Seeing Europe with Famous Authors - Vol. II Great Britain And Ireland, Part Two
by Francis W. Halsey
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Selected And Edited With Introduction, Etc.

By Francis W. Halsey

Editor of "Great Epochs in American History" Associate Editor of "The World's Famous Orations" and of "The Best of the World's Classics," etc.

In Ten Volumes


Vol. II Great Britain And Ireland

Part Two

[Printed in the United States of America]






STOKE POGIS—By Charles T. Congdon

HAWORTH—By Theodore F. Wolfe

GAD'S HILL—By Theodore F. Wolfe

RYDAL MOUNT—By William Howitt

TWICKENHAM—By William Howitt


STONEHENGE—By Ralph Waldo Emerson



OXFORD—By Goldwin Smith

CAMBRIDGE—By James M. Hoppin

CHESTER—By Nathaniel Hawthorne




EDINBURGH—By Robert Louis Stevenson

HOLYROOD—By David Masson

LINLITHGOW—By Sir Walter Scott

STIRLING—By Nathaniel Hawthorne

ABBOTSFORD—By William Howitt

DRYBURGH ABBEY—By William Howitt

MELROSE ABBEY—By William Howitt


BURNS'S LAND—By Nathaniel Hawthorne





TO THE HEBRIDES—By James Boswell

STAFFA AND IONA—By William Howitt


A SUMMER DAY IN DUBLIN—By William Makepeace Thackeray

DUBLIN CASTLE—By Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall

ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDHAL—By Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall

LIMERICK—By Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall

FROM BELFAST TO DUBLIN—By William Cullen Bryant


CORK—by William Makepeace Thackeray

BLARNEY CASTLE—By Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall

MUCROSS ABBEY—By Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall

FROM GLENGARIFF TO KILLARNEY—By William Makepeace Thackeray


































STOKE POGIS [Footnote: From "Reminiscences of a Journalist." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1884. Mr. Congdon was, for many years, under Horace Greeley, a leading editorial writer for the New York "Tribune."]


It was a comfort as I came out of the Albert Memorial Chapel, and rejoined nature upon the Terrace, to mutter to myself those fine lines which not a hundred years ago everybody knew by heart: "The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, And all that beauty, all that wealth ere gave, Await alike th' inevitable hour. The paths of glory lead but to the grave,"—a verse which I found it not bad to remember as in the Chapel Royal I gazed upon the helmets, and banners, and insignia of many a defunct Knight of the Garter. I wondered if posterity would care much for George the Fourth, or Third, or Second, or First, whose portraits I had just been gazing at; I was sure that a good many would remember the recluse scholar of Pembroke Hall, the Cambridge Professor of Modern History, who cared for nothing but ancient history; who projected twenty great poems, and finished only one or two; who spent his life in commenting upon Plato and studying botany, and in writing letters to his friend Mason; and who with a real touch of Pindar in his nature, was content to fiddle-faddle away his life. He died at last of a most unpoetical gout in the stomach, leaving behind him a cartload of memoranda, and fifty fragments of fine things; and yet I, a stranger from a far distant shore, was about to make a little pilgrimage to his tomb, and all for the sake of that "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," which has so held its own while a hundred bulkier things have been forgotten.

The church itself is an interesting but not remarkable edifice, old, small, and solidly built in a style common enough in England. Nothing, however, could be more in keeping with the associations of the scene. The very humility of the edifice has a property of its own, for anything more magnificent would jar upon the feelings, as the monument in the Park does most decidedly. It was Gray's wish that he might be buried here, near the mother whom he loved so well; otherwise he could hardly have escaped the posthumous misfortune of a tomb in Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's. In such case the world would have missed one of the most charming of associations, and the great poem the most poetical of its features. For surely it was fit that he who sang so touchingly of the dead here sleeping, should find near them his last resting-place; that when the pleasant toil in libraries was over, the last folio closed by those industrious hands, the last manuscript collated, and the last flower picked for the herbarium, he who here so tenderly sang of the emptiness of earthly honors and the nothingness of worldly success should be buried humbly near those whom he best loved, and where all the moral of his teaching might be perpetually illustrated. I wondered, as I stood there, whether Horace Walpole ever thought it worth his while, for the sake of that early friendship which was so rudely broken, to come there, away from the haunts of fashion, or from his plaything villa at Strawberry Hill, to muse for a moment over the grave of one who rated pedigrees and peerages at their just value. Probably my Lord Orford was never guilty of such a piece of sentimentality. He was thinking too much of his pictures and coins and eternal bric-a-brac for that.

A stone set in the outside of the church indicates the spot near which the poet is buried. I was very anxious to see the interior of the edifice, and, fortunately I found the sexton busy in the neighborhood. There was nothing, however, remarkable to be seen, after sixpence had opened the door, except perhaps the very largest pew which these eyes ever beheld. It belonged to the Penn family, descendants of drab-coated and sweet-voiced William Penn, whose seat is in the neighborhood. I do not know what that primitive Quaker would have said to such an enormous reservation of space in the house of God for the sole use and behoof of two or three aristocratic worshipers. Probably few of my readers have ever seen such a pew as that. It was not so much a pew as a room. It was literally walled off, and quite set apart from the plebeian portion of the sanctuary, was carpeted, and finished with comfortable arm-chairs, and in the middle of it was a stove. The occupants could look out and over at the altar, but the rustics could not look in and at them. The Squire might have smoked or read novels, or my lady might have worked worsted or petted her poodle through the service, without much scandal. The pew monopolized so much room that there was little left for the remainder of the "miserable offenders," but I suspect that there was quite enough for all who came to pray. For it was, as I have said, literally a country church; and those who sleep near it were peasants.

It is difficult to comprehend the whole physiognomy of the poem, if I may use the expression, without seeing the spot which it commemorates. I take it for granted that the reader is familiar with it. There are "those rugged elms," and there is "that yew tree's shade." There are "the frail memorials," "with uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked;" there "the name, the years, spelt by the unlettered muse;" and the holy texts strewn round "that teach the rustic moralist to die." There is still "the ivy-mantled tower," tho the "moping owl" that evening did not "to the moon complain," partly because there was no moon to complain to, and possibly because there was no moping owl in the tower. But there was one little circumstance which I may be pardoned for mentioning. Gray, somehow, has the reputation of being an artificial poet, yet for one who wrote so little poetry he makes a good many allusions to childhood and children. As I passed through the Park on my way to the churchyard, I encountered a group of merry boys and girls playing about the base of the monument; and I recalled that verse which Gray wrote for the Elegy, and afterward discarded, under the impression that it made the parenthesis too long.

There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year, By hands unseen are showers of violets found; The redbreast loves to build and warble there, And little footsteps lightly print the ground.

I have often wondered how Gray could bear to give up these sweet, tender and most natural lines. I have sometimes surmised that he thought them a little too much like Ambrose Philips's verses about children—Namby Pamby Philips, as the Pope set nicknamed that unfortunate writer.

I lingered about the churchyard until that long twilight, of which we know nothing in America, began to grow dimmer and dimmer. If it was still before, it seemed all the stiller now. I was glad that I had waited so long, because by doing so I understood all the better how true the Elegy is to nature. The neighborhood, with its agreeable variety of meadow and wood, has all the hundred charms of the gentle and winning English scenery. The hush, hardly broken even by the songs of the birds, brought forcibly to my mind that beautiful line of the Elegy: "And all the air a solemn stillness holds;" while that other line: "Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight," is exactly true. The landscape did glimmer, and as I watched the sun go down, I pleased myself with the fancy that I was sitting just where the poet sat, as he revolved those lines which the world has got by heart. Just then came the cry of the cattle, and I knew why Gray wrote: "The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea," nor did I fail to encounter a plowman homeward plodding his weary way.

As I strolled listlessly back to the station, there was such a serenity on the earth about me, and in the sky above me, that I could easily give myself to gentle memories and poetic dreams. I recalled the springtime of life, when I learned this famous Elegy by heart as a pleasant task, and, as yet unsophisticated by critical notions, accepted it as perfect. I thought of innumerable things which I had read about it; of the long and patient revision which its author gave it, year after year, keeping it in his desk, and then sending it, a mere pamphlet, with no flourish of trumpets, into the world. Many an ancient figure came to lend animation to the scene. Horace Walpole in his lace coat and spruce wig went mincing by; the mother of Gray, with her sister, measured lace for the customers who came to her little shop in London; the wags of Pembroke College, graceless varlets, raise an alarm of fire that they may see the frightened poet drop from the window, half dead with alarm; old Foulis, the Glasgow printer, volunteers to send from his press such, a luxurious edition of Gray's poems as the London printers can not match; Dr. Johnson, holding the page to his eyes, growls over this stanza, and half-grudgingly praises that. I had spent perhaps the pleasantest day which the fates vouchsafed me during my sojourn in England; and here I was back again in Slough Station, ready to return to the noisy haunts of men. The train came rattling up, and the day with Gray was over.

HAWORTH [Footnote: From "A Literary Pilgrimage." By arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, J. B. Lippincott Co. Copyright, 1895.]


