Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

(Conducted by

the George pendant once hung. The But the other side, too, had their say pedestal, now honeycombed by time, is not about the new statue. Andrew Marvelí, the work of Grinling Gibbons, as was once one of the bitterest and most honest of thought, but of Joshua Marshall

, master- political satirists, wrote an imaginary conmason to Charles the Second, a man who versation between the Charing-cross horse was engaged by Wren in the erection of and a stone horse with a stone Charles the Temple Bar and the Monument, and who, Second upon its back, which had been as registers show, resided in St. Dunstan's erected at Woolwich. parish.

The Charing-cross horse says of Charles This statue was cast in 1633, in a piece the Second, with terrible virulence, that it of ground near St. Paul's, Covent Garden. is a disgrace Not being erected when the Civil War broke That he should be styled Defender of the Faith out, the brazen horse and its stately rider Who believes not a word what the Word of God saith. were sold by the parliament to John Rivet, Woolwich replies with equal gall: a brazier with an appropriate name, who That the duke should turn Papist and that church defy, lived at the Dial, near Holborn Conduit, For which his own father a martyr did die. with stern and strict orders to instantly

Charing: break up the accursed thing. But the shrewd Royalist, willing to bide his time, Not to think his own father has gone to the devil.

Though he changed his religion I hope he's so civil buried Le Sour's statue in his cellar, and deceived the Puritan senate with some

The poet sums up the character of James : shapeless lumps of old brass. The astute with the Turk in his head and the Pope in his heart

,

Father Patrick's disciple will make England smart, patriot made a fortune by manufacturing If e'er he be king I know Britain's doom, brass handles for knives and forks, and we must all to the stake or be converted to Rome. announcing them as made from the metal None ever reigned like old Bess and her ruff. of the destroyed statue ; for the Cavaliers purchased them as relics, the Puritans as

Woolwich : mementoes of their triumph. Rivet, chuck- But canst thou devise when kings will be mended ? ling, soon doubled his prices, and took the Charing : money of both factions with equal com- When the reign of the line of the Stuarts is ended. placency. At the Restoration, Rivet re

The pedestal of Charles the First's statue fusing to deliver up the statue, had a is seventeen feet high, and is adorned replevin served upon him to compel the with trophies of armour, Cupids and surrender, but he fought bravely for a large angels, the arms of England, and palmreward. The dispute lasted many years. branches. On the north and south sides How the wrangle ended we know not, but weeping children support what are, we in 1674 the statue appeared at Charing- think, intended for crowns of thorns. The cross. Le Sæur, it is supposed, died before iron railing, thirty feet in diameter, is now the statue mounted sentinel in the long- removed. In Queen Anne's time, forty destined place. This Le Sæur—a French small square stone posts surrounded the pupil of the famous John of Bologna-pedestal, and the spot was a favourite executed several monuments for West- stand for sedan-chairs. minster Abbey, and also that copy of the

Archenholz, a Prussian traveller who Fighting, Gladiator which once stood on visited England in 1784, tells a curious the parade in St. James's Park, and is now anecdote of the Charing-cross statue. Durat Hampton Court.

ing the war in which General Braddock When the statue was erected, Waller, was defeated in America, and poor Adwho had written so nobly on the great miral Byng was thrown to the lions as a Protector, tuned his harp in the Royalist scapegoat for our loss of Minorca, an key, and produced the following feeble lines, unlucky Spaniard was arrested by a mob which sufficiently betray their writer's in

near Whitehall as a French spy. A loudsincerity :

voiced bully in the crowd at once proThat the first Charles does here in triumph ride, posed to mount him behind Charles the See his son reign where he a martyr died, And people pay that reverence as they pass

First. A ladder was procured, and the (Which then he wanted) to the sacred brass, wretched Spaniard forced up for that disIs not th' effect of gratitude alone,

agrecable ride, to be loaded with insult To which we owe the statue and the stone,

and pelted with mud. Luckily for the but to show mortals eternally that, Spaniard, a cabinet minister just then Rebellion though successful is but vain,

passing by, stopped his coach, and in mere And kings so kill'd rise conquerors again.

pity questioned the forlorn man.

