The Project Gutenberg eBook, City Scenes, by William Darton This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: City Scenes or a peep into London Author: William Darton Release Date: January 18, 2012 [eBook #38612] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII) ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CITY SCENES***
Transcribed from the 1828 Harvey and Darton edition by David Price, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by Harvey & Darton
Come, peep at London’s famous town,
Nor need you travel there;
But view the things of most renown,
Whilst sitting in your chair.
At home, an hundred miles away,
’Tis easy now to look
At City Scenes, and London gay,
In this my little book.
Yes, there in quiet you may sit,
Beside the winter’s fire,
And see and hear as much of it,
As ever you desire.
Or underneath the oak so grey,
That stands upon the green,
May pass the summer’s eve away,
And view each City Scene.
There’s great St. Paul’s, so wondrous wide,
The Monument so tall,
And many curious things beside
The Giants in Guildhall.
The boatman plying at his oar,
The gard’ner and his greens,
The knife-grinder, with many more
Of London’s City Scenes.
Here is Farmer Clodpole, who lives a hundred miles from London, coming to see it at last. They have just reached the top of a hill, and catch a fine view of the city.
“What! is that Lunnun, coachey? Well, I’m glad to see it at last; for I, that’s only used to jog along a few miles in our cart, don’t much fancy this jumbling and jolting. But what a smoke they are in, master coachman: I shall be glad enough to get back again, if I am always to be in such a puther. Pray, what’s that there great round thing in the midst of the housen? Oh! St. Paul’s: why that beats our parish church all to pieces. Well, drive away, coachey, that I may see all the fine things; and nobody shall laugh at me any more, because I have not seen Lunnun.”
There is the Monument: it is situated on the east side of Fish Street Hill, and is the highest column in the world. It was erected in remembrance of the great fire of London, which broke out in Pudding Lane, very near Fish-Street Hill, destroying all the buildings from Tower Wharf in the east, to Temple church in the west; and from the north end of Mincing Lane, to the west end of Leadenhall Street; passing to Threadneedle Street, thence in a direct line to Holborn Bridge, and extending northward to Smithfield, when, after having burnt down thirteen thousand and two hundred houses, it terminated.
At that time provisions were very cheap, and many people eat to the full; so that gluttony was alleged by some as the cause of the fire; it beginning, as they said, at Pudding Lane, and ending at Pie Corner, which was the case.
The Monument is a very fine pillar, 202 feet high, having a staircase leading to the gallery, from which, on a clear day, beautiful views of the city and surrounding country may be seen.
“London’s high column, pointing to the skies,
Like a tall bully, lifts its head and lies.”
West Smithfield, where you see the white projecting house, as it was left after the fire of London, which took place at midnight, 2d September, 1666, and burnt with unabated fury till the 10th of the same month.
There is also, at the corner of the lane, against a public house called the Fortune of War, a figure of a boy carved in wood, on which was painted an inscription to commemorate the event, and also stating the calamity to have been a punishment on the city for the sin of gluttony; but this being since considered a vulgar error, is not painted on the new figure, which in other respects is exactly like the old figure first put up.
The new London Bridge is built from a design of the late John Rennie, Esq. engineer; p. 6and the works are conducted under the direction of John and George Rennie, Esqrs. It stands a short distance westward of the old bridge. The first stone was laid by John Garratt, Esq. lord mayor, on the 15th of June, 1825.
This bridge consists of five arches: the centre one is 150, those next to it 140 feet, the extreme arches 130 feet. The roadway is nearly level, and the parapet is plain, with buttresses rising from the piers,
The only fish-market in London, to which the fishing-smacks bring their cargoes. Whoever goes to Billingsgate, at market-time, must expect to be pushed about and dirtied. The crowd is generally very great, and the people very noisy, and some are quite abusive to strangers.
There goes a tall fish-woman sounding her cry,
“Who’ll buy my fine flounders, and oysters who’ll buy?”
Poor flounder, he heaves up his fin with a sigh,
And thinks that he has most occasion to cry;
“Ah, neighbour,” says oyster, “indeed, so do I.”
It is supposed that more money is taken at this place for shell-fish, in a year, than there is at p. 7Smithfield for butchers’ meat in the same period. Within these few years, great quantities of salmon have been sent from Scotland to Billingsgate in summer-time, preserved in ice, which had been stored up in winter for that salutary purpose. The ice, when taken from the fish, is sold to confectioners and pastry-cooks, for forming ice-creams in summer.
I am glad to see this man, whose business it is to sweep up the mud and dirt from the streets, and collect it in a cart. Surely, no part of London needs this work more than Thames Street and Billingsgate; for, even in a dry season, the narrowness of the streets, and great traffic of men and women, with fish in wet baskets, &c. keep the pavement constantly dirty. When the cart is well laden, he empties it into some waste place in the outskirts of the town, or delivers it at some wharf by the water-side; and as it proves a very rich manure, he finds it a profitable and useful occupation.
“I’m very glad ’tis not my luck
To get my bread by carting muck;
I’m sure I never could be made
To work at such a dirty trade.”
p. 8“Hold, little master, not so fast,
Some proud folks get a fall at last;
And you, young gentleman, I say,
May be a scavenger, one day.
All sober folks, who seldom play,
But get their bread some honest way,
Though not to wealth or honours born,
Deserve respect instead of scorn.
Such rude contempt they merit less,
Than those who live in idleness;
Who are less useful, I’m afraid,
Than this black mud that’s in my spade.”
Well, here is the Bellman and Crier, calling the attention of the people to a description of a child that has been lost. The number of children who have at times been stolen from their homes, has caused great alarm to many parents. It was not far from London Bridge that little Tommy Dellow was taken away, which caused the parish-officers to advertise a reward of one hundred guineas for his recovery; and the bills were the means of his being discovered at Gosport, in Hampshire. It appeared that this little boy and his sister were enticed away by a decently p. 9dressed woman, who sent the girl home, but took the boy. Having no children of her own, she contrived to take him to Gosport, and to present him to her husband, on his return from a long voyage at sea, as his own son. The whole history of the distressing loss and happy recovery of little Thomas Dellow, has been published; and, in another account of him,  it is shortly described in verse.
The little boy and girl, who stand hand in hand, before the man with the basket on his head, are the portraits drawn from the life of little Thomas Dellow and his sister.
“A sweet chubby fellow,
Named little Tom Dellow,
His mamma to a neighbour did send,
With a caution to stop
At a green-grocer’s shop,
While she went to visit a friend.
“The poor little soul,
Unused to control,
O’er the threshold just happen’d to stray,
When a sly cunning dame,
Mary Magnay by name,
Enticed the young truant away.
“Then a man they employ
To describe the sweet boy,
Whom they sought with such tender regard!
And soon you might meet
Bills in every street,
Which offer’d five guineas reward!
“They did not succeed
To discover the deed,
Tho’ much all who heard of it wonder’d,
Till at length they sent down
Large bills to each town,
And raised the reward to one hundred!
The office of bellman was first instituted in 1556, for the purpose of going round the ward by night to ring his bell, and to exhort the inhabitants, with a loud voice, to take care of their fires and lights, to help the poor, and pray for the dead. This custom, though once general, is used only at Christmas-time, when a copy of verses is repeated, instead of the admonition used in former days.
Is a landing place by the side of a river, for the convenience of boats, barges, or ships. At these wharfs many casks of fruit, plums, currants, figs, oranges, and lemons, are brought on shore, to be taken away in carts to grocers, fruiterers, and orange-merchants. It is the business of a merchant to bring over these things for our use, and for which we are obliged to him. The West and East India Docks receive now, most of the shipping used to and from those countries, and are considered more secure from robberies, than the open wharfs by the sides of the river Thames used to be.