Other Bronte shrines have engaged us,—Guiseley, where Patrick Bronte was married and Neilson worked as a mill-girl; the lowly Thornton home, where Charlotte was born; the cottage where she visited Harriet Martineau; the school where she found Caroline Helstone and Rose and Jessy Yorke; the Fieldhead, Lowood, and Thornfield of her tales; the Villette where she knew her hero; but it is the bleak Haworth hilltop where the Brontes wrote the wonderful books and lived the pathetic lives that most attracts and longest holds our steps. Our way is along Airedale, now a highway of toil and trade, desolated by the need of hungry poverty and greed of hungrier wealth; meads are replaced by blocks of grimy huts, groves are supplanted by factory chimneys that assoil earth and heaven, the one "shining" stream is filthy with the refuse of many mills.

At Keighley our walk begins, and altho we have no peas in our "Pilgrim shoon," the way is heavy with memories of the sad sisters Bronte who so often trod the dreary miles which bring us to Haworth. The village street, steep as a roof, has a pavement of rude stones, upon which the wooden shoes of the villagers clank with an unfamiliar sound. The dingy houses of gray stone, barren and ugly in architecture, are huddled along the incline and encroach upon the narrow street. The place and its situation are a proverb of ugliness in all the countryside; one dweller in Airedale told us that late in the evening of the last day of creation it was found that a little rubbish was left, and out of that Haworth was made. But, grim and rough as it is, the genius of a little woman has made the place illustrious and draws to it visitors from every quarter of the world. We are come in the "glory season" of the moors, and as we climb through the village we behold above and beyond it vast undulating sweeps of amethyst-tinted hills rising circle beyond circle,—all now one great expanse of purple bloom stirred by zephyrs which waft to us the perfume of the heather.

At the hilltop we come to the Black Bull Inn, where one Bronte drowned his genius in drink, and from our apartment here we look upon all the shrines we seek. The inn stands at the churchyard gates, and is one of the landmarks of the place. Long ago preacher Grimshaw flogged the loungers from its taproom into chapel; here Wesley and Whitefield lodged when holding meetings on the hilltop; here Bronte's predecessor took refuge from his riotous parishioners, finally escaping through the low easement at the back,—out of which poor Branwell Bronte used to vault when his sisters asked for him at the door. This inn is a quaint structure, low-eaved and cosy; its furniture is dark with age. We sleep in a bed once occupied by Henry J. Raymond, [Footnote: In the editorial sense, the founder of the New York "Times." Mr. Raymond died in 1869, eighteen years after the paper was started.] and so lofty that steps are provided to ascend its heights. Our meals are served in the old-fashioned parlor to which Branwell came. In a nook between the fireplace and the before-mentioned easement stood the tall arm-chair, with square seat and quaintly carved back, which was reserved for him.

The landlady denied that he was summoned to entertain travelers here; "he never needed to be sent for, he came fast enough of himself." His wit and conviviality were usually the life of the circle, but at times he was mute and abstracted and for hours together "would just sit and sit in his corner there." She described him as a "little, red-haired, light-complexioned chap, cleverer than all his sisters put together. What they put in their books they got from him," quoth she, reminding us of the statement in Grundy's Reminiscences that Branwell declared he invented the plot and wrote the major part of "Wuthering Heights." Certain it is he possest transcending genius and that in this room that genius was slain. Here he received the message of renunciation from his depraved mistress which finally wrecked his life; the landlady, entering after the messenger had gone, found him in a fit on the floor. Emily Bronte's rescue of her dog, an incident recorded in "Shirley," occurred at the inn door.

The graveyard is so thickly sown with blackened tombstones that there is scant space for blade or foliage to relieve its dreariness, and the villagers, for whom the yard is a thoroughfare, step from tomb to tomb; in the time of the Brontes the village women dried their linen on these graves. Close to the wall which divides the churchyard from the vicarage is a plain stone set by Charlotte Bronte to mark the grave of Tabby, the faithful servant who served the Brontes from their childhood till all but Charlotte were dead. The very ancient church-tower still "rises dark from the stony enclosure of its yard;" the church itself has been remodeled and much of its romantic interest destroyed. No interments have been made in the vaults beneath the aisles since Mr. Bronte was laid there. The site of the Bronte pew is by the chancel; here Emily sat in the farther corner, Anne next and Charlotte by the door, within a foot of the spot where her ashes now lie.

A former sacristan remembered to have seen Thackeray and Miss Martineau sitting with Charlotte in the pew. And here, almost directly above her sepulcher, she stood one summer morning and gave herself in marriage to the man who served for her as "faithfully and long as did Jacob for Rachel." The Bronte tablet in the wall bears a uniquely pathetic record, its twelve lines registering eight deaths, of which Mr. Bronte's at the age of eighty-five, is the last. On a side aisle is a beautiful stained window inscribed "To the Glory of God, in Memory of Charlotte Bronte, by an American citizen." The list shows that most of the visitors come from America, and it was left for a dweller in that far land to set up here almost the only voluntary memento of England's great novelist. A worn page of the register displays the tremulous autograph of Charlotte as she signs her maiden name for the last time, and the signatures of the witnesses to her marriage,—Miss Wooler, of "Roe Head," Ellen Nussy, who is the E of Charlotte's letters and the Caroline of "Shirley."

The vicarage and its garden are out of a corner of the churchyard and separated from it by a low wall. A lane lies along one side of the churchyard and leads from the street to the vicarage gates. The garden, which was Emily's care, where she tended stunted shrubs and borders of unresponsive flowers and where Charlotte planted the currant-bushes, is beautiful with foliage and flowers, and its boundary wall is overtopped by a screen of trees which shuts out the depressing prospect of the graves from the vicarage windows and makes the place seem less "a churchyard home" than when the Brontes inhabited it. The dwelling is of gray stone, two stories high, of plain and somber aspect. A wing is added, the little window-panes are replaced by larger squares, the stone floors are removed or concealed, curtains—forbidden by Mr. Bronte's dread of fire—shade the window, and the once bare interior is furbished and furnished in modern style; but the arrangement of the apartments is unchanged.

Most interesting of these is the Bronte parlor, at the left of the entrance; here the three curates of "Shirley" used to take tea with Mr. Bronte and were upbraided by Charlotte for their intolerance; here the sisters discuss their plots and read each other's MSS.; here they transmuted the sorrows of their lives into the stories which make the name of Bronte immortal; here Emily, "her imagination occupied with Wuthering Heights," watched in the darkness to admit Branwell coming late and drunken from the Black Bull; here Charlotte, the survivor of all, paced the night-watches in solitary anguish, haunted by the vanished faces, the voices forever stilled, the echoing footsteps that came no more. Here, too, she lay in her coffin. The room behind the parlor was fitted by Charlotte for Nichols's study. On the right was Bronte's study, and behind it the kitchen, where the sisters read with their books propt on the table before them while they worked, and where Emily (prototype of "Shirley"), bitten by a dog at the gate of the lane, took one of Tabby's glowing irons from the fire and cauterized the wound, telling no one till danger was past.

Above the parlor is the chamber in which Charlotte and Emily died, the scene of Nichols's loving ministrations to his suffering wife. Above Bronte's study was his chamber; the adjoining children's study was later Branwell's apartment and the theater of the most terrible tragedies of the stricken family; here that ill-fated youth writhed in the horrors of mania-a-potu; here Emily rescued him—stricken with drunken stupor—from his burning couch, as "Jane Eyre" saved Rochester; here he breathed out his blighted life erect upon his feet, his pockets filled with love-letters from the perfidious woman who brought his ruin. Even now the isolated site of the parsonage, its environment of graves and wild-moors, its exposure to the fierce winds of the long winters, make it unspeakably dreary; in the Brontes' time it must have been cheerless indeed. Its influence darkened the lives of the inmates and left its fateful impression upon the books here produced. Visitors are rarely admitted to the vicarage; among those against whom its doors have been closed is the gifted daughter of Charlotte's literary idol, to whom "Jane Eyre" was dedicated, Thackeray.

By the vicarage lane were the cottage of Tabby's sister, the school the Brontes daily visited, and the sexton's dwelling where the curates lodged. Behind the vicarage a savage expanse of gorse and heather rises to the horizon and stretches many miles away; a path oft-trodden by the Brontes leads between low walls from their home to this open moor, their habitual resort in childhood and womanhood. The higher plateaus afford a wide prospect, but, despite the August bloom and fragrance and the delightful play of light and shadow along the sinuous sweeps, the aspect of the bleak, treeless, houseless waste of uplands is even now dispiriting; when frosts have destroyed its verdure, and wintry skies frown above, its gloom and desolation must be terrible beyond description. Remembering that the sisters found even these usually dismal moors a welcome relief from their tomb of a dwelling, we may appreciate the utter dreariness of their situation and the pathos of Charlotte's declaration, "I always dislike to leave Haworth, it takes so long to be content again after I return."

GAD'S HILL [Footnote: From "A Literary Pilgrimage." By arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, J. B. Lippincott Co. Copyright, 1895.]


