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   Chapter 5 THE TOWER

Highways and Byways in London By Emily Constance Baird Cook Characters: 39640

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


Prince Edward: "Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?"

Buckingham: "He did, my gracious lord, begin that place;

Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified...."

Richard of York: "What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?...

... I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower."

Gloucester: "Why, what should you fear?"

Richard of York: "Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost:

My grandam told me he was murder'd there."

-King Richard III., Act iii, Scene 1.

"Death is here associated, not, as in Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul's, with genius and virtue, with public veneration and imperishable renown; not with everything that is most endearing in social and domestic charities; but with whatever is darkest in human nature and in human destiny, with the savage triumph of implacable enemies, with the inconstancy, the ingratitude, the cowardice of friends, with all the miseries of fallen greatness and of blighted fame."-Macaulay: "History of England."

"Place of doom,

Of execution too, and tomb."-Scott.

What Londoner has not, from earliest childhood, been acquainted with the Tower? In the Christmas holidays it presented, as a "treat," rival attractions with Madame Tussaud's and the "Zoo." When not presented under the too-informing care of over-zealous pastors and masters,-when not imbibed as too flagrant material for that fly-in-the-ointment, a holiday task,-when not made, in a word, too suggestive of the unpleasant, but necessary paths of learning,-it offered great fascinations to the youthful mind. The warders, in their picturesque "Beefeater" dress, were ever an unfailing joy; the surprise, indeed, with which I first saw one of these mighty beings descend from his pedestal, and deign to hold simple conversation with ordinary mortals, is still fresh in my memory. Then, the towers and dark passages, up which one could run and clatter joyfully, with all the entrancing and horrid possibility of meeting somebody's headless ghost; the attractive thumbscrew, model of the rack, and headsman's mask, all so appealing to the innocent brutality of childhood; the very wooden and highly coloured "Queen Elizabeth", riding in full dress, with a page, to Tilbury Fort; the stiff effigies of the mail-clad soldiers, in rows inside the White Tower,-the live soldiers drilling in the sun-lit square outside;-the inspiring music of the band, the roll of the drum, the flocks of wheeling pigeons; how charming it all was! My first knowledge of Tower history was derived from a Cockney nursemaid, who had, I suspect, strong affinities with the before-mentioned "pretty soldiers" (are not "pretty soldiers," by-the-way, usually the first words that London children learn to lisp?). Tragedies, I knew, were connected with that sun-lit square. Two beautiful ladies, I was told, had had their heads cut off here by their cruel husband, a gentleman called "'Enery the Eighth," (I naturally thought of this "'Enery" as Bluebeard); "because they was that skittish like, and fond of singin' and dancin' on Sundays, which 'e for one never could abear; and so 'e 'ad their 'eds orf, and grass adn't never grown on the place sence." Which fact I identified as true, at least for the time being; though how far grass can grow through paving-stones, is always matter for speculation. And Mary-Anne further went on to relate how she "'ad a friend who knew a young woman who was a 'ousekeeper somewhere here, who 'ad seen 'orrible things in the way of ghostisses, and 'ad the screamin' 'sterrics somethin' awful;-quite reg'ler, too,-after it!"

A Beefeater.

Yet I myself think that it is a pity to treat the classic Tower on such familiar terms! It should be approached with respect, and not merely introduced as a juvenile appendix to Madame Tussaud's! The charm of the old fortress, as of its immediate surroundings, is, in any case, only realised in maturer years. This has always been the riverside stronghold of London. Tradition, and poetic license, name, indeed, Julius C?sar as its founder; however that may be, the Romans probably had a fort here, as Saxon Alfred after them. The White Tower, or Keep, raised by William the Conqueror, is built upon a Roman bastion; and Roman relics have been dug up at intervals in its near precincts. Nevertheless, the Roman tradition here is but visionary; the interest of the Tower is bound up with the evolution of the English race. It is the most interesting medi?val monument that we possess, a still vivid piece of English history; a stranded islet of Time, left forgotten by the raging tide of surrounding London.

