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majestic edifice. There Henry II. held a Parliament; there the Barons besieged King John; there Edward III. held the stately meetings of the famous order of knighthood which he had instituted; there, also, he kept prisoners the kings of Scotland and of France, doing them honour the while, in the old chivalric fashion. In that grim round tower was held captive, in a later reign, the third Stuart king of Scotland,—the first who bore the luckless name of James. Looking down from those dark walls, he saw the lady of his love walking in the garden below, and wrote concerning her verses that have much of Chaucer's fine simplicity :
“ The fairest or the freshest younge flower
That ever I saw, methought, before that hour." Brief and unhappy as was the life of the poet-king-violent and treacherous his death-let us hope that he had hours of real joy in the company of the lady whom thus he wooed.
There is other poetry connected with Windsor Castle. The Earl of Surrey wrote poems while imprisoned there, and it is believed that The Merry Wives of Windsor was first played there before Elizabeth. But the Castle itself is a poem. You cannot enter St. George's Chapel without remembering the great monarchs who are buried beneath its exquisite roof, or tread the north terrace without thinking of the imperious queen who caused it to be made. Pleasanter place than Windsor Castle for a holiday trip there is not in England: the superb interior, with its innumerable reminiscences; the wide views over many counties from the towers and terraces; the umbrageous trees and spreading turf of the Great Park,-give one abundant occupation for a summer-day. And as Windsor is a royal town, all sorts of accommodation are also abundant. Excellent are the inns; the confectioners devote themselves enthusiastically to the supply of luncheons; there are even establishments where third-class travellers can bave tea of the cheapest—as strong, I hope, as it is cheap. In the coming Lent, so say the authorities of the Court Circular, the Prince of Wales is to be married at Windsor : how all London, and no small proportion of the rest of England, will crowd to catch a glimpse of the ceremonial! Cavillers have been asking why the wedding is not to be held in the capital; but surely Windsor is a fitter place for it. Windsor, connected with the births, the marriages, the deaths, of so long a line of sovereigns, has higher claim upon the Prince of Wales than Buckingham Palace, which has not been royal property a century. Even Westminster Abbey has not the regal reminiscences which pertain to Windsor Castle. So at Windsor let Albert Edward wed the blushing Alexandra; and let us all wish for them what Catullus wished for Aulus Manlius Torquatus and his bride :
Torquatus, volo, parvulus
Although Eton and Windsor may be regarded as one town, they are in different counties. Here the Thames divides Buckinghamshire from Berkshire, and the village of learning from the town of royalty. Those playing-fields of Eton are a joyous scene. As one sees the shirt-sleeved youngsters at their cricket or football, it is difficult to suppress Charles Lamb's utterance of regret that a few years will turn them into dull and decorous members of Parliament. Who could photograph the peculiarities of public-school society ? Many men have tried it; and readers of
Tom Brown's School-days are compelled to admit that something very near to success has been attained in that charming book. Yet perhaps the most perfect picture of a great public-school that can be found in English literature is contained in five brief chapters of Coningsby. Mr. Disraeli, in his boyhood, had no experience of a public-school; yet by marvellous instinct he presents Eton to us as it is. What can be truer to the absurd aristocracy of boyhood than the breakfast "lounge," and Coningsby's sullen dislike to meeting “an infernal manufacturer" ? Then the youngsters' crude political conversation about the Reform Bill, characteristically interrupted by the exclamation, “ By Jove, here's the goose!” What, again, more admirable than the excitement of the school when it is supposed that Coningsby and his friends are drowned ? A satirical acquaintance of mine, when Mr. Disraeli was in office, wrote a squib about him, which began thus :
“ The model statesman, nowaday,
Il you could manage to compress him in
You had a very curious specimen.
Statistics, policy, or history;
And tries to solve the Asian Mystery."