This is one of the ships called Newcastle Colliers, laden with coals from the mines in Northumberland. These vessels are too large to come close to the wharfs to unload; so the coals are emptied into barges, (which are a kind of large, flat boats,) and carried in them to the different wharfs where they are to be landed.
There the sooty miners stay,
Digging at their work forlorn;
Or, to see the light of day,
In a swinging bucket drawn.
Then along the roaring tide,
Where the tempest bellow’d keen,
Did the laden vessel ride,
Toss’d among the waters green.
Wide were spread her canvass sails,
Tall and taper rose her mast:
Now, before the northern gales,
She has reach’d her port at last.
Adjoining Billingsgate stands the New Custom House, which is the office where the duties are collected on goods exported or imported. The building is situated in Lower Thames-street, fronting the river, occupying an immense space of ground. The dimensions of it are upwards of 480 feet long, by 107 feet wide. The first stone p. 13was laid on the 25th of October, 1813, being the 53d anniversary of king George the Third’s accession; and it was opened for public business on the 12th of May, 1817.
The long room is of extraordinary size, being 190 feet long, by 66 wide, and proportionably high. This is the principal place for all foreign business.
The former Custom House having been burnt down, precautions have been taken to prevent the recurrence of a similar accident in the new building; and fire-proof rooms are provided on each floor, where the books and papers are deposited every evening.
From the Custom House it is but a few steps to Tower-hill. Well, there is a view of it, and of the Tender, which is an old man-of-war, riding at anchor on the Thames, for the purpose of receiving impressed men for the king’s service.
Say, Mr. Lieutenant, before I surrender,
By what right you take me on board of your tender?
In the peaceable trader I rather would be,
And no man-of-war, Sir, I thank you, for me.
Is an ancient and irregular building, which arises from its having been erected and enlarged by different sovereigns, at distant periods of time. It was the palace of many of our monarchs, as well as a place of defence. William of Normandy, called the Conqueror, having no great reliance on the fidelity of his new subjects, built a fortress, (called the White Tower,) on part of the present scite of the Tower, to which the origin of this fabric may be attributed. In 1092, William Rufus laid the foundation of a castle to the south, towards the river, which was finished by his successor. Beneath this were two gates, one called Traitor’s Gate, through which state-prisoners were conveyed to their prisons; the other entitled Bloody, which, too many who entered it, found it deserved; imprisonment in those dark ages, being mostly the certain passport to death.  Charles the Second cleared the ditch, improved p. 15the wharfings, and introduced water by convenient sluices. The whole underwent considerable repairs in the reign of George the Third.
The principal entrance is by three gates on the west side. The whole are guarded by soldiers; and when these gates are opened of a morning, the formalities of a garrison are observed, though the interior now resembles a town at peace, having streets, and a variety of buildings. When the gates are shut at night, the Yeoman Porter, with a serjeant and six privates, goes to the governor’s house for the keys, and on the porter’s returning from the outer gate, he is challenged by the guard, drawn up under arms, with, “Who comes there?” to which he replies, “The Keys.” The guards answer, “Pass Keys,” and rest their firelocks. The yeoman porter says, “God save the King!” and the ceremony closes with a general “Amen.”
The Wardens, or Yeomen Porters of the Tower, wear a uniform, the same as the yeomen p. 16of the king’s guard at the palaces. Their coats are of fine scarlet cloth, laced with gold round the edges and seams, with several rows of gold lace, and bound round the waist with a girdle of the same material. Their form is uncommon, having full sleeves, and short, full skirts. On their breasts and backs they wear the king’s silver badge of the rose, thistle, and shamrock, with the letters G. R. Their heads are covered with round, flat-crowned caps, tied with bands of coloured ribbons. The whole appearance forms an elegant livery, well adapted to royalty.
The spoils of the Spanish Armada are still shown in the Tower. There are, amongst them, several kinds of arms and instruments of cruelty, designed for torturing their English prisoners; and the following list of them will prove the barbarity of Spain at that period.
THE SPOILS OF THE SPANISH ARMADA.
1. The pope’s banner, by him blessed and declared invincible.
2. A battle-axe for penetrating steel armour.
4. An anchove, for hooking men off their horses.
5. A lance.
6. A lance, with the current coin on the head.
7. A Spanish morning star: the points were poisoned, to keep people from boarding ships.
8. A lance, which the Spaniards vauntingly said was for bleeding the English.
9. A battle-axe with a pistol at the end.
10. A battle-axe.
11. A Spanish bilbo, to lock the English by the legs.
12. A thumb-screw, an instrument of torture.
13. A Spanish instrument of torture, called the cravat.
14. A Spanish shield with a pistol fixed in it.
15. A battle-axe, or scull-cracker, to make four holes at a blow.
16. The Spanish general’s shield of honour.
The figure of Queen Elizabeth in armour, forms a proper addition to the collection. She stands in a spirited attitude, by a cream-coloured horse, attended by her page. The axe that beheaded the unfortunate Ann Boleyn, wife of the cruel King Henry the Eighth, is also shown here. The small armoury contains stands of p. 18arms for one hundred thousand men, tastefully arranged in a variety of figures. The apartment is three hundred and forty-five feet in length, and is thought to exceed every thing of the kind in Europe.
The Horse Armory is a large apartment, containing, amongst many curiosities, seventeen of the kings of England on horseback, in the suits of armour they had each worn. Most of this armour is very rich, and beautifully ornamented. The furniture of the horses is of velvet, laced with gold.
There is a suit of armour belonging to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, which is seven feet high; and another made for Henry the Eighth, when sixteen years old, which is six feet in height.
But no sight in the Tower is more interesting than the wild beasts: lions, tigers, leopards, bears, monkeys, &c. As they are confined in p. 19cages, with iron gates before them, there is no danger, if people keep their distance; but some dreadful accidents have happened, by children going within reach of the paws of the lion, she bear, or tiger.
Don’t be frighten’d, young lady, to look at the lion,
You see he can’t spring through the grating of iron;
But if you were wand’ring, like poor Mungo Park,
In Africa’s forests, bewilder’d and dark;
And there, where no refuge or hut could be found,
Should hear his fierce roar thro’ the valleys around;
Or there, by the moonlight, astonish’d to stand,
And see his huge shadow glide by on the sand;
Oh, then you might tremble with terror, and fly
And hide ’mid the palm-tree till he had passed by:
An enemy fierce and all-powerful then,
But now a poor captive confined in his den.
This office is a strong stone room, in which are kept the crown, ball, and sceptre, used by the kings of England at their coronation, all richly set with jewels; besides other crowns and regal ornaments, and some pieces of curious old plate. The crown worn by the king when he goes in state to the House of Lords, is enriched p. 20with an emerald seven inches round, with other gems of great value. Great precautions are taken to secure the regalia, the whole being enclosed within a grate. This was found needful in the days of Charles the Second, after a daring, unprincipled man, named Blood, had attempted to steal the crown and other royal ornaments. Under the form of a clergyman, and pretended friendship to Mr. Edwards, who was keeper of the jewels, he introduced three of his companions, as wicked as himself, and having knocked down and gagged the unsuspecting old man, they concealed the crown and other valuables under their clothes, and were going off with their booty, leaving the keeper, as they supposed, dead, or stunned with their blows, on the floor; but he never lost his senses, and taking advantage of their security, forced out the gag, and calling for assistance, pursued the villains, and recovered the spoil!
In our picture is seen
1. The imperial crown of Great Britain.
2. The golden sceptre with the cross.
3. The sceptre with the dove of peace.
4. St. Edward’s staff, carried before the king at his coronation.
5. The golden orb, which is put into the king’s right hand before he is crowned.
7. The culanna, or pointless sword, being the sword of mercy.
8 and 9. The swords of justice, spiritual and temporal.