"To go to Gad's Hill," said Dickens, in a note of invitation, "you leave Charing Cross at nine o'clock by North Kent Railway for Higham." Guided by these directions and equipped with a letter from Dickens's son, we find ourselves gliding eastward among the chimneys of London and, a little later, emerging into the fields of Kent,—Jingle's region of "apples, cherries, hops, and women." The Thames is on our left; we pass many river-towns,—Dartford where Wat Tyler lived, Gravesend where Pocahontas died,—but most of our way is through the open country, where we have glimpses of "fields," "parks," and leafy lanes, with here and there picturesque camps of gypsies or of peripatetic rascals "goin' a-hoppin.'" From wretched Higham a walk of half an hour among orchards and between hedges of wild-rose and honeysuckle brings us to the hill which Shakespeare and Dickens have made classic ground, and soon we see, above the tree tops, the glittering vane which surmounted the home of the world's greatest novelist.

The name Gad's (Vagabond's) Hill is a survival of the time when the depredations of highwaymen upon "pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings and traders riding to London with fat purses" gave to this spot the ill repute it had in Shakespeare's day; it was here he located Falstaff's great exploit. The tuft of evergreens which crowns the hill about Dickens' retreat is the remnant of thick woods once closely bordering the highway, in which the "men in buckram" lay concealed, and the robbery of the Franklin was committed in front of the spot where the Dickens house stands. By this road passed Chaucer, who had property near by, gathering from the pilgrims his "Canterbury Tales." In all time to come the great master of romance who came here to live and die will be worthily associated with Shakespeare and Chaucer in the renown of Gad's Hill.

In becoming possessor of this place Dickens realized a dream of his boyhood and ambition of his life. In one of his travelers' sketches he introduces a "queer small boy" (himself) gazing at Gad's Hill House and predicting his future ownership, which the author finds annoying "because it happens to be my house and I believe what he said was true." When at last the place was for sale, Dickens did not wait to examine it; he never was inside the house until he went to direct its repair. Eighteen hundred pounds was the price; a thousand more were expended for enlargement of the grounds and alterations of the house, which, despite his declaration that he had "stuck bits upon it in all manner of ways," did not greatly change it from what it was when it became the goal of his childish aspirations. At first it was his summer residence merely,—his wife came with him the first summer,—but three years later he sold Tavistock House, and Gad's Hill was thenceforth his home. From the bustle and din of the city he returned to the haunts of his boyhood to find restful quiet and time for leisurely work among these "blessed woods and fields" which had ever held his heart. For nine years after the death of Dickens Gad's Hill was occupied by his oldest son; its ownership has since twice or thrice changed.

Its elevated site and commanding view render it one of the most conspicuous, as it is one of the most lovely, spots in Kent. The mansion is an unpretentious, old-fashioned, two-storied structure of fourteen rooms. Its brick walls are surmounted by Mansard roofs above which rises a bell-turret; a pillared portico, where Dickens sat with his family on summer evenings, shades the front entrance; wide bay-windows project upon either side; flowers and vines clamber upon the walls, and a delightfully home-like air pervades the place. It seems withal a modest seat for one who left half a million dollars at his death. At the right of the entrance-hall we see Dickens's library and study, a cosy room shown in the picture of "The Empty Chair;" here are shelves which held his books; the panels he decorated with counterfeit bookbacks; the nook where perched, the mounted remains of his raven, the "Grip" of "Barnaby Rudge." By this bay-window, whence he could look across the lawn to the cedars beyond the highway, stood his chair and the desk where he wrote many of the works by which the world will know him always. Behind the study was his billiard-room, and upon the opposite side of the hall the parlor, with the dining-room adjoining it at the back, both bedecked with the many mirrors which delighted the master.

Opening out of these rooms is a conservatory, paid for out of "the golden shower from America" and completed but a few days before Dickens' death, holding yet the ferns he tended. The dining-room was the scene of much of that emphatic hospitality which it pleased the novelist to dispense, his exuberant spirits making him the leader in all the jollity and conviviality of the board. Here he compounded for bibulous guests his famous "cider-cup of Gad's Hill," and at the same table he was stricken with death; on a couch beneath yonder window, the one nearest the hall, he died on the anniversary of the railway accident which so frightfully imperiled his life. From this window we look out upon a lawn decked with shrubbery and see across undulating cornfields his beloved Cobham. From the parqueted hall, stairs lead to the modest chambers—that of Dickens being above the drawing-room. He lined the stairway with prints of Hogarth's works, and declared he never came down the stairs without pausing to wonder at the sagacity and skill which had produced these masterful pictures of human life.

The house is invested with roses, and parterres of the red geraniums which the master loved are ranged upon every side. It was some fresh manifestation of his passion for these flowers that elicited from his daughter the averment, "Papa, I think when you are an angel your wings will be made of looking-glasses and your crown of scarlet geraniums." Beneath a rose-tree not far from the window where Dickens died, a bed blooming with blue lobelia holds the tiny grave of "Dick" and the tender memorial of the novelist to that "Best of Birds." The row of gleaming limes which shadow the porch was planted by Dickens's own hands. The pedestal of the sundial upon the lawn is a massive balustrade of the old stone bridge at nearby Rochester, which little David Copperfield crossed "footsore and weary" on his way to his aunt, and from which Pickwick contemplated the castle-ruin, the cathedral, the peaceful Medway. At the left of the mansion are the carriage-house and the school-room of Dickens' sons. In another portion of the grounds are his tennis-court and the bowling-green which he prepared, where he became a skilful and tireless player. The broad meadow beyond the lawn was a later purchase, and the many limes which beautify it were rooted by Dickens. Here numerous cricket-matches were played, and he would watch the players or keep the score "The whole day long."

It was in this meadow that he rehearsed his readings, and his talking, laughing, weeping, and gesticulating here "all to himself" excited among his neighbors suspicion of his insanity. From the front lawn a tunnel constructed by Dickens passes beneath the highway to "The Wilderness," a thickly-wooded shrubbery, where magnificent cedars up-rear their venerable forms and many somber firs, survivors of the forest which erst covered the countryside, cluster upon the hill top. Here Dickens's favorite dog, the "Linda" of his letters, lies buried. Amid the leafy seclusion of this retreat, and upon the very spot where Falstaff was routed by Hal and Poins ("the eleven men in buckram"), Dickens erected the chalet sent to him in pieces by Fechter, the upper room of which—up among the quivering boughs, where "birds and butterflies fly in and out, and green branches shoot in at the windows"—Dickens lined with mirrors and used as his study in summer. Of the work produced at Gad's Hill—"A Tale of Two Cities," "The Uncommercial Traveler," "Our Mutual Friend," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," and many tales and sketches of "All the Year Round"—much was written in this leaf-environed nook; here the master wrought through the golden hours of his last day of conscious life, here he wrote his last paragraph and at the close of that June day let fall his pen, never to take it up again. From the place of the chalet we behold the view which delighted the heart of Dickens—his desk was so placed that his eyes would rest upon this view whenever he raised them from his work—the fields of waving corn, the green expanse of meadows, the sail-dotted river.

RYDAL MOUNT [Footnote: From "Homes and Haunts of the Most Eminent British Poets."]


As you advance a mile or more on the road from Ambleside toward Grasmere, a lane overhung with trees turns up to the right, and there, at some few hundred yards from the highway, stands the modest cottage of the poet, elevated on Rydal Mount, so as to look out over the surrounding sea of foliage, and to take in a glorious view. Before it, at some distance across the valley, stretches a high screen of bold and picturesque mountains; behind, it is overtowered by a precipitous hill, called Nab-scar; but to the left, you look down over the broad waters of Windermere, and to the right over the still and more embosomed flood of Grasmere.

Whichever way the poet pleases to advance from his house, it must be into scenery of that beauty of mountain, stream, wood, and lake, which has made Cumberland so famous over all England. He may steal away up backward from his gate and ascend into the solitary hills, or diverging into the grounds of Lady Mary Fleming, his near neighbor, may traverse the deep shades of the woodland, wander along the banks of the rocky rivulet, and finally stand before the well known waterfall there. If he descend into the highway, objects of beauty still present themselves. Cottages and quiet houses here and there glance from their little spots of Paradise, through the richest boughs of trees; Windermere, with its wide expanse of waters, its fairy islands, its noble hills, allures his steps in one direction; while the sweet little lake of Rydal, with its heronry and its fine background of rocks, invites him in another.

In this direction the vale of Grasmere, the scene of his early married life, opens before him, and Dunmail-raise and Langdale-pikes lift their naked corky summits, as hailing him to the pleasures of old companionship. Into no quarter of this region of lakes, and mountains, and vales of primitive life, can he penetrate without coming upon ground celebrated by his muse. He is truly "sole king of rocky Cumberland."

The immediate grounds in which his house stands are worthy of the country and the man. It is, as its name implies, a mount. Before the house opens a considerable platform, and around and beneath lie various terraces and descend various walks, winding on amid a profusion of trees and luxuriant evergreens. Beyond the house, you ascend various terraces, planted with trees now completely overshadowing them; and these terraces conduct you to a level above the house-top, and extend your view of the enchanting scenery on all sides.

Above you tower the rocks and precipitous slopes of Nab-scar; and below you, embosomed in its trees, lies the richly ornate villa of Mr. William Ball, a friend, whose family and the poet's are on such social terms, that a little gate between their premises opens both to each family alike. This cottage and grounds were formerly the property of Charles Lloyd, also a friend, and one of the Bristol and Stowey coterie. Both he and Lovell have been long dead; Lovell, indeed, was drowned, on a voyage to Ireland, in the very heyday of the dreams of Pantisocracy, in which he was an eager participant.