On

discovering the mistake of the mob, the In 1763, the impudent contriver of the minister quieted the rabble, got the man Cock-lane Ghost mounted the old pillory safely down, and, driving him to the at the West-end cross. The manufacSpanish ambassador's, apologised for the turer of the rapping and invisible ghost folly and cruelty of the London crowd. was Parsons, the parish clerk of St. Se

The pillory often erected at Charing- pulchre's, who had a spite against a Norcross, received many strange occupants. In folk gentleman who had once lodged with August, 1685, that enormous rascal, Titus him, and afterwards sued him for a debt. Oates, thrust his brazen flat face through The object of Parsons's ghost was to make its aperture, after being stripped of the foolish people believe that the ex-lodger had gown he had soaked in the blood of inno- poisoned his wife's sister, with whom he cent men, and after being lashed by the lived, and who had died suddenly in obscure hangman's drudge from Aldgate to Tyburn, lodgings of virulent small-pox. The rapper and here he received, let us hope, an ample was Parsons's child, a cunning little minx dose of stale eggs, cabbage-stumps, mud, of twelve. This was the origin of modern and other unconsidered trifles.

spirit-rapping, and ghosts since that, havIn 1727, that vile rascal who so tor- ing no voices of their own, have much mented Pope — Edmund Curll, the pub- affected this mode of spiritual communilisher of everything that was infamous, cation. So sweet, however, is imposture stood in the same place for printing some of the quasi-supernatural kind to some disgraceful work. No eggs, however, flew people, that the mob did not pelt Parsons, around his frightened face, for, with the but actually took round the hat for the reptile's usual subtlety, he had had circu- sufferer, who was imprisoned for a year in lated printed papers, telling the mob that the King's Bench. he stood here for vindicating the memory of The National Gallery, that exquisite specithe late Queen Anne. The rabble allowed men of English architecture, stands on the no one to touch the sham martyr, and at the site of the Royal Mews, where our English end of his time carried him off, in com- monarchs kept their falcons and horses passionate triumph, to refresh him with from the Conquest down to the twentywine at a neighbouring tavern.

sixth year of the reign of Henry the Eighth. In June, 1731, there peered out of the The king's falconers were men of power Charing-cross pillory another scoundrel, and wealth, and of great influence at court. whom Pope has left nailed for ever on the In Richard the Second's time that knight barn-door of infamy among other vermin. so often mentioned by Froissart, Sir Simon Japhet Crook, alias Sir Peter Stranger, a Burley, who was put to death by the brewer, on Tower-hill, had forged the con- Duke of Gloucester, in spite of the king's veyance to an estate, and also fraudulently and the young queen's entreaties, held this obtained a will. He stood one hour before office. In the reign of Henry the Fourth, a not very sympathetic mob, then was Chaucer was Clerk of the Mews, so that seated in an arm-chair, and had his ears we can feel sure that most of the allusions cut off, his nostrils slit with scissors, and to the proud keen birds in the Canterbury was then branded with a hot iron. The Tales were drawn from life. rogue, however, had some pluck, for he After Edward the Sixth the mews became laughed in the pillory, denied his guilt, the royal stables, and here a M. St. Anand bore the rough surgery without flinch- toine, a court riding-master, whose portrait ing. He was removed to the Ship Tavern, Vandyck drew, caracoled and trotted; close by, and then returned to the King's here, too, Cromwell barred up the factious Bench for life. Yet the dog was lucky Colonel Joyce, the rough-and-ready man after all, for forgery was made felony who arrested King Charles, and would not by statute soon after, and only six days succumb quite enough to iron Oliver. In after Japhet's punishment a Stepney vic- 1732, the mews were rebuilt with three taaller was hanged for the same offence. absurd stone cupolas, as mean as they were Six years after this Hogarth laid the scene hideous. Years afterwards, Cross's Meof his Night at Charing-cross, and shows nagerie, removed from Exeter Change in us candles stuck in every window for illu- 1829, turned them into a temporary Noah's mination night, the Salisbury High Flyer Ark, and after that they served as a storecoach upsetting over the brands of a street house for national records that, being then, bonfire, and the narrow roadway blocked up as now, more precious than the crown above with huge swinging signs, and below jewels, were bundled anywhere, any how, by projecting bulkheads.

by crass-headed officials.