In the Tower precincts,-if you are careful not to choose a Monday or Saturday, which are free days, for your visit-you may enjoy yourself in your own way and to your heart's content. The warders,-old soldiers,-are pleasant and unobtrusive people, with manners of really wonderful urbanity, considering the very mixed, and generally unwashed, character, of a large portion of their public. The Tower, apart from the charm of its lurid and romantic history, is a picturesque place. In winter, it is somewhat exposed to the elements, and in summer, owing to its proximity to the Temple of the Fisheries, it is perhaps a trifle odoriferous; but on a fine spring or autumn morning,-a spring morning uncursed by east wind, an autumn morning undimmed by river-mist,-you will realise all the beauty, as well as the interest, of the place. Part of its attraction lies in the fact that it is neither a ruin nor a fossil; it is a living place still, and serves for use as well as for show. In old days by turn palace, state prison, inquisition, and "oubliette," it is now a barrack and government arsenal. Its threatening ring of walled towers, witnesses of so many scenes of blood and cruelty, re-echo now to the merry voices of little School-Board boys, playing foot-ball in the drained and levelled moat below; its paved courts and gravelled enclosures still ring to the tramp of soldiers' feet, but soldiers of a newer and a more humane era. In days when men suffered cheerfully for faith's sake, when queens and princes passed naturally to the throne through the blood of their nearest relations, when self-denial, conscience, and uprightness of life were reckoned as crimes, the Tower was the place of doom and death. Here, not only political plotters and state prisoners, guilty of "high treason," were punished, but also children, young men and maidens, playthings of an unkind fate, were condemned, unheard, to an early death. Here, also, at the Restoration, perished, bravely as they had lived, many of the sturdy and loyal followers of a bad cause, who might say, with Macaulay's typical "Jacobite":

"To my true king I offered, free from stain,

Courage and faith; vain faith, and courage vain."

Later, the martyr annals of the Tower were in a measure defiled by the introduction of real and noteworthy criminals, and the imprisonment within its walls of such wretches as the Gunpowder Plot conspirators, the infamous murderers of Sir Thomas Overbury, and the notorious Judge Jeffreys. But the desecration of these is past; the Tower has long ceased to be a State Prison, and the halo of its earlier victims still is paramount there. The very names of certain localities recall their tragedies: "Bloody Tower," commemorating the murder of the young princes, sons of Edward IV., whose bones were found here under a staircase; Traitor's Gate,-the gate of the doomed,-the grim disused archway, with a portcullis, looking towards, and in ancient times opening on to, the river.

The Tower is full of lovely "bits" for the sketcher. The succession of fine old gates that span the entrance-road, and the ring of encircling towers called the "Inner Ward," though necessarily restored in places, have still a fine air of antiquity; which air of antiquity the massive walls, narrow window-slits, and the close-growing mantle of ivy that, in places, adds a welcome note of greenery, do much to maintain. The effect, at any rate, is complete. In the Tower precincts you seem to be really in medi?val London. Just so, you imagine, in all essentials, only still grassy and not quite so shut in by houses, must "Tower Green" have looked on that terrible day so dramatically described by Froude:

"A little before noon, on the 19th of May, Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, was led down to the green where the young grass and the white daisies of summer were freshly bursting in the sunshine. A little cannon stood loaded on the battlements, the motionless cannoneer was ready with smoking linstock at his side, and when the crawling hand upon the dial of the great Tower clock touched the midday hour, that cannon would tell to London that all was over."

On this same spot, so fatal to youth and beauty, two other young women,-mere girls, indeed,-died; poor silly Katherine Howard, and, later, Lady Jane Grey, a child of eighteen,-the "queen of nine days," a victim of others' offences,-who "went to her death without fear or pain." Neither age nor youth were, indeed, spared in those cruel days; for the grey hairs of the aged Countess of Salisbury, last of the Plantagenets, were here also brought to the same block. This was the private execution spot, reserved for special victims and near relations, in contrast to the public one on Great Tower Hill outside; the exact place is enclosed, and marked by a square patch of darker stone. In the little adjoining chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula-the Prisoners' Chapel,-aptly dedicated to St. Peter-in-the-Chains,-were buried all these poor dishonoured bodies; Queen Anne Boleyn's, so short a time ago so loved, so adulated, thrown carelessly into an old arrow-chest, and flung beneath the altar. This chapel,-which is, by the way, a royal chapel, and therefore under no bishop's jurisdiction,-is very much restored, but it has a few good monuments; and its list of victims, numbered on a brass tablet inside the door, is sufficiently affecting: "In truth," says Macaulay:

"there is no sadder spot on earth than this little cemetery. Hither have been carried through successive ages, by the rude hands of gaolers, without one mourner following, the bleeding relics of men who had been the captains of armies, the leaders of parties, the oracles of senates, and the ornaments of courts."

