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1725 1896 


W , C A R K W H A Z L I T T 


VOL. H. 


G E O R G E R 1C I) W A Y 



The Court of Bankruptcy My father's legal experiences and 
friends Baron Grant Vice-Chancellor Bacon Mr. Com- 
missioner Goulburn Hazlitt Road, West Kensington Lord 
Kenyon Lord Brougham Lord Chancellor Westbury 
Lord Coleridge Mr. Justice Hawkins Serjeant Wilkins 
Street and the Law Courts Baxter and the Tichborne case 
Sir Charles Lewis, M. P. Illiteracy of lawyers My father 
and George Henry Lewes John Payne Collier The Second 
Shakespear Folio. 

WHEN my father first went to the Court of Bank- 
ruptcy in 1854, his knowledge of his work was, 
I fear, very rudimentary. But by application and 
through a receptive mind he gradually became one 
of the most efficient officers in the building. Of 
his successor I hear on all sides a very poor account. 
His Honour seems, so far, to know as little as my 
father did, and to be unable or unwilling to learn. 

The late Chief Registrar, when I spoke to him of 
the editor and proprietor of a society paper now 
departed, mentioning his apparently flourishing state, 
observed that he thought the time had come for 


him to pay his creditors the remaining 193. 6cL in 
the pound. 

My father has ere now consulted the present 
writer on cases before him, and he occasionally 
instanced remarkable courage on the part of solici- 
tors in the direction of charges. I remember that 
he reduced one claim from ^192 to 12, and then 
deemed the amount allowed to the honest practitioner 
too high, He had a good deal of trouble with some 
eminent firms, whose representatives came to the 
Court with an equally imperfect knowledge of their 
business and of the law. Baron Grant, while he 
was still in evidence, called at the Court, and laid 
before the Registrar, in connection with some 
pending arrangement, securities valued by him at 
,200,000. My father had to signify to the Baron 
that commercially they were worth precisely nothing. 

Vice- Chancellor Bacon was of a very placid laisscr 
aller temperament, and seldom allowed himself to 
be perturbed by any untoward incident or turn. He 
more than once said to my father, when the latter 
seemed excited about some case before the Court : 
4 Point de zele, my dear fellow point de z&le.' 

At the time that Mr. Kay, afterward judge, 
practised before Bacon, it used to be said that the 
latter spelled equity with a k because he was ruled 


by the counsel's views, and so long as suitors might 
choose the V.C. before whom they would appear, 
the plan in a doubtful case was to retain Kay, and 
have the matter tried by Bacon. 

1 could never exactly understand why Bacon was 
promoted to the Bench. He certainly disappointed 
the expectations which had been formed of him 
while he wore silk, and no man's judgments were 
more frequently reversed on appeal. To succeed in 
the discharge of judicial functions, as in other things, 
demands unwearied industry, even though one 
possess greater talent than Bacon had; but I do 
not think that Bacon was what the copy-books call 
appliqud he took matters too easily, as the anecdote 
which I have given above may imply. 

My father had a much wider experience of practice 
in bankruptcy, and would have been better qualified 
than either Bacon or Cave for the place of Chief 
Judge. His decisions, when he has sat vicariously 
on the Bench, have been almost invariably upheld ; 


' Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum.' 

I suppose that there never was a man so extrava- 
gantly estimated as Bacon. 

It is not generally known that one of the two 
persons to whom the Turk appeals in the cartoon in 


PuncA,> July 31, 1880, is my father the other, of 
course, is Gladstone. 

I was talking to my father at the Bankruptcy 
Court about some one whom we both thought to be 
not overwise. 'Well,' said Mr. Registrar dryly, 
* he was a fool, and as much of a rogue with it as 
his incapacity would permit' 

The Registrar, on his way home by train from 
the Court to Richmond, observed that one of his 
fellow-passengers had let something in her hand 
drop, and he said to the fellow with her : * I think 
the young woman has let her parcel fall.' The 
party referred to looked daggers, but made no 
remark till she left the carriage just after, and, turn- 
ing to the venerable Registrar, relieved her pent-up 
resentment by the crushing retort, delivered with an 
immense air : ' Thank you, young man/ 

Mr. Commissioner Goulburn, who had been a 
Cornet in the army, in answer to some one who had 
asked him if he was not once a Welsh judge, said : 
4 Yes ; I was one with an understanding' meaning, 
on certain conditions. * Oh,' returned his friend, 
4 1 never heard before of a Welsh judge who pos- 
sessed such a thing/ 

Goulburn told my father, when the law permitting 
personal petitions in bankruptcy was passed, that 


he knew a Cornet Goulburn who would have been 
very glad of such a facility. 

Though I think that I have seen the same joke 
related of some one else, I perfectly remember, when 
Goulburn once fell on his head out of his carriage 
on the pavement, an inquiry was made as to the 
damage done to the latter. 

It was Mr. Commissioner Fonblanque, of the 
Bankruptcy Court, who, when a suitable motto for 
the Serjeants' rings was mooted, suggested Scilicet. 

When Hazlitt Road, West Kensington, was so 
christened, some one asked the builder why he gave 
it that name, and whether it was after the author 
of Table-Talk (Maclise Road being immediately 
adjacent). ' Oh no !' he replied ; ' after dear old 
Mr. Registrar Hazlitt!' That gentleman, perhaps, 
in his official capacity had let him off more easily 
than he expected or deserved. 

Lord Kenyon spoke of Julian the Apostate as 
Julian the Apostle. But perhaps one appellation is 
as sensible and fit as the other. The Emperor 
provoked the enmity of the clergy or priesthood by 
his advanced opinions, and since the Church for- 
merly influenced so much the making of history, 
all who incurred its displeasure have naturally come 
down to us with tarnished characters. 


Of the old school of lawyers Brougham was 
perhaps the last, if he was not the greatest. He 
was a man of varied attainments, and spared no 
labour to render himself conversant with every 
subject which happened to be coming before him 
as a judge or as a legislator, and which he had not 
studied, no matter how mean or trivial it might 
appear. He did not account it sufficient for a 
lawyer to be read only in the statute-book, the rules 
of the turf, the daily paper, and Joe Miller, or 
deem that the demands of culture were satisfied by 
the possession of a library. He was my father's 
steadfast friend, and the intimate associate from 
college days of my great-uncle Stoddart. 

Brougham's physical constitution was as perfect 
a marvel as his intellectual activity and versatility. 
His power of endurance must have been enormous, 
and he was far from abstemious in any sense. The 
fatigue and strain which, in his earlier professional 
career he constantly bore, would have killed nine 
men out of ten. Port and brandy, of which he so 
freely partook, instead of impairing his energy, 
served as invigorating and recuperative stimu- 

The great Chancellor was apparently led by the 
coincidence of the name to make his country seat 


(Brougham Hall) near the ancient castle in West- 
moreland where Queen Elizabeth stayed and was 
entertained in one of her numerous progresses. 

Lord Chancellor Westbury once took part in a 
discussion on eternal punishment, of which he 
repudiated the existence, and, lawyer-like, he wound 
up his argument by saying : 'Hell is dismissed with 
costs P 

Westbury was remarkable for preserving the old 
pronunciation of certain words, such as whole, hot, 
which he pronounced wote, wot. When Mr. 
Registrar Hazlitt was at work with him on the 
Bankruptcy Bill, 1869, he once said to him : * I am 
sick, Hazlitt, of the wole business.' 

His lordship, like many other great men, had his 
foibles, and one of them was in the shape of an 
Italian Countess, whom he scandalized some of his 
guests at Hackwood Hall by placing at the head of 
his table. Yet he was not wanting in polite atten- 
tions to his wife, whose parcels, and even bonnet- 
boxes, he would often be seen carrying home. 
Many a time he borrowed sixpence of some one at 
hand to pay for his omnibus. 

A bookseller assured me that he had been com- 
missioned to make the catalogue of the late Lord 
Coleridge's private library, but that, owing to certain 


circumstances, the business was a rather delicate 
one. I believe that this was a thorough fiction, for 
Coleridge's books were sold in the ordinary way by 
Sotheby and Co., and the person who was employed 
by the auctioneers to go to the house to look at the 
collection informed me that he discovered no trace 
of anything of the sort beyond the presence of such 
generally recognised works as the Arabian Nights 
or Payne's version of Boccaccio. 

As Lamb's friend and correspondent, Alsop, very 
truly pointed out, the man to whom his family owed 
any distinction which they acquired was neglected 
by them, and the anticlimax was reached in a noble 
and learned lord, who inherited the name and 
nothing "else. 

Mr. Justice Hawkins, whose partiality for the 
turf is very well known, had once a horse case 
before him. There had been some betting on a 
horse for the Derby, and at the last moment the 
animal was scratched. His lordship interrupted the 
speech of the learned counsel in order to inquire 
what he meant by scratched. l My lord,' said the 
counsel, looking very significantly at Hawkins, 1 1 
am not exactly in a position to tell your lordship off- 
hand, but I will consult' eyeing the Bench all the 
time 'a very high judicial authority, and shall be 


prepared to give your lordship the information to- 
morrow morning.' 

Serjeant Wilkins, who died in poverty, com- 
menced his professional career at Liverpool, but 
afterward removed his practice to Durham. His 
first case there was the defence of a young woman 
committed for the murder of her illegitimate child, 
and it brought him at once into notoriety. When 
the case for the Crown had closed, leaving no doubt 
of the prisoner's guilt, Wilkins rose, looked at the 
judge, then at the prisoner, then at the jury. Then 
he seemed to be collecting himself; but a second 
and third time he did the same thing. The Court 
was in a state of astonishment ; but after the third 
repetition Wilkins left his place, went up to the 
dock, tore off a piece from the wretched tatters in 
which the girl was dressed, and, holding it up, cried : 
4 This was the cause of all ! Now, gentlemen, I 
consent to a verdict of Guilty.' The prisoner was 
convicted, but her sentence was commuted at a 
time when commutations were less usual. At the 
next sessions thirty briefs awaited Wilkins. 

Street, who took the superintendence and drew 
the plans of the new Courts of Justice in London, 
had travelled a good deal abroad, including . Italy ^ 
and had seen many public buildings everywhere, 


erected at intervals piecemeal from pecuniary or 
other exigencies in various tastes or schools of 
architecture. He had the opportunity, with the 
fine area cleared for the purpose, of placing on the 
site a grand homogeneous structure there was no 
pretence for irregularity of design and what did 
he do? He did just as a Chinese tailor would do, 
if you gave him a pair of breeches with a patch in 
them as a pattern. It was certainly a deplorable 
muddle, yet characteristic enough, no doubt, of all 
similar arrangements in this country. There was 
no adequate provision for light, air, or hearing, and 
solid mahogany doors had to be unhinged, that the 
panels might be cut out and glass squares sub- 
stituted, when it was found by this person of genius 
that staircases or corridors were in almost complete 
darkness at mid-day. 

Baxter, of the great firm of solicitors, Baxter, 
Rose and Norton, in Great Queen Street, West- 
minster, afterward in Victoria Street, was an Evan- 
gelical preacher, and used to go down to Alder- 
shot to deliver discourses to the soldiers. This pro- 
cured him the name of Holy Baxter. The business 
of his firm was at one time extraordinarily great ; 
they had 130 clerks in 32 rooms. It might be said 
of them, as Horace does of Rome : 

' Suis et ipsa Roma viribus ruit.' 


Baxter himself was not considered a first-rate 
man of business ; but he was an excellent lawyer, 
and much consulted in railway cases. He carried 
about an inch of pencil, and often amended a clause 
in a Bill by adding a few words, as when he out- 
witted Sir James Allport, of the Midland, in the 
4 running ' question with the Wolverhampton and 
Walsall, by inserting the words 'and account,' which 
precluded the Midland from evading the liability to 
pay under certain contingencies. 

The misfortune of Baxter was his support of the 
Tichborne Claimant ; it led to a reconstruction of 
the firm, and he died a poor man. I have been 
told that there was little doubt as to the relationship 
of Orton to the family, and that the Colonel of the 
regiment to which Tichborne had belonged re- 
cognised the Claimant as the same man who had 
served under him, when he happened to see him 
coming out of Court, and mentioned the matter to 
Baxter casually, without knowing that the latter was 
concerned in the defence. 

A late well-known jeweller in Richmond, Surrey, 
was saying that, while he was engaged in breaking 
up sovereigns for his professional purposes, Mr. 
Arnold, the police magistrate, came into the shop, 
and asked him what he was doing. He answered 


that he hoped he was doing no harm, but did not 
like being challenged by such an authority. There 
seems, however, no objection to utilizing the currency 
for jewellery, so long as it is not defaced and passed 
into other hands. You may destroy it, but you 
must not tamper with it. 

In a case at a London police court, where two 
Jews were parties, the magistrate asked one of them 
whether he called himself Montagu. He replied in 
the affirmative. He asked him again if it had 
always been his name, and he said that he believed 
so. ' Had it ever been Moses ?' * Well, yes ; but 
Moses and Montagu were the same,' * Oh, then/ 
said the magistrate, * I suppose that the Moses in 
the Bible was also known as Montagu.' The race 
being so ancient, and its prospective advantages so 
exceptional, it seems strange that so many Jews 
should be anxious to disguise their nationality and 
nomenclature. The late Mr. Hyman Montagu, the 
numismatist, married a Miss Moses, who became 
Mrs. Montagu ; but she ought by right to have kept 
her maiden, name. Montagu did not desire to pass 
as a Jew, but it was relevantly to him that some one 
expressed to me his regret that the extinction of the 
Hebrews had not been accomplished by King John. 

My father told me the following anecdote about 


Sir Charles Lewis, M.P. Lewis had had his full- 
length portrait presented to him by his constituents 
just before some one called to see him. * I have 
something to shew you,' said Lewis, and took the 
other into the room where the likeness had been 
placed. * What do you think of it ?' he asked. 
* Very good indeed,' replied the friend, 'except that 
the artist has painted you with your hands in your 
own pockets/ 

A curious circumstance happened to an intimate 
friend. Several thousand pounds, which he had 
been entitled to expect, were left elsewhere, owing 
to offence taken by the lady-relative who had the 
money at her disposition. He came behind her 
chair at dinner one day as a boy, and pulled her cap 
or her wig. At the death of the party to whom she 
bequeathed it, he willed it away with other property, 
but this money could only pass by deed ; my friend 
brought his action, and recovered it. I observed 
to him that in this instance the will was not as good 
as the deed. 

A man, who had bought land at Brockley in 
Kent, when it was cheap, and boundaries were 
occasionally obscure, used to classify his property 
jocularly among his intimates as freehold, leasehold, 
and catchkold. 


The general illiteracy of the legal profession is 
tolerably well known to such as have mixed in that 
kind of society, or even have taken the trouble to 
study the Law Reports in the daily press. The 
explanation is that lawyers are specialists, and have 
no leisure to devote to topics outside their vocation. 
Of the two, barristers are perhaps more open to this 
charge than solicitors ; yet there is little enough to 
choose between them. An eminent Q.C, speaking 
on this subject to my father, observed that he was 
not at all so well versed as he could have desired 
in points of general culture, but that most men at 
the Bar were utterly ignorant of languages, even of 
Latin and French, and of literary history. Another 
learned counsel mentioned to myself his intention of 
writing a monogram on a subject in which he 
happened to feel an interest. 

It is a painful business if you have to go into 
Court on any matter pertaining to literary copyright. 
It is vast odds if the judge, the counsel, and the 
solicitors are not absolute blanks, unless they have 
very greatly improved since I committed my father 
to an action in respect to his edition of Montaigne. 
I was never more frightened in my whole life, for it 
was not more than a sum of 10 that was at issue. 
I worked hard, however, to protect my father's 


pocket, and the result was that the defendant had 
to pay about ^"300 in costs on both sides. If the 
suit had concerned the Turf, the Stock Exchange, 
or the Prize Ring, there would have been less 

But the Lord Chief Baron Pollock was an honour- 
able exception to the prevailing rule. He was a 
person of cultivated taste, and liked to gather round 
him men of letters and artists. Thackeray used to 
visit at the house. The Chief Baron expressed 
in a letter of 1868 to his friend Dr. Diamond, of 
Twickenham, a warm admiration of my grandfather, 
and he stated there that he always kept Hazlitt's 
volumes near him. 

The late Lord Chief Justice Coleridge and Mr. 
Justice Day belong to the roll of book-collectors. 

The last time that my father saw George Henry 
Lewes, husband of George Eliot (Miss Mary 
Evans), he was standing, like Collier, at Charing 
Cross, and presented a singular appearance, being 
dressed from top to toe in white, and the only thing 
about him that was not white was his red hair and 

There is always in printing even unpublished 
matter of comparatively modern date a feeling of 
uncertainty and indecision as to the wisdom of the 

VOL. n. 21 


proceeding. A letter which has the sanction of 
age does not require such high testimonials as one 
of perhaps superior interest, of which the subject- 
matter bears on persons either still among us or 
recently added to the appurtenances of the past. I 
hold a large number of notes, many curious in their 
way, from Leigh Hunt, Douglas Jerrold, William 
Jerdan, Bulwer, the Procters, Dickens, Harrison 
Ainsworth, Laman Blanchard, and others, on which 
the crust, I take it, will have to accumulate some- 
what before they become publisher's game. 

There are here and there a few which may 
possess a special interest, or which, though of recent 
origin, treat of questions which have acquired a 
tincture of historical character, and I may not be 
blamed for citing them in evidence, if I do not 
transcribe them at length. 

But there is in my collection, independently of all 
these, a large assortment of communications on 
literary topics from several of my own more par- 
ticular correspondents Payne Collier, Halliwell- 
Phillipps, and so on which must certainly await 
the time when they may have gained a sort of 
classic nosegay, and be read by some forthcoming 
generation in a longer perspective. 

Some of these epistolary remains owe their 


interest to bygone days, and incidentally illustrate 
points of biography and literature already beginning, 
like wine of the fifth year, to acquire a tone and 
a bouquet. I could fill volumes with such things ; 
but let me select from a bundle of about sixty two 
or three letters from John Payne Collier, whose 
father was acquainted with the Lamb circle, and 
who was for some time a colleague of Hazlitt on 
the Morning Chronicle. The first and second are 
addressed to my father ; the former was written 
in consequence of the scandal arising from the 
alleged Shakespear fabrications. 

Collier often joined Hazlitt in his box at the 
theatre, and would ask his opinion about the piece 
in course of performance what he thought of this 
or of that and 'then the next morning/ said 
my grandfather, ' what I had told him appeared 
in the newspaper as his/ Peter Patmore did much 
the same thing. 



March 22, 1860. 

I am especially gratified by your note, because it so 
happens that you seem almost the only one of my old co-mates 
who remember me with any feeling of regard. I do not say that 
you are the only one, because there is one other who has expressed 
somewhat similar sentiments regarding me. You know that while 


you and I were fellow labourers in the same not very profitable, 
nor very agreeable field, if I did not do my best to make every 
man rny friend, I did nothing to render any man my enemy. Yet 
I hear that the great body of those who were similarly employed 
are now, for some reason or other, opposed to me, and take 
pleasure in forwarding the views of my adversaries by such means 
as happen to be in their power. 

This is rather hard upon a man who all his life exerted him- 
self, as far as he could, to advance and elevate the position of 
journalists. God knows that I never was, and certainly am not 
now, in a position to excite the envy of my contemporaries. 

Therefore I thank you the more heartily for coming forward in 
the unsolicited way you have done. 

The discovery of that corrected folio, 1632, is to be made the 
bane of the latter part of my life, if my enemies can accomplish it. 

I know that you have got on, and are getting on well, and I am 
most rejoiced at it. I trust, too, that all about you are prosperous 

and happy. 

I am, as I have always been, 

Yours most sincerely, 

William Hazlitt, Esq. 

What the true history of the Shakespear emen- 
dations in the folio of 1632 was and is, and whence 
they were derived, I am far from pretending to 
know. But Collier, like the majority of our com- 
mentators on old English literature, was essentially 
a dull man ; and it is incontestable that, while 
nearly all the proposed improvements were too- 
clever for him to have originated, some of them 
were such as only an ear-witness could have handed 


down. My father was always of opinion that, who- 
ever inserted the manuscript matter in the Devon- 
shire second folio, it was not Collier, and I quoted 
to him in support of such a view that splendid 
correction of the passage where Mrs. Quickly 
narrates the end of Falstaff. 

I am bound to confess that whenever I applied 
to Collier for information on literary facts within 
his presumed knowledge, I always found him anxious 
to parry inquiry. He usually sent evasive answers 
to my not unreasonable call for fuller particulars 
about a book or a statement, for which he was 
perhaps the sole authority. 

In the second (1865), also to my father, the 
writer, after entering into some matters of unim- 
portant detail, goes on to refer to his literary amuse- 
ments, his personal affairs, and his mode of life. 

This trifling diverts my old age (I am nearly 77), and keeps me 
from being devoured by ennui and selfishness. Men who have no 
employment at my time of life think a great deal too much about 

You are prosperous, and your family, I am rejoiced to hear, 
sufficiently so. They say that it is bad for a family to be too well 
provided for. I should like to try the experiment, as I told the 
late Duke of Devonshire, when he asserted that I was richer and 
happier than he. 

Both my sons and one of my daughters are married, and the 
two first have large families. 

What a time it is since we met or rather parted at Charing 


Cross, when you told me that you hoped to obtain some office. 
You have a good one, and deserve it. I have none, and deserve 
none. I might have been a Police Magistrate or a Colonial 
Judge, but I refused the first, and my late wife would not let me 
take the last. She would rather have lived upon ^300 a year 
here, than upon ,3,000 a year in Ceylon or the West Indies. 
Now 3 or 400 a year is the extent of my income ; but I live by 
the riverside in a charming part of the country, and rny daughter 
keeps my house never sparingly, but always economically. 

I declare that I am writing almost as badly as you or your son 
Carew. The fact is that my old hand is rheumatic. 

Good-bye. Health and happiness to you and yours ! 

The concluding specimen to myself was a reply 
to an application for assistance in the preparation 
of the Memoirs, and is dated June 2, 1867. The 
interesting portion, after all, is that which immediately 
concerns Hazlitt : 

'The only remembrance I have of your Grandfather is the 
note-book I mentioned to you, and which he gave me. You will 
not be surprised, therefore, at my unwillingness to part with it. 
If I had any other relic, it should be yours. He was not in the 
habit of writing to me, and we, of course, often met at the 
M\prning\ C\]ironicle\ Office and at the Fives Court, where I was 
fond of seeing him play. He was famous for what was called 

The manuscript volume here mentioned has been 
already described by me in the Memoirs as the one 
which was among Collier's books, and as containing 
the transcript of Coleridge's ChristabcL 


The Club founded by Jerrold and his friends Its distinguished 
members and guests Thackeray The melodists and other 
entertainers Charles Dickens the younger, my father, Holl, 
and Dillon Croker Hazlitt's Wiltshire songs 'The Wilt- 
shire Convict's Farewell* A general favourite Anecdotes 
of Jerrold Sir B. W. Richardson Dr. Diamond Farther 
glimpses of John Hazlitt the painter Sundays at Twicken- 
ham House Account of the house, its contents and its 
visitors Sir Frederick Pollock Hepworth Dixon Dr. 
Doran The Fasti of Our Club c Shakespear at Our 
Club,' 1860 Evans's. 

BETWEEN forty and fifty years ago Douglas Jerrold 
and a few friends established a social club called 
the Hooks and Eyes. I believe that the number 
was very limited at first, but it was at all events 
made up to forty, when the name was changed to 
the Forty Thieves. The final nomenclature, Our 
Club, was adopted in or prior to 1860. My father 
was an original member, either a Hook or an Eye. 
He became in due course one of the Forty, and he 
continued with the set when it was rebaptized for 
the third time. One by one all have passed away. 


During a long series of seasons a good evening 
might be fairly counted upon. Jerrold himself, his 
son Blanchard Jerrold, Shirley Brooks, the younger 
Dickens, Dillon Croker, Henry Holl, Dr. Diamond, 
Dr. Richardson, F. W. Cosens, Sir George Jessel, 
Charles Knight, Hep worth Dixon, Professor Masson, 
Joseph Durham and Richard Woolner the sculptors, 
Robert Keeley, Dr. Doran, my father, and others 
all these I have seen round the dinner - table 
together or in succession, and besides the roll of 
members there were the guests, as each fellow 
had the privilege of introducing one or more 

I remember that Horace Mayhew once brought 
Thackeray. They came after dinner, and I recollect 
Thackeray's commanding figure as he entered the 
door. It was the only time I ever saw him. He 
paused on the threshold in a hesitating manner, 
as if uncertain of his reception, and his introducer 
had almost to push him forward. 

The younger Dickens, my father, Holl, and 
Croker were the mainstay of the institution in one 
respect, for each of them, if present, was expected 
to favour the company with a song or recitation. 
Dickens generally sang 'Tom Bowling.' Holl and 
Croker furnished recollections of the old and living 


actors. Hazlitt contributed one of his West-Country 
songs. There was a fair gathering, as a rule, of 
men of mark and likelihood, and some good talk 

Chappell, in his Popular Music of the Olden Time, 
has printed one of Hazlitt's Wiltshire ditties, which 
I have so often heard my father give with all the 
gusto and raciness of the local twang, to the infinite 
enjoyment of the audience, and here is the remain- 
ing production from a copy in Mr. Registrar's 
autograph : 


Come, all you young fellaws, wherever that you be ; 
Come, all you young m'idens, j'in choruus with me \ 
Tis of ten stout young fellaws as was tried the other d'y ; 
And they are bound doon for Woolwich to set s'il for Botany B'y. 
With a right fol de riddle, fol de ray. 

Then we went from the D'vizes bound doon in iron so strong ; 
From DVizes unto Fisherton they march'd us all along ; 
As I was passing by I heard the people s'y : 
* What a pity such foine fellaws should be gaain' to Botany B'y !' 
With a right foli etc. 

Then in comes the j'iler about six o'clock ; 
Then in comes the j'iler our doors to unlock, 
Saying : ' Come, my lads, make ready, for ye must haste aw'y, 
For you're boun' doon for Woolwich to set s'il for Botany B'y.' 
With a right fol* etc. 


Then in comes pretty Sally, with ten guineas in her han', 
Saying: 'Take this, my laddies, I've brought ye all I can.' 
So fill us up a glass, I will drink my love's adieu ; 
'Tis ten thousan' to one I ever more sees you. 
With a right fol, etc. 

And when we gets to Botany B'y some letters we will write, 
Unto our loving sweethearts and pretty girls in white ; 
So kind heaven now protect us for ever and a d'y, 
And God send every Wiltshire lad safe home fro' Botany B'y !' 
With a right fol, etc. 

This effusion was a wonderful favourite, and was 
invariably encored, a circumstance which made the 
singer a less frequent visitor of late years, as a call 
for Hazlitt was as much a part of the evening as the 
dinner itself. The Lord Chief Baron Pollock, whom 
I have already introduced, was greatly delighted 
with the performance when he heard it. 

My father not only possessed a voice, which with 
proper training might have proved a fine one, but 
was a highly proficient whistler, and would accom- 
pany himself or another to the piano. He carried 
what is generally a nuisance to a pleasing accom- 
plishment, as those who have heard him might 
testify. During the besc years of his life, and 
chiefly in Brompton and Chelsea days, he was 
much in request at musical soirees. He once 
laboured under a not uncommon form of delicate 


embarrassment, in going in morning dress, and 
told me that he kept himself intrenched behind 
the piano to conceal the incorrectness of his nether 

It was an inexorable ordinance of the club that 
invited guests should, in response to the toast of 
their health, which was equally peremptory, deliver 
an oration. But if there was more than a single 
stranger, one spoke for the rest, whereas at the 
Noviomagian gatherings each individual had to rise 
in turn a refinement of cruelty. 

Professor Bain, of Aberdeen, told me, when I 
once met him out at dinner, two or three anecdotes 
of Jerrold which I had not heard before. 

Jerrold was dining at some place where a salad 
was put on the table. Some one observed that it was 
unusually gritty. Jerrold calls the waiter, and says : 

* What's this? 1 ' Salad, sir/ ' No,' says Jerrold, 

* it's a gravel walk with a good many weeds in it' 

He was at a lecture on the races of men, and 
specimens of the various types were exhibited. 
When the Caucasian type was shown, 'Ah/ he 
says, ' that's the type I would go to press with/ 

This reminded me of the story of the girl in an 
omnibus on a very cold day, who observed to a 
fellow-passenger that it was fine embracing weather. 


In reference to a literary man, who was supposed 
to be dead, but who, though of great age, proved to 
be still extant, Jerrold said : ' He may be ever green, 
but he is never red" 

Holl and Croker, of whom the latter was never, I 
believe, a member, were excellent mimics. I used 
to prefer Holl. His impersonations of some of the 
characters of O' Smith, Keeley, Macready, Fechter, 
Charles Kean, Buckstone, and Webster were capital. 
He was always ready, when he was in fair cue, to 
favour us with a specimen at his own house in 
camcrd. My old friend, Henry James Byron, was 
also a very clever hand at hitting off Buckstone and 
other artists of his own day ; but some of those 
whom Holl had known were before his time. 

One of the standard pleasantries at Our Club was 
at the expense of Dr. (now Sir B. W.) Richardson, 
an extremely pleasant and popular member, but a 
prominent advocate of teetotalism. A noble lord 
having bequeathed his fine cellar of wines to 
Richardson, the latter found himself in possession 
of a white elephant of very unusual dimensions. 
Of course, the doctor could not dream of drinking 
the wine himself, still less of offering it to his friends. 
Nor could he sell it, nor could he present it to a 
public institution. What would he do? One 


suggestion was that he should run it down the 
sewer, where it would destroy the rats ; but this 
was deliberate cruelty to animals, and the doctor 
was a kind-hearted man. The liquor was ultimately 
wasted, I believe. 

Dr. Diamond, of Our Club, and Dr. Powell, were 
the two earliest amateur photographers in England. 
The latter dined with my father at Brompton when 
he was last in England on a visit from the Mauritius. 
He had become acquainted there with the only son 
of John Hazlitt the miniature-painter, who, after 
settling at Demerara, removed to Mauritius, and 
died there. He possessed a few miniatures executed 
by his father, but I never heard what became of 
them. He had at one time accumulated a tolerable 
fortune, and lived to lose it, to make a second, and 
lose a great part of that, too, in a commercial paper. 
We corresponded together during many years, and 
his letters to me contain many interesting particulars 
relating to the island. He once forwarded to me 
some representations as to political parties there, 
with the desire that I should get them printed. I 
submitted them (unread, I confess) to an editor, 
who returned them with the observation that their 
appearance in his columns would have probably 
involved the paper In several lawsuits. 


The Sundays at Twickenham House, while 
Diamond resided there, and so long as the establish- 
ment and its excellent host were in their palmier 
state, were remarkably enjoyable and instructive. 
The circle which collected round the Doctor during 
several years included a long catalogue of names 
illustrious in letters and art. Some of the same set 
which assembled at Our Club and at the Novio- 
magians formed also the habitual visitors at Twicken- 
ham, where there was a free entree and a hearty 
welcome for every recognised comer. Three o'clock 
was the dinner- hour. 

The house was filled with valuable curiosities of 
every description ; but the speciality of Diamond was 
old china, about which his knowledge and fund of 
anecdote were inexhaustible. The room in which 
we all dined resembled a crockery shop : every 
available nook and corner was filled ; the cases were 
two or three deep, and the drawers of the cabinets, 
if opened, disclosed treasures which the owner him- 
self had almost forgotten, but of which he soon 
recalled every particular the place and date of 
purchase, the name and personal history of the 
former owner, and the circumstances under which 
he had secured this teapot or that jar. 

It was not an unfrequent observation on his part 


that his friend Lord Willoughby d'Eresby, who was 
a connoisseur of old china, considered no thorough 
judge ought to require to see the potter's mark, but 
should be able to pronounce what the piece was 
from the texture and the paste. 

The Doctor had also a few cdins, a few prints, and 
a few books, and latterly he was bitten by the rat- 
tailed spoon and Queen Anne plate crazes. I 
remember him when he was extraordinarily tenacious 
of his acquisitions, and would not have listened to 
any proposal to part with his specimens. One day 
he shewed me a very fine old Vincennes saucer, to 
which I had the cup ; but his piece was badly 
broken, and I should not have valued it, yet 
he anticipated me by saying that he never let 
anything leave his hands. 

Toward the end, however, his feeling in ' this 
respect underwent a great change, and many of the 
beautiful old bits of plate and other rarities mysteri- 
ously disappeared ; and the house with its circular 
drawing-room, once the residence of Sir John 
Hawkins, and the grounds, and our kind-hearted 
entertainer, and nearly all who once met under that 
hospitable roof, have disappeared, too. There was 
an atmosphere enveloping the whole spot, and 
seeming to raise it out of the dead level of common- 


place every-day life ; and of good fare there was no 
stint, nor of good talk. 

May I be pardoned for perpetuating so trivial a 
trait as the way the good Doctor had, on a Sunday 
in spring or in summer, in the garden, of finding a 
worm, placing it on the open palm of one hand, and 
whistling, when a robin appeared, and, after circum- 
spectly reconnoitring for a few moments, alighted on 
Diamond's hand, seized its prey, and flew off to a 
more convenient place for its meal. Our host used 
to relate that it was his practice to patronize the 
Maid of Honour shop at Richmond for his cheese- 
cakes ; but he had them made at home after detecting 
a hair of a maid in one of those acquired by 
purchase. A very similar confection was formerly, 
and may be yet, made at an old-fashioned dep6t at 
Wokingham in Berkshire. The Doctor had an 
eccentric lady patient, who once engaged with him 
in a theological discussion on the teaching of 
St rt Paul the Apostle. He entered a little into the 
views and doctrines of the latter on a certain point ; 
but his listener interrupted him by observing : * Ah, 
yes, I am aware of it ; but that's just where Paul and 
I differ/ 

Diamond unquestionably carried away with him 
much curious and unique information about those 


matters which interested him, and it was hard to 
say what had not done so at some period or other 
of his active and observant life. On china, books, 
engravings, birds' eggs, stuffed birds, medals, and 
coins, he could discourse largely and learnedly, and 
in conversation on any of these topics, he was 
peculiarly supplemental. He generally knew all 
that you did and a little more. If you mentioned 
a man who was tolerably in years in your youth, 
and narrated some trait of him, the Doctor would be 
very apt to chime in with, 4 Ah, sir, I knew his 
father/ and so forth ; and he did so without improper 
assumption or any desire to give umbrage. 