And now the Thames winds many a mile before we come to any accustomed haunt of Londoners. Past Datchet Mead, into whose muddy ditch Jack Falstaff was thrown, hissing hot, amid foul linen ; past Old Windsor, where the Saxon kings had a royal residence, while yet New Windsor was unknown; past Runnymede and Magna Charta Island; past London Stone, at Staines, which marks the limits of the Lord Mayor's jurisdiction; past quiet Laleham, where that glorious pedagogue, Arnold, took pupils before his Rugby days; past St. Ann's Hill, where Charles Fox read novels on a haycock, and watched the jays stealing his cherries; past Chertsey, whither Cowley retreated to spend his last days; past Coway Stakes, where Caesar is said to have crossed the Thames; past Walton, where dwelt Lilly the astrologer, who was far cleverer in his day than any of our neoteric mesmerists or mediums; and at length we come to Hampton Court, wherein all Londoners rejoice. Here let
us loiter awhile. Have you ever visited Hampton Races, gentle reader ? They are not so patrician as Goodwood, or so cosmopolitan as Epsom; they are especially Cockney. They are vulgar, I admit;-how in the world is it to be otherwise when the vulgus amuse themselves ? But you may just as well quarrel with a vulgar fraction as with a vulgar amusement. We can't all be the cream of the cream, like the writer and readers of this paper ; so let us tolerate those unhappy persons who pertain to the plebs. However, if Hampton Races be vulgar, this can hardly be said of Hampton Court. True, the Palace was built by a butcher's son ; but then he became a Cardinal; and King Edward VI. was born there; and it was a favourite dwelling of that most aristocratic monarch, Charles I. Yet, somehow, the building seems scarcely in keeping either with the magnificent Cardinal, or with his imperious master, or with the refined and artistic Stuart. One can better imagine our commonplace Queen Anne residing there.
“Here thou, great Anna, whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take, and sometimes tay." The Palace itself is no especial attraction to the crowds who flock thither in the early summer; but the pleasant gardens and the noble chestnut avenues of Bushy are a delight and a luxury to the Londoner escaped from some close fuliginous domicile. Owen Meredith has a quaint little experience of his own to chronicle concerning Hampton Court. No doubt there are thousands who could echo it:
"I press'd her hand upon the steps,
Its warmest tint the sky lent;
We kissid ; and then were silent." Many a quiet osculation (not to use the vulgar monosyllable) has been given and taken in those trim gardens, and under those stately chestnuts. I am not of an envious disposition, but I really am half-inclined to envy the fortunate patricians to whom are assigned apartments in Hampton Court Palace; for the private division of that edifice is used as almshouses for the decayed nobility; people, you know, who have only some wretched three or four hundred a year to maintain their position. The contrast between the quiet of their own retired haunts, and the outdoor enjoyment when a sultry Monday throngs Hampton Court with holiday Londoners, must be delightful. Yet perhaps they do not enjoy it; perhaps they
; look with bitterness upon the careless crowds who come between the wind and their nobility, who make populous the parks and gardens to which they conceive they have a prior claim. If this be their feeling, they are rather to be pitied than envied.
The Great Hall is the finest part of the Palace, and is worthy of the magnificent Cardinal. The pictures which the Palace contains are miscellaneous, and miscellaneously arranged: but he who loves true art will linger long before those unrivalled ruins—the cartoons of Raffaelle; and he who loves pretty women, and cares little how voluptuous their present
ment, will find amusement in Lely's portraits of the ladies of Charles II.'s court. After all, however, it is, as I have said, to garden and park that the holiday-keepers resort. They measure the great oaks and elms; they wonder at the mighty vine; they hunt one another through the unrivalled maze; they rejoice in the patulous chestnuts of Bushy. And, thereafter, plenty of good inns there are at which to dine when weary of wandering. I have, to this day, a pleasant recollection of some stewed eels that I ate at one of them : unluckily for the landlord, I forget which.
Thames Ditton was celebrated by Theodore Hook in some of his happiest verses. It is a quaint country village, where the blasé journalist fondly fancied he could pass a contented life. Kingston has various historic memories, which we will not disturb. Next comes Teddington, much frequented by young “apprentices of the law.” Go thither any summer Saturday, and the odds are that you will meet a large proportion of the embryo barristers of your acquaintance. There usually are a halfdozen or so residing in the village, and reading lan-by which, please to understand boating, fishing, and French novels. Alack! the railways are rapidly destroying the sequestered charm of Teddington ; and in a few years it will be a village of villas, with Italian turrets and ornamental grounds, such as the opulent citizen loves. When thus the Philistines take possession, the Arabs must seek new fishing and boating grounds.