"No, I can't say I've ever seen any ghosts," said the affable Warder who showed me the chapel: "though an American family lately, they were so anxious to see Queen Anne Boleyn's ghost, that they went and sat opposite the execution-spot, at all hours, day-and-night; but they must have got disappointed, for I never heard that anything came of it.... Being from America," he added thoughtfully, "I suppose they felt they'd like to see all there was to be seen.... No, ghosts don't trouble us much; we all live in the Towers and round about, and the worst you can say of our lodgin's is that they're a bit draughty-like, in winter and spring, having them slits of winders all round. And then they don't allow you to paper the walls, or stick up a picture nail, or anything to make the place look a bit homely! One does get a bit tired, too," he confessed, "of them dark stone walls, and even of prisoners' inscriptions; but there it is, you mayn't so much as touch 'em, or even cover 'em up.... However," he continued magnanimously, "I own that we're lucky to live in the days we do; our 'eds is our own, at any rate!"

Between Tower Green and the outer moat, on the western side of the gravelled square, are the old-fashioned and comfortable-looking dwelling houses of the Tower officials; the residences of the Governor, the doctor, the Chaplain, &c.; houses mainly of darkened brick,-like the citadel itself,-fitted in between the "Beauchamp" and the "Bell" towers. The greater part of the fortress is, as we have seen, utilised as arsenal, barracks, or private dwellings; and thus, of its many towers, the "White Tower," (the "Keep" of the ancient castle), and the "Beauchamp Tower," are the only ones now viewed by the general public; though other antiquities and places worthy of a visit may, on application to the Governor, be shown to those "really interested." The Beauchamp Tower, though "restored" in 1854 (when all its inscriptions were placed together in one room), is still most interesting. Certainly, the draughts, on a windy day, of that room, go far to suggest the justice of my friend the warder's complaint. And the poor prisoners of old days did not know the modern comfort of "slow-combustion" stoves! Poor creatures! torn by the rack and torture, crushed by long, hopeless imprisonment, with no friend to turn to in their need, they have left us, deeply cut into the prison walls, their most pathetic complaint. Philosophy, on the whole, seems here to have been of the most availing comfort. Like Socrates, the wretched victims tried hard to be stoical. "The most unhappie man in the world," runs one inscription, "is he that is not pacient in adversitie." Then, in old Norman-French: "Tout vient apoient, quy peult attendre." "A passage perillus maketh a port pleasant." It was here, in the Beauchamp Tower, that the five Dudley brothers, sons of the Duke of Northumberland, were imprisoned for their share in the Lady Jane Grey rebellion; here are their pictured emblems and hieroglyphics; also the word "Jane," supposed to have been cut by her husband, Lord Guildford. To the longer victims of the Tower, time must have passed hardly. Was it agony of mind that guided the stroke, or did they find it some solace in their anguish? Poets, philosophers, men of science, all the best and noblest in the land; hours of solace after torture, no doubt, were theirs, given by that good Angel who,

"Brought the wise and great of ancient days

To cheer the cell where Raleigh pined alone."

Had they books, journals, writing materials? Probably but rarely. There was Raleigh, who spent such a large part of a chequered life in prison here, dying here too at last, and writing his "History" with admirable stoicism, in the face of death. But Lady Jane Grey, imprisoned in the "Brick Tower," had, we know, to inscribe her last message to her sister Katherine, on the blank leaves of her Greek Testament. What vivid, what painful interest would attach to a "Tower" diary, such as Pepys's, in cipher, could one have been written by any of these prisoners!