Diamond wrote little ; I think that he occasionally 
contributed to Notes and Queries an excellent mis- 
cellany at one time, notwithstanding that Thomas 
Wright assured me he never saw anyone read it 
except an old woman once in an omnibus. The 
Doctor's friends often pressed him to prepare a 
"descriptive catalogue of his ghina, with all the 
valuable and attractive minutite, of which he was 
the sole repository. But he never did. 

My late brother was his executor ; and I conclude 
that it was only in a Pickwickian sense that he once 
said of him, that he was the most trustworthy man 
he knew, for if he engaged to do anything, you 

VOL. II. 22 


might depend upon it that he would not. My 
brother had no literary taste, but was a reader, and 
possessed some sense of humour. He repeated to 
me what an omnibus-driver had once said to him, as 
he sat by him on the box : ' Ave 'eared say, sir, as 
there's countries where elephants burrows in the 

Mr. Hepworth Dixon, at one time editor of the 
Athenaeum^ was, I have understood, the son of a 
Lancashire mill-hand. He was a clever but super- 
ficial person, and had no breeding. Jerrold used 
to call him ' Ha'porth Dixon.' I had a conversa- 
tion with Dixon at the Athen&um office about the 
relative merits of two of our old poets, Herbert 
and Crashaw, and he said to me, paring his nails, 
when I had expressed my preference for Crashaw : 
' Well, that's a matter of opinion/ I do not imagine 
he knew anything about either ; and when Henry 
Holl was once speaking at Our Club about our old 
writers, Dixon broke in with some critical remarks, 
and concluded with, * Just the sort of thing, you 
know, that Jack Webster would have said/ without 
the faintest idea of Webster or his style of writing. 
He never did much after leaving the At/ienamm. 
Dilke took him rather unexpectedly at his word 
when they differed on some principle, and he told 


* Charlie ' that he was ready to go if he could get 
another man to suit him better, which 'Charlie' 

As an editor, Dixon was, on the whole, com- 
paratively fair and moderate in the tone which he 
maintained, and which he prescribed to his staff of 
reviewers. He enjoined them, I understand, not 
only to be just, but to be generous, where a book 
possessed a reasonable share of merit and evidences 
of genuine work. 

It was a trait perfectly in keeping with Dixon's 
utter want of sensibility and training, that one 
Sunday, at Diamond's, he took up his son, and 
threw him into the centre of a splendid box hedge 
on which the doctor especially prided himself a 
hedge, so far as I recollect, some four feet across. 
It stood alas! it stands no longer close by a 
fence formed of old Culloden sword-blades. 

Dixon utilized his vacations by visiting some 
locality likely to yield marketable stuff for a book 
against the next winter season. One year he went 
to Cyprus, and after a six weeks' stay appeared 
in due course as the historian of that island and 
ancient seat of arts and government. These literary 
manufactures can only be viewed in the same light 
as the artist's ' pot-boiler,' but in this particular case 


the question is whether the writer was capable of 
anything better and more durable. 

The author of Spiritual Wives was gifted with 
the art of quick study. He came, saw, and con- 
quered. The history of an ancient empire or the 
picture of a latter-day heresy, it mattered little. He 
had the knack of disguising his lack of knowledge and 
information under a specious and flippant style em- 
phatically Dixonian, and his object was achieved. H is 
work meant money, even if at present it means naught. 

It was amusing to listen to him as he delivered 
a speech on some subject, such as Shakespear, 
with which his conversance was of the most de- 
plorably limited and inaccurate nature ; and it was 
this facility for uttering a string of commonplaces 
in the absence of a competent knowledge of the 
topic under treatment which first led me to speculate 
on the title of Parliamentary and other orators to 
rank ipso facto as possessors of first-class gifts, or, 
in other words, whether fluency of speech is not, 
except in a few cases, the actual outcome of a 
deficiency of critical acquaintance with a subject. 

The younger Dickens sang well, and Lawrence 
had his song, too, with the peculiarity of ignoring 
a certain letter of the alphabet. The last visit I 
paid with my father to the Club, there were only 


nine present Cordy jeaffreson, he and I, and six 
others (all knights). 

Dr. Doran came to dine at my father's at Brompton 
about 1857. I was a very young man then, and 
heard Doran, in speaking of books, declare to my 
father that he never gave more than fourpence 
for any. I had at that time a very imperfect 
acquaintance with bibliography, but I remember 
that I formed a very unfavourable estimate of 
Doran's library. I do not think that it was ever 
publicly sold. 

The last letter which Doran ever wrote was 
addressed to my father, and is inserted by Mr. 
Cordy Jeaffreson in the biographical notice which 
he wrote at the time of our common friend's death. 
Doran had been private physician at one period 
of his life to the Earl of Harewood. I once met 
him and Dixon at a private dinner given by 
F. W. Cosens, and I was infinitely disgusted by the 
coarseness of both in their conversation. I do not 
think that our kind host was either pleased or 
flattered by the gross vulgarity of the two distin- 
guished litterateurs. 

The Club passed some of its happiest and most 
prosperous times under the Piazza in Covent Garden, 
while it occupied a room at Clun's Hotel, next door 


to Evans's. It has since migrated from place to 
place, and at each removal has, I fear, left some 
of its old prestige behind. It bids fair to shrink 
into a caput mortuum. My father, ' the last of the 
Romans/ at length gave up attending ; and, as 
Lamb said of himself in reference to the London 
Magazine in its declining days, Cordy Jeaffreson 
and Macmillan (not the publisher) linger among 
the rafters of the sinking ship like the last rats. 

Our Club long kept up its Shakespear night, 
when it became from season to season increasingly 
difficult to moot any fresh point, and to lend an 
original air to the gathering, of which the guests 
form a majority. There is also the annual meeting. 
Some years ago it was held at Richmond. My 
father invited me to join him, and Woolner was 
there. The^chief thing which I recollect is that, as 
we were coming away to the train, Woolner's laugh 
could be heard from one end of the hill to the other. 

What may- be called the Fasti of the club were 
composed by Holl and Brooks at different times. 
The production of the former bears no note of date, 
and describes a representative evening in the* 
earlier and brighter epoch, but after the loss of 
Jerrold. It is entitled, The Retaliation Imitated. 

Shirley Brooks prepared his effusion, the only 


other relic of the kind, for a special occasion the 
Shakespear anniversary. It proceeds on the plan 
of making each of the company, members or guests, 
deliver a sentiment more or less appropriate to the 
circumstances or characteristic of the supposed 
speaker. It is sufficiently clever and interesting 
to warrant its insertion here, more particularly as 
it is probably almost unknown even to the present 
generation : 

April 21, 1860. 


Why, how now, what does Master Fenton here? Truly an 
honest gentleman. 


He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest man's 
voice ; therefore let him be Consul, and the Gods give him joy. 

How he solicits Heaven 

Himself best knows. But strangely visited people, 
The mere despair of surgery, he cures. 


If you want drier logs, 

Call Peter, he will tell you where they lie. 


Now, afore God, this reverend holy Lawrence^ 
All our whole city is much bound to him. 


This is the Serjeant. 

I charge you by the law, 
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar, 
Proceed to [the bench of] Judgment. 


And you, his yoke fellow of Equity, 
Bench by his side. 


The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman, 
Modo he's called, and Mahu. 


Your mind is tossing on the ocean. They are not China dishes, 
but very good dishes. 

Not your Gaoler, then, 
But your kind host. 

Or Zummerset or York, all's one to him. 


Yea, marry, William Cook, bid him come hither. Any pretty 
little tiny kickshaws tell William Cook. 

J. C. O'DowD. 

The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, 
The solemn temples, the great Globe itself, 
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve. 


He sings several tunes, faster than you'll tell money. He hath 
songs for man or woman, and the prettiest love songs for maids, 
without mischief, which is strange. 



He gives you all the duties of a man, 
Trims up your praises with a princely tongue, 
Speaks your deservings like a chronicle, 
And chides your truant youth with such a grace. 


He shall taste of my bottle. If he have never tasted wine before, 
it will go near to remove his fit. ... 

He's a Brave God, and bears Celestial Liquor. 


He is something stern, 
But, if he vow a friendship, he'll perform it. 


He is a gentleman. One that indeed 
Physics the subject. 

My man's as true as steel. 


Thou bearest thy father's face. 

Thy father's moral part 
Mayst thou inherit too. 


Sir, we bless God for you. Your reasons at dinner (and else 
where) have been sharp and sententious, pleasant without scurrility, 
witty without affectation, audacious without impudency, learned 
without opinion, and strange without heresy. . . . Well said, 



He did ever fence the right, 
Nor buckle falsehood with & pedigree. 



Now, what news on the Rialto ? 
What news among the Merchants ? 


In faith, he is a worthy gentleman, 
Exceedingly well read, and profited, 
And wondrous affable, and bountiful. 


(Shakespear log.} He is a Knight, and will not any way dis- 
honour me. 

Shall we be thus afflicted in his wreaks ? 

He hath the musician's melancholy, which is fantastical. 


Sing, sir ! You shall not bob us out of our melody. He gave 
you such a masterly Report for art and exercise in your Defence. 


After my death I wish no other herald, 
No other speaker of my living actions, 
Than such a chronicler. 

Such Brooks are welcome to me that overflow such liquor. 

(F. HAMSTEDE loq.) You owe me No SUBSCRIPTION. 

I have entered into these details about Our 
Club, because it has constituted since its commence- 


ment a feature in the social life of my father nay, in 
my own ; and it was the only institution of the kind 
with which either of us has ever been connected, 
save a concern in Arundel Street, of which my 
father* enjoyed an ephemeral membership ; this must 
have been the place to which, no liquor fit to touch 
being procurable on the premises, Frank Talfourd 
said that it was necessary to come drunk. I have, 
no doubt, kept unwisely aloof from literary fellow- 
ship, and my life has been disadvantageous^ 
secluded. A lady, when I once, in reply to an in- 
quiry, told her that I had never joined any society, 
turned round on me, and rather unkindly observed : 
' Perhaps you think that you are a society in your- 
self. 1 

I did not even join the Merchant Taylors' Old 
Boys Club, though I have been repeatedly honoured 
by an invitation to do so. I once attended a dinner 
as a guest, and all the faces were strange. There 
was no one there, save perhaps the Vicar of Upper 
Hackney, who had been with me in the forties in 
Suffolk Lane. I left the scene early, never to 
revisit it. 

* My father died at Addlestone in Surrey, February 21, 1893, 
in his eighty-second year. His grandfather, the Rev. W. H., was 
living there in 1814. See i., 127. 


A famous resort close by Clun's was Evans's. 

Evans, who started the Cider Cellars in Maiden 

Lane about 1831, was originally a singer, and had 

an engagement at one of the theatres at what was 

then accounted a heavy salary. But, losing his 

voice, he arranged to retire with a sum, and started 

the establishment so well identified with his name. 

The speciality in Maiden Lane was kidneys and 

stout ; there was no wine till just before the removal 

to the Piazza in Covent Garden ; and no women 

were admitted. There was music and singing, and 

for some time a man named Sloman was the 




Childhood of the writer Merchant Taylors' School The old- 
fashioned regime What I learned there, and did not learn 
Anecdotes of the place and the masters Remarks on 
University education The treatment of the classical writers 
Dr. Bellamy The Rev. John Bathurst Deane The 
Merchant Taylors' Company The War Office in 1854 
Sir Robert Hamilton My intimacy with him and his family 
Abuses in the service and mismanagement of our military 
affairs Recollections of two years' stay in the War Office 
My Irish programme Hamilton's tale of second-sight My 
Venetian studies Macaulay and Ruskin The librarian at 
St. Mark's A little incident on the Piazzetta My maiden 
literary publication Murray's proposed Dictionary of National 
Biography My Early Popular Poetry. 

THE narrative, as we proceed, has necessarily and 
unavoidably become rather involved and irregular 
by reason of the extent to which the later portions 
overlap each other, and the writer plays the double 
part of a showman and an actor in his own person. 
I have done my best to obviate the admitted incon- 
venience and impropriety, so far as the circumstances 
and my ability would permit. 

Two of the earliest reminiscences which I have 


are connected with our residence at Alfred Place ; 
the death of my younger brother Richard in a fit 
in 1839 he lies, poor little fellow! in Brompton 
churchyard ; and the visit of Lord Lansdowne to 
my father on horseback to deliver a copy of the 
catalogue of his pictures for a projected edition of 
Hazlitt's Criticisms on Art. 

I also realize the almost opaque deafness of John 
Landseer, whom my father, when I was as a great 
treat in his company, met at one of the theatres, and 
with whom it amounted to an interruption of the 
performance to converse. The great painter, Sir 
Edwin, inherited, or at least acquired in later life, this 
unfortunate characteristic. The elder Landseer had 
known Hazlitt himself in the London Magazine 

The principal part of my education was received 
at Merchant Taylors 7 School, in Suffolk Lane, to 
which I was nominated through my father's cousin, 
the Rev. William Welwood Stoddart, of St. John's 
College, Oxford, in 1842. The course of studies 
there at that time was very slightly varied, I appre- 
hend, from what it had been a century before. The 
only subjects taught were Hebrew, Greek, Latin, 
writing, mathematics, and arithmetic. The school 
was held in an upper and a lower room, of which 


the latter was reserved for the writing and arithmetic 
classes in the afternoon. In the upper apartment 
during the mornings, the five forms, with the 
Monitors and Prompters, and sixth form, on a sort 
of raised platform at the top, followed their studies 
or repeated their lessons to four masters. In 1842, 
and for some time after, these were Dr. Bellamy, 
Mr. Bathurst Deane, Mr. Blunt, and Mr. Russell. 
In the afternoons this room was devoted to mathe- 
matics. There were about 200 boys altogether ; 
but a small minority took the more difficult classics 
and mathematics, and a still smaller one Hebrew, 
although I understood that Bellamy was a fair 
Hebraist. Prayers were read every fnorning before 
school by one of the sixth form, who knelt in the 
centre of the room just below the Monitors' table, 
and held a printed sheet in front of him with the 
appointed ritual. It was long my duty to perform 
this ceremony. 

Before I quitted this institution in 1850, it had 
undergone a remarkable development. Vigorous 
efforts were made to meet modern demands by 
enlarging the programme and extending the utility 
of the old foundation. One by one, French, draw- 
ing, music, and other sciences, were added to the 
meagre educational regime of my own earlier boy- 

VOL. II. 2 3 


hood. I stayed long enough to join the French 
class, and one of my most agreeable associations is 
the delightful manner of Delille, who presided over 
it. What a contrast to the other instructors ! He 
was before his time. 

I never heard to what influence or agency the 
improvement of the school was due, but as it existed 
down to 1850 it was little better than a charity 
school of a high grade. There was once a year a 
strange piece of archaism in the shape of an 
Examination or Probation Day, when we had to 
put in an appearance at eight o'clock in the morning, 
and to have our breakfast on the premises. All 
the arrangements were of the meanest and most 
barbarous character. Except that the menu was 
differentiated by the modern introduction of sausage 
rolls, three-cornered-tarts, and Bath buns, the scene 
was perchance, in its general costume, not dissimilar 
from what it had been in the founder's life-time. Of 
course the Merchant Taylors' Company could not 
afford to find us our modest repast. For 200 
boys it might have involved them in an outlay 
of /ro. 

It long used to be considered a good joke to lay 
hold of every newcomer to the establishment, and 
throw him into a large clothes-chest upstairs as an 


introductory ceremony ; it was at any rate a dry 
christening ; and if it did no good, it did little harm. 
It is curious how a mere accident gave me a peculiar 
ascendency over nearly the whole school. While I 
was in the fifth form, a schoolfellow (Fat Nelham) 
attacked me one day, and I went for him. I was 
very strong, and I thrashed him well. My reputa- 
tion and prestige were placed on the most solid 
foundation from that hour till the day on which I 
left I was honoured by the sobriquet of the ' Black 
Sheep/ not by reason of any misdemeanour of which 
I had to plead guilty, but on account of the awe 
which my exploit inspired. 

Better books, better masters, more liberal ideas, 
have no doubt set Merchant Taylors' on a totally 
different footing from the place as I knew it nearly 
fifty years ago. I spent eight years of my life within 
the walls of the old mansion in Suffolk Lane, and I 
came out grounded. 

I believe that I possessed a slight knowledge of 
figures, of Latin, of Greek, and of French. I had 
mastered a few of the problems of Euclid, and 
quadratic equations. Writing was an art which I 
never acquired either then or since, although many 
of the printers of Great Britain, and a very large 
number of correspondents all over the world, have 


made the best of a sort of substitute for the English 
written character in vogue with me. 

I shall never forget the mingled despair and con- 
tempt which his futile endeavours to educate me in 
this direction inspired in the breast of an eminent 
calligrapher, commissioned by my father in after- 
years to qualify me for clerical duties. My chief at 
the War Office declared that, if he had not had 
absolute ocular testimony to the contrary, he should 
have thought that I held my pen with my left 

They employed Lemprire, Anthon, and Bos, 
among other class-books in my day. The informa- 
tion imparted by these works was, according to 
present notions, meagre and imperfect enough ; but 
they marked an advance on the yet older material. 
Lempriere's Classical Dictionary was, in particular, 
a highly creditable commencement on modern lines. 
The first edition was in 1792, but Hazlitt, as a boy, 
met the author at Liverpool two years before, and 
tells his father in a letter that he paid him (L.) 
great attention. 

The Lemprieres are Jersey people, and the 
lexicographer's grandson is now living at Roselle. 
The late Sir John Millais was a countryman of theirs, 
and is made by an interviewer to offer very high 


testimony to their character and breeding. By the 
way, the said interviewer misunderstood the Presi- 
dent of the Academy where he refers to his know- 
ledge of Hazlittl& meant my father. Sir John 
was not born till 1829. 

In the main, whatever I have acquired may be 
regarded not unfairly or very disrespectfully as self- 
taught I have in nearly the whole intervening 
period occupied my time in reading and writing 
books by way of supplementing compulsorily my 
shortcomings ; and here I must not be understood 
to imply that the deficiency would or could have 
been made good by a longer course at the school 
and a translation to the University, for on that 
topic I hold my own special convictions, which gain 
strength as I grow older ; an academical career may 
be socially beneficial ; but it warps and narrows the 
intellect, and as the colleges of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge are constituted, they do not form the best 
training for a man who aspires to independent 
thought, although I quite see and grant that they 
are excellent nurseries for clergymen, schoolmasters, 
and mathematicians. I never met with any Mer- 
chant Taylor who had attained distinction beyond 
that possibly latent in a colonial bishopric or a silk 
gown ; and all the University men with whom I 


have associated have struck me as wanting in 
originality of ideas. 

Even in those isolated instances, where distin- 
guished persons have belonged to one of our 
ancient seminaries of learning, I am tempted to 
ask myself the question, how far greater they 
might have been, had they never graduated. There 
seems to be an atmosphere about those time- 
hallowed spots, to which the blood assimilates, and 
which renders the brain proof against external 
thought and progress. Time will alone modify 
this growth of centuries, and then everyone who 
is really great will be, from contact with the master- 
minds of antiquity, and from a power of collating 
ancient with modern philosophy, all the more 

The spirit and temper in which the classical 
authors, as they are termed, were taught, were 
utterly deceptive and unprofitable. Poets and 
prose-writers, like Homer, Horace, Herodotus, 
Caesar, instead of being introduced to our notice 
and rendered intelligible and tangible to us as 
writers, of whom the best part still lived, were 
made to appear impersonal abstractions. There 
was no attempt to bring these masters before us 
in their relationship to their own times and to ours. 


I was usually considered a rather proficient scholar. 
My name repeatedly, almost habitually, stands at 
the head of the respective forms in the printed 
school-lists, and I preserve five volumes purchased 
at the cost of the Gild of Merchant Taylors, and 
handed to me as prizes between 1845 and 1850 ; 
they are of the usual type and quality. 

But I declare that it was not till long after I had 
bidden farewell to Suffolk Lane that I acquired any- 
thing resembling a correct estimate of the great 
authors of antiquity, and learned that they were 
men of flesh and blood, actual realities, as much 
as Chaucer and Spenser, or as Shakespear and 

Progress has been made since that day in this 
salutary direction. There is Sir Theodore Martin's 
charming monograph on Horace, and the present 
writer printed long since a paper having a similar 
aim on a particular aspect of Homer's Odyssey. 

When I entered Merchant Taylors' I was eight 
years old, and I continued for some time after, while 
I was an occupant of the Petty Form, to wear a 
tunic or frock with clocked stockings. I believe that 
I was rather proud of a very smart red velvet dress 
which my mother had made me ; but Dr. Bellamy 
beckoned me up to him one memorable day, and, 


made a deep impression on my mind by saying, 
though good-humouredly enough, that if my parents 
did not find me a pair of trousers, he thought he 
should have to try and see what he could do to 
make a man of me. 

It was a very long journey for a little boy in those 
days from Old Brompton to Suffolk Lane. We 
were due at nine in the morning. The founders of 
the charity had not provided for scholars residing 
beyond the precincts of the City. Not merely were 
there no trains, but the omnibus service was very 
imperfect, and with my parents' humble means cabs 
were out of the question. There were small 
omnibuses, holding ten inside, plying between 
London and Hounslow, Brentford, and Richmond, 
and a few others which accommodated twelve. On 
the Brompton and Chelsea roads I do not retain in 
my memory the first experiments. I walked to and 
from Sloane Street, and from or to that point a 
Hounslow omnibus conveyed me to my destination ; 
my place was reserved. All these vehicles were in 
the hands of private proprietors. There were no 
fares below sixpence when I began to ride to and 
tro. The Richmond hackney carriages had drivers 
and conductors in livery, but their terminus was 
jn St Paul's Churchyard, and the charge for the 


entire distance was a shilling. I jot down these 
trivial facts for the sake of comparison. 

Deane, who was master of the fourth and fifth 
forms in my time, was author of the first work in 
English on Serpent-worship and of a biography of 
his ancestor, General Deane. He was a rather 
irascible and foolish person, addicted to giving 
extravagant tasks and personal chastisement, and 
to Bath buns, of which the undevoured remainder 
often distended his cheek on entering the school- 
room after lunch, awakening a titter which, if the 
culprit was detected, brought down on him an 
order (usually rescinded) to write out the Iliad or 
the sEneid. But these vagaries indicate to us a 
little in how untrue and unfortunate a light the 
classics were viewed by the teachers of a generation 
or so back, and made to appear to their pupils. 

I once fell under the displeasure of Deane when 
he was giving our form some English dictation to 
turn into Latin by rendering * the soil of Rhodes ' 
solum viaruni ; and I also incurred his censure by 
making virtuosus the Latin equivalent of ' virtuous.' 

Mr. Barlow, who presided over the junior after- 
noon classes in arithmetic and writing, was, of 
course, baptized Billy Barlow. An unlucky wight 
was overheard by him using this irreverent sobriquet, 


and summoned to his desk. Taking him by one ear, 
he said to him : ' My name, small boy, is not Mr. 
Wil-li-am Barlow, but Mr. Sam-u-el Barlow,' spell- 
ing out the words, and giving at each syllable a 
lug at the offender's auricular pendant. Barlow was 
rather short-sighted. A boy played him a practical 
joke one day by spitting on the floor just where the 
old fellow used to patrol up and down before the 
tables, and poor Barlow stooped down, mistaking the 
white object for a shilling. 

Of the seminary where I acquired my alphabet I 
have given some further particulars in Schools, 
School-books, and Schoolmasters, 1888. 

I witnessed one morning on Ludgate Hill, as I 
passed to school in the omnibus, a not unusual 
spectacle in those days. At the turning to the Old 
Bailey a man who had been hanged that morning 
was still suspended in the air, preparatory to being 
cut down. It was not then quite nine o'clock, and 
an hour was always allowed to intervene. This was 
about 1845. 

In the printed account of the Merchant Taylors' 
Company there is some difficulty about a piece of 
land which was left to the Gild in trust, and I 
mentioned to Mr. Nash, the clerk, one day, in much 
later life, that I thought I knew where it was. 


4 Where? 1 he asked. 'Why, 1 said I, 'your hall 
stands upon it.' 

I confess that I look back without pleasure at the 
two years which I passed during the Crimean cam- 
paign in the War Office about 1854, and a few 
years after quitting school. 

The late Sir Robert Hamilton and I were both 
supernumeraries, and both failed to pass the examina- 
tion for the permanent staff. All our colleagues, 
high and low, temporary or otherwise, were men, as 
a rule, of inferior type. I believe that Hamilton 
and myself are the only two who succeeded in our 
several ways in emerging from that slough, or rising- 
above the ordinary dead-level of official routine. 

Hamilton, whose family belonged to Shetland, 
was always considered a remarkably able accountant 
and man of business. He constantly came down to 
my father's house at Brompton to dinner c when we 
were clerks together, 1 but I lost sight of him when, 
by the assiduous support of Sir Charles Trevelyan 
(his father's distant connection by marriage), he 
succeeded in outstripping me, so far as official status 

He was a son of the Rev. Zachary Macaulay 
Hamilton, a relative of the historian, and incumbent 
of a parish in Shetland not far from Lerwick, where 


part of his income was derived from a tithe of 
herring. It was through Macaulay and his sister, 
who married Trevelyan, that my fellow-clerk was 
enabled to profit by his natural intelligence and 

An extremely intimate friend of Hamilton was 
Charles Ogilvy of Lerwick, who is, however, not 
otherwise memorable than as the victim of a strange 
corruption of his name by a correspondent into 
Huckleford. An old acquaintance of my uncle 
Reynell, a Mr. Hicks, was transformed in a similar 
way into Tir. 

The Crimean War thus found Hamilton and 
myself a little behind the scenes. I had acted 
during a short time before as editor of the evening 
edition of the Daily News, where my successor was 
the present Sir John Robinson. It was certainly 
not a very creditable campaign from beginning to 
end, whatever the general reader or critic, looking 
back after forty years, may think of it. I was in 
two or three departments, and Hamilton visited the 
Crimea, as did my own brother ; and we all heard 
more than enough of the shameful abuses and 
blunders in the commissariat, clothing, medical, and 
other services, of the shoddy arms and accoutre- 
ments, the brown-paper boots, the useless swords 


and bayonets, and the surgeons sent in one direction, 
and their drugs and appliances in another. Then, 
when we had everything in order, because the 
French could not proceed, we abandoned the busi- 
ness, and let Russia restore Sebastopol. What we 
did achieve was by pluck and muscle ; our Generals 
were deplorable. The part played by His Royal 
Highness the late Commander-in-Chief is familiar. 

If we had to do the same kind of thing over again, 
should we not perpetrate the same blunders and 
incur enormous outlay before we were thoroughly 
in working order ? We want plenty of time to look 
round. If we were as great as a Government as we 
are as a people, we should be strong, ancl we might 
be proud, indeed. But there is no School of States- 
manship, and we are ruled by a succession of gentle- 
men-adventurers of ancient family and their pluto- 
cratic allies, who spend our money and amerce us in 
credit without remorse. See, at the present moment 
have we not at the helm the old firm of Derby, 
Disraeli, and Cecil reconstructed, with the junior 
partner at the head? The new members of the 
house are as dear to the latter as holy-water is said to 
be to H.M. the Devil ; but, you perceive, Salisbury 
is where he is through them ; they hold him up ; and 
in his riper life he has grown so that he requires a 


good deal of that. It comes to this, with our make- 
shift political system, that our rulers are periodically, 
whenever there is any real difficulty or peril, falling 
back on the nation, and the ' Humble and Obliged' has 
to pay the double bill in honour and cash. Luckily, 
our foreign friends know pretty well that, when it 
comes to the point, they have to reckon with the 
people, and not with the Government. 

The only gain I derived from my two years' stay 
at the War Office was the information with which 
my colleague, Mr. Leslie, furnished me about my 
grandfather's second wife, whom he had known as a 
girl of about nineteen in her parents' home in Scot- 
land before she married Colonel Briclgewater. But, 
curiously enough, he had not retained her maiden 

I am not, however, without some curious reminis- 
cences of my association with that establishment. 
One of the most genial and conciliatory personages 
with whom I was brought into contact was Gleig, 
the Chaplain- General, who was at Waterloo, and 
who lived to a patriarchal age (ninety-four, I believe) ; 
and one of the most distasteful, the Right Honour- 
able Sir Frederic Peel, about whom I committed to 
writing an official minute, for which, looking back, 
I feel surprised that I was not cashiered, inasmuch 


as I gave the Under-Secretary of State the lie direct. 
I remember the late Marquis of Clanricarde coming 
to Whitehall Place in the summer season in a pair 
of trousers which I took it that his lordship had pur- 
chased from a necessitous Ethiopian minstrel ; and I 
had a very agreeable chat one day with the Marquis 
of Westminster, father of the present Duke, a man 
concerning whom all sorts of odd contradictory 
stories used to circulate. 

Of course, my colleagues were individuals infinitely 
various in their ideas and qualifications, and the 
majority struck me as having little enough of one 
or the other. Many were grossly ignorant ; hardly 
one possessed a considerable degree of gentlemanly 
culture, save Mr. Wheeler, who published the book 
on Herodotus. The reply to a letter from a noble 
Duke was addressed by one of these luminaries to 
'Messrs. Buckingham and Chandos/ but it was 
luckily intercepted. 

If I had pursued my official career, I might be at 
present a richer and more dignified member of 
society, but I should not be writing these Memorials. 

When Hamilton was Under-Secretary for Ireland, 
I roughly formulated a scheme for the settlement of 
that unhappy country, and it may be known to a 
few that in 1886, in a pamphlet, which was mainly 


a criticism on Mr. Gladstone's policy at home and 
abroad, I pointed out what had struck me as being 
the weak points in his management of Irish affairs. 

But in my plan I entered a little further into 
detail, and set forth what appeared to me at that 
time the only method of vindicating- public order, 
and protecting the peaceable portion of the com- 
munity in that part of the Empire. I scarcely see 
ground for hoping that without a stronger element 
of militarism any plans for the gradual social and 
moral amelioration of the country are likely to 
succeed, and I should be one for giving Mr. Balfour, 
or anyone else who is willing to accept such a thank- 
less commission, even a freer hand than at present 
against a factious and selfish minority. 

Hamilton told me this curious little story of 
second-sight : A party of fishermen started one 
day from Lerwick ; the weather was pretty fair, 
and their friends were there to see them off. 
After their departure, a storm arose, and great 
anxiety was felt for the absent boat. The relatives 
came down to the shore to make inquiries and to 
watch, but nothing was heard of it, till one of the 
look-out group (so ran the tale) descried the craft 
nearing land, saw it touch the ground, and the 
inmates file out, one by one, and proceed to their 


homes in the town. But the boat had really been 
wrecked, and all hands lost, and some of the bodies 
were subsequently washed ashore. 

I see no objection to state that a version of The 
Months from the French of Garcin de Tassy, 
printed in Chambers^ Journal for December 10, 
1853, was, so far as my memory goes, niy first in- 
dependent literary effort, and brought me the 
apparently extravagant sum of fifty shillings. I 
certainly did not look for so much money, but it 
was a form of surprise and oppression of which in 
later life I have not been troubled by too frequent 

Before Smith and Elder started their Dictionary 
of National Biography, John Murray projected a 
similar undertaking under the inevitable William 
Smith, with Thompson Cooper as sub-editor. The 
latter was a capable man. He set me to compile 
certain lives, and the manuscript was duly delivered. 
After a lapse of time, I wrote to Smith (the late Sir 
William), and suggested a settlement He asked 
me to wait till the book was printed. I might have 
waited till the proverbial Greek Calends. The 
work was abandoned. Of course Albemarle Street 
paid the score. 

F. spoke favourably of my Early Popular Poetry, 

VOL. II. 24 


published over thirty years ago in the ' Library of 
Old Authors,' and remarked that it was the best 
twenty shilling's worth he knew. 'But,' said he, 
'of course you did not write all the notes yourself/ 
He meant to flatter me, perhaps. There are various 
ways of doing that. I know full well that the work 
cost me a vast amount of labour, and brought me a 
very small return. 

It is comparatively immaterial at the present 
juncture under what circumstances my career shaped 
itself after War Office days to what it has been 
and is. 

My interest in the historical antiquities of Venice 
arose, I remember, from reading Smedley's Sketches 
from Venetian History, and I flattered myself that 
something more worthy of the subject might be the 
result of my own labours, more especially when I 
was apprised that the large French work by Count 
Daru was far from satisfactory. This was in 1853, 
when I was a youth of nineteen ; my opportunities 
of consulting books were rather limited, and my 
father's circumstances rendered it at that time out 
of the question to purchase any. I succeeded, how- 
ever, in procuring a reading ticket for the British 
Museum, and we had a subscription to the London 
Library. At a distance of forty-four years from 


that date, when we were residing in Chelsea, I am 
still keenly looking out for every fresh point illustra- 
tive of that subject ; I have already printed separate 
papers from time to time illustrative of Venetian 
Architecture, Trade, Coinage, Prison Discipline, and 
other points, and some day I shall reproduce the 
book in a different form from the edition of 1860, 
in four volumes, which was only too indulgently 
received. But it was the work of a young man of 

While I was planning my history, I wrote a 
polite letter to Mr. Ruskin, soliciting his advice 
regarding method and authorities, and that philan- 
thropist did me the honour to leave my appeal un~ 
answered. When the first crude edition appeared 
in 1858 (I was only twenty- three), my father sent a 
copy to Macaulay, who replied in a most kind note, 
saying all that he could say that the work did 
credit to so young a writer. 

I have always thought that in Mr. Ruskin's 
literary vein was to be detected a trace of his 
physical conditions, which so influentially operated 
on his life. 