The poet's house, itself, is a proper poet's abode. It is at once modest, plain, yet tasteful and elegant. An ordinary dining-room, a breakfast-room in the center, and a library beyond, form the chief apartments. There are a few pictures and busts, especially those of Scott and himself, a good engraving of Burns, and the like, with a good collection of books, few of them very modern.

TWICKENHAM [Footnote: From "Homes and Haunts of the Most Eminent British Poets."]


It seems that Pope did not purchase the freehold of the house and grounds at Twickenham, but only a long lease. He took his father and mother along with him. His father died there the year after, but his mother continued to live till 1733, when she died at the great age of ninety-three. For twenty years she had the singular satisfaction of seeing her son the first poet of his age; carest by the greatest men of the time, courted by princes, and feared by all the base. No parents ever found a more tender and dutiful son. With him they shared in honor the ease and distinction he had acquired. They were the cherished objects of his home. Swift paid him no false compliment when he said, in condoling with him on his mother's death, "You are the most dutiful son I have ever known or heard of, which is a felicity not happening to one in a million."

The property at Twickenham is properly described by Roscoe as lying on both sides of the highway, rendering it necessary for him to cross the road to arrive at the higher and more ornamental part of his gardens. In order to obviate this inconvenience, he had recourse to the expedient of excavating a passage under the road from one part of his grounds to the other, a fact to which he alludes in these lines:

"Know all the toil the heavy world can heap, Rolls o'er my grotto, nor disturbs my sleep."

The lower part of these grounds, in which his house stood, constituted, in fact, only the sloping bank of the river, by much the smaller portion of his territory. The passage, therefore, was very necessary to that far greater part, which was his wilderness, shrubbery, forest, and every thing, where he chiefly planted and worked. This passage he formed into a grotto, having a front of rude stonework opposite to the river and decorated within with spars, ores, and shells. Of this place he has himself left this description:

"I have put the last hand to my works of this kind, in happily finishing the subterranean way and grotto. I found there a spring of the clearest water, which falls in a perpetual rill, that echoes through the cavern night and day. From the River Thames you see through my arch, up a walk of the wilderness, to a kind of open temple wholly composed of shells in the rustic manner; and from that distance under the temple you look down through a sleeping arcade of trees, and see the sails on the river passing suddenly and vanishing, as through a perspective glass. When you shut the door of this grotto, it becomes, on the instant, from a luminous room, a camera obscura, on the walls of which all the objects of the river, hills, woods, and boats are forming a moving picture, in their visible radiations; and when you have a mind to light it less, it affords you a very different scene. It is finished with shells, interspersed with looking-glass in regular forms, and in the ceiling is a star of the same material, at which, when a lamp of an orbicular figure of thin alabaster is hung in the middle, a thousand pointed rays glitter, and are reflected over the place. There are connected to this grotto, by a narrow passage, two porches, one toward the river, of smooth stones full of light and open; the other toward the garden, shadowed with trees, rough with shells, flints, and iron ore. The bottom is paved with simple pebbles, as is also the adjoining walk up the wilderness to the temple, in the natural state, agreeing not ill with the little dripping murmur, and the aquatic idea of the whole place. It wants nothing to complete it but a good statue with an inscription, like that beautiful antique one which you know I am so fond of. You will think I have been very poetical in this description; but it is pretty near the truth."

But it was not merely in forming this grotto that Pope employed himself; it was in building and extending his house, which was in a Roman style, with columns, arcades, and porticos. The designs and elevations of these buildings may be seen by his own hand in the British Museum, drawn in his usual way on backs of letters. The following passage, in a letter to Mr. Digby, will be sufficient to give us his idea of both his Thamesward garden and his house in a summer view: "No ideas you could form in the winter could make you imagine what Twickenham is in this warm summer. Our river glitters beneath the unclouded sun, at the same time that its banks retain the verdure of showers; our gardens are offering their first nosegays; our trees, like new acquaintance brought happily together, are stretching their arms to meet each other, and growing nearer and nearer every hour. The birds are paying their thanksgiving songs for the new habitations I have made them. My building rises high enough to attract the eye and curiosity of the passenger from the river, where, upon beholding a mixture of beauty and ruin, he inquires, 'What house is falling, or what church is arising?' So little taste have our common Tritons for Vitruvius; whatever delight the poetical gods of the river may take in reflecting on their streams, my Tuscan porticos, or Ionic pilasters."

Pope's architecture, like his poetry, has been the subject of much and vehement dispute. On the one hand, his grottos and his buildings have been vituperated as most tasteless and childish; on the other, applauded as beautiful and romantic. Into neither of these disputes need we enter. In both poetry and architecture a bolder spirit and a better taste have prevailed since Pope's time. With all his foibles and defects, Pope was a great poet of the critical and didactic kind, and his house and place had their peculiar beauties. He was himself half inclined to suspect the correctness of his fancy in such matters, and often rallies himself on his gimcracks and crotchets in both verse and prose....

Pope's building madness, however, had method in it. Unlike the great romancer and builder of our time, [Footnote: Sir Walter Scott] he never allowed such things to bring him into debt. He kept his mind at ease by such prudence, and soothed and animated it under circumstances of continued evil by working among his trees, and grottos, and vines, and at his labors of poetry and translations. At the period succeeding the rebellion of 1715, when that event had implicated and scattered so many of his highest and most powerful friends, here he was laboring away at his "Homer" with a progress which astonished every one. Removed at once from the dissipations and distractions of London, and from the agreeable interruptions of such society, he found leisure and health enough here to give him vigor for exertions astonishing for so weak a frame. The tastes he indulged here, if they were not faultless according to our notions, were healthy, and they endured. To the end of his life he preserved his strong attachment to his house and grounds.



STONEHENGE [Footnote: From "English Traits." Published by Houghton, Mifflin Co. Emerson's second visit to England, during which he saw Stonehenge, was made in 1847. Of all the Druidical remains in Europe, Stonehenge is perhaps the most remarkable, altho at Carnac in Brittany on the northern shore of the Bay of Biscay, are Druidical remains more numerous, but in general they are smaller and less suggestive of constructive design.]


We left the train at Salisbury, and took a carriage to Amesbury, passing by Old Sarum, a bare, treeless hill, once containing the town which sent two members to Parliament—now, not a hut—and, arriving at Amesbury, we stopt at the George Inn. After dinner we walked to Salisbury Plain. On the broad downs, under the gray sky, not a house was visible, nothing but Stonehenge, which looked like a group of brown dwarfs in the wide expanse—Stonehenge and the barrows, which rose like green bosses about the plain, and a few hay ricks. On the top of a mountain the old temple would not be more impressive. Far and wide a few shepherds with their flocks sprinkled the plain, and a bagman drove along the road. It looked as if the wide margin given in this crowded isle to this primeval temple were accorded by the veneration of the British race to the old egg out of which all their ecclesiastical structures and history had proceeded.

Stonehenge is a circular colonnade with a diameter of a hundred feet, and enclosing a second and third colonnade within. We walked round the stones, and clambered over them, to wont ourselves with their strange aspect and groupings, and found a nook sheltered from the wind among them, where C. [Footnote: Thomas Carlyle, the author of "Sartor Resartus," etc., etc.] lighted his cigar. It was pleasant to see that just this simplest of all simple structures—two upright stones and a lintel laid across—had long outstood all later churches, and all history, and were like what is most permanent on the face of the planet: these, and the barrows—(mere mounds of which there are a hundred and sixty within a circle of three miles about Stonehenge)—like the same mound on the plain of Troy, which still makes good to the passing mariner on Hellespont, the vaunt of Homer and the fame of Achilles. Within the enclosure grow buttercups, nettles, and, all around, wild thyme, daisy, meadowsweet, goldenrod, thistle, and the carpeting grass. Over us, larks were soaring and singing—as my friend said: "the larks which were hatched last year, and the wind which was hatched many thousand years ago." We counted and measured by paces the biggest stones, and soon knew as much as any man can suddenly know of the inscrutable temple. There are ninety-four stones, and there were once probably one hundred and sixty. The temple is circular and uncovered, and the situation fixt astronomically—the grand entrances here, and at Abury, being placed exactly northeast, "as all the gates of the old cavern temples are." How came the stones here, for these sarsens or Druidical sandstones are not found in this neighborhood? The sacrificial stone, as it is called, is the only one in all these blocks that can resist the action of fire, and, as I read in the books, must have been brought one hundred and fifty miles.

On almost every stone we found the marks of the mineralogist's hammer and chisel. The nineteen smaller stones of the inner circle are of granite. I, who had just come from Professor Sedgwick's Cambridge Museum of megatheria and mastodons, was ready to maintain that some cleverer elephants or mylodonta had borne off and laid these rocks one on another. Only the good beasts must have known how to cut a well-wrought tenon and mortise, and to smooth the surface of some of the stones. The chief mystery is, that any mystery should have been allowed to settle on so remarkable a monument, in a country on which all the muses have kept their eyes now for eighteen hundred years. We are not yet too late to learn much more than is known of this structure. Some diligent Fellowes or Layard will arrive, stone by stone, at the whole history, by that exhaustive British sense and perseverance, so whimsical in its choice of objects, which leaves its own Stonehenge or Choir Gaur to the rabbits, while it opens pyramids, and uncovers Nineveh. Stonehenge, in virtue of the simplicity of its plan, and its good preservation, is as if new and recent; and, a thousand years hence, men will thank this age for the accurate history it will yet eliminate.

