John and Betty's History Visit
by Margaret Williamson
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Published, March, 1910


All rights reserved


Norwood Press


Norwood, Mass.

U. S. A.



















































Two eager young Americans sat, one on each side of the window of an English train, speeding towards London. They had landed only that morning, and everything seemed very strange to them, as they watched the pretty scenes from the car-window. The lady who had met them at the steamer, was an old friend of the family, who had often been to America, and was well known to the children, though they had never seen her son and daughter, whom they had come to visit. Mrs. Pitt soon aroused them by saying:—

"Come, John, we are almost there, so please fetch down Betty's wraps from the rack. Here are your umbrellas; you may take Betty's bag and I'll take yours. Yes, it is really England, and soon we'll be in London, where Philip and Barbara are very impatiently waiting to meet the American friends with whom they have been exchanging letters for so long. They have been studying history hard, and have learned all they possibly could about their own country, which they love, and want you to know, too. They have never seen very much of England, and this is an excellent chance for them to do some sight-seeing with you. I think you'll have a jolly time seeing all the strange sights and customs, and visiting some historic places. Now, you must not expect to find Philip and Barbara just like your friends at home; English children dress very differently, and may use some expressions which you do not exactly understand, but you'll soon become accustomed to them all. Here we are at Waterloo Station."

As the guard swung open the door, two impatient young people hurried up to the party.

"Here we are, Mother; did they come?"

John and Betty shyly shook hands with their English friends, but did not find anything to say, just at first. Mrs. Pitt went to the luggage-van, to find the children's trunks, and the others followed.

"Aren't the trains funny, John?" said Betty, nervously holding her brother's hand.

"See, this is the baggage part of the car, but isn't it small!"

"Oh, there are several on each train," explained Philip. "Are your vans any bigger?"

"There are our trunks, Mrs. Pitt," called John. "I know them by the C's we pasted on the ends."

"Here, porter, put this luggage on a four-wheeler, please," and Mrs. Pitt and her charges crowded in, the luggage was piled on top, and they drove away.

"Do you think you will like London?" asked Barbara of Betty, rather anxiously.

Betty ventured to answer, "Oh, I think so, only it is very different from New York."

It certainly was! Great, top-heavy buses swung and lurched past them, some of them drawn by splendid horses, but still more with motors. The outsides of the vehicles were covered with all sorts of gay advertisements and signs, in bright and vivid colors; in this way, and in their tremendous numbers, they differ from the New York buses on Fifth Avenue.

"To-night, we will take you out for a ride on top of a bus if you like, John," said Philip.

John, losing his shyness, began to ask questions, and to give his opinion of the things he saw.

"I think the buses are great! I shall always choose that seat just behind the driver, where I can talk to him. He must have fine stories to tell, doesn't he, Philip? I like the hansoms, too. There really seem to be more hansoms than anything else in London! Just look, Betty, at that long row there in the middle of the street! I suppose they are waiting for passengers. And there's a line of 'taxis,' too. My, but these streets are crowded! Fifth Avenue isn't in it!"

Philip and Barbara looked at each other and smiled. All the sights which were so familiar to them, seemed very novel to their American visitors.

"I suppose it would be just the same to us, if we were to visit New York," said Barbara. "Those bus-horses, which you admire, do look very fine at first, but the work is so hard on them, that they only last a very short time. Their days are about over now, for soon we shall have only the motor-buses."

"Oh, what's this place?" cried John excitedly. "I am sure I have seen pictures of it! Why, Philip, I think you once sent me some post-cards which showed this!"

"Oh, yes, this is Trafalgar Square," broke in Mrs. Pitt. "People sometimes call it the center of all London. Here is the celebrated statue of Lord Nelson—here, in the middle; see all the flower-girls, with their baskets, around its foot. That large building, with the pillars, is the National Gallery, where I may take you to see the pictures. The church near it they call St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. Yes, it doesn't seem a very appropriate name now, but once it really was 'in the fields,' it has stood here so long. Do you notice all the streets leading out from this great square? That way is the direction of the Strand and Fleet Street; Westminster Abbey is not far away; and you can see the towers of the Houses of Parliament—just there. You will soon grow more familiar with all this. Now, we must go this way, and before long, we shall be at home. I think you'll be glad to rest after your tiresome journey. This is Regent Street, where many of the shops are. Aren't they attractive?"

"Yes," said John, "but how very low the buildings are! As far as I can see they are all of the same height. They are almost all yellow, too, and with the bright buses the scene is very gay."

They rode along for some time, the silence being often broken by exclamations and questions. John and Betty could not understand how people avoided being run over when they all dashed across the street, right under the very noses of the horses. It was amusing to see people stumbling up the narrow, winding stairs of the buses, as they jolted along, and even the signs over the shops attracted some attention. They wondered if the King and Queen could shop in them all, for so many bore the words, "Jewelers to T. R. M.," or "Stationers to Their Royal Majesties." London seemed very large to them on this first drive—very strange and foreign, and they were glad when the cab drew up before a big house in a spacious square, and the rest cried, "Here we are at home!"



The big library at Mrs. Pitt's home was a fascinating place, the two visitors thought. The ceiling was high, the wainscoting was of dark wood, and the walls were almost entirely lined with book-cases. John was delighted with some little steps, which you could push around and climb up on to reach the highest shelves. This room suggested great possibilities to both the young visitors, for, as they were to stay many months, there would certainly be days when it would be too wet to go out, and they could by no means entirely give up their reading.

As they had felt rather chilly on their bus-ride that evening, the four young people all came into the library upon their return, and drew their chairs up to the tiny grate. Betty and John had greatly enjoyed this new experience, for they had been truly English. Having jumped aboard while the bus was moving slowly, near the curb, they had scrambled up the little steps and taken the seats behind the driver. They had not noticed much about where they were going, for it had all seemed a jumble of many lights, crowds of people, and noise. But John had slipped a coin into the driver's hand, and there had been a steady stream of stories from that moment. London bus-drivers have plenty to tell, and are not at all loath to tell it—especially after the encouragement of a tip. John was delighted to hear about the time, one foggy Christmas Eve, when his friend had "sat for four hours, sir, without daring to stir, at 'Yde Park Corner." John envied him the splendid moment when the fog had finally lifted and disclosed the great mass of traffic, which had been blinded and stalled for so long.

As John stood in front of the fire thinking it all over, he suddenly exclaimed, "It was fun to hear that driver drop his h's; that was real Cockney for you!"

Betty looked puzzled for a moment, and then said, "Wasn't it supposed that only people who had been born within the sound of the bells of old Bow Church could be real Cockneys?"

"That's right, Betty; your history is good," said Mrs. Pitt, who had just entered; "but John, I must tell you that dropping h's is not necessarily Cockney. The peculiar pronunciation of vowels is what characterizes a true Cockney's speech, but many others drop h's—the people of Shropshire for instance.

"Do you children remember those quaint little verses about Bow Bells?" continued Mrs. Pitt. "In the days when Dick Whittington was a boy, and worked at his trade in London, it was the custom to ring Bow Bells as the signal for the end of the day's work, at eight o'clock in the evening. One time, the boys found that the clerk was ringing the bells too late, and indignant at such a thing, they sent the following verses to him:

"'Clerke of the Bow Bells, With the yellow lockes, For thy late ringing, Thou shalt have knockes.'

"The frightened man hastened to send this answer to the boys:

"'Children of Chepe, Hold you all stille, For you shall have Bow Bells Rung at your wille.'"

"That was bright of them," commented John, as he rose to take off his coat.

Philip and Barbara had long since thrown off their wraps and pulled their chairs away from the fire, saying how warm they were. Even after John had dispensed with his coat, Betty sat just as near the tiny blaze as she could, with her coat still closely buttoned.

"No, thanks; I want to get warm," she answered, when they spoke of it. "It seems to me that it's very cold here. Don't you ever have bigger fires?"

As Betty spoke, the little blaze flickered and almost went out.

"I'll shut the window," said Philip. "I remember, now, how cold Americans always are over here. Mother has told us how frightfully hot you keep your houses. We don't like that, for we never feel the cold. Why, just to show you how accustomed to it we English are, let me tell you what I read the other day. At Oxford University, up to the time of King Henry VIII, no fires were permitted. Just before going to bed the poor boys used to go out and run a certain distance, to warm themselves. Even I shouldn't care for that!"

"Let's make some plans for to-morrow," exclaimed Mrs. Pitt. "What should you like to see first, Betty?"

"I want to go somewhere on a bus!" was John's prompt answer, at which everybody laughed except Betty.

"Oh, yes, but let's go to Westminster Abbey just as soon as possible, John. I've always wanted so much to see it, that I don't believe I can wait now. Think of all the great people who have been associated with it," said Betty very earnestly.

"Very well, I quite agree on taking you first to the Abbey," said Mrs. Pitt. "It is a place of which I could never tire, myself. And strange to say, I very seldom, if ever, get time to go there, except when I'm showing it to strangers. Why! It's twenty-five minutes past nine this very minute, children; you must go to bed at once!"