When I was at Venice in 1883, 1 visited the Library 
of St. Mark, and asked the custodian whether he 
could shew me any interesting manuscripts or 


other archives relating to the old Republic. He 
went away, and when he returned he bore in his 
hands a copy of my own book on the subject. I 
suppose that he thought it the only one which I was 
likely to understand. 

A friend and myself were one day strolling about 
the Piazzetta, and we noticed a couple of women, 
who might have stepped out of some cinquecento 
canvas, and presently a gondolier (perhaps in league 
with them) made signs to us, and called out : 
' Comandare, signori ?' He saw that we were not 
keen upon his boat, and he added, as an induce- 
ment, in another tongue : l Avec mesdames ?' 


The Letters of Charles Lamb The two concurrent editions by 
Canon Ainger and the writer Observations on the Canon's 
treatment of the subject, and attitude toward me Mischief 
arising from imperfect and unfaithful texts The Canon's 
lost opportunity His want of care, knowledge, and ex- 
perience Talfourd and the Letters My other literary 
efforts Bibliographical labours Samples of my corre- 

Two essays of recent years in the direction of pre- 
senting the singular and extensive correspondence 
of Charles Lamb in a better and more complete 
shape appear to have been undertaken about the 
same time, independently of each other, by the 
present writer and Canon Ainger. Both had before 
them the antecedent labours of Talfourd, Fitzgerald, 
Babson, Cowden Clarke, Kegan Paul, Procter, and 
one or two more, not to mention that I enjoyed the 
advantage of having already launched an edition of 
the works in 1868 and a monograph on Charles 
and Mary Lamb six years later, while Canon Ainger 
had in addition an opportunity of consulting and 


using the Hazlitt book, which preceded his own in 
order of publication by two years. 

The Ainger and Hazlitt collections of the Letters 
constitute, as I have said, the two latest attempts 
to serve the English-speaking community in this 
particular direction. But than the treatment and 
temper manifest in the books of the layman and 
the Canon nothing can well be imagined more 
thoroughly distinct and unsympathetic. The evi- 
dent object of the latter has been to draw together 
as many specimens as he, in council with a few 
trusted advisers, deemed sufficient to convey to the 
reader an idea of the subject, and to eliminate with- 
out comment all passages calculated to shock the 
delicacy of prudish perusers, however characteristic 
they might be of the author and the age, and how- 
ever important for a full comprehension of the 
subject-matter. The writings of Lamb are to be 
administered to us in elegant or genteel extracts, 
like spoon-meat. On this principle, nothing in time 
would be sacred from these meddling Philistines. 
All our classics nay, the Bible would have their 

It may be a moot point whether the Church is 
entitled to lay a veto on the exercise of private 
judgment in religious questions ; but an ecclesiastic 


who devotes his leisure to the belles lettres ought 
surely to permit some latitude to his readers in a 
purely literary question affecting, comparatively 
speaking, a very limited and a very liberal con- 

The committal by God-fearing publishers of the 
letters and other writings of Lamb to the editorial 
supervision and censorship of reverend personages 
must strike thousands on both sides of the Atlantic 
and among English-speaking communities in general 
as a grotesque anticlimax. We recall to our 
memory somehow the passage in the Elian paper 
on the " Old and New Schoolmaster," where Lamb 
describes the pedagogue who offered to instruct him 
in the science of literary composition. Because the 
sensitive imagination of a lawyer or a Churchman 
descries indelicacy where none was intended, and at 
the time none was perceived, are the writings of an 
English classic to be emasculated? 

And if English publishers insist on employing 
gentlemen of dignified position and squeamish 
temper to edit their books, and there arises a 
natural reaction against this sort of abuse, the 
porcess, instead of being, as now, openly avowed, 
will be carried out under the rose, so that by 
degrees ordinary readers will scarcely know what 


the older writers committed to paper, but will be 
helped to just as much as is considered good and 
safe for them to receive. This is the clerical 
element under new colours. 

The Master of the Temple is entitled to the 
honour of having given for the first time much 
valuable matter, and in numerous instances of 
having restored missing or corrupt passages; but 
his undertaking is far from satisfactory, nor could 
it well be expected to be otherwise. It was due 
to the co-operation of others, who were more 
familiar with the ground than himself, that the 
Canon's labours proved even so fruitful as they 
actually are, for he was a comparatively new 
worker in the field. 

Nevertheless, the opportunity was before him, 
with the prestige and reputation which his pro- 
fessional rank conferred, of rendering a signal 
service to the Lambs and to us by bringing within 
reach of everyone such a body and sequence 
of epistolary matter as it had never fallen to the 
lot of any preceding editor to accumulate. Yet 
he did nothing of the sort, but laid before the 
public professedly not as an exhaustive assemblage 
of letters, but as one embracing everything of 
importance and interest (in his opinion) an arbitrary 


selection arbitrary in two ways : in the rejection 
of entire documents, and in the castration without 
reason of many of those actually printed ; and I 
maintain that an irreparable wrong has been done 
to literature by this mauvaise honte and this counter- 
feit gentility. 

The Works of Lamb, if w r e take out of the account 
Mrs. Leicester s School and the rest of that little 
group, can never be widely popular reading. By 
the younger student they will, as time goes on, 
be less and less appreciated, with the exception 
of a few of the lighter articles in Elia ; and now 
that all personal motives for suppression have ceased 
to operate, what useful end is attained by the 
continuance of Bowdler in office ? 

Canon Ainger was, in 1887, as I have said, a 
rather new hand at this sort of work, and was 
indebted to friends all round for help and guidance, 
not merely in the editorship of the Letters, but 
in that of the Essays. I feel bound in self-defence 
to state that he consulted me, among many others, 
on questions of authorship, and in particular he 
asked whether two papers in the London Magazine 
by Procter and Allan Cunningham were by Lamb 
a circumstance which I should not have mentioned, 
had not the Canon, after adopting so much of my 


plan and text, improved the occasion by a dis- 
ingenuous and improper disparagement of my enter- 
prize. There comes into one's head a passage in 
a great dramatist about a man's purse and his good 

As for the Talfourd text of his friend's epistolary 
writings, one can never tell whether one is reading 
Lamb or his executor. Even in 1848, however, 
Talfourd was hampered by the survival of many 
who might be naturally supposed to take umbrage 
at certain allusions in the correspondence, and he 
held it to be necessary, as perhaps it was, to refuse 
admittance into his select garland of much which 
there is no longer any adequate justification for 
keeping back. The judge was to Lamb what 
Southey might have been to his own offspring 
if he had yielded to the temporary clamour, and 
brought into the world the k Family' Doctor. 

Canon Ainger was quite differently situated in 
1808. His hands were free. 

. The Canon's volumes constitute a disappointing 
un-Elia-like medley of texts good, bad, and in- 
different and of letters often deficient of beginning, 
middle, or end. Instead of being, as they might 
have been, and as we were entitled to expect 
that they would have been, a marked step in 


advance of the 1886 book, they are actually re- 
trogressive and reactionary, a backsliding Tal- 

Incidit in Ainger, cupiens vitare Talfourdum? 

The worst feature about the Canon's book, next 
to his insufficient recognition of previous labours, 
is his exasperating revelation in his prefatory 
remarks, that there were, and are, certain letters 
to Manning, Procter, and so forth, which he has 
not given. He tantalizes us with extracts which 
only render us desirous of the whole, nor does 
he plead any valid reason for the exclusion. Again, 
it is surely bad enough to find that some of the 
letters were not received or admitted till it became 
necessary to throw them into the notes at the 
end. But, with portions of the correspondence 
under his eyes by the favour of the owners, to 
help us, and that out of due chronological order, 
only to extracts, is heinous. 

It has not been without the deepest regret that 
I have offered the comment which precedes on 
the book of the Master of the Temple a gentleman 
of whose learning and amiability one hears equally 
good accounts. 

Of my own I have only a few more words to 


say. Although I was indefatigable in hunting on 
the last occasion for unpublished letters of Lamb, 
as well as for the means of collating those already 
in type with the original manuscripts, I was by 
no means so successful as. I could have desired 
in either of these respects. Not merely the ap- 
pearance at intervals of letters unknown to Talfourd 
in the publications of others, but my own systematic 
appropriation of every autograph scrap which came 
into the market or into the hands of friends, has 
gradually, however, produced a result which, still 
imperfect as I know it to be, even those (including 
myself) who were aware that a considerable un- 
printed residue was in existence, could scarcely 
have hoped to realize. 

My Elian Recoveries, rather than Discoveries, 
are divisible into four epochs or stages : 1868, when 
I added very notably to the correspondence in 
Moxon and Co.'s edition; 1874, when I brought 
out my Mary and Charles Lamb, on which the 
late Mrs. Gilchrist based much of her volume ; 
1886, when I completed Bell and Sons' edition, 
already specified ; and. 1896, when I have just 
recently gathered into a small book the biographical 
and epistolary gleanings of the last decade, including, 
sixty- four new or uncollected notes and letters. 


The aggregate effect has been, and is, to cast 
a vast amount of new and unexpected light on 
the personal and literary history of the brother 
and sister, and to widen very importantly and 
interestingly their already fairly large circle of 
friends and admirers. 

My other literary publications extend over an 
exceptionally large area from the self-educational 
motive, which has partly underlain them through- 
out ; they embrace Early and Modern History and 
Biography, Poetry and the Drama, and other depart- 
ments of the belles lettres. But they are before the 
section of the reading community which cares for 
such topics as I have happened to treat, and I shall 
say no more about that point. My bibliographical 
researches, stretching over thirty-six years (1860 to 
1896), have, I hope, been of value to some, as I 
am sure that they have been a source of pleasure to 

This is the only civilized country in the world in 
which an undertaking of national magnitude would 
have been permitted to devolve on an individual of 
slender means, and where fre would have found him- 
self reduced to the necessity of printing his Collec- 
tions at a pecuniary sacrifice. I have at last six 
volumes in type, and I add to my manuscript 


accumulations day by day ; it is my ambition to 
consolidate the whole in one alphabet, and to enable 
Great Britain to point to such a work of reference 
and authority as no other European literature can 
boast of possessing. This is a part of my habitual 
employment, yet only a part a small one. 

An acquaintance flattered me by saying that he 
thought I was the most indolent person whom he 
had ever known, and my brother would declare that 
he never saw me doing any work. Only to think, 
what a plague I should have been to society had I 
been even moderately industrious 4 ! I once discon- 
certed O. by observing to him mischievously that 
I had laid myself across the age. ' Laid yo^lrself 
across the age ?' he repeated after me with his eyes 
fully expanded. He did not quite perceive my 
drift. What I meant was that I had produced 
certain books which would in all probability perforce 
remain works of reference and keep my name before 
a portion, at least, of the public during, if not after, 
my life. O. did not pursue the subject, nor did I 
open my mind to him ; but he left me, considerably 
to my amusement, with the impression that I was a 
deuced conceited fellow. 

From my personal point of view, gentlemen, 
during the last thirty and odd years, seem to have 


gathered together, regardless of time and cost, all 
the most curious and rare books of former periods 
in order to send them, when the result in each case 
justified them in giving me so much trouble, to the 
auction-rooms for my use. It is so infinitely more 
comfortable, you perceive, to work in this sort of 
piecemeal fashion a library or so at a time and 
the process can always be going on. Other parties 
do their share, and I mine. They beat the bush, 
and I catch the bird. 

There still remain a few collections which I have 
not yet had the means of examining, particularly 
those at Ham House, and in the possession of the 
representative of Mr. Cunliffe of the Albany. The 
former library, when I applied for leave to take a 
note of a certain volume, was declared to be * in a 
state of chaos 5 rather a good hearing for an 
opportunist ! 

It is, I venture to conclude, superfluous to mention 
that I could readily fill more than a single volume 
with details of my literary correspondence and biblio- 
graphical experiences. Probably no one has an 
adequate idea of the extraordinary variety of the 
written demands or representations which have 
been addressed to me since I began to assume the 
form of a distinct individuality on certain branches 


of knowledge and inquiry. My special bent might 
lead some to augur that my views were almost 
exclusively sought on matters connected with old 
books ; but such is by no means the case. 

I have in my mind's eye about a ream of paper 
covered with extracts from Burns by a clerk in the 
service of the Great Western Railway, soliciting my 
opinion, and a long letter from an operative at 
Nevvcastle-on-Tyne, wishing to know if I deemed it 
expedient for him to emigrate with his family. 
Some of those who honoured me with these and 
other questions were occasional in their appeals ; 
others, till I had in self-defence to expostulate, 
interviewed me through the post two or three times 
a week. Now and then my help was recognised ; 
more frequently it was not. 

But the worst luck was, where one had furnished 
the most important material to a Reverend Doctor 
for his edition of an early poet, and he disparaged 
its value in acknowledging its arrival, was absolutely 
silent as to the source whence he derived the manu- 
scripts, and cited them throughout as the basis and 
backbone of his volumes. He was not merely a 
Doctor, but a Reverend one. Think of that, Master 


The western suburbs of London Their aspect half a century since 
The made ground in Knightsbridge, Battersea, Westminster, 
and elsewhere Delahaye Street and the chief pastrycook of 
Charles IL Long Ditch Gradual formation of highways 
and growth of buildings The ancient waterways in Knights- 
bridge and Old Brompton Carriers' carts, waggons, and 
coaches Some account of the system and its incidence 
Suggestion as to Shakespear The primitive omnibus That 
which ran to Edmonton in Charles Lamb's time Loneliness 
and insecurity of the suburban roads Anecdote of Hazlitt 
Precautions against highwaymen and footpads Notting or 
Nutting Hill Waggon houses at Knightsbridge, and on the 
Oxford and Uxbridge Roads Changes on the northern side 
of the Metropolis The scattered markets Their value 
That at Knightsbridge Snipe in Tuthill Fields and at Mill- 
bank Partridges, snipe, and rabbits on Barnes Common 
The turnpikes Those at Hyde Park Corner and Tyburn, etc. 
The Farmer of the Gates. 

I NOW propose to devote some space to a description 
of the suburban districts in which we as a family, 
,and I as the founder of an independent home in the 
usual course of events, resided and moved between 
1838 and the present time, taking occasion to inter- 
sperse the topographical sketch with particulars of 
VOL. ii. 25 


such friends and acquaintances as we were fortunate 
enough to acquire within this radius, and especially 
in Old Brompton from time to time, and of others 
of whom our knowledge was more indirect, yet 
sufficiently considerable to justify a passing mention. 

The westward route from Sloane Street as at 
one time, indeed, from Hyde Park Corner lay fifty 
years since between garden-houses, only broken 
occasionally by stretches of dead wall appertaining 
to the Park or some ancient mansion, by lines of 
fencing where a nursery abutted on the road, or by 
the boundary hedge of a market-garden. The 
undulating and uneven surface betrayed the absence 
of a Highway Board for the parish ; and the varia- 
tions in the elevation and width of the footpaths, 
were traceable to changes in the character of the 
buildings adjoining. 

If there were such a thing* as a plan of Old 
Brompton and the environs as they appeared many 
hundreds of years ago, it would present to our view 
an open and probably uncultivated tract, abounding- 
in wood and morass, and intersected by streams, 
flowing from the northern heights of Hampstead, 
Highgate, and Hollo way. Within living memory 
a few of these water-courses still existed, while others, 
had dwindled into ditches or, as in the case of the- 


Efra, which flowed into the Thames at Vauxhall, 
and was navigable by small craft up to Brixton or 
further, had been converted into an underground 
sewer, except where a portion may be yet seen 
dammed up at the Lawn. Queen Elizabeth is 
said to have ascended the Efra in her barge, 
possibly on a visit to one of her court at Streatham 
or Brixton. 

There are probably many who have not taken 
into account the vast changes produced in the course 
of ages by the creation or improvement of thorough- 
fares. Modern Paris is said to be eight feet higher 
than it was in the days of Philip Augustus. Modern 
London stands twenty feet above the Roman city. 
The bulk of the superficial area of all great centres 
of population and building is made giwtnd, which, as 
immense bodies of soil or muck are frequently 
transported from a distance to supply a vacuum 
where the gravel or sand has been removed, as 
well 'as for the purpose of raising the level, is apt to 
do violence to geological harmony. 

Thus, in the decline of a district from its early 
speciality of aspect, and its adaptation to a general 
standard suitable to the requirements of the builder, 
we find a variety of contributing factors. Some of the 
details are bound to vary according to the level ; but 


the reforming hand of the enterprising owner or 
speculator is equal to all emergencies. In lowlands 
the causeway and the shoot play a leading part. 
They did so in Battersea, where they are even now 
emptying the mud-carts day by day, and in Pimlico, 
where, between Knightsbridge and the river, lay a 
desolate waste, dotted with ponds, the wreckage of 
Kbury Farm and the contiguous fields. I used 
to think that Battersea Fields, with the Red House 
and other amenities, were not all that could be 
desired ; yet I would joyfully vote for their restora- 
tion instead of the actual scene which they present, 
with their honeycomb of railway-line and doleful 
blocks of poverty-stricken houses. 

The hedge, the park-pale, or the buttress wall, 
gives way to the railing before a terrace or a row of 
detached or semi-detached houses, and these are 
subsequently degraded into places of business, of 
which the front-gardens make a part. So it has 
been in Brompton on the West, and in Whitechapel 
on the East exactly the same law and same process. 

In parts of Westminster, built on the ancient 
Thorny Island, they have come, in laying founda- 
tions, on submerged and buried willows, formerly 
flourishing on the banks of the water-courses, which 
branched from the Thames inland, and of which the 


sole modern vestige is the Long Water in St. James's 
Park. One of these channels passed through the 
existing Delahaye Street, a thoroughfare named 
after Pierre de la Haye, Chief Confectioner to 
Charles II., who died in 1684, and is buried at 
Mickleham. He had two houses here, of which 
one went to the St. Aubyns with his coheiress ; the 
other belongs to a personal friend of the writer, and 
it was in rebuilding the premises about fifty years 
since that the original nature of the soil, and the 
strangely altered conditions of the scene, were 
brought to light. 

The site of the southern extremity of Delahaye 
Street, where Royal Charles's head - pastrycook 
lived, was once designated Long Ditch, the original 
stream having degenerated in the usual manner* 
But the levels hereabout must have suffered a 
remarkable change, and nearly the whole of the 
ground, as it now stands, is doubtless artificial. It 
was two centuries ago several feet lower in a line 
with the Stuart willow-beds. 

Then, again, in the City proper, look at the 
Wallbrook, which once flowed through the moor, 
now only known by tradition, but originally stretch- 
ing at least as far as the site of the Bank of England. 
On removing an old house in Coleman Street in 


1 896, the peaty bottom was reached, with its Roman 

The brook degenerates into a ditch, the latter into 
a sewer, as civilization advances or as the builder 
spreads his ravages. The old maps do not assist us 
much in tracing the waterways of this particular 
tract. There were at least two, of which one, the 
most westerly, flowed through Brompton Vale 
across the fields and the Fulham Road, before it 
was constructed as a highway, and so through 
Chelsea to the Thames. A second traversed Hyde 
Park and Knightsbridge, as I have elsewhere noted. 

Of the rivulet which crossed the Western Road at 
Knightsbridge, mention occurs in the literature of the 
Tudor era, and my uncle Reynell remembers it 
before it was transformed into a covered drain. 
Some of the portion which flowed through Hyde 
Park has been filled up within my time. 

The environs of London on all sides were formerly 
rich in roadside inns, of which the custom was 
derived in principal measure from the waggoners, 
carriers, and stage-coaches which plied between 
the Metropolis and the provinces. The carriers 
and coaches had regular days for going and return- 
ing to London, Westminster, and Southwark, and 
small penny and twopenny handbooks were published 


from time to time to enable travellers, or persons 
desirous of transmitting parcels and messages, to 
keep themselves informed of the times of arrival and 
departure on the various routes. 

It once took my own family a week to reach 
Wales or Cornwall. 

Anterior to omnibuses and railways, the transport 
service was, in fact, performed by coaches, waggons, 
and carts ; the two latter were employed not only 
by the lower, but by the middle class, and such a 
man as Shakespear, when even the coach was un- 
known, must have journeyed to and from Stratford 
in a waggoner's or carrier's conveyance. The 
supply of fish to inland towns within a measurable 
time was by cart or van from the nearest port 
The local dealer kept a vehicle constantly on the 
road, and had to arrange for relays of horses. 

Folks whose traditions happen to be associated 
with the West End may not have heard, as a rule, 
of any halting-stages or starting-points less central 
than the White Horse Cellar (whence my grand- 
father set out for Winterslow Hut, and on a special 
occasion on his way to see the Fight), or the houses 
in Coventry Street and Holborn, where the Old 
Bell yet survives. But about Bishopsgate and in 
the Borough this feature in everyday life,, prior to 


railways and other modern appliances, was seen in 
its fullest vigour and picturesqueness, and the atten- 
dant costliness and loss of time would under present 
mercantile and social conditions be out of the ques- 
tion. A late City Chamberlain (Scott), who died at 
eighty-nine, and had known personally sixty Lord 
Mayors, paid half a crown, when he became rich 
enough to afford it, for his fare part of the journey 
from Hampstead to the City, in what he described 
as ' a blue-bellied ' coach. 

Piccadilly, Westminster, Holborn, Bishopsgate, 
Islington, and the Borough, we see, were the points 
of departure and arrival for the mails, and a little 
later on came the long-distance omnibus, starting 
from some of these centres. Judging from the 
number of coaches (about sixteen) which left Picca- 
dilly and the Angel at Islington daily, there must 
have been a large complement altogether; and 
there were also the mail-carts and post-chaises, the 
latter with the boy - outrider. This illustrates 
Dunton's periodical, 1698 to 1700, entitled The Post- 
boy robbed of his Mail. One prime feature in the 
coach was the guard, with his blunderbuss and 
pistols, which were so carefully wrapped up against 
the weather that a highwayman might have scuttled 
the conveyance before they could be disengaged. 


The Piccadilly coaches chiefly took the Great 
Western Road on their way to Oxford, Worcester, 
Salisbury, Devizes, and elsewhere ; but one crossed 
Putney Bridge en route for Portsmouth. The 
northern, eastern, and southern counties were served 
from Islington, Bishopsgate, Westminster, and 
South wark. In my earlier days, the omnibus which 
used to take Charles Lamb and his friends to and 
from Edmonton still started regularly from the 
Flower- Pot at Bishopsgate. I never went by it 
further than Tottenham. A second ran between 
the Bell, in Holborn, and Wendover, and a tedious 
journey it was. You had earned more than the fare 
when you alighted, if it was in the winter, after 

Places which now constitute part of our great 
city were till a comparatively recent date com- 
pletely isolated from it, and distinct hamlets or 
townships. Hounslow. Turnham Green, Brent- 
ford, and even Kensington and Old Brompton, 
were rendered independent of the capital by wide 
stretches of open ground and impracticable roads 
the latter such as are pictured by Macaulay in his 
History of England and by many travellers and 
diarists of the eighteenth century. Yet within my 
time and recollection many of these outskirts were 


delightful retreats, and to a modern eye fabulously 
rural and solitary. Those who have only known 
the western approach to London since 1850 must 
be strangers to what it was when I was a boy. 
My mother, who was born in 1804, remembers that 
when she was a child, and lived in her father's 
house in Black Lion Lane, Bayswater, there were 
no buildings between them and Harrow, The 
Oxford Road, as it was called, was so desolate in 
Hazlitt's day that he was afraid to traverse it by 

My grandfather, when he walked to the Reynells', 
became at last so alarmed by the reports which 
reached his ears that he purchased a brace of 
pistols, which his son used to carry, till, growing 
more afraid of the weapons than of the footpads, he 
discarded them. 

Within comparatively recent years what is Lan- 
caster Gate was a meadow with a hedge to the 
highway. Between this meadow and Porchester 
Terrace was a tea-garden. The property here- 
about included the Bread and Cheese land left to 
Paddington parish by maiden ladies for the periodi- 
cal distribution of relief from the church-steeple. It 
was after my settlement in Addison Road, Kensing- 
ton, in 1862, that those sweeping changes occurred, 


which thoroughly demoralized the neighbourhood 
and drove me to Barnes. Like old General Boone, 
who hunted up to ninety, I retreat before civilization. 

Notting Hill, properly Nutting Hill, is at present 
beyond redemption. I recollect it a very pleasant 
countrified locality, surrounded on the north and 
west by fields. I have walked from Clarendon 
Road, even after that was built, the whole way to 
Hampstead with very few houses, and those 
scattered about, between. Notting Barns, which 
was a farm lying between Notting Hill and Camp- 
den Hill, still survives in a small patch of open 
ground near Bute House and in Farm Street, 
which is just where the old turnpike gate stood. 
You go down from the main thoroughfare in enter- 
ing Farm Street, probably because the highroad has 
been much raised. 

I have mentioned that the environs of London 
on this side were down even to 1850 very lonely 
and insecure, and that both the highwayman and 
footpad formerly infested the whole tract of country 
now almost completely covered by houses and pro- 
tected by well -lighted thoroughfares and police. 
In the Kensington highroad, near Knightsbridge 
Barracks, stood a queer old hostelry with the back 
looking to the Park, and I have always understood 


that this was a regular haunt of the knights of the 
post, who, if pursued into the premises, escaped at 
the rear into the large open space behind, and so 
got away from the not very dexterous or alert 
guardians of public safety and order who preceded 
our modern constable. A second lay at the junction 
of the Fulham Road and Bell and Horns Lane, 
and a third formed part of a short row of very 
antique shops on the northern side of the Fulham 
Road, opposite Stewart's Grove. In the Fulham 
Fields there was a very quaint halting-place of this 
kind; it was on the right-hand going toward Ham- 
mersmith Broadway. It was known as the Grey- 
hound, and was a noted haunt of highwaymen ; and 
the site of Holcrofts in the village itself was origin- 
ally occupied by a similar establishment before it 
was transformed into a private mansion the usual 
process inverted. 

The oldest house at Walham Green was the 
King's Head, previously known as the Hare and 
Hounds, and dating from 1680; and at Putney the 
Fox and Hounds, of Henry VIII.'s time, once 
famous for its bowling-green. 

There were waggon-houses of a similar type, no 
doubt, on those sides of the city with which I was 
less familiar. Three yet lingered in modern times : 


two on the Uxbridge and one on the Oxford Road. 
Of the former, one lay at the corner of Wood Lane, 
facing Shepherd's Bush ; the other, not far from 
Kew Bridge, was a halting-place for George III. 
on his way to Windsor. Many must call to mind 
how recently at Bayswater, opposite the Park, 
survived an ancient structure seeming to have no 
relationship to the scene around it. 

The changes in the route from the Metropolis to 
the north have been, even since the present century, 
equally immense. The road to Barnet used to be 
straight down Gray's Inn Lane, till it was diverted 
through the Bishop of London's park at Padding- 
ton. The gate which gave its name to Highgate 
was placed to collect the Bishop's tolls. I personally 
spoke at the Holborn end of Gray's Inn Lane to a 
well-known artist about forty years since, who re- 
membered a haystack where the St. Pancras station 
now is. 

The scattered markets, which formerly lay at 
intervals over all this area, possess greater signifi- 
cance than may at first sight appear. They were 
the sole depots for the convenience of the house- 
holder when all the small neighbourhoods about 
the west and other parts of the Metropolis were 
yet detached hamlets, with oases of meadow or 


demesne between them. I may mention Oxford 
Market, Newport Market, Clare Market, Carnaby 
Market, Shepherd's Market (at the foot of Down 
Street, Piccadilly), Chelsea Market, and the one 
which, ever since I can remember, has been at 
Knightsbridge, or rather on the western side of 
Sloane Street, near the remains of Knightsbridge 

My maternal grandfather Reynell, who was born 
in 1777, remembered Sloane Street partly in carcase, 
and his son (my uncle) has fished for sticklebacks 
in the ponds about the Five Fields, Pimlico the 
area between Sloane Square and St. Peter's Church. 
Cattle used to graze on the site of Belgrave Square 
within living memory, and my informant recollected 
the erection of the Square railing. 

We have all heard of the sport enjoyed by 
General Oglethorpe in the time of Queen Anne, 
where Regent Street now is, and snipe were also 
shot within living memory in Tuthill Fields behind 
Bird Cage Walk. The old door belonging to the 
barracks, from which some of the officers sallied 
in pursuit of their game, was till lately preserved 
in situ ; but snipe were also to be found in the 
osier-beds and the Willow Walk at Pimlico, near 
the present Warwick Square and Street. 


It is curious how many changes of this kind 
have been accomplished by the builder. Partridges 
were occasionally seen, not many years ago, in the 
immediate neighbourhood of Barnes Common, in 
the eight-acre field adjoining Mill Lodge they 
may have been strays from Richmond Park and 
I have been credibly informed that on the common 
itself snipe were to be got. There are still rabbit- 
burrows there, but the population will soon drive 
away the makers and occupants. The cuckoo and 
the nightingale are yet habitual visitors ; but they 
become year by year rarer and shyer. 

London, in allusion to its numerous turnpikes, 
gained the Theban sobriquet of the Hundred-gated. 
There was a parallel series on all the main roads. 
From the Piccadilly side, the first was at Hyde 
Park Corner, with the weighing apparatus a little 
lower down for the heavier traffic. This bar was 
successively set back to Sloane Street and the 
Queen's Elm, before which within living memory 
the actual tree spread its branches and its shadow, 
lending its name equally to the terrace opposite, 
which dates from about 1822, when Mayers the 
baker built his premises at the corner of what was 
long known as Elm Terrace. The general structure 
on the northern side from the church to the end 


of Brompton Row has not yet undergone vital 
alteration, except the removal of the gardens and 
the enlargement of frontages ; but opposite the 
entire aspect is changed for better or for worse, 
as people may think. These suburban gates were 
long farmed by Jonas Levi, whose name was to 
be found upon them, and who is recollected by old 
inhabitants coming periodically down to inspect his 
property. The speculation must have succeeded, 
for Levi lived in good style at Kingsgate Castle, 
near Broadstairs. He was a large shareholder in 
the Brighton Railway. 

I take it that the King's and Queen's Roads 
were originally out of the category of public 
thoroughfares, and had consequently no toll-gates. 
The latter was a virtual cul-de-sac at both ends 
till it was opened up by the modern builder and 
the removal of the barrier at Chelsea Hospital, 
and even now it is not a main artery. 

The gate at Hyde Park Corner was exactly 
.parallel with the one at Tyburn, near the Marble 
Arch. The latter was removed in 1829. On a 
blue earthenware cheese - plate belonging to the 
commencement of the present century is painted 
a view of Tyburn turnpike, with all the country 
toward Bays water and Edgeware open. 


Knightsbridge Original levels and boundaries Traces of it in 
1371 and 1526 Knightsbridge Green The old watch-house 
Old Brompton Brompton Row Some of its early in- 
habitants Count Rumford Anecdote of the Duchess of 
Kent Mrs. Lloyd of Crown Court Grove House William 
Wilberforce Elliot's Pine Pits John Hunt Some account 
of Faulkner the historian Bell and Horns Lane Pollard's 
School Gore Lane Charles Mathews Robert Cruikshank 
Sir John Fleming's daughters Cromwell House Bromp- 
ton Vale Chelsea Pound Curious discovery there Vestiges 
of Chelsea Common Brompton nurseries Walnut-tree 
Walk The Bull Gunter the pastrycook Brompton Heath 
Thistle Grove Little Chelsea Purser's Cross. 

IN 1840 there were very few shops in the Brompton 
Road between Sloane Street and the Bell and 
Horns, and again between that and the Queen's 

The original village of Knightsbridge extended 
in a broken and irregular manner or form from 
the western corner of Sloane Street (then unknown) 
to the end of Queen's Buildings. There were at 
the outset no houses on the southern side till you 
passed Sloane Street, nor on the northern till 

VOL. n* 26 


you reached the village of Brompton. Even now 
the peculiar levels shew that the primitive road 
(including the pathway) has undergone repeated 
alterations. Of the mediaeval Knightsbridge men- 
tioned in records of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and 
sixteenth centuries, probably not a vestige remains ; 
and the made ground here, as well as at Brompton 
Row, was found necessary to lift the residences, 
which were gradually erected, above the uncared- 
for and sometimes almost impassable coach and 
cart track. The place derived its name from the 
bridge which (above the modern Albert Gate) 
spanned the stream running from the North of 
London across Hyde Park and Pimlico to its 
outlet into the Thames opposite Vauxhall. This 
structure in some shape was of very great antiquity. 
It was the theatre of an adventure narrated in the 
Hundred Merry Tales, 1526, but one by no means 
merry in its denouement. 

We hear in 1371 525 years ago of Knights- 
bridge as a hamlet, to which the Butchers' Gild 
was permitted to send cattle for slaughtering 
purposes. A second principal abattoir was Strat- 

Plantagenet Knightsbridge presumably consisted 
of a single row of tenements, first on the northern 


side by the old bridge, and then (after an interval) 
of others on the southern side, where Queen's 
Buildings at present stand, the former facing the 
fields toward the river, where Ebury Farm subse- 
quently extended, and having at the back an 
enormous sandy area, now r partly represented by 
Hyde Park, the latter facing an open heath, 
successively reduced to a green and a triangular 
grass-plot, and looking behind, till the eighteenth 
century was far advanced, on a wide expanse of 
waste. I have understood that there was no 
regular grass -land in the Park till George III. 
caused parts to be sown with seed as a relief to 
his eyes when he began to suffer from ophthalmia* 
There used to lie in the rear toward Sloane Street 
a nest of curious antique hovels, which might have 
been part, in their first state, of the primaeval hamlet. 
They were reached by a court, possibly once a 

On the once waste plot between the present 
Knightsbridge Green and Sloane Street stood the 
watch-house for the district, and a friend remembers 
peeping in at the window one day when he was 
a boy, and seeing the body of a woman just re- 
covered from the Serpentine lying for identification. 
The ordinary use of these places was as a lock-up 


for pickpockets and other nocturnal offenders till 
they were taken before the magistrate. 

Knightsbridge Green must have been in its 
second state, so to speak that is, subsequently 
to the creation of Brompton Row and Queen's 
Buildings of much greater extent than I can 
recollect it. It appears to have fallen a gradual 
prey to encroachment by private persons and the 
Highway Board ; but it is easy to recognise that 
the whole tract was at the outset waste of the 
Manor of Kensington, and came down in a fork 
to the point where Sloane Street at present opens 
into Knightsbridge. 