The wonderful collection of historic armour in the imposing "White Tower" is, even to those who are not connoisseurs on the subject, of great interest and beauty. It is true that there are a great many very narrow and steep stone stairs to be climbed; but in the end you are duly rewarded for your trouble. The ancient chapel of St. John, at the top of the winding stairway, is most strikingly picturesque, and especially so on a sunny day, when the light plays among the bare stone columns. This "most perfect Norman chapel in England" is striking in its unadorned severity of style; and the stilted horseshoe arches of its apse are somewhat like those of St. Bartholomew the Great, at Smithfield. The chapel dates from the year 1078, and has been the scene of many royal pageants and lyings-in-state. The Banqueting Hall adjoins it; here are to be seen, among other curiosities, models of the rack and thumbscrew, and the block used for the execution of old Lord Lovat, with Lords Balmerino and Kilmarnock-the last Royalists executed here-in 1745. The hall contains also much armour and many weapons. Above is the "Council Chamber," where King Richard II. abdicated his throne in favour of his cousin Henry Bolingbroke.

"I think men must really have got bigger since these old days," remarked a burly policeman, to whom I was communicating my impressions: "Now, you wouldn't think it, but there's only two suits of armour in the whole place that I could even manage to get on me, that's old Henry VIII.'s, and his brother-in-law what's beside 'im, Charles Brandon, Dook o' Suffolk-you see 'em? over there, in the middle. Not but what they must have been strong too, of their size, to bear all that there weight of steel on 'em. I'd be sorry to do it myself, I know that. It's a wonder they didn't faint, and their poor horses, too!"

One of the most beautiful pieces of armour in the collection is that made for Henry VIII. on his marriage with Katharine of Arragon. It is of German manufacture, with deep and heavy skirts, on the edge of which is a pierced border, with the initials "H" and "K" entwined in a true-love knot. This suit of armour is, further, adorned with elaborate designs, probably from Hans Burgmair or one of his school, from the lives of St. George and St. Barbara, patron saints of England and of armourers. In Stuart times the suits of mail, and armour generally, became less heavy; and vizors and breastplates are often of open-work; most picturesque of all, perhaps, is the dress of the link-bearers of Charles I.'s time. The armour, and arms generally, are kept in a fine state of polish, wonderful to see in a land of fog and river mist. "The soldiers, you see, they have a turn at the spears and things when they want a job; but, of course, the armour, and such as that, is left to two or three people's special business."

There is a certain barbaric splendour about the State vessels and Coronation jewels, commonly called the "Regalia," kept in the "Record" or "Wakefield" Tower. These, like the menagerie formerly exhibited here are separated (and quite as necessarily) from the outer world by strong railings. This shining treasure of gold-plate and precious stones recalls the story of Colonel Blood's famous and nearly successful attempt at robbery, in the time of Charles II., for which he was, somewhat inconsistently, rewarded by a landed estate and "cash down." History is a sad series of injustices, and Colonel Blood's crime was, for reasons of state possibly, suppressed. Certain it is that the kings of England have not always been above stealing, or, at any rate, pledging their own treasure.

If the Tower looks a grim enough fortress now, it must have seemed grimmer still in ancient times, when every murder and cruelty-every crime that blackens the page of English history-took place within its gloomy walls. Surely, in old days, the bloody reputation of the Tower may well have made those shrink and tremble who passed under its doomed gateways! By the "Traitor's Gate," that waterway now disused, but which then opened directly on to the river highway, was brought that living freight of illustrious persons destined here to suffer and to die:

"That gate misnamed, through which before

Went Sidney, Russell, Raleigh, Cranmer, More."

So far, indeed, from being a "traitor's" way, all the valour and chivalry of medi?val England seem, at one time and another, to have passed that dreadful gate. Here, the "Lieutenant" or "Constable" of the Tower, "receipted" the arrival of the yet living bodies of men and women, soon to be bleeding and dismembered corpses.... Such a "receipt," given for the person of the condemned Duke of Monmouth, "the people's darling," is still extant. The "Traitor's Gate" had, moreover, an added horror; for in its walls are certain loopholes, through which the Lieutenant of the Tower could watch, unseen, the prisoner's arrival from his trial at the House of Lord's, and could ascertain, as he ascended the stone steps, whether the fatal Axe of Office, carried in front of him, were reversed or otherwise-reversal signifying death. Here, when Sir Thomas More was being led back to prison with the reversed axe carried before him, his beloved daughter Margaret burst through the guarding soldiers and embraced him, beseeching his blessing-a scene that melted even those stern guards to tears.