The first thing that Betty heard the following morning was a gentle knock upon her bedroom door, and a voice saying, "It's seven o'clock, and will you have some sticks, Miss?"

"What sticks? What for?" Betty asked sleepily.

They were for a fire, it seemed, and Betty welcomed the idea. She was soon dressed, and Barbara came to show her the way to the breakfast-room.

"You can't think how good it does seem not to be thrown about while dressing, as we were on the steamer! Do you know that I can't help stepping up high over the door-sills even yet!" laughed Betty, as they went downstairs together. "Mrs. Moore, the friend of mother's in whose care we came, you know, told me that I should probably feel the motion for some time after landing."

To the surprise of John and Betty, there was a very hearty breakfast awaiting them. They had expected the meager tea, toast, and jam, which some Americans consider to be customary in English homes, because it is encountered in the hotels.

Early in the morning, the buses were even more crowded than the night before, and they had some difficulty in finding seats. John placed himself beside a soldier dressed in a scarlet coat and funny little round cap held on sidewise by a strap across his chin, with every intention of starting up a conversation with him; but one glance at his superior air discouraged the boy from any such attempt. When they arrived at Trafalgar Square again, they jumped off, and walked down towards the towers of the Houses of Parliament. In front of the Horse Guards they stood in admiration of the two mounted sentries, stationed there.

"Those black horses are great!" cried John. "How fine those fellows do look sitting there like statues in their scarlet uniforms, and their shiny helmets with the flying tails to them! I only wish I could be a Guard, and ride a horse like one of those!"

"Would you rather be a Horse Guard, or a bus-driver, John?" asked Betty teasingly.

"Sometimes you see dozens of the Guards together; that's a fine sight!" said Barbara, after the laugh had subsided. "They escort the King when he goes out in state. Oh, you'll see them often."

That comforted John somewhat, but he could not resist turning around for several glances towards the gateway where the Guards were.

"Why do they always stand there?" he questioned.

Mrs. Pitt explained that they were organized by Charles II, who needed all possible protection to enable him to hold the throne after his exile in foreign lands. After the days of Cromwell, times were very unsettled, and many disturbances were likely to occur. Hence the duty of these Guards was probably to keep the peace (the 'prentices and common people were very hot-headed), and to escort the King, as they still do.

"Perhaps," she went on, "you don't understand who the 'prentices were. Long ago it was the custom to apprentice boys to one of the great and powerful guilds or companies. These were organizations of many merchants belonging to the same trade; such as shipbuilders, carpenters, candle-makers, and so forth. Their main object was to see that the work which was turned out was good. Every man belonged to his guild; some were for 'common and middling folks,' while kings and princes were members of others. A great deal of good was done by these companies, for each, besides aiding and protecting its own members, usually had some other charity. For instance, the guild at Lincoln fed yearly as many poor as there were members of the guild; and another kept a sort of inn for the shelter of poor travelers. The guilds played an important part in the life of the time. Well, as I was saying, when a boy had chosen the trade which was to his taste, he went to the city, and was apprenticed to a member of one of the guilds, with whom he usually lived. The boys were called 'prentices. Their life was not an easy one, and yet, it seems to me that they must have enjoyed it. In those days, there were great tournaments and grand processions of kings, with hundreds of servants and followers, all splendidly dressed in brilliant colors. Men wore magnificent clothes of silks and velvets and cloth-of-gold, with costly jewels, such as ropes of pearls; and their servants, whose duty it was to go before their masters on the street, wore suits of livery with the silver badge of their master. London in those days was a wonderfully busy place! On board the ships sailing up the river were men in strange costumes, from foreign lands. The 'prentices would often stop work to watch a company of Portuguese sailors pass, or a gorgeous procession of bishops with their retainers; and from this little verse we know that they did not always return very quickly to their duties. Do you know this?

"'When ther any ridings were in Chepe, Out of the shoppe thider would he lepe; And till that he had all the sight ysein, And danced well, he would not come again.'

"There were always processions, too, in winter as well as in summer, for the people seemed not to mind rain or storm in the least. The boys had many holidays,—there were frequent pageants, feasts, and celebrations of all kinds,—and on the whole, I think they must have been very happy in spite of the long hours of work, don't you? Another curious custom was the keeping of cudgels in every shop for the use of the 'prentices, in case of a fight—and I imagine that they were numerous. Now, come close to me, children, while we cross this street; there's the Abbey right ahead of us."

As they entered the north transept of Westminster Abbey, the dim light, in contrast to the sunshine outside, was almost blinding. At first, all was indistinct except the great rose-window, in the opposite transept, through which the light strayed in many colors. The morning service was in progress, so they sat down near the door, and listened and looked. How beautiful!—how tremendous it all was! Even John's overflowing spirits were quieted, it was so wonderfully impressive! The rose-window still stood out clearly against the deep shadows all about it, but a faint light could now be seen coming in through the little windows, high up near the roof,—the clerestory windows, they are called. Betty could see the massive roof, the long aisles crowded with marble monuments, and the pillars. The canon's voice was heard intoning in a deep, monotonous key; reading followed, and then some one sang, in a high, clear voice, which seemed to come from far away, and yet to fill all the space of the great building. Betty could not have spoken a word; she was filled with a kind of wondering awe such as she had never known before.

John, more matter-of-fact, was examining the statues nearest to him.

He touched Betty's arm to attract her attention, and said, "See, there are lots of statues here, Betty, but I only know the names of William Pitt and Benjamin Disraeli, 'Twice Prime-Minister.' Do you remember him? Wonder if William Pitt was an ancestor of our Mrs. Pitt!" he rambled on, not seeing that his sister took no notice of him.

As for Betty, she scarcely knew that any one had spoken to her. She seemed to be back in the Middle Ages, and the present had vanished away.

When the service was ended, they walked about, examining the monuments as they went.

"This long, broad aisle extending from the main entrance to the choir is called the nave," explained Mrs. Pitt. "The shorter aisles which form the crossing are the transepts, and the choir is always the eastern end of the building, containing the altar. These are facts which you will want to learn and remember."

"The kings and queens are all buried here, aren't they, Mrs. Pitt?" questioned John. "Will they put King Edward here, too, when he dies?"

"A great many kings and queens are buried here, though not all," Mrs. Pitt told them. "The Royal Tombs are there, behind those gates, in the chapels which surround the choir. We can't go in there unless we take a guide, and I thought we would wait for another day to visit the lovely chapel of Henry VII and all the famous tombs. I don't want you to see too much at one time. No, John, King Edward probably will not be buried here. Queen Victoria, his mother, lies at a place called Frogmore, near Windsor, and it is likely that her son will choose that spot, also. Here's the Poets' Corner, and there is at least one face which I'm sure you will be glad to see. This is it."

As she spoke, the party stopped in front of the well-known bust of our poet, Longfellow, which I suppose every American is proud to see.

"So they read 'Hiawatha,' even in England," Betty remarked.

"There are tablets all over the floor, under our feet! Look, I'm standing on Dickens' grave this very minute! And there's 'Oh, Rare Ben Jonson,' right there on the wall; I've always heard of that. And here's Spenser, and Chaucer, and Browning, and Tennyson, very close together. Oh! It's dreadful! I don't want to step on them! Why, everybody who ever was anybody seems to be here!" gasped John, forgetting his grammar in his interest.

"Here are busts of Scott (there's the man for me!), and Burns, Goldsmith, and Coleridge; I know all these names. Here's a statue of Shakespeare, though of course he isn't buried here. There's a tablet to Jenny Lind. Wasn't she a singer? Seems to me I've heard my grandpa speak of her. And, if here isn't Thackeray's grave—there in the floor again! Well! Well!"

"Come over here, John, and see this," called Philip, pointing to a tomb on which was this inscription:

Thomas Parr of ye county of Salop, born A.D. 1483. He lived in the reignes of ten princes, viz.—King Edward IV, King Edward V, King Richard III, King Henry VII, King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, King James, and King Charles; aged 152 years, and was buryed here, 1635.

"Well, that beats them all!" laughed John, who was greatly pleased.

Mrs. Pitt now led the rest into the little chapel of St. Faith, off the south transept, where they sat down to rest.

"It's the most wonderful place I ever dreamed of!" said Betty quietly, as though she were talking to herself. "This little chapel is the quaintest, oldest thing I ever saw! The walls are so dark; that tiny window up so high, hardly lets in any light at all; and the altar, with the faded picture, is so strange! I can't believe it is the twentieth century; the people in the Abbey now don't seem real to me at all. They look so small and shadowy beside the huge statues of people of other days! Surely the people the statues represent belong here, and not we! Why, I feel so far back in history that I shouldn't be in the least surprised to see Raleigh, or Chaucer, or Queen Elizabeth, walk into this chapel, right now! I should probably go up and say 'How do you do?'" she added laughingly.