Not far from the Tower is Rosemary Lane, where Rag Fair is daily held. To describe the great variety there sold, would exceed all bounds; we would, however, advise every country customer who visits that place, to take particular care of his pockets, that the money depart not without his consent; and, if he takes change, to see well that the silver be good. A word to the wise is sufficient. But as many dealers in old clothes know that an industrious disposition is worth more than good opportunities without it; and as nothing is to be got by standing still, up old Levi gets early in the morning, and rambles about from street to street, and buys old clothes of those who have got new ones: or sometimes he gets a stock of hats and slippers, and then begins his walk again. So, as he wants his money more than he does his goods, he sells them to those who p. 22want the goods more than they want their money. Thus both parties are accommodated. This is the business of a trader; and his customers are as much obliged to him for letting them have his things, as he is to them for letting him have their money.
Now we have a distant view of a man-of-war (which is a great fighting ship) building at Deptford. You may see, by the boats in the front, how large it must be; for the further off any thing is, the smaller it looks; and yet it seems larger at this distance, than the boats which are close by. It is like a large floating house, with convenient apartments, sufficient to accommodate 800 people. Numbers of men have been at work on it for several years; and hundreds of fine oaks, which have been from fifty to a hundred years in growing, have been cut down to build it with: besides all the iron from Sweden, for bolts and nails; and fir-trees from Norway, for planks and masts; and copper from Cornwall, to cover its bottom with, to preserve it from being rotted by the sea-water and from other injuries; and the pitch, tar, p. 23paint, glue, and I cannot tell how many other things, which must be used before it is fit to swim. What a pity that all this expense and trouble should be wasted in contriving to kill our neighbours and destroy their property; when it might be employed to the advantage of both parties by promoting a friendly intercourse with each other.
Through many a long and winding lane,
My wand’ring feet have stray’d;
While yet the drops of early rain
Were sparkling on the blade.
Along the hedge I bent my way,
Where roses wild are seen;
Or cowslips peeping out so gay
Among the tangled green.
Or primrose, with its pucker’d leaf
And simple early bloom;
Or violet, hiding underneath
The hedge’s shady gloom.
With finger wet with morning dew,
And torn by many a spray,
My roses red, and violets blue,
I bound in posies gay.
Lady, lady, buy, I pray,
Water-cresses fresh and young;
Many miles I’m forced to stray,
Lanes and meadows damp among.
Stooping at the crystal brook,
By the morning light I’m seen:
Lady, lady, pray you look;
Buy my water-cresses green.
’Tis the honest truth I tell,
These were gather’d fresh to-day;
I have cause to know it well,
By the long and weary way.
On my arm, so tann’d and brown,
So my little basket hung;
As I travell’d back to town,
With my water-cresses young.
Hardly was a little bird
Stirring as I went along;
Not a waggon-wheel I heard,
Nor the ploughman’s cheery song.
p. 25Still upon the waters grey,
Mists of early morning hung;
Buy then, lady fair, I pray,
Buy my water-cresses young.
Here travels the brewer along with his dray,
And the horse seems as if he had something to say;
Now (tho’ between friends I am forced to confess
That I cannot quite hear him) I think I can guess:
“Good master,” perhaps, “do not give such a smack;
For even a dray-horse can feel on his back;
And surely ’tis fair that my labour should earn,
At least civil treatment from you in return.”
This is a most welcome lad to many a tradesman, when he brings good orders, with a Banknote, or bill to be regularly paid: also to every parent, child, or friend, who wishes to hear of the welfare of parties that live at a distance.
Quoth I to the Postman, good master, your nag,
By this time is tired by the weight of your bag;
p. 26You’ve set off from your office, and rode without stopping,
Till your poor panting steed is in danger of dropping.
Now, said he, if these letters were weigh’d by their sense,
’Twere a chance if they rose o’er a couple of pence;
And if that could be managed, my beast would not mind,
If I carried them with me, or left them behind.
I wish the bear had remained in Russia or Poland, rather than, after being brought from his native woods, to be thus tormented; for who can tell what misery he underwent in learning to move at the command of his keeper. And as for the poor dogs, they must be very tired before their day’s work is ended. I would rather find employment for the men, than give them money for punishing poor animals as they do!
What a wonderful place is this said London! Here are not only bears from the cold regions of p. 27Russia, Poland, and America, but also a camel from the hot sands of Arabia or the East Indies, walking in the streets! Behold the playful monkey on its head, and numbers of fearless boys upon its back. In Turkey, Arabia, and Persia, the camel is a most useful creature, carrying very great weights of spices and merchandise, for a considerable number of miles, and for several days together, without any kind of sustenance. They are said to have a particular property, in scenting out places in the sand where water is to be found.
The milk of this animal is very nutritive, and, mixed with water, forms the principle beverage of the Arabians. The flesh supplies them with food: that of the young is reckoned a delicacy.
The camel feeds entirely on vegetables. Not only pencils and brushes for painters, but some very neat and fine garments have been made with its hair.
In Arabian deserts bare,
I have toil’d with patient care,
While upon my crooked back
Hung the merchant’s precious pack,
Full of spices and of gold,
In the markets to be sold:
p. 28But it was my native clime,
And I liked it all the time.
Now a poor and weary hack,
With a monkey on my back,
Taught by many a knock and bruise,
I the gaping crowd amuse,
Through your city as I go,
Tired and dismal, for a show:
Oh! that I could see again
My native, sandy, barren plain!
Here merchants meet from all parts of the world. The traffic on the seas being very great, to and from every nation, in time of peace, it must afford great convenience to the ship-owners, ship-captains, and traders, to have one spot where they can meet to transact their business. Sir Thomas Gresham, a merchant, laid the foundation in 1566, and Queen Elizabeth was so pleased with the building, that she dignified it with the title of Royal Exchange, by sound of trumpet.
The inside of the Exchange affords a busy scene: Englishmen, Dutchmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Russians, Turks, Americans, and p. 29Jews. How intent every one appears to be on business, and what a general buzz and din we hear: yet the figure of one individual stands very silently in the midst of all, I mean the statue of Charles the Second, on a pedestal. In a few years, every one of these active merchants will be as motionless as this marble statue. It may be of service to the busy Englishman, sprightly Frenchman, lazy Spaniard, plodding-Dutchman, rough Russian, proud Turk, and rich Jew, to reflect on this; and to endeavour, with all their gettings, to get understanding.
We know of no place better supplied with engines for putting out fire, than London; and though fires are very frequent, they seldom do so much damage as formerly, when houses were built of wood, or without party-walls.
An engine is a very clever contrivance: the pipes convey the water over the tops of the houses; and if an engine arrives in time, it frequently prevents the flames from spreading further. 
Well done, my good boy! and well done, my good dog! Why the dog works as hard as the boy, and seems to do it with quite as much ease.
In drawing that truck, boy, you now feel a part
Of what ev’ry horse feels, when drawing a cart.
Come, my lad, haste away, to make room for a fine coach, full of gay people, coming to the East India House.
The East India Company is one of the most powerful and wealthy associations in Europe; p. 31and their house in Leadenhall Street is a very elegant building. The Company was originally formed by Queen Elizabeth, in 1600, principally for the purpose of procuring spices at a cheap rate, which were advanced in price by the Dutch. From traders they became conquerors of the natives, and having obtained a footing in the country, usurped the sovereignty over considerable districts; and war, with oppression, have too often befallen the harmless natives. The India ships bring home tea, coffee, silks both raw and manufactured, cottons, muslins, calicoes, drugs, China-ware, rice, sago, saltpetre, pepper, indigo, &c &c.