Brutal, in

deed, were the age and the time. If Plantagenets, Yorkists, and Lancastrians were frankly murderous, Tudors and Stuarts had more refinement of cruelty, dignifying it, more or less, under the name of law. The accession of each fresh sovereign was the signal for arrests, life-long imprisonments, and executions. Favourites, now deposed from favour, paid here the penalty for a few years of feverish greatness; here suffered not only men of unscrupulous self-seeking, but also those whose chief fault was, like C?sar's, ambition, and who were condemned to answer for it as grievously as C?sar. Nor did past affliction teach present mercy. The Princess Elizabeth narrowly herself escaped a tragic fate in early youth; yet her former imprisonment in the "Bell" Tower made her scarcely less cruel, in the after-time, to her real or imaginary enemies. Partly in self-defence, partly as a question of faith, partly in revenge, both rivals, and also those suspected of possible rivalry, were effectually suppressed. Even continuation of the hated race of rivals seemed prohibited. Thus, Lady Jane Grey's poor sister, Katherine, was imprisoned till her death for the crime of secret marriage with the Earl of Hertford; Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, was executed for having aspired to the hand of the Queen of Scots; Lady Arabella Stuart, James I.'s unhappy cousin, having married, "with the love that laughs at privy councils," Sir William Seymour, was caught while escaping with him through Calais Roads, and languished here for four years, till her mind left her, and she died. The elder D'Israeli tells the story:

"What passed in that dreadful imprisonment cannot perhaps be recovered for authentic history; but enough is known, that her mind grew impaired, that she finally lost her reason; and if the duration of her imprisonment (four years) was short, it was only terminated by her death. Some loose effusions, often begun and never ended, written and erased, incoherent and rational, yet remain in the fragments of her papers. In a letter she proposed addressing to Viscount Fenton, to implore for her his Majesty's favour again, she says, 'Good my lord, consider the fault cannot be uncommitted; neither can any more be required of any earthly creature but confession and most humble submission.' In a paragraph she had written, but crossed out, it seems that a present of her work had been refused by the king, and that she had no one about her whom she might trust."

Of the few stories of escapes from the Tower, none is more romantic than that of Lord Nithsdale, saved by his wife's devotion. Failing to obtain a pardon from King George I. she, in her love and despair, bethought herself of a desperate plan. Under the pretence of a last visit, and with the connivance of a faithful servant, she managed to disguise her husband as her Welsh maid, and got him past the Tower sentries into safety; the next morning he would have perished with Lord Derwentwater, "the pride of the North," and the rest of the Scotch Jacobites.

Yet the Tower, even in medi?val times, was not all tragedy; for here, from Henry III.'s era, a royal menagerie was kept,-a menagerie of which the famous "Tower Lions," that existed here up to 1853, were the eventual outcome. (From the Tower Lions comes originally the phrase, "to see the Lions," or the sights, of a place.) The beasts are still commemorated in the Tower by the "Lions' Gate,"-or principal entrance. The Tower Moat, the broad ditch that encircled the building, and added to its medi?val impregnability, was drained in 1843, and its banks are now planted, on the north-east, with a pleasant shrubbery; through which winds a foot-path with comfortable seats and delightful views, much enjoyed and appreciated by the very poor. Thus, the old age of the Tower,-Julius C?sar's traditional fortress, and the scene of England's darkest national crimes,-is, as often that of Man himself, full of benevolence and serenity. Its brutal youth, its sanguinary middle life, are alike far behind it; and "that which should accompany old age, as honour, love, and troops of friends," it may now look to have. And the long roll of the Tower victims, lying, many of them, in nameless graves, their very bones sometimes uncoffined; these have at any rate, by their death often achieved an immortality greater than any they could ever have gained by their lives. They were, in a sense, as was that old Roman, Marcus Curtius, sacrifices to their country's gods; for by such throes as overthrew them, have all nations reached peace and salvation. "I see," they might, like Sydney Carton, have cried prophetically at the block,

"I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time ... gradually making expiation for itself."