MAGNA CHARTA ISLAND [Footnote: From "Pilgrimages to English Shrines." Magna Charta Island lies in the Thames, a few miles below Windsor.]


The Company of Basket-makers (if there be such a company) have claimed a large portion of the field—where the barons, "clad in complete steel," assembled to confer with King John upon the great charter of English freedom, by which, Hume truly but coldly says, "very important liabilities and privileges were either granted or secured to every order of men in the kingdom; to the clergy, to the barons, and to the people"—the Basket-makers, we say, have availed themselves of the low land of Runnymead to cultivate osiers; piles and stacks of "withies" in various stages of utility, for several hundred yards shut out the river from the wayfarer, but as he proceeds they disappear, and Cooper's Hill on the left, the rich flat of Runnymead, the Thames, and the groves of time-honored Anckerwycke, on its opposite bank, form together a rich and most interesting picture.

It is now nearly a hundred years since it was first proposed to erect a triumphal column upon Runnymead; but we have sometimes a strange antipathy to do what would seem avoidable; the monument to the memory of Hampden is a sore proof of the niggardliness of liberals to the liberal; but all monuments to such a man or to such a cause must appear poor; the names "Hampden" and "Runnymead" suffice; the green and verdant mead, encircled by the coronet of Cooper's Hill, reposing beneath the sun, and shadowed by the passing cloud, is an object of reverence and beauty, immortalized by the glorious liberty which the bold barons of England forced from a spiritless tyrant.

Tho Cooper's Hill has no claim to the sublimity of mountain scenery, its peculiar situation commands a broad expanse of country. It rises abruptly from the Runnymead meadows, and extends its long ridge in a northwesterly direction; the summit is approached by a winding road, which from different points of the ascent progressively unfolds a gorgeous number of fertile views, such as no other country in the world can give.

"Of hills and dales, and woods, and lawns, and spires, And glittering towns, and silver streams."

We have heard that the views from Kingswood Lodge—the dwelling of the hill—are delicious, and that its conservatory contains an exquisite marble statue of "Hope." On the west of Cooper's Hill is the interesting estate of Anckerwycke Purnish. Anckerwycke has been for a series of years in the possession of the family of Harcourt. There is a "meet" of the three shires in this vicinity—Surrey, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire. The views from the grounds of Anekerwycke are said to be of exceeding beauty, and the kindness of its master makes eloquent the poor about his domain. All these things, and the sound of the rippling waters of the Thames, and the songs of the myriad birds which congregate in its groves, and the legends sprung of its antiquity, all contribute to the adornment of the gigantic fact that here, King John, sorely against his will, signed Magna Charta! How that single fact fills the soul, and nerves the spirit; how proudly the British birthright throbs within our bosoms. We long to lead the new Napoleon, the absolute Nicholas, the frank, hospitable, and brave, but sometimes overconfident American, to this green sward of Runnymead and tell them that here was secured to the Englishman a liberty which other nations have never enjoyed! Here in the thickset beauty of yon little island, was our Charter granted.

There has been much dispute as to whether the Charter was signed upon the Mead or on the island called "Magna Charta Island," which forms a charming feature in the landscape, and upon which is built a little sort of altar-house, so to call it. We leave the settlement of such matters to wiser and more learned heads; but we incline to the idea that John would have felt even the mimic ferry a protection. The island looks even now exclusive, and as we were impelled to its shore, we indulged the belief that the charter was really there signed by the king.

There was a poetic feeling in whoever planted the bank of "Forget-me-not" just at the entrance to the low apartment which was fitted up to contain the charter stone, by the late Simon Harcourt, Esq., in the year 1835. The inscription on the stone is as follows:—"Be it remembered, that on this island, in June, 1215, John, King of England, Signed the Magna Charta, and in the year 1834, this building was erected in commemoration of that great and important event by George Simon Harcourt, Esq., Lord of the Manor and then High Sheriff of the county." A gentleman rents the island from Mr. Harcourt, and has built there a Gothic cottage in excellent keeping with the place. It adjoins the altar-room, but does not interfere with it, nor with the privileges so graciously bestowed on the public by Mr. Harcourt—permitting patriots or fishermen to visit the island, and picnic in a tent prepared for the purpose, under the shelter of some superb walnut trees.

THE HOME OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS [Footnote: From "Old England: Its Scenery, Art and People." Published Toy Houghton, Mifflin Co.]


Twelve miles to the south of Doncaster, on the great Northern line of railway, and just at the junction of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, and Lincolnshire, in the county of Nottingham, but bordering upon the fenny districts of Lincolnshire, whose monotonous scenery reminds one of Holland, lies the village of Scrooby. Surely it is of more interest to us than all the Pictish forts and Roman walls that the "Laird of Monkbarns" ever dreamed of. I was dropt out of the railway-carriage, which hardly stopt upon a wide plain at a miniature station-house, with some suspicions of a church and small village across the flat rushy fields in the distance. This was indeed the humble village (tho now beginning to be better known) which I had been searching for; and which nobody of whom I inquired in Doncaster, or on the line of the railway, seemed to know anything about, or even that such a place existed. I made its discovery by the help of a good map. The station-master said he came to Scrooby in 1851, and then it numbered three hundred inhabitants; and since that time there had been but twelve deaths.

My search for the manor-house where Brewster and Bradford established the first church of the Pilgrims, was, for a time, entirely fruitless. I inquired of a genuine "Hodge" working in the fields; but his round red face showed no glimmer of light on the matter so far removed from beans and barley. I next encountered a good Wesleyan minister, trudging his morning circuit of pastoral visitation, but could gain nothing from him, tho a chatty, communicative man. At the venerable stone church of Scrooby, very rude and plain in architecture, but by no means devoid of picturesqueness, I was equally unsuccessful. The verger of the church, who is generally the learned man of the village, was absent; and his daughter knew nothing outside the church and churchyard.

I strolled along the grassy country road that ran through the place till I met a white-haired old countryman, who proved to be the most intelligent soul in the neighborhood. He put his cane to his chin, shut and opened his eyes, and at last told me in broad Yorkshire, that he thought the place I was looking for must be what they called "the bishop's house," where Squire Dickinson lived. Set at last upon the right track, I walked across two swampy meadows that bordered the Idle River—pertinently named—till I came to a solitary farmhouse with a red-tiled roof. Some five or six slender poplar-trees stood at the back of it, and a ditch of water at one end, where there had been evidently an ancient moat—"a moated grange."

It was a desolate spot, and was rendered more so just then by the coming up of a thunder-storm, whose "avant courier," the wind, made the slender poplars and osiers bend and twist. Squire John Dickinson, the present inhabitant of the house, which is owned by Richard Monckton Milnes, the poet, gave me a hearty farmer's welcome. I think he said there had been one other American there before; at any rate he had an inkling that he was squatted on soil of some peculiar interest to Americans. He introduced me to his wife and daughters, healthy and rosy-cheeked English women, and made me sit down to a hospitable luncheon. He entertained me with a discourse upon the great amount of hard work to be done in farming among these bogs, and wished he had never undertaken it, but had gone to America or Australia. The house, he said, was rickety enough, but he contrived to make it do. It was, he thought, principally made of what was once a part of the stable of the Manor House.

The palace itself has now entirely disappeared; "but," said my host, "dig anywhere around here and you will find the ruins of the old palace." Dickinson said that he himself was reared in Austerfield, a few miles off in Yorkshire; and that a branch of the Bradford family still lived there. After luncheon I was shown Cardinal Wolsey's mulberry-tree, or what remained of it; and in one of the barns, some elaborately carved woodwork and ornamental beams, covered with dirt and cobwebs, were pointed out, which undoubtedly belonged to the archiepiscopal palace.

This was all that remained of the house where Elder Brewster once lived, and gathered his humble friends about him, in a simple form of worship.... This manor was assigned to the Archbishop of York in the "Doomsday Book." Cardinal Wolsey, when he held that office, passed some time at this palace. While he lived there, Henry VIII. slept a night in the house. It came into Archbishop Sandys's hands in 1576. He gave it by lease to his son, Samuel Sandys, under whom Brewster held the manor. Brewster, as is now well known, was the Post-Superintendent of Scrooby, an important position in those days, lying as the village did, and does now, upon the great northern line of travel from London to Yorkshire, Northumberland, and Scotland....

But to look at this lonely and decayed manor-house, standing in the midst of these flat and desolate marshes, and at this most obscure village of the land, this Nazareth of England, slumbering in rustic ignorance and stupid apathy, and to think of what has come out of this place, of what vast influences and activities have issued from this quiet and almost listless scene, one has strange feelings. The storied "Alba Longa," from which Rome sprang, is an interesting spot, but the newly discovered spiritual birthplace of America may excite deeper emotions.

OXFORD [Footnote: From "Oxford and Her Colleges." By arrangement with the publishers, Macmillan Co. Copyright, 1893.]