Betty did not know that any one had heard her talking, but Mrs. Pitt had been listening, and when Betty was silent, she said:

"Come, let's go out into the sunshine of the cloisters now. I am really afraid to have Betty stay in here any longer! The first thing we know, she'll be disappearing into the Middle Ages! She's almost there now!"

As they went through the low door into the cloisters, she continued, "I want to explain to you children, that in connection with this Abbey, as with all, there was for centuries a great monastery; and that the buildings which we shall see, as well as the cloisters, had to do with the monks. Henry VIII dissolved all the monasteries in England, you remember."

The ancient cloisters of Westminster Abbey are deeply interesting and impressive. They are four arcades built around the square grass-plot, which was the monks' burial-ground. The fine tracery of the windows is now much broken, and is crumbling away with age, but its exquisite carving is still plainly seen. The original pavement yet remains; it is much worn by the feet of the monks, and is almost covered by tablets which mark the resting-places of the abbots, as well as of others. The members of our party were touched, as are all, by the pathetic simplicity of the epitaph: "Jane Lister, Dear Childe, 1688." Those four short words suggest a sad story about which one would like to learn more.

"You must know," said Mrs. Pitt, "that the cloisters were something besides burial-places. Here the monks spent most of their time, for this was the center of the life of the monastery. The southern cloister, over opposite, was the lavatory, and there the monks were forced to have their heads shaved,—every two weeks in summer, and every three in winter. These walls were then painted with frescoes, the floor and benches were covered with rushes or straw, the windows were partly glazed, and lamps hung from the ceiling. In one of the cloisters was held a class of novices, taught by a master, and this was the beginning of Westminster School. I believe the pupils were allowed to speak only French. How would you like that?"

Adjoining the cloisters are numerous little passageways, with low arches, which lead into tiny courts dotted with flowers and little fountains. In the houses about, live the canons of the Abbey and others connected with the church. Lovely glimpses of sunlight and the bright colors of flowers are seen at the ends of these dark, ancient passages.

Westminster School may also be reached from the cloisters. Our party stood a moment in the doorway of the schoolroom to see the splendid old hall, with its fine oaken roof. This was once the dormitory of the monks, but is now taken up with the boys' "forms," or desks, piled with books. The walls above the wainscoting, and the window-recesses, are covered with signatures of the scholars,—some of them famous, for the school was begun as long ago as the time of Henry VIII, who was the founder. The visitor may see the name of the poet, Dryden, on one of the desks; he was a pupil there, as were also Sir Christopher Wren, the architect; Ben Jonson; Southey, the poet; and John and Charles Wesley.

"What is that iron bar for?" questioned the curious John, pointing to a long bar which stretches from wall to wall, across the middle of the room.

"That divides the Upper and Lower Classes," was the prompt reply of Mrs. Pitt, whose stock of knowledge seemed endless. "At one time, a curtain was hung over that bar. Don't you know the story which is told in the 'Spectator Papers,' about the boy who accidentally tore a hole in this curtain? He was a timid little fellow, and was terrified at the thought of the punishment which he felt sure would be his. One of his classmates came to the rescue, saying that he would take the blame upon himself, which he did. It was years later, when the timid boy had become a great judge, that the Civil War broke out, and he and his friend took opposite sides. The kind man who had saved his friend from punishment was a Royalist, and was captured and imprisoned at Exeter, where the other man happened to come at the same time, with the Circuit Court. At the moment when nothing remained but to sentence the 'rebels,' the judge recognized his friend, and by making a very hurried trip to London, he was able to secure a pardon from Cromwell, and thus succeeded in saving the man's life."

"That was fine!" said John. "He did pay him back after all, didn't he? I thought he wasn't going to."

"Now, we will just look into the Chapter House and the old Jerusalem Chamber, before we go," said Mrs. Pitt, as they left the school.

The Chapter House is a beautiful, eight-sided room, dating from the thirteenth century. Here the business of the monastery was always conducted, and at the meetings which came every week, the monks were allowed to speak freely, and to make complaints, if they wished. Here also the monks were punished.

"They used to whip them against that central pillar, there," the guard explained. "Here sat the abbot, opposite the door, and the monks sat on benches ranged around the room. Parliament met here for many years, too, its last session in this room being on the day that the great King Hal died."

The Chapter House has been restored now, and the windows are of modern stained-glass. In the cases are preserved some valuable documents, the oldest being a grant of land, made by King Offa, in 785.

To reach the Jerusalem Chamber, it is necessary to go through a part of the cloisters, and into the court of the Deanery. On one side is the old abbot's refectory, or dining-hall, where the Westminster school-boys now dine. John went boldly up the steps and entered. After a few minutes, he came running out again, exclaiming:

"Nobody stopped me, so I went right in, and looked around. A maid was setting the tables, and I noticed that she stared at me, but she didn't say anything, so I stayed. The hall is great! It isn't very large, but is paneled and hung with portraits. The old tables, a notice says, are made from wood taken from one of the vessels of the Spanish Armada. Wonder how they found it and brought it here! I was just going to ask the maid, when a savage-looking man appeared and said I had no business there. So I came away. I don't care; I saw it, anyway!" he added, as they approached the entrance of the Jerusalem Chamber.

All three sides of this little court were the abbot's lodgings, and are now the deanery. The Jerusalem Chamber was built about 1376, as a guest-chamber for the abbot's house.

"The name is curious, isn't it?" remarked Mrs. Pitt. "It probably came from some tapestries which formerly hung there, representing the history of Jerusalem. It was in this room, right here in front of the fireplace, according to tradition, that Henry IV died. A strange dream had told the King that he would die in Jerusalem, and he was actually preparing for the journey there, when he was taken very ill, and they carried him into this room. When he asked where they had brought him, and the reply was, 'To the Jerusalem Chamber,' he died satisfied. Many bodies have lain here in state, too,—among them, that of Joseph Addison, whom they afterwards buried in the Abbey. When we come again, I will show you his grave. Now, notice the bits of ancient stained-glass in the windows, and the cedar paneling; except for that, there is nothing specially noteworthy here."

As they left the Dean's Yard and crossed the open space in front of the great western towers of the Abbey, John and Betty agreed that if they could see nothing more in England, they were already repaid for their long journey across the ocean.



In Charing Cross Station one morning, Mrs. Pitt hurried up to the "booking-office," as the English call the ticket-office, to "book" five tickets to Penshurst. While the man was getting her change, she turned and said to Philip:—

"Please ask that guard who is standing there, on which platform we shall find the 9.40 train for Penshurst."

Philip did so, and returned with the information that they should go to Platform 8. So they all mounted the steps and walked over the foot-bridge which always runs across and above all the tracks, in an English station. There was a bench on the platform, and they sat down to await the arrival of the train. About 9.35, five minutes before the train was to start, John happened to see a train official sauntering by, and asked him if it was correct that the Penshurst train left from that platform.

The man stared. "Really, you are quite mistaken," he drawled; "that train leaves from Platform 2. You had better hurry, you know; you haven't much time."

John waited for nothing more, but ran to tell the rest, and they all started for the other end of the station. Up the steep steps again ran Mrs. Pitt, with the four young people following. Along the bridge they flew till they reached Platform 2, and then they almost fell down the steps in their hurry, for the train was already there.

When they were fairly seated in a third-class carriage, John, still out of breath, exclaimed:—

"Whew! My! I never ran faster in my life, did you, Philip? How the girls kept up, I don't know! You're a first-class sprinter all right, Mrs. Pitt! We'd like you on our football team, at home! My, but I'm hot!"

He paused for breath, and then went on excitedly:

"There was a close call for you! We'd have lost it if I hadn't spoken to that guard, just in fun! There we were calmly waiting, and all of a sudden, we took that wild dash across the bridge! It was great! I hope somebody caught a photograph of us! I'd like to see one! How stupid of the guard to make that mistake! They never seem to know very much, anyway. If I ever am a guard, I shall be different; I shall know things!"

They all had a good laugh over the adventure, and Mrs. Pitt assured John that when he was a guard, they would all promise to use his station.

"Don't these trains seem different from ours, Betty?" the future guard asked of his sister. "It seems so queer to me why they want to take a perfectly good, long car, and chop it up from side to side, into little narrow rooms, like this! What's the use of having so many doors?—one on each side of every 'compartment'! And then, they put handles only on the outside, so you have to let down the window and lean away out to open it for yourself, if the guard doesn't happen to do it for you! We Americans couldn't waste so much time!"

Just then, Betty, who could contain herself no longer, burst out laughing.

"Why, what in the world's the matter?" cried Barbara.

Betty could only point to a passing train. "It's only the funny little freight cars!" she finally explained, rather ashamed that she had let her feelings escape in that way. "They look so silly to us! They seem about a third the size of the ones at home. Really, these remind me of a picture in my history-book, of the first train ever run in America!"

Mrs. Pitt smiled. "Yes, I can imagine just how strange they must seem to you, for I remember very well how I felt the first time I ever rode in one of your trains. To me, one of the most interesting things about visiting a foreign country, is to see the different modes of travel."