Once outside the Tower precincts, all is changed, and you are, again, in the bustle and the din of modern London. "Great Tower Hill," on the rising ground north of the Tower, and close to Mark Lane Station, is hardly an idyllic spot, or one at all suitable to meditation, being generally much invaded by the shouts of draymen and the rumble of van-wheels. Close by, in Trinity Square gardens, marked by a stone, is the spot which for some centuries shared with "Tyburn" the honour, or dishonour, of being the public execution-place; but, while Great Tower Hill was mostly the last bourne of political and state prisoners, Tyburn (the present "Marble Arch"), was reserved for common murderers, robbers, and their like. England, in those days, must have enjoyed rare galas in the way of executions! Of that old rogue, Lord Lovat, beheaded here in 1747, it is recorded, that just before the fatal axe fell, a scaffolding, containing some thousand persons, set there to enjoy the spectacle, collapsed, killing twelve of them; a sight at which, the old man, even at that terrible moment, chuckled merrily, "enjoying, no doubt, the downfall of so many Whigs."

Trinity Square has still a pleasant, old-fashioned air of seclusion; although all around and about it are grimy lanes and warehouses, suggesting the close proximity of wharves and docks. Yet Trinity Square, like Charterhouse Square, is no longer residential; the look of "home," of comfortable family life, about its sober brick houses, is merely a hollow sham; they are mainly offices. Near by is the Royal Mint, "where," so Mark Tapley informed his American friends, "the Queen lives, to take care of all the money." At the end of the big, noisy street called the Minories, leading from the Tower to Aldgate, rises the tall, black, three-storied spire of St. Botolph's Church, built by Dance in 1744, on an old site. This church is hardly beautiful in itself; yet its effect, as seen from the Minories, is good. The jurisdiction of St. Botolph, always a popular London saint, is now extended to the tiny Church of Holy Trinity, in the Minories, a small yellowish building, somewhat like St. Ethelburga in Bishopsgate Street, with the same kind of abbreviated turret. When you have succeeded in finding this church (which is difficult, as it is hidden down a side street off the Minories, and, as usual in London, no single inhabitant appears to know where it is), you then usually find it locked, with a saddening notice to the effect that the keys are in some equally unknown and distant region. Yet you must not despair. Such drawbacks are inseparable from the pursuit of historical antiquities in London. It seems, however, a pity to have recently changed the identity of this small church, thus rendering it still more difficult to find. Originally, it gave its name to the whole district; having belonged to an abbey of "Minoresses," or nuns of the order of St. Clare; the living, and also the name, are amalgamated with that of St. Botolph, Aldgate, which now possesses also its chief claim to fame. For, though the little church still possesses some good monuments, the relic formerly shown here, the dessicated head of a man, said to be the Duke of Suffolk, father of Lady Jane Grey, is now removed to the larger church. The decapitated head is certainly sufficiently ghastly, with the neck still showing the usual first stroke of the bungling executioner, and the loose teeth, yellow skin, and mouth with "the curve of agony" to which attention is usually drawn. The evidence for the head being that of the Duke of Suffolk rests mainly on the fact that the Church of "Holy Trinity" was the chapel of the Duke of Suffolk's town-house, and the place whither his head would naturally be brought after decapitation on Tower-hill.

At No. 9, Minories, over the shop of one John Owen, nautical instrument-maker, is the figure of the "Little Midshipman," described by Dickens in Dombey and Son. But it is difficult to walk in the Minories; everywhere crates and cranes seem to threaten you, and paper from printing offices bristles from windows on to your devoted head.... This must always have been a noisy quarter. In old days it was famous for its gunsmiths, as witness Congreve's lines:

"The mulcibers who in the Minories sweat,

And massive bars on stubborn anvils beat-"

You leave the Minories without regret, and turn your face again Citywards. The church of All Hallows, Barking (so called from the nuns of old Barking Abbey), is further west, in Great Tower Street, close to the Tower precincts. It is another church that escaped the Great Fire, and it contains the graves of some of the Tower victims. It has also some good monumental brasses, one especially, of fine Flemish workmanship, in the pavement in the centre of the nave. These old City churches are now most of them well served and tended, the Sunday services in some of them being much sought after. They are also probably kept in better repair than in Dickens's time, when, overgrown, dirty, and isolated in the midst of traffic and bustle, they struck the novelist only with their weird desolation,-a desolation as of some sentient and human thing. Thus vividly he described his feelings while attending service in one of them:

