where a little stream runs tributary to the Thames, are shouting "Oxford" all their might and main. Fay, in the bow of the Harvard boat, seems to hear the taunt, and begins to show[Pg 374] evidence of his strength, by pulling the bow-side around slightly, which compels Burnham to put his rudder down and keep off from the Oxford boat.

At Simmond's boat-house the jam is tremendous, and the crowd cheers Harvard as she sweeps by a length ahead; and Oxford going a few feet wild at this point, the Harvard men on the two steamers shout themselves hoarse, and one man with a Magenta-ribbon takes off a new hat, carefully inspects it for a moment, and then in a delirium of frenzy kicks the crown of it in, and presents it skyward as a peace offering.

The people on the Surrey towing-path seem all mad, Oxford is not showing speed enough for them, and the stands and shows and booths are deserted as if they had never been in existence, the crowds pressing forward to the bank of the river wildly. Passing the "Willows," a pleasant little grove of trees, with a quaint stone house nestled in their bosom, a loud cheer is given as the Oxonians spurt a little, while at the same time the water falls, or rather dashes from Loring's oar with increased vehemence, for Harvard is now pulling at the tremendous pace of 45 strokes a minute, a thing unheard of before in an English boat race.

At "Craven Cottage" Oxford gains slightly, but the fact is hardly noticed by the Harvard men, who can see but one thing, and that is the Harvard boat, now ahead by a length and a half. I never imagined that Loring could do the work he is now doing, which is superhuman, and therefore cannot last. At the "Soap Works," a crazy old place, Darbishire seems to be creeping up, and his stroke is most assuredly telling on the Harvard energy and fire. Oxford is now pulling 40, and the cheers are deafening from the shore, while cries and exclamations and yells of encouragement come from the countless wherries, stationary barges, and craft of all kinds that line the Surrey side.



"Well pulled, Willan. Nobly done for Exeter," shouts an excited Oxford University man from a small boat. "You are sure to win."

[Pg 377]

"Oh, go it Harvard; go it Harvard. 'Rah—'Rah—'Rah—'Rah. Hit her up, Loring."

"Keep your steam on, Burnham. Don't get frightened."

"What's the matter with Harvard, now," says a Harvard man to a dignified English gentleman on the Press boat.

"Wonderful stroke, sir; 'fraid it can't last. Great power, sir, in the Oxford crew," says the old gentleman rather curtly.

"Well done, Simmonds, you are the man for my money," cries a Western man who has a bottle of soda water in his hand, and has been betting heavily all the way down the river on the boat.


Opposite the "Doves," Harvard goes away splendidly from Oxford; but now the Harvard men on the steamboats begin to notice something queer in the steering of Burnham. Briefly, he is steering wide of his race, and very badly, and his nerve seems to be going, for the boat looks quite unsteady and veers in the water more than she ought to. Now we are rounding a bend in the river, and the great, single span of Hammersmith Bridge looms up before us. Every coigne of vantage on this immense pile, from one side of the river to the other, is covered with vehicles, broughams, carriages, 'busses, and at least thirty thousand people are clustered and hanging on to the structure in a most astonishing manner. It was a mad sight, that bridge, with the great swaying masses, pushing, shouting, and fighting to get a look at the boats.

Cries of "Hoxford," "Hoxford," come down from above our heads as we near the bridge, and the excitement is perfectly terrific. We have already passed a quarter of a million of people, to estimate them in the rough, and still they line the banks above us in impenetrable masses. The waving of handkerchiefs and shouting is enough to make a man lose his senses, if the race did not claim so much attention from the spectators.

Harvard prepares to shoot under the bridge, being still a length and a half ahead, but Loring is not doing his work so stoutly now, although the Harvard boat glides through the[Pg 378] water at 46 strokes a minute. The pace is too hard and it will not and cannot last five minutes longer.

Oxford steers out from the Surrey bank to shoot the bridge, and "Little Corpus" makes a circuit to avoid an eddy where the tide is bad, while Burnham is mad enough to go away from the race by giving room to Darbishire's boat, whose coxswain never loses an inch by weak or ill-judged steering, Burnham going out of his way too much to accommodate Oxford, instead of keeping on and taking Oxford's water in a direct line. It was at this place that Harvard lost the race, wholly by Burnham's bad steering and Loring's nervousness.

"Oh, my God! what are you doing Burnham, why do you steer so?" shouts an excited Yale man in the Press boat thinking vainly that Burnham will hear him; but Harvard is too far on our bow to hear the warning voice, and here she loses a full half length. The excitement is now beyond description. From all the vast stagings that are erected on the Surrey side, decorated with English bunting and covered with thousands of people, comes a glad swell of triumph, borne on the breeze, and striking despair to every American heart.

Now, at this moment, after shooting Hammersmith bridge, Loring's oar seems to hang loosely from the gunwale of the boat, and his head is bent forward as if he were about to faint. In an instant the coxswain, Burnham, dashes water into his face and chest, and repeats the ablution five or six times, throwing the water also on Simmonds, who is weakened from the pace he has been pulling.

The Harvard stroke now goes down to 42, to 41, and to 40; for Loring is knocked up, and the pulling is being done by Fay, on the bow side, in despair. Elliott, the boat-builder, standing on the paddle-box of the Lotus, is black in the face from shouting, "Harvard! Harvard!" "Pull up Harvard!"


There goes that same steady, wonderful, glorious stroke of Oxford, like the knell of doom, not to be stopped until victory perches on her gallant crew. At Chiswick Island Loring spurted and made a despairing effort; but the man is sick and gone for the race, and it is no use hallooing now, for Oxford[Pg 379] forges past the Harvard boat with a will and power that calls forth a shout from the assembled multitude, which rings in the ears of Loring's crew like a sentence of death.

Still the gallant fellows struggle on, inspired by an agony which none may describe in such a race, and they never falter for an instant, but pull as if they were determined to win. During the first mile and a half of the race, Burnham received the back wash of the Oxford boat, by keeping all the time in a line behind Darbishire's crew with a seeming blunder that actually called tears of rage to the eyes of Americans on the steamboats. Getting along by Chiswick Church, which was crowded with people, the Oxford crew pulling 40, their boat was a length ahead of the Harvard bow oar, and Hall, the coxswain, took care that no ground should be lost by his steering. Then Darbishire spoke the word to his crew, and throwing all the powder they could into their backs, they gave Harvard only the alternative of pulling to Barnes's Bridge for an honorable defeat.

Never for a moment did Oxford flag, but kept the stroke as if grim death was at their heels, yet all the time throughout the race they seemed easy in their style, and regular as the pendulum of an eight-day clock.

The want of time and catch in the Harvard stroke was very noticeable at Barnes's Bridge, and here the same immense crowds were gathered as at the bridge at Hammersmith, and now the Oxford boat being positively a length and a half ahead, and no mistake, the cries and shouts were most appalling. Past the green fields in the Duke of Devonshire's meadows a large crowd was gathered, who hailed the appearance of the Oxford crew with great and significant pleasure.

The race was now lost, virtually. Harvard was out of time—knocked up—and the men in her boat were laboring like oxen in chains. The morale of the Harvard crew was gone a mile below Barnes's Bridge, when Loring's oar hung loose for the first time, and nothing human could now give old Massachusetts a victory. It was a gallant struggle, too, and nobly waged. Passing the "White Cottage" and the "White Hart" in the race for the Ship Tavern at Mortlake, the Harvard crew,[Pg 380] in the last quarter of a mile, put on a desperate spurt and rowing for a minute and a half at 44 strokes, they gained ground on Oxford, whose crew seemed as fresh as when they began.


Now is the last desperate struggle. Pull, Harvard; you cannot hope to win. Pull, Harvard, and pluck the sting from defeat! Both crews go at it for a minute, and Loring's last spark of fire is given to drive his boat through the water. There is a shout from the Ship Tavern, where the American flag is displayed. Oxford comes by with that terrible vengeance stroke, the terror of many a gallant Cantab oarsman. There is a shout which splits the clouds almost, a report of a gun, and Oxford has struck the tow line, a boat and a half's length ahead, (not three lengths ahead as was reported,) the race is lost and won, by about 65 feet, and the most gallant display ever seen on the Thames is over, and the dark blue swarms go home triumphant at heart. Bridges, river bank, and church steeple are deserted, as the Oxford crew paddle their boat along side of the Harvard crew, and, raising their hands in air, give the defeated oarsmen a hearty English cheer and shake hands with them, and the Harvard boys cheer back, and Charles Reade, who stands on the deck of the steamer Lotus, lifts his straw hat in respect to Loring, who smiles back sadly at him, and all is over. The children's children of those two crews will yet tell of that day's struggle, which for one hour served to call back the Homeric days of Greece.

The distance pulled by the Harvard and Oxford crews was four miles and three furlongs, without any turning at a stake boat. The day was a very warm one, the thermometer being at 87° Fahrenheit—in the shade.

The names and weight of the crews were as follows:

1. Darbishire, (stroke) 160 lbs. 1. Loring, (stroke) 154 lbs.
2. Yarborough, 170  " 2. Simmonds, 170  "
3. Tinne, 192  " 3. Lyman, 155  "
4. Willan, (bow) 166  " 4. Fay, (bow) 155  "
Hall, coxswain, 100  "    Burnham, coxswain, 112  "
——— ———
788 746

[Pg 381]

The time occupied by both crews in pulling the race was as follows:

Oxford, 22 minutes 20 seconds.
Harvard, 22         " 26    "

Both crews did their best, but the Oxford style of rowing, and their form, was superior to that of Harvard. Rowing with a coxswain will one day supersede the Harvard bow-steering. The Harvard crew received perfect fair-play and courtesy, and all the stories to the contrary which have been circulated are untrue.


[Pg 382]



MOST venerable relic—none more so in London—is the Domesday Book, which I was allowed to inspect one day while sauntering through the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey. This hoary volume is called the "Domesday Book," or, "Register of the Lands of England," and was made in the year 1086, almost in the morning of English history.

There are two volumes of the "Domesday Book," one being a folio and the other a quarto. A fee of a shilling is charged strangers, to inspect the musty old tomes, with their illuminated characters, which detail the various "messuages," "folkmotes," "carucates," and "hydes," of land, which were divided among Norman William's mail clad barons, by right of conquest, nearly a thousand years ago.

These volumes are the oldest in England, although I have been informed that there are, in the Bodleian Library, at Oxford, two books, in Greek characters, which were saved from the destruction of the Alexandrian Library in the Ninth Century.


One of the Domesday volumes is a very large folio, the other is a quarto. The quarto is written on 382 double pages of vellum, in one and the same hand, in small but plain characters, each page having double columns. Some of the capital letters and principal pages are touched with black ink, and others are crossed with lines of red ink. The second volume,[Pg 383] in folio, is written in 450 pages of vellum, but in single columns, occupying each page, and in a large, fair character. At the end of the second volume is the following memorial, in capital letters, of the time of its completion:

"Anno Millesimo Octogesimo Sexto ab Incarnatione Domini, vigesimo vero regni Willielmi, facta est ista Descriptio, non solum per hos tres Comitatus, sed etiam per alios."

These books, until the year 1696, or for over six hundred years, were carried innumerable times from place to place, through England, under strong guards, within the jurisdiction of the various Lord Chancellors, and Courts, to settle disputes and verify local records and documents, in regard to the transmission of real estate, for every acre of land owned to-day in England is held by the original tenure, given in Domesday Book.

Since 1696 the book has been kept with the King's Seal, at Westminster, in the Exchequer, under three locks and keys in the charge of the Auditor, the Chamberlain, and Deputy Chamberlains of the Exchequer. It is kept in a vaulted porch never warmed by fire. For eight hundred years it has never felt or seen a fire, and yet the pages are bright, sound, and perfect as ever. In making searches, or transcripts from the volume, the text must not be touched, and this has always been the rule from forgotten days. All the cities, towns, and villages of England are recorded in this book, with their value, location, and boundaries, their castles, fortresses, marches, and the religious houses of the Kingdom, as they stood twenty years after Duke William, of Normandy, reined in his war horse from the slaughter of Hastings' dread field.

The Hospital Ship "Dreadnought," (soon to be broken up and sold,) which lies moored off Greenwich, in the dirty Thames, is another of the curious sights of London. An hospital for the sick and diseased seamen of all nations arriving in the port of London, was established on board of the "Grampus," a 50 gun frigate, in 1821, but the "Grampus" did not prove large enough for the purpose, and the next vessel chosen was the 104 gun three-decker "Dreadnought," which was fitted up in 1831, as an Hospital Ship. This old hulk has glorious memories for[Pg 384] all Englishmen, who, as they look at her rotting timbers, can imagine that they see her coming out of the smoke of Trafalgar fight, after capturing the Spanish three-decker, "San Juan," which had, two hours before, beaten off the English frigates, "Bellerophon" and "Defiance."



The establishment on board of the "Dreadnought" consists of a Superintendent, two Surgeons, an Apothecary, Visiting Physicians, and a Chaplain. The ship is moored contiguous to the bulk of the shipping in the docks, and in the river, and is the only place in London for the reception of sick seamen arriving from abroad, or to whom accidents may happen between the mouth of the river and London Bridge. Sick seamen of every nation, on presenting themselves alongside, are immediately and kindly received without any recommendatory letters, and ship-wrecked sailors, and vagrant seamen, are admitted, if deserving. In 1869, 2,463 patients were received on board, and 1,836 seamen were attended to as out patients.


The Emperor of Russia subscribes annually £150, the Queen of Spain £100, the King of Italy £100, the Emperor of France[Pg 385] £200, the Sultan of Turkey £100, the King of Denmark £50, and the King of Prussia £100. I heard nothing of a contribution from the American Government, but it is probable that the American Consul may, in some way, provide for the destitute seamen of his country.

The patients are ranged upon the lower decks, the portholes affording a sort of ventilation, such as it is—the breeze coming in from the putrid Thames' river, and in the cabin are all the implements of surgery, so that a leg or arm can be whipped off at a moment's notice, or an abscess, or ulcer, may be punctured equally quick.

Visitors can inspect the "Dreadnought" on any day of the week, excepting Sunday—between the hours of eleven and three.

The number of seamen cared for in this floating hospital, for the past thirty years, with their different places of nativity, is as follows:

Englishmen, 84,600; Scotchmen, 18,960; Irishmen, 17,325; Frenchmen, 3,911; Germans, 2,800; Russians, 2,230; Prussians, 1,840; Hollanders, 480; Danes, 1,600; Swedes, 2,117; Norwegians, 1,604; Italians, 1,208; Portuguese, 706; Spaniards, 801; East Indians, 2,014; West Indians, 3,212; British Americans, 1,582; United States, 3,316; South Americans, 712; Africans, 1,200; Turks, 174; Greeks, 295; New Zealanders, 98; Australians, 307; South Sea Islanders, 80; Chinese, 347; born at sea, 206.

Generally there are about two hundred patients in the floating Hospital at a time, and it is kept pretty full, from the fact that a poor sailor will perish afloat sooner than enter a land hospital, and seamen often travel from the most distant parts of England, Ireland, and Scotland, to be received in the Dreadnought.

One day, while standing on Cheapside looking at the busy thoroughfare, which much resembles Broadway, New York, in its main features, I saw a queerly-shaped, but magnificent vehicle dash by, embellished in gold and silver, and hung with crimson velvet.

[Pg 386]

I asked a bystander what it was, and he answered with proper British pride:

"Why, don't you know? That's the Queen's State Kerridge a-goin to the Tower to be repaired."

I afterward saw this vehicle in all its glory and detail, and for the benefit of Americans who may desire to get up a gorgeous equipage, I will do my best to describe it.

The carriage is composed of four Sea Tritons, who support the body by cables; the two placed on the front, as it were, bear the driver, (a most magnificent flunkey in powder and velvet,) and are sounding shells, and those on the back part carry the bundles of Lictors rods which are seen on Roman monuments and medals. The foot board on which the driver rests his noble feet, is a large scallop shell, supported by marine plants of different kinds. The pole resembles a bundle of lances, and the wheels are made in imitation of the war chariots which once rolled around classic arenas in the Games. The body of the coach is composed of eight palm trees, which, branching out at the top, sustain the roof, and at each angle are trophies of English battles by land and sea.

On the top of the roof are three little figures of fairies representing England, Ireland, and Scotland, supporting a golden crown, and holding the sceptre, the sword of state, and insignia of knighthood, and from their bodies fall festoons of laurel to the four corners of the roof.

On the right and left doors, and on the back and front pannels, are painted allegorical designs in splendid style, representing Britannia on a Throne, Religion, Wisdom, Justice, Valor, Fortitude, Commerce, Plenty, Victory, and all the other virtues and acquisitions which all Englishmen flatter themselves can only be found in "Britain ye knaw."


Inside the State Coach it is simply magnificent. The body is lined with scarlet embossed velvet, superbly laced and embroidered with the Star, enameled by the Collar of the Order of the Garter, and surmounted by the crown with the George and Dragon pendant. St. George, St. Michael, and even St. Pat[Pg 387]rick, get a show here, although the latter has very little show from the Queen in his own country.

The hammer cloth is of scarlet velvet, with gold badges, ropes, and tassels. The length of the carriage and body is 24 feet, width 8 feet 3 inches, height 12 feet, length of pole 12 feet, weight four tons. So that the Queen, when she desires a state airing, is carted around for the amusement of her subjects, in a four-ton vehicle. The painting of the panels cost £800, or about $4,000 greenbacks. The eight horses which are employed to draw this magnificent carriage on state occasions, are valued at £2,000, and the expense for grooms, drivers, coachmen, and boys, of this equipage, which is not used more than once in five years, (and when not used being chiefly of service in showing off the manly proportions of John Brown,) is for every year over $25,000, or as much as the salary of the President of the United States. The Queen's coach is one hundred and eight years old, and is kept in the Royal Mews or Stables at Pimlico.

The bill which a loyal people had to pay when it was sent in for this coach, was as follows:

Coachmaker (including Wheelwright and Smith), £1637 15   0
Carver, 2500   0   0
Gilder, 935 14   0
Painter, 315   0   0
Laceman, 737 10   7
Chaser, 665   4   6
Harnessmaker, 385 15   0
Mercer, 202   5 10½
Beltmaker, 99   6   6
Milliner, 31   3   4
Saddler, 10   16   6
Woollendraper, 4   3   6
Covermaker, 3   9   6
£7528   4   3½

There was an awful row about the size of the bill, which was at first £8,000, but after a great argument it was cut down to the amount paid, £7,528 4 3½. The maker refused to take off the three-half pence, and declared that he had been "skinned and[Pg 388] robbed," but I imagine it was the poor miserable wretches who died of starvation and cold and exposure in the London streets that had the best right to complain.

The Lord Mayor's State Coach, which was built in 1757, is almost as magnificent as the Queen's, and is designed in fully as good or bad taste, I do not know which to call it.

To show how the people of England tolerate the most outrageous humbugs on the face of the earth, I will give some of the items in regard to the cost of the Lord Mayor's coach. When the coach was built, one hundred and thirteen years ago, each alderman in the city subscribed £60 towards its construction; then each alderman who was afterward sworn into office, was forced to contribute £60 on taking the oath. And each Lord Mayor also gave £100 on entering his office, to keep the coach in order. In 1768 the entire expense of keeping the coach fell on the Lord Mayor, who had to pay £300 during that year, and twenty years after its construction, the coach cost in 1787, £355 to keep it in order for that twelve months. During seven years of this present century, the cost for repairs was per annum—£115, and in 1812 it was newly lined and gilt for the benefit of the gaping London crowds, at an expense of £600, and a new seat cloth was furnished for £90; and again in 1821, this costly vehicle devoured the bread which ought to have been eaten by the starving poor, to the tune of £206 for another relining. In 1812 a carriage-making firm agreed to keep the coach in order for ten years at an expense to the city of £48 a year, which offer was accepted. The real amount of money swallowed up in this old lumbering vehicle is incalculable. Six horses are required to draw it, valued at £200 a piece, and the coach weighs 7,600 pounds. A Lord Mayor, when well fed and taken care of, weighs, I believe, about 312 pounds. The harnesses for each of the six horses weighs 106 pounds, or 636 pounds in all.

The State Coach belonging to the Speaker of the House of Commons, was built for Oliver Cromwell, and is drawn by two horses.


The two sheriffs of London have also State Coaches, burnished and blazoned with gold, and hung with silks and vel[Pg 389]vets, and although they only receive £1,000 for their year's services, the expense of state coaches, horses, liveries, and drivers, never falls below 2,500 guineas for their term. They are not allowed to serve if they swear themselves to be worth over £15,000, or $75,000.

The ceremony of installing a London sheriff I am afraid would make a New York Sheriff howl, and much profanity would result were the ancient ceremonies to become necessary at the City Hall of New York. I give the curious form of installation of a Sheriff of London.



The sheriffs are chosen by the Livery Companies or Trade Associations of London, on the morning of the Feast of St. Michael, and are presented in the Court of Exchequer, accompanied by the Lord Mayor and all the Aldermen, when the Recorder of London introduces the two sheriffs, one for London proper, and the other for Middlesex County, and the Chief Judge in his red robes, signifies the Queen's assent, handing the sheriff's "roll"—a sheet of paper which has had the names of the sheriffs pricked in by the Queen's own hand, the writs and appliances are read and filed, and the sheriffs and senior under-sheriffs take the oaths; when the late sheriffs present their accounts. The crier of the court then makes proclamation for one who does homage for the sheriffs of London to "stand forth and do his duty;" when the senior alderman below the chair rises, the usher of the court hands him a bill-hook, and holds in both hands a small bundle of sticks, which the alderman cuts asunder, and then cuts another bundle with a hatchet. Similar procla[Pg 390]mation is then made for the sheriff of Middlesex, when the alderman counts six horse-shoes lying upon the table, and sixty-one hob-nails handed in a tray; and the numbers are declared twice.

The sticks are thin peeled twigs tied in a bundle at each end with red tape; the horse-shoes are of large size, and very old; the hob-nails are supplied fresh every year. By the first ceremony the alderman does suit and service for the tenants of a manor in Shropshire, the chopping of sticks betokening the custom of the tenants supplying their lord with fuel. The counting of the horse-shoes and nails is another suit and service of the owners of a forge in St. Clement Danes, Strand, which formerly belonged to the city, but no longer exists. Sheriff Hoare, in his MS. journal of his shrievalty, 1740-41, says, "where the tenements and lands are situated no one knows, nor doth the city receive any rents or profits thereby."

In the Town Hall or Guildhall of London, some very strange relics are preserved, but none can be more strange than the yellow faded parchment shown me on which was written the humble petition of that notorious rascal and thief-taker, Jonathan Wild, who had first trained Jack Sheppard to thievery, after which he entrapped and hung him. Well, this very virtuous old gentleman had the audacity to send a petition to the Court of Aldermen in the year 1724, praying for the freedom of the City in view of the benefit he had conferred on it by the apprehension of so many thieves who had returned from transportation.