In 1824, a generous and patriotic par- the generous water casts its lavish floods, liament voted seventy-six thousand pounds and, glittering in the sunbeams, sprinkles for royal stables at Windsor, and fifty its rainbow bubbles, bright as hope and thousand pounds for a national picture evanescent as military glory, momentary as gallery. Mr. C. Wilkins was the genius the life of man, ephemeral as national chosen to rear the national edifice, and he gratitude. Are we denied the power even to did rear it with a vengeance. It was not copy great works? Can selfish despotism opened till 1838, and an eye-opener it then or brawling republicanism alone produce was. It was cobbled up with the bricks those great works of art that should enof Kent's mews, and some Corinthian noble and beautify one of the master cities columns from Carlton House. A toy-house, of the world ? a washing-basin, and two pepper-castors, suggested the details. It was only as deep as Mr. Wilkins's intellect, and about five

CASTAWAY. hundred feet long. It was Vanbrugh and

BY THE AUTHOR OF "BLACK SHEEP," "WRECKED IS Kent, in fact, mixed together, with all the

PORT," &c. &c. faults of each, and flavoured with Wilkins, and it has been well called “a handsome

BOOK III. front to St. Martin's workhouse."

CHAPTER XIV. CORNERED. William the Fourth is said to have sug- Things were very bad indeed in the City. gested the name of Trafalgar-square and Discount was almost as impossible as credit, the erection of the Nelson column, com- and the number of iron safes that were menced by a grateful country three-and- | pointed at as containing “securities, sir, thirty years after Nelson fell. The site was worth five-and-twenty thousand pounds, much fought over, and eight sculptors and upon which, I give you my word, I cannot architects were for it and four against it. raise five hundred," was incredible. The Mr. Chantrey declared that “it was the City correspondents of the various journals most favourable site that could be found were unanimous in stating that the money. or imagined for any national work of art.” | market had a “ downward tendency." ConWhat enthusiast first said “it was the sols were lower than they had been within finest site in Europe” we do not know, but ten years ; French rentes were nowhere; probably the same enlightened man who and at the Turkish and Egyptian scrip, in thought the torso “a fine thing if it only which a good deal of light and innocent had the features.” The square was pushed gambling had recently taken place, men on fast. Begun in 1827, it was what some shook their heads ominously. The sen. people called completed in 1847. The sation of the week had been the collapse column on which Nelson stands guarding of the Great Discount Company, which a coil of pig-tail and an anchor, as if “ mast- two years before had been formed, on the headed by Immortality," was commenced limited liability principle, out of the oldin 1837, and completed the other day. Mr. fashioned house of Reddie and Wryneanx, Railton spent ten thousand pounds on the a firm whose word was at any time good granite alone; two thousand and forty- for a million. Whether old Mr. Reddie eight pounds eleven shillings and twopence quietly withdrew all his money as soon as were originally subscribed, and thirty-three the new company was in working order, thousand pounds odd spent. The column instead of leaving it in, as he promised; and base measure one hundred and ninety- whether young Mr. Wryneaux not merely three feet, the Trajan column being only drew out his own money, but a great quanone hundred and forty-three feet, but then tity belonging to other people; whether it height is easier to obtain than merit. was through simple mismanagement or

The Chantrey statue of George the Fourth base fraud, no one knew, but the company cost four hundred and fifty pounds, and was came to smash, and hundreds of families ordered by the king himself

, who somewhat were plunged into ruin. mistrusted the national appreciation of his Then the panic began in earnest. When merits. It was originally intended to people unconnected with the City heard crown the eighty-three thousand pounds that the house of Reddie and Wryneaux (the marble) arch at Buckingham Palace. (no one ever spoke of the company) had