"Oh, please understand that I think so, too!" urged Betty. "It was only that I couldn't help laughing just at first, you see. I wouldn't have your trains just like ours for anything, and I'm sure that John wouldn't either."

"Now," said Mrs. Pitt, "there is a little confession which I feel that I ought to make. It's about where we are going to-day. Probably most people would blame me for not taking you to Windsor or Hampton Court, on your first trip out of town. Both those places are charming, but I wanted to show you, first of all, this dear little corner of Kent. All tourists flock to Windsor and Hampton Court, but a great many do not know about this tiny, out-of-the-way village, with which I fell in love years ago. Penshurst Place was the home of Sir Philip Sidney, and is still owned by a member of the same family. You know that Sir Philip lived in Queen Elizabeth's time, and that his name stands for the model of a perfect courtier and ideal gentleman. He died when he was very young—only thirty-two, I think—and he did very little which you would suppose could have made him so famous. That is, it was little in comparison with what Raleigh and Drake accomplished, and yet the name of Sidney ranks with all the rest. It seems to have been more in the way he did things, than in what he did. Of course, you remember the story of his death,—that when he was dying, he passed a cup of water which was brought him, to another dying soldier, saying, 'Thy need is greater than mine.' Well, to-day we shall see where he was born and bred,—where Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser, and Queen Elizabeth all visited."

They were now riding through Kent, in which county is some of the most picturesque English scenery. Although it was only the last of April, the grass was the freshest green, the great trees were in full leaf, and primroses were beginning to spring up in the fields. They sped through little villages of thatched-roofed cottages, each with its tiny garden of gay flowers. There were little crooked lanes, bordered by high hedges, and wide, shady roads, with tall, stately elms on either side, and fields where sheep grazed.

"Oh, there's a cottage which looks like Anne Hathaway's!" exclaimed Betty. "It couldn't be, could it? Anyway, it's real story-book country!"

They left the train at the little station of Penshurst, two miles from the village. Behind the building stood a queer, side-seated wagon, with one stout horse. The driver, when Philip found him, seemed loath to bestir himself, but was finally persuaded to drive them to the castle.

Penshurst village proved to be even prettier than those they had seen from the train. The Lord of Penshurst Place is a very wise, appreciative man, and he has made a rule that when any cottage in the village is found to be beyond repair, it shall be replaced by a new house exactly like the original. In consequence, the houses look equally old and equally attractive, with their roofs of grayish thatch, and the second stories leaning protectingly over the lower windows, overgrown with rose-vines.

Mrs. Pitt went into the tiny post-office to buy their tickets of admission to the castle, and when she called out that there were also pretty post-cards to be had, the others quickly followed. Having chosen their cards, they all walked through the little church-yard, with its ancient yew trees, and out into a field from which they could see Penshurst Place itself.

"Why! isn't it a huge place!" cried Barbara. "This is just as new to Philip and me, you know, Betty, for we have never been here, either."

"How charmingly situated it is!" exclaimed Mrs. Pitt enthusiastically. "Just a glance at it would tell you that it was never a strong fortress. Like Raby Castle, another favorite of mine, I believe that Penshurst never stood a siege. But it is so stately and graceful, standing in the center of these perfect lawns and groups of noble old trees! It is a beautiful contrast to the many fortress-castles! This seems to speak of peace, happiness, and safety."

The castle covers a great deal of ground, and is low and square, with here and there a turret. A terrace, or broad walk, runs the length of the front of the building, where the moat formerly was, and the party crossed this to reach the entrance-way. His Lordship came out just then, with his dog, and glanced kindly at the eager young people. Continuing, they crossed a square court, and came to a second gateway, where a servant met them and conducted them into the old-time Baronial-hall, dating from the fourteenth century.

"This," announced the guide with tremendous pride, "we believe to be the only banquet-hall now remaining in England, where the ancient fireplace in the center of the room still exists. You'll see many fine halls, but you'll not see another such fireplace."

John went up to investigate, and found that right in the middle of the vast room was a high hearth, on which some logs were piled. "But how——?" he was asking, when the guide's explanations flowed on once more:

"Yes, the smoke went out through a little hole in the roof. This hall has never been restored, you see. That's the best thing about it, most people think, lady. Here's the oak paneling, turned gray with age; there, up on the wall, are the original grotesque figures, carved in wood; here, are two of the old tables, as old as the hall; and there's the musicians' gallery, at that end, over the entrance."

Mrs. Pitt was leaning against one of the massive tables, with her eyes partly closed. "Let's just imagine the grand feasts which have been held here," she mused. "I can almost see the Lord and Lady, dressed in purple and scarlet, sitting with their guests at a table across this end of the room. A board stretches down the length of the hall, and here sit the inferiors and retainers. A long procession of servants is winding always around the tables, bearing great roasts, birds, pasties, and all sorts of goodies, on huge platters, high above their heads. Up in the gallery here, the musicians are playing loudly and gayly, and even when they cease the guests do not lack for entertainment, for the fool, in his dress of rainbow colors, is continually saying witty things and propounding funny riddles. In such a place much elegance and ceremony were the necessary accompaniments of a grand feast. In a book giving instructions for the serving of the Royal table, is this direction, which always interested me: 'First set forth mustard with brawn; take your knife in your hand, and cut the brawn in the dish, as it lieth, and lay on your Sovereign's trencher, and see that there be mustard.' As you see, they were exceedingly fond of mustard. Richard Tarleton, an actor of Queen Elizabeth's time, who was much at Court as jester, is reported as having called mustard 'a witty scold meeting another scold.'"

The guide was growing impatient, and Mrs. Pitt ceased, saying reluctantly, "Well, I suppose we must go on."

A servant rang a bell, and soon, down some stairs came a dear little old lady dressed in stiff black silk, with white apron and cap, and mitts on her hands. She escorted the party up the stairs, into her domain.

"Wouldn't you just know to look at her that she had been in the family all her life?" whispered Barbara to Betty.

First they saw the Ball-room, a stately apartment in which hang three very valuable chandeliers, which Queen Elizabeth gave to Sir Henry Sidney. The next room is still called "Queen Elizabeth's Room," for here that Queen slept when upon a visit to the house. The same furniture which she used is still in place, as well as some tapestries made in honor of the visit, by Lady Sidney.

"If Queen Elizabeth slept in that bed," remarked Betty, "she couldn't have been very tall."

Their guide, taking this as criticism of one of her beloved treasures, was quick to say:

"It only looks short, because it's so uncommon wide, begging your pardon, Miss."

"Did that stool belong to anybody?" questioned Barbara, tactfully changing the subject. "It looks as if it has a history."

"And it has, Miss; that stool was used by the late Queen Victoria (God bless her!), at her coronation at Westminster Abbey!" and the loyal old lady patted the black velvet stool respectfully.

The rooms and corridors of the old house are crowded with things of interest. Sir Philip's helmet is there, and a bit of his shaving-glass. In a small room called the "Pages' Closet," are preserved rare specimens of china—Queen Elizabeth's dessert-set, in green, and Queen Anne's breakfast-set, in blue and white. Betty and Barbara were deeply interested in Mary Stuart's jewel-case, and they laughed over a very curious old painting which shows Queen Elizabeth dancing. The long picture-gallery is lined with portraits—most of them Sidneys—and among them those of the mother of Sir Philip, and of his sister, the Countess of Pembroke, for whom he wrote his "Arcadia."

When they again passed through the Ball-room on their way out, they were shown a little square window on one of the walls, which they had not noticed before.

"Why! I can see down into the Banquet-hall!" exclaimed Philip, who had climbed up to look through.

"Yes," said their guide, "in the olden times, the master at the ball could look through there to see how the servants were behaving, down in the hall below."

Out on the lawn again, they lingered for a few minutes while Mrs. Pitt reminded them that there is every reason to believe that under those very trees Spenser wrote his "Shepherd's Calendar."

Reluctantly they left the castle and walked back to the carriage, which awaited them in the village.

"If all English castles are as beautiful as Penshurst Place," declared Betty earnestly, "I can't go back to America until I have seen every one!"



"I should think they'd call it 'The Towers,' instead of 'The Tower,'" remarked Betty, surveying the curious, irregular jumble of buildings before her, as they left the bus.

"That's true," Mrs. Pitt agreed; "but I suppose the name was first given to the White Tower, which is the oldest part and was built by William the Conqueror as long ago as 1080. Why did they call it the White Tower? Well, I believe it was because they whitewashed the walls in the thirteenth century. Why, what's the matter, John?"

"I want to see who those fellows in the funny red uniforms are," John called back, as he ran ahead.

When they reached the entrance, they saw John admiring a group of these "fellows," who stood just inside the gate. In reality, they are old soldiers who have served the King well, and are therefore allowed to be the keepers and guides of the Tower. They bear the strange name of "beefeaters" (a word grown from the French "buffetiers"), and are very picturesque in their gorgeous scarlet uniforms, covered with gilt trimmings and many badges, a style of costume which these custodians have worn ever since the time of Henry VIII, and which was designed by the painter, Holbein.