There is in Oxford much that is not as old as it looks. The buildings of the Bodleian Library, University College, Oriel, Exeter, and some others, medieval or half medieval in their style, are Stuart in date. In Oxford the Middle Ages lingered long. Yon cupola of Christ Church is the work of Wren, yon towers of All Souls' are the work of a still later hand. The Headington stone, quickly growing black and crumbling, gives the buildings a false hue of antiquity. An American visitor, misled by the blackness of University College, remarked to his host that the buildings must be immensely old. "No," replied his host, "their color deceives you; their age is not more than two hundred years." It need not be said that Palladian edifices like Queen's, or the new buildings of Magdalen, are not the work of a Chaplain of Edward III., or a Chancellor of Henry VI. But of the University buildings, St. Mary's Church and the Divinity School, of the College buildings, the old quadrangles of Merton, New College, Magdalen, Brasenose, and detached pieces not a few are genuine Gothic of the Founders' age.

Here are six centuries, if you choose to include the Norman castle, here are eight centuries, and, if you choose to include certain Saxon remnants in Christ Church Cathedral, here are ten centuries, chronicled in stone. Of the corporate lives of these Colleges, the threads have run unbroken through all the changes and revolutions, political, religious, and social, between the Barons' War and the present hour. The economist goes to their muniment rooms for the record of domestic management and expenditure during those ages.

Till yesterday, the codes of statutes embodying their domestic law, tho largely obsolete, remained unchanged. Nowhere else in England, at all events, unless it be at the sister University, can the eye and mind feed upon so much antiquity, certainly not upon so much antique beauty, as on the spot where we stand. That all does not belong to the same remote antiquity, adds to the interest and to the charm. This great home of learning, with its many architectures, has been handed from generation to generation, each generation making its own improvements, impressing its own tastes, embodying its own tendencies, down to the present hour. It is like a great family mansion, which owner after owner has enlarged or improved to meet his own needs or tastes, and which, thus chronicling successive phases of social and domestic life, is wanting in uniformity but not in living interest or beauty.

Oxford is a federation of Colleges. It had been strictly so for two centuries, and every student had been required to be a member of a college when, in 1856, non-collegiate students, of whom there are now a good many, were admitted. The University is the federal government. The Chancellor, its nominal head, is a non-resident grandee, usually a political leader whom the University delights to honor and whose protection it desires. Only on great state occasions does he appear in his gown richly embroidered with gold. The acting chief is the Vice-Chancellor, one of the heads of Colleges, who marches with the Bedel carrying the mace before him, and has been sometimes taken by strangers for the attendant of the Bedel. With him are the two Proctors, denoted by their velvet sleeves, named by the Colleges in turn, the guardians of University discipline.

The University Legislature consists of three houses—an elective Council, made up equally of heads of Colleges, professors, and Masters of Arts; the Congregation of residents, mostly teachers of the University or Colleges; and the Convocation, which consists of all Masters of Arts, resident or non-resident, if they are present to vote. Congregation numbers 400, Convocation nearly 6,000. Legislation is initiated by the Council, and has to make its way through Convocation and Congregation, with some chance of being wrecked between the academical Congregation, which is progressive, and the rural Convocation, which is conservative. The University regulates the general studies, holds all the examinations, except that at entrance, which is held by the Colleges, confers all the degrees and honors, and furnishes the police of the academical city. Its professors form the general and superior staff of teachers. Each College, at the same time, is a little polity in itself. It has its own governing body, consisting of a Head (President, Master, Principal, Provost, or Warden) and a body of Fellows. It holds its own estates; noble estates, some of them are. It has its private staff of teachers or tutors, usually taken from the Fellows, tho the subjects of teaching are those recognized by the University examinations....

The buildings of the University lie mainly in the center of the city around us. There is the Convocation House, the hall of the University Legislature, where, in times of collision between theological parties, or between the party of the ancient system of education and that of the modern system, lively debates have been heard. In it, also, are conferred the ordinary degrees. They are still conferred in the religious form of words, handed down from the Middle Ages, the candidate kneeling down before the Vice-Chancellor in the posture of medieval homage. Oxford is the classic ground of old forms and ceremonies. Before each degree is conferred, the Proctors march up and down the House to give any objector to the degree—an unsatisfied creditor, for example—the opportunity of entering a caveat by "plucking" the Proctor's sleeve. Adjoining the Convocation House is the Divinity School, the only building of the University, saving St. Mary's Church, which dates from the Middle Ages. A very beautiful relic of the Middle Ages it is when seen from the gardens of Exeter College. Here are held the examinations for degrees in theology, styled, in Oxford of old, queen of the sciences, and long their tyrant. Here, again, is the Sheldonian Theater, the gift of Archbishop Sheldon, a Primate of the Restoration period, and as readers of Pepys's "Diary" know, of Restoration character, but a patron of learning....

The Clarendon was built with the proceeds of the history written by the Minister of the early Restoration, who was Chancellor of the University, and whose touching letter of farewell to her, on his fall and flight from England, may be seen in the Bodleian Library. There, also, are preserved documents which may help to explain his fall. They are the written dialogs which passed between him and his master at the board of the Privy Council, and they show that Clarendon, having been the political tutor of Charles the exile, too much bore himself as the political tutor of Charles the king. In the Clarendon are the University Council Chamber and the Registry. Once it was the University press, but the press has now a far larger mansion yonder to the northwest, whence, besides works of learning and science, go forth Bibles and prayer-books in all languages to all quarters of the globe. Legally, as a printer of Bibles the University has a privilege, but its real privilege is that which it secures for itself by the most scrupulous accuracy and by infinitesimal profits.

Close by is the University Library, the Bodleian, one of those great libraries of the world in which you can ring up at a few minutes' notice almost any author of any age or country. This Library is one of those entitled by law to a copy of every book printed in the United Kingdom, and it is bound to preserve all that it receives, a duty which might in the end burst any building, were it not that the paper of many modern books is happily perishable.... We stand in the Radcliffe, formerly the medical and physical library, now a supplement and an additional reading-room of the Bodleian, the gift of Dr. Radcliffe, Court Physician and despot of the profession in the times of William and Anne, of whose rough sayings, and sayings more than rough, some are preserved in his "Life." He it was who told William III. that he would not have His Majesty's two legs for his three kingdoms, and who is said to have punished the giver of a niggardly fee by a prediction of death, which was fulfilled by the terrors of the patient. Close at hand is the Ashmolean, the old University Museum, now only a museum of antiquities, the most precious of which is King Alfred's gem. Museum and Medical Library have together migrated to the new edifice on the north side of the city.

But of all the University buildings the most beautiful is St. Mary's Church, where the University sermons are preached, and from the pulpit of which, in the course of successive generations and successive controversies, a changeful and often heady current of theology has flowered. There preached Newman, Pusey, and Manning; there preached Hampden, Stanley, and the authors of "Essays and Reviews." ...

On the north of the city, where fifty years ago stretched green fields, is now seen a suburb of villas, all of them bespeaking comfort and elegance, few of them overweening wealth. These are largely the monuments of another great change, the removal of the rule of celibacy from the Fellowships, and the introduction of a large body of married teachers devoted to their profession, as well as of the revival of the Professorships, which were always tenable by married men. Fifty years ago the wives of Heads of Houses, who generally married late in life if they married at all, constituted, with one or two officers of the University, the whole female society of Oxford. The change was inevitable, if education was to be made a profession, instead of being, as it had been in the hands of celibate Fellows of Colleges, merely the transitory occupation of a man whose final destination was the parish. Those who remember the old Common Room life, which is now departing, can not help looking back with a wistful eye to its bachelor ease, its pleasant companionship, its interesting talk and free interchange of thought, its potations neither "deep" nor "dull."

Nor were its symposia without important fruits when such men as Newman and Ward, on one side, encountered such men as Whateley, Arnold, and Tait, on the other side in Common Room talk over great questions of the day. But the life became dreary when a man had passed forty, and it is well exchanged for the community that fills those villas, and which, with its culture, its moderate and tolerably equal incomes, permitting hospitality but forbidding luxury, and its unity of interests with its diversity of acquirements and accomplishments, seems to present the ideal conditions of a pleasant social life. The only question is, how the College system will be maintained when the Fellows are no longer resident within the walls of the College to temper and control the younger members, for a barrack of undergraduates is not a good thing. The personal bond and intercourse between Tutor and pupil under the College system was valuable as well as pleasant; it can not be resigned without regret. But its loss will be compensated by far superior teaching.

CAMBRIDGE [Footnote: From "Old England: Its Scenery, Art and People." Published by Houghton, Mifflin Co.]


I was struck with the positive resemblances between Oxford and Cambridge. Both are situated on slightly rising ground, with broad green meadows and a flat, fenny country stretching around them. The winding and muddy Cam, holding the city in its arm, might be easily taken for the fond but still more capricious Isis, tho both of them are insignificant streams; and Jesus' College Green and Midsummer Common at Cambridge, correspond to Christ Church Meadows and those bordering the Cherwell at Oxford. At a little distance, the profile of Cambridge is almost precisely like that of Oxford, while glorious King's College Chapel makes up all deficiencies in the architectural features and outline of Cambridge.