Strawberry Hill, Horace Walpole's toy-mansion, has undergone great alteration at the hands of Lady Waldegrave. Let us hope that no ghost from Otranto will trouble her slumbers in consequence.
Pope's Villa is not Pope's Villa at all, but a structure entirely new, which does not even stand on the same ground as did the poet's house. The last time I rowed from Twickenham to Teddington, the Maria Wood was moored close to the lawny margin of Thames at this point, and a gay party of citizens and their ladies held high revelry in honour of the Sheriffs-Elect. It was impossible not to think of Pope's inscription on his grotto:
"Let such, such only, tread this sacred floor,
As dare to love their country, and be poor !" Without the slightest desire to question the patriotism of the civic banqueters, I doubt very much if one among them would dare to be poor. One can imagine your portly alderman saying, “What a foolish idea! Of course it was a poet that wrote it !” True, Sir Jacob; and it was also a poet who mourned the decadence of “plain living and high thinking;” and He was something more than a poet who drew that terrible contrast between Dives and Lazarus. Never mind : dum vivimus vivamus; turtle-soup is a great temptation, and there are few things equal to cold punch concocted by the hand of a master.
And now we arrive at a town especially beloved by the holidaykeepers of London. Who has not been at Richmond? Who has not dined sumptuously at “Star and Garter,” or “Castle," and, after a superb feed and delicious wine, growled considerably at the bill? Why are
there dinner-bills in this world? Why is there a next morning? Why is too much sparkling hock, while it makes a man wonderfully witty at the moment, productive of headache some hours after? Without pausing to solve these difficult problems, let me raise a pæan in favour of a Richmond dinner. You drive down on a pleasant afternoon, takingif I may advise you—the Kingston road, entering the Park at the Old Lodge, and driving across that noble fragment of woodland until you reach the Terrace. There lies Thames beneath you, a poetic river, a visionary stream, its margin and its islets glorified by the magical light of evening. It will not, let us hope, annoy you extremely, that the Earl Russell lives close by, and often strolls as far as this to look at the view and meditate impossible Reform Bills. Of course you have chosen agreeable company. There are no bores-no fellows who tell long stories --no men with exclusive political information. The ladies are charming-and charming ladies always like a good dinner. Even birds of Paradise peck a little, now and then. The talk-but who shall describe it? Even the humorous gentleman who invites us to an evening party at the Hall of Egypt in Piccadilly might fail here. The printed sermons of great preachers or speeches of great orators fail to give any accurate impression of the effect produced in the utterance; and so, if it were possible to render permanent, by some acoustic process, the joyous converse of a pleasant party, the result would only disappoint us. The bloom is gone from the peach, the feathery dust from the butterfly. No words could reproduce the malicious grace with which the lady of your love talks her delicious nonsense, or the musical tones of her gay and effervescent laugh. Nor can any verbal sorcery call up the voice and gesture and expression of the wit of your party,
“Whose mind is a glass of champagne with the foam on't,
So his best things are said in the flush of the moment." No; one word only can bring back the beauty and delight of the joyous banquet, and that word is RICHMOND. Imagination and memory must do all the rest.
Richmond Palace bore originally the name of Sheen, and received its present name from King Henry VII., who was Earl of Richmond in Yorkshire. The victorious Tudor was fond of the place, held tournament there, entertained Philip I. of Spain there, and finally died there, as Edward III. had before, and as Elizabeth did after him. We owe the park to Charles I., and the right of way through it to John Lewis, a brewer, who fought the Crown on this question in the reign of George II. In Horace Walpole's time it was an aristocratic fashion to hire a house at Richmond, and come down every Saturday and Sunday to play whist. Richmond has dearer memories than of kings and lordly whist-players. Here Reynolds came, when he could tear bimself from his beloved London and the mighty Samuel; here Swift served Sir William Temple, and made love to Stella, and invented the “little language;" here, pleasantest of all to remember, Thomson wrote the Castle of Indolence, that unique