One day while paying a visit to a celebrated surgeon, whose residence is at Windsor, I was invited to look into his closets, in which were stored a number of curiosities. Suddenly a door in a recess of the chamber flew open, and out popped a skeleton on wires, with a ghastly, grinning jaw, and its ribs all open like the timbers of a wrecked ship.

"That's the skeleton of Jonathan Wild," said the surgeon, "It has been in our family for a hundred years, I believe."

[Pg 391]



V ERY strange sights are seen in London. No city that I have ever visited will compare with London for the number of its street peddlers, hawkers, booth proprietors, open-air performers, ballad singers, mountebanks, and other street itinerants.

From daybreak until dark, and long into the night, in the ramification of Streets and Lanes, Squares, Mews, and Ovals, the ear of the stranger is saluted with the harshest and most discordant sounds which emanate from the throats of a street-selling population of both sexes, large enough alone to make the population of a fifth-rate city.

The London Cockney who has heard the same grating sounds from the days of his earliest childhood, never stops in his walk to listen to the cries, but the stranger in London is compelled by the very want of melody or intelligibility in the hawker's cries to listen, yet it is useless for him to attempt to solve the meaning of their uncouth and barbarous gibberage.

For these seventy-five thousand men, women, and boys, as well as girls, many of a tender age—have their several dialects, and signals, and patois, which it would be madness to try to understand without a thorough schooling in the rudiments of their language and several occupations.

In another part of this work I have taken a glance at the London Costermongers and their habits and amusements, such as they are.

[Pg 392]

Beside this, the largest and most hard-working class of street hawkers, there are a hundred other branches of street merchandise, and all these different branches have their followers, who navigate every quarter of the metropolis, trying to pick up a shilling here and there from the sale of their commodities, as luck or energy may chance to send the shilling their way.

It is calculated that the gross receipts of the street peddlers of London amount to as much as £5,000,000 a year. This would make an average of £70 a year, or nearly $500 for each person engaged in street peddling. Of course in this aggregate I must include all those who keep stands or booths of a greater or lesser magnitude.

Some of these poor wretches may earn in good weeks about fifteen to twenty shillings, while at other seasons when green stuff is scarce, it is rarely that they exceed more than eight shillings on an average for the same amount of labor and hawking.

Ten shillings, however, is a fair week's earning if that amount be realized during the current year. It may be calculated that the profits will average as high as £1,500,000 where the gross receipts for sales are as high as £5,000,000.

A bitter hostility exists between the tradesmen who occupy shops and pay what they consider to be exorbitant rents, and the street sellers. No sooner has a street seller made a round of custom for himself and advertised his wares sufficiently, than the blue-coated policeman is sure to appear, armed with the authority which cannot be disobeyed, and he is compelled to move his stand or barrow.

The hawker or peddler is forced to pay four or five pounds a year for a license to sell in this precarious way, and yet in London he has no legal right to occupy a stand or booth. He has always to move on, like the boy Joe in Bleak House.

It is more than wonderful to think of the shifts made by the poor classes of London to make a living.


The rich man passes by objects in the crowded streets every day with scorn or loathing, which serve to yield a sustenance[Pg 393] to the indigent population, and even the offal of the streets will bring a price when offered for sale. The work of the class who gather this material is generally done before daybreak, and in some cases their earnings are considerable.

The second-hand metal and tool sellers are to be found chiefly as proprietors of booths or barrows in the vicinity of Petticoat and Rosemary Lanes. The street trade of the city is, to a great extent, done by those who have barrows, and as it is convenient for them to move their barrows from place to place, the costermongers are found all over the metropolis.

I made it my business to go almost incessantly among those street hawkers, and I got from them a vast amount of useful information, and a great many statistics.

Some of them tell curious stories, and have considerable wit of a coarse kind, but to the wandering American they are, with few exceptions, very civil, and will relate their checkered life-histories with great eagerness.

There are hundreds of old boot and shoe shops and stands, where a great business is carried on in the mending, patching, and vending of old shoes and boots.

In one branch of the street trade alone, it will be interesting to give some statistics which may be deemed reliable, as having been collected by Mr. Henry Mayhew. There are shops and stands included in this trade alone—

In Drury Lane and streets adjacent, 50 shops.
Seven Dials,      "      " 100   "
Monmouth Street,  "      " 40   "
Hanway Court, Oxford Street, 4   "
Lisson-grove,    "      " 100   "
Paddington,      "      " 30   "
Petticoat Lane,  "      " 200   "
Somerstown, 50   "
Field Lane, Saffron Hill, 40   "
Clerkenwell, 50   "
Bethnal Green, Spitalfields, 100   "
Rosemary Lane and vicinity, 30   "
744 shops.

[Pg 394]

About two thousand five hundred men are employed mending and patching shoes. Then there are hundreds of poor men and women who gain subsistence, but barely subsistence, by collecting the old material of all articles that are made of leather, and selling it to those who keep shops or stands.

I visited the lodgings of a man, in Cutler street, who paid his landlord a weekly rent of 1s. 8d. for the use of one bare room, which had no furniture with the exception of a three-legged chair upon which he sat—and a heap of straw and dirty rags, which served him as a bed. On the bare mantel-piece was a broken loaf of brown-bread, and a cooked kidney, with a broken mustard-pot.

The man was named Ferguson, and had only one eye, the other having been obliterated by the small pox. He was a cheerful old fellow, this peddler of second-hand boots and shoes, and seemed to take the world as it came without thought of the morrow. I told him that I was in search of information, and statistics in regard to the working people of London, and he offered me very politely his only stool. I declined the courtesy and sat on the heap of rags while he told his story.

"Ye need not be afeered of the bugs, yer honor, in the bed. The place is not warm enough for them to stay here.

"Stistiks ye want is it? Well, I don't know how I can give ye stistiks, but I can tell you my own story.

"I began life a shoemaker's apprentice, in Edinburgh, although I am by birth an Englishman. My master's name was Mac Donald, and when he drank whiskey his temper generally ruz, and the divil couldn't stand him or get the better of him. So I listed for a soldier and went to furrin parts, and after I sarved my time I came back a good deal wiser but not a penny richer of it all.


"I had my ups and downs when I came back, but I didn't marry, as it was too bad to bring another person into poverty besides myself. I've smoked a pipe when I was troubled in mind and could not get a bite to eat, or a drop of gin to drink, but how would it be if I had a young daughter? What good would it do to smoke if she wos hungry and I had nothing to[Pg 395] eat for her. I used to sell cherries and strawberries, and then I gave that up and went into the old shoe trade. It paid better, but sometimes I hadn't a penny-piece for two days at a time, and I would have to sell my stock to get my grub.

"The regular sort of men's shoes are not a werry good sale. I gets from ten-pence to five shillings a pair, but the high priced ones is always soled or heeled and covered with mud. I gets from one shilling to two-and-sixpence for cloth in the shoes, when they are in decent trim. Blucher's brings two shillings and upwards, and Wellington's about the same. I have sold children's shoes as low as three-pence and as high as one and sixpence. I carry a wooden seat with me so that a man who wants to buy from me can sit down and try on a pair anywhere. People who havn't got any money to throw away generally likes to get their second-hand boots or shoes as big as you have them, cos wy, when they take them in the rain if they are a tight fit they can't put them on."

On an average the one-eyed boot and shoe seller informed me that he made about four to seven shillings a week, and he called it a very good week when he managed to make ten shillings profit.

Dog-sellers, of whom there are about two hundred in London, always choose the most public places for their stations.

Down in Parliament street, opposite the Horse Guards, in Trafalgar square, at the base of Nelson's Monument, in Upper Regent street by the Coliseum, on the steps of the Bank and the Royal Exchange, on Waterloo Bridge and along the Thames Embankment, and in fact wherever a large open space may be found, or a well known public building located, the dog-fancier may be noticed with a poodle between his legs, a black and tan under one arm and a spaniel under the other, and by his side, it is more than probable that a basket will be placed full of live, kicking, and sagacious pups, of different colors and of as many breeds.

These dog-sellers are the keenest street traders to be found in London, and dramatists and playwrights are never weary of making sketches and amusing characters of dog fanciers.

[Pg 396]

Some years ago, two rascals, bearing the names of "Ginger" and "Carrots," made themselves famous for the number of dogs stolen by them. At last it was impossible for any canine to escape these fellows, and so industrious did they become in the pursuit of them that they were arrested by the police and sent to the House of Correction for six months, which is the penalty for stealing one dog, yet "Ginger" and "Carrots" had, in their career, stolen thousands of unsuspecting yelpers from their owners.

In one year 60 dogs were reported lost, 606 stolen, 38 persons were charged with dog stealing, 18 of whom were convicted, and 20 discharged.

It is a fact worth noting, that, excepting in rare cases, the dog stealers do not affiliate with or frequent the company of house-breakers, or thieves of any other class. Dog stealing among professionals is looked upon as a noble science, and deserving of long and arduous practice.

On wet days, when pedestrians may be forced by the suddenness of the rain gusts to seek refuge in some arcade or colonade, like those in Piccadilly or the Regents' Quadrant, it is then that the dog fancier suddenly emerges from his hibernation, and knowing that he will have the attention of a group of people who are without occupation while in shelter, he may be certain to dispose of his dogs to advantage. It is upon old and timid ladies that these dog venders are sure to practice their tricks.

Let an old maid but look longingly at some hairy poodle or woolly King Charles,—then woe be to her if she attempt to escape without buying.

"Wot," said one heartless villain of a dog fancier to a spinster wearing gold spectacles, who was trying to make her escape from his alarming language, as he stood in the Strand with a pet poodle in his arms, "does ye keep me 'ere a torkin for three blessed hours and then ye goes hoff without buying this beutifool dorg as is dirt cheap at twenty pounds and I hoffers it to ye for five sovs. I say, do take it with ye and make a muff of hit, the precious dear. All ye have to do is to get its[Pg 397] legs and tail cut off, and get its insides scooped out, and ye'll have a splendid muff. Wot, ye won't buy, hey? Pir-leece, Pir-leece," and the fellow began to scream for the police as if the poor frightened old maid had intended to rob him.


Bird-Sellers frequent the New Cut, Lambeth, Bermondsey, Whitechapel, Billingsgate, and Smithfield, as well as the different streets of Southwark and Blackfriars.

There are hundreds of these bird-sellers to be found hawking their birds all over the city. They are shrewd, speculative men, and can tell a bird's age and power of singing almost at a glance.

The smallest cage costs sixpence, and a thrush and cage of a common kind is valued at 2s. 6d. A canary that sings well may fetch about 3s. The hens or female birds do not have a large sale, and the trade in pigeons is decreasing, owing to the emigration of many of the Spitalfield weavers, who had a great love for pigeons and were the principal breeders of that bird in England.

The poorer the family, the more likely that a bird will be found in the house; and stable boys, laborers, and the humbler class of artisans, are in the habit of keeping birds in their dwellings.

It is also curious to notice the love formed by women who lead an abandoned life, for all kinds of birds, chiefly, however, for those that will sing. I noticed, in making a tour of inspection with the police among the Slums of the Haymarket, that nearly every woman of foreign extraction and of dissolute life had a linnet, canary, or blackbird, in her room. Frenchwomen of this class are very fond of canaries. Poor, lonely, forsaken wretches, it is the instinct of deprived maternity which demands that they should have something to love and make a pet of.

Sailors, who have returned from long voyages, will stop in the street when they see a bird-seller's stand, look at it for a moment with open mouth, and taking out a handful of silver, will give the bird-fancier any price he chooses to ask for a sweet singing bird. The bird will serve as a gift to some female[Pg 398] relative, a wife, or as, in many cases, some woman of the town will receive the cage and its occupant as a gift from the drunken Jack-Tar.

About five thousand parrots are imported and sold annually in London. They are chiefly brought from Africa, and a fine parrot will bring as high as a pound. Quite a number of these birds die on the homeward voyage, and this makes the price of parrots very high. Birds' nests are also sold in the streets by Italian and Savoyard boys in great numbers.

Squirrels, rabbits, and gold and silver fish may be also found for sale in the streets, the latter being bought to keep in glass globes as ornaments.

At every railroad station, in and outside of London, a person can be weighed for a penny. A man named Read has at least one hundred weighing chairs, which he rents out to men and boys at a certain rate of the gross receipts. On the different bridges cripples and retired soldiers may be found with brass instruments for testing the lungs and power of a man's arms, and also machines are to be found in front of well-known public houses, and in the parks and squares, for measuring the height of pedestrians.

There was one old fellow with whom I became acquainted, who kept a measuring and a weighing machine.

His station was on the Middlesex side of the Waterloo Bridge. He told me that he had been a pot-boy in a cheap eating house for five years, and then was a helper in a gentleman's stable for six years. One of his arms was rendered useless from an attack of paralysis, and finding that he could not any longer work as a helper, he borrowed enough money to purchase the weighing and measuring machines.

Having some curiosity to know the average weight and height of his many customers, I made a bargain with him, as he could read and write, to keep a record of his experience for three days of the physique of those who patronized his machines.

His patrons were chiefly laboring men on the new Thames Embankment, boatmen plying on the river, clerks going and coming to their business over Waterloo Bridge, and soldiers.

[Pg 399]


His largest income was on Saturday nights, when the laboring people were flush of copper pennies, and as nearly every third man was sure to be drunk going over the bridge on Saturday night, he was certain to reap a good harvest from their generous pockets.

In three days he had weighed one hundred and thirty-two persons of the male sex, and eight women. The average weight of each person I found was, including the women, one hundred and fifty-five pounds. The number of persons measured for their height was sixty-four, and the average tallness of each person, among which number was only one female, was five feet eight inches. The soldiers were of course the tallest. These figures speak well for the London Cockneys. One of the women, a cook, measured six feet, and weighed one hundred and ninety-eight lbs. I gave the venerable statistician a shilling and bade him good-bye, but not before I had received his blessing in fervent tones.



The consumption of coke purchased from the various gas houses of the city by peddlers and hawkers is enormous.

There are about two thousand persons concerned in this street trade, one hundred of whom are women, and the aggregate includes boys. The various gas companies realize a yearly sum equal to six million of dollars from the sale of the coke. The peddlers distribute the coke to their customers in large vans, wheel[Pg 400]barrows, donkey carts, hand carts, and some of these strong limbed, broad chested fellows, carry the coke from door to door in large sacks. A few of the women own routes, and hire boys or men to sell the coke, giving them eight to twelve shillings a week, according to their merits and enterprise as hawkers. Coke is bought by these hawkers at the gas houses at from three to four pence per bushel, and is sold by them again at eight pence per bushel.

In giving the rates which I will have occasion to quote from time to time in this work, I shall generally give the prices in British money.

Salt is also vended in carts and wheelbarrows like coke, and some of the peddlers of that much desired article for seasoning and preserving food, sell in one day as much as five hundred pounds. The wholesale price to the hawkers is about 2s. 6d. per hundred pounds, and it is sold by them to the poor people in thickly populated districts, at a penny a pound, or sometimes cheaper.

Sand is sold in large quantities to the keepers of publics and small shops, and to those keeping stalls in the old markets, at twenty shillings a load, and the sand peddlers pay a license of two pounds per annum. In fact all the London peddlers pay a tax or license of some kind or another.

One of the strangest sights in London is the "Bum Boat" of a "Purl," or warm beer seller, who may be found now and then of a dark foggy day plying his vocation on the Thames.

Formerly there were hundreds of these beer peddlers upon the river, but I believe that there are but a few, perhaps not more than five or six, who still follow this occupation.

One day while pulling around the shipping below London bridge in a small boat, I came across one of the "Bum Boat" men, who might, I believe, be taken as a very fair specimen of his class, or calling, once numerous, but now only a scattered remnant of their former numbers.


This fellow, a sun-browned-looking man of thirty years of age or thereabout, was impelling a craft, a strongly constructed, broad bottomed barge or yawl, in and out among the smoky[Pg 401] looking coal barges, fish and oyster craft and coasting steamers. He wore a dark blue guernsey shirt and a yellow oil-skin jacket, with heavy water boots which encased his large legs from the knees downward. An immense "Sou'-wester" shaded his broad face, and he was trying to drive the fog away by smoking a dreadful black clay pipe.

At the stern of the boat was a rough canvas awning, and under this the "Purl" man told me that he slept for weeks and months, while his boat lay at anchorage in some of the nooks of the busy river.



He seldom or ever went ashore, excepting when necessity compelled him to debark for the purpose of laying in beer and other stock for his customers.

In the bottom of the boat were heaps of fresh onions, a bag of potatoes, a couple of bushels of Swedish turnips, parsnips, carrots, some packages of tea and coffee in small square brown parcels, tied with white string, a tin box full of mutton[Pg 402] chops and beef steaks, cut ready for sale, and other articles of food that would be most relished by seafaring men on their return from a voyage.

There were also in the boat a small patent sheet-iron furnace, two little casks of beer, each containing about four gallons of that beverage, a can with a gallon of gin of the cheap and fiery brand, and two tin pannikins in which he warmed the beer, or "Purl," as it is called, upon the small sheet-iron stove. This he sold hot to the sailors, oystermen, and coal bargees, at four pence a pint. It was most wonderful to see the dexterous manner in which this Bum Boat man passed in and out between the numerous craft, paddling and ringing a hand bell the while, without any collision or trouble, and then to hear through the fog, the answering cries from the sailors who recognized his welcome bell:

"Boat ahoy!"

"Bell ah-o-o-y!"

"P-i-n-t o' P-u-r-l a-h-o-o-y!"

Then for an instant the bell would cease, and the dark shapes of the "Bum Boat" and its proprietor would be seen, as the latter stood up to reach a noggin of gin to a bargee, or a pewter pint of foaming hot "Purl" to some thirsty soul of a tar just arrived from Greenwich, Glasgow, or Cork.

The "Bum Boat" man is one of the most picturesque sights of that most picturesque of cities, London. The few who still ply their avocation on the river, are in pretty comfortable circumstances, and their lives are as happy as can be imagined, much more so, I have no doubt, than they were when there were hundreds of them paddling about the river and impoverishing themselves by a ruinous competition.


I have often noticed miserable, wan, and half naked looking little children, in and around the Regent's Circus, and in the neighborhood of the Cafés and Pall Mall, with small bags made from the material used in potato sacks, collecting cigar ends and crusts of bread from ash heaps and dust bins. Wondering what use could be made of these disgusting fragments, I one day accosted a lad of twelve years or thereabouts, who[Pg 403] was busily engaged in searching a dust bin near Simpson's Tavern in the Strand, which is a resort for fashionable diners out.

I said to him, after giving him a penny, which will always unclose the lips of the sauciest London street boy:

"Child, why do you collect these fragments of crusts and cigar ends?"

"Mister," said the half frightened child, who took me at the first glance for a detective in plain clothes—and by the way, it seems as if every poorly clad and hungry man and woman in London were suspicious of the police, for the reason that they are poorly clad, and for that reason alone—



"Mister," said the hungry child, whose face was prematurely aged, "I aint doing nothink; I was only grabbing the crusts for porridge."

"For porridge,—how do you make the porridge, my lad?"

"My mother—she is down in Milbank street, and has got the small pox, but before she was sick she used to bile the crusts in hot water and put a pennorth o' oat meal in the pot. She borrowed the pot from Mrs. Clarke, she did."

"Who makes the porridge now, boy," said I to him.

"A gal—me big sister Mag—she makes ladies' shoes for a shop, and wacks me when she's mad and I aint got no money for gin. I likes porridge, and Mag she makes it so preshis 'ot. My name's Dick."

[Pg 404]

"Well, Dick, how do you get the 'pennorth' of oat meal for the porridge?"

"I gets it for cigar stumps. I finds a lot on 'em and sells 'em, and I gets ten browns for a pound on 'em. The tibbaccy man buys 'em, but he wont buy the short ones, cause he says they are all wet and the tibbaccy is all gone from them. I makes tuppence a day sometimes."

There are, I am told, fifty or sixty persons, men and boys, some of whom are Irish, engaged in this branch of the Street Finders' vocation.

It would be tedious to give an account of all the different branches of street selling and buying in London. Their number is legion, and it would be the work of weeks to merely recapitulate all the strange ways and means whereby wretchedness exists in the heart of surrounding splendor, and what would seem to be, but is not—an all-pervading charity.

But I cannot close this chapter without glancing at the street performers—street "Peep" Shows, Reciters, Showmen, Strong Men, Dancing boys and men, Tom Tom players, Street Clowns and Acrobats, Bagpipe players, Negro Serenaders, Street Bands, Punch and Judy shows, and other street folk, who are almost if not as numerous as the hawkers and collectors.

There is to be seen on Saturday nights, in the vicinity of Farringdon and the old London markets, now and then a stray Peep Show man, who frequents the most crowded districts, where the poorer people have money to spend. These Peep Shows are conveyed through the streets on a low four wheeled wagon, sometimes by the performer or proprietor in person, at other times by a donkey. Donkeys cost from two to five pounds in London, according to their breed and tractability.

On the wagon a square box is generally placed, having a large glass front, which is covered with green baize or a dirty velvet curtain.



This screen conceals the automaton figures that are set in motion by the man in charge. Sometimes there is a hurdy gurdy, or hand organ, attached, and while the exhibitor turns[Pg 405] a crank to allow the spectators to look at the revolving pictures of the "Capture of the Malakoff," the "Death of Nelson," "Napoleon at Waterloo," or some other historic picture, the hurdy gurdy will play "Old Dog Tray," "The Lancashire Lass," or some other popular ditty. Representations of the most horrible murders, or executions of well known criminals, are much relished by the London mobs, and are well patronized. One of these men told me that he was accustomed to take three and four shillings on Saturday nights in Farringdon market or the[Pg 406] New Cut, while during the week he might not make four shillings altogether.


Street acrobats, or posturers, are often met with in London. They are to be found usually in streets which have one end closed, or near the river. Thus the traffic is not impeded, owing to the absence of vehicles; and a street like those which run off the Strand toward the river will be quiet as the grave all day long until near the dusk, when all at once, as if by magic, a curious crowd of men, women, and children will collect around a man and boy or boys, who will in the most business like fashion proceed to divest themselves of their outward clothing, which of course is of a rather shabby kind, and in a few moments they will appear in all the glory of flesh-colored tights, just as they may be seen standing in the sawdust of a circus arena. Their foreheads are glorious with silver tinsel or silk ribbon fillets, their loins girt with strips of velvet, and their whole rig of a theatrical character. Some of the children are really handsome, and most exquisitely shaped, the results of athletic exercise and free fresh air. But the men, poor devils, have all of them a haggard, worn, fretful look, with hollowed cheek and straggling gray hair.

Having placed a piece of carpet, rather threadbare in appearance, in the middle of the street, after selecting the cleanest spot for it, these fellows (who are soon in the centre of a ring of people, from whom coppers are collected while the acrobats are bounding in air), go to work, and for half an hour will amaze, delight, edify, and instruct the grown children, larking street boys, and nursery maids of the neighborhood, and having collected perhaps ten pence or a shilling, they will gather up the carpet, don their sober, shabby garments, and find another quarter to do their trapeze, pyramid, and dancing feats.