Any one may pay sixpence for a ticket which entitles him to wander about the precincts of the Tower, and to see the "Crown Jewels," and the armory, but Mrs. Pitt, being more ambitious for her young friends, had obtained a permit from the Governor of the Tower. This she presented to the "beefeater" who stood by the first gateway, after they had crossed the great empty moat. The old man stepped to a tiny door behind him, opened it, disclosing a small, winding stair, and called "Warder! Party, please!"

A venerable "beefeater" with white hair and beard came in answer to the summons, and bowing politely to the party, immediately started off with them. They set out along a little, narrow, paved street, lined by ancient buildings or high walls.

"They do say h'as 'ow the Princess Elizabeth, afterwards Queen, was h'imprisoned in that room, up there," stated the guide, pointing to a small window in a wall on their left. "By Queen Mary's h'orders she was brought in through the Traitor's Gate, there. That was a great disgrace, you know, Miss," he said to Betty, "for h'all the State prisoners entered by there, and few of them h'ever again left the Tower."

Before them some steps led down to a little paved court, and beyond, under a building, they saw the terrible Traitor's Gate,—a low, gloomy arch, with great wooden doors. The water formerly came through the arch and up to the steps, at which the unfortunate prisoners were landed. As the Princess Elizabeth stepped from the boat, she cried, "Here landeth as true a subject, being a prisoner, as ever landed at these stairs; and before Thee, O God, I speak it!"

"Isn't there a proverb, 'A loyal heart may be landed at Traitor's Gate'?" questioned Mrs. Pitt; and turning to the guide she added, "Wasn't it right here where we are standing that Margaret Roper caught sight of her father, Sir Thomas More, after his trial?" As the guide nodded his assent, she went on, "You all remember Sir Thomas More, of course,—the great and noble man whom Henry VIII beheaded because he would not swear allegiance to the King as head of the Church in England. In those days, an ax was always carried in the boat with the prisoner, on his return to the Tower, after the trial. If the head of the ax was turned toward the victim, it was a sign that he was condemned. It was here, as I said, that Margaret Roper stood with the crowd, eagerly watching for the first glimpse of her beloved father; and when he came near and she saw the position of the ax, she broke away from the soldiers, and flung herself into her father's arms. The two were so devoted that their story has always seemed an especially pathetic one to me. I suppose there were many like it, however."

"Indeed there were, lady," returned the guide, quite moved.

Just opposite Traitor's Gate is the Bloody Tower, the most picturesque bit of the entire fortress. The old portcullis there is known as the only one in England which is still fit for use. At the side is an ancient and rusty iron ring, which attracted John's attention so much that he asked about it.

"Boatmen coming through the Traitor's Gate yonder, used to tie their boats to that ring," the "beefeater" told them. "That shows you 'ow much farther h'up the water came in those days. H'in a room over the gateway of the Bloody Tower there, the Duke of Clarence, h'according to some, drowned himself in a butt of Malmsey wine; and in h'an adjoining room, they say that the little Princes were murdered by h'order of their uncle, the powerful Duke of Gloucester, who stole their right to the throne. Right 'ere, at the foot of these steps, is where 'e 'urriedly buried them, h'after 'is men 'ad smothered them."

The children stood gazing at the little window over the gateway, their eyes big with horror. It did not seem as though such terrible things could have been done there in that little room, into which the sun now poured through the tiny window.

Every night at eleven o'clock, the warder on guard at the Bloody Tower challenges the Chief Warder, who passes bearing the keys. Each time this conversation follows:—

"Who goes there?"


"Whose keys?"

"King Edward VII's keys."

"Advance King Edward VII's keys, and all's well."

Not until then, may the keys in the Chief Warder's care be allowed to pass on.

Some steps just beyond lead into the Wakefield Tower, where the "Crown Jewels" are now kept. The "beefeater" remained below, but Mrs. Pitt took the young people up into the little round room where the splendid crowns and other jewels are seen, behind iron bars. After examining minutely the objects on view, while leaning just as far as possible over the rail, John burst out with:

"Just look at those huge salt-cellars!" pointing to several very large gold ones. "I should say that the English must be about as fond of salt as they are of mustard, to have wanted those great things! Oh, I don't care for these!" he added. "They are stupid, I think! Imagine being King Edward, and owning such elegant crowns, scepters, and things, and then letting them stay way down here at the Tower, where he can't get at them! What's the use of having them, I'd like to know! Oh, come on! I've seen enough of these!"

"Wait just a minute, John," interrupted Betty. "See! here's Queen Victoria's crown, and in it is the ruby that belonged to the Black Prince, and which Henry V wore in his helmet at Agincourt! Just think!" with a sigh. "Now I'll go."

"Speaking of crowns," observed Mrs. Pitt, in passing down the stairs, "have you ever heard about the large emerald which George III wore in his crown, at his coronation? During the ceremony, it fell out, and superstitious people regarded it as a bad omen. Their fears were realized when that sovereign lost something much dearer to him than any jewel: his American Colonies."

The previously-mentioned White Tower stands in the center of all the other surrounding buildings. It is large and square, with turrets at the four corners,—an ideal old fortress. As they approached, the guide took out some keys and unlocked a door, starting down some steps into the darkness. "Oh, the dungeons!" gasped Betty, and she and Barbara shivered a little, as they followed.

Just at the foot they halted, and the guide showed them some round holes in the floor.

"'Ere's where they fastened down the rack. This 'ere's the Torture Chamber. You may think that being so near the entrance, the cries of the victims could be 'eard by the people outside, lady, but these walls are so thick that there was no possible chance of that. Ah, down in these parts is where we still see things, ladies!"

"Why, what do you mean?" whispered John, dreading and yet longing to hear.

Thus encouraged, their guide continued:—

"Once h'every month, it is my turn to watch down 'ere, during the night. Some of us don't like to admit it, lady, but we h'all dread that! Many things which 'ave never been written down in 'istory, 'ave 'appened in these 'ere passages and cells! Ah, there are figures glide around 'ere in the dead o' night, and many's the times I've 'eard screams, way in the distance, as though somebody was being 'urt! Now, this way, please, and I'll show you Guy Fawkes's cell,—'im h'as was the originator of the Gunpowder Plot, and tried to blow up the 'ouses of Parliament."

They felt their way along the uneven floors, and peered into the darkness of Guy Fawkes's cell, which was called "Little Ease."

"Just imagine having to stay long in there!" sighed Betty. "Not able to stand up, lie down, or even sit up straight! Did they make it that way on purpose, do you think?"

"They certainly did, Miss," declared the guide. "They tried to make 'im confess 'o 'ad associated with 'im in the plot; but 'e wouldn't, and they finally put 'im on the rack, poor man! A terrible thing was that rack!"

"Let's come away now," broke in Mrs. Pitt quickly. "I really think we have all had about enough of this, and there are more cheerful things to be seen above."

So they threaded their way out to the entrance again, getting whiffs of damp, disagreeable air from several dark dungeons, and passing through a number of great apartments stacked with guns. It was a relief to gain the main part of the building, where other people were, and plenty of warmth and sunlight. Their spirits rose, and they laughed and joked while climbing the narrow, spiral stairs.

The large room in which they found themselves was filled with weapons also, and various relics of the old Tower. It was used as the great Banqueting-hall when the Tower was the Royal Palace, as well as the fortress, the State prison, the Mint, the Armory, and the Record Office. The apartment above this was the Council Chamber. They went up.

"It was here that Richard II gave up his crown to Henry of Bolingbroke who became Henry IV, by demand of the people," said Mrs. Pitt. "Richard was a weak, cruel king, you remember, and was confined in a distant castle, where he was finally murdered. Suppose we examine some of this armor now. This suit here belonged to Queen Elizabeth's favorite, the Earl of Leicester. Notice the initials R. D., which stand for his name, Robert Dudley. This here was made for Charles I when he was a boy; and that belonged to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk; and this, to Henry VIII himself. Aren't they interesting? Yes, what's that you have found, Barbara?"

The two boys were absorbed in the armor for some time, but Barbara and Betty liked a figure on horseback, which represents Queen Elizabeth as she looked when she rode out in state. It is strangely realistic, for the figure is dressed in a gown of the period said to have belonged to that Queen.

"Do you suppose that jewels were sewn into the dress where those round holes are?" asked Betty, gently touching the faded velvet with one finger.

They all examined the dreadful instruments of torture, some of them taken from the Armada, and the ghastly headsman's block and mask, and then they descended the winding stairs again and went into the little shadowy St. John's Chapel, on the floor with the Banqueting-hall.