This is to be seen in Cannon Street, against the wall of St. Swithin’s church, where it has long been preserved. It is now cased with stone-work, and guarded by an iron bar and spikes, but still remains open to view. It has been supposed to be a standard, from which the Romans, when in England, computed their miles. Proclamations were formerly delivered from this stone to the people.
This is the place where the public business of the corporation of London is transacted; and where the judges sit to hear and determine causes. In this hall the Court of Aldermen and Common Council have a very handsome chamber, or court-room, which is ornamented with a capital collection of paintings, presented to the City of London by the late worthy Alderman Boydell, who greatly promoted the arts. The fine painting by Mr. Copley, representing the siege of Gibraltar by the Spanish flotilla, and likewise an elegant marble statue of George III. our late venerable monarch, are well worth seeing by every admirer of the arts of painting and statuary.
Nearly opposite to the entrance of this fine building, and on each side of the clock, formerly stood two gigantic statues, commonly called Gog and Magog, supposed to be the figures of a Briton and a Saxon; but they are now removed to the west end of the hall, as they are seen in the picture, No. 31.
Two modern painted windows complete the decorations of this venerable building; the one representing the royal arms, the other those of the city of London.
Well, here are the Lord Mayor’s coach and six horses, standing opposite the Mansion House, which is the place of residence for every chief magistrate during his mayoralty. It is a stone building of magnificence, but appears the more heavy and gloomy from its confined situation.
Not far from the Mansion House stands the Bank of England. This building fills a space enclosed by the four streets, Bartholomew Lane, Lothbury, Prince’s Street, and Bank Buildings. It is truly interesting to behold the busy scene that daily passes in the rotunda, amongst the buyers and sellers of stock, or those who are engaged in transferring it, all so eagerly occupied with their affairs, and showing their anxiety by their countenances. Where money is, there the crowd will be; and persons who go to the Bank should be careful lest their pockets be picked of such money as they may have received.
This is a wonderfully fine building! and the countryman’s amazement on first seeing it, is very naturally expressed in the following lines:
Of all the brave churches I ever did see,
Sure this seems the greatest and grandest to me!
What a wonderful place! I am full of surprise,
And hardly know how to believe my own eyes.
Why sure that gold cross at the top is so high,
That it must, now and then, prick a hole in the sky;
And, for my part, I should not be much in amaze,
If the moon should run foul of it, one of these days.
It is not only the outside of this fine building that commands attention, but the inside also. The whispering gallery, the great bell, the library, and so many other curiosities are to be seen, that even to name the whole would require more space than we can afford in our little work.
A young country gentleman, who was never before on any thing higher than a haystack, has now reached the top of St. Paul’s, and is admiring the prospect from the iron gallery.
Well, certainly, this is a wonderful sight;
And pays one for climbing up here such a height.
p. 35Dear, what a large city! and full, in all parts,
Of churches and houses, of horses and carts.
What hundreds of coaches, and thousands of folk!
And then, above all, what a very thick smoke!
I could stand here all day to behold this fine town;
Tho’, as night’s coming on, I had better go down.
I think so too, young gentleman: and mind how you go along the dark staircase, for it would be a sad thing to fall down among that frightful scaffolding. Walk gently, and lay hold of the rail as you go along, and you will be safe enough.
There are nearly one thousand children educated here at a time. The boys continue to wear the dress worn in the days of the virtuous and youthful prince, Edward the Sixth, who founded this school for orphans and other poor children.
Their singular dress consists of a coat of blue cloth, formed something similar to a woman’s gown; and in winter they wear a yellow woollen petticoat. Their stockings are of yellow worsted, and round their waist they buckle a red-leather p. 36girdle. They are also furnished with a round, flat woollen cap, about the size of a tea-saucer, which they generally carry under their arm. A pewter badge on their breast, and a clergyman’s band round their neck, complete their antique uniform.
This is what might have been expected, my lad! You have been teasing and worrying that animal, till it is become quite furious, and now you must take the consequence. It was as tame and quiet as any ox in Smithfield, till you began to pull it by the tail, and beat it about the horns; and now, (as oxen do not know they ought not to be revengeful,) you cannot be surprised if it should give you a toss or two. Cruel folks are always cowardly, and it is no wonder to see you running away in such a dreadful fright.
Bring out your dust, the dustman cries,
Whilst ringing of his bell:
If the wind blows, pray guard your eyes,
To keep them clear and well.
p. 37A very useful set of men are these: they remove the dust and dirt from the houses in the city. It is a very profitable business; for, by sifting and sorting what is taken away, every thing becomes useful. There are frequently found cinders for firing, ashes and breeze for brickmakers: bones and old rags, tin and old iron, are carefully separated from oyster-shells and stones, which have their several purchasers.
My masters, I’m dirty, nor can I be clean;
My bus’ness it would ill become,
With my face and hands clean in the streets to be seen,
While I carry my shovel and broom.
In one of the print-shops of London may be seen a representation of the taking of Guy Fawkes, in the reign of King James the First. In the year 1605, the plot to destroy the king and parliament was discovered, owing to an anonymous letter sent to Lord Monteagle. In a cellar under the parliament-house, there were found thirty-six barrels of gunpowder; upon which were laid bars of iron, massy stones, faggots, &c. Near these Guy Fawkes was concealed, with a dark lantern and three p. 38matches. He instantly confessed his guilt; and, with Sir Everard Digby, Catesby, and several others, was executed.
Who comes riding hither, as black as a coal,
With matches and old tinder-box,
And holding his lantern, a figure so droll?
’Tis nobody less than Guy Fawkes!
Every parish in England formerly used to have its Pope or Guy carried about by idle men and boys on the 5th of November, who usually went from house to house, begging for money to make a bonfire and a feast. In many of the villages near London, there used to be two or more parties of large boys from different parts of the parish; and it frequently happened, that when one of them thought the other had encroached, by visiting such houses for money as were deemed out of their bounds, that battles were fought between them. Many were lamed in these affrays, and the treasurer to the weakest party has often been plundered of such money as had been collected.
The people of England in general, of late p. 39years, have discouraged these processions and riots, and they have become so insignificant, as to be noticed only by children. But even in the present time, some idle people will fire guns, and throw squibs into the streets, which have caused many serious accidents; and here seems some poor creature going to
Which is in West Smithfield, and where all persons accidentally injured, are admitted at any hour of the day or night, and carefully attended by skilful surgeons, and proper nurses. This hospital has long remained a monument of the piety of its founder, — Rahere, who was minstrel, or jester, to King Henry the First. Grown weary of the gay offices of his station, he reformed, founded a priory, and established this hospital for the sick and maimed. It was granted by King Henry the Eighth, on certain conditions, to the City of London, in the last year of his reign, for the same purposes as those of its original foundation. The present building was erected in the reign of George the Second, in 1730.
Is in a large, open, square place, called West Smithfield; where is held, for three days in the week, a market for hay and straw; and the other three days for horses and cattle of all kinds, which make the place very dirty and inelegant in its appearance. Various have been the purposes, at different periods, to which this place has been applied, it having been equally devoted to festive joy, and extreme misery. Here, in the days of chivalry, the court and nobility held their gallant tilts and tournaments, with a magnificent parade, characteristic of the age. On the same spot, for a series of years, have been enjoyed by the lowest vulgar, the buffoonery humours of Bartholomew Fair, which was first granted by Henry the Second, to a neighbouring priory, as a mart for selling the commodities of the drapers of London, and clothiers of England. As other channels for the disposing of drapery goods arose, this fair, from a resort of business, became a meeting of pleasure. It continues three days, to the great annoyance of real trade and decorum; and a court of pie-powder is held daily, to settle the disputes of the people who frequent it. On the other hand, in ancient times, it was the p. 41common place of execution for criminals. In the centre of the place now enclosed with rails, many martyrs were burned at the stake, for their adherence to the reformed religion; and, lastly, it was the field of combat, when the guilt of the accused was attempted to be decided by duel.