Queen's Buildings, which face the Green, were 
originally private residences, with small plots of 
pleasure-ground divided from them by the footway 
exactly as the case was in Brompton Row ; and 
these spaces were gradually absorbed into the 
thoroughfare, one or two at the western extremity 
being the last to disappear. At the opposite corner, 
where the ground began to recover the natural 
level, you formerly descended a short flight of 
steps to the first shop. Here, in fact, the country 
at one time recommenced, and all was open in 
the rear. There is in a story-book of 1526 an 
account of a thief making his escape across the 


fields just at this point. There were down to my 
time only a few primitive places of business on 
the southern side, facing Brompton Row, and then 
private houses standing back in long gardens, That 
was doubtless the second state of the locality, when 
it had ceased to be meadow or arable land protected 
by hedges. 

Many of us recall the cavalry barracks in Ken- 
sington Gardens, near the turnpike at Gloucester 
Road ; but there were also barracks for the foot- 
guards on the site of St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, 
the church standing where the old barrack-yard 
once was. 

The scene is as different as if we were looking 
back on occurrences of two centuries ago. The 
exigencies of traffic, the feverish competition of 
trade, the seething population springing up around 
us and choking many healthy forms of the earlier 
English life, have accomplished the metamor- 
phosis : 

' In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas 
Corpora. 1 

The region now incorporated in South Kensington, 
but formerly known as Old Brompton, was once 
and long a country village, or little more. The 


scenes amid which I spent much of my youth 
now survive only in the mind's eye. The ancient 
mansions which abounded there, the historical sites 
or records, the delightful residences in grounds, 
the market gardens, and, best of all, the quaint 
Old Vale, have vanished like a dream. 

Brompton Row, which connected the place itself 
on the northern side of the road with Knightsbridge 
Green (in its far greater amplitude) at an epoch 
long posterior to the existence of Old Brompton as 
an independent name and locality, I take to have a 
topographical affinity with Chigwell Row, Channor 
Row, and Forest Row, a block of buildings erected 
on the skirt of a hamlet or a waste. The first 
houses which occupied the site were of low eleva- 
tion and humble pretensions ; they lay back some 
forty or fifty feet from the main road, and the 
boundary-line of their front-gardens, with the pro- 
jection on the opposite side, where Grove House 
stood, left a narrow passage for vehicles of all kinds, 
yet enough to meet the demand of that day. During 
a protracted period the dwellings just here enjoyed 
an uninterrupted view of the open area behind, so 
far as the eye could scan. 

The Row about 1840 presented altogether a 
sufficiently picturesque aspect; it was quiet, "green, 


arid rural ; and the grape vines trained over one or 
two of the exteriors, with the clusters hanging un- 
molested in the season, may give some idea of the 
thorough transition which the locality has undergone 
since my early years. 

Faulkner, in speaking of the villages which 
bounded the town of Kensington proper on the 
southern side, mentions Old and New Brompton ; 
but he omits to delimit them, and to do so would 
now involve greater trouble than it would have done 
seventy years ago, when Faulkner wrote his account 
of Kensington. 

Still, I think it probable that New Brompton was 
the name applied to the eastern end, including 
Brompton Row, and that Old Brompton centred 
round Cromwell or Hale House, Cromwell Lane, 
and the lower end of Bell and Horns Lane toward 
.Brompton Hall and Cowper House. The Row was 
plainly, as I have suggested, an aftergrowth, and 
originally abutted on the waste of Kensington 
Manor, without any other buildings between it and 
the Manor of Hyde. Like Queen's Buildings oppo- 
site, its level was probably raised to what we now 
see it, when at a later date private residences of a 
superior character were erected there. 
- , Two. celebrities who resided in Brompton Row 


were Sir Benjamin Thompson, better known as 
Count Rumford, who was there quite in the begin- 
ning of the century, and Leach, a boatswain who 
had served on the Victory, and had lost an arm. 
He was full of all sorts of yarns, and his conversa- 
tion was eagerly sought by the frequenters of the 
Crown and Sceptre at the corner of Rauston Street, 
going toward Montpelier Square, where Trafalgar 
was fought over again almost nightly in a recital 
accompanied by copious potations of malt liquor. 
Leach had an adroit way of ordering a half-pint of 
beer in a quart measure, and his tankard was con- 
stantly replenished for him by his admiring audience. 
He it was who used to give an account of the 
Duchess of Kent, the Queen's mother, tripping on 
some occasion and saving herself by catching at 
the stump of Leach's arm, on which occasion Her 
Royal Highness, according to the narrator, ex- 
pressed her satisfaction at being able to lean on the 
buttocks (bulwarks) of England. This may have 
been while the Duke and his wife resided at Kent 
House, Kensington Gore. 

Count Rumford did not probably reside long at 
Old Brompton. I have seen a letter from him 
written there in 1801, and in the following year he 
settled in France. He was one of the earliest im- 


provers of our domestic stove. John Reeve I 
notice elsewhere. 

I must not omit to record Mrs. Cooper, who in 
my boyhood kept the confectioner's shop in the 
Row, and made a speciality of the Brompton Bun, 
of which I was a munificent patron. 

A notability of a different character in the Row 
was denoted by a brass plate with the name Lloyd 
on it, attached to one of the doors. Mrs. Lloyd 
resided here, and was a person of some means. She 
had a son, an officer in one of the line regiments. 
Mrs. Lloyd was, in fact, in business what business 
was not exactly known, not even to her son. Her 
headquarters, however, as a matter of fact, were in 
Crown Court, St. James's, where she could shew a 
cheval-glass in a silver mounting, given to her by 
H.R.H. the Prince Regent; I dare say that she 
was very proud of it. 

A very sad story was connected with this woman 
and this house. One day a lady brought a gentle- 
man there, and the door was opened by Mrs. Lloyd. 
The gentleman was her son he had discovered the 
secret ; and he never recovered from the shock. 
The poor fellow's commission had been bought out 
of Crown Court. 

Facing Brompton Row lay Grove House and 


other private residences in grounds. Grove House 
had been the abode of William Wilberforce, but in 
1840 was converted into a dame-school, kept by 
Mrs. Warne, a connection of Colonel Maceroni, 
aide-de-camp to Murat, the brother-in-law of 
Napoleon. Mrs. Warne did her best to initiate the 
writer into some of the rudiments of learning. Her 
governess, Miss Foster, who married Osborn the 
nurseryman, tried to make me an advanced scholar 
by teaching me a few words of French, and one 
day it came to the turn of the word oui. ' Say oui, 
Willy,' quoth the lady. 4 I won't say om, Miss 
Foster,' was my hardy, Loftus-like reply. 

A portion of the extensive gardens once attached 
to these old buildings survives in the small oblong 
enclosure of Ovington Square. 

At the back of Grove Place, Elliot's Pine Pits 
occupied ten acres, extending nearly to the western 
side of Hans Place, formerly a delightful spot where 
Sir Charles Shuckborough had a mansion in grounds. 
Elliot afterward removed to Fulham, but he 
naturally found pine-growing unremunerative when 
a better specimen than he could produce for a 
guinea was obtained from abroad for half a crown. 

In one of the small houses in Grove Place, Mr. 
John Hunt, Leigh Hunt's elder brother, .spent his 


last days and died. I recall visits which we paid 
to him there. His wife, like old Mrs. Hazlitt, was 
addicted to distinguishing him as 'my Mr. Hunt.' 
She might have had good reasons for this. 

In Alexander Place was a magazine for the sale, 
among other sundries, of short basket-hiked iron 
swords and wooden broadswords. My brother and 
I fought a F out ranee with the former, and exhausted 
many a pair, regardless of the outlay, which was 
fourpence each ; but the broadsword was a shilling, 
and was only for ceremonial use. The reports 
which came to us from our elders of the sanguinary 
conflicts in transpontine melodramas led to this play- 
ing at soldiers or brigands ; but I think that the 
shilling weapon associated itself in my mind with a 
commission in the Household Cavalry. How many 
foster such illusions and mental cobwebs, varying 
only in character as time goes on ! 

Faulkner, who wrote the local histories of Chelsea 
and other places, was a second-hand bookseller at 
the corner of Smith Street, Chelsea, nearly opposite 
Gough House. He was a little man, and had a 
brother as small as himself, who lately (1895) died 
in Paulton Square. Faulkner brought out his 
Brentford and Ealing in 1843, and proposed to my 
father, then living in Church Street, Chelsea, to 


exchange a copy for some book of my father's doing. 
I recollect it was about 1847 Faulkner left his 
own book, the equivalent not being ready, and called 
nearly every day, till my father told him, I think, he 
might have his volume back again. 

I have the most distinct impression of Bell and 
Horns Lane, commencing with the old-fashioned 
unpretending hostelry at the corner, with its yard, 
in which a cobbler had his stall 

A hedge bounded the lane right down the south 
side, where Thurloe Place and Square were subse- 
quently erected, and the ditch was a good hunting- 
ground for the rat-catcher. On the north side of 
the lane beyond Brompton Church lay Pollard's 
School, a nursery ground, Ingestrie House, and a 
number of other detached residences in their own 
grounds. Webster and Harley the actors lived 
there. The high massive wall enclosing the nursery 
and Ingestrie House was supported by buttresses, 
which formed a source of alarm in those days to 
women and children who were passing after dusk, 
from fear of attacks by thieves or footpads. Leigh 
Hunt said that these buttresses reminded him of 
the legs of the Knave of Clubs. At the other end 
of the lane was the Hoop and Toy public-house, 
originally a very primitive establishment, with trees 


in front of it. Nearly opposite on the north was 
Gore Lane, leading to Kensington Govor or Gore, 
and down there, on the right hand, was a house 
once tenanted by Charles Mathews the younger. 

I accompanied my father as a child to the sale of 
the effects at Ingestrie House prior to its demoli- 
tion. The only private residence of all those once 
standing hereabout which still remains is that 
formerly rented by Sir John Fleming, who had 
two handsome daughters. These ladies long kept 
their maiden condition, but had their love affairs. 
Their father used to say that they were very good 
girls, and never did him any discredit. 

Prospect Place owed its once more appropriate 
designation to the complete absence of any buildings 
between the lane at that point and the Fulham 
Road, till the first wing of the Consumption Hospital 
was begun, and Sumner Terrace was erected. 

On some of the ground nearly opposite the 
Toxophilite Society held its meetings. Robert 
Cruikshank, the brother of George, was one of the 

Pursuing the course of the lane, one had Cowper 
House on the left and Brompton Hall, a house with 
eagles over the entrance, on the right, and turning 
sharply round by the latter, the pedestrian found 


himself in another and narrower lane, which led 
to Brompton Vale, the Almshouses, two or three 
nurseries, and then either to Gloucester Road through 
a turning to the left or to Kensington across the 
fields. By taking the right-hand instead of the left, 
which brought you to Gloucester Road, you reached, 
down a short cul-de-sac, the entrance to Cromwell 
House, otherwise called Hale House, one of the 
many reputed residences of the Protector Cromwell, 
and of which my uncle. Reynell was the latest 
occupier. One of the mantels from this ancient 
edifice, which stood in four acres of ground, is now 
in the South Kensington Museum, but it has been 
unskilfully repaired. 

The Vale, of which no trace now remains, lay on 
the right-hand side of Cromwell Lane, turning down 
from Brompton Hall toward Gloucester Road and 
Kensington. It was approached through a door- 
way, and consisted of a group of cottages on either 
side of a sinuous footpath. There was no carriage- 
road. Each residence stood in about half an acre of 
garden ground, and was enclosed by a high black 
fence. The Vale, which partly abutted on Crom- 
well Lane, had been originally formed by the 
enclosure of some of the demesne of Cromwell 
House, and the waste plots along the lane were 


gradually occupied by houses of various styles, 
including one where the Gunnings formerly lived, 
On the left-hand side once stood Bute House, and 
beyond it the Almshouses. 

When I knew the Vale, three of the residents 
were the Reynells, the Spagnolettis, and the 
Edward Wrights. The ditch which traversed it 
and skirted the Reynells' garden on the southern 
side (one of its slopes was their strawberry-bed) 
came out at the Admiral Keppel inn, where the 
Chelsea Pound stood, and where there was a meet- 
ing of cross-roads. When they were draining this 
ground about sixty years since, the skeleton of a 
man who had been buried in lime a suicide or a 
murderer was discovered. 

On the site of Pelham Crescent was Colville's 
Nursery, or, rather, one of them. A path, flanked 
by a ditch on one side and a hedge on the other, 
led right across to that portion of Bell and Horns 
Lane, by Brompton Hall. The Crescent was built 
about 1837 by Bonnin. Old people recollect the 
fields there, and the stile over which you had to 
climb to the path which led to Brompton HalL 
Pelham Place was a much later creation, teste 
meipso. Our relatives, Sir John and Lady S tod- 
dart, on their return from Malta, were among 


the earliest residents there. This was about 

I am reminded that opposite Pelham Crescent 
there was in my early time a considerable open 
space immediately at the back of Pond Place, and 
I went with H. J. Byron, when we were quite lads, 
to see a fair held there. This space may have been 
the last vestige of Chelsea Common, which, accord- 
ing to Lysons, consisted of thirty-seven acres, and 
lay between the Fulham and King's Roads. I 
believe that St. Luke's Church and churchyard 
occupy part of the area, for it is observable that an 
unusually large piece of ground was assigned to this 
purpose, bespeaking the relatively small value of 
land at the time. 

Onslow Square covers the old grounds of several 
mansions, including Cowper House. It is the 
mutilated avenue of the last which is seen in the 
centre and in a passage leading from the Fulham 
Road. Many years since a gentleman in this 
square had a large collection of papers on Old 
Brompton, but who he was, and what became of 
them, I never heard. 

Bell and Horns Lane practically extended to 
Earl's Court, and was bounded on both sides the 
whole way down to about 1850 by private mansions 


or other houses, market-gardens, and nurseries, 
among which I may mention those of Gray, 
Siggers, Colville, Con way (by the turnpike, where 
the Bolton estate was laid out), Rigby, and Kirke. 
My mother bought her morello cherries for pre- 
serving at Conway's. 

The lane eventually debouched near what is now 
the Brompton Cemetery and the Redcliffe estate, 
and on the left was Walnut-tree Walk, leading to 
the Fulham Road (a not very safe place for pedes- 
trians, as I have known ladies robbed at mid-day), 
while on the right the road wound round to 
Kensington, and brought one out opposite Holland 

On the right and left of Walnut-tree Walk, and 
between that and the cemetery, there was nothing 
but market-grounds and orchards, except a field on 
the right, where, years after the presence of any 
actual danger, a board was to be seen, warning the 
public * to beware of the bull/ 

On the other side of the cemetery toward the 
Fulham Fields was a country road, where one of 
my godfathers, Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, inventor 
of the Bude Light and of the Steam Tram, was the 
first, I believe, to put up houses. I accompanied 
him as a youth on his visits to his property, ' an^d 

VOL. n. 27 


have the flavour of the red currants yet on my 
palate, which I gathered in the remains of the old 
dismantled orchard. 

An amusing experience befell my father while he 
was in his early married life a visitor at Gurney's in 
Cornwall. He was rather addicted to woodmanship,, 
and sallied out one day with an axe, wherewith he 
lopped a number of trees on somebody else's estate. 
The owner applied to Gurney, who was on the 
commission of the peace, for a warrant for his 
guest's apprehension, and that document I possess. 
But I believe that the matter occasioned some 
merriment, and was amicably settled. 

The ground now occupied by the Brompton 
Cemetery was a market - garden down to 1836, 
when, or in 1837, it was surveyed, enclosed, and 
laid out. The whole area between it and Walnut- 
tree Walk, and between the Earl's Court and 
Fulham Roads, was also cultivated, and principally 
orchards. The grounds of Mr. Toogood's house at 
the Earl's Court end of the Walk, and Mr. Popart's 
at the other, nearly met. This was a thoroughly 
rural bit, 

Gunter the pastrycook lived at Earl's Court, 
while it was still a retired and rustic neighbour- 
h6od. Of course, he had had the opportunity of 


buying up all the parcels of land outside the 
Harrington and other estates on both sides of the 
Fulham Road, and he eventually employed George 
Godwin the architect, one of the first occupiers of 
the houses in Pelham Crescent, to lay out the 
property for him in what is known as Bolton's, 
Tregunter Road, where Halliwell-Phillipps resided 
many years, and (on the opposite side) in Gunter's 
Grove, on the borders of Chelsea and Fulham. 

A friend of mine, who was articled to Godwin, 
recollects Pollard the schoolmaster, next door to 
Brompton Church, coming in every week to see the 
Bitilder, which was then a comparatively new under- 
taking, at Pelham Crescent. Pollard sold his school- 
site to the Oratory. 

Opposite Chelsea Park, or Wharton Park, as it 
was originally named, in Little Chelsea, lay Brompton 
Heath, an open space which must have originally 
extended from the village of Little Chelsea to Swan 
Lane on the east side, and have abutted on the 
Earl's Court Road, or continuation of Bell and 
Horns Lane. This has all utterly vanished. 
Thistle Grove preserves in its name an indication 
of the former condition of the site. 

Thistle Grove appears to have been parcelled out 
into building allotments about 1 8 1 6, and was a cul- 


de-sac at the northern end, the extension known as 
Drayton Grove being under cultivation, and the 
sole approach from the Fulham Road at this point 
to EarTs Court and Kensington being through the 
narrow lane at the back of the Grove. 

Beyond Little Chelsea lay Walham Green and 
Fulham, and to the south Sand's End and Parson's 
Green, all detached hamlets separated from London 
and each other by wide stretches of open land or 
garden, now consolidated into one huge continuous 
street, as it were, resonant with some of the least 
attractive forms of modern life. Scarcely anything 
but Peterborough House and Fulham Palace remain 
to shew what this side of the Metropolis originally 
was. Fulham Palace possesses a unique interest 
as the only moated house within the Metropolitan 

Between Walham Green and Fulham, on the left- 
hand side, after turning the angle in the road by 
the modern fire-engine house, lay Purser's Cross, 
which is lost in the so-called Percy Cross House 


Anecdotes of the Duke of York and Duke of Wellington Thomas 
Wright, F.S.A., and Madame Wright The Carter Halls at the 
Rosery Anecdote about Tennyson Guizot at Old Brompton 
An original letter from him to my father Gloucester Lodge 
George Canning Don Carlos Braham the singer 
Brompton * parliament ' A mysterious resident in Brompton 
Vale The Spagnolettis The Holls Henry Holl the actor 
His circle G. V. Brooke Holl as a mimic and story- 
teller Dickens and Forster Some account of the latter 
Frank Holl, R.A. Dr. Duplex. 

FIFTY years ago, Siggers the market-gardener had 
a large piece of the ground on the Earl's Court side, 
opposite Conway's Nursery, and contiguous to the 
turnpike. I met Siggers by chance many years 
since, and entered into conversation with him about 
the old place. He narrated a curious anecdote of 
the Duke of York. He had instructed all his 
children never to accept gratuities from strangers ; 
it was a very secluded and thinly-populated part, 
and the precaution was necessary enough. His 
daughters came home one day, and told him that a 
gentleman on horseback had stopped them, asked 


them their names, and, pulling a shilling out of his 
pocket, stooped to offer it to them. They declined 
to receive it, and the gentleman asked their reason. 
They said that their father had ordered them not to 
take money from anyone. From their description 
Siggers guessed who their interviewer had been. 

This account probably referred to the time when 
the Duke kept Mrs. Carey at Fulham or another 
lady at the White House, Putney. His Royal 
Highness had children by the former, who passed 
under the name of Gibbs, and strongly resembled 
the Georges. They went to Roy's school, at 
Burlington House, Fulham, and were afterward 
drafted into the War Office. 

The public service at that period was the ordinary 
destination of the offshoots or superannuated ser- 
vants of the nobility and of Royalty. Indeed, so 
late as the time of the Crimean War such was still 
the case. While I was at the War Office, a son of 
Sidney Herbert was on the staff under an assumed 
name ; he was well nursed. 

Siggers told me some queer and unproducible 
stories of the old Duke of Wellington in connection 
with Brompton, where he favoured a resort par- 
taking of the character of a casino and something 
else. His Grace was a regular Orlando Inamorato 


or Don Juan, and not always of a very high 

He had the habit of keeping at Apsley House a 
considerable amount in bank-notes, and on one 
occasion, when he was paying for a heavy purchase, 
the vendor respectfully suggested a cheque. But 
the Duke told him that he liked to settle such 
matters in cash, as he did not wish Coutts's to know 
what a fool he was sometimes. 

In Sydney Street, Fulham Road, during the last 
years of his life resided Thomas Wright, the dis- 
tinguished antiquary and man of letters, the intimate 
associate of H alii well- Phillipps. Wright married 
a discarded mistress of Francisque Michel. I saw 
her once or twice a lady of imposing appearance, 
but, from what H alii well gave me to understand, and 
from what I learned otherwise, by no means a 
crown to her husband, unless it was one of thorns. 
A credulous relative of mine described her to me 
on one occasion as a scion of the ancient French 
noblesse. Very possible ; and this noblesse yielded 
an abundant crop of such phenomena. 

She was poor Wright's evil genius. He was a 
man of vast industry and erudition, and deserved a 
better fortune. H alii well allowed him a pension 
supplemental to the munificent one of 6$ with 


which the discerning and impartial British Govern- 
ment requited thirty years of archaeological scholar- 
ship and research. 

The royal housekeeper at Kew Palace, her 
nephew informs me, has ^350 a year, with lodging 
and perquisites. How equitable and how con- 
sistent ! 

Wright was not a journalist, nor a Liverpool 
man, nor a Scot, or Mr. Gladstone and his alter ego 
might have made him a grant out of the public 
funds, followed at a decent interval by a pension for 
life, as they did in the case of a very young man 
who had written a few copies of verses, and who 
will, it is to be feared, be a charge on the taxpayers 
during the next forty or fifty years, thanks to these 
two eminent Liberal statesmen. 

One of the small detached houses along the 
Earl's Court Road, before you came to Jenny 
Lind's, was the Rosery, or, as Jerrold called it, the 
Roguery. I recollect being taken here as a boy to 
see the Carter Halls, and being struck by their 
wall-plums, the bloom on which yet lives in my 
mind's eye. My companion (or, rather, I suppose 
I ought to say, escort) was Lily Blanchard, after- 
ward Mrs. Blanchard Jerrold. 

Mrs. Carter Hall was generally allowed to be a 


very accomplished and able woman ; I have always 
heard that the gray mare was the better horse in 
this case, and * Cairter,' as she used to call him, was 
little better than a book-maker. Yet he continued 
during a long series of years to earn a handsome 
income out of journalism and letters, and to secure 
a pension. He never failed from lack of courage. 
He asked Moxon and Co. ^'600 for the right to 
reprint in book -form his Memories of Writers, 
which he had communicated to some periodical. 

This was toward the close of his career. I 
happened to be the next client whom the firm was 
to see, and Hall went out as I went in. His aspect 
was truly venerable, and I noted the amplitude of 
his shirt-collar, to which he was indebted for the 
sobriquet of Shirt-Collar Hall. 

The personage who received us both in succes- 
sion was the manager engaged to look after Moxon's 
business after his death for the benefit of the widow, 
Lamb's Emma Isola. He did not do much to pro- 
mote the interests of his unlucky employer. One 
of his exploits, I was informed, was to signify his 
disapprobation of the late Poet Laureate by surmount- 
ing his portrait in Moxon's parlour with ass's ears. 
Because the present deponent objected to certain 
commercial irregularities in connection with an 


edition of Charles Lamb's works in 1868, the same 
individual launched through the hospitable columns 
of the Athenceum some amenities not worth remem- 
bering about 'the tribe of Hazlitt,' which yet sur- 

A temporary resident in Brompton about this 
time was the ex- Minister Guizot, whose works on 
Civilization and the English Revolution of 1 640 my 
father translated. He sent the books to Guizot, 
and received the following acknowledgment : 


Je vous remercie beaucoup des quatre volumes que vous 
avez voulu m'envoyer. Je suis heureux que mes ouvrages aient 
rencontr un traducteur tel que vous, et si je rencontre en lisant 
votre traduction quelques inexactitudes qui meritent d'etre re- 
marquees, je m'impresserai de vous les signaler. 

Regevez, je vous prie, Tassurance de ma consideration trbs 



Brompton, Juillet, 1848. 

The father of Guizot had perished on the scaffold 
in the first Revolution, and as, next to his master, 
he was the best hated man in France in 1848, he 
naturally lost no time in placing the Channel 
between himself and his countrymen. Those who 
were in Paris at the acute crisis must remember the 
ominous cries of l A has Guizot /' 


One of the famous old houses in Brompton was 
Gloucester Lodge, built for the Duke of Gloucester, 
one of the sons of George III. It stood on the 
right-hand side of the Gloucester Road on the way 
to Kensington. George Canning afterward lived 
there, and at a later period Don Carlos, whose 
sudden disappearance one morning in July, 1834, 
was soon explained by his arrival as the head of an 
insurrectionary movement in Spain. The building, 
which occupied with its grounds a considerable 
area, surrounded by a very high fence, remained 
unoccupied for a long time, and was at last pulled 
down. Just before its demolition I went over it 
with my boyish and almost life-long acquaintance, 
Henry James Byron, whose name will recur. 

Although Michael's Place and Grove and Bromp- 
ton Crescent, now no more, are in the parish of 
Chelsea, they were in such immediate contiguity to 
Old Brompton that I may be excused for mention* 
ing the residence of Braham the singer Lamb's 
*Jew, gentleman, and angel' in the house at the 
end of Michael's Grove. The singer's daughter 
became Lady Waldegrave. My father, who had a 
very promising voice, was, as we have heard, very 
nearly becoming his pupil. 

Leading up to Braham's house, on the left hand, 


and not far from the highroad, was Hume the 
baker's, a depot for white and brown parliament, 
oblong cakes of farinaceous material slightly 
sweetened, and cruciformly divided on the face 
into four smaller squares. The brown variety is 
still in commerce ; but the other is forgotten, and 
the cruciformity has been discontinued. A curious 
book might be written on the origin and archaeology 
of sweets. 

Within the limits of Chelsea lay also York Place, 
adjoining the Jewish Burial Ground, and opposite 
the Consumption Hospital. I merely refer to it 
because there was in my nonage a preparatory 
establishment kept in one of the houses by Dr. 
Frampton, who, when I was among his pupils, freely 
applied the ruler to our knuckles, and also employed 
the old-fashioned abacus for arithmetical purposes. 
I was of the day-scholars, and Frampton rather un- 
commercially took us out for a walk before dinner, 
which put & serious edge on our appetites. We had 
pudding twice a week plum-pudding on Tuesdays 
and baked rice on Thursdays. The former was 
always the day when my step on the homeward 
route was most elastic. 

From the preference shown by many of the 
musical and theatrical professions for this delightful 


retreat, we are led to infer that the soft air of the 
locality recommended itself to the bronchial require- 
ments of these gentlemen and ladies, as well as 
the attraction of the rural scenery and quiet. 

I judge it to have been one of the truest pleasures 
of my life, if not one of its greatest privileges, to 
contemplate with my own eyes the beautiful hamlet 
of Old Brompton, as it appeared prior to the 
Exhibition of 1851, which virtually destroyed it 
and not it alone. When I was a child this outskirt 
of London was much in its primitive condition as 
it had been in the days of the early Georges, if 
not of the Stuarts. Fragments of it yet remain to 
shew what it has been, just about Alexander Place 
and Square, the old Church, the Queen's Elm, and 
a few other points. 

A mysterious personage preceded my uncle as 
tenant of the premises in the Vale. It was a forger 
or utterer, or both, of flash bank-notes ; and an old 
gardener, who afterward worked for Mr. Reynell, 
gave this account of him, that he rode out every 
morning on horseback, and returned in the evening, 
both his beast and himself presenting the appearance 
of having ridden far and hard. It was conjectured 
that his practice was to change the notes at different 
points, and at as considerable a distance as possible 


from headquarters. What became of the fellow the 
narrator did not know ; if he was apprehended, the 
* three-legged mare ' was his infallible destiny, and 
the mere fact that his proceedings were capable of 
explanation seems to shew that the fraud was dis- 
covered, if it was not punished. 

Through the Reynells we knew the Spagnolettis, 
through the latter the Farrens, and through these 
the Rolls, and so on. This was in the early forties. 
The Byrons became acquainted with us through my 
father's engagement in the reporting gallery. 

Spagnoletti, father of my old friend Charles 
Spagnoletti, was not only the son of the famous 
leader of the Italian Opera, and one of the immortal 
triumvirate in the ballad of Old King Cole, but he 
married the daughter of Stowasser, leader of the 
Horse Guards Band. My friend's father was a 
first-rate musical teacher, and might have done very 
well in his profession. But he was not very 
methodical, and was greatly addicted to the gentle, 
but not remunerative, science of angling. Many a 
time, when his pupils were expecting him, Spagno- 
letti absented himself on the plea of indisposition, 
while he had really set off on a pleasant little excur- 
sion with his rod and bag. He was another of the 
worthies of the Vale. 


Charles Spagnoletti narrated to me the following- 
naughty little story : 

A lad, whose mother had bought some lamb, and 
had forgotten to ask her husband, who was the 
leader of the church choir, how she was to dress it, 
was sent after his father to make the inouiry, and 
reached the place when the service had already 
commenced. He went up into the organ-loft and 
affected to join in the anthem, chanting : 

' Mother has bought a quarter of lamb, and how shall she 

To which the parent, responding, said : 

'Roast the leg, boil the loin, and make a pudding of the 
suet. 5 

It is well known that the boys in the choir 
frequently mimic the choral intonation in talking to 
each other, when they have cast their white clerical 

I also owe to him a second anecdote : 
Mr. James Forbes and Sir Edward Watkin, 
long the two leading spirits on the Chatham and 
Dover and South-Eastern Railways, conferring to- 
gether on some arrangements propounded by the 
former to be for mutual advantage, Watkin allowed 


his friend to go on for some time, but, at last inter- 
rupting, said very quietly : ' And where do I come 
in, James?' 

When we first knew the Holls, they resided in a 
small cottage in Stewart's Grove, a turning out of 
the Fulham Road. He was a handsome man, and 
had married a very pretty woman. So far back as 
I can remember, Henry Holl had an engagement at 
the Haymarket under Webster's management, but 
latterly he joined Gustavus Vasa Brooke at the 
Olympic, and eventually gave up the stage. He 
was the author of a few dramatic trifles and two or 
three novels, of which the best, the Kings Mail, 
was founded on an incident connected with the 
Haslemere district his wife's native place. 

We often saw Brooke at Chelsea. He was one 
of those lost in the London in 1866. Holl played 
second to him in Shakespear and melodrama. As 
a boy I was most impressed by the American 
tragedian's Othello, Richard III., and Sir Giles 
Overreach. I presumed to set him before Charles 
Kean all round ; he had a better presence and voice. 
Alike in Kean and in his wife the voice failed, but 
he (Kean) was fairly good in such pieces as the 
Corsican Brothers and Pizarro. 

Holl had known a very wide circle of educated 


and intelligent people ; his family had been always 
associated with art ; and his own ties were princi- 
pally dramatic and literary. He was fond of books, 
and sought the acquaintance of bookish men. There 
were few of the prominent authors of his day whom 
he had not met, and with some of them he was on 
Intimate terms. He was a man of excellent address, 
but I always looked upon him as rather artificial. 

I mention elsewhere his entertaining imitations of 
his leading theatrical contemporaries Keeley, Buck- 
stone, Macready, Webster, and others. When Holl 
was in the right cue, an evening spent at his house 
in Brompton over talk about the old poets and 
playwrights, or, as an alternative, a taste of our host's 
quality as a remembrancer of other men's styles, was 
an enrichment of the experience and the thought. 
To his great annoyance, people often confounded 
the late Henry Howe and him, both at one time 
members of the Haymarket establishment ; and I 
believe that the displeasure was reciprocal. 

Holl used to say that when Dickens and Forster 
took a long walk together, the latter, being some- 
what pursy, had to pause occasionally to get breath, 
and would try to make Dickens relax his pace by 
drawing his attention to the beauty of the scenery, 
especially if the route was uphill. Holl's mode of 

VOL. ii. 28 


telling the story was very funny the way* that 
Forster puffed and blew, and held his sides with, 

1 My dear Dickens, just observe that bit ' He 

was an excellent raconteur as well as mimic. 

I pointed out long ago that the Bill Stumps 
pleasantry in Pickwick was borrowed from the 
School for Wits, a jest-book published in 1813. I 
have heard that the notion of the Golden Dustman 
in O^tr Mittual friend was derived from the 
immense pile of dust which remained for many 
years untouched at the back of Gray's Inn Lane, 
somewhere between Coldbath Fields and Mount 
Pleasant, and that a large sum was eventually 
cleared by the owner, who sold it to the Russian 
Government in 18 1 2, after the destruction of Moscow, 
to mix with the lime for cement. I give this dit for 
what it is worth. 

John Forster Lady Bulwer's Butcher's Boy 
was a self-made man, very agreeable to those who 
could keep him at a distance, but highly unpleasant 
when he chose. A cabman once described him 
idiomatically as 'an arbitrary cove.' There was a 
small jeu d* esprit about him related in connection 
with some wine at the dinner-table, of which Forster, 
on being asked, characteristically affected to know 


' What's this wine, John ?' he says to his man. 

4 Three-and-six,' says John. 

The artificial condescension of Forster was a 
thing never to be forgotten. This manner arose 
from his poor training, and was a kind of self- 
protection. He did not know how you were going 
to approach him, and he put out his elbow first. 
His letters to me were polite enough, but he was 
unpleasantly overbearing to those who did not hold 
their ground. He was a thorough beggar on horse- 

Frank Holl, the Academician, a nephew of our 
old acquaintance, was most unassuming and agree- 
able, but very irritable, partly owing, perhaps, to 
his always indifferent health, for he was a chronic 
sufferer from angina pectoris, and I was surprised at 
his lasting even so long as he did. 