Nearly all these street acrobats are bruised, or are in some way injured, and many die young from falls.

Occasionally they will disappear from the crowded London streets, in search of a scanty existence in some miserable provincial barn of a theatre or music hall, and years may perhaps elapse before their pinched cheeks and hungry eyes[Pg 407] will again be encountered in the shabby chop houses and dark, lanes of London. Six shillings a week is as much as these poor wanderers, soiled by the glare of tallow candles in crazy barns and sheds, can expect to make in the provincial towns and villages. Therefore London, with all its misery, is very dear to them, for with much less toil and labor they can realize twelve to fifteen shillings per week in the Capital.


But the great and lasting attraction among the multifarious street scenes of London, is the Punch and Judy show, the delight of joyous children, of the rich and poor, whether in Belgravia or St. Giles. And indeed, Punch and Judy shows reap more profit in a poor and squalid district than they will in the aristocratic quarters.



It is rarely that the police will disturb these street shows, unless that householders should prefer a complaint that they were annoyed, and then of course they are driven away. I have myself looked and listened for many an hour to these absurdly humorous shows, to Punch and Judy, the Dog, the Clown, and some negro characters selected for the exhibition. Usually there is a man, his wife, and a boy to collect the pennies thrown from windows or given by the crowd which assembles to witness the performance.

The man plays the pipes, fastened at his breast, and the drum with his elbow; and the woman keeps the figures in mo[Pg 408]tion on the miniature stage, the back of which is hidden by a green curtain or tent, placed in the cart. Behind this screen the woman conceals herself and talks for the little automaton figures. There is a set dialogue in which the figures are supposed to converse, and as it is seldom changed, I give the following portion of a comedy of conversation, as that chiefly used for many years by the London Punch and Judy shows:

Enter Judy.

Punch. What a sweet creature! what a handsome nose and chin! (He pats Judy on the face lovingly.)

Judy. Keep quiet, do! (Slapping him wickedly.)

Punch. Don't be cross, my ducky, but give me a kiss.

Judy. Oh, to be sure, my love. (They embrace and kiss.)

Punch. Bless your sweet lips. (Hugging her.) These are melting moments. I'm very fond of my wife, I must have a dance.

Judy. Agreed. (Dancing.)

Punch. Get out of the way, you don't dance well enough for me. (Hits her on the nose.) Go and fetch the baby, and mind and take care of it and not hurt it. (Judy goes off.)

Judy. (Coming back with the baby.)

Take care of the baby while I go and cook the dumplings.

Punch. (Striking Judy with his hand.) Get out of the way! I'll take care of the baby (and Judy goes out).

Punch. (Sits down and sings to the baby.)

"Hush a-bye baby on the tree top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock;
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall,
Down comes the baby, cradle and all."

(The baby cries and Punch throws it up and down violently.)

Punch. What a cross child! I can't abear cross children. (Shakes the baby and pretends that he is about to kill it, and finally throws it out of the window.)

Enter Judy.

Judy. Where is the baby?

[Pg 409]


Punch. (In a lemoncholy tone.) I have had a misfortune; the child was so terrible cross I throwed it out of the window, I did. (Lamentation of Judy for her dear child. She goes into asterisks, and then excites and fetches a cudgel, and commences beating Punch over the head.)

Punch. Don't be cross, my dear, I didn't go to do it.

Judy. I'll pay yer for a throwin' the child out of the winder. (She keeps a beatin him on the blessed head with the stick, but Punch snatches the stick away, and commences a smashin of her blessed head.)

Judy. (Screaming like hanythink.) I'll go to the Constable and have you locked up.

Punch. Go to the devil. I don't care where you go. Get out of the way. (Judy goes hoff, and Punch sings, "Par Excellence," or, "Ten Little Indians." N.B. All before is sentimental, but this here's comic. Punch goes through his roo-too-to-rooey, and in comes the Beadle hall in red.)

Then the "Clown" and "Jim Crow," the "Doctor," "Jack Ketch," the hangman, with various characters, follow each other in quick succession and enact their absurdities to the intense delight of the "juveniles," as the showman, in his printed book of the play calls the children. Punch is tried and convicted of murder, and being sentenced to death, is finally hung by Jack Ketch, at Newgate, as a punishment for his crimes, and is then placed in a coffin and given to be dissected.

All through these performances I have frequently noticed that the child spectators sympathized with Punch,—who is certainly a most notorious criminal if we are to judge by his actions on the stage of the Punch and Judy show,—and they always applauded when the Beadle got the worst of the fight.

It is a strange instinct, that which rises and glows in the breast of a child,—this resistance to the spirit or personification of authority.

The same instinct in the full-grown man, draws a mob of ragged blouses after a Rochefort, in the streets of Paris, and builds barricades from which they fire upon the hireling soldiery of a Bonaparte.

[Pg 410]



N Great Russell street, Bloomsbury square, is the British Museum, one of the chief glories of the English metropolis, and an institution of which every Londoner is deservedly proud. There is, perhaps, no finer collection of curiosities and antiquities, and the nation has been for a century gathering the tributes of Science, Art, and Antiquity together in this vast building, which covers, with grounds and outbuildings, an area of seven acres.

The first purchase for the collection was made in 1750, when Sir Hans Sloane, a great collector and scientific man, died, leaving a will, in which he suggested that his collection which cost him £50,000 should be bought by Parliament for £20,000. This offer was accepted, and an act was passed purchasing Sir Hans Sloane's "library of books, drawings, manuscripts, prints, medals, seals, cameos, and intaglios, precious stones, agates, jaspers, vessels of agate, crystals, mathematical instruments, pictures, &c." Thus was laid the first foundation of the now world famous British Museum. By the same act a purchase was made of the Harleian Library of about 7,000 rare volumes of rolls, charters, and manuscripts, to which were added the Cottonian Library, and the library of Major Arthur Edwards. A lottery was devised, from which £100,000 was realized, and the collections were paid for from this fund, as well as the sum of £10,250 which was paid to Lord Halifax for Montague House, in which the museum was then located, and on which[Pg 411] site the present building has been erected. The additional sum of £12,873 was paid for the repairs of Montague House, and a fund was also set apart for its taxes, salaries of officers, and Trustees, who were chosen from the best and noblest in the land, and in 1759 the Museum was opened to the public.


The present lofty and imposing building was thirty years in construction, although the Museum was all that time open to the public, the building being erected piecemeal. The main buildings form a quadrangle with spacious and lofty galleries and courts. The entrances to the buildings are by magnificent staircases of stone, and the portico is adorned with giant figures and groups of sculpture.

Even in the old Egyptian days, no greater masses of stone were ever used than those which have been placed in the grand flight of steps of the main facade. There are twelve stone steps, 120 feet in width, terminating with pedestals, on which are the groups of sculpture. There are 800 huge stones in the edifice, weighing from five to nine tons each.

In the pediment, on the main front, are typified in storied stone, Man, Religion, Paganism, Music, the Drama, Poetry, the Patriarchs, Civilization, Science, Mathematics, and other allegorical figures. The entire buildings have cost upward of £1,000,000. The principal doorway is really majestic, being twenty-four feet high and ten feet wide.

The Reading-Room of the Library contains 1,250,000 cubic feet of space, the dome being 140 feet in diameter and 106 feet high. In this vast room an echo is heard like the sound of a trumpet, and on its shelves, and in contiguous alcoves, are 800,000 volumes of books upon every known subject and in every known language. This room cost £150,000. 4,200 tons of iron were used in the construction of the dome alone. There is accommodation for 300 readers, each person having a desk and table in a space of four feet three inches.

There is a great silence in this vast room where every one seems bent on study. The very doorkeepers who take your hat and umbrella, have a studious look. Every visitor presents[Pg 412] his ticket of admission, and is registered for the benefit of the statistics of the Kingdom. Scores of men who have a taste for literature and reading, and no money to buy books, come here, and, during lunch-hours, those who are anxious to study, and do not wish to leave their seats, may be seen taking from under their tables light luncheons, kidney-pies, and sandwiches, of which they partake with that peculiar shamefacedness which is always observable in people who eat in public places.

There is a member of Parliament in his natty suit, and with a heavy watch-chain, who has gotten him down an old rusty tome, from which he is cramming with great earnestness for the next debate. Last night he had never heard of the subject of which he is reading, and just now he is full of it, and so puzzled with the wealth of the material before him that he does not know at which end to begin.

There is an old gentleman, in threadbare clothes, and worn cuffs, who has a very mild and placid face, and blue bulbous eyes. The table before him is strewn with old, worn volumes, bound with parchment and sheep-skin covers, and every time he turns a leaf a cloud of powdered dust ascends to his nostrils, and he is nearly suffocated. It is easy to see from this man's soft and fixed look that he is a monomaniac upon some subject, and that he is now settled for the day. Ah! what a sigh of relief from the old codger. He has, after great trouble, secured in his mind the point in dispute, and now he is at work rapidly scratching away at his notes. Looking over his shoulder I can see that the old fellow has a number of works on the subject of Heraldry before him, and he is, of course, tracing some mystic pedigree to the Flood, or further back, perhaps for the satisfaction of a butcher or tailor who may be in want of an escutcheon and a bar sinister in his shield.

In 1827, Sir Joseph Banks presented his botanical collection, and 66,000 valuable volumes. In 1837, the Prints and Drawings, the Geology and Zoology departments were formed, and in 1857, the Department of Mineralogy. The Museum is divided into departments of Printed Books, Manuscripts, An[Pg 413]tiquities, Art, Botany, Prints, and Drawings, Zoology, Paleontology, Mineralogy, and Sculpture, each under the charge of an "Under-Librarian."


There are five Zoological galleries or saloons, embracing everything in the schedule of serpents, monkeys, lizards, tortoises, crocodiles, toads, antelopes, rhinoceri, elephants, and hippopotami, giraffes, buffaloes, oxen, lions, tigers, bears, otters, kangaroos, apes, squirrels, whales, sharks, porpoises, and all kinds of fish and mollusca.

There is also a gallery of Fossils, Zoological and Geological, and a Gallery of Minerals. In these galleries are eight saloons. Then follow the Departments of Botany, and the Department of Antiquities, containing vases, terra cottas, bronzes, coins, and medals. There are also three saloons of Anglo-Roman Antiquities, of Roman Iconography, three Greco-Roman saloons, the Greco-Roman Basement Room, the Lyceum Gallery, and the Elgin Rooms, in which are the splendid marbles collected by Lord Elgin at Athens, and which were bought for £35,000 by Parliament.

There are also the Hellenic Galleries of Marbles, the second Elgin Room, the Assyrian Galleries, 300 feet in length, and thirty other galleries, and innumerable saloons crowded with the most wonderful and valuable objects of art and science.

There is a Newspaper Saloon with the finest collection of newspapers in England. The catalogues of the libraries and collections of the Museum alone amount to 620 volumes. The collections are valued at £15,000,000. By act of Parliament, a copy of every book, pamphlet, sheet of letter-press, sheet of music, chart, plan or map, issued in Queen Victoria's dominions must be delivered to the British Museum. There are three libraries in the Museum: the King's Library, presented by George IV, consisting of 80,000 volumes; the Greenville Library, 21,000 volumes; and the General Library of 730,000 volumes, and which is inferior only to those of Munich and Paris.

Magna Charta, if not the original, a copy made when King John's seal was affixed to it, was acquired by the British Mu[Pg 414]seum with the Cottonian Library. It was nearly destroyed in the fire of Westminster in 1731; the parchment is much shriveled and mutilated, and the seal is reduced to an almost shapeless mass of wax. The MS. was carefully lined and mounted; and in 1733 an excellent fac-simile of it was published by John Pine, surrounded by inaccurate representations of the armorial ensigns of the twenty-five barons appointed as securities for the due performance of Magna Charta.

An impression of this fac-simile, printed on vellum, with the arms carved and gilded, is placed opposite the Cottonian original of the Great Charter, which is now secured under glass. It is about two feet square, is written in Latin, and is quite illegible. It is traditionally stated to have been bought for four-pence, by Sir Robert Cotton, of a tailor, who was about to cut up the parchment into measures! But this anecdote, if true, may refer to another copy of the Charter preserved at the British Museum, in a portfolio of royal and ecclesiastical instruments, marked Augustus II, art. 106; and the original Charter is believed to have been presented to Sir Robert Cotton by Sir Edward Dering, Lieut.-Governor of Dover Castle; and to be that referred to in a letter dated May 10, 1630, extant in the Museum Library, in the volume of Correspondence, Julius C. III. fol. 191.

In the Museum, also, is the original Bull, in Latin, of Pope Innocent III, receiving the kingdoms of England and Ireland under his protection, and granting them in fee to King John and his successors, dated 1214, and reciting King John's charter of fealty to the Church of Rome, dated 1213. Also, the original Bull, in Latin, of Pope Leo X, conferring the title of Defender of the Faith upon Henry VIII.


The Reading Room is open every day, except on Sundays, on Ash Wednesdays, Good Fridays, Christmas-day, and on any Fast or Thanksgiving days ordered by authority; except also between the 1st and 7th of May, the 1st and 7th of September, and the 1st and 7th of January, inclusive. The hours are from 9 till 7 during May, June, July, and August (except on Saturdays, at 5), and from 9 till 4 during the rest of the year. To[Pg 415] obtain admission, persons are to send their applications in writing, specifying their Christian and surnames, rank or profession, and places of abode, to the principal Librarian; or, in his absence, to the Secretary; or, in his absence, to the senior Under-Librarian; who will either immediately admit such persons, or lay their applications before the next meeting of the Trustees.

Every person applying is to produce a recommendation satisfactory to a Trustee or an officer of the establishment. Applications defective in this respect will not be attended to. Permission will in general be granted for six months, and at the expiration of this term fresh application is to be made for a renewal. The tickets given to readers are not transferable, and no person can be admitted without a ticket. Persons under eighteen years of age are not admissible.

The Reader having ascertained from the Catalogue the book he requires, transcribes literally into a printed form the press-mark, title of the work wanted, size, place, and date, and signs the same. Readers, before leaving the room, are to return the books or MSS. they have received to an attendant, and are to obtain the corresponding ticket, the reader being responsible for such books or MSS. so long as the ticket remains uncanceled. Readers are allowed to make one or more extracts from any printed book or MS.; but no whole or greater part of a MS. is to be transcribed without a particular permission from the Trustees. The transcribers are not to lay the papers on which they write on any part of the book or MS. they are using, nor are any tracings allowed without special leave of the Trustees. No person is, on any pretence whatever, to write on any part of a printed book or MS. belonging to the Museum.

The persons whose recommendations are accepted are Peers of the Realm, Members of Parliament, Judges, Queen's Counsel, Masters in Chancery or any of the great law-officers of the Crown, any one of the forty-eight Trustees of the British Museum, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, rectors of parishes in the metropolis, principals or heads of colleges, emi[Pg 416]nent physicians and surgeons, and Royal Academicians, or any gentleman in superior position to an ordinary clerk in any of the public offices.

Some idea of the magnitude of this great Museum may be formed when I state that the clerical and literary force connected with the institution is larger than that of any similar foundation in Europe but one—the Imperial Library at Paris.

There is first a Principal Librarian, a Secretary, fifteen keepers of departments, beside a little army of attendants, messengers, bookbinders, watchmen, and doorkeepers, numbering over one hundred persons. Beside there are fifty or sixty persons of literary eminence and celebrity connected with the Museum, and employed to perfect the collection, to collate and arrange the books and to classify subjects. In this way alone the expenses of the establishment amount to £40,000 yearly.

The average number of visitors to the Museum yearly is over one million, and the galleries are entirely free to the public.



Next to the British Museum, the most frequented place in London is the National Gallery of Art, in Trafalgar Square, facing Nelson's Monument. This lofty monument fills the eye of the spectator as it takes in the range of one of the finest squares in Europe. The column is a circular one, 145 feet high, and the figure of the great naval hero, Nelson, on the top, is 17 feet high. The monument was built in 1840-43, and is placed on an elevated pedestal of granite. The Emperor Nicholas of Russia gave £500 toward the erection of the monument, and the rest was raised by public subscription. The two immense lions of bronze who lie couchant[Pg 417] at the base of the monument, were modeled in iron from visits made by Sir Edwin Landseer to the live lions at the Zoological Gardens.


There are also statues of Sir Henry Havelock and of Sir Charles Napier, on each side of the inclosure which fronts the Nelson column, twelve feet high and of bronze, and just below in an angle of the square is a bronze statue of George IV, which cost £10,000. These three statues, which are all equestrian, were paid for by public subscription.

On one side of the square is the church of St. Martin, an imposing looking building, built by Wren, and on the lofty steps of this church the crossing sweepers and bootblacks of the Metropolis have their daily rendezvous, and here divide their earnings with each other.

The National Gallery is, therefore, in a most commanding site, and from its broad steps a very fine view can be obtained of the Strand, Charing Cross, Parliament Street, and the Houses of Parliament.

The edifice was finished in 1838, and is 461 feet in length, and its greatest width across the saloons of painting is 56 feet. The stones were taken to construct it entirely from the King's Stables or Mews, and the building has a peculiarly sombre and solid effect. In it are a range of spacious galleries, whose walls are covered with the greatest works of the old masters and modern painters. It is the chief collection of paintings in the British Islands, and the number of subjects amount to 1,600. The number of pictures in the National Gallery, as compared with the number in the Continental galleries, is as follows: National Gallery, 1,600; Dresden Gallery, 2,000; Madrid, 1,833; Louvre, 2,500; Vienna, 1,500; The Vatican, 37; the Capitol, Rome, 250; Bologna, 280; Milan, 503; Turin, 563; Venice, 688; Naples, 700; Frankfort, 380; Berlin, 1,350; Munich, 1,300; Florence, 1,200; Pitti Palace, 500; Amsterdam, 386; Hague, 304; Brussels, 400; and Versailles, 4,000.

The pictures in the National Gallery are divided into the British and Foreign Schools. Of the British School there are[Pg 418] 795 paintings of various artists, and of various degrees of merit, in which the names of every English painter of consequence is included by his works.

The chief collection in this division is that of Turner, the great colorist, and here are exhibited in a saloon by themselves the finest specimens of that great painter's works, in all numbering over one hundred subjects, which, together with a large collection of drawings and water colors, he bequeathed to the English people.

The Foreign School is sub-divided into the Italian, Spanish, Flemish, and French Schools, and these schools embrace 797 fine pictures, in which the old masters chiefly predominate. Three of Corregio's pictures in this gallery cost £15,000, and the latest acquisition is a Michael Angelo valued at £30,000.

The Gallery is open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays; and on Thursdays and Fridays to students only. It is open from Ten to Five from October until April 30, inclusive; and from Ten to Six from April until the middle of September. It is wholly closed during the month of October.

Daily this free gallery of art is thrown open to the working people who enjoy the paintings, excepting on the days specified. There is no charge whatever excepting for catalogues of the British and Foreign Schools, which cost a shilling each.

The question of opening the Galleries on Sunday has been much agitated of late, but I question if the British public, particularly the working or artisan class, care much for paintings. The lower classes of Englishmen are not, as a rule, very esthetical in their views or ideas, and I think the British masses are best calculated to shine at a cattle-show. There is nothing in this world so capable of striking an average Englishman's fancy as a huge ox or a mountain of moving beef.

Corregio's master pieces, Turner's flaming colors, or Claude's landscapes do not move him at all; but take him to a cattle-show, and behold he is all life and animation, and give him a[Pg 419] pot of beer in his red fist, and he becomes positively witty, and capable of conversation.


One thing struck me as I wandered hour after hour through these galleries, and that was the total lack of education in the commonest rudiments of art, and the complete ignorance manifested in the remarks of the boors who gave the greatest works of their countrymen but a passing glance, and walked on in stupid stolidity. At Versailles or Florence, there was life, enthusiasm, and criticism of a very fair kind noticeable in the remarks of delight or disapproval which came from groups around a famous painting or a daub, but at the National Gallery the cattle-show and the pot of beer was still uppermost in all the looks and phrases of the spectators who used the place as a show room to pass an hour away.


[Pg 420]



O NE hundred and thirty years ago, infanticide and desertion of children, were twin crimes, very prevalent among English women of the humbler and lower classes. The dull, twaddling, gossip-monging newspapers of that day were often the vehicle through which the public ascertained that infants were found in dust-bins and dark alleys, and on dung-hills, there exposed by their miserable and heartless mothers to starvation and storm. Twenty or thirty children per week were exposed, in London, after this fashion, and the evil grew to such an extent that it served to awaken the benevolence of God-fearing men and women, and among those was one Capt. Coram, a seafaring man who, by his long and repeated voyages and wanderings over many lands and in many strange waters, had accumulated a large sum of money.

I fancy I can see that brave old fellow now in his closely buttoned-up tunic, his three-cornered mariner's hat set askew, his eyes beaming with kindness and compassion, picking his steps through the worst holes and quarters of Old London, the London of Queen Anne and of Bolingbroke, of conspiracies, of Hanoverian Successions, of Highwaymen and Newgate, and of all the faded memories of that olden time which enthrall sense and memory, when we try to recall that which we can only see as Macaulay saw it by the light of old newspaper scraps, chronicles, and by the memoirs and diaries, of the then insignificant but to-day useful people, like Evelyn and Pepys.


Who will not bless that noble old sailor, as I did, the May[Pg 421] evening I stood in the principal dormitory of the Foundling Hospital, in which were comfortably housed over fifty of the devoted lambs, sleeping with warm clothes covering their little bodies, and their infantile chirpings seeming like a chorus of angels, whose visits are alas—few but far between.



There was the row of cots, and the kind-hearted women attending to their wants, and when I gave one of them an orange, the little twelve-pounder seemed as glad as if it had descended from the loins of a Tudor or a Stuart, instead of being, as it was, both fatherless and motherless.

I can see him who was to be father of the first Foundling Hospital in England, losing his way purposely, night after night, among those dark and badly lighted and unpaved streets and lanes that fringed the Thames River in those days, and from which issued nightly shouts of murder and rapine, and the boisterous but less deadly revelry of bacchanalian seafaring men, in trunk hose and canvas tunics. I can see the link[Pg 422] boys with their smoky torches passing to and fro as in a fevered dream and the bearers of sedan chairs,—the porters shouting at the brave-hearted grim seaman, who turns his kindly old eyes aside from the flashing glance of beauty shot at him in dumb wonder by the damsel on her way to Vauxhall, Ranelagh, or a Rout, and Captain Coram the meanwhile chatting and bestowing pennies upon the beggar's offspring or forsaken child. His heart was large as the seas which he had sailed over, and his happiest moment was when he had rescued from the gutters and death some poor foundling who had been thrown on the world to make its way.