There has been of late years, a show of fat cattle annually at Smithfield, and the feeders of the best kinds have been rewarded with money, or a piece of valuable plate, which has greatly contributed to encourage the improvement of various breeds of sheep and cattle.
This is in Fleet Street, and had a very narrow escape from the great fire of 1666, which stopped within three houses of it. There are two savage figures on the outside of the clock, that strike the quarters with their clubs, with which children and strangers are much amused. Dunstan, before he was made a saint, was well skilled in many arts: he was a good engraver and worker in brass and iron. He was supposed to be the inventor of the Eolian Harp, whose soft notes are produced by a current p. 42of air causing the wires to vibrate. This was not comprehended by the vulgar; so, from being wiser than his neighbours, he was deemed a conjuror by them.
Make haste, my good lad, or the postman may be gone. These letter-carriers begin to ring a bell about five o’clock every evening, and collect letters and newspapers in the several parts of the town, so as to be able to get to the General Post Office in time for sorting them for the mail-coaches.
The gentleman’s servant with the letter, seems to be sent from some lawyer in the Temple, as there is a view of the gardens and fountain.
Is a place of residence for students of the common law, divided into two societies, called the Inner and the Middle Temple, which, with the other law-associations, are called Inns of p. 43Court. The buildings of the Temple are ample and numerous, with pleasant gardens extending to the shores of the Thames, which prove agreeable retreats to young persons who have been engaged in study.
This man seems to be very busy, and it is but reasonable to suppose that he may meet with many employers amongst the students of the law, and the law-stationers, in and about the Temple: for as they use many pens, a sharp knife must be quite needful for mending them. But I think he does not confine himself to grinding knives only, but when wanting a job, he cries, “Knives to grind! Scissors to grind! Razors to grind!”
Well! who would believe it? why, that is lazy Tom, turned knife-grinder at last!
“Ay, master, and I never was so happy in my life. I thought, like a foolish old fellow, that a beggar’s life must at least be an easy one; but at last I found out, that, though I had nothing to do, I often had nothing to eat. So, one day, I thought to myself, thinks I, ‘I’ve a vast mind to bestir myself, and work p. 44for my living, for after all this idling, I don’t see that I am much of a gentleman for it.’ So I bought this grinding barrow, and began business for myself; and now I earn a comfortable living, and am as happy as the day is long:
“And so every body who tries it, will find:
I wish you good morning, Sir—Scissors to grind!”
Old chairs to mend! old chairs to mend!
If I’d as much money as I could spend,
I’d leave off crying, old chairs to mend!
Perhaps so, but then you might not be more healthy, useful, or happy, than at present. Exercise and sobriety contribute to health, and industry produces the means of procuring wealth sufficient to live in a comfortable manner. A chair-bottomer is a very useful man: he contributes to the ease and comfort of many of his employers; yet, one cannot help asking, Has every chair which wants a new bottom, been worn out fairly? What! have no little boys, or great girls, been standing up in them? p. 45or drawing them up and down the house and yard, to wear out the rushes?
During the war with Holland, rushes for bottoming chairs were very scarce and dear, so that the poor men in that line of business found a great difficulty to obtain materials and employment.
This man, although he appears poor, yet he occupies the highest situation in the city of London, having taken his seat in Panyer Alley, leading from Newgate Street to Paternoster Row; where a stone is placed, in the wall of one of the houses, with the following inscription in old English verse:
WHEN Y HAVE SOVGHT
THE CITTY ROVND,
YET STILL THS IS
THE HIGHST GROVND.
AVGVST THE 27,
“Great News! Great News!” “All Hot! Smoking Hot!” These are two busy men, indeed; one cries food for the mind, and the other p. 46food for the body. Neither of these tradesmen keep long in one place. The news-boy would be very glad to have a hot plumcake, but he has not time to eat it; nor will the pieman wait to hear what the news is. So that they are not only busy men, but what is very different, men of business. They are passing by The Obelisk, in Fleet Street, built by the City of London, on the spot which was once the centre of Fleet Ditch, which flowed as high as Holborn Bridge, under that part which Fleet Market is now built upon.
Here we have a view of Blackfriars’ Bridge, and, from the great bustle there is upon the river, there seems to be a rowing match among several watermen. This bridge is a noble structure, consisting of nine arches, the centre one being one hundred feet wide. Over each pier is a recess, with seats for passengers on the bridge, supported by two beautiful Ionic pillars, which stand on a semi-circular projection, rising above high-water mark; and the whole p. 47appears an admirable piece of workmanship, upon the water. This bridge was begun in the year 1760, from a design of Robert Mylne, Esq. the architect, and finished in about eight years, at the expence of rather more than one hundred and fifty thousand pounds.
Blackfriars’ Bridge is a very pleasant place for a walk, especially on a fine summer’s evening, when the air is still and serene, and the light pleasure-boats are gliding up and down the river with their gay companies.
It is a beautiful sight to see the sun setting from this place: it shines upon the great dome of St. Paul’s, in all its glory, and makes it look as if it were made of gold. The watermen are always waiting about the bridges, and keep a brisk cry of Boat! boat, who wants a boat? Oars, Sir! sculler, Sir!
Temple Bar is a noble gateway of stone, with a large arch in the centre for carriages, and a covered path on each side for foot-passengers. It is now the only gate standing, except St. John’s Gate, Smithfield, out of the p. 48many formerly used at the several principal entries into the city. On some public occasions, as, when the king or any of the royal family come into the city, or on a proclamation of peace, this gate is shut and opened with great formality. On the latter occasion, the gates of Temple Bar are shut, to show that the jurisdiction of the city is under the Lord Mayor. The knight-marshal, with his officers, having reached this barrier of city authority, the trumpets are sounded thrice; and the junior officer of arms riding up to the gate, knocks with a cane. The city marshal within demands, “Who comes there?” The herald replies, “The officers of arms, who ask entrance into the city, to publish his majesty’s proclamation of peace.” On this the gates are opened, and he alone is admitted; when, being conducted to the Lord Mayor, he shows the royal warrant, which his lordship having read and returned, he orders the city marshal to open the gates. This being done, the heralds resume their places; and the procession, joined by the city magistrates, proceeds to the Royal Exchange, where the proclamation is read.
The very great improvements already made from Temple Bar towards St. James’s, have cost so considerable a sum of money, that the p. 49destruction of this gate, or bar, has been delayed much longer than was expected. The upper part of it was used of late years as an office for publishing the Star newspaper.
Shortly after the rebellion of 1745, the heads of three rebel noblemen were fixed on three poles, on the top of the gate, where they remained till they decayed, or were blown down by a high wind.
When we see a rope, with a wisp of straw tied to it, across the street, no carriage should attempt to pass, for that is the pavior’s signal that the road is stopped, by their being at work on the stones. And hard work it seems to be, to use the heavy rammer.
“Does not each walker know the warning sign,
When wisps of straw depend upon the twine
Cross the close street, that then the pavior’s art
Renews the way, denied to coach or cart?
For thee the sturdy pavior thumps the ground,
Whilst every stroke his labouring lungs resound.”
The stones for paving London are mostly brought from the quarries of Scotland, by ships; p. 50and very few towns or cities in Europe are better paved than the City of London. Indeed, every year seems to add improvements, for the health and comfort of the inhabitants.