One day, when a right reverend prelate was 
sitting for his portrait, everything seemed to go 
wrong. Holl could not find his colours, and when 
he found them he missed something else. Then 
something slipped down ; Holl began to mutter 
curses on Fortune, and at last he swore audibly, 
till the Bishop got up and, taking his hat, wished 
the painter good-morning, observing, 'You are the 
most ungentlemanly man, Mr. Holl, I ever met.' 


A common acquaintance of the Rolls and our- 
selves was Dr. Duplex, M.D., to whom I have 
understood that the Duplex lamp owed its origin. 
The name always haunts me as a felicitous one 
for a novel, where the central character was some 
medical Janus. 


The Byrons H. J. Byron and his family Early development of 
a dramatic taste As a medical student My peculiar intimacy 
with him Our evenings together People I met at his house 
Story of him and Arthur Sketchley Byron's earliest love- 
affair The Bancrofts Mary Wilton at the Strand Robert- 
sonAnecdotes of Byron One of his last sayings Robinson 
Crusoe and Miss Larkin Cupid and Psyche, 

THE Byrons were a second family with whom 
we met in those days. Henry Byron, father of 
Henry James Byron the dramatist, was on the 
Morning Post, and secretary of the Conservative 
Association. He had married Josephine Bradley, 
daughter of a medical man at Buxton, and an 
extremely attractive woman ; and young Byron, 
when he left school, was intended to take up 
his grandfather's profession. I, of course, knew 
him when we were lads together, and his father 
lived in a small house near Eaton Square. Henry 
Byron, who was related to the poet, had been 
a College man, and had squandered a fortune. 
He obtained a consular appointment in later life. 


The elder Byron was a most genial fellow, and 
a thorough gentleman by breeding and instinct ; 
but he was deplorably insincere, and that defect 
was doubtless aggravated by his straitened circum- 
stances and his fondness for little dinners and 
other sweet impoverishments. I remember that we 
generally knew when the Byrons of Pimlico were 
expecting friends to dinner, as an application for 
a loan of wine, if not of other accessories, was 
at the last almost a matter of course. When he 
obtained his appointment, he proposed to requite 
my father's manifold kindness by an early consign- 
ment of choice cigars and preserved ortolans, which 
never presented themselves. Nor did we expect 

The dramatic bias of young Byron betrayed itself 
at a very precocious age. He used, almost as a 
schoolboy at St. Peter's, to compose scenes, and, 
like a second Moliere, recite them before his father's 
cook when Mr. and Mrs. Byron were out. From 
the date of his father's departure for Hayti till 
his marriage and settlement in Brompton, I saw 
nothing of him. The last glimpse which I had 
had was as a medical student with a practitioner 
near Westbourne Grove. 

It was of the latter individual that he quoted 


the joke about the boiled rice on two successive 
days for dinner, and his principal's exclamation : 
'What! boiled rice again! How we do live!' It 
was to Hepworth Dixon that they used to ascribe 
the impatient rejection of ice-pudding at a dinner, 
because he understood the waiter to offer a more 
familiar dish. 

Subsequently to Henry James Byron and myself 
resuming our intercourse, in direct consequence of 
our accidental meeting one day in 1858 near the 
Queen's Elm, I probably saw more of him than 
anyone till within a few years of his death, when 
certain private circumstances produced an estrange- 
ment. But during a long succession of years I 
had the good fortune to enjoy his society and 
conversation, and I affirm that, while I knew Byron, 
I owed to him some of the pleasantest days of 
my life, and that in losing him I lost that which 
it was out of my power to replace. 

The evenings which he and myself had 
together at Brompton and in Doughty Street 
proved to me his inexhaustible store of humour 
and fun, and that his productions for the stage 
and the press were very inferior to his real powers 
of talk and aptitude for repartee. His remarks 
and his anecdotes, unlike those of duller men, were 


diverting and racy without being coarse ; and I 
believe that if his training had been better, and 
his mind more balanced, he might have shone in 
the most brilliant society. The lax and corrupt 
school into which he was brought by his choice 
of a dramatic and theatrical career exercised the 
most pernicious influence on a not very staunch 
character. The environments of the theatres and 
the seductions of the green-room sapped his morals 
and his health. 

At Doughty Street I met Sothern and his wife, 
Mrs. Charles Mathews, Edward and Albert Levi, 
Arthur Sketchley, Tom Robertson, Marie Wilton, 
Bancroft, and many others. It was the house 
associated with Byron's most prosperous period 
and with his unhappy downfall through the Liver- 
pool speculation. The Levis were the sons of 
J, M. Levi, who was at one time a printer in 
Fleet Street. He published a sixpenny series of 
Tales, including Joan of Naples, for which he 
paid my father as the translator j IDS. I 
recollect Mr. Levi handing me the sum on my 
father's account, and I likewise call to mind a 
small trait of the same gentleman when he was 
proprietor of the Daily Telegraph, namely, his> 
aversion to tautology. He must have emphasized 


this sentiment to lead Byron to mention it to me. 
The Levis were long on the most cordial terms 
with my friend. 

While Byron, Arthur Sketchley, and myself were 
once at early dinner, an area sneak found his way 
to the kitchen window, and made off with the 
silver teapot and some spoons. It was very droll 
to watch Byron, with his tall, slim figure, and 
George Rose (Sketchley's real name), a very 
Falstaff, pursuing the thief into the neighbouring 
square, and picking up the spoons, which the 
fellow dropped one by one, to enable him to 
secure the teapot, at all events. But he was 

Byron's earliest acknowledged theatrical flame 
was the accomplished lady once known far and 
wide as Miss Woolgar. It was a lad's fancy for 
a woman considerably his senior, and the passion, 
such as it was, was quenched by the mortifying 
discovery that his goddess was in reality a married 
person playing under her maiden name in fact, 
that she was the wife of Alfred Mellon. 

Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft were architects of their 
own fortune. He was a provincial actor, whom 
Byron took up, and brought from Liverpool to 
the Prince of Wales's Theatre, formerly the Queens 


Dusthole, when it was first opened under the joint 
management of Byron and Marie Wilton. Bancroft, 
although barely tolerable in private life as I saw 
him on his first settlement in London, made a very 
gentlemanly and careful performer on the boards. 

Marie Wilton, I heard from Byron, who was very 
intimate with her through their theatrical companion- 
ship, and called her indifferently Marie and Wilton, 
was the daughter of strolling players. I knew 
nothing of her till through his association with 
the Strand Theatre I saw her in his burlesques, 
where she was very much applauded for her success 
in the breakdowns. I recollect her retrousst nose, 
her very curtailed petticoats, and her saucy carriage. 
Quantum mutata ! They tell me she is now a 
gravde dame living in a fashionable square, and 
plays now and then ' to oblige.' 

Robertson, author of several well-known Society 
pieces, attracted notice as a playwright at last ; but 
his fortunes had been sadly checkered, and his 
success came too late to be of much service to him. 
When his comedy of Ours was in course of perform- 
ance at the Prince of Wales's Theatre, the name 
was posted up all over the neighbourhood, and some 
Frenchmen went, thinking it was an exhibition of 


When Byron and I have been together talking 
over things, putting matters in queer lights, or doing 
a little quiet scandal about common acquaintance, 
we have sometimes become so convulsed with 
laughter that we have been scarcely able to keep 
our feet. It was a favourite trick to pace up and 
down, the room while we talked, and often he took 
one side and I the other. He was thoroughly 
honourable, though extravagant and unbusinesslike. 
When his affairs were on the drift, and he was short 
of money, I offered to lend him a considerable sum ; 
but he declined to take it, not being certain whether 
he should have it in his power to repay me. 

He proposed as a motto for the booking-office at 
the Prince of Wales's, l So much for Booking 'rn.' 

My old friend was a lover of good things in a 
convivial sense as well as otherwise, and keenly- 
enjoyed his meals when there was anything to his 
liking on the table. I once impudently suggested 
that the family motto, instead of Crede Byron, should 
be Greedy Byron. 

Byron amused me by his description of his inter- 
views with old Mr. Swanborough, who was stone deaf. 
The two sat at opposite sides of a table, and Byron, 
having provided himself with a series of small slips 
of paper, had to do his part of the conversation by 


writing down what he had to say, and passing the 
memorandum over to the manager. Swanborough 
read it, and replied orally ; but sometimes, when the 
topic under discussion involved a serious divergence 
of opinion, the singular medley of written and verbal 
dialogue became more and more animated, till the 
dramatist exhausted his stock of material and his 
companion grew breathless with excitement and 
indignant gesticulation. Byron, however, main- 
tained his amicable relations with the Strand during 
many years, and it was the scene of some of his 
earliest successes. 

He was mentioning one clay at dinner that he 
had met the manager of the Surrey Theatre, This 
was when his pieces were commanding high figures, 
or bringing him in a splendid royalty. The manager 
said that he should be very happy to arrange for 
something. . : ' Well, it's only a question of 
price. How much do you give?' 'Well,' replied 
Manager, ' I have given ^5.' B. : ' Oh, don't let 
me rob you of all that money, my boy/ 

I was told a story about a barn-stormer who used 
to make the round of the out-of-the-way Scotish 
towns and play the regular pieces, not forgetting 
Hamkt. He and his company were so successful 
that they ventured at last to raise the tariff from 


threepence to sixpence, when the Prince of Denmark 
was put upon the stage. The audience was, of 
course, rather dissatisfied and mutinous, and after 
the performance, says Sandy to Jock : * Wall, an* 
what did ye think of it ?' * Wall/ says Jock, 4 it 
war pratty well, but war not a saxpenny Hamlet" 

Someone having been sent up into the gallery of a 
theatre where Nelly Farren was playing in C^t,pid 
and Psyche, to test the acoustic properties of the 
building for her voice, heard two men debating the 
signification of the title of the piece and the proper 
mode of pronouncing the name ; one said to the 
other : * It's Cupid and Zych, you know ; you must 
pronounce it like z in zinc.' 

As in the case of Henry Holl and so many others, 
the special characteristics of Byron were purely 
personal. He was in a certain sense the first and 
the last of his family. He had a daughter, however, 
who married Major Seton. She was telling me one 
day that the present Lord Byron called at Colonel 
Byron's while she was staying there to ask the 
Colonel or one of his sisters what relation he was to 
the poet of the same name, in case he should be 

Byron and myself happened to bring out a novel 
concurrently. I forger the title of his, and that of 


mine is not worth preserving. It was in 1865. 

We both knew the editor of the very well, and 

I applied to that gentleman for leave to review my 
friend's book, and he to review mine. We were 
mutually encomiastic too much so, I fear. Gentle 
reader, if you have not yet printed anything, be sure, 
before you do, that you engage your critics, and see 
that they are perfect in their parts. Of course, they 
must all be friendly, but their friendliness has to be 
adroitly varied, and even to be thinly sprinkled 
with guarded qualification, for that evinces a dis- 
criminating vein and the hand of a man whom money 
will not buy. I am rather proud to be able to say 
that this was the sole occasion on which I thus 
compromised myself 

When Byron brought out his Robinson Crusoe, he 
had a little difficulty with one of the lady artistes^ 
Miss Sophia Larkin, because the latter had a part 
assigned to her (that of the mariner of York himself) 
which required her investiture in tights, and the fair 
performer was not too slight in figure. There was 
some fun over the matter at the time, but Miss 
Larkin pulled through the tights and the part. 
The author was immensely tickled, however, when 
his buxom Crusoe presented herself for approval. 

The remarkable gauckeries about persons who 


were till yesterday, so to speak, among us, only 
become amusing from their preposterous character. 
The son of a publisher in Fleet Street, who had 
something to do with Byron's literary productions, 
when 1 asked him whether he had not frequently 
seen him at his father's place of business, promptly 
replied : ' Yes ; he wrote the School for Scandal' 

One of the last sayings recorded of him was when 
Hollingshead and one or two others were with him 
at the last, and John Col man the actor asked him 
if he was not the first Hamlet he ever saw. c No/ 
replied Byron, leaning on his arm in bed, ' you 
mistook me, John ; I said you were the worst" 

I used now and then to venture at Byron's table 
to edge in something of my own. When the 
advertisements of a now wellnigh forgotten public 
character were placarded everywhere in the London 
thoroughfares, I remarked that those were the Woodin 
walls of old England. Woodin was for some time 
the rage. He was to be seen at the Hall in King 
William Street, Strand, where the Christy Minstrels 
once performed, and where Toole's Theatre now 

Neighbours of the Byrons that is, of H. J. 
Byron's parents in the region bordering on Sloane 
Square, and equally a family which my father knew 


through his association with the press, were the 
McCabes. They were Irish folks and Romanists, 
and had literary evenings, at which my father was 
occasionally present. He would say that if he got 
McCabe on a theological point, and fancied that he 
had him in a corner, his opponent would always slip 
somehow between his legs. He used to speak of 
this gentleman as Father McCabe or as the Patriarch 
of Pimlico. Many years after McCabes retirement 
to Ireland, he wrote to me personally to solicit my 
aid in obtaining a publisher for a monograph which 
he had written on the Romano- British Emperor 
Carausius The work was scholarly enough, but 
the topic was not judged to be saleable. 

Two names intimately identified with our Bromp- 
ton, and indeed Chelsea, life are those of 
Blanchard and Keymer, families connected by 
marriage. I have, I find, mentioned both else- 
where,* and incidentally I refer in these pages to 
Blanchard and his daughter, wife of Blanchard 
Jerrold. Keymer lived at Kennington, opposite 
the Common, and subsequently at Peckham Rye, 
and under his hospitable roof assembled Kenny 
Meadows, James Hannay, F. G. Stephens, whom 
I so vividly remember in his studio at Lupus 
* Letters of Charles Lamb, 1886, ii. 290, 433. 


Street, Pimlico, and many other literary men and 

Our host's eldest daughter is best known as the 
late Mrs. Charles Heaton, and as Editor of Cunning- 
ham's Lives of the Painters. 

Meadows was a desperate stay-maker. He liked 
his glass perhaps a little too well, and he had no 
notion of hours. The Keymers often went to bed, 
and left their guest to finish the bottle and find his 
way out. Meadows was a fair designer, but had a 
very poor idea of drawing. 

There are many who look upon Rowland's 
Odonto and Macassar Oil as mere trade terms, but 
Rowland and his wife lived somewhere about Forest 
Hill, and were, at any rate, acquainted with the 
Keymers. He was a small man and she a large 
lady. One night there was an alarm of thieves, and 
the two got out of bed and proceeded downstairs to 
reconnoitre, she leading the way, and little Rowland 
bringing up the rear with the hem of her night-dress 
in his hand. So the scene was described to me at 
the time, and it must have been one calculated to 
disconcert the apprehended invaders. 

One of Charles Lamb's latest contributions to a 
particular class of literature was written in Keymer's 

VOL. ii. 29 


At that time, what a neighbourhood it was ! All 
the environs were rural ; they had not been 
socialized ; Dulwich Wood had not been desecrated. 
Halliwell-Phillipps lived at Brixton Rise, Ruskin 
at Denmark Hill. City merchants chose' these 
southern suburbs for their residences, as they had 
the northern a generation earlier. 


The old actors at Brompton John Reeve Liston The Keeleys 
Mrs. Chatterton Some account of Mr. and Mrs. Keeley 
The Farrens Characters played by old Mr. Farren Contre- 
temps at a dinner-party at Thurloe Place Durrant Cooper, 
F.S.A. His canards One about the Queen and Prince 
Albert William Farren the younger Sir Henry Irving 
Webster and Harley Anecdotes of both Buckstone As an 
actor The short-petticoat movement Madame Vestris and 
Miss Priscilla Horton Menken's Mazeppa Mrs. Fitzwilliam 
The Spanish Dancers Behind the scenes at Jerrold's 
benefit Charles Mathews and his second wife Edward 
Wright Paul Bedford The Adelphi melodrama The more 
modern pantomime A daily incident at Old Brompton 
The French Plays and Ethiopian Serenaders at the St James's 
The Kenneys The Baron de Merger His father and 
Napoleon I. My visit to the Chateau of Plessis-Barbe, 
near Tours De Merger and the Third Empire My first 
acquaintance with the illustrated French literature Dumas 
Henri Miirger's Scenes de la Vie Boheme Compared with 
Du Maurier's Trilby Saxe Bannister His Life of Paterson, 
founder of the Bank of England Mrs. Astor at Old Bromp- 
ton Her relationship to the Reynells John Jacob Astor 
Origin of his fortune. 

AMONG the actors who formerly made Old Brompton 
their home from its rural attractions, which recom- 
mended it to them, or otherwise, was John Reeve, 


who lived in Brompton Row, and whom a few still 
surviving may remember at the Adelphi in the 
Commissariat ; Liston, who had one of the smaller 
houses, afterward for years in Chancery, in St. 
George's Terrace, opposite Hyde Park ; Mr. and 
Mrs. Keeley, the Buckstones, the Farrens, Mathews 
the younger, who had a place in large grounds in 
Gore Lane, and Edward Wright. Reeve, who 
died in 1838, lies in Brompton churchyard. I have 
noted above the connection of Mrs. Chatterton with 
Brompton Square after her marriage to Place, the 
literary tailor. 

The Earl of Carlisle, whose name is associated 
with the Russell, Grey, and Minto set, is said to- 
have resembled Liston ; they were both remarkable 
for their plainness. 

The Keeleys were familiar figures in Brompton 
in my boyhood, and Mrs. Keeley still survives. 
The last time I met them was in Brompton Row, 
and my impression was that they were even then 
it is fifty years ago pretty old. But young people 
have that sort of notion about their seniors, where 
the difference is sometimes not so very considerable. 
This distinguished couple belonged to an epoch 
which can never return or be so much as realized 
by those who did not form part of it either 


personally or by direct tradition. Such as had the 
privilege of intimacy with Keeley or his wife might 
listen to their account of the stage as they found 
it as it was ivhen Hazlitt wrote. What have we 
now but a shrunk volume of capacity spread over 
an infinitely ampler superficies ? 

I have personally known three generations of 
Farren. The original William Farren lived, when 
I first remember him, in Brompton Square. He 
was a man of the most gentlemanly appearance and 
address, and his wife was a handsome and showy 
woman. My father, when he lived at Thurloe 
Place, got into trouble by asking some rather 
starchy people to meet them at dinner. Farren 
excelled in old men's parts. I saw him in Grand- 
father Whitehead, the character he was playing at 
the Strand when he was seized with a fit. 

His son Henry, who died young, took the same 
sort of business, when he was hardly more than 
twenty. His other son William, who cut a sorry 
figure when he first came on the boards, became 
eventually a finished and delightful artist. 

My uncle Reynell told me that the elder Farren 
was considered very fine as Dr. Primrose in the 
Vicar of Wakefield. 

It was Durrant Cooper, the Sussex antiquary, 


and his amiable sister, who met the Farrens on 
the occasion just alluded to, and the former was 
scandalized at having to sit down at table, or at 
his sister having to do so, with well, it was 
a case, as rumour went, of Bonaparte and Josephine, 
according to Talleyrand's mot, over again, and per- 
haps with no better foundation, Farren and his 
wife were a remarkably majestic couple. It is more 
than fifty years since, yet I retain their appearance 
distinctly. Child as I was, I thought the Coopers 
too squeamish ; perhaps it was because my parents 
did so. 

Cooper had been solicitor to the Reform Club, 
but proved too porous. He was a lamentable 
chatterbox, and some of his canards were excruci- 
ating, but a thoroughly good-hearted fellow and an 
excellent local archaeologist. One of Cooper's tales 
for the Marines was about the late Prince Consort. 
He made out that the Queen, when Her Majesty 
found her husband stopping out late rather frequently, 
put her royal foot down, and declared that she would 
not permit him to go so often to that Mr. Cooper's 
in Bloomsbury. 

William Farren the younger, as we used to call 
him, succeeded in keeping or recovering some of 
the property left by his father, and latterly per- 


formed only very occasionally, or for benefits. He 
formed a plan one autumn for revisiting Italy, when 
an offer or proposal arrived from one of the theatres, 
inviting him to take his favourite part in Holcroft's 
Road to Ruin. He wrote back, asking, as his 
daughter told me, exorbitant terms, in the hope 
that the manager might decline, and he might go 
abroad. But I believe that he was disappointed. 

Farren resembled, in the extraordinary change 
which occurred in the public estimation of his power 
and value as an actor, a second distinguished 
theatrical character of our time, Sir Henry Irving r 
than whom any one more desperately hopeless at 
the outset probably never trod the stage. But the 
comparison ends with the broad circumstances ; for 
Farren has risen to his present position by un- 
assisted ability and genius, while Irving seems to 
have owed his triumph to collateral auspices and the 
happy (not new) idea of making his pieces spectacu- 
larly attractive and accurate accurate, so far as his 
knowledge permits. Sir H. Irving does not seem 
to be 1 very well advised in his presentments, which 
are, of course, useful to make out any shortcomings 
in strict dramatic art. The popular ideas, or want 
of ideas, -on certain theatrical subjects may answer 
for a Cdvent Garden or Drury Lane pantomime ; 


but when a manager aspires to classical propriety, 
we expect something rather better. 

Benjamin Webster and John Harley were both 
inhabitants of Bell and Horns Lane. The former 
had a house in that portion which was demolished 
to widen the thoroughfare opposite the Kensington 
Museum. Harley lived in one lower down on ;he 
same side of the way, facing the site of Thurloe 
Square. He had quitted the stage before my time, 
but I recollect Webster both at the Adelphi and 
Haymarket. He was in his true element in melo- 
drama, and might have done infinitely better if he 
had never deserted his old quarters in the Strand. 
I retain in my mind a trivial incident about Harley, 
which must be half a century old. Some street 
musicians played before his house, to his infinite 
annoyance, and when they asked the servant for a 
douceur, Harley desired to see them personally. 
They were not pleased when he, in response to 
their appeal, explained his idea that they had come 
to apologize. 

When Webster brought out Monte Cristo at the 
Adelphi, it was thought, as his daughter had married 
Mr. Edward Levi, son of the proprietor of the 
Daily Telegraph, that a good lift might be fairly 
looked for in that quarter. Sala was sent to notice 


it, and the critique was anxiously expected. The 
next morning a most elaborate and characteristic 
account of Dumas, pere et fits, their various works, 
their careers, and so forth, running to two or three 
columns, appeared in the Telegraph, and at the very 
end there was a casual announcement that Mr. 
Webster had recently produced a drama on the 
romance of Monte Cristo. 

Webster was a liberal, kind-hearted man. When 
Dion Boucicault was once on the eve of starting 
for America, he went to him, and asked him to 
advance him ^100 on a manuscript play he brought 
with him. Webster did so, and did not discover, 
till his good friend had gone, that only the title-leaf 
was filled in. 

This reminds me once more of Byron, who, being 
very behindhand with some piece he had undertaken 
to write for one of the theatres, was waited on by the 
lessee. The latter complaining of delay, H. J. B. 
assured him that he had begun the production, and 
shewed him a sheet of paper on which was written 
Act /., Scene i. 

Webster died poor, yet it used to be averred that 
at more than one period of his career he might have 
retired with an ample fortune. 

In a note from Buckstone to my father he men- 


tibns the Crimson Hermit as a piece which the 
latter had recommended to his notice. The title is 
suggestive of the Coburg or the Surrey, or even of 
the meridian of Shoreditch. It was beyond doubt 
abundantly sensational and sanguinary perhaps 
rather too much so for the Theatre Royal, Hay- 

It must have struck many besides myself that the 
parts in which Buckstone appeared were mere noms 
de theatre. His acting was essentially personal. 
He performed under a variety of designations, but 
it was always Buckstone under an alias : the same 
voice, the same gestures, the same mannerism. He 
never threw himself into a part, or realized to the 
spectators any character but his own ; and if he is 
remembered as having excelled in anything, I take 
it to be the case that it was a creation which fairly 
suited his style, and in which he could not perpe- 
trate any serious impropriety. 

The short-skirt movement in the ballet and ex- 
travaganza under the auspices of Vestris at the 
Lyceum, and during Buckstone's management at the 
Haymarket in Miss Priscilla Horton's palmy days, 
made considerable progress just before the period 
when the burlesque came so much into vogue, with 
its supremely offensive and silly impersonations of 


female characters by men. The abridged petticoats 
of the ladies proceeded, no doubt, to an intolerable 
pitch ; and they tried, as Byron said, to outstrip 
one another. Speaking of Menken, he remarked 
that her costume began too late, and ended too 
soon, and with more particular reference to his 
Mazeppa, he calculated her toilet in the first act 
at thousands, and in the third, where she is lashed 
to the wild steed of the desert, at 4|d. 

The Spanish Dancers also made their d^but at 
the Hay market about forty years since, and I, as a 
mere spectator, was very agreeably impressed by 
their graceful and restrained action, shewing the 
compatibility of this class of art with decorum. 

Buckstone was very deaf, and his son, who lived 
under the same roof with him in Brompton Square, 
inherited the infirmity. Such as were familiar with 
the men will appreciate the oddity of the two Buck- 
stones conversing and shouting at each other, each 
in turn with his hand to his ear to catch what the 
other said. The younger Buckstone had at one 
time an engagement under his father at the Hay- 

I was once taken by my father to Richmond 
Lodge, Putney, where Mrs. Fitzwilliam lived under 
Buckstone's protection. It was a low-pitched 


bungalow house, lying back from the road, just 
before you came to the Arab Boy ; it has now been 
pulled down to make room for a row of modern 
buildings of the common stereotyped character. 

The very first time I was behind the scenes at 
any theatre was at the performance for Jerrold's 
benefit at the Olympic, when I saw Mrs. Fitz- 
william and Madame Vestris. I went behind once 
or twice during Byron's management of the Prince 
of Wales's ; but I found the practice rather dis- 
illusionizing. There was, of course, a wonderful 
contrast between what Madame Vestris had been, 
and what she became in old age. Byron went to 
see her toward the last at the house called Holcrofts 
at Fulham, and found her darning Charles Mathews's 

They were both mournfully extravagant creatures, 
and had run through a fortune or two. The 
second Mrs. Mathews, whom I met at Doughty 
Street, tried hard to induce her husband to economize. 
The very last time I saw him was in Sotheran's 
shop in the Strand. He was as jaunty as could be, 
with his cigar in his mouth and the old gay swagger ; 
it cannot have been long before his death. 

A near neighbour of my uncle Reynell, while he 
was in Brompton Vale, was Edward Wright, the 


eminent Adelphi comedian, whose name used to be 
so much coupled with that of Paul Bedford. The 
Wrights and Reynells became very intimate, and 
the friendship even survived* the lifetime of Wright 
himself. He afterward removed to Merton Villa 
at Chelsea, and I have often seen him standing at 
the corner, in the King's Road, waiting for the 
omnibus. During a length of years he was para- 
mount at the Adelphi, and excelled in farce and 
melodrama. Bedford and he generally played to- 
gether, and Wright saved money, which partly dis- 
appeared in bricks and mortar (his besetting sin) 
and partly through legal channels. 

Wright belonged to the school of Liston, Robson, 
Toole, and Buckstone, but was unlike them all. He 
was a genuine personality, and could hold the 
Adelphi audience in the hollow of his hand, so to 
speak. He had only to shew half his droll face, 
and the house was convulsed. Bedford and he. 
Celeste and Webster, went far to make the Adelphi 
what it was in the days of the I V 'reck Ashore and 
the Green B^lshes. 

Wallack is not much remembered by the play- 
goers of our day ; but in the once favourite melo- 
drama of Don C4sar de Bazan, when he supported 
the chief part, he was thought unsurpassed. I have 


seen him more than once at the Haymarket in that 
piece, and vividly retain the song, accompanied by 
the guitar, where the disguised brigand reveals him- 
self to the terrified heroine. 

They at present produce pantomimes year by year 
at the houses with names which are little more than 
clothes-pegs. Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Aladdin, 
Robinson Crusoe, All Baba, are mere noms de guerre. 
There is scarcely any of the true comic element 
left ; they are pieces of spectacular incongruity, 
setting at defiance all known or accepted facts. 
But these meretricious shows seem to> appeal suc- 
cessfully to uncritical sightseers. The earliest thing 
of the kind I can call to mind was at Covent Garden. 
It was Robinson Crusoe, where the curtain rose to 
a view of the ship, occupying the whole of the stage, 
and the hero the only person seen. The serious 
piece of the evening was Balfe's Bohemian Girl. 

Many of these theatrical celebrities were, we thus 
see, associated with Old Brompton, Kensington, or 
Chelsea, and it was an every-day occurrence to meet 
some of them walking to town in the forenoon on 
their way to rehearsal, or in the sixpenny omnibus 
proceeding to the business of the evening. Penny 
fares and morning performances were yet to come. 
I am also speaking of a period when theatres 


were few, and when Sadler's Wells was very little 
frequented by West-Enders, while the Theatre 
Royal, Shoreditch, might have as well been in 
Tasmania. But the Adelphi, Surrey, and Astley's 
were great houses for certain specialities. 

I accompanied my father as a boy to see at 
St. James's Theatre two very dissimilar entertain- 
ments, the French Plays, where Lablache, Lemaitre, 
Achard, Cartigny, and other artists, made their first 
appearance before a London audience, and the 
Ethiopian Screnaders, the prototype of Christy s 

Comparatively limited, however, as the theatres 
were in number, some of them were often let, 
faute de miezix, for conjuring and other miscellaneous 
purposes. M. Philippe, at the St. James's, was the 
first conjurer I ever saw. 

When we were in Brompton, either at Alfred 
or Prospect Place, the Kenneys lived in South 
Strjeet, Alexander Square. The name and fame 
of Kenney are at the present moment chiefly 
identified with his Sweethearts and Wives. He 
had married the widow of Holcroft, and was a 
dramatist almost jure itxoris. When I saw him 
he was sadly afflicted, and the household was 
broken up by his death. All the members of the 


family, including Mrs. Kenney, were delightful 
associates, and accomplished men and women. 

James, the eldest son, was in the Post-Office, 
and was a short, dark man, very pleasant and 
full of anecdote, like his mother, but strangely 
choleric. He had lodgings in an upper story 
in the Strand at one time, and owing to some 
squabble over the tea-table threw a quartern loaf 
out of the window on to the hat of a passer-by. 
His younger brother, Charles, was a mercurial, 
hilarious fellow, who carried the garfon into middle 
life. He used to prepare librettos for the operas, 
and pretty indifferent they were. 

All the Kenneys shone in a particular sort of 
conversation ; they had mixed in very good society, 
and in their company there was very slight risk 
of not being entertained. They were all rather 
prone to hyperbole, and the odd part was that 
each would put you on your guard as to the 
propensity of the rest in this direction. 

One of Mrs. Kenney 's daughters by Holcroft 
married the Baron de Merger, of Plessis Barbe, 
near Tours, and her brother was settled at' Tours 
itself as a civil engineer. I spent some time at 
the Mergers' in 1855 or thereabout, and I laid the 
opening scene of the ballad of the Barous Daughter 


at the point where the bridge spans the Loire 
by the city. 

De Merger's father had been in the service of 
the great Napoleon, and had been invited by him 
to become one of his aides-de-camp, but he declined. 
His son used to tell me how the Emperor never 
met the elder Merger without saying to him : * Ah, 
M. Merger, why would you not become my aide- 
de-camp ?' 

My host spoke very fair English. I suppose 
that it was hot, thirsty weather when I was at 
the chateau, but I have in my remembrance the 
Baron's disinterested counsel to me on sanitary 
grounds never to swallow down too much claret, 
but to moisten the lips and throat with it. I had 
contracted the tertian ague during a previous visit 
to the Netherlands, and had a recurrence of it 
here. De Merger cured me with a tasteless coffee- 
coloured tisane, in which the leading ingredient was 
the inner bark of the elm. 

De Merger was in politics a Rouge, and belonged 
to a very advanced political club at Tours, to which 
he took me one evening, and where I was some- 
what uneasy, lest the police should pay us a visit. 
It was the dawn of the Third Empire. In fact, 
he himself was rather alarmed one day when a 

VOL. n. 30 


small detachment of cavalry galloped over the 
bridge of the moat, and drew up in front of the 
house. He imagined that the soldiers might have 
instructions to arrest him as a malcontent. It turned 
out, however, that they had merely come to solicit 
a boire. 

It was while I was in the South of France that 
I first made an acquaintance with the illustrated 
French literature of the Dumas type and period. 
It was early in the fifties. Perhaps the most 
interesting and remarkable books were Monte 
Cristo and Henri Miirger's Scenes de la Vie Bohcme, 
1851, the former, of course, still well remembered, 
but Miirger's admirable book only a few years ago 
made familiar to the modern English reader in a 
translation issued by the late Henry Vizetelly. 

The nearest approach to it that we have is Mr. 
Du Maurier's Trilby, where his own student life 
and that of some of his friends are evidently 
portrayed. I think that I could fill in the names. 
Trilby herself is an idealized model, and the English 
writer's altogether appears to be a translation and 
not a very good one of the French * ensemble/ 
the expression used when a woman poses for the 
whole figure. 

A daughter of Mrs. Kenney by her final husband 


married rather late in life Cox, proprietor of the 
British Gallery in Pall Mall. This person was 
very intimate with Joseph Gillott, the Birmingham 
pen-manufacturer, whose collection of paintings he 
assisted to form. I believe thaty^, as Cox called 
him, was largely instrumental in building up the 
other's fortune. The contents of the British Gallery 
were estimated by the owner at ; 100,000 ; but 
when a day of adversity arrived, and the property 
was sold, the public modified these figures to a 
very serious extent. 