He had first embarked in the Newfoundland trade, and after some time spent in ploughing the waters between England and the Colonies, he set up at Taunton, Massachusetts, as a shipwright, where he prospered apace. Then we find him, after some years, in Boston, where, by his enterprise, the manufacture of tar was established in the then infant Colonies. Home to Old England again after thirty years of wandering, and on landing at Cuxhaven the brave old man was set upon by thieves and ruffians and plundered of all his earnings. Then the Government, in 1732, appoints him as a trustee for the settlement of Georgia, and subsequently he is engaged in the colonization of Nova Scotia. Finally he came home to project and carry out the idea of his life, which was the establishment of a Foundling Hospital in London.

Never was there a more indefatigable or tireless philanthropist than this bluff old sailor. Insult, contumely, and humiliation he cheerfully underwent to carry out his cherished plan.

One cold, stinging, December day, in the year 1737, Thomas Coram,—who had been advised that the Princess Amelia was a charitable and well disposed lady, and would be, perhaps, favorable to an application for the scheme he had in view—started for St. James' Palace, the then residence of royalty—with his three-cornered hat well planted upon his head, and his coat buttoned up, and offered a petition for the formation of a foundling hospital through Lady Isabella Finch, the lady of the Bed Chamber in waiting, who turned upon Coram when he presented[Pg 423] her the paper, like a vixen, and bade him begone with cutting words and sneers. The poor old fellow, with rage in his heart, strode from the doors of royalty and never troubled the Princess Amelia again.


Finally, George II became interested so far as to give a charter on the application of John, Duke of Bedford, the Master of the Rolls, the Chief Justice, the Chief Baron, the Speaker of the Commons, and the Solicitor and Attorney's General. Hogarth, who also became deeply interested in the charity, and ever afterward continued its benefactor, painted a shield for the Hospital, and on the 26th of October, 1740, the old house in Hatton Garden was thrown open to nameless and homeless children.

The charter was signed by twenty-one ladies, of birth and distinction, and stated that "no expedient has been found out for preventing the frequent murders of poor infants at their birth, or of suppressing the custom of exposing them to perish in the streets, or putting them out to nurses, who, undertaking to bring them up for small sums, suffered them to starve, or, if permitted to live, either turned them out to beg or steal, or hired them out to persons by whom they were trained up in that way of living, and sometimes blinded or maimed, in order to move pity, and thereby become fitter instruments of gain to their employers. In order to redress this shameful grievance, the memorialists express their willingness to erect and support a hospital for all helpless children as may be brought to it, 'in order that they may be made good servants, or, when qualified, be disposed of to the sea or land service of His Majesty the King.'"

The children who are maintained by this charity are admitted on application of their mothers only, whose application to the governors must take place within twelve months of the birth of the child.

The petition is read to the governors assembled in committee; and the petitioner is called in and examined as to her allegations; and then the steward of the hospital (with the petitioner's permission) is instructed to make secret inquiries as to the truth of the case. If the admission be ordered, it takes[Pg 424] place on the Saturday fortnight after the order (a small weekly allowance being made in the interim, if necessary, to the mother), when the child is examined by the apothecary, and if found perfect in eyes, limbs, and health, is received into the Institution. Its mother is presented with a certificate of its reception—with a certain letter on the margin, by which her infant pledge may be subsequently identified if necessary; but in all probability she never sees the child again.

It has a particular number assigned to it, which is sewn to its clothes, and becomes a property and chattel of the hospital. It is at once sent to the matron's room, and delivered to a wet-nurse previously engaged; and on the following day, being Sunday, it is baptised in the chapel of the institution—some common name, such as Smith or Jones, being given to it out of a list approved by the committee. On the same night, or following day, it is sent with its nurse into the country, who carries it to her own residence—she being generally the wife of some agricultural laborer—and reared there, under the occasional supervision of inspectors, for five years, when it returns to town for its education at the hospital. The number attached to its clothes remains so attached thoughout that time. At fourteen, the boys, at fifteen, the girls, are apprenticed, but still looked after by inspectors from the hospital until they are twenty-one years of age, when they are supposed to be able to take care of themselves. Deserving adults, however, are not lost sight of by the governors, and in case of incurable infirmities preventing apprenticeship, the Hospital does not desert its children to the end.

That the child be illegitimate is of course the most essential regulation, but an exception is made if the father be a soldier or sailor killed in the service of his country. Immediately after the battle of Waterloo, it was enacted that fifteen children of each sex should be forthwith admitted, the offspring of those who fell in that action; but to the honor of the soldiers' wives, it is recorded that only two mothers gave way to the temptation, and accepted the offer. No legitimate child has been admitted into the hospital for the last ten years.

[Pg 425]


The other conditions of admission are: that the petitioner shall not have applied for parish relief; that she shall have borne a good character previous to her misfortune; and that the father shall have bonâ fide deserted his offspring, and be not forthcoming. The child acquires stronger claims for admission, if, First: the petitioner has no relations able to maintain the child; Second: if her shame is known to few persons (the express wish of the founder being that she might, if possible, recover her lost position); and, Thirdly: that in the event of the child's being received, the petitioner has a prospect of obtaining an honest livelihood.

The manner of admission was originally based upon that pursued "in France, Holland, and other Christian countries," as the wording of the quaint old charter went. The applicant came in at the outward door, rung the bell at the inward door, and presented her child; no questions whatever were asked of her, nor did "any servant of the hospital presume to endeavor to discover who such person was, on pain of being dismissed." When the narrow limit of accommodation was reached, the notice, "The house is full," was affixed over the door.

In October, 1745, the western wing of the present building was opened; but so many more children were brought than the place could hold, that there were frequently a hundred women with children at the door, when only twenty could be admitted. The ballot was then resorted to: all the women were admitted into the court-room, and drew balls out of a bag; but it was still stipulated that if any desired to be concealed, the bag might be carried to them, or the matron was empowered to draw for them.

In 1754, the hospital authorities had six hundred children to support, the cost of which exceeded their income fourfold. They therefore appealed to Parliament, who voted them ten thousand pounds on the condition that all applicants under twelve months old should be received. This wholesale scheme of charity, which was largely assisted by more public grants, only lasted for four years. On the very first general reception-day, 117 infants were taken in, and 1,800 before the half-year[Pg 426] was out; while in the ensuing year 3,727 were admitted. The consequences are described to be lamentable. Immorality was greatly encouraged by the unlimited facility for thus disposing of its fruits, and the children themselves—though "the Foundling" had then branch establishments in many country places—could not be supported in such vast numbers.

Of the 15,000 children received in those four years, no less than 10,000 perished in their infancy. Parish officers, with local cunning, sent to the Foundling the legitimate children of paupers, in order to relieve their constituents; parents brought their own children, when dying, in order that the hospital should pay for their interment; and surgeons were even employed by parents to convey their children to this Alma Mater, at so so much per head, like pigs, or other cattle.

Parliament withdrew its grant from this formidable charity in 1759, although it humanely provided for the maintenance of all whom its too lavish charity had already admitted, and the branch country hospitals were discontinued. There were at that time 6,000 children in the institution under five years of age, and it was not until 1769, that by apprenticing all who were fit to be placed out, their number was reduced below 1,000. At the present time the yearly admissions average 32, and the total number maintained by the Hospital is 430.

As years sped by the spirit of the institution changed with its succeeding governors, and children were received without any inquiry, with whom a hundred pounds were paid down.

The Court Room of the Foundling Hospital has probably witnessed as painful scenes as any chamber in Great Britain, and though mothers may abandon their illicit offspring to the tender mercies of a public company, they cannot do it without great pain, and many an after pang of agony.


These scenes are renewed again when the children at five years of age are brought up to London from the places they have been farmed out like young goats, and they are then separated from their foster mothers. Even the foster fathers are sometimes greatly affected by the parting, while the grief of their wives is most excessive; and the children themselves so pine after[Pg 427] their supposed parents that they are humored by holidays and treats, for a day or two after their arrival, in order to mitigate the change.

Though infants received into the hospital are never again seen by their parents, save in peculiar cases, a kind of intercourse with them is still permitted. Mothers are allowed to come every Monday and ask after their children's health, but are allowed no further information. On an average about eight women a week avail themselves of this privilege, and there are some who come regularly every fortnight.

I was present in one of the rooms of the Foundling Hospital while a stout red faced matron was engaged in washing one of these dear little babes of misfortune, and it was indeed an affecting spectacle, to hear the little motherless waif cry and watch its infantile kickings and splurgings in the wash tub.



Even when application is made by mothers for the return of their child, it is frequently refused; when it is apprenticed, and no intercourse is permitted between them, unless master and mistress, as well as parent and child, approve of it; nor when it has attained maturity, unless the child as well as the mother demand it.

Thus a woman, who was married from the hospital, and had borne seven children, once requested to know her parents, on the ground that "there was money belonging to her," and her[Pg 428] application was refused. But in November of the same year the name of a certain Foundling was revealed upon the application of a solicitor, and his setting forth that money had been invested for its use by the dead mother; the governors granting this request upon the ground that the mother herself had disclosed the secret, which they were otherwise bound to keep inviolable. Again, in 1833, a Foundling, seventy-six years of age, was permitted, for certain good reasons, to become acquainted with his own name, though, as one may imagine, not with his parent. It is a wise child in the Foundling who even knows its own mother.

Sometimes notes are found attached to the infant's garments, beseeching the nurse to tell the mother her name and residence, that the latter may visit her child during its stay in the country; and they have been even known to follow the van on foot which conveys their little one to its new home. They will also attend the baptism in the chapel, in the hope of hearing the name conferred upon the infant; for, if they succeed in identifying the child during its stay at nurse, they can always preserve the identification during its subsequent abode in the hospital, since the children appear in chapel twice on Sunday, and dine in public on that day, which gives opportunities of seeing them from time to time, and preserving the recollection of their features.

In these attempts at discovery, mistakes, however, are often committed, and attention lavished on the wrong child; instances have even occurred of mothers coming in mourning attire to the hospital to return thanks for the kindness bestowed upon their deceased offspring, only to be informed that they are alive and well.

It is stated that children who are discovered by the mother are spoiled by indulgence—and I can imagine that efforts to make up for the past would be lavish enough in such cases—and rarely turn out well.


One exception to the rule of non-intercourse is related, where a medical attendant certified that the sanity of one unhappy[Pg 429] woman might be affected unless she was allowed to see her child.

Twice or thrice in the year the boys are permitted to take an excursion to Primrose Hill; but at other times (except when sent on errands), and the girls at all times—are kept within the hospital walls. This confinement so affects their growth, that few of either sex attain to the average height of men and women.

It is a curious old place, this hospital for Foundlings, and full of memories. Here are some of Hogarth's best efforts as a portrait painter, and it was for this hospital that Handel wrote his glorious oratorio of the "Messiah." The organ, so magnificent in tone, which is placed in the chapel, was also the gift of Handel.

The high old-fashioned reading desk, from whence the chaplain expounds the scriptures; the side galleries in the style of George I, and the pillars that seem to tell of the days of Addison and Sterne and Swift, and all the rest of that galaxy who made the Augustan age of England—the rows of high backed benches such as are to be met with in all the London churches, built after the architectural period of Wren and Inigo Jones—combined with the low full toned voices of the boys and girls, as they raise the Anthem, seem to make the place a haven of rest and an abode of happiness for the poor world outcasts.

Then there is the girls' dining-room, hung with some fine paintings and works of art. The girls enter and take their stand, each in her proper place, against the long row of tables that extends from end to end of the room, the crowds forming a lane on either side.

A moment's pause, and a sweet voice is heard saying grace: the utterer being that modest looking girl at the centre of the table, who from her superior height and appearance seems chosen as one of the oldest among her companions. Scarcely has she finished before another girl, at the end of the table, dispenses with the ease and rapidity of habit, from the large dishes of baked meat and vegetables before her, the dinners[Pg 430] of the expectant children, plate following plate with marvelous rapidity, till all are satisfied.

This room occupies a great portion of one side of the edifice.

In the boys' room the evolutions of the lads preparatory to taking dinner are most interesting. The change at once, and without blunder, hesitation, or want of concert, from a two deep to a three deep line, then they beat time, march, turn and turn again, until the welcome word is given for the final march to the dinner table. Thousands of the citizens of London visit this hospital yearly, and ladies are particularly interested in all that pertains to its welfare.

It has been enriched by innumerable bequests, and has a revenue of over £120,000 a year from rents, stock, and other sources.

The charities of London are incalculable in their extent, and it is my belief that no other city in the world—excepting Paris—possesses so many and such various institutions where the sick, naked, and needy are taken in and cared for. And yet with all this benevolence, there is a pharisaical spirit of ostentation at the bottom of every pound that is given, and the pupils of the beneficed schools, the inmates of the almshouses, the patients in the various hospitals, and the vagrants and lost ones in reformatories, refuges, and model lodging houses are drilled, uniformed, preached at, exhibited to the public, and ventilated in the newspapers, while the donations of those who have established the charities are be-puffed and be-lauded until the stranger is astonished at the mountains of cant which smother the work of so many generously benevolent people.

However, there is a vast amount of charity in London, and incalculable good is done those who are in need of it.

I can only give the aggregate of all these charities, hospitals and almshouses, as I have not space for details.


The incomes and receipts of the various Metropolitan Charitable Institutions amount to about twelve millions of dollars annually, much of which is contributed voluntarily, and this vast sum does not include contributions to police courts for the use[Pg 431] of prisoners, amounting to £50,000 a year, or the erection and endowment of schools, and other similar gifts by individuals, deeds which are impossible to classify, from their isolation. Besides the regular incomes, as below, the proceeds of former legacies amounts to £841,373, or nearly six million dollars of United States money.

This large amount of nearly eighteen millions of dollars, double the entire sum realized from poor rates obtained in London, is divided among 640 institutions, of which 144 have been founded during the last ten years, 279 during the first half of the century, 114 during the Eighteenth Century, and 103 before that period.

The classification—generally speaking—and aggregate incomes are as follows:

14 General Hospitals, £174,858
66 Hospitals and Institutions for Special Medical purposes, 155,025
39 Dispensaries, 23,877
12 Institutions for the Preservation of Life, Health, and Morals, 46,230
1 Foundling Hospital, 20,200
22 Hospitals, Penitentiaries, and 16 Reformatories—total, 93,981
29 Relief Institutions, 64,720
21 Homes, for both sexes, and all ages, 18,200
9 Benevolent Pension Funds, 26,000
20 Poor Clergymen's Benefit Funds, 49,508
72 Professional and Trade Benevolent Funds, 125,051
24 City Company and Parochial Trust Funds, 40,820
4 Special National Funds, 53,000
124 Colleges, Almshouses, and Asylums, for the Aged, 103,063
1 Cripple's Charity, 7,215
16 Deaf and Dumb Institutions, 43,521
35 General Educational Funds, 112,600
16 Asylums, educating 2,400 orphans, 80,634
24 Educational Asylums for 3,700 children, 120,000
60 Home Missionary Societies, 413,171
30 Foreign Missionary Societies, 642,217
19 Jewish Charities, Hospitals, Schools, Almshouses, and Refuges, 163,000
3 Grammar Schools, on original Foundations, 862,000
2 Educational Establishments,8 parochial schools, libraries, lectures, and miscellaneous societies, of a charitable or benevolent character, 732,000

[Pg 432]

Some of these hospitals are not equaled by any in the world excepting those of Paris, and have splendid beds and the best of medical Staffs.

Guy's Hospital is called after a London Alderman and Member of Parliament, who made a fortune, in Oliver Cromwell's time, selling Bibles, buying sailors' pawn-tickets, and in the South Sea Speculation Bubble. It has 22 wards and 600 beds, and averages, yearly, 6,000 in-door and 55,000 out-door beds, with 24 professors and 250 students. The legacies left to this hospital amount to £500,000, and its annual income is over £30,000. Kings' College Hospital has 180 beds, and about 2,000 in-door and 40,000 out-door patients, annually. Its income is about £5,000 a year. The London Hospital has 500 beds.

Bartholomew's Hospital, founded by a Catholic monk, in the hoary past, is the oldest and largest hospital in London, as its students are the wildest and most reckless in the metropolis. The number of in-door patients is 7,000; out-door, 100,000, annually, and the yearly income is £32,000. There are 700 beds, 36 professors, and 500 students.

The St. Thomas' Hospitals, now in process of construction at the Surrey Side of the Thames, in Lambeth, opposite the Houses of Parliament, will combine a number of hospitals for Special Diseases, and will accommodate about 2,000 patients, with as many beds, and will have an income of £50,000 a year, or more.

It is impossible to think of any disease, complaint, deformity, or injury to any member or organ of the body, which has not its special hospital or institution for relief or cure, in the English metropolis. There are homes for distressed widows, for Asiatics, Africans, and South Sea Islanders, a Benevolent Society of Female Musicians, one for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a Life-Boat Society, Homes for Teaching the Blind to read, for Governesses, a Shoe-Black Society, and, in fact, all classes of indigent and impoverished persons are provided for.


The Sick Children's Hospital is one of the best and most needed institutions in London. This hospital was opened eighteen years ago, and has among its patrons the excessively pious[Pg 433] Prince of Wales, and the lady whom he admired so much—the wife of Sir Charles Mordaunt, as also the highest ecclesiastical authority in England, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This Hospital for Sick Children is situated at No. 49 Great Ormond street, Bloomsbury, in an old-fashioned house built in the time of Queen Anne. The annual income of this hospital is about £25,000 a year, with 100 beds, including about a dozen at Highgate and Margate, the latter for those children who require sea air. It has about 600 in-door and 12,000 out-door patients, annually.

A sick child among the rich has, at least, solace in its sickness, besides every chance for its recovery that money can supply. A sick child among the poor may have attendance or not, as the case may be, but its father and its mother in London have but little time to bestow upon its sufferings. It is, perhaps, uncared for and all but abandoned to battle with disease without help. It is for the children of the needy poor that this hospital is established and is carried on.

No child suffering from small pox is admitted into the house, nor are any cases of rickets, hip joint or scrofulous disease of the spine or joint. They are refused for three reasons: because they are quite incurable, because they require nothing but rest for many months, and because good diet and fresh air, continued for months or years, are essential to improvement.

Glad children's laughter may be heard within those old walls, and pretty little voices murmuring to each other, as the tiny sick people chatter to their next bedside friends and neighbors. Sometimes a little tired one, wearied from weakness, lies still watching the blue scroll on the ceiling, or trying to make out what all the pink-cheeked and powdered ladies are doing upon the frescoes of the old-fashioned walls.

Each child has its cot to itself, and besides those in the house myriads of children are brought each year, by their mothers, to be seen by the doctors and nurses. In the room where mothers bring their children is a box, affixed to the wall, with a printed solicitation for pence, and fifty pounds a year is collected[Pg 434] in this way, which is devoted to sending children to the watering places who are getting convalescent and need sea air.

The Queen, and other members of her family, are accustomed to send yearly donations of toys and jimcracks for the amusement of the children; and proud ladies may be seen daily moving among the sick beds with all kinds of gifts and childish luxuries, and who shall say that the faces of these beautiful girls, and the toys they bring, do not help most signally to establish convalescence, for what sick child ever suffered without appreciating a kindly smile, a wooden horse, a cart, a Punch, or a Noah's ark.


[Pg 435]



T HE aggregate of time, labor, and expenditure, necessary to provide three millions and a half of inhabitants with food, in a city like London, is something beyond comprehension. In getting at the food statistics of this great City, I found more trouble than in procuring material and detail for any other portion of this book. And yet there cannot be anything of more interest to the public than to know how, when, and from where, a great city derives the food which subsists its citizens.

The London markets are well built, well ventilated, well situated, and well regulated. The markets of London are a credit to the city and people. The markets of New York are a scandal and a shame to that great city.

Some idea may be formed of the amount of food needed to subsist London from the figures which I will give.

The Metropolitan Cattle Market, in Caledonian Road, Islington, is the largest market in London, covering fifteen acres, and having three acres of slaughter houses. This market cost one million four hundred and sixty thousand pounds, and cannot be surpassed by any other market in the world. The yearly receipts at this market was as follows: 360,000 beef cattle, 36,000 calves, 1,900,000 sheep, and 37,650 pigs. Besides this vast amount of meat there was nearly as much more received at the Newgate, Leadenhall, and Whitechapel meat markets.

The other articles of food, brought to the London markets, are estimated by those who profess to have nearly accurate in[Pg 436]formation, as follows: Seven million head of game and poultry, six hundred and fifty million pounds of fish, two hundred and fifty million barrels of oysters, and two hundred and fifty million cubic feet of eggs. This last item rather staggered me, but the other estimated quantities are, I am assured, rather below than above the aggregate annual consumption.

The inspections of the London markets are made very rigidly, and I do not wonder at the necessity for a strict watchfulness, when I find that, in 1868, 160,340 pounds of meat, and 1,963 head of game and poultry, were seized by the officers as being unfit for human food. This amount consisted in part of 1,200 sheep, 186 pigs, 73 calves, 1,100 quarters of beef, 762 joints of meat, 462 tame fowls, 121 wild fowl, 300 geese, 290 ducks, 316 pigeons, 15 lambs, and only thirty pounds of sausages. There were also 239 rabbits, 111 hares, 75 haunches and quarters of venison, 84 partridges, and four pounds of pickled pork. It will be seen that there was a very great deal of beef and mutton to a very little pickled pork and sausage. All of the game, and most of the poultry seized, was putrid, and of the meat 108,000 pounds were diseased, while 21,000 pounds were stinking; 36,240 pounds of meat being taken from animals that had died of natural causes. As soon as the meat is seized it is sprinkled with creosote of coal tar, which checks putrefaction, and at the same time prevents it from being used as food, after which it is sent to the bone-boilers and destroyed.

Besides the enormous amount of food received at the markets already enumerated, there was also received at the Borough Market, Southwark, Smithfield New Market, Newport Market, Cumberland, Portman, Clare, and the Potato Markets, by railway, in the same year, 17,000 tons of meat of all kinds, 100,000 tons of potatoes, 14,000 tons of fish, 15,000 tons of vegetables, and 60,000 tons of grain, wherewith to feed the Londoners.


Before daybreak is the best time to see the Markets of London in all their bustle and brisk traffic, and one summer morning I accordingly took a cab from the Langham Hotel and told the sleepy driver to take me to the New Smithfield Market,[Pg 437] which is convenient to Newgate Prison. We dashed madly in the gray of the morning (it was not yet more than four o'clock) through Regent street, up Oxford street, over the Holborn Viaduct, and so on to the Smithfield Police Station, which is situated at a few rods distant from the place where the Cock Lane Ghost was first discovered.

I had been directed by Inspector Bailey, of the Old Jewry office, to call at this police station, and he informed me that I should find a special policeman there at my disposal to show me the markets, and procure me any information I might desire in regard to them.

The Smithfield Police Station is like most London police stations, a very quiet and not pretentious edifice, just in the shadow of Smithfield New Market.