Starting from Bull Inn, we will not linger long in the streets, tho we might be tempted to do so by the luxurious book-shops, but will make straight for the gateway of Trinity College. This gateway is itself a venerable and imposing structure, altho a mass of houses clustered about it destroys its unity with the rest of the college buildings. Between its two heavy battlemented towers are a statue of Edward III. and his coat-of-arms; and over the gate Sir Isaac Newton had his observatory.

This gateway introduces into a noble court, called the Great Court, with a carved stone fountain or canopied well in the center, and buildings of irregular sizes and different ages inclosing it. The chapel which forms the northern side of this court dates back to 1564. In the ante-chapel, or vestibule, stands the statue of Sir Isaac Newton, by Roubiliac. It is spirited, but, like all the works of this artist, unnaturally attenuated. The head is compact rather than large, and the forehead square rather than high. The face has an expression of abstract contemplation, and is looking up, as if the mind were just fastening upon the beautiful law of light which is suggested by the hand holding a prism. By the door of the screen entering into the chapel proper, are the sitting statues of Sir Francis Bacon and Dr. Isaac Barrow, two more giants of this college. The former represents the philosopher in a sitting posture, wearing his high-crowned hat, and leaning thoughtfully upon his hand.

The hall of Trinity College, which separates the Great Court from the Inner or Neville Court, (courts in Cambridge, quads in Oxford), is the glory of the college. Its interior is upward of one hundred feet in length, oak-wainscoted, with deep beam-work ceiling, now black with age, and an enormous fireplace, which in winter still blazes with its old hospitable glow. At the upper end where the professors and fellows sit, hang the portraits of Bacon and Newton. I had the honor of dining in this most glorious of banqueting-halls, at the invitation of a fellow of the college. Before meals, the ancient Latin, grace, somewhat abbreviated, is pronounced.

We pass through the hall into Neville Court, three sides of which are cloistered, and in the eastern end of which stands the fine library building, built through the exertions of Dr. Barrow, who was determined that nothing in Oxford should surpass his own darling college.

The library room is nearly two hundred feet long, with tesselated marble floor, and with the busts of the great men of Trinity ranged around the walls. The wood-carvings of Grinling Gibbons that adorn this room, of flowers, fruit, wheat, grasshoppers, birds, are of singular beauty, and make the hard oak fairly blossom and live. This library contains the most complete collection of the various editions of Shakespeare's Works which exists. Thorwaldsen's statue of Byron, who was a student of this college, stands at the south end of the room. It represents him in the bloom of youth, attired as a pilgrim, with pencil in hand and a broken Grecian column at his feet....

The next neighbor to Trinity on the north, and the next in point of size and importance in the University, is St. John's College. It has four courts, one opening into the other. It also is jealously surrounded by high walls, and its entrance is by a ponderous old tower, having a statue of St. John the Evangelist over the gateway. Through a covered bridge, not unlike "the Bridge of Sighs," one passes over the stream to a group of modern majestic castellated buildings of yellow stone belonging to this college. The grounds, walks, and thick groves connected with this building form an elegant academic shade, and tempt to a life of exclusive study and scholarly accumulation, of growing fat in learning, without perhaps growing muscular in the effort to use it....

King's College, founded by Henry VII., from whom it takes its name, comes next in order. Its wealthy founder, who, like his son, loved architectural pomp, had great designs in regard to this institution, which were cut off by his death, but the massive unfinished gateway of the old building stands as a regal specimen of what the whole plan would have been had it been carried out. Henry VIII., however, perfected some of his father's designs on a scale of true magnificence. King's College Chapel, the glory of Cambridge and England, is in the perpendicular style of English Gothic. It is three hundred and sixteen feet long, eighty-four feet broad, its sides ninety feet, and its tower one hundred and forty-six feet high. Its lofty interior stone roof in the fan-tracery form of groined ceiling has the appearance of being composed of immense white scallop-shells, with heavy corbels of rich flowers and bunches of grapes suspended at their points of junction. The ornamental emblem of the Tudor rose and portcullis is carved in every conceivable spot and nook. Twenty-four stately and richly painted windows, divided into the strong vertical lines of the Perpendicular style, and crossed at right angles by lighter transoms and more delicate circular moldings, with the great east and west windows flashing in the most vivid and superb colors, make it a gorgeous vision of light and glory....

On the same street, and nearly opposite St. Peter's, is Pembroke College, a most interesting and venerable pile, with a quaint gable front. Its buildings are small, and it is said, for some greatly needed city improvement, will probably be soon torn down; on hearing which, I thought, would that some genius like Aladdin's, or some angel who bore through the air the chapel of the "Lady of Loretto," might bear these old buildings bodily to our land and set them down on the Yale grounds, so that we might exchange their picturesque antiquity for the present college buildings, which, tho endeared to us by many associations, are like a row of respectable brick factories.

Edmund Spenser and William Pitt belonged to Pembroke; and Gray, the poet, driven from St. Peter's by the pranks and persecutions of his fellow students, spent the remainder of his university life here. Some of the cruel, practical jokes inflicted upon the timid and delicate nature sound like the modern days of "hazing freshmen." Among his other fancies and fears, Gray was known to be especially afraid of fire, and kept always coiled up in his room a rope-ladder, in case of emergency. By a preconcerted signal, on a dark winter night, a tremendous cry of fire was raised in the court below, which caused the young poet to leap out of bed and to hastily descend his rope-ladder into a mighty tub of ice-cold water, set for that purpose....

Sidney Sussex and Imanuel Colleges were called by Archbishop Laud "the nurseries of Puritanism." The college-book of Sidney Sussex contains this record: "Oliver Cromwell of Huntingdon was admitted as an associate on the 26th day of April, 1616. Tutor Richard Howlet." He had just completed his seventeenth year. Cromwell's father dying the next year, and leaving but a small estate, the young "Protector" was obliged to leave college for more practical pursuits. "But some Latin," Bishop Burnett said, "stuck to him." An oriel window looking upon Bridge Street, is pointed out as marking his room; and in the master's lodge is a likeness of Cromwell in his later years, said to be the best extant. The gray hair is parted in the middle of the forehead, and hangs down long upon the shoulders, like that of Milton. The forehead is high and swelling, with a deep line sunk between the eyes. The eyes are gray. The complexion is florid and mottled, and all the features rugged and large. Heavy, corrugated furrows of decision and resolute will are plowed about the mouth, and the lips are shut like a vice. Otherwise, the face has a calm and benevolent look, not unlike that of Benjamin Franklin.

In Sidney Sussex, Cromwell's College, and in two or three other colleges of Cambridge University, we find the head-sources of English Puritanism, which, in its best form, was no wild and unenlightened enthusiasm, but the product of thoughtful and educated minds. We shall come soon upon the name of Milton. John Robinson, our national father, and the Moses of our national exodus, as well as Elder Brewster, John Cotton and many others of the principal Puritan leaders and divines, were educated at Cambridge. Sir Henry Vane, the younger, whom Macintosh regarded as not inferior to Bacon in depth of intellect, and to whom Milton addrest the sonnet, who was chosen Governor of Massachusetts, and who infused much of his own thoughtful and profound spirit into Puritan institutions at home and in America, was a student of Magdalen College, Oxford.

A little further on to the south of Sidney Sussex, upon St. Andrew's Street, is Christ's College. The front and gate are old; the other buildings are after a design by Inigo Jones. In the garden stands the famous mulberry-tree said to have been planted by Milton. It is still vigorous, tho carefully propt up and mounded around, and its aged trunk is sheathed with lead. The martyr Latimer, John Howe, the prince of theological writers, and Archdeacon Paley, belonged to this college; but its most brilliant name is that of John Milton. He entered in 1624; took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1628, and that of Master of Arts in 1632. This is the entry in the college record: "John Milton of London, son of John Milton, was entered as a student in the elements of letters under Master Hill of the Pauline School, February 12, 1624...." Milton has indignantly defended himself against the slander of his political enemies, that he left college in disgrace, and calls it "a commodious lie." ...

It is noticeable that Cambridge has produced all the great poets; Oxford, with her yearnings and strivings, none. Milton were glory enough; but Spenser, Gray, Byron, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Tennyson (a Lincolnshire man), may be thrown in. It might be said of Cambridge, as Dr. Johnson said of Pembroke College, "We are a nest of singing birds here." Milton, from the extreme elegance of his person and his mind, rather than from any effeminateness of character, was called while in the University, "the lady of Christ's College." The young poet could not have been inspired by outward Nature in his own room; for the miniature dormer-windows are too high to look out of at all. It is a small attic chamber, with very steep narrow stairs leading up to it. The name of "Milton" (so it is said to be, tho hard to make out) is cut in the old oaken door.

CHESTER [Footnote: From "English Note-Books." By special arrangement with, and by permission of the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1870-1898.]


I went with Mr. Ticknor to Chester by railway. It is quite an indescribable old town, and I feel as if I had had a glimpse of old England. The wall encloses a large space within the town, but there are numerous houses and streets not included within its precincts. Some of the principal streets pass under the ancient gateways; and at the side there are flights of steps, giving access to the summit. Around the top of the whole wall, a circuit of about two miles, there runs a walk, well paved with flagstones, and broad enough for three persons to walk abreast....