At the granite fountains we will fling no failed, they almost began to doubt the stamore mud; but, gracions Heavens! what a bility of the Bank of England. Everybody contrast to those say of the Place de la Con- wanted to withdraw everything from anycorde, where, over the large-limbed nymphs where where it might be deposited. There were “runs” on private banks which had them the hopeless state of the investment stood the test of the various influences on in which they had a common interest. the money-market during a century, and But the other directors, who, whatever which now nobly responded to the call. All doubt they may have felt as to the continuthe telegraph clerks in the country were ance of the prosperity of the company, had sending off messages commencing with the risked their capital not merely for the sake words, “Sell at once," and the stock of the high interest which it produced, but brokers were nearly worried out of their with the firm conviction, that long before lives by the multiplicity of the commissions the first rumblings of the approaching earththus forced upon them.

quake were generally felt, they would have In this state of affairs one would have such warning as would enable them to imagined that the shareholders and others withdraw their ventures in safety, were interested in the success of the Terra del wild with rage and disappointment. How Puegos mine would have felt some little the news had spread, in what mysterious disquietude ; doubtless they did; but any fashion the fiery cross had been sent round, of them taking the trouble to make a no one could tell; but by twelve o'clock journey into the City would have had their several of the men, whose names had been speculations speedily set at rest, for the prominent on the direction of the Terra forty-eight hours' notice which Garcia had del Fuegos mine, were met together in the guaranteed to his principals had expired, board-room of the Friendly Grasp Insurand on arriving at the office the next morn- ance Office, the use of which had been teming the gentlemanly clerks found on the porarily accorded to them by the actuary, closed shutters a document, in Mr. Gill- to whom most of them were personally man's remarkably neat penmanship, in- known. There was Lord Ballabrophy, forming the world that "business was red-headed, red-bearded, and red-faced, temporarily suspended," and referring in- chuckling, stammering, and uttering interquisitive applicants to some accountants' jectional oaths, but yet with a certain air office close by. The gentlemanly clerks of breeding about him which did not fail were not very much surprised at what they to tell, even on his excited colleagues ; learned; they had been to a certain extent there was the Honourable Pounce Dosbehind the scenes, and were always antici- setor, for the first time since his marriage pating some catastrophe.

with Miss Swank grateful that her trustees Not so the public, who came down with had safely invested her money, and left & swoop directly the news got wind, and him only a few thousands to fool away; hung about the doors, and read the written there was Sir Cannock Chase, not attendplacard over and over again, and consulted ing much to what was going on, but with each other in the hopes of hitting busied in reading a report from his upon some method of regaining a portion steward, hinting at the existence of more of the money, out of which, as they one coal on his Staffordshire property; and and all fiercely declared, they had been there, too, were Mr. Bolckoff and Mr. swindled. Some of them were weak enough Parkinson, who, beyond all others, were to go off to the accountants' office indicated savage at the turn which affairs had on the placard, where they found them- taken—the former sat at the long boardselves confronted by two very pert clerks, table, silent and white with rage, appawho told them all they knew of the busi- rently immersed in certain calculations pess was, that the books of the company which he was making on the sheet of had been handed over to them for inspec- blotting-paper before him, while the latter tion, and that a report would be issued as strode up and down the room, speaking soon as the necessary investigation had now to one man then to another, and from been made ; they denied all personal know- time to time using such language as his ledge of the directors or officers of the com- vicar never could have expected would pany, and said, as was the truth, that was have issued from the lips of that meek and the first time in which their firm had ever virtuous churchwarden. been employed in matters relating to the “Well, gentleman,” at last said Sir CanTerra del Fuegos mine. So the public nock Chase, having finished the steward's departed in a crest-fallen condition from report, and deriving some gleam of satisthe accountants' chambers, and went back faction therefrom, “it is no use wasting and loafed about in front of the offices any more time in these discussions; the again, deriving some feeble comfort from question is, can anything be done ? If talking to fresh comers, and explaining to so, let us decide what it is to be; if not, let

to."