There was a little desk and a little railing, behind which sat a little man in a blue uniform of pilot cloth, and behind the little man were hung upon the plainly whitewashed walls a collection of handcuffs, pistols, and knives, all of which were deodands to the law. There were also placards, offering rewards for all kinds of offenders, thieves, forgers, murderers, and embezzlers, and giving detailed descriptions of their persons and clothing when last seen. These placards covered the walls, but did not add much to the appearance of the apartment. On producing my letter of introduction from Inspector Bailey to the Sergeant in command—who treated me with much civility, a bell was rung by the latter, and a policeman in uniform appeared, my old friend Ralfe, whom the Sergeant addressed as follows:

"Ralfe, you are to take this gentleman all through Smithfield Market, and show him the sights, and then you can transfer him to some one else to have him taken through Billingsgate Market, and after that he may take a look at Covent Garden Market, if he so desires. Show him everything that you can, then report to me back again."

"Yesir," said Mr. Ralfe, touching his hat, although he was not in uniform, and in another instant we were in the London[Pg 438] streets, which were very drear and damp, the gas lamps yet burning with a feeble light, and the daybreak as yet not having revealed itself.

The way was murky and dark, and the vicinity of the market was sufficiently indicated by the peculiar raw, fresh smell, with which newly killed meat greets the nasal organs.

Smithfield Market is built on a large, open square, and being on high ground commands a good view of the City of London proper. The site of the New Market which was opened a year ago, was formerly covered by the Cattle Market, which is now removed to Islington, in the suburbs. The building is of mixed stone and brick, and the cost was about half a million pounds. The ground on which it is built is also nearly as valuable as the building. The market is about four hundred feet in length and a hundred and fifty in width. The roof is of iron, and a vast avenue, high, broad, and spacious in every way, runs through the entire building.


When I reached the market with my friend, the policeman, the gas was still burning, and the long rows of stalls situated on the wide avenues of the market, were covered with beef and mutton, the stalls averaging thirty to forty feet in height. There was a confused hum of many voices, and coarse rough looking fellows in smalls and canvas smocks, with broad, scoop-shaped hats, rushed hither and thither with immense loins and quarters of beef on their brawny shoulders. Over each stall, and inside of the market beneath the roof, the proprietor or lessee of the stall has a small wooden edifice, with doors and windows and places to sleep for two or three persons. At each corner of the market is a lofty tower, a hundred feet high, and in these towers are board-rooms and dining-rooms, and reading rooms for select parties, and at the base or bottom floor of each tower is a bar where liquors and hot coffee, bread, butter, and tea, and other refreshments are sold during the early hours of the morning, to those who need sustainment. Two or three pretty girls were behind each of these stalls, and were serving with great dilligence and taste, the knots of butchers'[Pg 439] helpers, cartmen, butchers' boys, and market officials who stood in their vicinity.

There are at least half a dozen meat inspectors in each market, and these men are paid one hundred pounds a year to examine and decide as to the wholesomeness of each and every pound or carcass of meat brought into the markets.

To one of these I spoke and asked him if he had much trouble with the butchers in regard to putrid meat.

"Trouble—Lord bless you sir, we have no trouble here to speak on. Ye see, sir, the class of butchers as sells meat here in Smithfield Market allers sells on commission. All this meat that you see a hanging on these ere hooks doesn't belong to the butchers. It is sent to them to sell on commission by the Railway Companies, and they do not own the stalls themselves either. They pays one pound ten shilling and sixpence a week for five square feet of ground—that's about the rate they pays, and the City owns the markit. Lord bless you, Sir," said the loquacious inspector, who was dressed like a butcher, having an apron, and stood leaning against a large quarter of beef. "I don't know where all the blessed meat comes from, but I knows that the pigs come from Hireland, and a goodish bit of the beef from Devonshire. It comes to the city by the Underground Railway, and you can see the place down stairs where all the meat comes in the mornin'."

At the breakfast stalls I noticed that nearly every one called for "two pennorth of bread and butter," and drank with it a bowl of hot tea or a smoking cup of coffee. The girls who served the coffee were chatty and lively, and desired information of me in regard to America. One of them, a little black brunette, queried:

"They say, sir, as how that a young leedy in Hamerica can get married on nothink—if she's good looking and can cook. Is it so, sir?"

I had no means of satisfying her as to that question, and I left her as she was preparing a sandwich for a hungry clodhopper, whose eyes were bulbous with hunger and expectation,[Pg 440] and went below to the basement story, which opens by arches on the depot of the Underground Railway, and I found the entire earthen floor cut up by rails and platforms, on to which the meat from incoming trains is shunted and delivered. All meat delivered at Smithfield is of course dead, and no slaughtering is carried on in this market. Millions of pounds worth of meat finds its way here day after day, and thousands of men—porters and helpers and butchers' assistants—find employment here, their wages ranging from ten to thirty-five shillings a week.

Each helper is paid so much for every carcass which he carries into the market on his shoulders, and broad shoulders they have to be to carry these huge quarters of beef from the wagons which are drawn up in dense masses in and around the open spaces outside of the market walls. When this market was opened by the Mayor of London and other city dignitaries, sixteen hundred officials, connected with the market and the municipal government, dined in the central avenue, and two hundred barrels of ale were drank. This is a sample of a municipal British feast.

Outside of the building are little houses or market lodges, built of stone, in which are weighing machines, where men are constantly in attendance as weighers of beef and mutton. For this service they are paid one hundred and twenty pounds a year. The weighing machine in the little house connects under the middle of the street, where a platform is constructed, level with the surface of the pavement, and when a cart-load of beef is to be weighed, horse, cart, and beef are weighed together, and the total is placed on a slate, and when the helpers have carried all the meat into the stalls in the market to be sold wholesale, (for it is not a retail market,) the horse and cart are again weighed, and then their united weight having been deducted from the gross weight, the actual weight of the meat is thus ascertained by this simple and easy process. I think that the Smithfield Market is the finest I ever saw, and its ventilation and perfect system cannot be surpassed anywhere.


From Smithfield Market I went to Covent Garden Market,[Pg 441] which is a couple of miles distant, in Russell street, forming quite a spacious area. This is the great vegetable and flower market of London. There is a market held every morning in summer, but in winter, markets are held only on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. The market is owned by the Duke of Bedford, and was built at a cost of £30,000 by a former Duke of that family, forty years ago.

It has a colonade running around the entire building on the exterior, under which are shops having apartments in the upper stories. Joined to the back of these is another row of shops facing the inner courts, and through the centre runs a passage with shops on either side, in which are exposed for sale herbs and flowers, and the most magnificent bouquets can be procured here on a fine morning in summer. Scarce and delicate plants and flowers are here found in abundance, and around these stands I noticed numbers of male servants and pages in the liveries of some of the best known families among the London aristocracy, barganing for bouquets for their mistresses' tables. The noise and hub-bub around the open spaces in this market was perfectly deafening. It was now about four o'clock in the morning, and all the open areas were thronged with market-men and women and boys, carrying baskets and flowers in their arms, to and fro, chaffing each other or cursing and swearing with great good will.

Immense vans and market-carts loaded down with cabbages, onions, peas, cauliflowers, turnips, beans, parsley, greens, cucumbers, lettuce, apples, pears, parsnips, and other vegetables and fruits, are moving to and fro, some of them blocked in with the increasing traffic, the drivers, great big hulking fellows, mopping their perspiring foreheads and shouting at each other, as is usual among all cartmen. Women are hurrying hither and thither, making bargains and chaffering about the prices of vegetables, and meanwhile, it is almost impossible to hear or understand anything that is said. The police who are scattered here and there with their tall helmets, goodnaturedly push and shove those who block the passage ways, and frown sternly at the impudent young rascals who excite crowds and[Pg 442] gather small knots of boys against the breakfast stalls outside the market.

Here and there around these coffee stalls, which are generally kept by old men or dilapidated and ancient women, you will see a couple of drunken or half sober roysterers, who have been on the tramp all night, and have at this early hour of the morning reached Covent Garden to get a cup of hot coffee in the market, which will clear the fumes of the liquor away, before they stagger home to a fond and anxious wife or an unrelenting landlady.

Wagons and carts have been arriving from a very early hour, and five o'clock seems to be the busiest time in Covent Garden. The houses of refreshment around the market are open at half past one in summer, and little tables are placed against the wooden pillars of the market by the tea and coffee venders, from which porters and carters make hearty breakfasts. There is no need to resort to exciting liquors, as the coffee is good and hot, and a baked potato, fresh and smoking from the oven, costs only one penny.

Every few minutes, through all the roaring and shouting, singing, talking, whistling, and laughing, I could hear the clear voice of the Baked Potato man, vending his smoking tubers and shouting:




"Tates hot!—all 'ot, 'ot! Taters all 'ot." His can with its steam pipe, from which issues forth a fragrant odor on the morning air, is already surrounded by young street boys, who will run an errand for a penny, hold your horse, catch a flying hat, steal a cabbage or a pocket full of potatoes from the stalls with equal impartiality and energy. These markets are the worst places in London for young lads, as there is always some excuse for their presence in the vicinity, under pretence of earning a penny or picking up the refuse and odds and ends of a vegetable market. Observe this young rascal now, who is surveying the Baked Potato man with an assumption of scorn combined with a profound look of wisdom in his features. His hands are in his pockets, his trousers are ragged to the knees, and his linen is nowhere visible—a miserable London street[Pg 445] boy—and yet you would imagine, to look at him as he steps up to negotiate for a potato, that he was the agent of the Rothschilds about to make arrangements for a loan. His age does not exceed fifteen years, and he has been sleeping in the purlieus of the market all night, as his ragged and soiled coat testify, and his hair is full of slimy straws which he has accumulated while reclining his head on a market gardener's basket. The Baked Potato man eyes him with distrust and timidity, for he is well aware that there is no profit to be made from him, and that he is about to "chaff" him. The young rascals who stand around are all wide awake, and await the contest with solicitude in their countenances.

"Taters all 'ot—taters all 'ot—'ot—'ot," cries the Potato Man.

"Well, guv'nor, I see you're a keepin the steam up as usual. Vot's the werry lowest figger you names for the werry best taters, takin a lot—takin a quantity? I feels like patronizin you, I does."

"Penny a-piece, all 'ot—'ot."

"A penny a-piece for baked taters, and the Funds agoin down like winkin! Vy, I 'ad a pine apple myself out of a Garden this mornin for two-pence. Trade's unkimmon bad, guv'nor."

"Penny apiece—all 'ot—all 'ot—I say, keep your dirty fingers away from the can. You doesn't buy anythink, I know."

"I doesn't buy hanythink, eh? There's a hopposition can, too, started by a gentleman of my acquaintance"—here the young scamp put his thumbs in his waistcoat armholes and inflated himself after the supposed aristocratic fashion—"in the 'Aymarket. He calls the can the 'Gladstone,' and it's a werry spicy concern, I tell ye. Don't he give prime taters neither? They're real nobby ones, and plenty o' butter, and pepper, and salt. Oh! not at all! And its so werry respectable for a cove comin from the Hopera to stop and have a bit of supper on his road home. My heye, and haint the pro-pre-i-e-tor a makin of his fortin neither? Of course not! Oh, no. But there 'ill be fun when he returns to his willa with a postchay in Belgrawey in a few years."

[Pg 446]

By this time the Baked Potato man is pretty mad, between the pertinacity of his young tormentor and the highly colored picture of his rival's prosperity, as depicted by the boy, and he tells him in an angry way to "move hon, hif 'e doesn't want 'is preshis neck stretched."

"Wot, wiolence to one of her Majesty's subjecks, and hin the hopen day, too? Move hon, hey? Oh, werry likely. I'm a standin 'ere on my Sovrin's kerbstone—a Briton's 'Ouse is 'is castle, and when an Englishman hexpresses his hopinion hon the subjeck of baked taters he's to move hon, is he? Consekevently I'll stay here."

The "Baked Tater" man is now almost foaming at the mouth with rage, which is not lessened by the cheers of the spectators, who are, of course, on the side of the young orator.

He is about to lay down his can and pitch into his tormentor, when all at once that young gentleman assumes a pacific attitude, after displaying so much public spirit, and says:

"I don't want money nor credit, so look sharp ole feller and pick me a stunner from the Can."

At this moment the Potato Man's countenance relaxes, as the boy produces a penny-piece, and while he extracts a mealy potato from his can, the boy proceeds to amuse his audience further by going through a series of sleight of hand tricks, such as shaking the coin out of his cap after having swallowed it, or thrusting it into his eye and bringing it out of his ear, assuring the spectators the while that he had spent £20,000 in learning these tricks, and now, when the potato is handed to him, smoking hot, he expresses his indignation at the fact that the butter is "shaved too thin," and demands that what he loses in butter shall be made up to him by an extra shake of the pepper-box. At last he goes off to eat the potato, as the gray dawn breaks, and the man at the Can says:

"Oh, my eye—he is a precious leary cove for such a young von."

This market, as well as all the other London markets, is haunted with beggars who appeal to the charity of strangers with great effect.

[Pg 447]


One of these sat up behind a pile of empty baskets, and I saw that his trousers had rotted away at the bottom from long use and dirt. His face was that of a prematurely aged young man, and his torn shirt and worn features bespoke real misery. He was deaf and dumb it seemed, and the manner in which he solicited alms was by pointing to the following sentence, written on the flag-stone before him with a piece of chalk:

I am Starving. Help me.

A rental of about £26,000 a year is derived from Covent Garden Market by its proprietor, the Duke of Bedford, and the shops and stalls rent at from two to four hundred pounds a year. In the immediate neighborhood is Covent Garden Theatre, and all the little old rookeries of chop houses in this quarter have the smell of the greenroom and the rehearsal lingering about them. Here was, formerly, the garden of the Convent of Westminster.

Before the construction of the present market this was one of the most dangerous places in London with its tumble-down and crazy old structures, where abounded people of both sexes herded together like pigs. The Convent has become a play-house, and the monks and nuns have been transposed into actors and actresses. Where the salad was cut for the Lady Abbess in past times, drunkards now brawl and attack each other, and the flowers that would have been in the olden time plucked to adorn the statues of the Virgin or St. Peter, are now chosen to grace the marble mantel of some proud dame of Belgravia, or some gaudy and painted courtezan of Pimlico. The foreign fruit trade of Covent Garden is very extensive in pine apples, melons, cherries, apples, and plums. Pine apples were first cried in the London streets at "a penny a slice," twenty-five years ago. To supply this market with vegetables alone, 25,000 acres are required to be cultivated, and about 10,000 acres of trees are necessary to supply its annual demand for fruit. The trade in water-cresses is immense and they are chiefly hawked about the markets by little girls, although, of course, every stall has its own stock of cresses. They supply the same want as a[Pg 448] relish for the Londoners' table that the small red radishes do to an American's appetite.

A man, curious in such things, has estimated as follows the yearly sales of this appetizing little green relish:

Covent Garden Market, 2,000,000 bunches, Farringdon Market, 15,000,000 bunches, Borough Market, (Southwark), 1,000,000 bunches, Spitalfield's Market, 500,000 bunches, Portman Market, 260,000 bunches, and Oxford Market, 200,000 bunches. It will be seen that Cockneys relish greens very much.

A little of everything can be procured at Covent Garden. Here are peddlers of account books, lead pencils, watch chains, dog-collars, whips, chains, curry-combs, pastry, money-bags, tissue-paper for the tops of strawberry-pottles, and horse-chestnut leaves for garnishing fruit-stalls; coffee-stalls, and stalls of pea-soup and pickled eels; basket-makers; women making up nosegays; and girls splitting huge bundles of water-cresses into little bunches.

Here are fruits and vegetables from all parts of the world; peas, and asparagus, and new potatoes, from the south of France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, and the Bermudas, are brought in steam-vessels. Besides Deptford onions, Battersea cabbages, Mortlake asparagus, Chelsea celery, and Charlton peas, immense quantities are brought by railway from Cornwall and Devonshire, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey, the Kentish and Essex banks of the Thames, the banks of the Humber, the Mersey, the Orwell, the Trent, and the Ouse.

The Scilly Isles send early articles by steamer to Southampton, and thence to Covent Garden by railway. Strawberries are sent from gardens about Bath. The money paid annually for fruits and vegetables sold in this market is estimated at three millions sterling: for 6 or 700,000 pottles of strawberries; 40,000,000 cabbages; 2,000,000 cauliflowers; 300,000 bushels of peas; 750,000 lettuces; and 500,000 bushels of onions. In Centre-row, hot-house grapes are sold at 25s. per pound, British Queen and Black Prince strawberries at 1s. per ounce, slender French beans at 3s. per hundred, peas at a[Pg 449] guinea a quart, and new potatoes at 4s. 6d. per pound; a moss-rose for half-a-crown, and bouquets of flowers from one shilling to two guineas each.

Green peas have been sold here at Christmas when they are deemed a luxury, for three pounds a quart, and asparagus has brought, in the same season, a pound, and rhubarb, a pound and five shillings a bunch.

The cries of the children peddling violets are sometimes almost heartrending, as these little waifs are very often fasting for a whole day before they can realize a few pennies to buy their food, to say nothing of food for those who have sent them to peddle the violets.

There is an Artesian well under Covent Garden Market, 280 feet deep, which supplies 1,600 gallons an hour, sufficient for the needs of the market people, most of which is consumed in watering flowers and vegetables, or in giving horses to drink. There are elegant conservatories over the colonnades of the market fifteen feet broad and fifteen feet high, for the preservation of the more costly and delicate plants and flowers. From this market nearly all the button-hole flowers which are vended at from a penny to four-pence a piece are obtained for the use of the London "swells."


One of the most curious places in London is the Orange and Nut Market, in Houndsditch. This market is chiefly in the hands of the lowest kind of Jews, men in greasy garments, and having frightfully hooked noses. The Costermongers come here for oranges, nuts, and lemons, to sell or hawk them around the suburbs or slums of London. The market is called Dukes'-Place Market. There is a big, massive, Synagogue, a lot of ancient-looking houses, the oranges themselves have a cob-webbed appearance, and the people are all dingy here. The nuts are for sale in sacks, and the baskets have a dilapidated look. The Jews, in all countries, are an industrious and economical people, and in London, as elsewhere, they monopolize the most profitable and least laborious occupations. They are represented by lawyers, members of Parliament, great bankers, like Rothschild, merchants, like Solomons, and men of liberal[Pg 450] taste, like Sir Francis Goldsmid. The number of Jews in London is estimated at 48,000.



Each dwelling around this Orange Market seems as if it had been partially consumed by fire, for not one of the shops have a window, and they are comparatively empty, save where a crate of oranges, or a bag of nuts, are exposed for sale. A few sickly fowls, looking as if they were dyspeptic, wander here picking up crumbs among the orange baskets and nut sacks, and dirty, ragged little Jewish children, play around with great equanimity among the rubbish. The disputes among the loud-voiced Costermongers who come here with their little wagons and jackasses, to draw their fruit, and the Jews who have all glib-toned, smooth voices,—at some times, when the oranges are changing hands from sellers to buyers—are very amusing.

There I saw slatternly-looking girls sorting the good from the bad fruit, and one big, tall Jewish wench, was engaged over[Pg 451] a barrel of common black grapes, plunging her dirty arms down in the barrel and pulling up the decayed fruit which she gave to a little child who stood by her, and ate of them greedily from her hand. Some of these Jewish fruit-traders take in as much as £200 in a day's sale of oranges, from Costermongers. Most of these oranges are sent to the Jews on commission. Years ago the Jew boys had a monopoly of the orange peddling trade, but now the monopoly is in the hands of Irish boys, who are more eloquent, more aggressive, and more popular, than the Jews, and consequently sell they more fruit.


Farringdon Market, near the Strand, on the sloping surface of the hill, upon which the Holborn and Fleet street stand, is one of the principal markets in London, though it covers but an acre and a half. The ground and buildings cost about £200,000. The market building is 480 feet long at the centre, 41 feet high, and 48 feet broad, and has a court-yard in the centre of which the wagons, and baskets, and market lumber, are placed. The court, or, as it is called, the quadrangle, is generally filled with vegetables and fruit.


[Pg 452]



I T had been a stormy night in the London streets. In the Strand the shopkeepers' assistants were hurriedly fastening the shutters upon the windows of their masters' shops, eager to escape the hurricane of rain which swept over the London housetops, and tore through the lanes of brick and mortar like an enraged fiend. Thirsty souls who were draining huge mugs of malt liquor in the many publics along Thames street, looked out with scared faces on the river which was beating its sides angrily against the shipping and lesser craft.

The waters of the Thames ran high and wild, and down in the Pool and by Limehouse Reach, huge ships bearing the colors of many nations at their peaks, swung and rocked in the seething tides, while black night and the angry shades of the coming storm gathered around their twinkling red and blue signal lamps, which lazily danced from their yards over the surface of the river, leaving faint streaks of light that were ever and anon swallowed by the angry waters. Boatmen were anxiously securing wherries and fastening them under bridges and by water-stairs, and all the while the clouds above lowered, and the sweeping gusts of rain stung the faces of those who were unfortunate enough to be in the streets without shelter. Shutters slapped and banged in and out, and chimney pots were whirled about by the fierce and howling winds.

I had been on a tour of inspection, with a friend and a police[Pg 453] sergeant, through London during the night, and had left the Alhambra at midnight for Evan's Supper Rooms, in Covent Garden, where we passed an hour listening to the music of the glee and madrigal boys, and on leaving Evan's at one o'clock in the morning, my friend had parted with me to go to bed, and I left him at the corner of Wellington street and the Strand, he going westward to his residence in Westminster, while the police Sergeant and myself called a cab, as I had a desire to see London in the small hours, and Sergeant Scott had insinuated that a stormy night was the best for seeing strange sights. He little thought at the time how truly he spoke.

After some discussion between this veteran of the Old Jewry office and myself, it was decided that we should visit some of the thieves' haunts in the Borough of Southwark, as it was about the hour when these night birds came home to roost, and of a consequence the best time to see their places of residence.

The first place chosen for a visit was a den in the New Kent Road, and to get there it was necessary for us to cross Waterloo Bridge.


To cross some of the bridges in London it is necessary to pay a trifling toll, which goes toward the repairs of the bridge. The charge for each pedestrian on Westminster and Waterloo Bridges is half a penny each—for a horse one penny. As the cab dashed up to the turnstile at Waterloo Bridge, the toll keeper came out to take his dues, a gruff looking fellow wrapped up in a big hairy coat. He took the two pence grumblingly, and just at that moment I noticed a woman coming up to the toll-house in a gaudy looking silk dress, and having a soiled velvet wrapper about her shivering shoulders. The light from the toll-house shone on her face, which was very pale, the eyes burning with a strange light, and the garments which hung to her figure were dripping with the rain.

"Please let me pass," said she to the gruff toll keeper, with an imploring glance, "I have not a penny in the world—please let me cross the bridge?"

"Please let yer cross the bridge—yer 'aint got a penny?[Pg 454] Well wot d'ye want ter cross the bridge for then? If yer 'aint got a h'apenny I thinks yer as well on the one side of the bridge as the other? Well go on with ye, I don't mind a h'apenny, and go to bed as soon as ye can," the toll keeper shouted through the storm after the wretched woman as she dashed through the turnstile on the bridge, and was lost in the storm and darkness of the night.