There was another household of which we saw 
some little about this time that of Mr. Saxe 
Bannister, who wrote the Life of Pater son, founder 
of the Bank of England. Bannister had been 
.Attorney-General in one of our colonies, and was 
a man with a grievance which, with Paterson and 
teetotalism, absorbed his whole thought and con- 
versation, and constituted, I believe, no inconsider- 
able part of his estate. It was Paterson who 
originated the Council of Trade and Plantations, 
the prototype of the Board of Agriculture, which 
Arthur Young, its other promoter, not improbably 
conceived to be a novelty in our administrative 

I may also mention the widow of Astor, of the 


Tottenham Court Road, the pianoforte-maker. She 
lived, I have heard, in Brompton Crescent. One 
of her daughters was the second wife of Mr. George 
Reynell, my maternal great-uncle. The American 
millionaire, John Jacob Astor, was a younger 
brother of this one, who fitted him out when he 
went to America to make, not seek, his fortune, 
which was largely due to successful investments 
in land in or near New York. Of this his sister- 
in-law assured Mr. Reynell, when he once called 
on her at Brompton. John Jacob Astor used to 
send his nephews and nieces in England every 
year handsome presents. Considering his vast 
wealth, they were poor. Mrs. George Reynell 
had only about ^300 a year of private income. 


Kensington A relic of St. Mary Abbot's Norland House and its 
spring Former solitariness of the neighbourhood General 
Fox Carl Engel The Bowmans Fulham Walham Green 
and the vicinity Primaeval forest State of the roads between 

Fulham and the adjacent places C Cottage Captain 

Webb, the highwayman Specimens of our causeries at C 

Cottage Anecdotes related by both of us of our professional 
and other acquaintances Lock Sir Matthew Thompson 
Brunei Cockburn George and Robert Stephenson 
Thomas Brassey Lord Grimthorpe Some of my tales. 

MY walks when I lived at Kensington (1862 to 1881) 
as a householder on my own account, extended over 
the whole region within a dozen miles or so, and 
of course took in places in the immediate vicinity. 
It may be worth noting, in reference to St. Mary 
Abbot's, of which the grounds once probably ex- 
tended to Addison Road, that during my residence 
in the immediate neighbourhood an ancient silver 
crucifix was dug up in one of the gardens on the 
eastern side of the road; the relic was by possi- 
bility the property of one of the members of the 


One of the earliest attempts to build on the high- 
road to Uxbridge was on the site of Norland House, 
for many years occupied by the Drummonds. It 
was a very large structure, standing back from the 
thoroughfare, and was celebrated for a spring, called 
the Norland Spring, within the walls. This still 
exists in a house in Norland Terrace. But at the 
time that the original mansion stood, the whole 
neighbourhood was perfectly countrified, and very 
desolate. There were only a few dwellings dotted 
here and there. The builder had not entered upon 
the ground. No one had dreamed of Addison 
Road and its surroundings. My uncle Reynell 
recollected the spot when there was scarcely a house 
there. I remember it a private thoroughfare with a 
bar at the northern extremity, and not a break or 
turning from end to end. General Charles Fox, 
brother of Lord Holland, lived in a house on the 
Uxbridge Road in large grounds taken out of 
Holland Park. He had married Lady Mary Fitz- 
clarence, one of the daughters of William IV. by 
Mrs. Jordan ; and he was a noted coin-collector, 
particularly of the Greek series. After his death 
his cabinet was sold to the German Government 
for ,23,000. Fox was a familiar figure in Addison 
Road about 1860. 


Next door to us at Addison Road lived Carl 
Engel, the eminent musical antiquary and expert. 
He had married a sister of the late Sir William 
Bowman the oculist. Bowman's daughter was a 
somewhat studious maiden, and I used to see her 
occasionally at Engel's. I remember that she spoke 
to me of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as a book of 
which she had heard, and which she would like to 
read. I lent it to her without reflection, and it was 
returned to me with compliments and many thanks 
too soon to admit the possibility of the girl having 
read it. She had shown it to mamma. What 
would Chaucer have thought of the works of fiction 
which were not, I presume, judged unfit for Miss 
Bowman's perusal, and which were either vapid or 
meretricious? Her brother, whom I also saw at 
Engel's, the latter always alluded to as 'the good 
bo-oy ' the present Sir Paget Bowman, I appre- 
hend. After his first wife's death Engel engaged 
himself to a second lady, but on the eve of the 
marriage hanged himself in a bedroom cupboard. 

Fulham, like Brompton, was a quiet country 
hamlet, apportioned between labourers' cottages ; 
mansions of long standing and historical interest, 
such as Moore Park and Fulham Park (both oblite- 
rated), and Holcrofts, where Charles , Mathews 


latterly resided of course in style (also a thing 
of the past) ; wide acres of arable and pasture ; 
the village itself; and the old-fashioned moated 
Palace, where the vernal glory of the scene on an 
April day is worth the whole episcopal bench. 

Walham and Parson's Greens, again, and Eel- 
brook Common, mark the site of an extensive 
primeval forest of which the vestiges were dis- 
covered in forming the line of railway from Earl's 
Court, and which was long sparingly covered with 
buildings. This forest doubtless stretched from 
the river-banks over the whole adjacent country ; 
the subsoil below the alluvial formation was de- 
scribed to me as resembling black soap ; and its 
effect on vegetation was electrical 

What a retrospect the imagination fills up behind 
one of the sluggish rivulet meandering through the 
dark unbroken wold to the Thames, and of Master 
Piers of Fulham, that angler ages before Walton, 
and Master Geoffrey Chaucer enjoying together a 
spring morning's fishing or fowling, where now 

The greater portion of the common at Walham 
Green has been ruthlessly absorbed ; the erection of 
a church was, as usual, the first act of spoliation. 

It may be taken for granted that all the by-paths 
and lanes connecting Fulham with Hammersmith 


and Kensington were, half a century since, alike 
lonely and insecure. The roads on the outskirts in 
this as in other directions were infested by high- 
waymen of various pretensions. In old C 

Cottage, opposite the Bishop's Palace, while it re- 
mained what its name imports, lived during some 
time a Captain Webb, whose business called him 
away after dusk. He used to saddle his horse 
every evening, and sally forth in quest of booty. 
He was of the race of Turpin and Macheath. He 
haunted doubtless some locality at a measurable 
distance from his headquarters. There was an 
ample choice : Putney and Wimbledon, Hounslow 
and Bagshot, and much of the route between these 
points and home. 

The evenings at C Cottage, Fulham not 

Captain's Webb's, but a gentler entertainer s, who 
had a share in the promotion of the North- Western, 
Midland, and other railways have formed within 
the last twenty years the opportunity of collecting 
numerous notices of bygone and forgotten facts 
about persons and places, with which the owner as 
my by a long way senior was more or less intimately 
conversant. He was educated at Burlington House, 
Fulham, which has been already mentioned. His 
earliest recollection is being taken on somebody's 


shoulder to see the procession at the coronation of 
George IV. 

My friend met with a cooper in Fulham who had 

been Webb's servant at C Cottage as a youth, 

and who remembered waiting on the company whom 
his master occasionally invited to dinner. In these 
cases the party usually broke up about midnight, 
but, instead of going home, dispersed on their re- 
spective beats in quest of plunder. It was like a 
meet before the hunt. Webb lies in Fulham church- 

The principal market-gardeners and florists in 
Fulham were Osborn and the Bagleys. The latter 
had two extensive plots of ground at Sand's End. 
One of them was a great tomato-grower. Osborn 
faced Elysium Villas, now meriting that name no 

A. told me that he dined with Lock the engineer 
the evening that the line from Vauxhall to Waterloo 
was opened. It cost upwards of ^"800,000, on 
which he understood that Lock took 5 per cent. 

The most expensive piece of work on which he 
himself was ever engaged was the Wolverhampton 
and Walsall, the extent being only six and a half 
miles, and the cost ,650,000. 

He was mentioning on the same occasion that, 


when he was in full professional swing, if a ^10,000 
job had been brought to him, he would have given 
100 to have it taken away again, as these small 
contracts often involved an actual loss. 

The late Sir Matthew Thompson used to say to 
him : ' When I am at Guisley, I am the squire ; 
when I am at Derby, I am chairman of the Midland 
Railway ; and when I am at Bradford, I am a 
common brewer/ 

A. said that it was through Brunei asking him 
to recommend a counsel for a great case which was 
then impending in Parliament that the late Chief 
Justice Cockburn obtained his first important brief. 
Cockburn was then, curiously enough, in the Queen's 
Bench not as a judge, but as a debtor for ^150, and 
Brunei had to get him out before his services were 

My friend often saw him after that, and furnished 
him with technical information, which enabled Cock- 
burn to surprise witnesses by the amount of know- 
ledge which he appeared to possess of the minutice 
of engineering work. The old judge would call at 
A.'s office either on his way to the Court or on his 

When Cockburn went down to Leicester as a 
commissioner to inquire into the management of 


the Corporation, he spent a good deal of his time 
at Mother Slack's, and if he was wanted, it was the 
surest place to find him. It used to be alleged that 
he drew up his report there. In his earlier pro- 
fessional life a lady (not always the same) was often 
to be observed walking up and down outside West- 
minster Hall waiting for the learned counsel No 
one probably could have related such a varied series 
of bonnes-fortunes. To the country, which paid 
him so well for his services, he proved himself grate- 
ful by distributing his sinistral representatives of both 
sexes pretty freely, when there was a berth at his 
disposal or the conditional holder of one, as the case 
might be. You took the place perhaps the place 
and the lady, perhaps. Cockburn was a familiar 
figure in the thoroughfares which he had to traverse 
from the Court to his house : a small man, negligent 
in his attire, and with his neckerchief as frequently 
as not hind part before. But he was a great lawyer ; 
some of his successors on the Bench have proved 
themselves his inferiors in capacity, and his equals, 
or nearly so, in less desirable respects. 

Cockburn was very grateful to those who had 
served him in early life. He was, like the present 
Mr. Justice Hawkins, one of the party which accom- 
panied A. in his shooting excursions. 


George Stephenson, even in his time, said that, 
give him a clear and good road without fishings, 
and he would make a train run a hundred miles an 
hour. He had a poor opinion of canals, and declared 
that they would all become in the end dry ditches. 
A. observed to me, when I referred to the railway 
journey between Manchester and Warrington over 
Chat Moss, that the most striking thing was to 
stand on the line a quarter of an hour before a 
train came up, and feel the vibration arise and 
gradually increase, as if the whole spongy mass had 
one pulse and one centre of motion. 

It was from Robert Stephenson that my friend 
acquired the habit of leaving his throat open and 
not wearing a comforter, which, as Stephenson said, 
tended to render you susceptible to cold, especially 
when, as in those days, and in both their cases, you had 
to travel so constantly at all hours of the day and night. 

Not long before Thomas Brassey's death, while 
he was staying at Hastings, he sent for John 
Stephenson, who had rendered him valuable service 
in his undertakings as an assistant. When he 
arrived, the old contractor was very kind in his 
manner and kept him for some time in conversation ; 
and when at last he left, Brassey pressed something 
into his hand. It was a cheque for ,5,000. 


John Flabell, the contractor from the Black 
Country, was selected to do the tunnelling on 
the Brighton line, and had some 350 men under 
him. These rough fellows rather scandalized the 
then quiet district, and the local parson begged 
Flabell to try and keep them in better order. 
'And can't you get them to come to church?' 
Flabell on the next Saturday pay-day bribed the 
navvies with a promise of a pint each if they 
came to church next day in their best; and they 
not only came accordingly, but filled the building 
before the rest of the congregation arrived. Flabell 
and his lady were there, too. The other worshippers 
presented themselves, saw no room, and went away 
in a fume. Presently a loud tap was heard on 
one of the windows, and a voice outside shouted : 
' Gaffer, gaffer ; can't get in. Dorit forget the 

pint ? 

The printed evidence taken in railway bills before 
Parliamentary committees occasionally offers rather 
amusing features, and it is necessarily little known. 
Lord Grimthorpe as Mr. Beckett- Denison was a 
very noted figure in these matters and scenes in 
the old days. His cross-examination of Sir Frederick 
Bramwell, whose name is so much associated with 
public business, arbitrations, and so forth, in one 


instance, when Bramwell opposed the promoters 
of a new northern line, was inimitable for its 
dexterity. From posing as a personage of immense 
practical experience in that class of enterprise, he 
was by a series of cleverly-marshalled questions 
whittled down at last to the solitary superintendence 
of the West Bromwich Gas Works ; and when 
Beckett - Denison had forced from his adversary 
this admission, he said to him with exasperating 
suavity : ' I think, Sir Frederick, we need not 
detain you any longer.' Of course, I am relating 
an incident which is now only historical. 

Hawksley the engineer, being under examination 
in some case by Lord Grimthorpe, was very decided 
in his replies, and Grimthorpe observed to him : 
' You appear, Mr. Hawksley, to have formed very 
definite opinions about most things.' The other 
assenting, Beckett-Denison added : ' And pray tell 
us, are there any points on which you have not 
arrived at a conclusion ?' ' Why, yes/ returned 
Hawksley ; ' I can think of three.' ' What are 
they?' Beckett-Denison inquired. * Wills, clocks, 
and bells,' said Hawksley, referring to the other's 
three failures. Had he lived to the present day, he 
might have added to the list. 

A. and myself knew in common the two Kennies 


Sir John and his brother George. The original 
Rennie died in 1821. He was an eminent book- 
collector, and his library was sold some years 
after his death. His son, Sir John, reserved the 
first and third folios of Shakespear 1623-63. I 
have a very lively remembrance of accompanying 
the second Rennie (Sir John, not George) to 
Antwerp when I was a youth, and his impatience 
to disembark, which nearly led to my immersion 
in the Scheldt It was just then thought that 
I might try my hand at engineering, and I did 
for eight months. 

Anyone who only knows Antwerp as it is to-day 
can have a very imperfect idea of what it was when 
I landed there with Rennie in 1852. 

If I was under no other obligations to the Rennies, 
I owed to them this that I planted my foot on 
that historical ground, that my eye fell on Antwerp, 
before a thousand gables and a labyrinth of steep, 
tortuous, dark streets or water-lanes were clean 
swept away to meet the demands of commerce, 
more tyrannous than Spaniard or Austrian. 

Before I knew Antwerp well, I asked a Belgian 
the way one day to the Cathedral. I inquired for 
la Cathddrale. He regarded me with an opaque 
stare. I repeated the question. He shook his 


head. Presently a light began to break on his 
honest countenance, and he lifted a finger signifi- 
cantly. ' Ah !' he cried, ' Monsieur cherche la 

Cath6-DRALE 1 J 

In the Galerie du Rot, at Brussels, I was once 
accosted by a person who spoke good English, and 
demanded if he could serve me in his capacity as 
cicerone to one of the places of resort for a certain 
purpose in the City. He said that his fee was five 
francs. 'Well, 1 I answered, 'and do you depend on 
this employment?' * No/ said he. * What do you 
do, then, in the day?' 'Why,' said he, 'I shew 
gentlemen and ladies over St. Gudule.' This ran 
on all fours with the female pluralist, who, C. 
mentioned, in an island not a thousand miles from 
Southampton was reputed to be the only suspicious 
character, but who on Sundays acted as pew-opener 
at her parish church. 

I related to A. a singular little episode which 
occurred while I was in the Netherlands under the 
Kennies. I often spent from Saturday to Monday 
under the hospitable roof of an English friend at 
Yerseke, a few miles from Bath. We played at 
whist one Saturday evening, and suddenly a card 
was missed. We searched for it everywhere in 
vain till by chance someone descried it stuck fast 

VOL. ii. 31 


in my slipper. No effort or ingenuity of mine 
could have placed it there. 

Henry Wright, my host, who afterward married 
a daughter of the second Duke of Wellington and 
became secretary to the Duke of Sutherland, was 
a low-built man about five-and-twenty, and was 
extraordinarily supple and agile. I have seen him 
clear eighteen feet on the level with a very short 
run, and when we were alone at Yerseke he 
would in the not very spacious drawing-room go 
to one end, and spring over the loo-table with a 
fresh pair of long wax candles in the centre of 
it without extinguishing the lights. 

I used to travel from Bath to Yerseke in a 
top - heavy antediluvian coach, passing through 
several villages on the way. In one, on either 
side of the road, was an avenue of pear-trees, 
with the ripe fruit hanging from the branches. 
When I told A. of this, he concurred with me 
in thinking that if it had been in England the 
public would have picked the pears to prove their 
social and political equality. 

My lodgings at Bath faced the chapel. I re- 
counted to A. a petty incident which I witnessed 
one day as I looked out of my window. A small 
procession, headed by a man and a woman, came 


up and entered the chapel. I asked my landlady 
what they were going to do. To be married. 
Well, they had lived together twenty years, these 
two Hollanders, just to see how they suited each 
other before they passed the probationary stage. 

Among my associates on the polders, which 
Rennie engaged to enclose and reclaim, were 
Mr. Winder and Heer Miiller, the last a most 
gentlemanly and agreeable Hollander, who spoke 
broken English, with a very pretty and very French 
wife. I was once with him on the river (that is, 
the Scheldt) in a boat, and seeing how inveterately 
he smoked, I naturally asked him whether he was 
very fond of it. 'Yes/ was his answer, ' for it 
do make me dink/ At a dinner given by Winder 
to the Dutch officers of the small garrison at Bath, 
he, in responding to the toast of his absent wife's 
health, declared that he loved her better than his 
life; but he put life in the wrong gender. The 
two old women with whom I lodged in this place 
remembered the visit of Napol6on and Maria 
Louisa there more than forty years before. 

Sub rosd, I fell in love at Bath (which they pro- 
nounce Bats), or rather just outside it, with a maiden 
of the country called Antje Dronkers, whose papa 
pursued some local industry ; but we were both 


persons unius lingua, and this kept the flame low, 
I do not recollect any tears. 

But I told A. that I did recollect crying, because 
I had sent to my father for a little pecuniary aid, 
my salary being modest, and he had remitted half a 
crown, which was all he could afford, he wrote. I 
felt ashamed of myself that I should not have been 
more thoughtful than to ask for the money, and I 
tried to earn forgiveness some time afterward, when 
I had saved enough, by purchasing a scent- bottle, 
which I took to the captain of one of the steam- 
boats plying between London and Antwerp, and 
asked him to deliver it to my mother at Chelsea, 
which he did. 

I put it to A. whether such reminiscences were 
not prouder and sweeter than fame or wealth, and 
he said that he thought so. He was much my 
senior, but his mother was constantly on his lips. 

A., as a former large employer of labour, appre- 
ciated my relation of a small experience, when I 
was last in Rouen. I saw a man sauntering, as 
I was, up a street, pipe in mouth, and took him 
for a fellow-traveller. He turned out to be a 
Londoner, who had come there in search of work, 
and wanted to know if I could recommend him. 


Fulham cauteries (continued) Earnshaw the chronometer-maker 
Tom Sayers the pugilist Watch-house in Marylebone Lane 
Glyn the banker Laura Bell SkittlesThe Leicestershire 
set The Bell at Leicester Captain Haymes Story of a 
Bishop at Harrogate An adventure at York George Tom- 
line Some account of him and his father The Paston 
Letters Barrington the pickpocket A curious shop in 
Seven Dials. 

OF Thomas Earnshaw, the famous chronometer- 
maker in Bloomsbury (the second of the name), 
my friend was full of anecdotes. He possesses 
a chronometer, which Earnshaw gave him. The 
latter, a small man with a disproportionately large 
head, and not remarkable for the elegance either 
of his dress or his diction, was a violent democrat 
and something of a freethinker. He did not prosper 
very much with the clerical authorities in his parish. 
When the collector called for an Easter offering, 
he feigned a difficulty in comprehending his mean- 
ing. ' Easter offering ? What is that, sir ?' ' Why, 
Mr. Earnshaw, what they give every year to the 


rector. It is usual, sir.' ' Is it, sir? Well, here is 
sixpence to buy a length of rope for his reverence 
to hang himself.' He once took part in a political 
open-air meeting in Clerkenwell, and was very 
fierce and trenchant in his language before he 
addressed his audience. When he ascended the 
platform, he was going to commence, when the 
superintendent of police pulled him by the skirt 
of his coat, and whispered to him, as a man whom 
he knew and humoured : ' Mr. Earnshaw, pray 
come down. If you speak, I must take you. J And 
Earnshaw melted away among the crowd. 

It must have been very funny when little 
Earnshaw, having been chosen headborough for 
his parish, called on the rector-archdeacon and 
apprised him of his nomination by the votes of 
his fellow-parishioners ; and, says he, ' I shall be 
obliged, Mr. Archdeacon, if you will accompany 
me to explain to me my outdoor duties, as I am 
in a difficulty about them, and the law prescribes 
that in such case I shall apply to you, sir.' 

A. is of the Clcjckmakers' Gild. I told him 
about the watch which Calvert had mentioned to 
me (whether truly or not, God knows) as having 
been made about 1680 for his ancestor Lord 
Baltimore, proprietor of Maryland, by John Pepys, 


who, according to my informant, occupied seven 
months in the work. He offered to shew it to me 
if I would go up to his house in Camden Town. 

We were speaking of Tom Sayers the pugilist. 
He was a Staffordshire man, and a bricklayer by 
trade. Brassey employed him to do some of the 
two-arched bridge at Rugeley on the North Western. 
He was a pleasant, civil little fellow, nimble on 
his feet, and standing about five feet six ; but 
the muscles of his arms were as hard as iron. 

The old watch-house in Marylebone Lane, from 
which the Charlies for that district used to turn 
out every evening to the number of the days in 
the year, was referred to. No man knew before- 
hand to what beat he would be ordered, and the 
practice was to bring the file to a halt, call a 
name, and give him his round. This checked 
collusion and bribery. There was a similar insti- 
tution on Islington Green, at Knightsbridge, and 

Glyn the banker, speaking to A. about the 
gain to the Bank of England and other similar 
institutions from the loss of their notes, related 
a curious instance of the ignorance of seamen in 
money matters. Before Trafalgar, the crews had 
been paid in Bank of England notes, the wages 


having accumulated and specie being scarce ; and 
many of them, not having the opportunity, perhaps, 
of spending their earnings in the free manner 
usual with the profession, carried them down to 
Portsmouth, but before embarking took the pre- 
caution to exchange them for local Bank paper, 
which, like the Scotchman of former days and 
his i note, they thought better security than 
that of the National establishment. The Portsea 
Bank made a good haul over the transaction, as 
so many of the holders of its paper went to the 

Thistlethwaite, who was a life-tenant of a large 
property on the Paddington estate, and who 
married Laura Bell, lived in Grosvenor Square. 
A singular illustration of the universality of com- 
missions or tips occurred one day. He had told 
a man to send him round a horse on approval 
or inspection, and the animal was duly trotted 
up and down his side of the square, when 

Captain , of the Guards, happened by the 

merest accident to pass that way. He learned 
what was going on, and his opinion was asked 
by T. He was loud in his commendations ; but 
unluckily T. differed and declined, and the Captain 
in the Guards lost his percentage. 


It was a singular household. Thistlethwaite and 
his wife, a very pretty little woman, did not see 
much company, and did not agree very well. 
Every evening there was a sort of state dinner 
at eight, and a costly dessert, and only those two, 
one at one extremity of a long table, and the 
other at the other. The latest occasion on which 
they came before the public was in a sort of petty 
cause ctlebre, which T. won, arising from Laura's 
extravagance and a huge bill sent in by a West 
End firm for dress. Before she married, Laura 
Bell had a house in Wilton Place, where she 
received her gentlemen friends, like a modern 

Aspasia or Phryne. The late Marquis of 

was a noted figure there, and he often came on 
his white pony. The pony was carried off one 
day by a preconcerted arrangement, and was not 
recovered without a handsome reward. 

Skittles, who was of a similar type to Laura 
Bell, was at one time in equal vogue, and used 
to hold a sort of Iev6e at a West End Restaurant. 
A noble Lord paid her homage in his younger 
days, if he did not keep her. I have heard that 
when his lordship told her that he had spent upon 
her enough to build the Great Eastern, she replied 
that she had spent upon him enough to float that 


ship. But poor Skittles came to grief, and died 
in very bad circumstances indeed. 

We spoke of the British earthworks so widely 
spread over England, and sometimes buried in 
underwood. I had just returned from Elsted in 
Sussex. Outside the Fitzhall estate there, I told 
A., I noticed some remains of this sort. They 
lie unheeded, being so common. I added that, 
as I was climbing up Trundle Hill by Goodwood 
with Mr. Piggott, of Fitzhall, he informed me that 
from the summit one could see almost all the 
kingdoms of the earth. 'And are you/ I inquired, 
' the gentleman who shews them ?' 

I mentioned to A. a trait of the unphilosophical 
and guileless simplicity of childhood. My son, 
when he was a very little fellow, was with me 
in a field in Wales, and we observed a cow gazing 
at a dog, after the manner of her kind. The boy 
looked up at me, and said with a dry gravity : 
' Might be its mother/ 

The late Mr. Thomas Miles, land - agent of 
Keyham, near Leicester, who probably knew more 
of the concerns of the families for miles round than 
any individual of his time, used to tell A. that 
Jones, the parson at Ashby, would have a cloth 
laid over the drawing-room carpet on Sundays 


between services, and have a couple of cocks in 
* to give them wind/ This was about 1830. 

Mr. Miles, who was born at the close of the 
last century, was one of those rare characters 
who seem to possess in one sense neither progenitors 
nor descendants. He left no actual representative 
to fill his place. In his professional capacity he 
naturally enjoyed a good deal of the confidence 
of his clients, but Miles was regarded by all those 
who employed him as a personal friend. He was 
the never - failing resource when anyone was in 
trouble or in straits, and many a delicate piece 
of business outside his immediate or strict functions 
it fell to his lot, in the course of a prolonged life, 
to discharge. 

A remarkably fine Stilton cheese received from 
Leicester one Christmas (1889-90) led to a con- 
versation on the subject; Stilton cheese, A. said, 
had been made at Leicester, Coldnewton, and 
other places near ever since he remembered. 
They got their name from the circumstance that 
their peculiar character was first noticed by the 
frequenters of the Angel at Stilton, which is some 
thirty-five miles from Leicester, and they became 
known as Stilton cheeses. But they were never 
made there. Of late years, since the practice of 


sending the milk away to London and other great 
centres set in, they have lost their reputation, 
and a cheese of the old type, full of butter, is an 
absolute rarity. You have, in fact, to get it built 
expressly for you. 

Among the Leicestershire set in the forties was 
Captain Haymes, formerly of the Guards, and a 
Waterloo man. He lived to be ninety-four, and 
hunted within six months of his death. He lived 
at Great Glen, near Leicester, had a select circle 
of intimates, a good cellar of port, and a knife 
and fork for any of the set at three p.m. the 
then usual hour for dinner in the middle classes 
both in town and country. Haymes and his guests 
drank water with their dinner, and port after, and 
each man had his bin and his bottle. The butler 
knew everybody's taste. Haymes deprecated too 
much talk over the wine. He would say, if there 
was a tendency to conversation in excess of what 
he judged desirable : ' Gentlemen, I hope you like 
your wine? Drink it, then. Don't talk, or you'll 
get drunk.' 

But Hanbury the brewer used to hold that no 
man should be pronounced drunk if he could lie 
in bed without being held there. 

Haymes and Mrs. Packe-Reading owned between 


them nearly the whole of the parish. The latter 
conceived the notion of establishing schools for the 
children, and sent Mr. Miles to Haymes to invite 
him to join her. * What !' said the Waterloo man, 
1 schools education ! Damn education ! There 
was my old soldier who could neither read nor 
write, and he attended to his business as my 
body - servant. Now I have a fellow who is a 
scholar forsooth ; why, he spends most of his time 
in reading the paper and my letters/ 

Miss Reading, who married Charles William 
Packe, M.P. for the southern division of Lincoln- 
shire, kept her maiden name. Her husband took 
the property with the proviso that there should 
be no jointures or dowers made ; and as she had 
a separate estate, it was arranged in that way. 

Michael Bass the brewer told Packe that when 
the Bank holiday had been instituted, the first 
year's brewings of his firm alone increased by 
^90,000, and had never receded. 

Leicester itself in the early times was, as we 
all know, an important coaching and hunting centre, 
and I believe that the Bell was one of the leading 
houses. A. remembered it before the place had 
declined through the railways. Yet I stayed there 
with him a few years since only on our way from 


H arrogate, and we found a capital cellar of port 
or the remains of one, at least left by Boyer the 
landlord, who had been chef at Badminton. They 
let us have an excellent bottle of '47 for ios., 
which in London would have cost a guinea or 
more. This is a class of possibility which shrinks 
day by day. 

Speaking of Harrogate, there was a Bishop at 
one of the hotels. His lordship desired to insert 
his address on a letter, and was dubious on a 
point of orthography. ' Waiter, is there a w in 
Harrogate?' 'Well, my lord, they do say as 
the sexton's wife sometimes, my lord/ ' Answer 
my question, sir. Is Harrogate spelled with or 
without aw?' The prelate's dilemma was so far 
excusable, for the Spa owed its name to its con- 
tiguity to one of the gates of Knaresborough Forest, 
of which the Stray is the last vestige. 

A. and I strolled one day into a curiosity shop 
in York. We saw nothing ; but the owner invited 
us to accompany him to his other store, and we 
followed him up a ladder into a chamber above. 
The place was a model of disorder and congestion. 
My eye caught sight of two large china figures 
in the distance. ' What were they ?' ' Chelsea 
old magnificent.' This owner evidently read in 


our looks our desire to enjoy a closer inspection, 
but the position was impregnable. We seemed 
as if we might be customers. Isaac looked about 
him, seized a pair of tongs, balanced his person 
with much adroitness and agility, and the objects 
were before us. A. turned to me. I shook my 
head and muttered Tournai. We did not exchange 
any more words, but while the tongs were absorbed 
with the restoration of the magnificent old Chelsea 
to its stronghold, we descended the ladder, pro- 
fessing our acknowledgments, and emerged. I 
asked A. if he felt more easy outside, and he 
said that he did. 

There was a settlement in the Bradgate estate 
of the Earl of Stamford requiring the outlay of 
i, ooo a year on plate, and at last this obligation 
led to the grates in the reception and other rooms 
being of silver. 

Beriah Botfield, best known from his work on 
the Cathedral Libraries of England, also produced 
other books, especially the Stemmata Bottevilliana, 
where he laboured to prove his consanguinity with 
the Thyhnes of Longleat, more to his own satis- 
faction, I have understood, than that of the late 
Lord Bath ; and he formed a considerable library 
at Decker Hill, Shifnal, dispersed after his death. 


In Brompton Cemetery is a tomb inscribed only 
with the single word LAURA. There lies interred 
a lady, to whom Botfield was romantically attached. 

It was a settlement in this estate that a pipe 
of port should be laid down every year ; but when 
the property passed to Mr. Garnett, a clergyman 
with a large family and an abstainer, he had the 
proviso set aside by the Court of Chancery. 

A. had always kept a good cellar of wine, and 
we had frequent conversations on the subject. I 
found that he was interested when I mentioned 
that at the sale of Lord Peterborough's collection 
in Portman Square in 1812, port of 1802 (only 
ten years old) brought 903. a dozen ; while claret 
of the same year was carried to 6 IDS. a dozen ; 
and six bottles of malaga, said to be fifty years 
old, reached 6 i is., or upward of a guinea each. 

I took the occasion to notice that Athenseus, 
in his DeipnosophistcB) lets us understand how the 
ancient Greeks laid down their wine from three 
to sixty years, according to its strength and character, 
just as we do. 

The coal-field in the Forest of Dean is one of 
the latest geological deposits or formations of the 
kind, said A. to me. In some of the coal which 
used to be got thence there are traces of the fir- 


bark almost visible to the naked eye, but readily 
distinguishable under the microscope. 

Sir Roderick Murchison held that coal existed 
everywhere. Yes, the possibilities of it, given suf- 
ficient pressure. But a good deal never becomes 
more than lignite, and that is probably what the 
Dover seam is. 

When the Earl of Lichfield's property was sold 
at Shuckborough, George Robins was employed 
as the auctioneer, and, from his usual fashion of 
delivering an impressive preliminary address, some- 
thing uncommon was expected on this occasion. 
But George ascended the rostrum and said : ' My 
name is George Robins. Porter, bring the first 

After the death of Mr. George Tomline in 1889, 
the portion of the famous Paston Correspondence, 
which appears to have been lent out of the Royal 
collection in the last century, and which Mr. Gairdner 
was unable to trace, was discovered among the papers 
at Orwell Park, near Ipswich. Considering the 
circumstances connected with the matter, it is strange 
that Mr. Gairdner should not have thought of 
making an inquiry in that quarter ; but his edition 
is not at all satisfactory, and I now hope to see a 
new and complete one. From what one knows of 

VOL. ii. 32 


George Tomline himself, I do not imagine that he 
had any notion personally that he possessed these 1 
manuscripts. He had no taste for literature. 

Comparatively trifling incidents are so soon for- 
gotten nowadays, that it may be hardly recollected 
that it was Tomline who for years kept up a 
controversy with the Government as to the right of 
every British subject to have his bullion coined into 
money at the Mint on demand. 

Tomline 's father, Dr. George Pretty man, had 
taken the name of Tomline on succession to the 
property of Tomline, the Bristol sugar-baker. The 
latter, it is traditionally said, made the acquaintance 
of the prelate in a perfectly accidental manner 
through seeing him in his park, where Tomline was, 
as a stranger and a visitor to the locality, strolling 
about. The Bishop at first sent someone to warn 
the trespasser off, then, learning at the inn where 
he stayed who he was, invited him to breakfast the 
next morning, and finally put him up at the palace. 
Tomline left him all his money about a million, 
something like half of which his son lost in the 
Felixstow railway scheme. 

The unreserved portion of the effects of Tomline 
was sold lately at Christie's and on the premises. 
Mr. Miles of Keyham remembered well his father, 


the Bishop of Winchester, who had been tutor to 
the younger Pitt. Through this connection Dr. 
Tomline succeeded in obtaining a footing in nearly 
all the Enclosure Acts, and particularly in Charn- 
wood Forest and at Banbury. On his mother's side, 
George Tomline was allied to the Bagot-Lanes, 
descendants of the Lane who befriended Charles II. 
after the Battle of Worcester ; and it was from this 
source that the Ribey Grove estate, comprising a 
large property in Great Grimsby, was derived. 

The Orwell Park estate, twenty-four miles long 
by seven miles wide, was all in a ring-fence, except 
a small triangular piece owned by a lawyer. This 
Tomline never succeeded in securing, and it vexed 
him, because it broke the continuity of his shooting. 
He used to say that he would have covered it with 
five-pound notes to get rid of the proprietor. 