The country farmer, who has been used to nothing but ploughed fields, and uneven, rutted lanes, or, at best, to the rough gravel of a cross-country road, would be surprised to see the streets of London paved as neatly as Farmer Furrowdale’s kitchen, and the lamps lighted as regularly every evening, as that in the great hall at the ’squires. And now, by the introduction of gas, the principal streets are very brilliantly illuminated, without the aid of tallow, oil, or cotton.
There seems to be one more great person removed from this life, and going in a hearse with six horses, to his last home. Westminster Abbey is a fine Gothic pile, and was founded by Sebert, king of the East Saxons, but at what time is uncertain. In this place the kings and queens of England have been crowned, ever since the days of Pope Nicholas p. 51the Second, who appointed it for their inauguration. The coronation chairs are kept here, and the seat of the most ancient one is the stone on which the kings of Scotland used to be crowned, brought to Westminster by Edward the First.
The great number of monuments, and other curiosities of this venerable building, with the variety of pavements and chapels, are well worthy of a visit from every enquiring stranger; but the insertion of a full description here, would be more than can be expected.
There is a Westminster scholar, and he appears to be explaining the particulars of some Latin inscription, to his mother and sister, who have called to see him. Methinks I hear the lady say, “See, my dear children, what the richest and greatest come to at last. Rich and poor, high and low, must all be laid in the grave; and though this noble monument appears very grand to the living, it makes no difference to ‘the poor inhabitant below,’ whether he lies p. 52beneath a beautiful pile of white marble, or has only a few green osiers bound over his grave.”
Is admired both for the grandeur and simplicity which are united in its several parts. Henry, Earl of Pembroke, promoted the erection of this bridge, and laid the first stone, in the beginning of the year 1739. It has thirteen arches, exclusive of a very small one at each end. The foundation is laid on a solid bed of gravel, and the piers are solid blocks of Portland stone, uniting strength with neatness. It was eight years and three quarters in completing, and cost £389,500 being more than double the cost of Blackfriars’. Westminster Bridge was opened for carriages about midnight, by a procession of gentlemen, the chief artificers, and a multitude of spectators. The architect was not a native of this country: his name was Labelye.
Not far from the bridge, in old Palace Yard, stands Westminster Hall.
Is thought to be the largest room in Europe unsupported by pillars, being two hundred and seventy feet in length, and seventy-four in breadth. The roof is of curious workmanship in oak, and reminds the beholders of a grove of trees, whose top branches extend toward each other till they unite. A great feast was held in this vast apartment, and other rooms of the palace, in the days of King Richard the Second, who is said to have entertained ten thousand guests, with his usual hospitality.
This hall was the court of justice in which the sovereign presided in person. Hence the Court of King’s Bench took its name. Charles the First was tried here, and condemned to suffer death by his own subjects. The trial of peers, or of any person impeached by the Commons, has been usually held here; and the coronation feasts have been celebrated therein for many ages.
The ground on which the hall stands is so near to the water, that on several high tides p. 54the Thames has overflowed the hall, the courts of justice have been broken up prematurely, and the people conveyed away in boats.
Perhaps the streets of no city in the world are so well lighted as those of London, there being lamps on each side of the way, but a few yards distant from each other. It is said that a foreign ambassador happening to enter London in the evening, after the lamps were lighted, was so struck with the brilliancy of the scene, that he imagined the streets had been illuminated expressly in honour of his arrival. What would he have thought, had he passed through the lustre which is shed at present by the gas lights, from so many of our shops, and from the lamps in the streets? The Lamplighters are a useful set of men; and they are liable to many accidents while engaged in their dangerous occupation. In the winter, the foot-pavement is frequently so slippery, that they often fall and are maimed, by the ladder’s sliding from under them; or sometimes a careless passenger runs against the ladder and throws p. 55them down. But one of their greatest difficulties is a high wind. In October, 1812, a poor man, named Burke, who had been many years in that employment, as he was lighting the lamps on the east side of Blackfriars’ Bridge, was, by a sudden gust of wind, blown into the river, in presence of his son, a child of ten years old, and before assistance could be procured, he sunk to rise no more.
This man has a comfortable great coat, a lantern, and a rattle, with a large stick to attack thieves. I suppose my readers would think it very wrong of him to sleep, and suffer thieves to do as they please; and so it would. But I hope no one will blame the watchman, and do as bad himself; for I have known some little folks, who have had books and teachers, and good advice also, that have not made use of any of them. Indeed, sometimes when their teachers were looking at them, they would appear to be very busy and attentive for a little while; but when no one watched them, they would do as little as a watchman when he takes a nap.
The Link-boys are often on the watch, with their large torches, at dark crossings and lanes, to light passengers through them. They deserve the reward of a few halfpence, from those whom they assist.
This mode of riding is now but seldom seen, though formerly it was frequently in use. Now, Sedan Chairs are used only by the sick and weakly, or by the nobility and others, who attend at the levees at court. As for us poor authors, we must adopt the plan of riding when we must, and walking while we can.
If any of my little readers wish to be as healthy and merry as Betty the milkmaid, they must work hard, and rise early in the morning, instead of lying in bed while every body else p. 57is about his business, and idling their time till they go to bed again. Betty is obliged to get up as soon as it is light, and then takes a walk into the fields to fetch her cows. When she has milked their full udders into her clean pails, she sets off again, and carries it from door to door, time enough for her customers to have it for breakfast. As every one knows the business of a milkmaid, I shall say no more about it; but advise those to remember her example, who wish to make themselves happy or useful.
Tom Hazard was an unthinking boy, and would not settle to any business at home, and so ventured one day in a frolic to go on the water with a party of young folks; and, as Tom staid out late at night, he was met on coming ashore by a press-gang, who took him on board a man-of-war, from which, after some time, he made his escape, and entered on board the Desperate Privateer, hazarding his life for a golden chain, or a broken limb. And now, poor fellow, when it is too late, he sorely laments his situation, for, having lost a leg, he wanders p. 58with some of his companions, and joins in their mournful ditty.
We poor sailors, lame and blind,
Now your charity would sue;
Treat us not with words unkind,
But a spark of pity shew.
Where the stormy billows roar,
Many a year we plough’d the main:
Far, to east or western shore,
Luxuries for you to gain.
Far from friends and houses warm,
(Comforts such as you can boast,)
We have braved the howling storm,
Shipwreck’d on a desert coast.
Many a hardship have we known;
Round and round the world we’ve past;
Now, our limbs and eye-sight gone,
Come to beggary at last!
This is in that part of the street between Charing Cross and Parliament Street which is called White Hall, Westminster, having capacious apartments for the Lords Commissioners p. 59of the Admiralty, who direct the affairs of the navy. The telegraph receives information, and gives instructions, in fair weather, to the various commanders of ships at the different sea-ports. This invention was first practised with success in France, and is admirably contrived to convey intelligence in a very expeditious manner.
Take care, my lads, not to crowd too much sail, or the boat may upset! There they go! from Blackfriars’ Bridge, through Westminster Bridge, to Vauxhall, and back again. What a number of boats there are on the water! Let us hope no lives will be lost, for it seems rather dangerous to be near such fast-sailing boats in a loaded wherry; and, as it is much the safest to be on shore, we would recommend every little boy or girl to keep off the water at such times.
Ah, silly lad! he would go out of his depth, though he knew he was not a skilful swimmer; p. 60and see what has been the consequence! He was seized with the cramp, when he had been a few minutes in the water, and began to sink directly. His brave companion jumped in after him, at the risk of his own life, and has brought him back, quite senseless, to the boat. How distressed his poor brother looks! and how anxious to see whether there is any life left in him.