"There is a pale heap of books in the corner of my pew, and while the organ, which is hoarse and sleepy, plays in such fashion that I can hear more of the rusty working of the stops than of any music, I look at the books, which are mostly bound in faded baize and stuff. They belonged, in 1754, to the Dowgate family; and who were they? Jane Comport must have married Young Dowgate, and come into the family that way; Young Dowgate was courting Jane Comport when he gave her her prayer-book, and recorded the presentation on the fly-leaf. If Jane were fond of Young Dowgate, why did she die and leave the book here? Perhaps at the rickety altar, and before the damp commandments, she, Comport, had taken him, Dowgate, in a flush of youthful hope and joy, and perhaps it had not turned out in the long run as great a success as was expected.

"The opening of the service recalls my wandering thoughts.... I find that I have been taking a kind of invisible snuff ... I wink, sneeze and cough ... snuff made of the decay of matting, wood, cloth, stone, iron, earth and something else ... the decay of dead citizens.... Dead citizens stick on the walls and lie pulverised on the sounding-board over the clergyman's head, and, when a gust of air comes, tumble down upon him."

And, further, with regard to the surrounding bustle and merchandise in the busy streets:

"In the churches about Mark Lane there was a dry whiff of wheat; and I accidentally struck an airy sample of barley out of an aged hassock in one of them. From Rood Lane to Tower Street, and thereabouts, there was often a subtle flavour of wine,-sometimes of tea. One church, near Mincing Lane, smelt like a druggist's drawer. Behind the Monument, the service had a flavour of damaged oranges, which, a little farther down towards the river, tempered into herrings, and gradually toned into a cosmopolitan blast of fish. In one church, the exact counterpart of the church in the Rake's Progress, where the hero is being married to the horrible old lady, there was no specialty of atmosphere, until the organ shook a perfume of hides all over us from some adjacent warehouse."

(The church depicted in Hogarth's Rake's Progress was, however, the older church of St. Marylebone, now rebuilt.)

The next turning on the right from Great Tower Street is Seething Lane, leading to Hart Street, noted principally for that ancient church of St. Olave that was one of the Great Fire's few survivals. Its little churchyard opens on to the muddy, narrow alley called Seething Lane, by a picturesque gateway, grimly decorated with carven skulls; tradition says in the memory of the many plague victims buried here. Indeed it is a grisly monument of the time when the plague-cart rumbled in the streets, when a red cross marked the infected houses, and when the stones echoed to the hoarse and terrible cry, "Bring out your dead!" Perhaps Seething Lane was less muddy and slummy in Samuel Pepys's time; for that authority lived here, in a house "adjoining the Navy Office," where he held the position of "Clerk of the Acts,"-and surely he was nothing if not fussy. The locality, owing to the successive distractions of Plague and Fire, cannot have been exactly peaceful. In his "Diary" entry for January 30th, 1665-6, Pepys says:

"It frighted me indeed to go through the church, more than I thought it could have done, to see so many graves lie so high upon the churchyard where people have been buried of the Plague. I was much troubled at it, and do not think to go through it again a good while."

The quaint names of old London churches are very attractive. This St. Olave, or Olaf, was a favourite saint of ancient London; he was an eleventh-century Scandinavian king, canonised because of his zealous propagation of Christianity among his people. Three other London churches, in Southwark, Jewry, and Silver Street (the last two no longer existing), were called after him. The immediate purlieus of St. Olave's, Hart Street, are not exactly savoury, its proximity to the river traffic and warehouses making it occasionally somewhat odoriferous as well as muddy; it were better, therefore, to choose a fine, dry day for this excursion. It is not always easy to get inside the church; on week-days, the street seems to be more or less of a stagnant back-water; and should your fate compel you to find St. Olave's locked, you may stand and knock all day, but nobody will heed you; or, if they do heed, will probably put you down as a wandering lunatic. Nevertheless, St. Olave's should be visited; for its monuments are many and interesting. Samuel Pepys, as parishioner and near neighbour, used to attend service here, with his pretty wife; and Mrs. Pepys's bust, in white marble, erected by her husband, stands on the north side of the chancel, above her tablet and long epitaph. Poor Elizabeth Pepys! She was only twenty-nine when she died, and that long, artificial Latin screed seems all too long and laboured for her lovely and poetic youth. Perhaps her husband, whose pew faces the monument, liked during his long widowhood to gaze at that charming memorial, and-who knows?-to enjoy his fine Latin composition. Pepys himself was buried here later; his own monument, however, only dates from 1883, when it was raised by public subscription.