A fashionably attired gentleman called on a 
London mechanician with a sketch of an instrument 
which he desired to be made for him. The shop- 
keeper examined the drawing with some curiosity, 
and at last undertook to execute the order, but 
observed that it would cost fifteen guineas.- His 
customer did not object, however, so long as the 
work was done to his satisfaction, and went away, 
promising to call at an appointed time. He came 


accordingly, approved of the work, and put down 
the money, which the other deposited in his purse. 
Before the party left the shop, the mechanician took 
the liberty of demanding, as the instrument was of 
such a peculiar character, what its utility was. ' I 
will tell you, sir/ quoth his customer, leaning across 
the counter to him ; ' the fact is, it is a contrivance 
for picking pockets' The man was so disconcerted 
that he lost all presence of mind, and before he could 
collect himself, Barrington (for it was he) had left 
the premises, carrying with him the apparatus and 
the purse. Barrington was a regular frequenter of 
Ranelagh Gardens, which he found a highly lucrative 

Bull-baiting was still carried on in the Midlands 
and in the North down to the second half of the 
nineteenth century ; and the women enjoyed the 
sport as keenly as the men. At Leigh, near Preston, 
according to a story told me by a Leigh man, a 
fellow, in a room with his wife and a dog trained to 
this exercise, laid his head on the table ; the dog 
rushed at his nose, the husband cried out from the 
pain, and would have gpt up ; but says the woman, 
* Lie still, man, he must draw blood, or he will be 
just ruined.' 

A., all the years I have known him, has taken the 


Times newspaper. The unique and long unassail- 
able prestige enjoyed by Mr. Walter's undertaking 
is a phenomenon unlike anything else in journalistic 
literature. It was almost a fetich. Without being 
so constituted, the organ possessed an official 
authority. Its statements were judicial. A good 
deal of this superstition (for superstition it was) 
proceeded from the consummate tact of the manage- 
ment. The Editor of the Times was impersonal ; 
no one was supposed to know who he was ; the 
public had as distinct a notion of his individuality as 
of the Cumaean Sibyl or the Grand Lama of Thibet. 
Now all is changed. Yet A. is of the old school ; 
and he clings to his Times, and will do so usque ad 
finem. When you have disposed of his other pleas 
for it, he brings up his last reserve it is printed on 
better paper. The field is to him ! 

A. referred to Buckingham in Seven Dials, who 
supplied the rope for executions, and mentioned 
that there used to be in the window a specimen with 
a notice ' Any length cut. 7 It was a peculiar twist, 
and specially manufactured for the purpose. 


Hammersmith Turnham Green Linden House Its association 
with a cause dtebre Dr. Griffiths and his distinguished 
friends Origin of his fortune Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, 
the poisoner Putney Ladies' Schools The Trimmers 
Fairfax House Madame Daranda's Alterations in the 
High Street Remains of an ancient building The rivulet 
down the street Tokenhouse Yard Morris and his father 
Anecdote of them relative to the occupation of Paris in 1815 
Edward Gibbon's birthplace Roehampton Wandsworth 
The 'Black Sea* Beauties of the neighbourhood 
Wimbledon Common Its historical interest and import- 
ance Barnes Explanation of the discovery of Roman coins 

THE state of the village of Hammersmith is slightly 
indicated by a very rough woodcut on the title of a 
tract of 1641, shewing a few low-pitched cottages 
by the side of the highroad, such as lately existed 
beyond the site of the new St. Paul's School. Few 
places near London have so thoroughly lost within 
the last two generations their old aspect and attrac- 
tion, and are more hopelessly abandoned to the forms 
of modern suburban life. The engraving to which 1 
have referred represents the flight of the Vicar of 


Christ Church, Newgate Street, from his Parlia- 
mentary enemies, and there is the inscription on it : 
* The Way to Hammersmith' 

We hear very little indeed of this hamlet (for 
it was nothing more) in history and literature. 
There was a very curious case of alleged diabolical 
possession connected with it, in which the principal 
actor was Susanna, wife of John Fowles. The 
particulars are printed in a contemporary pamphlet 

Many years subsequently to my settlement in 
the neighbourhood Hammersmith preserved a fair 
share of its original appearance and seclusion, and 
could boast many historical residences, foremost 
among which was Brandenburg House, removed 
about 1827 to make room for the new bridge. 

I trust that my distinguished friend, Mr. G. L. 
Gomme, F.S,A., may find leisure to publish his 
father's and his own Collections toward a new 
History of this parish. 

TURNHAM GREEN was another of the spots which 
I periodically visited in my desultory rambles in 
the neighbourhood of Kensington during the twenty 
years which I passed in that once pleasant suburb* 
In the earlier part of my sojourn there Turnham 


Green had not lost by any means so much of 
its original character and aspect as it has since, 
and most of the fine old houses in grounds were 
still standing. 

Among them, foremost in more than one point 
of interest, was Linden House, on the left side 
of the highroad as you approach the Green. 
This ' capital J mansion, which was demolished in 
1879, was for many years the residence of Dr. 
Ralph Griffiths, proprietor of the Monthly Review, 
and he died here in 1803. Griffiths had been 
acquainted with many of the famous men of his 
time, including Johnson and Goldsmith ; and he 
was on intimate terms with Wedgwood, whose 
partner Bentley was his neighbour at one time. 
The Doctor, of whom I gave many years since 
all the particulars within my reach, played his 
trump card by buying of Cleland the manuscript 
of Fanny Hill, and employing a second hand to 
improve the book, which is said to have been 
worth ^20,000 to him. 

I visited the house shortly prior to its removal, 
and as I passed along the spacious passage leading 
from the grand old-fashioned doorway to the hall, 
ascending on the way two or three short flights 
of steps, it awakened an interesting reflection 


how often that very ground had been trodden 
before me by the literary and artistic ornaments 
of the preceding century. 

But nearer my own time it had a very different 
association and quite another sort of tenant in that 
consummate scoundrel, Thomas Griffiths Waine- 
wright, the Janus Weathercock of the London 
Magazine, and the intimate on equal terms at one 
period of his life of well-nigh the whole world of 
letters and art. 

Wainewright was on his mother's side the grandson 
of Dr. Griffiths, and by administering strychnine 
to the only son of his benefactor became heir 
to such portion of the property as was represented 
by the house and its effects. I was the first to 
trace the consanguinity between these two men 
with so little in common, and to furnish, so far 
as I could, the whole sad and terrible story of 
Wainewright's career down to his apprehension by 
one of the Bow Street runners at the Tavistock 
in Covent Garden in 1837. I likewise identified 
him under two other previously unsuspected noms 
de plume. 

PUTNEY has always been noted for its schools, 
and some of the earliest Ladies' Colleges in England 


were established there. Evelyn refers to that kept 
by Mistress Bathsua Makins, who before the 
Troubles had been governess to the Princess 
Henrietta, one of the daughters of Charles I. ; and 
Herrick, in his Hesperides, 1648, commemorates 
Mistress Mary Portman as " The School and pearl 
of Putney." She died in 1671. 

Mrs. Trimmer kept a ladies' school here, and 
her family had establishments for young gentlemen 
through at least two generations at the large house 
where Colonel Chambers, Garibaldi's Englishman, 
afterward lived. This school was founded by Mr. 
Carmalt, whose name survives in the block of 
houses erected on the site. 

By the way, at Wimbledon, some time since, 
Dr. Birch kept a seminary for youths. Had 
Thackeray's eye fallen on the brass plate outside ? 

A very early and curious glimpse of Putney occurs 
in a few of his letters in 1519, to his Government, 
of the Venetian Envoy to the Court of Henry VI 1 1., 
Sebastian Giustinian, who retired hither, while the 
plague was prevailing in London. 

In one of Lilburne's tracts, printed in 1649, 
he speaks of the future Protector and his son- 
in - law, Ireton, holding an earnest conversa- 
tion in a garden-house at Putney ; but he does 


not specify whether it was Fairfax House or some 
other, and the writer on the next page brings 
before us Ireton standing before the fireside at 
his quarters in Kingston, so that he had probably 
come over to consult the Lord General. And 
after the interview we hear that he mounted his 
horse, and departed hurriedly on his return. The 
little village (for it was no more) was for the time 
the centre of England. 

The two capital mansions were, at all events, 
Fairfax House and the one formerly occupied by 
Madame Daranda, of which the site was subse- 
quently converted into a terrace, now swept away. 
It has been said that at the sale of the Daranda 
effects title-deeds to certain property in Putney 
were acquired, or were, at least, brought to light. 
This and Fairfax House were the places where 
the Parliamentary leaders met during the Civil 
War, and where they were quartered. 

There used to be Pike Lane near the church. 
It was the spot where the soldiers piled their 
weapons during their stay here. 

I possess an etching by Arthur Ball of the 
supposed nunnery (ultimately converted into shops) 
which immediately faced the church just by the 
Surrey end of the old bridge. 


At present what was down to 1860 a village 
is a sorrowful desolation of bricks and mortar, 
touching Wandsworth on one hand and Barnes 
on the other. The whole of the High Street 
appears to be made ground ; the levels must formerly 
have been far lower ; for in carrying out long since 
some public works, at the corner facing the entrance 
gates to Lime Grove, the foundations of an extensive 
red-brick building were discovered below the surface, 
and a rivulet flowed from the top of the street to 
the river on the right-hand side within memory. 
A second stream divided Putney from Wandsworth 
just by the modern railway bridge and East Putney 
station. It has long been converted into a closed 
sewer. The 'spacious house with gardens and 
lands,' to use the historian's own expression, which 
was the birthplace of the illustrious Gibbon, I 
suppose to have faced the dead wall of Lime 
Grove, the seat of the St. Aubyn family down 
to about 1858, and extended back to the present 
site of St. John's Church, which was in comparatively 
recent times a meadow. It is customary to identify 
the residence of Gibbon's father with Lime Grove 
itself; but this I apprehend to be erroneous. The 
description of the place scarcely answers to the 
latter, which was a mansion in an extensive park, 


stretching up Putney Hill in one direction, and 
along the Upper Richmond Road toward Wands- 
worth in another. 

All trace of either building has disappeared, as 
well as that of the home of the Portens, his 
maternal relatives, where he spent a portion of his 
childhood, unless, which is not improbable, it is 
substantially the same as the residence immediately 
adjoining the church and churchyard, as Gibbon 
himself describes it in his Autobiography, long 
occupied by Mrs. Major. 

The only personages whom we have at present 
in Putney seem to be the author of Atalanta in 
Calydon, and his friend and companion, Mr. 
Theodore Watts- Dunton. It is unnecessary to 
say that a fund of gossip and anecdote has already 
accumulated round the former. 

It is an illustration of altered conditions that, when 
the South- Western Railway opened its station here, 
it was feared that the traffic would only be a summer 
one. Time was when the shooting of the George I. 
wooden bridge, with its irregular square openings 
for traffic and its picturesque Dutch toll-house, 
was accounted by oarsmen a notable feat, as it 
demanded a quick eye and a knowledge of the 


I have never seen any explanation of the name 
still attached to a minor turning out of the High 
Street Tokenhoitse Yard. Here, no doubt, were 
struck or at least issued the tokens of the seven- 
teenth century (1657-68) enumerated by Williamson, 
and some of them especially relevant to the local ferry. 

A singular character lived at Putney many years 
a Mr. Morris. He had been a tailor, like his 
father before him. He was with Poole and Buck- 
master before he set up for himself on Ludgate Hill. 
Morris was an astronomer, a musician, a mechanic, 
and a botanist, and, indeed, seemed to possess some 
knowledge of everything. H e had been a great reader. 

His father was at one time in the army, and 
served at Waterloo. He was afterward orderly 
Serjeant to the Duke of Wellington, and was with 
him at Paris during the occupation in 1815. One 
of young Morris's earliest reminiscences was going 
with his father one day to the Palace with despatches 
for the Duke, and being patted on the head by 
Louis XVIII., who held out his hand for him to 
kiss. But he would not, he told me, because 
he disliked Frenchmen, who, he had heard, ate frog. 

I think that the ordinary authorities are silent on 
the point ; but Lamb, in a letter to Patmore, men- 
tions that the legs are the only edible part of this 


creature, and that they are of a rabbity flavour. If 
a cat takes possession of one in a garden, it eats 
the legs and leaves the rest. 

My uncle Reynell, who lived here from 1855 to 
1892, told me that he had seen the late Mr. W. H. 
Smith, M.P., First Lord of the Treasury, at the 
bookstall personally inspecting the accounts, and 
satisfying himself that everything was in order. 

The original hamlet of ROEHAMPTON, on the 
western side of Putney Heath, on rather low ground, 
consisted of the King's Head, a wooden structure, 
and forty or fifty cottages and shops of timber and 
thatch. There was only a single narrow, steep 
street, with a quaint side-alley or so. It is at present 
greatly improved. Does the name import a fairly 
remote epoch, before Wimbledon Park was enclosed, 
or the various encroachments on the Heath had 
commenced, when the deer roamed at pleasure over 
the whole adjoining area, and the village was a mere 
group of keepers' and labourers' huts ? 

Wandsworth Common, on the other side of Putney, 
was in my time a magnificent expanse, and preserved 
its dimensions down to about 1875, when much fell 
a prey to Railway, Builder, Church, and Patriotic 
Institution. Those who are as old as myself, or 


older, must remember the lovely spot known as the 
Black Sea, which was equally used for bathing and 
angling. It was a large sheet of water over-canopied 
with ancient trees. 

The entrance from Putney into Wandsworth was 
twenty years ago a pleasingly rural and characteristic 
bit, resonant with the music of Nature. You had 
not to go as far as Nightingale Lane, Tooting, to 
hear that songster. Not only in Turnham Green, 
Chiswick, Bedford Park, Fulham, and Barnes, were 
it and the cuckoo regular visitors in their respective 
seasons, but at the point where Putney merges in 
Wandsworth, so long as the vicinity was open and 
quiet. Both on the right and left hand of the road 
formerly lay stretches of garden and pasture, and 
on the former side the footway rose two or three 
feet above the road, and was bordered by fine old 
trees. The carriage-way had been even then widened 
from the original dimensions, when the whole extent 
from the village was a lane, the dead wall of Lime 
Grove, Sir John St. Aubyn's, occupying the greater 
part of the southern side. Altogether, Wandsworth 
has so far been less denaturalized than its more 
westerly neighbour. The lane at the top of Putney 
Hill leading into Wandsworth used to be called 
Cutathwart, vulgarly Cut-throat, Lane. 


Beyond Roehampton, to the south and west, ex- 
tends WIMBLEDON COMMON, of which the more thickly 
wooded portion on the Kingston side forms one of 
the most interesting spots in the vicinity of the 
Metropolis, as it is, to a large extent, in its primitive 
condition, and may be once more enjoyed, when the 
shooting-butts are happily abandoned, by the pedes- 
trian without danger and molestation, provided that 
the golf-players are kept within reasonable bounds. 
There is very slight doubt that the point known as 
Caesar's Camp was the site of British earthworks, 
and that the entire ground represents the scene of 
conflicts between the Britons and the Romans, and 
a fortified position of the former, when they retired 
from the more immediate precincts of the river. 

BARNES may be regarded as the last important 
suburban survival, with its own common, the ex- 
tensive grounds of Barn Elms, and an expanse 
behind of 3,000 or 4,000 acres of heath, parkland, 
and demesne, including that unique feature, Putney 
Park Lane and its immediate environs. Barnes has 
lived to see the successive degradation of Putney, 
Wands worth, Richmond, Hammersmith, Fulham, 
Chiswick, Turnham Green, Acton, and Ealing. 
In the Antiquary for July, 1885, I collected all 
VOL. IT. 33 


the available information of a local or manorial 
nature. One of the quern stones is still to be seen 
at the garden entrance to a house on Mill Hill. 
The common was once the home of many rare 
descriptions of fern and aquatic plants ; and in the 
marshy part near the cemetery the latter still flourish 
to some extent, and attract certain uncommon genera 
of the moth. Altogether, the entomology of this 
narrow area is still fairly extensive and interesting. 
Dr. Diamond told me that the common was once 
famous for a particular species of fly, of which he 
mentioned the name ; but it has escaped my memory. 

Prior to the advent of the railway and the builder, 
it was a sequestered spot. I have bathed as a boy in 
the large sheet of water on the southern side near 
the present station ; and I remember a foot-race 
which Sir Robert Hamilton and myself had at the 
cross-roads when we were at the War Office together, 
but his longer legs made me a very bad second. 
My uncle Foulkes was intimate with Mr. Scarth, 
owner of a large estate at Barnes, now divided. 
He lived at Mill Hill, and had an Arab boy as one 
of his servants. He had brought him home from 
his travels in the East, and eventually set him up in 
a public-house at Putney, still called after him. 

Northcote the painter once met Hazlitt with the 


remark, * There's been such a beau-ti-ful murder, 
sir.' There must be some inborn principle in our 
moral nature which renders these things attractive, 
and holds them fast in the memory. Those which 
I never forgot are the cases of James Greenacre, 
in Putney Park Lane, immediately adjacent to 
Barnes, in 1837; of Mr. De la Rue, murdered at 
Highgate, by Hocker, in 1845; and of Mr. O'Connor, 
the victim of the Mannings, in 1849. My father 
was personally acquainted with O'Connor, who 
was a reporter on one of the papers. Not far from 
St. Helier, Jersey, you have the small house pointed 
out where the Mannings lived prior to their settle- 
ment in London. 

In Barnes churchyard is a yew-tree, planted, as 
appears from the register, in 1653 (possibly to 
inaugurate the Protectorate). When I last saw it, 
it did not present an aspect of great antiquity. Here 
was buried in 1672 Abiezer Cobb alias Higham, a 
fanatic in the days of Cromwell ; he was a native of 
Warwick, and was at one time post-master of Merton 
College, Oxford. 

Lysons, writing nearly a century ago, loosely 
estimates the common at about 150 acres; but its 
extent was formerly greater. On the southern side 
the Charity estate and the South-Western Railway 



premises, and on the northern the cemetery, have 
been taken out of it, and encroachments have 
formerly been made everywhere. It originally 
stretched from the Richmond Road on the south, to 
the borders of Mortlake on the west, to the village 
of Barnes on the north, and the boundary ditch 
between Barnes and Putney eastward. Of course, 
it has fallen, in common with other open spaces, a 
prey to indifference, ignorance, and dishonesty (the 
most ancient trespass dating back to the Plantagenet 
times). The pound, which stood near Mill Hill, no 
longer exists ; it forms the scene of a well-known 
metrical jeu $ esprit, in which Quin and Foote are 
the actors. The mill was valued at fifteen shillings 
a year 800 years ago. 

Between this and Roehampton, in relaying the 
drains, many years since, between the Jesuits' College 
and the Convent, the workmen came upon a con- 
siderable number of children's skeletons, of which 
the history was unknown. 

It may be convenient to mention that the occa- 
sional discovery of Roman coins on the shore at 
Barnes is supposed to be due to the utilization of 
the soil removed in laying the foundations of the 
modern London Bridge up the river, where it served 
to make up the towing-path at the point named. 



The Royal Family The library given by George IV. to the 
nation The Duke of Sussex The Queen The c Jubilee ' 
coinage Our obligations to Her Majesty Orders of Merit 
for civilians Penalty of a long reign The Queen thinks a 
book too dear The offer of Her Majesty to pay income-tax 
A curious disillusionizing glimpse The Royal Family as 
people of business The Prince Consort The Albert 
Memorial A few particulars and anecdotes Princess 
Beatrice at Darmstadt The Battenbergs and Batenborgs 
The Duke of Cambridge The Kaiser Le Grand Monarque 
Caroline Bonaparte Louis XVIII. Nicholas of Russia 
and his son Sir Roderick Murchison Napoleon III. and 
my father The Emperor's alleged parentage. 

THE late Lord Romilly used to say that the great 
book-collector, Richard Heber, was once dining with 
George IV. soon after the accession of the latter, 
and the Russian Ambassador was also at table. 
The King was speaking to the Ambassador about 
the library his father had collected, and was saying 
that he did not care much about it. He added that 
he thought he should not mind letting it go, and the 
Russian Envoy intimated that his Imperial master, 
he felt assured, would be only too glad to become 


the purchaser. The King seemed to like the 
notion ; but nothing more was said just then. 
Heber left the table, to hasten to the Premier's, 
told him what had passed, said that it would be a 
disgrace to the country if the books went, and so on, 
and Lord Liverpool waited on His Majesty and gave 
him to understand that it would not do, but that if 
he would present them to the nation, he (Liverpool) 
would use his influence to get a vote in the Commons 
to pay the King's debts. 

This view of the circumstance attending the gift 
to the public in 1823 f the Royal Library formed 
by George III. is in direct conflict with that 
commonly received, and will read curiously by the 
side of the glowing eulogiums on the munificence 
and literary zeal of His Majesty, both as Prince and 
King, which meet our eye in various contemporary 

Miss Clara Maceroni said that at a party, where 
she met the Duke of Sussex, the King's brother, 
His Royal Highness was asked to sing, and when 
he had finished there was cordial applause. He 
whispered to someone near him : ' It was well 
enough for a Duke. 5 This was the collector of 
Bibles and miscellaneous literature sold in 1827. 
The taste for books certainly appears to have been 


hereditary in the older members of the Hanoverian 
line ; and we trace it back to other branches, beside 
that of Ltineburg. Now Books have gone out of 
favour, and Horses and Cards have their turn. The 
Kaiser Napoleon-Nelson's toys, soldiers and ships, 
are perhaps to be preferred. The Duke belonged 
to the Second St. James's Royal Arch Lodge 
of Masons, which is entitled to wear a crown in 
its badge. I have given some account in my 
Livery Companies of London of the probable origin 
of this movement. 

I have only once seen the Queen. It was on 
Constitution Hill, when Her Majesty was driving 
in a carriage and pair with one or two others ; the 
Prince was not with her. In response to my 
respectful salutation, Her Majesty bowed to me ; 
for not a soul save myself was in sight. This was 
in the days when the old Duke of Wellington was 
to be met with in Piccadilly sometimes, leading his 
horse at the edge of the kerb. 

How many hundreds of thousands must be in the 
position of never having seen our present Sovereign, 
and of being acquainted with her features only 
through the coinage. They may well wonder 
whether all the pieces of money represent the same 


The most singular circumstance connected with 
what is improperly termed the Jubilee money for 
the type was settled without reference to that 
anniversary is that, although it is by a German 
artist, it is not even by a good one. Her Majesty's 
Government, perhaps, would not pay the price for a 
first-class design, like that for the beautiful com- 
memorative thaler of Maria Theresa, produced in 
1888 under the auspices of the Numismatic Society 
of Vienna. 

It really constitutes an interesting consideration, 
that the majority of the subjects of the British 
Crown have never beheld the countenance of the 
Sovereign, nor heard the tone of her voice. It is 
an understood thing that there is an august 
personage at the head of affairs, and the machinery 
works tolerably well But what effect the stealthy 
levelling down may produce, no one is far-sighted 
enough to forecast. We might go farther and fare 
worse ; and perhaps sufficient influence may be 
brought to bear on popular sentiment by the united 
agency of all responsible citizens to stop at such 
reforms as may be practicable in the existing system 
without changing its external characteristics. 

Her Majesty has unquestionably contributed to 
impart a higher and purer tone to society, and if 


there are such things as corruption and immorality 
(are there ?), they have to be a good deal more sub 
rosd. It was quite time in 1837 that a term should 
be put to the scandalous state of affairs under the 
four Georges and William IV., which Greville in his 
Memoirs, and Thackeray and Carlyle, and indeed 
Dickens, in their works, did so much to expose. 

We complain of having rulers of foreign origin, 
yet we never succeeded very well when we had 
Englishmen over us. Since Bos worth 410 years 
ago our Kings and Queens have been Welsh, 
Scotish, Dutch, or German. 

There seems a probability that in the future, if 
Great Britain chooses to retain the present form of 
government, the succession will pass to the indirect 
line, and we shall find ourselves once again with an 
Anglo-Scotish instead of an Anglo-German dynasty. 
It seems singular that at a distance of 182 years 
from the Hanoverian accession the Court should 
still be so German in sympathy and spirit ; but so 
it is. 

It is the inevitable penalty of a lengthened reign 
to lose all early, and many later, friends, associates, 
and servants. The Queen has lived to see one old 
face disappear after another, and to be surrounded 
by almost totally different conditions from those in 


which she was brought up, and it is no slight praise 
to say that our Sovereign has in large measure 
adapted herself to the vast change. 

It is characteristic of Her Majesty's usual frugality, 
that when a bookseller sent a stray from the old 
Royal Library to be submitted to her by the 
librarian at Windsor, for ^150, she wrote on the 
memorandum : * A very nice book but the price !' 

How different from her royal grandfather, who 
was a munificent book-buyer, and, even if the figure 
had been rather outrageous, would not in his better 
days have stuck at a few pounds to secure such an 
article, and he had probably far less means for the 
purpose than Her Majesty. 

The alleged offer of our Sovereign at the outset to 
pay income-tax was very properly met in the nega- 
tive. A certain specific sum having been set aside 
for' the Queen's use in her official capacity, it would 
have been undignified on the part of the nation to 
have insisted on any deduction. On the contrary, 
the Prince Consort was said to have left a will, which 
was never proved, its provisions being kept a secret ; 
and it seems a question whether, had the point been 
pressed, it was, under such circumstances, a valid 
document, the Prince being a subject of the Crown, 
however exalted his rank. 


Is it not apt to strike one as a case where the 
realities of life infringe on the melodramatic present- 
ment, where one, going through the throne-room at 
Buckingham Palace, and seeing no one, ventures to 
approach the seat of majesty, only to discover beneath 
it a dustpan and a broom ? But it is, after all, yet 
stranger that we should so constantly forget that 
kings and queens are human beings like ourselves, 
who look down upon us from the very elevation con- 
ferred on them by us for our own convenience. 

The creation, with the Queen's approval, of Orders 
of Merit of late years, and the admission in some 
cases of ladies, is, as it appears to me, a very 
sagacious and opportune movement. Civilians, as 
well as soldiers and sailors, must be freely decorated 
and honoured. We shall want a solid barrier against 
aggressive Socialism ; and the Queen and the Court 
are apparently aware of it, judging from their some- 
what promiscuous affability and their almost affecting 
solicitude for the health even of the Unpresented. 

Our Royal Family are excellent people of business, 
and from the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851 
onward have had the most favourable opportunities 
of making advantageous investments in every direc- 
tion, and of almost every class. The late Prince 
Consort knew how to manage his private affairs with 


all that attention to detail which is so essential to 
commercial success an aptitude derived from his 
youthful experiences in the Vaterland. Was there 
not a story of some cheque which a certain artist 
framed, and hung on the wall, as a souvenir of a: 
transaction with His Royal Highness? 

But His Royal Highness shewed his common 
sense in declining to join the Freemasons, on the 
ground that he would not swear allegiance to laws 
of which he had no previous cognizance. The lady, 
whose newly-admitted husband refused disclosure 
of the arcana, was perhaps not far from the truth 
when she said that they amounted to nothing more 
than early duck and green peas a housekeeper's 
way of putting it. 

, My uncle Reynell gave me to understand that the 
late Duke of Cambridge, father of the ex-Com- 
mander-in-Chief, acquired from the Government for 
;8,ooo the Combe Wood property, for which a 
farmer in the neighbourhood was prepared to give 
double the money. 

My wife came home to our house at Kensington 
one afternoon, and told me that she had seen the 
Queen at the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park. She 
was standing there when Her Majesty drove up and 
approached the spot. The Queen stopped in front 


of the Memorial, close by my wife, and the latter 
heard her say, ' Very nice/ This made me laugh, 
for it reminded me of what the fellow said about the 
Marlborough gems. But it was declared at the time 
that the Memorial was not at first, when brand new, 
unlike a large piece of gilt gingerbread. 

I was crossing Putney Bridge on the evening of 
December 14, 1861, when I heard the Bell of 
St. Paul's toll, and I asked the gatekeeper what was 
the matter. He told me that the Prince Consort 
was dead. 

It was a saying that His Royal Highness set the 
example of men dispensing with gloves on ordinary 

After the death of the Prince Consort at so early 
an age, the Queen is said to have suffered from 
insomnia to such an extent that Her Majesty's 
health was seriously impaired, and there was even a 
degree of anxiety on the subject. 

There used to be a curious superstition about 
* Queen's weather.' It was said that Her Majesty 
appointed a day for a given ceremony, and the rest 
was a foregone conclusion. Anyone might securely 
make his own arrangements ; it would be ' Queen's 
weather.' His Grace the Primate of All England 
formerly authorized special forms of prayer for rain 


or drought ; but, as the more candid country parson 
declared, it depends on the quarter from which the 
wind blows* We do improve a little, in spite of the 

A Swiss gentleman from Zurich, whom I met at 
a house in the country, gave me an odd account of 
the fire near Darmstadt, where the Princess Beatrice 
was staying. She was in bed, about one in the 
morning, and was so tormented by mosquitoes that 
she rose, lit a candle, and rang for her maid. The 
two, in their nightdresses, candle in hand, began to 
hunt for the small game. When a gnat was seen 
overhead, one or the other bobbed up to try and 
catch it in the flame, and at last one of them set fire 
to the curtains. The whole place was soon in a 
blaze, and the Princess and her maid ran down to 
the courtyard for their lives, just as they were. Her 
Royal Highness lost all her clothes, as well as 
(I understood) the pearls of the Duchess of Kent, 
which she had had from the Queen. 

The Battenbergs of Hesse - Darmstadt have 
nothing to do with the great house of Brederode, 
Barons of Bronkhorst in Gronsfelt and of Baten- 
borg, which belonged to Gelderland, and became, 
and remained during centuries, one of the most dis- 
tinguished families in the Low Countries. It was 


Hendrik van Brederode of this ancient and illus- 
trious line who personally presented to the Duchess 
of Parma in 1566, on behalf of the Netherlands, a 
protest against the establishment there of the In- 
quisition, and who raised troops at his own expense 
to resist the Spaniards. 

When the Prince of Wales brought his new wife 
from abroad, and arrived with her in London, it was 
remarked that the first thing the Princess did was to 
run into the Bricklayers' Arms. 

His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge 
married a Miss Fairbrother, daughter of the 
theatrical publisher in Catherine Street, Strand, 
who was the mother of Colonel Fitzgeorge and 
other children. The Colonel, whom I have met at 
a boarding-house at Ramsgate, united himself to a 
Quaker lady, whose parents used to frequent the 
same watering-place. The Duke's alliance was 
equally creditable to his courage and judgment. 
The lady was an excellent and exemplary person, 
whose memory is sweeter and purer than that of 
some royal and serene highnesses. 
The German Kaiser is understood to ascribe his 
withered arm to the corrupt blood on his mother's 
side. It has no doubt been deteriorating through 
intermarriages and other agencies, and it was not 

VOL. ii. , 34 


very pure when George I. came over, so that it is 
no doubt a step in the right direction to have begun 
to seek alliances outside the charmed circle. But, 
after all, the alleged taint has only gone back 
whence it came, to the Vaterland. 

No Act of Parliament can safeguard even imperial 
and royal personages from the pernicious conse- 
quences of contravening the law of nature. 

If Louis XIV. was, as reported, the son of M. le 
Grand by the Queen, he was very properly called 
Le Grand Monarque. The word carrosse in French 
was originally feminine. But Louis, when young, 
having once called for mon carrosse, its gender was, 
from deference to his most Christian majesty, altered 
thenceforward. Madame de Maintenon succeeded 
to other ladies, whose influence had been paramount 
with the King by turn. Some one proposed to call 
her Madame Maintenant. 

It used to be said that the Bourbons never forgot 
and never learned anything. Is not this equally 
true of the Stuarts ? 

An English gentleman who was in Paris in. 1848, 
when the remains of the First Napoleon arrived 
there from St. Helena, saw the coffin, which was on 
view for a short time at the Invalides, and described 
it as hardly larger than a child's. The Duke of 


Wellington and the Emperor are said to have been 
of the same height, five feet six inches, and the 
latter would be wasted by illness before his death. 
Yet this account seems scarcely credible. 

The Napoleon relics at Madame Tussaud's are 
the most interesting feature in the exhibition, and 
they will remain so. 

There are, of course, persons living who recollect 
the foundress of this place of entertainment ; she 
died in the forties, and her wax figure, which used 
to be not far from the entrance in Baker Street, 
was so realistic that when my father-in-law came up 
from the country in 1851, and visited Tussaud's, he 
took it to be the little old lady herself; and next to 
her, I think, was Cobbett, to whom, the story goes, 
he offered a pinch of snuff. 

I confess that I laid down Masson's Napol&on 
et les Femmes with a very unusual feeling that I 
could read it again. It is decidedly a piece justifica- 
tive, and one not without its sadness. 

Caroline Buonaparte sat to Canova for one of his 
classical models absolutely naked. Being asked 
whether she did not feel uncomfortable, she replied, 
4 Why, no ; it was not cold ; there was a fire in the 
room/ There is a medalet with the three sisters 
of Napol6on as the Three Graces. 


There is an on dit about Louis XVI I L which 
may be true or not. After his restoration, he asked 
Fouch6 whether he had ever set spies over him. 
The Minister of Police under Napoleon admitted 
that he had. The King asked who it was. Fouch6 
said, 'The Comte de Blacas.' ' How much did he 
get ?' was the farther inquiry. ' Two hundred 
thousand francs a year.' * Ah, well,' said Louis, 
* he was honest, after all. / had half' 

This was the same nobleman whose collections, 
partly acquired, perhaps, out of the secret-service 
money, are now in the British Museum. 

I have heard it said of Nicholas of Russia that 
he remarked on one occasion to his son, afterward 
Alexander II., 'You and I are the only honest 
men in the Empire,' and that was because it did 
not pay them to be otherwise. Sir Roderick 
Murchison, who had, in the course of his geological 
researches,, experienced great assistance from the 
Czar Nicholas, and been enabled to explore the 
mineral riches of the Ural range, inverted his glass 
when, in the Crimean war, he was present at a 
banquet, and the success of the operations against 
Russia was proposed as a toast. 