"I want you all to remember that this is called the 'most perfect Norman chapel in England,'" began Mrs. Pitt. "Some day when you have learned more about architecture, that will mean a great deal to you. These heavy circular pillars and the horseshoe arches show the ancient Norman style. It's a quaint place, isn't it? Here Brackenbury, the Lieutenant of the Tower, was praying one evening when the order came to him to murder the two little Princes. In this chapel, the Duke of Northumberland, the aged father of Lady Jane Grey, heard Mass before he went out to execution. 'Bloody Mary' came here to attend service upon the death of her brother, Edward VI. Somewhere on the same floor of this tower, John Baliol, the Scotch King, was imprisoned and lived for some time in great state. There is (at any rate, there was) a secret passage between this chapel and the Royal Apartments. I have read so much about the dreadful conspirators who skulked about the Tower, and the fearful deeds that were done here, that I can almost see a man in armor, with drawn sword, lurking behind one of these pillars!"

Some soldiers in their gay uniforms were parading on Tower Green when they went out again, and the scene was a merry, bright one.

"How different from the days when the scaffold stood under those trees!" exclaimed Mrs. Pitt, as they approached the fatal spot. "Here perished Lady Jane Grey, Anne Boleyn, Katharine Howard, and Queen Elizabeth's unfortunate favorite, the Earl of Essex. Most of the victims were beheaded just outside, on Tower Hill. Now, we'll look into St. Peter's Chapel."

It is a gloomy, unattractive enough little chapel, but there are buried here many illustrious men and women, whose lives were unjustly taken by those in power. Here lie the queens who suffered at the Tower, and, strangely enough, their tombs are mostly unmarked. John Fisher, the ancient Bishop of Rochester, lies here, and Guildford Dudley, husband to Lady Jane Grey, the Earl of Arundel, Sir Thomas More, and many others whose names are forever famous.

Our party visited the little room in the Beauchamp Tower, which so many examine with intense interest. Many people were imprisoned there, and the walls are literally covered with signatures, verses, coats-of-arms, crests, and various devices cut into the stone by the captives. Perhaps the most famous is the simple word "JANE," said to have been done by her husband, Guildford Dudley. A secret passage has been discovered extending around this chamber, and probably spies were stationed there to watch the prisoners and listen to what they said.

"That's the Brick Tower," said Mrs. Pitt, pointing to it with her umbrella, as she spoke. "There's where Lady Jane Grey was imprisoned, and there Sir Walter Raleigh lived during his first stay at the Tower. It was when he was in the Beauchamp Tower, however, that he burnt part of his 'History of the World,' the work of many years. It happened in a curious way! Do you know the story? He was at his window one morning and witnessed a certain scene which took place in the court beneath. Later, he talked with a friend who had been a nearer spectator of this identical scene, and they disagreed entirely as to what passed. Raleigh was very peculiarly affected by this little incident. He reasoned that if he could be so much mistaken about something which had happened under his very eyes, how much more mistaken must he be about things which occurred centuries before he was born. The consequence was that he threw the second volume of his manuscript into the fire, and calmly watched it burn. Think of the loss to us! Poor Raleigh! He was finally beheaded, and I should think he would have welcomed it, after so many dreary years of imprisonment. He is buried in St. Margaret's Church, beside Westminster Abbey, you know."

"Was there a real palace in the Tower?" inquired Betty, while they retraced their steps under the Bloody Tower and back toward the entrance. "Isn't there any of it remaining?"

"Yes, there was a palace here once, for royalty lived in the Tower through the reign of James I. No part of it now exists, however. It stood over beyond the White Tower, in a part which visitors are not now allowed to see."

On a hill just outside the Tower, in the center of a large, barren square, is a little inclosed park with trees and shrubbery. Here stood the scaffold where almost all of the executions were held. The place is now green and fruitful, but it is said that on the site of the scaffold within the Tower, grass cannot be made to grow.

As they walked toward a station of the "Tube," an underground railway, John suddenly heaved a great sigh of relief and exclaimed:

"Well, I tell you what! I've learned heaps, but I don't want to hear anything more about executions for a few days! What do you all say?"



When Betty came down to her breakfast the following morning, she found her plate heaped with letters and fascinating little parcels of different shapes. For a moment she looked puzzled, then she exclaimed:

"Oh! I know! It's my birthday, and I'm having such a splendid time sight-seeing, that I had forgotten all about it! How lovely!" as she glanced again at the presents.

"See, John!" she cried, opening the first package, which had an American postmark, "see what mother has sent me! It is such a pretty tan leather cover, with little handles, to put on my Baedeker. You know I always carry the guidebook, and read about things for Mrs. Pitt. Now, I can keep the book clean, and besides, people can't recognize me as an American just from seeing my red book! That's a fine idea, I think!"

John thought that his sister was not opening the bundles quite fast enough, so he pounced upon one and unwrapped it for her.

"This long thing is father's gift, Betty. It's an umbrella, of course, and a fine one! Here's a card which says, 'Knowing that two umbrellas could never be amiss in England, I send this.' Do you suppose he guessed that you'd lost yours?"

After the bundles were all opened, the letters hurriedly devoured, and Betty had at last settled down to eating her cold breakfast, Mrs. Pitt said:

"I had not decided exactly what we would do to-day, and now I think I'll let the birthday girl plan. Where will you go, Betty?"

After due consideration, Betty announced that she would choose to visit St. Paul's Cathedral, and afterwards, by way of contrast, to have lunch at the Cheshire Cheese.

"What in the world's that?" inquired John.

Mrs. Pitt laughed. "You'll see, for we'll go there, as Betty suggests, when we have seen St. Paul's. I'm not sure whether you'll care to have lunch there, but we'll look in, at any rate. It's rather different from the places where you are accustomed to take your lunch! No, you must wait, John! I'm not going to tell you any more about it!"

"What a beautiful day!" Betty cried, taking her seat on the bus a little later. "I do wish it wouldn't always be so windy, though! I almost lost my hat then!"

"As you stay longer in London, you'll notice that a really clear day is almost always a very windy one as well. We Londoners have to accept the two together," Mrs. Pitt told the visitors.

Leaving Trafalgar Square, the bus carried them by Charing Cross Station, in front of which is a copy of the old Charing Cross. Edward I, when his queen, Eleanor of Castile, died, put up many crosses in her memory, each one marking a spot where her body was set down during its journey to Westminster Abbey for burial. A little farther along, the bus passed the odd little church of St. Mary-le-Strand, which is on an "island" in the middle of that wide street and its great busy, hurrying traffic. It is good to remember that on that very spot, the maypole once stood. Narrow side streets lead off the Strand, and looking down them one may see the river, and understand why the street was so named. It originally ran along by the bank of the Thames, and the splendid houses of the nobles lined the way.

"These fine stone buildings on our left are the new Law Courts, and the griffin in the center of the street marks the position of old Temple Bar. There! We've passed it, and now we are in Fleet Street. Temple Bar was the entrance to the 'City,' you know. To this day the King cannot proceed into the 'City' without being first received at Temple Bar, by the Lord Mayor. At one time, the city of London comprised a small area (two and a quarter miles from end to end), and was inclosed by walls and entered by gates. Originally there were but four gates,—Aldgate, Aldersgate, Ludgate, and Bridgegate. Think what a small city it was then! It is curious to know that in spite of that, there were then one hundred and three churches in London. The real center of life for centuries was at 'Chepe,' or Cheapside, as it is now called. You'll see it later."

Betty had been looking eagerly, even while she listened to what Mrs. Pitt was saying. Her eyes now rested upon an old church, over the door of which stood a queer, blackened statue of a queen.

"The church is St. Dunstan's," responded Mrs. Pitt again. "That old statue of Queen Elizabeth is one of the few things which escaped the great fire in the reign of Charles II. The figure once stood on the ancient Lud Gate of the city. They say that it was in the church-yard of St. Dunstan's that John Milton sold his wonderful poem of 'Paradise Lost' for five pounds."

"Let's see,—that would be twenty-five dollars, wouldn't it? I haven't your English money clear in my mind yet," John confided to Philip. "I can't somehow feel that it's real money unless it's in dollars and cents."

Philip soon pointed to a little alley-way on their left, and said, "The Cheshire Cheese is in a little court back of there. You can't think how many buildings, courts, and alleys are hidden in behind all of these shops. Some of the old inns, or coffee-houses, which were famous are (or were) there. Now, here's Ludgate Hill, and in a minute you'll have a view of St. Paul's."

St. Paul's Cathedral stands on a hill, and because of its position and huge dome it is the most conspicuous of London's landmarks. But, because of the closely surrounding buildings, it is much hidden from near view. As the bus mounted Ludgate Hill, having passed under the railroad-bridge, they suddenly saw the tremendous cathedral looming up before them.

They paused for a moment by the statue of Queen Anne, in front of the main entrance, while Mrs. Pitt, following her delightful habit, reminded them of certain notable facts.

"No one knows exactly how long there has been a church upon this site," she began, beckoning them closer to her, as the noise of the traffic was so great, "but Bede, the oldest historian, says that a chapel was built here by a Saxon king, before the time of the Romans. When Sir Christopher Wren, the architect, built this present edifice, after the great fire of 1666, he found relics of three periods,—the Saxon, the British, and the Roman. St. Paul's has been burned five times. The last fire (the one of which I just spoke) destroyed the church which we know as 'old St. Paul's.' Now, let's go in, for there is much to be seen."