The most utterly indescribable feature of Chester is the Rows, which every traveler has attempted to describe. At the height of several feet above some of the oldest streets, a walk runs through the front of the houses, which project over it. Back of the walk there are shops; on the outer side is a space of two or three yards, where the shopmen place their tables, and stands, and show-cases; overhead, just high enough for persons to stand erect, a ceiling. At frequent intervals little narrow passages go winding in among the houses, which all along are closely conjoined, and seem to have no access or exit, except through the shops, or into these narrow passages, where you can touch each side with your elbows, and the top with your hand. We penetrated into one or two of them, and they smelt anciently and disagreeably.

At one of the doors stood a pale-looking, but cheerful and good-natured woman, who told us that she had come to that house when first married, 21 years before, and had lived there ever since; and that she felt as if she had been buried through the best years of her life. She allowed us to peep into her kitchen and parlor—small, dingy, dismal, but yet not wholly destitute of a home look. She said she had seen two or three coffins in a day, during cholera times, carried out of that narrow passage into which her door opened. These avenues put me in mind of those which run through ant-hills, or those which a mole makes underground. This fashion of Rows does not appear to be going out; and, for aught I can see, it may last hundreds of years longer. When a house becomes so old as to be untenantable, it is rebuilt, and the new one is fashioned like the old, so far as regards the walk running through its front. Many of the shops are very good, and even elegant, and these Rows are the favorite places of business in Chester. Indeed, they have many advantages, the passengers being sheltered from the rain, and there being within the shops that dimmer light by which tradesmen like to exhibit their wares.

A large proportion of the edifices in the Rows must be comparatively modern; but there are some very ancient ones, with oaken frames visible on the exterior. The Row, passing through these houses, is railed with oak, so old that it has turned black, and grown to be as hard as stone, which it might be mistaken for, if one did not see where names and initials have been cut into it with knives at some bygone period. Overhead, cross-beams project through the ceiling so low as almost to hit the head. On the front of one of these buildings was the inscription, "God's Providence is mine Inheritance," said to have been put there by the occupant of the house two hundred years ago, when the plague spared this one house only in the whole city. Not improbably the inscription has operated as a safeguard to prevent the demolition of the house hitherto; but a shopman of an adjacent dwelling told us that it was soon to be taken down. Here and there, about some of the streets through which the Rows do not run, we saw houses of very aged aspect, with steep, peaked gables. The front gable-end was supported on stone pillars, and the sidewalk passed beneath. Most of these old houses seemed to be taverns,—the Black Bear, the Green Dragon, and such names. We thought of dining at one of them, but, on inspection, they looked rather too dingy and close, and of questionable neatness. So we went to the Royal Hotel, where we probably fared just as badly at much more expense, and where there was a particularly gruff and crabbed old waiter, who, I suppose, thought himself free to display his surliness because we arrived at the hotel on foot. For my part, I love to see John Bull show himself. I must go again and again and again to Chester, for I suppose there is not a more curious place in the world.

EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE [Footnote: From "Lightships and Lighthouses." Courtesy of J. B. Lippincott Co., the publishers.]


It is doubtful whether the name of any lighthouse is so familiar throughout the English-speaking world as the "Eddystone." Certainly no other "pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day," can offer so romantic a story of dogged engineering perseverance, of heartrending disappointments, disaster, blasted hopes, and brilliant success.

Standing out in the English Channel, about sixty miles east of the Lizard, is a straggling ridge of rocks which stretches for hundreds of yards across the marine thoroughfare, and also obstructs the western approach to Plymouth Harbor. But at a point some nine and a half miles south of Rame Head on the mainland the reef rises somewhat abruptly to the surface, so that at low-water two or three ugly granite knots are bared, which tell only too poignantly the complete destruction they could wreak upon a vessel which had the temerity or the ill luck to scrape over them at high-tide. Even in the calmest weather the sea curls and eddies viciously around these stones; hence the name "Eddystone," is derived....

As British overseas traffic expanded, the idea of indicating the spot for the benefit of vessels was discust. The first practical suggestion was put forward about the year 1664, but thirty-two years elapsed before any attempt was made to reduce theory to practise. Then an eccentric English country gentleman, Henry Winstanley, who dabbled in mechanical engineering upon unorthodox lines, came forward and offered to build a lighthouse upon the terrible rocks. Those who knew this ambitious amateur were dubious of his success, and wondered what manifestation his eccentricity would assume on this occasion. Nor was their scepticism entirely misplaced. Winstanley raised the most fantastic lighthouse which has ever been known, and which would have been more at home in a Chinese cemetery than in the English Channel. It was wrought in wood and most lavishly embellished with carvings and gilding.

Four years were occupied in its construction, and the tower was anchored to the rock by means of long, heavy irons. The light, merely a flicker, flashed out from this tower in 1699, and for the first time the proximity of the Eddystones was indicated all around the horizon by night. Winstanley's critics were rather free in expressing their opinion that the tower would come down with the first sou'wester, but the eccentric builder was so intensely proud of his invention as to venture the statement that it would resist the fiercest gale that ever blew, and, when such did occur, he hoped that he might be in the tower at the time.

Fate gratified his wish, for while he was on the rock in the year 1703 one of the most terrible tempests that ever have assailed the coasts of Britain gript the structure, tore it up by the roots, and hurled it into the Channel, where it was battered to pieces, its designer and five keepers going down with the wreck. When the inhabitants of Plymouth, having vainly scanned the horizon for a sign of the tower on the following morning, put off to the rock to investigate, they found only the bent and twisted iron rods by which the tower had been held in position projecting mournfully into the air from the rock-face.

Shortly after the demolition of the tower, the reef, as if enraged at having been denied a number of victims owing to the existence of the warning light, trapt the "Winchelsea" as she was swinging up Channel, and smashed her to atoms, with enormous loss of life.

Altho the first attempt to conquer the Eddystone had terminated so disastrously, it was not long before another effort was made to mark the reef. The builder this time was a Cornish laborer's son, John Rudyerd, who had established himself in business on Ludgate Hill as a silk mercer. In his youth he had studied civil engineering, but his friends had small opinion of his abilities in this craft. However, he attacked the problem boldly, and, altho his tower was a plain, business-looking structure, it would have been impossible to conceive a design capable of meeting the peculiar requirements of the situation more efficiently. It "was a cone, wrought in timber, built upon a stone and wood foundation anchored to the rock, and of great weight and strength. The top of the cone was cut off to permit the lantern to be set in position. The result was that externally the tower resembled the trunk of an oak tree, and appeared to be just about as strong. It offered the minimum of resistance to the waves, which, tumbling upon the ledge, rose and curled around the tapering form without starting a timber.

For forty years Rudyerd's structure defied the elements, and probably would have been standing to this day had it not possest one weak point.

It was built of wood instead of stone. Consequently, when a fire broke out in the lantern on December 4, 1755, the flames, fanned by the breeze, rapidly made their way downward.

No time was lost in erecting another tower on the rock, for now it was more imperative than ever that the reef should be lighted adequately. The third engineer was John Smeaton, who first landed on the rock to make the surveys on April 5, 1756. He was able to stay there for only two and a quarter hours before the rising tide drove him off, but in that brief period he had completed the work necessary to the preparation of his design. Wood had succumbed to the attacks of tempest and of fire in turn.

Smeaton would use material which would defy both—Portland stone. He also introduced a slight change in the design for such structures, and one which has been universally copied, producing the graceful form of lighthouse with which everyone is so familiar. Instead of causing the sides to slope upward in the straight lines of a cone, such as Rudyerd adopted, Smeaton preferred a slightly concave curve, so that the tower was given a waist about half its height. He also selected the oak tree as his guide, but one having an extensive spread of branches, wherein will be found a shape in the trunk, so far as the broad lines are concerned, which coincides with the form of Smeaton's lighthouse. He chose a foundation where the rock shelved gradually to its highest point, and dropt vertically into the water upon the opposite side. The face of the rock was roughly trimmed to permit the foundation stones of the tower to be laid. The base of the building was perfectly solid to the entrance level, and each stone was dovetailed securely into its neighbor.

From the entrance, which was about 15 feet above high water, a central well, some five feet in diameter, containing a staircase, led to the storeroom, nearly 30 feet above high water. Above this was a second storeroom, a living-room as the third floor, and the bedroom beneath the lantern. The light was placed about 72 feet above high water, and comprised a candelabra having two rings, one smaller than and placed within the other, but raised about a foot above its level, the two being held firmly in position by means of chains suspended from the roof and secured to the floor. The rings were adapted to receive twenty-four lights, each candle weighing about two and three-quarter ounces. Even candle manufacture was in its infancy in those days, and periodically the keepers had to enter the lantern to snuff the wicks. In order to keep the watchers of the lights on the alert, Smeaton installed a clock of the grandfather pattern in the tower, and fitted it with a gong, which struck every half hour to apprise the men of these duties. This clock is now one of the most interesting relics in the museum at Trinity House.... [Footnote: Trinity House, an association founded in London in 1512-1514, is "empowered by charter to examine, license and regulate pilots, to erect beacons and lighthouses, and to place buoys in channels and rivers."]

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