ge

us clear out of this, as I imagine we all of or three brokers who were employed by us have plenty of other things to attend him, he must have sold out every scrap he

held in every company with which he was "We must put a bold face on the connected, and realised the lot.” matter,” said Mr. Dossetor, whose stake “But, if auf der Continent, man muss was small, and whose income was good; die Polizei telegraphiren und hef ihm cote we must stand to our guns.”

and sent back," said Mr. Bolckoff, nodding Shtand to our gons !" cried Mr. Bolc- his head vehemently. koff, looking off the blotting-paper, and Ah, to be sure !” said Lord Ballataking his dirty fingers out of his mouth brophy, “one could send after him-he, and waving them in the air. “How can I he-Pollaky, don't you know ? and that shtand to my gon mitout de ten thousand sort of thing.' pounds von vhich I have been robt ?” “Do you imagine,” said Mr. Parkinson,

“ Then your gun was-he, he-a ten quietly, “ that it would be politic in us to thousand pounder, Bolckoff ?” chuckled invite legal interference in our affairs ? I Lord Ballabrophy:

will put it as delicately as possible, but “ Vere is de chairman ? vere is de don't

you

think that in any investigation neral manager ?” cried Mr. Bolckoff, with which might take place, certain revelations more gesticulation.

might be made-as, for instance, to the “If you knew that, Mr. Bolckoff," said allotment and manipulation of sharesMr. Dossetor, “you might have a chance which might be more amusing to the outof getting back a portion of your ten thou- side public than to ourselves ? Mr. Delasand pounds. Mr. Parkinson, you seem bole is one of the cleverest of men, and to have taken the trouble to make inquiries would be the less scrupulous if provoked. in this matter; there is no doubt, I Don't you think we had better leave him suppose,

that Delabole and Vane have alone?" levanted ?"

"Certainly, most decidedly,” said Sir “About Delabole not the slightest in the Cannock Chase, adding in muttered tones, world,” hissed Parkinson from between as he looked across the table at Mr. Bolohis gleaming teeth. “I went round to his koff, "Dam stoopid foreigner !" With rooms in Piccadilly this morning, directly both of which sentiments the company I heard this news. The hall-porter at the assembled seemed generally to agree. chambers told me that Mr. Delabole had But Mr. Bolckoff was not to be put gone away in a cab last night, taking two down by clamour. “But of Fane,” he portmanteaus with him. He took no ser cried, "you have told me nichts of Fane!" vants, but went alone. The cabman was “Mr. 'Vane left London three days ago,' directed to drive to King's Cross, but that said Parkinson. “It was stated at the was, of course, merely a blind ; no doubt last board meeting that he required a few by this time,' snarled Mr. Parkinson, days' absence, and so far everything was dashing his hand upon the mantelpiece regular. It was understood that he was against which he was leaning, “he is safe going into the country on business conacross the Channel, with our plunder in nected with his marriage." his trunk.”

“Ach Gott! dat wiil now be durchgeyou think he has carried off fallen," cried Mr. Bolckoff. “Ven Fane much ?” asked Sir Cannock Chase.

had made die Pendixen seine frau, then "Everything that he could lay his hands could I my lost money have picked out of on,” replied Parkinson.

her fortune." Mr. Bolckoff uttered a groan and buried “ That's a contingency that is now his dirty fingers in his stubbly hair. scarcely likely to occur, Mr. Bolckoff,”

" When I say everything,” said Parkin- said Parkinson. “ When Vane hears the son, not heeding the interruption, “ I mean news of the smash here, he will doubteverything that is at the same time valu- less postpone his marriage until he has able and portable. His rooms—for I made settled his affairs in such a way as to an excuse to go up there to write a letter- render Mrs. Bendixen's fortune secure from are in much their usual state, and on in his creditors. I went to his rooms too, but quiry at his stables, I found that his I found he had not been back. It is probrougham and horses are still there; bable, therefore, that, confidential as were though we shall doubtless discover that the relations between him and the chair. they have been made away with for their man, our friend Mr. Delabole kept him in full value. But, by what I learn from two ignorance of the impending smash.”

- Do

« AnteriorContinua »