There is a society in London, of which Dr. Hawes and Dr. Lettsom were the founders, for the purpose of recommending the best means to be used for recovering drowned persons. It is called the Humane Society. They have houses placed at proper distances by the river-side, where assistance may be had instantly; and every possible means are tried for many hours, before they give any one quite over. Numbers have been restored to life by this benevolent institution; and there is a sermon preached once a year, before the Society, when many who have been brought to life by this means are present: it is a very affecting spectacle.
Let us hope they will take this poor boy to one of these places, and perhaps he may yet be restored to his family.
In St. Martin’s le Grand. The front of this fine building is 380 feet long, and is ornamented with three Ionic porticos. The post-office is one of the most busy spots in London, and is the most perfect system of commercial convenience which has ever been formed under any government. It receives letters from all parts of our own country, as well as from every civilized nation in the world, and forwards them to their destination with the utmost regularity.
In front of the central portico, I see, there is one of the mail-coaches for the conveyance of letters. These coaches travel at the rate of eight miles an hour, including stoppages: they carry also passengers and parcels.
This grand fabric was constructed of cast-iron, under the direction of John Rennie, Esq. It consists of three immense arches. The centre arch spans 240 feet, and the two others 210 feet each. The weight of iron is more than 5308 tons. The abutments are of stone. The p. 62bridge forms a communication from the bottom of Queen Street, to Bankside, Southwark. It was begun in September, 1814, and was completed, and opened for public use, in March, 1819. The entire expense incurred by the building of this bridge was £80,000.
Is built of a very hard kind of stone called granite. This bridge was commenced in 1811, and completed in 1817. The road-way of the bridge is level, which is very favourable to the draught of carriages. It has nine fine arches, 120 feet span. The piers are twenty feet thick, ornamented with Tuscan columns. This building was constructed under the superintendence of the late John Rennie, Esq. The opening of this bridge to the public was conducted with unusual grandeur, on the 18th of June, 1817; being the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, his late Majesty, then Prince Regent, and the Duke of Wellington, with grand military cavalcade, attending.
Near the foot of Waterloo Bridge, in the Strand, stands
This academy of fine arts was established by royal charter in 1768. The academy consists of forty academicians, twenty associates, and six associate engravers. Sir Joshua Reynolds was the first president. They make a grand annual exhibition of paintings, sculptures, &c. which commences in May, and generally continues open about six weeks.
Now we have a view of Covent Garden Market, where plants, fruit, and flowers of every kind, are brought for sale from the country. By four o’clock in a summer’s morning, it is completely full of the most rare and beautiful plants that can be grown in England, either in open nurseries, or in the hot-house and green-house: and, what with the number of busy people buying and selling; the carts going to and fro, laden with flowers, fruit, and vegetables of all sorts; the beauty and p. 64gaiety of the different plants, and the sweetness of their odours, it is altogether a most delightful scene. The Londoners cannot take a country walk whenever they please, and enjoy the green fields and wild hedge-flowers, in the open air; but they may supply themselves here with every kind of beautiful plants, for a garden within doors; and to those who have a little knowledge of botany, it must be not only an entertaining, but even a useful amusement.
Was formerly the residence of the Dukes of Montague: it is now the national museum for every kind of curiosity. Indeed, they are so various, both natural and artificial, that it would require a very large book to give even a very short account of them. Here are such a multitude of animals of all kinds, birds, beasts, fishes, shells, butterflies, insects, books both ancient and modern, precious stones, medals, &c. that, in fact, the only way to form an idea of them, is to see them.
Here, upon his brazen horse,
Sits Charles the First at Charing Cross.
This spot was formerly known as a village named Charing, near London, in which King Edward the First placed a magnificent cross, in memory of his beloved queen Eleanor,  which cross was destroyed by the fury of the reformers, who regarded it as an object of superstition. Le Sueur, a French artist, cast a fine statue in brass, of Charles the First on horseback, which was erected in place of the cross. When Cromwell ruled, this statue was sold to one Revet, a brazier, on condition of his melting it, as the parliament had ordered that it should be destroyed. Revet made a fortune by this statue, casting a vast number of articles in bronze, as if made out of his purchase, which p. 66were eagerly bought by those desirous of having a memorial of their prince; and by others, from the pleasure of mean triumph over fallen royalty. Revet, however, had not destroyed the statue, but kept it buried in the earth; and Charles the Second, on his restoration, caused it to be erected again.
Which has been pulled down since our plate was engraved, was a very grand palace. It stood in Pall Mall, exactly opposite Waterloo Place. This was the town-residence of his late Majesty: it was furnished with the most elegant and splendid taste, and was said to be the most beautiful in its decorations of any royal residence in Europe.
This is one of the most beautiful of the new improvements at the west end of the town, and is thought to be the most singular and magnificent p. 67line of streets in the world. At the entrance of the Quadrant stands the County Fire Office. The Building is surmounted by a colossal statue of Britannia, behind which is an observatory, which affords a view over London and the surrounding villages; the purpose of which is, that, on an alarm of fire, the managing director may ascertain the position in which it lies, and send the engines, which are kept at the back of the building.
The kind and loving mother of those two children is dead, and going to the grave! It is too late now to be dutiful to her, for she cannot open her eyes to look at you, they are shut for ever; it is too late to do as she bid you, for her lips are closed, and she cannot speak: it is too late to wait upon her now, for she no longer requires your assistance! O, little girl and little boy, if your dear mamma be still alive, be very kind and dutiful to her before this sorrowful day comes; or else it will be too late to do any thing for her, but cry very bitterly over her grave.
These charity children are coming from church, with the two parish-beadles before them. Several thousands of poor children are taught to read, work, and write, in the different charity-schools of London, and to do their duty to God and to their neighbours; which will enable them to become respectable in this world, and tend to make them happy in the next.
Once a year, about six thousand charity children, dressed in uniforms of different colours, assemble in St. Paul’s Cathedral, on benches raised to a great height one above the other, circularly, under the dome. The order with which each school finds its own situation, and the union of so many voices, all raised at one moment to the praise of their great Creator, as they chant the hundredth psalm on the entrance of the clergyman, cause a most delightful and affecting sensation in the minds of the spectators. The solemnity of the place, and the hope that so much innocence, under such protection, would be reared to virtue and happiness, must add greatly to the effect.
This uncommon scene is well described in the following lines.
p. 69’Twas in the pleasant month of June, their hands and faces clean,
The children walking two and two, in red, and blue, and green;
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of St. Paul’s, they, like Thames’ waters, flow.
Oh! what a multitude they seem’d, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own!
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs;
Thousands of little boys and girls, raising their innocent hands;
Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings, the seats of heav’n among.
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor:
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.
This grand excavation was made in 1821, through the eastern side of Highgate-hill, for the purpose of easing the draught of horses in passing in this direction. There is also a grand archway across, over the Tunnel, which connects Highgate with Hornsey.
London streets, in dry weather, are very dusty; this, when the wind blows briskly, annoys not only the eyes of those who walk, and of those who ride, but spoils the look of many a joint of meat. Pastry-cooks’ and many other shops are much hurt by the dust; so that, at an early hour in the morning, many streets are watered by means of a scoop, and water pent up in the kennels, on each side of the carriageway.
That’s right, sweep away there, my good little man,
And earn a few halfpence, whenever you can.
p. 71Many of the crossings in London streets are often very dirty, and some little lads, who prefer doing even a dirty job to being idle, put down a board for the passengers to walk upon, which they sweep clean continually from mud or snow. They do not forget to hold their hats to those who make use of this convenience; and good-natured people seldom fail to drop a halfpenny into them, like the gentleman in the picture.