As she fled into the night, my companion caught sight of her face, and a hasty exclamation escaped his lips.

"My God, that's Mag S——, that we saw to-night at the Alhambra! D'ye remember that pale faced girl who asked you to give her some liquor in the Canteen?"

"The woman who seemed out of her senses or crazed, and who danced and swore?" I asked.

"Yes sir, the same—well that's her, and what she can be doing here on this bridge at this time I don't know. She used to be a highflyer once, did Mag, but her fancy man has left her, and I'm afraid she's dead broke now, at times. My eye, wot a temper she has to be sure, when she blazes hup."

By this time we had reached the end of the bridge at the Southwark side, and the cab dashed madly by a female figure cowering in an alcove of the structure, the cabby swearing an oath as the horse shied at it going by.

As the night advanced, it blew harder and harder, and the storm raged with great violence. The waters under the bridge rebounded against the base of the stone arches, but the rain had ceased. We were now on our route back to the city, having inspected the dens of thievery to my great satisfaction. While going and coming, until we reached the bridge again, the mind of my companion, Sergeant Scott, seemed ill at ease in regard to the woman whom we had met upon the bridge before we had crossed. He was anxious and uneasy, and talked of the meeting incessantly, to my surprise.

"Some'ow or anuther I don't like meeting that gal on the bridge, Sir," said he. "She looked a little desperate, and when they looks that way I don't like to see 'em near water. Its touch and go with 'em then."

[Pg 455]

"Do you fear that the girl will attempt to commit suicide?" said I to him.

"I do, Sir. You see there's twelve hundred suicides in London every year, and half of 'em or more drowns themselves. The gals are more fonder of the water than the men. A man will blow his brains out or take pison, but a gal allers takes to the water. Why, bless you, Sir, we have as many as a hundred and twenty suicides hoff this here Waterloo Bridge every year. And this is their favorite bridge, this Waterloo Bridge. When they haven't got a penny in the world, and no friends, then they leap hoff the battelmints."

By this time we had reached the toll gate again, and the cab horse was walking slowly over the stone floor of the bridge, making echoes with his feet. The bridge was quite dark, yet I could see the buildings and spires on the London side piercing the skies, and the railway depot at Charing Cross Bridge, the towers of the Parliament Houses, and the square roofs of the St. Thomas' Hospitals rising vaguely and in shadows above the river.

There are stone alcoves on all the London bridges, which bulge out in a semi-circular form over the water on either side, and they will each accommodate a dozen persons, should such a number wish to sit down and look at the river. There are eight of these alcoves on Waterloo Bridge, and a raised sidewalk runs along on each side of the road, of solid and smooth flagging. The middle of the bridge is taken up by a causeway fifty or sixty feet wide, and this causeway is paved with a sort of Russ, or rather large Belgian pavement.

The cabby had stopped his horse to give me an opportunity to take a look at the river.


One boom—two booms—three booms! The bell in the Clock Tower at Westminster rolled out over the river. Three o'clock of a stormy morning, and all London asleep. It was a grand and impressive sight, the dark river, with bridge after bridge girdling it, and nothing to be heard but the champing of the horse in the awful stillness of that lone hour. Hark! There are voices on the bridge, voices passionate and imploring, that[Pg 456] seem to shudder over the water and to creep through the arches of the bridge.

"Let us get out of the cab and see what it is, Sir, if you please. There's some cadgers a bunking in this vicinity, I imagines," said the police officer.

We walked along the bridge for a hundred feet or so, but could see nothing, although we heard the voices still.

"There's something wrong a-goin' on, but I don't know wot it is," said he again.

We advanced still further, and could see a woman's figure half hidden by the alcove which was across on the other side of the bridge from us. The woman was in earnest conversation with a man, who spoke in a clear, manly voice to her.

"This is the woman that begged the toll-gate man to let her cross to-night cos she hadn't a tanner," said the officer to me. "Let's watch 'em," said he; and feeling that it was an adventure of some sort, I silently acquiesced. We concealed ourselves in an alcove or embrasure.

"Keep quiet, now, and we'll see something, sure," said the Sergeant.

And we kept very quiet for a few minutes. The man was talking earnestly with the woman, who seemed half crazy with drink or excitement, we could not tell which, as we could only hear snatches of the conversation now and then.

It was the man's voice which we now heard.

"Come home, for God's sake, Margaret, and all will be well. You will be forgiven, and nothing will ever be cast up to you. I'll pledge you my word to that. Your mother is in the city, and your father is dead. She has come up from Glastonbury to see you, and I've spent eight nights walking for you, and hoping to get a sight of a face that was once dearer to me than life, and is now even still dear to me, if it only was to see you reformed, poor, unfortunate girl. Come home, for God's sake. Make the attempt, and it will be all well once more."


The girl was sobbing now very hard. The man seemed to implore her by all that had ever been sacred or dear to the lost[Pg 457] girl, and she was evidently moved by his tone and earnestness, and the recollections that he had called forth.

"He's doin' of his best, and we can't do any think more—hany of us," said the Sergeant, who seemed a little touched.

"You talk to me of my mother, Harry? Why, I have not heard that name in three years. I thought I'd never hear it again. I have thought of her, too. But it's too late, Harry. The girl that my mother expects to see is the bright little Maggie, the school-girl who never had a hard word or an unkind look from her. I had an innocent face then, and was not afraid to meet her kind old eyes. But now, to meet her in this garb"—and she shook her flaunting silks—"I dare not—I dare not. Harry, I tell you it is too late. Too late. Too late."

"It's never too late, poor girl," said the stranger, "come home at once, or if you'll wait here a moment I'll go and call a cab and take you home to your mother at once. Wait here a moment and I will get a cab. Wait a moment, Maggie, only a moment:" and the stranger ran across the bridge, up King William street, and in the direction of the Bank, where he expected to find a cab.

The lost girl was left alone. Alone with night and solitude. Alone with naught but her past life, which arose from the waters like a shadow to keep her company. Alone and miserable, with the cruel sky darkling above her as if to shut out all hope, while the river yawned and gaped beneath, seeking an offering. God unheeded, her bosom cold as a stone; no prayer to conquer her anguish; with memories of promises broken and tender words unsaid; the passionate love of a fond mother given in vain; and at last an atonement is to be made. The old, old story—betrayal, dishonor, and the grave.

We crept nearer by some unknown impulse, to where she stood, and could hear her talking to herself, though we could not see her features, or anything definite, but a weird figure looming up like a shadow against the balustrade of the bridge. Her voice, which had fallen to a murmur almost, was like some forgotten music, the strains of which are heard in a dream.[Pg 458] Who was this lone, wretched girl, and why came she here at this hour?

"My God, why should I go back to shame my poor old mother? I never will. I cannot do it. The sight of her would blast me. And Charley, for whom I lost all, where is he? In India, and no one here to-night, and I alone with my black thoughts on this spot. Why am I here? What do I live for? My life has been wretched enough. Why prolong it any longer? I will settle the matter now and forever. Good-by, Mother," said the wretched girl, looking up at the sky, and before she could be stopped in her fearful purpose, she had mounted the parapet by the embrasure, and leaped with a shriek into the devouring river beneath.

"By Heavens," said the Sergeant, darting forward and making an effort to catch at her clothes as her figure disappeared, "she has made a hole in the water with herself." At this moment a patrolman, hearing the girl scream and the shouts of the policeman, appeared upon the parapet. All three of us dashed down the stairs of the old bridge, and it was the work of a moment only to get a boat out, which, fortunately, had the oars inside. In a minute we were all out on the river, and the tide running very fast in the direction of the Pool—after pulling towards the middle arch the Sergeant cried out:

"Steady your rudder, there; what's that bobbing up and down on the water? That's a woman's head, sure; she's got hoops, too; that's lucky. Pull away, for your lives!"

In a few moments we were alongside of the dark, floating object, and the patrolman, drawing his lantern out, threw its reflection over the waters, while the head of the boat was kept well up to the dismal object.

The policeman leaned over the gunwale of the skiff and caught at the dress, and dragged in what he supposed to be a woman's body, but was only a bundle of rags and straw, the refuse of some lodging-house bed.

This was a severe disappointment to all in the boat, and we[Pg 459] looked at each other without speaking, for a minute. The Sergeant had a scared look, and said aloud:


"I'm afraid poor Mag's gone. She must have struck the bottom of the arches when she went down, and if she did, all's over and settled. The tide's running fast, too, and we will have hard work to find her."

For half an hour the most diligent search was made for her body, but no traces could be found of it but a bonnet and shawl, which were caught in some floating wood below the bridge.

We left the bridge, and the cab was driven home slowly, after the nearest police station had been notified of the poor girl's death or disappearance. The Sergeant of the Police District said that he would have another search in the morning, and I remained at the station to accompany the police in their visit.

A little after daybreak we were on Waterloo bridge again, and even at that hour a small assemblage had gathered around some object at the Southwark end of the bridge, where we could see the tall helmets of two policemen in the midst of the crowd of carters and market gardeners, who were en route to Covent Garden Market, and had stopped to look upon the body of a woman who had been fished up from the river.

Yes, there lay the body of the girl whose toll to eternity had been paid by her own rash act—stretched out on the cold stones, her garments dripping, her fingers clinched, and her eyes stark wide open. A young woman she was, but oh, how worn! The face was pinched, and the long, silken lashes sunk into the eyebrows.

The day was breaking in the East, but the policemen held their lanterns, which they had not yet extinguished, over the poor, pale features, and the grimy garments, revealing the long, matted, and tangled hair, and the stark, cold body, which had once held an Immortal Soul, but was now all that remained of the gay, merry-hearted, lost girl, who had fully reaped the harvest of vice—the Wages of Sin—called by the Evangelist, Death.

[Pg 460]

Last year, the number of suicides in London amounted to 1,160, and of this number 415 committed self-destruction by drowning. The Thames Watermen fish many a ghastly body from the River, and for each carcass—the result of their terrible trolling, they receive three pounds from the City authorities.


[Pg 461]



V ERY singular is the appearance of Leicester square, where are the resorts and lodgings of the foreign colonists of London. It is the dirtiest and darkest square in the city, with the exception of some of the fields in the outer suburbs. On every side you may behold traces of the foreign element which centres here. The people whom you meet in Leicester square, if you ask them a question, will be sure to answer you in a strange tongue, or else in a strange gibberish of English or Continental patois. There is an acre or two of sickly grass in the middle of the square which is guarded from the footsteps of pedestrians by a rickety and worn iron railing. In the middle of this patch of scanty grass is an equestrian statue of one of the Georges on an iron horse, the nose of which has been broken or has rotted off, and its appearance is in keeping with the buildings that tower all round it. The streets leading to and from the square are filled with foreign restaurants, and they are narrow and from them all issue forth smells such as the olfactories of a traveler encounter in the back slums of Paris or Vienna.

The buildings are shabby, the windows are shabby, and the people sitting at the tables, whom you may see through the dusty windows, rattling dominoes and playing cards at little tables, are shabby. Were it not for the statue in the middle[Pg 462] of the square, it might be taken for the Gross Platz of a Continental town. Houses with strange names rise on every side, having signs in their windows of "Restaurant a la Carte," "Table d'hote a cinq heures," and are passed in quick succession, and the linen-drapers and other shopkeepers in the neighborhood take especial pains to inform all the passers-by that their employees can speak German, French, and Italian, and occasionally Spanish or Portuguese.



The loungers in the square give visible and olfactory demonstration that they are not Cockneys; their tanned skins, long moustachios, military coats, and brigand-like hats, their polite and impressive bows,—all show the Frenchman, the Spaniard, the Polish exile, the Italian revolutionist, and the Greek wine merchant. The mingled fumes of tobacco and garlic, the peddlers who make desperate attempts to sell you copies of the Internationale, Patrie, Journal Pour Rire, and Diritto, all give ample evidence that you are in a strange quarter of London. The lodging-houses here are on the Parisian plan, and are let at five to ten shillings a week to mysterious men, who rise late, and are away all day in the cafés or gaming-houses to come home singing operatic airs at a late hour of the morning. Polish exiles, Italian supernumeraries of the opera, French figurantes of the inferior grades, German musicians, teachers and translators of languages, touters for gambling-dens—all[Pg 463] congregate here. This is their Arcadia—their place of meeting, eating, drinking and sleeping—and for a hundred years past it has been frequented by such parasites.


Here in this very square in one of the houses which form the "Hotel Sabloniere," lived Peter the Great and his boon companion, the Marquis of Carmaerthen; and in this square they have reeled home night after night; the master of all the Russias half-crazy with his potations of strong brandy and red pepper, of which he was passionately fond. Up yonder stairs passed Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, in her powder, hoops, and patches, her train glistening under the glaring lights of the link boys who preceded her sedan chair, to the wedding of John Spencer, first Earl Spencer, and Miss Poyntz—bearing a case of jewels valued at £100,000, and a pair of shoe buckles valued at £30,000, for presentation to the beautiful bride.

The old-fashioned house opposite was the abode of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the one at the corner of Sydney's Alley was the residence of William Hogarth, the bitterest and yet the truest caricaturist of his day. Here nightly came Samuel Johnson with his huge bulk and big walking-stick, to dogmatize with Reynolds, and with him came his toady, Boswell; and here came Goldsmith to read his "Deserted Village" to his coterie of choice spirits—and here Frederick, the "Good Prince of Wales," as he has been called to distinguish him from all the rest of his title, came to die of a bad cold which he caught walking in Kew Gardens in 1751; and here resided John Hunter, in the house now occupied by a humbug keeping a Turkish bath. It is a place of strange, quaint memories of good and brave, base and ignoble men and women in the past; it is now the Alcedama of licensed vice, the festering spot of all London.

It is now a place where wantons expose their shame; where social rottenness, winked at by the authorities, eats at the heart of a people who publish and read books condemning the depravity of Paris; who, in a pharisaical way, talk of the Mabille and the Quartier Breda, and yet in this very square is the "Royal Alhambra Palace," as it is called in the huge colored[Pg 464] posters; and in the daily advertisements in all of the morning and evening papers of the metropolis, you may read such notices as these:

"The Alhambra—This evening at 8 o'clock, 'Pierrot,' the grand ballet, by Mr. Harry Boleno and troupe.

"The Alhambra—At 9 o'clock, the Christy Minstrels, by Riviere.

"The Alhambra—At 10 o'clock, the magnificent spectacular ballet, 'The Spirit of the Deep;' 10:15, Pitteri, the graceful and world-renowned danseuse, in a new grand pas seul; 10:30, 'The Home of the Naiads;' 11:15, grand Spanish ballet, 'Pepita.' 'God Save the Queen' at 11:45. Prices: Promenade, 1s.; stall and balcony, 2s.; gallery, 6d.; reserved seats, 4s.; new tier of private boxes, 2 guineas, 31s. 6d., and 21s. Closes at 12."

It was a rainy, unpleasant night—such a night as is often met with in London—when I first paid a visit to the Alhambra. The streets were deserted, and few persons were out of their houses, and those who were out took to cover in the cabs, which went madly dashing by, or in the busses, with their advertising signs, that were visible as they passed a lamp—the horses steaming and sweating, and the passengers inside grumbling and cursing their luck because of the bad air within and worse weather without.


Nothing in the streets looked pleasant or cheerful, excepting the windows of the gin-shops with their bright brass and metal pumps, and the gaudy placards giving a list of the beverages for sale in the "publics," where men and women of the humbler class were consuming large quantities of beer and spirits. Passing through the Haymarket, I went down Coventry street, and in a few minutes stood before the gorgeous, gilded façade of the Alhambra. The building is about five stories high, painted of a cream-color, with minarets and gilt vanes and turrets in imitation of the manner of Owen Jones. The attempt to copy the Moresco style is rather absurd in the midst of common-place London. Indeed, it would be hard to find a Court of Lions in the building, and those who look for that most beautiful[Pg 465] feature of the real Alhambra will go away disappointed. There is, however, a Court of Female Tigresses in the gallery up stairs which will compensate the curious for the absence of the Court of Lions. Though the streets were deserted, a large number of cabs stood at the front of the building and crowds of people were getting in and getting out of them.

The moon peeped just then from a bank of cloud, its rays breaking over the disfigured statue in the square, and threw a faint dead glare on the flaunting women who filled the passage leading to the Alhambra; the helmeted policemen; the porters in their black caps trimmed with red bands; the noisy, swearing cabmen disputing about their fares; the horses champing and biting, and the beggar boys and match-women who solicited languid swells to purchase their wares. It is the custom to give a penny to the men or boys who eagerly rush to open the door of your cab, and should you neglect them, they will follow until by wearying you they have achieved their object. There was a little hole in the wall, and a counter or desk, behind which was a sharp-looking young man, whose face seemed hard and cynical under the glare of the gas-jet over his head. Handing this man a shilling, I received a huge circular piece of tin, with a hole and letters punched in its surface. This was the ticket of admission, which I surrendered at the door to a big man in a red uniform, who looked like a Life Guardsman, his breast being all covered with service medals, but for what service I could not tell, or where performed.

Passing a wooden barrier, I caught a glimpse of lights, a stage, and legs of ballet-girls—a noise of many voices came by my ears, a number of young ladies smoking cigarettes opened a way for me to pass, and I stood inside of the Alhambra. I found myself in the promenade, which encircled the ground floor of the house, leaving a large space which was railed in for the wives and families of decent people who wanted to hear the music and see the dancing and pantomime. To walk in and around the promenade costs one shilling. To go inside of the railing in the space—which corresponds with the parquette[Pg 466] at Niblo's, only that the whole floor is level and there is no descent here—will cost another shilling.

I saw a bar and a bar-maid before I got actually into the place from whence the stage could be seen; there was a bar and three bar-maids half-way down the promenade, and there was a bar and two bar-maids down before me in the alcove leading to the Canteen, with a corresponding number of bars and bar-maids in the same positions on the other side of the house.

All these bars had splendid bottles, with various fluids in them, arranged with an eye to effect, making it look like a vast apothecary's window, and there were bright brass beer-pumps all in a row, and pewter and silver and metal pots and tankards, and oval glass frames with pies, sandwiches, and all kinds of lunches to satisfy the thirst and appetites of the audience. The promenade was choked with men and women, walking past each other, looking at the stage, drinking at the bars, chaffing each other in a rough way, and laughing loudly. Although the night was stormy without, the revelry was high within.

Perhaps in this audience of three thousand people, who filled the ground floor and galleries, standing and sitting, and eating and drinking, there might have been fifteen hundred women, all well, and many of them fashionably, dressed and gloved. A sergeant of police with me said:

"If there are 1,500 women here to-night, as I believe there are, you may be sure that there are 1,200 women of the town among that number, Sir."

Twelve hundred unfortunate women in one place of amusement—and half a dozen other places like this, but of an inferior class, are open this rainy, unpleasant night, with a like complement of wretched females recklessly passing the hours that intervene before the dens close at midnight. The crash of sixty pieces of fine music falls on the ear, the glare, the gas, the tinsel on the stage, the well-dressed, fine-faced women around cannot shut out my thoughts of the "Legion of the Lost" who are so merry, so thoughtless, so careless of the morrow—deep in the fallacies of sin and despair.

[Pg 467]


The men who are conversing with these women seem to be of a good class, and spend a good deal of money in refreshments and liquor upon their fair, frail acquaintances. These last are not allowed to go inside of the railing on the ground floor alone, but they do not care for that privilege, as there is plenty to drink outside and more of the company of the male gender. Whenever a woman on the stage capers more vigorously, or flings her leg higher than the others, the applause is loud, long, and continued, and pewter and metal pots are dented in the surfaces of the tables that are ranged before each red-cushioned seat.

The comic singers are the favorites of the audience, however, and are always encored with vociferous enthusiasm. These singers get in a place like the Alhambra as much as ten pounds a week, as the proprietors know well the value of their services. The pantomimes are of the very best kind I ever saw; the dancing is, of its kind, good; the orchestra excellent and full in numbers, the acrobatic performances very fine, and the picture at the close of the pantomime is really superb. Yet with all these excellences combined, if the Alhambra and every Music-Hall-Hell like it in London were suddenly scorched up by a fire from Heaven, it would be the most incomparable benefit ever bestowed upon the English metropolis, and a saving grace to thousands of young English men and women—both in body and soul.

And the reason for this is that women are allowed admission at the door on payment of the price, without the escort of a man. Consequently it is, with the exception of the Argyle, and Holborn Casino, the greatest place of infamy in all London. It is convenient, in a central location, and were women not admitted alone the business of the place would break up. The men under twenty-five years of age, who comprise the largest part of the male audience, would not come were these Formosas debarred from admission. The performance—a first-class one—is not heeded. The chief attraction is the women.

And are these women calculated, by their manner, dress or appearance, to shock or warn people by their degradation?[Pg 468] On the contrary they are cheerful, pleasant-looking girls, of quite fair breeding, and of a far better taste in their dress than the honest wives and sweethearts of the mechanics and shopkeepers, who sit in the place of virtue, within the painted railing. These women are satisfied with their lot, and do not repine so long as they have male acquaintances or "friends," as they call them, to give them champagne, moselle, and late suppers of game and native oysters in the Café de l'Europe, or at Barnes's in the Haymarket. Despite the arguments of those who have sought to eradicate the evil, these women, to any great number, never forsake their calling for the life of an honest working-woman. They laugh at such an idea, and will tell you that they could not do without wine, rich food, and costly dresses, even at the fearful price they have given to obtain them.

Besides, there is no field open to them, and suspicion follows every effort for reformation made by the few who have left the life of prostitution to go to hard work or service. They look down upon shop-girls and bar-maids with contempt, and many of them keep servants from the gains of their infamy. Whenever one of these girls happens to notice a stranger who does not seem to know the place, she will not hesitate to walk up to him, take his arm, and ask him: "Come, won't you give me my liquor?"

Many of these women have had no education whatever; still they manage to conceal the fact as much as possible, while others will tell you that they came originally from the workhouse, where they were sent as children, and being thrown on the streets when grown up, had no means of making a living but that which they were compelled to adopt. I spoke to one lady-like girl who seemed to be rather abstracted, and asked her if she were not tired of her present life, and anxious to leave it.

"Tired of my life? You may believe it that I am; but what of that. No one would take me by the hand after leaving this life. I am not such a fool as to jump from the frying pan into the fire. I get tight about twice a week, and then I come here and talk and drink more, and that serves to pass[Pg 469] away the time. My friend is in Paris, and he sends me money when I want it. My mother is dead and my father is in America. I don't know where, and I don't care much, for he never bothered himself about me. Are you going to treat?"

I saw this girl walk up to the bar ten minutes after, pushing her way through the crowd, and saw her toss off nearly half a pint of raw gin, or "gin neat," as it is called here, without winking. Such is life. The detective told me that the girl had been one of the flashiest and best-dressed women who visited the Alhambra until a few months before, when she began drinking, and rapidly descended, when she had to pawn all her jewelry.