In St. Olave's church occurs that curious and often-quoted epitaph of 1584, inscribed to "John Orgene and Ellyne, his wife":

"As I was, so be ye;

As I am, you shall be;

That I gave, that I have;

That I spent, that I had;

Thus I ende all my coste,

That I lefte, that I loste."

Wandering along Great Tower Street,-and Eastcheap, reminiscent of Falstaff and Dame Quickly,-we reach the ever-fishy region of the Monument. The Monument is so tall that it is difficult to see it; indeed, I cannot tell exactly why the Monument seems always as difficult of discovery as the middle of a maze; you seem continually close upon it, and yet you hardly ever reach it. No one can ever direct the pedestrian to it; though this, indeed, may not be the fault of the Monument, but simply because the average Londoner never does know anything about the immediate neighbourhood he inhabits. He has even been known to live in the next street to the British Museum for years, and then be ignorant that such an institution exists. Such superiority to external facts is, no doubt, noble; but it has its drawbacks. And sometimes the individuals questioned take refuge in a crushing silence. The last time, indeed, that I myself visited the Monument, I inquired politely of two fishy youths in turn of its whereabouts, and received no answer. Possibly this was merely their courteous way of informing me that they were really too busy to attend to such trivialities. To return, however, to the deluding Monument: Dickens, it is true, in Martin Chuzzlewit makes Mr. Tom Pinch and Miss Pecksniff find their way thither (Tom, having lost his way, very naturally finds himself at the Monument):

"The Man in the Monument was quite as mysterious a being to Tom as the Man in the Moon. It immediately occurred to him that the lonely creature who held himself aloof from all mankind in that pillar, like some old hermit, was the very man of whom to ask his way.... If Truth didn't live in the base of the Monument, notwithstanding Pope's couplet about the outside of it, where in London was she likely to be found?

"Coming close below the pillar, it was a great encouragement to Tom to find that the Man in the Monument had simple tastes; that stony and artificial as his residence was, he still preserved some rustic recollections; that he liked plants, hung up bird-cages, was not wholly cut off from fresh groundsel, and kept young trees in tubs. The Man in the Monument was sitting outside his own door, the Monument door; and was actually yawning, as if there were no Monument to stop his mouth, and give him a perpetual interest in his own existence.... Two people came to see the Monument, a gentleman and lady; and the gentleman said, 'How much a-piece?'

"The Man in the Monument replied, 'A Tanner.'

"It seemed a low expression, compared with the Monument.

"The gentleman put a shilling into his hand, and the Man in the Monument opened a dark little door. When the gentleman and lady had passed out of view, he shut it again, and came slowly back to his chair.

"He sat down and laughed.

"'They don't know what a many steps there is!' he said. 'It's worth twice the money to stop here. Oh, my eye!'

"The Man in the Monument was a Cynic...."

The charge for the Monument is (I may remark en passant), now changed from a "tanner" to the humble threepence. (Its summit gallery is now closed in, because of the disagreeable mania for committing suicide from it.) The original inscription on its pedestal, now effaced, was a curious relic of religious intolerance; showing, by its absurd reference to the "horrid plott" of "the Popish factio," the barbarous and primitive state of popular feeling as late as 1681. Wherefore it was that, as Pope said:

"... London's Column, pointing to the skies,

Like a tall bully, lifts its head and lies."

One must not, however, forget that this attempt to attribute the dire calamity to private malice must have been infinitely comforting to the public mind, that ever, even in our own enlightened day, needs a scapegoat. In still older days, the scapegoats took a more conveniently personal form, and were usually, as we have seen, brought to the block on Great Tower Hill: which was, of course, a much simpler mode of dealing with them.

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