Next to St. Peter's at Rome, St. Paul's in London is the largest church, in the world. The first impression a person gets is one of great vastness and bareness, for, unlike Westminster Abbey, here one does not encounter at every step famous statues, memorials, and graves. The nave is tremendous in width and in length. Chapels open from both sides, but they seem far off and shadowy. Way in the distance is the choir, the altar, and the group of chairs used at services. Everything is quiet, empty, and bare.

"I never imagined such a huge church!" said Betty, much impressed. "I feel lost and cold, somehow. What are you thinking, Mrs. Pitt? I'm sure we'd all like to hear."

"I was just picturing, as I always do when I come here, the scenes the nave of old St. Paul's presented in Henry VIII's time. Would you like to hear? Well, in the sixteenth century, this nave was called 'Paul's Walke,' and it was a place of business. Yes," she assured them, as John and Betty exclaimed, "down these aisles were booths where merchants of all kinds sold their wares. Counters were built around the pillars, and even the font was used by the vendors. Pack-horses laden with merchandise streamed always in and out, and crowds of people elbowed their way about, shouting and gesticulating excitedly."

"But didn't they have any services at all in St. Paul's Cathedral?" asked Betty wonderingly.

"Oh, yes!" continued Mrs. Pitt, "the services went on just the same. The people were used to the noise and confusion. Here came the tailors to look at the fine new clothes which the young dandies wore when they took their morning promenades. All the latest books and poems were always to be found on sale here. Bishop Earle wrote 'Paul's Walke—you may cal—the lesser Ile of Great Brittaine. The noyse in it is like that of Bees, in strange hummings, or buzze, mixt of walking, tongues, and feet; it is a kind of still roare, or loud whisper.'

"I am glad to be able to say, however," she continued, "that before that dreadful period, there was a time when the cathedral was not so dishonored. Once these walls were covered with valuable shrines, pictures, and tapestries, and costly jewels glittered everywhere. There was one huge emerald which was said to cure diseases of the eyes. Here came John Wycliffe, the great reformer, at the summons of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to answer for the publication of his new doctrines. Here, Henry of Bolingbroke prayed for his successful seizure of the throne, and here he also wept over the grave of his father, John of Gaunt. Sir Philip Sidney was buried here, and his father-in-law, Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's secretary; and there was a magnificent monument to Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor, but these were all destroyed by the Great Fire."

About the aisles and nave are many monuments to great soldiers, sailors, painters, statesmen, literary men, and others. Most of them are very ugly, and our party did not linger long over these. After walking under the dome, and looking up into its tremendous heights, they went down into the crypt, which is really the most interesting part of the cathedral.

The crypt is vast, dark, and gloomy. Other parties may be heard walking about and talking in the distance, without being seen, and their voices echo strangely. In the "Painters' Corner," Sir Joshua Reynolds, West, Lawrence, Landseer, and Turner, all famous artists, lie buried beneath the pavement. Sir Christopher Wren, surrounded by members of his family, lies under the dome, as was his wish. Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington both have splendid tombs there.

"These are all we now have of the monuments of the old cathedral," remarked Mrs. Pitt, pointing to where in a corner some mutilated figures, heads, and broken monuments lay, all in a heap.

John was delighted when it was proposed to climb up into the dome, and to test the "Whispering Gallery," on the way. It seemed an endless climb up the spiral stairs, and Mrs. Pitt, Barbara, and Betty lagged behind. When they finally came out into the great round gallery, the two boys were over on the opposite side. Betty, after waving to them, sat down on a bench against the wall, and suddenly she heard John's voice, saying "Glad to see you at last!" She put her lips to the wall and whispering an answer, found that John could hear her, too. They were having quite a lengthy conversation, holding first their lips to the wall to speak, and then their ears to listen, when Mrs. Pitt interrupted them.

"That's great fun, but we have still a hard climb before us," she reminded them. "I think we had better go on."

The remainder of the way was much more difficult, as the steps were steeper and narrower than ever, but they at last emerged on the little platform, running around the top of the dome.

"My, what a view!" they cried.

"Yes, you're the first visitors in many a day who could see so far," the man in charge told them.

If the terrible black smoke which comes from the hundreds of chimneys, and the fog permit one to see it all, the view is truly fine. It is especially interesting to trace the river in its various curves, and to pick out the many bridges which span it. Another striking feature is the immense number of spires. The guide pointed out the churches to them, and also the different parts of the city.

"If you thought it was windy on the bus, Betty, I wonder what you call this," exclaimed Barbara, grasping her hat with both hands. "I'm going down now."

The others were quite ready to follow, and they wound their way down, down, down, until they stood again on the main floor, under the dome.

"This is called St. Paul's Church-yard," said Mrs. Pitt, leading the way around back of the cathedral. "This used to be a very busy place. St. Paul's School was here, within the yard, as well as many shops. The first printer who produced books for children had his shop in this corner. In the days when the interior of the building was put to such dreadful uses, the outside was treated quite as badly. Shops of all kinds were built up against the cathedral, and sometimes the noise which the carpenters made greatly disturbed those at the service within. It must have been shocking indeed! It is said that for a very small sum, the sexton would allow boys to climb up and ring the bells as much as they liked; and, on the day of Queen Mary's coronation, she saw a Dutchman standing on the weather-vane, waving a flag."

"My! I'd like to have seen that!" cried John, to whom such gymnastic feats appealed.

While they walked back to the Cheshire Cheese, Mrs. Pitt explained to them what St. Paul's Cathedral once comprised.

"In the London of the Middle Ages, the Church ruled supreme," she told them. "At least one-fourth of the entire city was owned by the churches and the religious houses. To carry on the monasteries and churches, a tremendous number of people were necessary. At St. Paul's, in 1450, there were:

The bishop, Four archdeacons, The treasurer, The precentor, The chancellor, Thirty greater canons, Twelve lesser canons, Fifty chaplains, and Thirty vicars.

These were of the higher rank; there were innumerable others of lower rank, such as the master of the singing-school, the binder, and the translator. The brewer, in 1286, brewed 67,814 gallons, and the baker baked about 40,000 loaves. This gives one a little idea of what it meant to conduct a cathedral in those days of the all-powerful Church."

Between the poor shops of Fleet Street, open many little passages, and these lead into tiny courts and winding alleys. The entrance to one of them is marked with the sign, "Wine Office Court." Directly off from this narrow, dark alley stands the famous Cheshire Cheese, the only genuine old-time tavern or "coffee-house" which still exists unchanged. It is a little, low building, with quaint bow-window of square panes.

"Why, we can't all get in there, can we?" laughed John, as Mrs. Pitt stepped inside. The door is very small, and the hallway was so crowded by curious visitors, and by jostling, pushing waiters, that it did not seem possible for another person to enter. They managed, however, to elbow their way through the crowd into the celebrated "coffee-room" itself.

That "coffee-room" is splendid! The ceiling is very low, and the walls are wainscoted in dark wood. Although the room is so small, there are numerous long tables, and old-fashioned, high-backed settles. One seat, in the corner farthest from the door, is marked with a little tablet, telling us that there was Dr. Johnson's chosen place. Several pictures of that noted gentleman adorn the walls. It always seems very much out of keeping with the quaintness of the room, to find it full of laughing, chattering Americans. A few quiet English clerks come there for their noon meal, but the majority of the patrons of the Cheshire Cheese are the tourists.

"There's nothing to do but to wait here until we can get seats," said Mrs. Pitt; so they all remained standing in the middle of the floor, directly in the path of the waiters, until finally some seats were free, and they slid into one of the long benches which extend down each side of the tables, placed endwise to the wall.

"Are you sorry you proposed coming here?" Mrs. Pitt asked Betty, watching with amusement her crest-fallen face as she saw the soiled linen, and untidy look of the entire table.

"Oh, no," Betty answered doubtfully, "only I guess people come here more because Dr. Johnson did, than because they like it."

Mrs. Pitt laughed. "That's very true," she said. "The service isn't exactly prompt, either. We've already waited quite fifteen minutes, I am sure. I ordered lark pie and Cheshire cheese for you, of course. Every one takes them on his first visit here."

The lark pie was Dr. Johnson's favorite dish, but that fact does not suffice to make it very enjoyable. Betty frankly confessed that she could not manage to eat hers, but John pretended to be very industrious over his, although he did a good deal of looking about the room and commenting upon things he saw.

"There's even sawdust on the floor," he announced jubilantly. "Did you ever! My! How hot and stuffy it is here! Were all old inns just like this, Mrs. Pitt?"