The songs sung in the Alhambra are not quite as low as those heard in some of the music-halls, and chiefly derive their short popularity from the fact that there is a comic vein in each one. Sentimental songs are not so popular, and do not receive so many encores as the comic ones. A man came on the stage, dressed in the exaggerated costume of a Pall Mall lounger, who sang a song, of which the following is a verse, with a very affected voice and lisp, keeping his body bent in a painful position the while:


Now evewy sumwah's day
I always pass my time away;
Arm in arm with fwiends I go,
And stwoll awound sweet Wotten Wow;
For that's the place, none can deny,
To see blooming faces and laughing eye;
And if your hawts with love would glow,
Why, patwonize sweet Wotten Wow.


So come young gents and dont be slow,
But stylish dwess and each day go,
And view the beauties to and fwo,
Who dwive and wide wound Wotten Wow.

The chief merit in the singing of this song to the audience—was the affected lisp and farcical airs of the singer, who did his best to imitate the swells who lean over the railings in Rotten Row, when that fashionable drive is crowded with equestrians[Pg 470] and foot passengers in the regular London season. The mob liked the satire on the aristocrats and relished all the local hits of the speech and the dress of the ideal do-nothing. Something of a more grotesque nature, and more broadly funny, which was cheered to the echo, was a nonsensical song called the "Royal Beast Show," that seemed to please the men and women in the audience. This song was sung by a man in a blood-red scarf, a pea-green body coat, and green glass goggles. The costume was indicative of nothing under heaven or earth that I ever saw before, but the song was exactly suited to the comprehension of the people, as their shouts of laughter testified:


Come, stand aside, good people all, and hear vot I've got to say,
But let the little dears come hup, wot's going for to pay.
At all the coorts in Europe, we are reckoned quite the go:
Then pay yer sixpences, and see the Royal Wild Beast Show.


The cammomiles, the crockodiles, and all that you could wish;
The mice and rats, and tabby cats, and other kinds of fish;
A dozen sphinxes hupside down and standing hin a row;
Hits only sixpence heach to see the Royal Wild Beast Show.

The first one is the Kangaroo, you ought to see him jump;
The next one is the Ippopotymus, you ought to see 'is hump;
The third one is the Halligator, and he's such a one to crow,
He wakes hus hevery morning in the Royal Wild Beast Show.

The Donkey in the corner, with the Tiger hon 'is harm,
Comes from Hass-iriya, vere once his father kept a farm;
That Billy-Goat that's dressed in Pink and valking rayther slow,
He's wery Horn-imental in a Royal Wild Beast show.

The cammomiles, &c.

After these choice ballads had been sung, there was a ballet in which about fifty young ladies capered and pranced in a Bower of Angels, with a lot of dolphins, just like dolphins and angels in their mutual festivities in the other world: and then the detective who accompanied me, said:

"Would you like to see the Canteen? That's a werry 'igh old game is the Canteen; sort of priveet like."

[Pg 471]




The Canteen of the Alhambra is situated on the lower floor of the building, under the stage, and has a dark entrance through a door which is supported on swinging hinges. The descent is by a spiral flight of stone steps, and on going through this door, the stranger receives the idea that he is going behind the scenes, which is a great mistake. The proprietors have made the entrance as dark and mysterious as possible, in order to throw a kind of greenroom air about it, which captivates simple people, and induces them to spend more money than they would otherwise. It is, in fact (this Canteen), nothing more than a subterranean bar-room, where men treat to Champagne wine and Moselle cup, the ballet-girls who come down, wrapped in travelling-cloaks; and after each ballet is concluded, flirt, drink, and make eligible acquaintances. The bar is in the form of a half circle, and two very largely framed women were behind it this night, serving[Pg 472] the customers, who sit around on wooden benches. The ceiling is supported by rude posts, and everything is as uncouth as possible; and this gives it an additional charm to countrymen. They feel that they are doing something sinful, something indiscreet, which they would not like to have their wives or relations hear of, and, with the natural perversity of human nature, it is enjoyable to a corresponding degree. The waiters who bring the drinks and cigars from the bar, wear black dress-coats and red plush waist coats.

When I descended to the Canteen, the ballet was still on above us, and I could hear the tramping of the feet of the dancers as they bounded to and fro on the stage boards over my head. There were no ballet girls in the Canteen, but in a few minutes the strains of the dance music died away and down came the coryphees, trooping by twos and threes, their faces painted and chalked, and their white slippers and tights peeping out from the bottoms of the gray waterproof cloaks which they wore. They took their seats in the room on the wooden benches, and it was not long until each ballet girl found her male affinity, and of course the male affinity treated her to whatever the dear creature called for—however expensive. In such a moment, when these angels in tissue condescend to talk to mortals, who could think of expense.

There were a number of soldiers in the room, wearing the uniforms of different regiments, chiefly of the Household troops, with here and there a line private in buff and blue; a rifleman in dark green, or an artilleryman, with his gorgeous red facings and trimmings. But the angels of the ballet never wasted their time on such low people as common soldiers. Their game was much higher, and if they could not get a drink from an officer holding her Majesty's commission, they were content with stray Americans, who have a reputation for reckless liberality. In fact, Americans rank above par in the Canteen market, and are received with due honor.


I saw one old gentleman, fully six feet high, with a venerable face and white whiskers, evidently of a respectable position in society, with his arm around the chalked neck of a girl of[Pg 473] fifteen, whose light brown curls fell in masses over her shoulders, and, while he talked with her, he supplied her quickly-emptied glass with a sparkling wine. The detective said, in explanation of the scene, to me:



"You see, sir, these gals as is down here in the Canteen only gets ten to sixteen shillin' a week for their night's work, and that isn't much. They is only the figurantys, and can't dance a bit; but they gets a bad fashion from the swells who go behind the scenes a drinkin' champagne and sich like, and that fashion leads them to wuss nor hannything that you'll see 'ere. They comes down here and drinks between the balley, and then goes hup on to the stage and dances again, and comes down hagain after the next balley, and by the time the Alhambra closes they are so blessed tight that they are ready for hanythink. I means, of course, the gals as is innocent yet; but the old hands are werry knowin' cards, so they is, bless you."

"That little gal as is just now a takin' that gentleman's address is a werry downy gal, she is. They calls her the 'Daisy,' because she has a fondness for bokays, and she is hup to all sorts of games. She 'ad some kind of a heddykation, when she was a little gal, and I thinks she was a governess or sich like once, and went to the dogs through somebody's fault; and she writes a beautiful hand, she does, and her little game is to send letters to strangers who visit London for the first time and don't know what to do with their money, and full of affekshun and such gammon—and tells them, in the writin' as 'ow she[Pg 474] seed better days and axes their parding for givin' so much trouble—and 'opes they won't think the wuss of her for such freedom or liberty; and then she gets a few pun from the spooney, and she goes on a habsolutely hawful drunk for a few days and doesn't come to the rehearsal—and when the money is all spent she writes more letters and 'umbugs some other spoon. Oh, she is werry deep, is the 'Daisy.'"

The "Tulip," the other young girl, according to the story of the policeman, was famous for her aptitude in swearing and drinking "Stout"; otherwise there was nothing of special interest in her character, and her face, though a pretty one, was strongly marked with lines of dissipation. By the time that I was ready to leave the Canteen, having seen all that was worth seeing in the den (for it is a den, and nothing else) which has been the cause of many a promising youth's ruin, it was nearly eleven o'clock.


We paid another shilling to go up in the "Gallery," where there is not the slightest disguise in the conduct of the females who throng the place. Back of the gallery, in the corridors, where the performance can be seen over the heads of the men who stand in front, are ranged a number of bars, and at each end of this place, which forms a kind of saloon, small tables with marble tops. At these tables a number of men and women sat and drank and laughed, and told each other anecdotes more pointed than polished in their application. The clamor and the smoke made the place unbearable, and the strains of music from the orchestra, playing Weber's "Last Waltz," filled the vast building with its circular galleries, that were heaped one upon another, to the ceiling. Up in the highest gallery of all, where the admittance is only sixpence, the riff-raff were collected. When a woman goes to the six-penny gallery in the Alhambra she is indeed lost beyond all hope of rescue.

I came down disgusted, and on going below stairs to the first tier I found there a kid glove, fan, and bouquet stand. It is the fashion for the young men of this pious city of London, who have more money than brains, when they visit the Alhambra,[Pg 475] to buy kid gloves or fans for the unfortunates who throng the place. Quite a trade is done in this way, as some of the swells are not satisfied, when intoxicated, unless they can prevail upon their feminine friends to accept of a slight trifle of their esteem in the shape of a dozen pairs of fine kids in a gilt box. The man at the glove stand told me that business in the season—when people came home from the Continent—was very brisk, and he said that in one night he had sold as many as nineteen dozen kids to be presented to the Formosas of the place.

The detective said to me as we went down stairs: "Suppose we go to the Argyle, in the 'Aymarket, and then finish with the Casino and Barnes's; they'll be very lively just now, I warrant ye, and the fun grows furious near midnight." I assented to this proposal, and we took a cab and went to the Argyle Rooms. The cabby put his tongue in his cheek when I said "Argyle Rooms," and drove us there. I gave him eighteen pence, and he desired to know if I didn't want to borrow the price of admission, because I refused to give him half a crown for a ride of a thousand feet.


[Pg 476]



I T is a quarter past eleven o'clock and the Haymarket is full of people—men and women jostling each other, many of both sexes being intoxicated; and beggars solicit us at every crossing, doffing their greasy caps and thrusting their dirty paws under our noses in their persistency. The cafes are overflowing with Gauls from across the channel, and when the crowds become too thick to leave the sidewalks passable, the policemen, who are in great numbers here, have to interfere to quell rows every few minutes. They clear the streets in a mild, civil way, very different from the manner of the New York police in like contingencies.

A stranger cannot help being astonished at the vast, almost incalculable, number of unfortunate women who haunt the London streets in this quarter as the hour of midnight approaches. There must be a great rottenness in Denmark where such a state of things can exist, and exist without any surprise on the part of those who witness such scenes nightly. I paid a shilling to enter the Argyle Rooms, and received a tin check, which was given up at the door, as in the Alhambra. The Argyle has not such high architectural pretensions as the Alhambra, but the class of visitors are better in the sense of dress and position. I entered through a side door, and found myself in a carpeted room, handsomely and tastefully furnished and decorated.

[Pg 477]


The saloon is nearly as large as Irving Hall, in New York, but lit up in a splendid manner with handsome chandeliers, which depend from the lofty ceiling, the gas jets burning in a deep glow through the shining metal stalactites that ornament the chandeliers. A splendid band of fifty instruments is stationed in the gallery at the further end of the room, and the music is of the best kind. The leader is attired in full evening dress, as is also every fiddler in the band, and the wave of the chef's baton is as graceful as that of Julien, when he was in his prime. Women, dressed in costly silks and satins and velvets, the majority of them wearing rich jewels and gold ornaments, are lounging on the plush sofas in a free and easy way, conversing with men whose dress betoken that they are in respectable society. A number of these are in full evening dress, wearing their overcoats, and a few of them have come from the clubs, a few from dinner parties, and a greater number from the theatres or opera.

They are not ashamed to be seen here by their acquaintances—far from it; they think this is a nice and clever thing to do, and, as no virtuous woman ever enters this place, there is no danger of meeting those who own a sisterly or still dearer tie, and who might cause a blush to redden the cheeks of these charming young men. Across the lower end of the room an iron railing is stretched, and this keeps the vulgar herd from mingling with the elite of the abandoned women who frequent the Argyle. Three-fourths of the ground space is devoted to dancing, and inside this railing sets are formed at a signal from the band above.

The charge for admission below, where I stand with the detective surveying this strange scene, is but a shilling, while the entrance fee to the gallery is two shillings, and this admits, as I am told by a servant, to all the privileges of the place whatever they may be. Even in vice the "horrid spirit of caste" prevails. It is chiefly clerks and tradesmen who are dancing in the shilling place, and at the end of each dance, be it waltz or quadrille, the man who has danced is expected to refresh his partner with a copious draught of beer, or a glass of plain gin.[Pg 478] These women all take their gin without water, and smoke cigarettes if some one will pay for them. Inside the railing it is different.

The bars here are furnished with great splendor, and the calls for champagne are incessant. The women call champagne "fizz," and ale "swill." All around the room cushioned seats or benches are placed so that those who have done dancing may rest themselves and drink. There are liquor counters in every corner of the room, and a good business is done, the bar-maids being kept actively employed all the time while the music is playing. Upstairs there is another gallery and a fine bar, and here the really fast women congregate, to look over the balconies, but never condescending to mix among the vulgar dancers, excepting when their reason is gone through intoxication. These women all carry expensive fans, and their trains are as long as the train of a Countess in a reception at St. James's. There is a handsomely fitted up alcove to the right of the bar, and this alcove is ornamented with panels, on which are painted such pictures as "Europa and the Bull," "Leda," "Bacchus and Silenus;" and here are a number of women and men with Venetian goblets foaming full of champagne before them. Standing at the entrance to the alcove, is a stout, florid-faced woman, vulgar in appearance, with incipient moustachios at the corners of her lips. She is covered with jewelry, and her fingers, fat, red, and unshapely, glitter with diamonds.

This is the famous "Kate Hamilton," who was at one time the reigning beauty of her class, and has now degenerated into a vile pander. She is surrounded by a cluster of girls, and they are all in an animated discussion with her. The detective introduces me to this famous, or rather infamous, Messalina, and her first question is, "Will you stand some 'Sham?'" The next is to make inquiry about a number of New York politicians and sporting men who have patronized her den, somewhere in the Haymarket, while doing the foreign tour. She is most business-like and brief, this fetid old wretch, and has a speaking acquaintance with every man in the saloon.

[Pg 479]


While we are standing looking at her and her friends, the room is darkened, the gas being almost extinguished, and a chemical, light-colored flame irradiates the room like a twilight at sea, and the entire female population rush below to join in the last, wild, mad shadow-dance of the night. Around and around they go in each other's arms, whirling in the dim, uncertain, graveyard light, these unclean things of the darkness, shouting and shrieking, totally lost to shame—their gestures wanton as the movements of an Egyptian Almee and mad as the capers of a dancing dervish. Then the hall is darkened, the band ceases playing, the waiters finish the remains of the uncorked champagne bottles, the women dash madly down the carpeted stairs and into the streets with their male companions, and are whirled away with the cabs, which wait in long rows before the entrance of the Argyle, to the purlieus of Pimlico and the sensual shades of St. John's Wood, at Brompton.

The night has closed, a full English moon floats silently in the heavens, white snowy powder hangs over our heads like a film of lace—the clock-tower at Westminster Palace booms out the hour of midnight over the dark surface of the Thames, and we escape from the bustle of that vile dancing hall with gladness.

"Now," said my conductor, "let's go down in the Haymarket to Barnes's, and look at that for a few minutes, and then we will go to the Casino, in the Holborn, for a finish, if you please, sir."

Down through Coventry street, past the cafés again, which are preparing to close, and now we are in the Haymarket, one of the worst quarters of London. This street is wide, beginning at Coventry street and running down for a distance of about 1,400 feet to the "bottom," ending at the line where Pall Mall begins. They always say the "bottom" or "top" of a street in London, never "east" or "west." If there be a place in London that is deserving of notice, it is the Haymarket. Hundreds of years ago, the washerwomen of the village of Charing, just below us, and now one of the great business centres of London, used to bring their dirty linen here[Pg 480] to cleanse it, and then dry it on the green fields in the Haymarket.

The green fields of the Haymarket have long ago been covered over with theatres, opera-houses and palatial shops, and now not all the washerwomen in England could cleanse the immoral sewage that streams through the Haymarket night after night—through the snows of winter, the heated nights of July, and August, and the fragrance of May. Here, at this chemist's door, formerly a tennis court, Charles II., his brother, the Duke of York, Sedley, Rochester, and the rest of the wild, reckless lot, used to come to play their favorite game; and here sat Mistress Gwynne, Portsmouth, Mrs. Hyde, Louise de Queroailles, Frances Stewart, and other dissolute beauties of the merry monarch's court, applauding the feats of skill performed by their lovers. In the theatre formerly standing on the site of the present Haymarket Theatre, and opposite to Her Majesty's Opera House, with its long, drab colonnades and dark shops imbedded in the arcades, Foote and glorious Garrick woke the passions of all who were intellectual and noble in the Addisonian age of England.

Here was the public house kept by Broughton, the champion of England, who has been forever immortalized by Hogarth—just off Cockspur street; and here was his swinging sign-board, having a portrait of himself, battered and bruised, in a cocked hat and wig, with the legend on the sign-board—

"Hic Victor Cĉstus artemque repono."

Think of a modern prize buffer attempting to quote from the classics. Cibber wrote a show-bill for Broughton once, which I reproduce, as a specimen of advertising skill:

"At The New Theatre

"In the Haymarket, on Wednesday. The 29th of This Instant April,

"The Beauty of the Science of Defence will be shown in a Trial of Skill between the following Masters, viz., Whereas, there was a battle fought on the 18th of March last, between[Pg 481] Mr. Johnson, from Yorkshire, and Mr. Sherlock, from Ireland, in which engagement they came so near as to throw each other down. Since that rough battle the said Sherlock has challenged Johnson to fight him, strapt down to the stage, for twenty pounds; to which the said Johnson has agreed; and they are to meet at the time and place above mentioned, and fight in the following manner, viz., to have their left feet strapt down to the stage, within reach of each other's right leg; and the most bleeding wounds to decide the wager. N.B.—The undaunted young James, who is thought the bravest of his age in the manly art of boxing, fights himself the stout-hearted George Gray for ten pounds, who values himself for fighting at Tottenham Court. Attendance to be given at ten, and the Masters mount at twelve. Cudgel-playing and boxing to divert the gentlemen until the battle begins.

"N.B.—Frenchmen are requested to bring smelling bottles."

Think only of these wigged nobles and their clients, the boxers, in knee-breeches and wigs, going to a battle, and think of the Frenchmen who were compelled to bring smelling-bottles to keep their stomachs in order, and who will not say that even in prize-fighting the Nineteenth century has brought progress, as in every other scientific matter?


We are now at Barnes's, a famous night house, or, rather, an infamous night house, in the Haymarket. When the dancing places and music-halls of the metropolis close, this door remains open to catch all stray night birds who can find no other resting place. The place is an ordinary drinking saloon, with a confectionery and pastry counter, and the attendants are five or six over-dressed young ladies, all of whom have their hair dyed of a light color, and are very free and chatty in their manner. These girls are well supplied with jewelry and lockets. Their salary is not large enough to furnish them with the trinkets, as they only get one pound five shillings a week; yet they manage to dress expensively, and Champagne is so common to their palates that they have become indifferent to it and it absolutely palls upon them. Yet there is a percent[Pg 482]age on every bottle that is consumed here, and consequently they do their best to sell Moet & Chandon at ten shillings a bottle to the customers—and will even drink with them.



This is a great place for rump-steaks and native oysters—late at night, and a good business is done here in those articles of food. The oysters are small, black, and have a bitter, copperish taste. A New Yorker, used to Sounds and East Rivers, would leave them in disgust; but Englishmen, whose throats are parched with the liquors they get at the Argyle and in the Haymarket, prefer them to the most luscious Saddle Rocks. There is a large screen in the center of the room, the bar glitters with costly mirrors, and behind the screen are a number of small boxes partitioned off, and having red plush seats. In these are several noisy women, inflamed with liquor, eating and drinking and hallooing at their male companions. One girl, in a black silk dress, with her hair hanging down in disorder, is crying drunk at one of the tables, and has just spilled a bottle of wine over her handsome dress. She is cursing the waiter, who is also drunk, with much earnestness of purpose, and as soon as she sees the detective she halloos at him in a harsh voice:

[Pg 483]


"I say, Bobby, you don't want me, do you?" I 'avent done nothink, although I wos wonst in Newgate for taking a swell's watch, which he guv to me for my wedding present, as was just four year ago, come Micklemas Goose. I wish I could throw meself in the Thames, but I 'aven't got the 'art—

"'Hoh, my 'art is in the 'Ighlands
A follerin the vild roe.
My 'art is in the 'Ighlands,
Wheresomdever I—go—I go."

"Ah! that's a rum customer," said the policeman; "she's fly to heverythink. Now, hif that gal ain't watched this night, she is jest as likely to go to London Bridge and throw her blessed body hoff into the dirty water as not. They always goes to Lunnun Bridge when they want to make way with themselves—it's so lively like."

"Now," said the policeman, "I would hadvise you to make the finish at the 'Casino,' in the 'Olborn, afore you go to your hotel, sir, and then you may say you've seen the best of the bad places of Lunnun. The Casino is hopen till one o'clock to-night, I think, and we'll just be in time for the best dance."

We took a cab again, which dashed up Coventry street, through Cranbourne street, into Long acre, and up Drury Lane, past the old theatre of that name, and in a few minutes we descended in the wide, open space of the Holborn, before the entrance of the Casino, the fashionable dance-house of London. The street was lined with cabs, and policemen were thick in the vicinity of the entrance, ordering the men and women just coming out to pass on, and keep the street clear, a duty which gained for them a great deal of abuse from the intoxicated women, who did not want to pass on by any means. The entrance to this place is through a gaudy, gilded vestibule and down a descent of four or five steps to a spacious marble floor, which was covered with dancers. The whole interior was gilded, gold leaf and white predominating above all other colors.

The band, as at the other places of evil resort, was placed in[Pg 484] the farthest end gallery, and was an excellent one. The leader wore white kids and the musicians white vests, and the crash of the instruments was almost deafening, filling the large space with a wild and not unpleasing harmony. Attendants in evening dress were on the floor, making up sets and soliciting the habitues of the place to dance with the female partners, which were easily found for them. A high balcony ran all round the hall, which is 100 feet by 75 in dimension, and in the corners of the saloon, up and down stairs, were cafés and refreshment bars, which were crowded with customers. The entrance to this place is only one shilling, and the class of visitors is of a superior kind to those who go to any other dance-house in London.

The saloon was really a magnificent one, rich and tasteful in its decoration, and the women were well and neatly dressed, and very quiet and well-behaved in their manner. Every woman wore nice gloves, high-heeled boots, and all of them had the lace frill or ruff now prevalent in London around their necks. They also wore charms and lockets and gold watches, and every one was attended by a cavalier. The men were smoking cigars and flirting, and a number of foreigners were present and danced incessantly, just as they would at the Mabille or any Continental garden. In fact, this is the only place in London, with the exception of Cremorne Gardens, that in any way approaches the mad gaiety of the Mabille.

Still, there is a certain English decorum observed here, and any girl who would get drunk or lift her skirts too high would be expelled instantly by the master of ceremonies, assisted by the policemen who are to be found scattered all over the place. Some of the girls will go up and ask for partners to dance with them, and then, if the latter wish to give them liquor,—well and good, but they will not solicit it, because these women affect the fashionable lady as much as their limited resources will allow.