Though some persons may be incommoded by wet weather, yet the poor little street-sweeper, the hackney-coachman, the dealer in umbrellas, and various other tradesmen in London, are much benefited by it; and in the country it is often welcome to the farmer, whose corn and grass are made to grow by the timely succession of wet and dry, heat and cold.
Here comes the old man with his flowers to sell,
Along the streets merrily going;
Full many a year I’ve remember’d him well,
With, “Flowers, a growing, a blowing!”
The myrtle dark green, and the jessamine pale,
Sweet scented and gracefully flowing,
This flower-man carries and offers for sale,
“All flourishing, growing, and blowing!”
The privilege of working as a waterman on the river Thames, is only to be obtained by servitude or birth-right; and freemen only can work as porters in the city, for which they wear a ticket as a badge of privilege, and on which their names are stamped and numbered; but the privilege of bringing salt, fish, coals, fruit, and other goods on shore, from ships, boats, or barges, belongs to the Company of Fellowship Porters. All the firemen in London must be watermen or lightermen.
Nothing can exceed the noise, bustle, and hurry, of the streets of London, where carriages are passing backward and forward during the whole day, and most of the night. Carts are creaking under heavy loads of merchandise, mail-coaches are driving to and from the post-office with the letter-bags, and more than a thousand hackney-coaches and chariots are sometimes in motion at once on a rainy day. These are a great convenience in London; for, to whatever part of the town you may wish to go, you have only to beckon to a coachman, and
He’ll drive you home quickly, and when you are there,
You have nothing to do but to pay him his fare.
That gentleman and lady have called to a coachman to take them home; and the waterman, who attends on hackney-coaches and their employers, seems to be enquiring where they are going. We would recommend every person who hires a hackney coach in London, to notice what number is on the door, which, on many occasions, has been found very useful.
I am an old coachman, and drive a good hack,
With a coat of five capes that quite covers my back;
p. 74And my wife keeps a sausage-shop, not many miles
From the narrowest alley in all broad St. Giles’.
What tho’ at a tavern my gentleman tarries,
Why, the coachman grows richer than he whom he carries;
And I’d rather, says I, since it keeps me from sin,
Be the driver without, than the toper within.
And tho’ I’m a coachman, I freely confess,
I beg of my Maker my labours to bless;
I praise him each morning, and pray ev’ry night,
And ’tis this makes my heart feel so cheerful and light.
That lady and her children, who have gone from Cheapside to Islington, may fancy themselves at a farm in the country; the fields look so green, the fresh air is so reviving, and the warm milk so delightfully sweet. Let us hope they will all receive some benefit from their morning excursion; for a walk, and a draught of new milk, must contribute greatly to the health of children who are confined for the rest of the day in a crowded city. The old gentleman on the bench seems also to have had his draught, and is contemplating the fine shape of the gentle cow.
There go the apprentice and beauish young
To skate on the frozen canal in the park!
Each bent upon showing his skill and his speed:
And, truly, there’s one bent upon it, indeed.
Nay, if you go on where the ice is so thin,
You will not be long on, my good fellow, but in.
What a picture of winter! The water in the leaden pipes, leading from the large iron ones underground, into the houses, is frozen. As some part of the pipe is generally exposed to the cold air, this stoppage frequently happens in a frost, so that the turn-cock is obliged to put a small wooden pipe into one of the large ones underground,  that the people may procure water. The poor woman’s cloak is frozen so p. 76hard, that it looks like a great wing. The little boy blows his fingers to make them warmer: and there is a man throwing the snow off the house, that it may not soak through to the chamber ceiling when a thaw comes. What a blessing to have a good house and a comfortable fire-side, when the weather is so severe.
The turn-cock, as he is called, has just opened a fire-plug, or rather water-plug; but as its principal use is to supply water to the engines for extinguishing fires, it has acquired the former name, more from custom than propriety. Some boys make rare sport, by putting one foot on the stream, and dividing the course of the water; it is thus driven into the air, and over their companions or passengers.
At first sight it seems impossible for water to run up hill; and yet, by a little ingenuity, this is easily done; for, put water into what you please, and one side or end of it will always rise as high as the other. It is by knowing and thinking about this, that clever men have contrived to supply whole cities with water, and p. 77even to send it up into the highest rooms of a house. They first of all make a great reservoir, or collection of water, on some neighbouring hill, from which pipes are carried, underground, to all the houses they wish to supply; the water in that end of the pipes next the town, always rising as high as that in the reservoir at the other end of them. If they cannot find a convenient spring, sufficiently high, they force the water to a proper height by pumps and steam-engines; and by these inventions, do with ease, what the best ancient philosophers might have thought impossible. When one of the great pipes, which run through the streets of London, happens to burst, the water soon forces up the pavement, and a fountain is produced.
Are situated in Wapping, between Ratcliffe Highway and the Thames. One of the docks is so large, that it covers more than twenty acres of ground, being 1262 feet long, and 699 feet wide. It was first opened on the 31st of January, 1805. The new dock covers a space of fourteen p. 78acres. There are also immense warehouses. One of them is 762 feet long, and 160 feet wide, a representation of which was too large to introduce into our picture; but we have given a view of the grand entrance, with a ship going into the docks, to be unladen of her merchandise, which will be taken care of in one of those warehouses, till it is sold for public use.
The wise and benevolent design of founding an hospital for those brave men who have been disabled by age or accident, from serving any longer in the navy, is said, to the honour of the female sex, to have originated with that excellent woman, Queen Mary, the wife of King William the Third; and the founding of an asylum for invalid soldiers at Chelsea, was also attributed to a female, one of King Charles the Second’s favourites. The buildings at each place are more like palaces than hospitals, and great care is taken to render the objects of the institution comfortable in their situations. The hospital at Chelsea, with its appendages, covers above forty acres of ground. There are three hundred and thirty-six in-door pensioners, and an unlimited number of out-door pensioners, who receive an annual allowance of seven pounds twelve shillings and sixpence each. Greenwich Hospital admits two thousand three hundred and fifty pensioners, who are provided with lodging, food, clothing, and pocket-money; exclusive of about twelve hundred out-pensioners, who receive seven pounds each per annum. Both hospitals are situated by the water-side. At Chelsea, the pensioners have gardens and fields to walk in; and at Greenwich, there is a large and pleasant park.
Joseph Rickerby, Printer, Sherbourn Lane.
 Published at 58, Holborn Hill.
 Here Ann Boleyn, and many other illustrious persons, languished out their miserable hours of captivity; especially the amiable and learned, the good Jane Gray, who was shut up in it for five months. She fell a victim to the jealousy of Mary. Her piety, magnanimity, and conscious innocence, afforded her invincible fortitude in this trying hour, which, even the sight of her husband’s body, reeking from the scaffold, did not shake.
 The summer of 1794 had been very dry, and a pitch-kettle, happening to boil over at a wharf near Ratcliffe Cross, it set fire to a warehouse containing many bags of saltpetre: this soon exploded, and the wind blowing from the south, directed the flames towards Ratcliffe High Street, which took fire on both sides, and more houses were consumed than in any conflagration since the great fire in 1666. It was estimated that upwards of four hundred families lost all their possessions, and many of them lived in tents or booths for a considerable time after.
 When in Palestine, Edward nearly escaped being murdered by an assassin, from whom he received a wound in his arm, which was given by a poisoned dagger. It is affirmed that he owed his life to the affection of Eleanor, his wife, who was with him, and sucked the venom out of the wound.
 In the year 1813, one of the turn-cocks in Giltspur Street, found a very unusual stoppage at the extremity of the Thames water-pipe there, and on searching for the cause, to his great surprise found a live salmon, which weighed about eight pounds.
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CITY SCENES***
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