"Yes, pretty much so, I think," was the response. "There were ever so many of them, you know, and each was frequented by a certain class of men. For instance, there was the 'British Coffee-house,' where all the Scotch visitors went; there was 'Robin's,' which was noted for its foreign bankers and ambassadors; and there was 'Dolly's Chophouse,' where the wits congregated. Most of the famous clubs held their meetings at one or another of the 'coffee-houses,' too. The 'Spectator Club' met at 'Button's Coffee-house,' and there the 'Spectator Papers' had their beginnings. There Addison, Steele, Pope, and others, spent their leisure hours. Some of the London clubs of the eighteenth century had very queer names!" she continued. "There was the 'Ugly Club,' the 'Quack Club,' the 'Beefsteak Club,' the 'Split-Farthing Club,' and the 'Small Coalmen's Music Club,' for example. Here, at the Cheshire Cheese, Goldsmith often came with Dr. Johnson. Can't you imagine the two sitting over at that table, with Boswell not far away, patiently listening, quill in hand? Dr. Johnson was very careless and untidy, you know, and invariably spilled his soup. It was he who used to walk up and down Fleet Street touching every post he passed!"

All this time they had been waiting for their cheese. When it finally came, it proved to be much better than the lark pie. The cheese is served in little three-cornered tins, and is poured hot over crisp pieces of toast.

When they had finished, they went up the winding stairs to see the room where the famous "Literary Club" used to meet. Dr. Johnson's chair is preserved there.

"Didn't Dr. Johnson live near here, too, Mother?" asked Barbara, as they came out again into the court.

"Yes, I believe he lived in both Johnson and Bolt Courts," Mrs. Pitt told them. "His haunts were all about here. In number six, over there, Goldsmith is said to have written 'The Vicar of Wakefield.'"

From there, they walked up Fleet Street, discussing their unusual lunch as they went. They had all enjoyed it,—even Betty.

She made them all laugh, however, by announcing seriously, "I'm glad I went, but I think it is just about as nice to read about lunching there, as to really do it. And then, you wouldn't be quite so hungry afterwards!"



It was Sunday afternoon, and the time for John and Betty to send their weekly letters home. The day was a beautiful one in early spring, the grass and trees in the garden behind the house were very green, birds were singing outside, people were continually walking by, and the letters progressed but slowly. Every few moments Betty stole a glance out-of-doors, and John sat leaning his elbow on the desk chewing the end of his penholder, while he gazed steadily out of the window.

"Well, what do you think of it all, John?" asked Betty thoughtfully. "Aren't we glad we came, and aren't Mrs. Pitt and Barbara and Philip good to us?"

"Just splendid!" exclaimed John most emphatically. He had turned away from the window now, and was entering earnestly into the conversation. "I just tell you what, Betty, it's a different thing to peg away at an old, torn history-book at school, and to come over here and see things and places, while Mrs. Pitt tells you about them! Why, I honestly like English history the way we're learning it now!"

Betty smiled in an elder-sisterly fashion. "Well, I always did like to study history, but it surely makes it nicer and easier to do it this way. But besides that, John, don't you think it's queer and very interesting to see the way the English do things—all their customs, I mean. They're so different from ours! Why, when I first saw Barbara that day at the train, I thought it was the funniest thing that her hair was all hanging loose down her back. I wouldn't think of being so babyish! I thought perhaps she'd lost off her ribbon maybe, but she's worn it that way ever since. And her little sailor-hat looks so countrified as she has it,—'way down over her ears!"

"I know it; it seemed mighty funny to me to see Philip's black suit with the long trousers, his broad collar, and skimpy short coat! It's what all the boys at the Eton School wear, he says. They must feel like fools! Why, I'd feel like—like—'Little Lord Fauntleroy' going around with those clothes on all the time!" John's voice was full of scorn, yet his eyes twinkled with fun. "But, the high hat, just like father's opera-hat, which Philip wears, beats it all!" he continued. "I'm so used to it now, though, that I don't think of it any more. It's queer how soon you get used to things! It's just like riding along the streets, and keeping to the left instead of to the right. The first time I rode in a hansom (you weren't there that day, Betty) and we suddenly turned a corner, keeping close to the left curb, I poked open the little door in the roof and shouted, 'Hey there! Mister! You'll bump into something if you don't look out!' The driver just stared; he didn't seem to know what I was talking about."

"Yes," went on Betty in her turn, "keeping to the left did seem queer at first. You know, John, how often we have wished that Dan and the automobile were over here. Honestly, I think Dan would surely have an accident! He never could remember to keep to the left! Now, we simply must go on with our letters! Begin when I say three! One—two—(hurry, John, you haven't dipped your pen!), three!" and both commenced to write industriously.

The letters were finally finished just as the tea-bell rang. Betty ran to wash her hands, and then they went down to the library, where tea was served every afternoon that they were at home.

"Why! I quite like tea over here!" Betty remarked. "I never drink it at home! Mother would be so surprised if she saw me! Do all English people drink it every afternoon as you do, Mrs. Pitt?"

"Yes, it seems to go with the English people, somehow. We'd quite as soon think of doing without our breakfast or dinner as our four-o'clock-tea. You've noticed, my dear, how I always manage to get my tea at some little shop when we are on one of our sight-seeing tours. Really, I am quite lost without it! Oh! it's just a habit, of course." As she spoke, Mrs. Pitt poured herself another cup.

When the tea things had been removed, and a fire was lighted, stories were called for.

"Tell us some of the stories you know about different places and old customs, Mother," urged Barbara.

"Very well," said Mrs. Pitt willingly. "Let—me—see! You remember, don't you, having the guide point out London Bridge to you, from the top of St. Paul's, day before yesterday? That's the oldest bridge, you know, for it seems to have existed as long ago as we know anything of London itself. But legend has it that before there was any bridge over the Thames, people crossed in a ferry which was run by a certain John Overs. This man naturally became rich, as very many people were always paying him for taking them across the river, but he was a great miser. The ferryman had one fair daughter about whom he was as miserly as he was with his money,—keeping her shut up out of reach of her lover. One day, John Overs thought he would like to save the cost of providing food for his household, so he pretended to be dead. He expected that his servants would fast in consequence, as was the ancient custom; but so great was their joy when they thought their master dead, that they all began to dance, to make merry together, and to feast upon all they found in the house. The old miser stood this just as long as he could, and then he sprang up to lay hands upon them. The servants fled, believing that it was something supernatural—all except one, who, more daring than the rest, killed his master with his weapon. So old John did die after all, but in an unexpected way.

"Part the second of my story tells of how the monks of a neighboring abbey finally consented to bury the body; when the abbot returned, however, he was very angry at what they had done, and gave the friars some orders. They dug up the body of the poor old boatman, tied it to the back of an ass, and turned the animal loose. The body was finally thrown off at the place of public execution (directly under the gallows), and there it was buried and remained. Meanwhile the daughter, Mary, was having more trouble. Immediately upon the death of her father, she had sent for her lover, but in coming to her, he had been thrown off his horse and killed. This was too much for the unfortunate girl, who decided to retire to a nunnery, leaving her entire fortune to found the church of 'St. Mary Overy.' That is the real name of the church now known as Southwark Cathedral, which stands just across London Bridge. Now, how do you like that story?"

"Great!" exclaimed John. "Whoever thought that up had a vivid imagination, all right!"

"Why, don't you believe it, John?" said Betty, who always took everything most seriously.

When they were quiet again, Mrs. Pitt talked on.

"London Bridge, up to the time of the Great Fire, was crowded with houses, you know, and there was even a chapel there. Over the gate at the Southwark end of the bridge, the heads of traitors were exhibited on the ends of long poles. Here Margaret Roper, whom you met at the Tower, came, bargained for, and at last secured the head of her father, Sir Thomas More. But, to go back to the houses! Hans Holbein, the painter, and John Bunyan, the poet, are both said to have resided on London Bridge. I also like the story which tells of a famous wine merchant, named Master Abel, who had his shop there. Before his door, he set up a sign on which was the picture of a bell, and under it were written the words, 'Thank God I am Abel.' Here's a picture of old London Bridge. Imagine how quaint it must have looked crowded by these picturesque old houses, and with its streets filled with travelers. All those entering London from the south came across that bridge, which was consequently a great thoroughfare. Near the Southwark side of the bridge is where the Tabard Inn stood—the inn from which the Canterbury Pilgrims set out; and near the bank, known as Bankside in those days, was the celebrated Globe Theatre, connected with Shakespeare and his associates. The popular Paris Gardens were there, too, where the sport of bear-baiting was seen in Queen Elizabeth's time. If we went over there, we could see the former sites of these historic places, but they are now covered by unattractive, modern buildings or great breweries. It's hard to conjure up the Globe Theatre out of present-day Southwark," she added with a sigh, as if she were speaking to herself. "Not far from the site of the Tabard Inn, a picturesque, gabled house once stood, in which John Harvard was born. Yes, John, that was the man who founded Harvard College, at your American Cambridge."

"Yes, and I mean to go there myself some day!" announced John, immediately fired by the familiar name of our oldest university. "My father went, you know."

Mrs. Pitt and the two girls spent the remainder of the evening in talking over plans for the next day, but John's thoughts had been turned to college, and so he and Philip had a lively time comparing notes about English and American colleges.

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