They are generally the mistresses of men of leisure, and when the season is at its height a great number of men about town may be seen here, as spectators, who come[Pg 485] from the clubs or the Houses of Parliament, bored by the ennui of the reading rooms at one place, or the prosy speeches of members of the other. Some of the men dance with cigars in their mouths, and whirl around in such a wild manner as to cause collision with the other couples. Occasionally you will see two girls waltzing, and men who have sat too long at the dinner-table will, once in an evening, get up together and dance a "stag dance." But this is not encouraged by the master of ceremonies, as the dancing of a pair of male bipeds is not calculated to help the business of the place, and it is instantly suppressed, amid cheers and laughter.

The music strikes up for the last gallop, and there is a rush for partners; the balconies and alcoves and luxurious seats and marble tables are deserted, and in a moment everything is in a wild hurly-burly and a confusion and uproar; men and women galloping and bounding and yelling to the right, and to the left, and as the last crash of the big drum beats on the ear the passages and doorways are thronged with the dancers, every man crying for a cab to take himself and partner somewhere, perhaps they care not where—it is no matter; and now the place is in darkness, and the policemen having seen the last of the women leave the doorway, begin their patrol duty, which will last until day breaks and the stars fall from the London sky, telling them that they are relieved from their night's watch.

The detective shakes hand with and leaves me, he to go eastward to Temple Bar, and I to bed in a remote quarter of the great Babylon, whose noises and turmoil are now hushed into silence, excepting where a solitary street-walker, famishing from hunger, or a drunken pedestrian bars the way, and makes the night resound with insane shouts.

[Pg 486]



T HE best expression of Protestant Ecclesiastical art in England, and perhaps in the world, is manifested in St. Paul's Cathedral, London. It is a stupendous temple rather than a church, and the religious effect is lost in the interior by the number of tombs erected to admirals, generals, colonels, and other military and naval heroes.

When Nelson ordered the decks of the Victory cleared for action at Trafalgar, he cried out to his lieutenant, Hardy:

"Now for a peerage or Westminster Abbey."

But Nelson lies in St. Paul's, and the tomb of England's greatest soldier—Wellington, is quite near his, under the same lofty nave. All the great Cathedrals and Abbies of England were built before the Reformation, and, consequently, St. Paul's is the best and truest proof of Protestant art in England.


The yearly revenues of this Cathedral are £23,422. This does not include the salaries of the Bishop of London, the Dean of St. Paul's, four Canons, a Precentor, a Chancellor, Treasurer, Archdeacon of London, Archdeacon of Middlesex, 29 Canons who do nothing but draw their salaries, a Divinity Lecturer, a Sub-Dean, 12 Minor Canons, among whom are a Succentor, Sacrist, Gospeller, Epistolar, Librarian, Almoner, and Warden, a Commissary, a Registrar and Chapter Clerk, a Deputy Registrar, a Receiver and Steward, six Vicars, a Choral, and an Organist; five Bishops' Chaplains, an Examining Chaplain, a Chan[Pg 487]cellor of the Diocese, a Secretary to the Bishop of London, and a Registrar to the Bishop of London at the Cathedral. Altogether about eighty ecclesiastics who receive salaries from the Cathedral, besides a swarm of vergers, choristers, and servants of all kinds the salaries of whom amount to at least £50,000 a year.



Sir Christopher Wren was the architect of St. Paul's, and the first stone of the new Cathedral was laid on the site of the old St. Paul's (which had been destroyed by fire in 1666), in June 1671, and thirty-nine years afterward, the last stone was laid at the top of the lantern in 1710, by the son of Sir Christopher Wren, who had succeeded his father as the architect.

As St. Peter's at Rome is considered to be the chief temple of Catholic Christendom, so is St. Paul's entitled to hold the first place in Protestant Christendom. The whole expense of rebuild[Pg 488]ing St. Paul's was £736,752 2s. 3d. for the Cathedral, and £11,202 0s. 6d. for the stone wall and railings around the Cathedral. The architect received a beggarly £200 a year during its construction, for his services. The same architect afterwards designed fifty churches to take the place of those burnt down in the Great Fire, and they are all standing to-day, I believe.

The dimensions of St. Paul's as compared with St. Peter's at Rome, are as follows:

St. Paul's. St. Peter's.
Feet. Feet.
Length within 500 669
Breadth at entrance 100 226
Front without 180 395
Breadth at cross 223 442
Cupola clear 108 139
Cupola and lantern high 330 432
Church high 110 146
Pillars in front 40 91
Superficial area 84,025 227,069

The diameter of the gilt ball is 6 feet 2 inches; the weight 5,600 lbs., and will contain eight persons; the weight of the cross is 3,360 lbs.

The ground on which the present Cathedral stands has, from time immemorial, been sacred to Divine Worship. There was a Christian church here as early as the Second century, built, as it is supposed, by the Romans, which was destroyed during the persecutions of Diocletian, and again rebuilt, and in the Sixth century it was desecrated by the Pagan Saxons, who celebrated their Heathenish mysteries in the church.

It was afterwards richly endowed with lordships by Athelstan, Edgar, Ethelred, Canute, and Edward the Confessor. The Norman barons, when they came, made a raid on the property of the church as they did upon everything they saw in England, and the Saxon priests, half frightened to death by such violence, had their property returned them by Duke William, who gave it a charter on his coronation day, cursing all those who should molest the property of St. Paul's, and blessing those who should augment its revenues.

[Pg 489]

The enumeration of the jewels, and precious stones, and gold and silver ornaments presented to St. Paul's by its various pious benefactors, takes up twenty-eight pages of Dugdale's Monasticon.

The dimensions of Old St. Paul's in the year 1315 were:

Length 690
Breadth 130
Height of nave 102
Length of nave 150

The height of the gilt ball on the top of the dome, (which was large enough to hold ten bushels of corn inside) from the ground, was 520 feet and it supported a cross, which made the entire height to the top of the cross, 534 feet. The area occupied by the edifice of Old St. Paul's was three and a half acres, one and one-half rood and 6 perches. The walls of the present Cathedral are 1,500 feet in circuit, and enclose five-eighths of an acre, or about one-fifth of the space of the old St. Paul's. In fine, the present Cathedral is in every way inferior to the old one, and in some places it is very tawdy in decoration, while the Old St. Paul's was in many respects a finer cathedral than St. Peter's, and twenty feet deeper.


In 1561 the steeple of Old St. Paul's was burnt down, a few years after Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne, and it was subsequently decided to rebuild the Cathedral, and Inigo Jones, a far superior architect to Wren, was chosen for the task. In 1633, Archbishop Laud laid the first stone of Inigo Jones's Cathedral, which was destroyed by fire in 1666. In 1643 the building was finished at an expense of £100,000. This Cathedral was architecturally and in every way superior to that built afterward by Wren, but was as much inferior to the old Cathedral of the Middle Ages, which Wren sought to improve upon.

It is believed that modern European Freemasonry was first founded among the workmen who were employed in rebuilding St. Paul's, from the fact of a number of the stone masons meeting together during the work in a social fashion, and from[Pg 490] this casual association it is stated that the Lodge of Antiquity, of which Sir Christopher Wren was Master, originated, the occasion being the laying of the highest or lantern stone of the Cathedral in 1710—and it is stated that from this Lodge of Antiquity all the other Lodges of modern Europe have sprung.

The Cathedral contains monuments to Nelson, who is buried in a wooden coffin taken from the mainmast of the French Admiral's ship captured at the battle of the Nile the very same ship in which the boy Casabianca, the Admiral's son, "stood on the burning deck, whence all but him had fled." Nelson lies close to Wellington, and other illustrious men. His coffin is enclosed in a sarcophagus made by order of Cardinal Wolsey for Henry VIII.

Wellington is buried in the crypt of the Cathedral, in a sarcophagus made of Cornish porphyry, and near him is his old subordinate, the Irish Sir Thomas Picton, who commanded the Fighting Fifth Division at Waterloo. Queen Anne, who used to come to St. Paul's in great state and procession to thank God for the victories won for her by the Duke of Marlborough, and whom she afterwards betrayed—has a bronze statue erected in the pediment of the Cathedral.

Besides these worthies, the tombs of Collingwood, Nelson's friend, Wren, Rennie, the builder of London Bridge, and Mylne, of Waterloo Bridge, Dr. Samuel Johnson, who expected to be buried in Westminster Abbey, and was disappointed, like many others, Sir William Jones, Sir Astley Cooper, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Turner, the greatest colorist England has ever produced, Fuseli, Barry, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Opie, West and other famous painters, John, of Gaunt, Vandyke, Dr. Donne, Sir C. Hatton, Dean Colet, founder of St. Paul's School, and Sir Nicholas Bacon are buried in the crypt under St. Faith's—the parish church of St. Paul's—which is quite contiguous to the latter.

There are monuments to Bishop Heber, Lord Cornwallis, Nelson, Reynolds, Johnson, Sir John Moore, Elliott, who defended Gibraltar, Lord Howe, Rodney, Ponsonby, Admiral Dundas, and a large number beside of their country's defenders in the Cathedral.

[Pg 491]


To speak plainly the interior does not look like a church of God at all. It is simply a huge Pantheon, with monumental effigies, and slabs indicating the virtues, heroism, gallantry and acts in battle of innumerable soldiers and sailors who have fought for Britain in times gone by. The vast Rotunda and the gigantic Dome do not give the idea of a church, and the pillars and cornices have little in their aspect to make a spectator feel that he stands in the presence of the Almighty.

Yet the monuments and the vastness of the Cathedral are worthy of inspection, though the exterior of the Cathedral is far more imposing than the interior, owing to the fact that the real height of the walls of the body of the edifice is marked by a double row of pillars, which are ranged on top of each other, giving to the spectator an impression that the Cathedral walls to the roof, exclusive of the dome and cupola, are twice as high as they are in reality.

The following are the charges to see the different places in the Cathedral:—to the body of the church, 2d.; to the Whispering Gallery and the outside galleries around the dome, 6d.; to the Library, the Model Room, the Geometrical Staircase in the south turret, and the Great Bell, which weighs 12,000 pounds, 1s.; to the Ball at the top, 1s. 6d.; to the clock, 2d., and to the vaults 1s., in all 4s. 4d. from each visitor; which is nothing less than a downright robbery. This is playing Barnum with a vengeance.

It was the great bell of St. Paul's which a soldier on the ramparts at Windsor, twenty miles away, heard striking thirteen strokes one night, instead of twelve. He was tried for sleeping on his post, found guilty, and sentenced to death, and would have suffered had it not been for his stout heart, and his persistent assertion that he heard the bell strike thirteen instead of twelve strokes. It was proved that the bell did strike thirteen on the night in question, by the mistake of the ringer, and thus the soldier was exonerated.

It was for this same bell that Henry VIII. and a dissolute nobleman named Partridge, rattled the dice one night; and finally Henry lost the stake. Partridge having won, died in the same[Pg 492] year in an unfortunate manner, just before he had made up his impious mind to have the bell melted down. This was looked upon as a judgment of God, for in those days judgments of God were of common occurrence.

The grandest sight ever seen under the dome of St. Paul's was the funeral of Nelson, which took place January 9, 1806. The body was brought through the streets from Whitehall Stairs, with the King, Lord Mayor, the Lords of the Admiralty, the Princes of the Blood, the nobles, prelates and civic companies following, through densely packed streets, which were almost impassable, for all England was there in heart, if not in body. The bands played the "Dead March in Saul" during the afternoon, and minute guns were fired from the Tower and along the wharves as the body passed. Hardy, Nelson's post-captain, and forty-eight sailors, who had seen the hero die, surrounded the corpse, and when the body was taken from the hearse into the vast Cathedral, a clear space was formed amid all that great sea of faces by the Highland soldiers of Abercromby, who had been with Nelson in Egypt and at Aboukir. Above was the immense dome, and from its dark and impenetrable depths depended a huge octagonal lantern, encircled by innumerable lamps.

Then came the words from the lips of the prelate who officiated:

"I am the Resurrection and the Life, and he who believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he rise again," the mighty organ bursting forth—and out of all that vast multitude went forth a great, tremendous sob as the body was lowered into the grave enshrouded by the oak which came from the enemies' ship, and Nelson's flag, which he had borne at his masthead in victory so often was also about to be lowered, when suddenly the forty-eight sailors of his vessel, some of whom had carried his lifeless body from the deck to the cockpit—as if moved by one impulse, closed around the grave, rent the flag in pieces, each man securing a piece of the sacred emblem upon his person, as a testament of the greatest hero England ever saw, or ever will see again.

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T HERE can be no doubt but that London is a city much given to amusement, and I question if there can be found another city which spends more money and with a better grace, to support music and the drama.

It is very true that in a great degree the cheap amusement halls of London are of the very lowest kind to be found anywhere, but then the reader must understand that the greater number of theatre going and music-loving people never enter these haunts, which have won so much infamy among strangers. I refer, of course, to such places as the Argyle, the Alhambra, Cremorne, the Casino, and other resorts of the kind.

I think that the Londoners as compared with the Parisians, give a great deal more money for the amusements which they attend than the Parisians do for theirs.

Lately the French government has been compelled to build for the delectation of the Parisians, a splendid opera house, and besides the cost of this structure, which was two million of dollars, the government of France pays the following annual subventions or donations for opera alone: to the Italian Opera 120,000 francs, French Opera 900,000 francs and 250,000 francs to the Opera Comique, beside 200,000 francs annually to the Conservatoire, where music is taught.

In London, however, the support of such places is volun[Pg 494]tary, and no state interference is dreamed of, save that of the Lord Chamberlain who is a sort of censor, and whose duty is chiefly to see that the ballet-girls do not abbreviate their skirts too much.



The most popular and lady-like actress in London is Miss Neilson, who performs at the Lyceum, the Princess's and Queen's Theatres. This young and charming actress is a favorite with all classes, owing to her perfect skill as an artiste, and her reputation is without reproach. She is known as "Beautiful Miss Neilson," and is of medium height, with dark, languishing eyes, in which the fire of genius burns, with a steady flame. Miss Kate Bateman, now Mrs. Dr. Crowe, is also a great favorite with the Londoners, and most deservedly so, for she has not her equal on the English stage in her distinctive line of characters. Who that ever saw the last act of "Leah," or the "Prison Scene" in "Mary Warner," will deny her terrible power as an actress. The English capital is divided into two camps as to the merits of the rival comedians—Lawrence, Toole and John Baldwin Buckstone. Alfred Wigan, and our own "Dundreary Sothern," stand high in the ranks of their profession, and no English comedian ever met with a more successful triumph in his own land than that earned by John S. Clarke at the Strand Theatre in 1869-70. French plays are very well[Pg 495] received at the St. James Theatre—and I had the pleasure of listening to Schneider, in "Barbe Bleue" and "Orphee aux Enfer," who was supported by Dupuis, the celebrated tenor. Having visited many theatres in England, I can safely avow that I never saw an English comedy, or a play dealing with English characters and English homes, performed in better taste, or with more fidelity, than I have seen like plays produced at Wallack's Theatre, in New York City.


Nearly all London theatres except the Queen's, in Long Acre, are dark and gloomy, and in the opera houses, the old style of erecting the private boxes or loges tier over tier and then hanging them with red velvet, gives a peculiarly heavy look to the interiors. Besides, prices for reserved seats are awfully high, and unless a man is the possessor of a pretty large private fortune, he cannot think of indulging in opera at all. As a proof of this I will here subjoin the prices at the Haymarket Opera House or "Her Majesty's," as it is called. The performances were Italian, German, and French, Grand Opera, and ballet:

Tariff of prices for private boxes: Pit boxes, 150 guineas for the season; grand tier, 200 guineas; one pair, 150 guineas; two pair, 100 guineas; orchestra stalls, 25 guineas; pit tickets, 10s. 6d.; amphitheatre stalls, 5s.; gallery, 2s. 6d. Opera on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and special extra nights. No extra charge for booking places. Evening dress to boxes, stalls and pit. Gratuities to boxkeepers optional. Doors open at eight; performance commences at half-past eight.

These prices, it will be seen, are simply frightful. Then, unless you go in the gallery, you must be in full dress swallowtail and white choker, which is not relished by Americans, and particularly by those from the back-woods, who are not very familiar with evening dress coats. Of course the large sums are the subscriptions for a season of perhaps thirty nights.

At the Covent Garden Opera House, the tariff of prices is as follows:

Private boxes: Second tier, 2½ guineas; first tier, near the stage, 3 guineas; ditto, at the side, 4 guineas; ditto, in the[Pg 496] centre, 5 guineas; grand tier, 6 guineas; pit tier, 5 guineas; pit stalls, 21s.; pit, 7 s.; amphitheatre, 2s. 6d.; amphitheatre stalls, front row, 10s. 6d.; second row 7s.; all other rows, 5s. No extra charge for booking places. Evening dress to all parts except the amphitheatre and amphitheatre stalls. No gratuities allowed to boxkeepers. Doors open at eight; performance commences at half-past eight.

In most of the theatres in London hideous old women or shabby looking men attend in the lobbies, and wait upon the people who have need for their services during the night, demanding a fee for every trifling errand, and in a first-class place of amusement, a boxkeeper would be insulted if offered less than a shilling for turning a key.

And then there are terrible young blackguards who insist upon the stranger's buying oranges, walnuts or apples from them, or else he must take their chaff as it is given.

But the biggest swindle of all is, that a man must pay two pence for the programme of the play, or three pence or four pence, as the case may be, and yet I have heard Englishmen tell me with audacity that they lived in a free country.

And now before I proceed to tell anything of the London theatres, I will give a table of the prices and the time of opening doors, with the location of each place of amusement for the benefit of those who may visit London:


The Adelphi, 411 Strand; admission, seven o'clock—6s., 5s., 3s., 2s., 1s. 6d., 1s., and 6d.; Astley's, Westminster Road, Lambeth; seven o'clock—5s., 3s., 2s., 1s. 6d., 1s., and 6d.; Britannia, Hoxton Old Town, will hold 3,400 persons; half-past six o'clock—2s., 1s., 6d., and 3d.; City of London, 36 Norton Folgate; seven o'clock—2s., 1s., and 6d.; Covent Garden, Bow street; eight o'clock—7s., 5s., 3s., 2s. 6d., 2s., and 1s. It was built in 1849, with Floral Hall adjoining. Its size, 240 feet by 123 feet, and 100 feet high, equals that of La Scala, the largest in Europe. Drury Lane, seven o'clock—7s., 5s., 2s., 1s., and 6d.; Grecian, City Road, seven o'clock—1s., 6d., and 3d.; Haymarket, seven o'clock—7s. 5s., 3s., 2s., and 1s.; Her Majesty's, corner of Haymarket, eight[Pg 497] o'clock—7s., 5s., 3s., 2s. 6d., 2s., and 1s.; Holborn, High Holborn, nearly opposite Chancery Lane, seven o'clock—6s., 4s., 2s., 1s. 6d., 1s., and 6d.; Lyceum, Strand, seven o'clock—6s., 5s., 3s., 2s., and 1s.; Olympic, Wych street, Drury Lane, half-past seven o'clock—6s., 4s., 2s., 1s.; Marylebone, Portman Market, seven o'clock—3s., 2s., 1s., and 6d.; Pavilion, Whitechapel, half-past six o'clock—2s., 1s., and 6d.; Prince of Wales, Tottenham Court Road, seven o'clock—6s., 3s., 1s. 6d., 1s., and 6d.; Princess's, Oxford street, seven o'clock—6s., 5s., 4s., 2s., and 1s.; Queen's, Long Acre, formerly St. Martin's Hall, seven o'clock—6s., 5s., 4s., 2s. 6d., 2s., and 1s.; Royalty or Soho, Dean street, Oxford street, half-past seven o'clock—5s., 3s., 1s., and 6d.; Royal Amphitheatre, High Holborn, west of Red Lion street, seven o'clock—4s., 2s., 1s. 6d., and 1s.; Sadler's Wells, Clerkenwell, seven o'clock—3s., 2s., 1s., and 6d.; Standard, Shoreditch, half-past six o'clock—3s., 1s. 6d., 1s., 6d., and 3d., burnt down in 1866, is rebuilding; St. James's, King street, St. James's Square, half-past seven o'clock—4s., 3s., 2s., and 6d.; Strand, Strand, seven o'clock—5s., 3s., 1s. 6d., and 6.; Surrey, Blackfriar's Road, seven o'clock—3s., 2s., 1s. 6d., 1s., and 6d.; Victoria, New Cut, Lambeth, half-past six o'clock—1s. 6d., 1s., 6d., and 3d.

Drury Lane, which was built in 1812, will seat 1,700 persons, and its vestibule and saloons are as fine as any in Europe. Private boxes in the London theatres range in price for a single seat at from one guinea to four pounds, or from $5 to $20 a night. The Olympic seats 2,000; the Adelphi 1,500; Astley's Circus 4,000, and the gallery of the Victoria will seat 2,000, while the Pit of the Pavilion, a murderous hole in Whitechapel, seats 1,500 roughs.

Astley's is a sort of Hippodrome for spectacles, and is much loved by young London for the prancing of its horses and its grand shows. Astley's is at Lambeth, on the Surrey side of the Thames, and is in the heart of the democratic quarter of London. The present building is the fourth erected upon this site. The first was one of the nineteen theatres built by[Pg 498] Philip Astley, and was opened in 1773, burnt in 1794; rebuilt 1795, burnt 1803; rebuilt 1804, burnt June 8, 1841, within two hours, the house being principally constructed from old ship-timber. It was rebuilt, and opened April 17, 1843, and has since been enlarged. There is only one other theatre in London for equestrianism; and the stud of trained horses numbers from fifty to sixty.

Philip Astley, originally a cavalry soldier, commenced horsemanship in 1763, in an open field at Lambeth. He built his first theatre partly with £60, the produce of an unowned diamond ring which he found on Westminster Bridge. Andrew Ducrow, subsequently proprietor of the Amphitheatre, was born at the Nag's Head, Borough, in 1793, when his father, Peter Ducrow, a native of Bruges, was "the Flemish Hercules" at Astley's. The fire in 1841 arose from ignited wadding, such as caused the destruction of the old Globe Theatre in 1613, and Covent Garden Theatre in 1808. Andrew Ducrow died January 26, 1842, of mental derangement and paralysis, produced by the above catastrophe.

Covent Garden theatre is the second one built on its site,—it being a strange fact that nearly all the theatres in London have been burnt down from time to time. It was here that the "O.P.," or "Old Prices," riots took place in 1804, and continued for seventy-seven nights, the management having made an attempt to raise the prices, but at last they had to back down before the popular storm. Incledon, Charles Kemble, Mrs. Glover, George Frederick Cooke, Miss O'Neill, Macready, Farren, Fanny Kemble, Adelaide Kemble and Edmund Kean have strutted their brief hours on its stage, but now the house is entirely devoted to opera.

Drury Lane Theatre, or "Old Drury," as it is sometimes known, and was at one time called the "Wilderness" by Mrs. Siddons, is situated in one of the lowest quarters of London, where vice, crime, poverty and drunkenness abound, but still it is frequented by the best classes of the play-going public. Here, one night in August, 1869, I saw "Formosa" played to a very full house, the excitement about the Harvard and Oxford race