While the late Emperor Napoleon III. was 
residing in London in 1839, my father sent him a 


copy of the biography of his illustrious relative, 
and received as a souvenir in return the Lettres 
de Napoleon a Josephine, 1833, with an inscription 
on the flyleaf: 'Offert par le P ce Napoleon Louis a 
Monsieur Hazlitt en memoire de 1'ouvrage de son 
pere sur 1'empereur Napoleon. Londres, le 18 Mai, 


His Majesty favoured a certain Dutch Admiral 
in his phlegmatic temperament ; he bore no resem- 
blance to his reputed father, the King of Holland ; 
and until the matter was more or less generally 
known, his cousin Jerome, who was in the secret, 
and was in possession of all the facts, used his 
power as a financial lever. Prince Napoleon used 
to call the Emperor the kite in the eagle's nest. 


Sir Robert Peel in 1817 Mr. Gladstone My pamphlet on 
public affairs (1886) General Gordon Illustrations of Mr. 
Gladstone's acquaintance with Ireland and its events Sir 
Henry Taylor General Cunningham Lord Rosebery The 
Primroses of Adelaide, South Australia A Scotish friend's 
recollections of them and other early colonists Draper, 
the chaplain of the London Instances of longevity The 
Tollemaches Our great families Mr. Evelyn, of Wootton 
A visit to the house The library Martin Tupper 
Charles Mackay. 

THE late Mr. Henderson, who was sixty-three years 
clerk to the Homers* Company, told me (January 
17, 1890) that he was eighty-eight years of age. 
He had a remarkably full head of hair and a flowing 
beard, with very little admixture of gray ; but he 
was much bent, and walked feebly. He mentioned 
to me that his father took him in 1817 to the 
House of Commons, and that he often went there 
afterward. He recollected listening to the speeches 
of Canning and Peel, of whom the latter struck him 
at the time as very young in appearance, like a red- 
headed boy. His father, he said, pointed to Peel, 


and declared that if he lived he would make a 

I was told by one of the older officials in Cox 
and Greenwood's, in Craig's Court, that Sir Robert 
Peel on one occasion applied at some moment of 
pressure to Mr. Cox for an advance of ^500,000 
for a few days for the Government, and that Cox 
said that he could have a million the next morning 
if he wanted it. 

A reference has been already made to Lord 
Palmerston in connection with my father's career 
as a journalist. It was Palmerston who was ques- 
tioned in the House as to the duties of archdeacons. 
He had not an idea himself, and asked everybody 
near him. Not a soul could say. No one was 
aware that an archdeacon was a sort of ecclesiastical 
surveyor and appraiser appointed for each county 
or district. The minister had to inform the honour- 
able member that an archdeacon was a personage 
who discharged archidiaconal functions. 

When a stipendiary magistrate's place fell vacant 
during Palmerston's Home Secretaryship, he arrived 
at Downing Street one morning, and was con- 
fronted with a pile of letters. 'What the devil 
are these ?' said he to his subordinate. ' Applica- 
tions for the vacant magistracy.' ' Do they think 


I am going to read all these damned things ? 
D'ye know/ addressing the sub, * anyone who 
would do ?' ' There's Mr. Burrell, my lord Mr. 
Burrell of Gray's Inn, a very good man.' ' Well, 
well,' said Palmerston, 'let him have it, then.' 
And Burrell had it, and held it many years. He 
was an intimate friend of Sir John Stoddart and 
of my father, from whom I had the story. 

I first saw Mr. Gladstone at the London Library, 
St. James's Square, in 1859. I had never seen 
him before, and likenesses of him were comparatively 
rare at that time. But I felt sure it was he. I 
saw him again at his own house in the following 
year, and after that I never set eyes on him till 
1890, when I 'met him at a book-shop in New 
Oxford Street. I had meanwhile published, prior 
to the General Election of 1887, my Address to 
the Electors of Mid-Surrey (Kingston Division), 
which one of the Conservative party described as 
'a parting kick' to the Separatists and Home 
Rulers. In that interval of thirty years Mr. Glad- 
stone reached the summit of his political glory and 
the lowest point of his political impotence. 

One of the counts in my indictment against 
him in rny pamphlet was the treatment by the 
Ministry, of which he was the responsible head, 


of poor, brave Gordon. It was impressive to 
read in the papers recently that Gordon admitted 
having carried out many executions, but always, 
before he gave the order, laid his Bible on his 
knee, that the Almighty might reverse his judg- 
ment if He thought fit, and, quoth Gordon, He 
never did. What sublime fanaticism ! What fatuity 
beyond all redemption almost beyond credibility ! 
A child's brain joined to a man's heart ! This 
was the very Bible, perchance, which the General's 
sister gave to the Queen after his death. 

Mr. told me one day that Mr. Gladstone 

had been in his shop, and he had told him that 
if he desired to study the history of Ireland, and 
had not leisure to work up the subject, he (the 
bookseller) had a gentleman who would do it for 
him. But Mr. Gladstone replied that he only wanted 
knowledge sufficient for Parliamentary purposes. 
This was * the old Parliamentary hand, 1 of whom we 
have all heard more than enough; and who has 
inflicted greater injury on the country than any 
individual within my knowledge, and the observa- 
tion reads with the letter he wrote to a cor- 
respondent, advising him to study Irish history, 
which he had done, so far as his engagements 
would permit. 


If 'the fatal gift of beauty' was the curse of 
Italy, the fatal gift of words has been the curse 
of England in the person of a gentleman who 
was unfit to become a responsible Minister of the 

Sir Henry Taylor used to relate an anecdote 
of Mr Stephen, father of Sir James, illustrative 
of the gratitude of the authorities toward those 
who exert themselves in the civil service. You 
may, he said, wear out a finger in writing; you 
may wear out a second and a third, and all they 
will have to remark is, What deformed fingers 
you have ! 

The late General Cunningham, one of a trio 
of accomplished brothers, sons of Allan Cunning- 
ham, mentioned that the word pussy for a cat 
came, he believed, from the Persian p^tshy, and 
was used to distinguish the Persian breed from 
our own. He also suggested that hogshead was 
a corruption of ox-hide^ a measure equal to the 
capacity of an ox's hide. It might therefore 
somewhat vary according to the prevailing breed 
in different countries. 

Lord Rosebery once said a good thing about 
Lord Meath and his fondness for securing re- 
creation-grounds. 'Why, you know/ said he, 


' Meath would like to pull down the whole of 
London, and make it an open space for the use 
of the inhabitants/ 

Mr. Primrose, an uncle of Lord Rosebery, was 
a brewer at Adelaide, South Australia, and was 
a near neighbour of my friend the late Mr. 
Archibald Jaffrey. He lived to a good old age, 
but was a great tippler, and was very unfortunate 
in his family, nearly the whole of which predeceased 
him. When Lord Rosebery visited Adelaide, he 
called on the Primroses, and went over the 
brewery, tasting the various ales ; and he was 
very well received. These Primroses first figure 
in the time of James VI. of Scotland, under whom 
they laid the foundation of their fortunes. 

Lord Rosebery was a special prot6g6 of Mr. 
Gladstone, and an admitted failure as a political 
and Parliamentary leader. As a rich man, he 
was apt to be a valuable ally, and when Mr. 
Gladstone felt it necessary to retire, he let his 
lordship slip into his seat, ere long to slip out 
of it again. I was brought up among Liberals, 
and with a respect for their principles, till I 
could not avoid seeing that those principles were 
merely a passport to office, and that much of 
the Liberalism consisted in being free with other 


people's money in a public sense. Lord Rosebery's 
premiership was not entirely bond fide, so long 
as Mr. Gladstone was in the prompter's box. It 
was a disagreeable blend, of which even his lord- 
ship, perhaps, grew a little tired, if not ashamed. 

Jaffrey was saying that a visitor to the gallery 
at Holyrood, after looking at the portraits of the 
Scotish kings on the walls, inquired of the old 
woman who shewed the place to him : ' Did you 
do these ?' And, she shaking her head, he added : 
1 You might have done better/ 

Jaffrey was born near Stirling in 1817, and left 
his home January i, 1839, on his way to seek 
his fortune in South Australia. He witnessed at 
Liverpool the terrific storm of that month, which 
strewed the whole coast with bodies and wreckage, 
and the splendid sight, when the calm returned, 
of the Mersey filled with craft in full sail pre- 
paring to leave for their destinations. He re- 
minded me of the later one of January, 1866, in 
which the London was lost in the Bay of Biscay, 
Draper, the chaplain, praying to the last in the 
midst of the drowning crew and passengers. At 
that moment Draper's son was proceeding to one 
of our convict settlements, unknown to him, having 
been found guilty of some felony. 


The old-fashioned type of pedagogue survived in 
Scotland in the actual flesh in Sir Walter's day, for 
Jaffrey gave me a description of Munro, his own 
schoolmaster at Stirling, with his ballups and his 
spectacles on the top of his head two or three 
pairs sometimes which impressed me at the time 
with a persuasion that the cause of learning was 
even more backward in the North than with us ; and 
this would have been about 1825. 

It is a singular circumstance that, from its geo- 
logical lay, Stirling is affected by nearly every shock 
of earthquake of a severe character which occurs 
within a very broad zone. 

Jaffrey told me many curious stories about the 
earlier settlers in South Australia among others, a 
brother of George Grote the historian, and a son of 
Charles Babbage. He was mentioning to me that 
Sir Henry Ayers, who at one time filled a high 
position at Adelaide, used to say that David, ' the 
man after God's own heart,' probably had no hand 
whatever in the Psalms which pass under his name, 
unless it was the one where he speaks of walking up 
to his ankles in the blood of his enemies. 

He (that is, Jaffrey) assured me that he was per- 
sonally acquainted with all the circumstances of the 
case where a man in, a Scotish village, when gold 


was much scarcer than it is at present, made-money 
by exhibiting at a bawbee a head a sovereign in his 
possession. He had cleared a fair amount in this 
way, when someone (there is always a last man) 
came, and put down his coin. The other, however, 
said : * I canna shew ye the piece ; but ye can see 
the paper it was wrop in.' 

My old acquaintance died in 1893. ^ ' IS remark- 
able enough that his father was born in 1766, so 
that the two lives covered 127 years. The family 
at one time owned the property on which the field 
of Bannockburn is situated. I shall notice two 
other striking cases of transmission of a name and 
race through few links, partly arising from late 
marriages, which, so far as Scotland was concerned, 
were formerly much more usual. 

A son of Captain Groves, R.N., was born in 
1829, when his father was sixty years of age. The 
latter was born in 1769, The Captain used to tell 
a story apropos of the former defective victualling 
of ships, even those belonging to the service, and 
how, when his vessel was once weather-bound, they 
had to catch all the rats aboard, and cook them. 
They tasted like chicken. 

The late Captain Maude, R.N., who died in 
October, 1886, in his eighty-eighth year, was the 


son of the first Lord Hawarden, who was born in 
1729, and whose father, again, Sir Robert Maude, 
was born in 1673. Here three generations lasted 
213 years. 

I have in an antecedent chapter furnished some 
analogous data in relation to our own family. 

Lord Tollemache sold his Reynolds and Gains- 
borough portraits, I understand, to Colnaghi for 
,60,000, to provide for his second family of nine. 
He did not wish to send them to Christie's, on 
account of the publicity, and came to terms with the 
print-seller, whose first business would be, of course, 
to notify the fact to everyone likely to be a cus- 
tomer. His lordship bargained for an engraving of 
each to put in the places of the oils. I believe that 
his estate in Cheshire is charged with a heavy 
annual sum for plantations, 

A neighbour of mine at Kensington knew one of 
the Tollemaches in New Zealand, where he had a 
large property. He told me that this gentleman 
would take off his shirt and stockings, and wash 
them himself in a roadside pool. 

Another of this race, a tall, ungainly, ill-dressed 
man of elderly appearance, with a cape which 
barely covered his elbows, and a weather-beaten 
umbrella, used to frequent in my brother's time the 


Judges' Chambers, and declaim with equal vehe- 
mence and zest against the rascality of his brother, 
with whom he was engaged in some mysterious 
litigation. It appeared to be his chief employ- 

It is to be lamented, for their own sakes and that 
of their country, that the British aristocracy is either 
so poor, or, if otherwise, so sordid. The recent 
death of Baron Hirsch put it into my head to con- 
sider how much prouder we might be of those who 
enjoy sundry mediaeval designations, no longer 
articulate or proper to the time, if they could follow 
a little to the extent of their power in each case 
the example of such a man, or of Count Tolstoi. 
One can scarcely wonder at Lord R. and Lord C. 
not being anxious to take their seats in the Upper 

The great families of the country, titled and un- 
titled, appear to be broadly classifiable into two cate- 
gories : those which accumulate and hoard their 
resources, and those which dissipate them ; and it 
may be difficult to determine which involves the 
larger amount of injustice and inconvenience. In a 
vast artificial community no ideal redistributive 
arrangement is probably feasible. 

A lady, who had been employed as a governess 


in some of the great German houses, was describing 
to me the extraordinary wealth and splendour of 
some of their establishments, and was saying that 
in England we have a very imperfect idea of this 
question, deriving our knowledge from the impe- 
cunious foreigners who come over here. My in- 
formant instanced to the contrary Count Schonborn, 
whose family repeatedly filled the archiepiscopal see 
of Mainz, and who possessed nine residences at 
least, all maintained in perfect repair, and many of 
them seldom or never visited by him. Pommers- 
felder Castle appears to be the principal mansion. 
The present (1896) Count's grandfather sold some 
of the Gobelin tapestry and other effects ; but the 
furniture, books, and pictures are said to be very 
fine, and the first named to be in the English taste 
of the beginning of the century. 

A friend at Dorking, whom I was visiting, gave 
me an account of his visit to Mr. W. J. Evelyn at 
Wootton. He and a companion found Evelyn alone, 
and the latter asked them to stay dinner. The 
somewhat Barmecide repast was laid in the ban- 
queting-hall a pair of soles, a fowl, and a jelly. 
They had coffee before dinner, and tea with it, but 
no wine or beer. The servant-maid brought in the 
dishes, and left them to help themselves. Evelyn 

VOL. ii. 35 


rose when he had finished his fish, and put the 
empty plate on the sideboard. The others had to 
do the same. Evelyn grasped his teacup with his 
hand, instead of taking it by the handle. He spoke 
very brusquely, and was dressed in a very rough 
manner. He had been gardening when they 

My friend noticed a good many books in the 
library, a model of John Evelyn's tomb in Wootton 
Church, the manuscript of the Diary, and some fine 
old plate of the Diarist's time, including a tall silver 
cup in the original leathern case. 

Evelyn and Martin Tupper were schoolfellows, 
and Tupper used to be invited to stay at Wootton. 
Charles Mackay, the poet, who spent his last days, 
and died, in a small cottage at the foot of Box Hill, 
was also occasionally asked there. This was so far 
creditable to Evelyn, as poor Mackay could not 
possibly be of the slightest utility to him, and did 
not offer the same sort of interesting personal asso- 
ciation as Tupper. 

The name of Mackay awakens in my mind the 
curious reflection that John Timbs and he were 
two of the men whom my good father, solicitous 
for my settlement in life, held up to me as great 
exemplars, and likely to prove influential helpers ; 


for at one period both lived in good style, and 
seemed to make literature pay. Timbs died in 
the Charterhouse. 

I have observed that librarians are often selected 
with a special regard to their ignorance of literature 
and books, and such was the case here. Evelyn 
himself has no feeling in this direction, though a 
fairly good botanist, and so far doing credit to his 
name ; but he might have pitched on someone who 
would have helped to recover the numerous volumes 
which, in Upcott's time, were abstracted from the 
collection. These are sometimes reported to Evelyn 
at exorbitant prices ; but he has most frequently 
missed them altogether, when they might, by a little 
management, be secured on moderate terms. The 
list of these strays, which I have drawn up and 
printed, and which receives periodical additions, 
begins to be a sadly long one. 

The house has, in short, been mercilessly stripped 
of its ancient treasures, and the present owner is 
not proud enough, though to the full rich enough, 
to redeem them when he can, notwithstanding the 
somewhat heavy penalty payable for his predecessors' 
gross neglect of the acquisitions and belongings of 
the historical Evelyn. It was only the other day 
that the Wootton copy of the first edition of 


Spenser's Faery Queen was sold at an auction for 
ji. It is many years since it left its old home. 

My Dorking friend related to me the following. 
A clergyman there meets a little girl, and, regarding 
her thoughtfully and solemnly, says, * Child, do you 
know who made that vile body of yours ?' ' Yes, 
sir/ replies the child ; ' mother made the body, and 
I made the skirt/ 

It was from this gentleman, who had been many 
years on the medical staff under the Indian Govern- 
ment, that I heard a singular case of infectious 
disease missing a generation. An Englishman, 
walking somewhere outside a town in British India, 
saw a beautiful Hindoo girl bathing in a pool, and 
was irresistibly smitten by her attractions. The 
result was a daughter, who married, and who herself 
had one. The Hindoo's child never betrayed any 
symptom of carrying in her blood the germ of a 
particular malady actually communicated by the 
mother ; but the taint betrayed itself in the grand- 
daughter, to whom it proved fatal, after she had 
conveyed it to her husband. A tardy retribution, 
and an unmerited one ! 


Literary jottings Shakespear The Shakespear Papers Shake- 
spear and Bacon The Sonnets Yorick Tennyson Some 
new particulars of him and his father Longfellow Brown- 
ing The poet and Lord Coleridge The Browning Society 
The arrangements for his interment Amusing anecdote 
The Trinity College MS. of Chaucer Halliwell's Shake- 
speariana A curious episode at his daughter's wedding 
Dr. Ingleby The Hatless Headman G. A. Sala Alexander 

IT seems to me obvious that one main source of the 
obscurity of Shakespear's life was the failure of his 
contemporaries to understand his greatness. Other- 
wise they must have committed to writing more 
about him. But probably a second reason was the 
puritanical element in the family, which would view 
at best with indifference any monuments or records 
illustrative of the dramatist. In a former section I 
have cited a passage from Miss Hazlitt's American 
Diary, where she speaks of having met at Perth 
Amboy a Mr. Shakespear, who resembled the 
portraits which she had seen of the great poet. 
It is not generally known that, in April, 1616, the 


very month of Shakespear's death, there was a great 
fire at Stratford ; but whether any of the papers or 
books perished there, we do not learn. 

Our information about Bacon is meagre enough, 
although he moved in so much higher a sphere, 
socially speaking. 

Rightly or wrongly, I formulated, in early days, 
in my own mind an impression that Bacon was a 
man of short stature, from his disparaging allusion 
in one of his Essays to tall persons, whose heads he 
likens to the meanly-furnished upper storeys of lofty 

The most curious part of his personal history 
seems to be that which has no direct connection 
with it that is to say, the fact that the two greatest 
Englishmen should have been contemporaries, and 
yet have apparently known nothing of each other, 
which probably led to the silly theory that both 
were one and the same. 

Shakespear, in the line, 

' From fairest creatures we desire increase/ 

has touched the voluptuous or sensual side of 

It has constantly struck me, from my intimacy as 
a bibliographer with the elaborate and explanatory 
style of Elizabethan title-pages, how remarkable in 


its simplicity, brevity, and unobtrusiveness, is that 
to our poet's two earliest productions, which came 
from the press, let us bear in mind, when he was 
barely thirty, yet when he was already making his 
mark. You have to turn over the leaf to discover 
the author. There are only half a dozen other 
examples of such reticence in or about the same 
period within my knowledge. Barnfield, in his 
Affectionate Shepherd, 1594, published when he 
was a youth of twenty, and the editor of England's 
Helicon, 1600, may have equally borrowed from 
Shakespear. Barnfield does not even disclose his 
name in a dedication. 

It has long since been mentioned by the present 
writer that the Mr. W. H. of the Sonnets was 
almost undoubtedly not the Earl of Pembroke. We 
have two sorts of testimony to the contrary, which, 
taken together, seem to be fairly conclusive. In 
1 6 10, Thomas Thorp, the T. T. of the Sonnets, 
inscribed to John Florio the first edition of a version 
of Epictetus and Cedes in English in terms pedantic 
and mysterious enough, yet such as the stationer 
might employ toward a man of letters. In 1616 
Thorp brought out an enlarged impression, and 
dedicated it to William, Earl of Pembroke, in a 
totally different strain ; for even where Thorp applies 


the expression, ' True and real upholder of learned 
endeavours/ to his lordship, he merely quotes what 
the translator had said. So, in 1610 and 1616, we 
trace the state of feeling of Thorp toward Florio 
and Lord Pembroke respectively, and it does not 
accord with the hypothesis that the person addressed 
in 1609 by him as Mr. W. //. can be the same as 
the person addressed by him in 1616 as ' The Right 
Honourable William, Earl of Pembroke/ 

In an early manuscript copy of Middleton's Game 
at Chess, formerly in the possession of Mr. C. J. 
Stewart the bookseller, there is a dedication to 
Mr. William Hammond^ evidently a coeval lover 
and patron of letters ; and how much more likely it 
is that Thorp, having acquired the Sonnets in the 
form of loose, unconse.cutive papers, should have 
arranged them to the best of his ability, and have 
connected with them on publication such a name as 
that of Hammond ! 

I cannot help cherishing the belief that in Yorick 
the poet had an eye to Tarlton. He makes Hamlet 
call him * The King's Jester/ and say, ' He hath 
borne me on his back a thousand times/ Tarlton 
died in 1588, when Shakespear was still a young 

One of the most prominent of the gentry at , 


and a justice of peace and quorum, expressed his 
opinion that I was a clever man. It may be easily 
imagined how sensible I was of the flattery, when I 
add that he thought Shakespear a clever man too. 
But, seriously speaking, cleverness has become an 
equivocal term. 

The obscurity of Shakespear's personal history 
impels one to seek explanations which are, after all, 
at best empirical. His unique genius made him 
stand out so conspicuously from among his literary 
contemporaries, ' Sicut inter ignes luna minores/ 
that there was a sort of repellent influence, amount- 
ing in the case of a man like Jonson to pique or 
jealousy, and in still less distinguished persons to 
awe. The sun draws toward it lesser bodies ; but, 
then, they are planetary ones of inferior magnitude, 
in which sensibility is absent. I conjecture that our 
great poet, a sort of human Sun, lacked camaraderie. 
Who but he, save perhaps Daniel from a clearly 
different motive, ever withdrew from the scene of 
his triumphs to end his days in a dull and bigoted 
country village? Had he been only such another 
as Jonson, or Beaumont, or Shirley, we should have 
known more about him. Shakespear must have 
secretly felt his own immense transcendency, and at 
the same time the failure of others to recognise it ; 


and to such a cause one may not err in assigning 
his retirement to Stratford in the prime of life, 
although there again the sympathy with him was 
even slighter either among the townspeople or 
his own circle. Was it not a most self-contained 
career ? 

A neighbour told me one day an anecdote of 
Tennyson. About thirty-five years ago this gentle- 
man was at Somersby, in Lincolnshire, where the 
poet's father lived, and an old servant of the family, 
when he went away, said to him, ' You'll be sure, 
sir, and remember me to Master Alfred/ 

Old Dr. Tennyson was rather well, very irritable. 
The tale goes that his cook, her dress having caught 
fire one day, first ran to her master's door, but, being 
afraid of his temper, went back, and out into the 
yard, screaming for help. The air fanned the flames, 
and the woman died of her burns. The Doctor, to 
prevent the recurrence of such a tragedy, had a butt 
of water placed outside the kitchen door, so that the 
cook, if she became ignited again, might jump or be 
lifted into it, and not trouble him. 

Rich men, and even lords, may make verses, 
though they do not usually cut a very good figure 
among the freemen of Parnassus. Tennyson was 
made a peer, because he had first proved himself a 


man of genius, and had, moreover, written adulatory 
addresses ex officio to the Sovereign. 

Emily Davison, daughter of Sir Henry, an Indian 
functionary of our acquaintance in Brompton days, 
used to visit a friend of her father's in Onslow 
Square, and met Tennyson there. The first time 
she saw him, he was leaning out of the drawing- 
room window, smoking a pipe with the strongest 
tobacco, and very roughly dressed, and, the house 
being in the painters hands, she took him for one 
of the workmen a not unnatural notion for a 
schoolgirl, as Miss Davison then was. 

A pretty little story is told of Longfellow and his 
love for children, which, as usual, was understood 
and reciprocated. A little fellow was taken to the 
poet's house, and found Longfellow in his library. 
The child looked round the room, and after a while 
ventured to ask if his host, among his books, had 
Jack the Giant-killer. Longfellow had to own that 
his collection did not boast it. The boy said nothing, 
but, paying a second visit, approached Longfellow, 
holding something in one hand very firmly. He 
had brought him two cents to buy a copy of the de- 
ficient romance, which was to be * all his own book.' 

At one time Robert Browning used to follow the 
dictates of his own inspiration, and produced poetry, 


when he had anything worth saying and printing. 
But latterly I understand that his publishers would 
jog him on the elbow, and let him know that there 
was room for a new volume, and the bard would 
cast about for a subject or a peg to hang a book 
upon. Messrs. Smith and Elders' cheques are very 
excellent securities ; but they are an indifferent 
Tenth Muse. 

My uncle once went with Robertson, editor of the 
Westminster Review, to wait on Browning at his 
London residence on the subject of an article for the 
periodical, and vividly retained an impression of the 
flowered dressing-gown in which the poet came 
down to them. There was no idea at that time that 
he would become a writer of such importance. 

Browning having sent to Lord Coleridge one of 
his new poetical productions, the latter expressed his 
admiration of what little he was able to understand. 
Browning observed that if such a reader could com- 
prehend ten per cent, of his work, he ought to be 
well satisfied. 

I agree so far with the late Mr. Reynell, that it 
was a bizarre kind of proceeding to start a Society 
to expound the writings of a living author, and I 
have heard it whispered that the oracle, on being 
pressed for a solution of some obscure passage in a 


composition, had sometimes to confess that he could 
not help the inquirer, though he had no doubt that 
he knew what he meant when he wrote it. This 
goes some way to justify Lord Coleridge's criticism. 

Browning died without doing more than leave 
verbal instructions in respect to his funeral or 
burial-place. He said that, if he died at Paris, he 
desired to lie by his father there ; if at Florence, by 
his wife in the old cemetery ; and if at Venice, in 
some particular church, which I have forgotten 
not, I believe, at Lido. The difficulty was-, so far 
as Florence was concerned, that the old cemetery 
had been closed, and that the municipality could 
not grant permission for his interment there without 
some special Ministerial authority; and the family de- 
clined the proposal to exhume his wife, and lay both 
together in the new ground. It was then that Dean 
Bradley, who had wavered so long as it was a mere 
question of compliment, came forward, and assented 
to his remains being deposited in the Abbey. 

I heard from F. an odd story related to him by 
A. S. of a visit paid to two sporting acquaintances 
in Buckinghamshire. S. referred to the recent 
death of Browning, and one of the Nimrods, turn- 
ing to the other thoughtfully, said, ' Poor Browning ! 
did he hunt with you ?' 


F. has, as I always maintain, one ruling charac- 
teristic. He is the most uncommercial man I ever 
met. It has not been my lot to come across a 
person so thoroughly superior to pecuniary con- 
siderations. On one occasion, when the money 
could scarcely have been indifferent to him, two 
literary commissions were thrown in his way : one 
was worth ^120; the other was gratuitous what 
they term honorary. He preferred the latter. He 
was mentioning to me the case of the Trinity 
College manuscript of Chaucer, borrowed by 
H alii well- Phillipps from the then librarian without 
any voucher given, and never returned, as the 
borrower alleged, after the death of the librarian, 
that he had restored it to him. It was afterward 
in a lot which came into the hands of Rodd, the 
bookseller, either from an auction or by private 
purchase, and shown to Sir F. Madden, then Keeper 
of the Manuscripts at the British Museum. Madden 
recognised the volume, although the Chaucer portion 
had been taken out and destroyed, and the remain- 
ing two parts bound up separately ; but he could 
hardly swear to it in its altered state ; it is now in 
the Museum. Bond told me without reserve, when 
he was Keeper, that he would not buy any manu- 
script from Phillipps ; and, in fact, I have heard 


that he did one or two queer things in the printed 
book department. 

When the Birmingham folks declined his Shakes- 
peariana at /7,ooo, an American lady offered to 
buy them, and present them to the New York 
Shakespear Society, if they would undertake to 
preserve them. H alii well, I understand, was made 
F.R.S. on the belief that he would draw up the 
catalogue of the Society's library, which he never 
did, though he had promised to do it. But it was 
easier fifty years ago to gain admission. 

I have already referred to Phillipps's extraordinary 
nervousness. He invited me to the wedding of his 
second daughter to Mr. Hall, and at the breakfast, 
when the health of the father of the bride was pro- 
posed and drunk, I heard a sudden rustle of paper 
all over the room, and anon perceived that (by a 
preconcerted arrangement, no doubt) the response 
was being circulated in the form of a printed slip, 
owing to Phillipps's constitutional inability to get on 
his feet and say a few words. 

. I saw his second wife once or twice at Holling- 
bury Copse. It was said that her aunt imagined 
that Phillipps had his eye on her, and was surprised 
and piqued when she found that it was ' my niece ' 
who was the object of pursuit. 


Dr. Ingleby, of Valentines, near Ilford, the Shake- 
spearian scholar, used to drive out about the neigh- 
bourhood without his hat, and went by the name of 
the Hatless Headman. When I knew Ingleby, he 
rented Wanstead from Lord Cowley, and I recall 
a delightful drive with him in a dogcart through the 
woods, and the imminent risk I more than once ran 
of having my head broken by contact with some 
overhanging bough. 

Valentines is a historical mansion, where Arch- 
bishop Tillotson formerly resided, and an avenue 
called his Walk still remains. But all the fine 
old wood-carving by Grinling Gibbons has been 
replaced by plaster. 

The late G. A. Sala was a man of rare industry 
and capacity. He was a journalist par excellence, 
and his other works were assemblages of articles in 
book form. But he shewed great power and fluency 
as a public speaker. I heard him with a good deal 
of interest and amusement one evening at a dinner 
at the Mansion House, where he was far away the 
leading star among the after-dinner orators. He 
poked some fun at Sir William Smith, of the 
Dictionaries, as to his (Sala's) notion, till he met 
him there in the flesh, that he was a sort of nominis 


Sala was an unimaginative Alexandra Dumas 
pere. He was eminently successful, I should 
imagine, in a pecuniary point of view, yet, like the 
true Bohemian, died none the richer for that. 

The late Mr. Alexander Ireland, of Manchester, 
who was, I believe, an Edinburgh man, made him- 
self known to me about 1866. He professed to 
take a warm interest in the writings of my grand- 
father, and during many years we corresponded 
together. But, as a person who has alike inherited 
and accumulated a vast amount of information on 
all sorts of subjects and people, I have met with 
passing many of these almost hysterically enthusi- 
astic interviewers, asking one for opinions about 
British Columbia, Burns, Lamb, Hazlitt, the early 
English poets, and a legion of other topics ; and 
Ireland was no exception to the rule These folks 
gush for a season, while they glean and recon- 
noitre, then put up their note-books and wish you 

The gentleman just now in question overrated 
his intimacy with me, as I have already implied, 
by appropriating without leave or adequate acknow- 
ledgment the material collected by me and printed 
in my 1867 Hazlitt book. I was more sorry than 
angry, because in the interval I had brought 

VOL. ii. 36 


together, unknown to him, a mass of new informa- 
tion, which placed my worthy acquaintance in the 
unenviable situation described by Macaulay, I 
cannot altogether refrain from dwelling on the 
matter, because I am constantly given to under- 
stand that the person who thus obliged me is the 
only recognised authority on the subject ! 

I have involuntarily acted as bush-beater to two 
in succession to Mr. Ireland for Hazlitt and to 
Canon Ainger for Lamb, and need I say how 
deeply sensible I am of the double honour ? 

Ireland was engaged to print in confidence the 
Vestiges of Creation,, by the late Robert Chambers, 
published anonymously. The copies were sent up 
by the typographer to the London houses, and the 
authorship was for some time kept as a close secret. 
But, like other secrets, greater and smaller, it was 
in due course divulged. 

When I first visited him at Bowdon, on the 
Cheshire side of the Irwell, he appeared to be in 
affluent circumstances through his interest in the 
Manchester Examiner and his general printing 
business, and he subsequently built a large house 
in the same suburb to accommodate his library. 
Of his later history I know very little, except that 
he sold his books, retired to Southport, and ulti- 


mately returned to Bowdon. There was a serious 
loss of money, I understood, by the editorial mis- 
management of the paper, and Ireland and his wife 
were temporarily in great straits. It was then, I 
suppose, that Mr. Gladstone gave him ^"200 out of 
the Royal Bounty. 

He had an old-fashioned way of asking after my 
wife. He would always say : c I hope that Mistress 
Hazlitt is well. Mistress Ireland is pretty well, I 
thank you.' The second Mistress Ireland, who is 
also no more, was a remarkably intelligent and 
agreeable woman, the daughter of a gentleman 
named Nicholson, in Cumberland ; her brother, 
Henry Alley ne Nicholson, published an interesting 
monograph on the geology of Cumberland and 
Westmoreland, 1868. 

Ireland had a son and a daughter by his first 
wife. The son I never met, but I recollect Miss 
Ireland, who resembled her father in height and 
general appearance. There was at one time a talk 
of this lady marrying one of our modern verse- 


Literary acquaintances The Rev. Thomas Corser His early 
knowledge of our family at Wem Mr. James Crossley A 
Milton anecdote The Rev. Alexander Dyce My personal 
contact with him The Rev. John Mitford Henry Bradshaw 
My obligations to him His peculiarities Henry Huth 
Sketch of his life My long and intimate acquaintance with 
him His earliest experiences as a collector His library 
catalogue Mrs. Huth Huth's indifferent health Circum- 
stances of his death My conversations with him on various 
subjects Herbert Spencer The Leigh Hunt memorial 
Huth's liberality of character and feeling. 

MY old and excellent acquaintance, the Rev. 
Thomas Corser, the distinguished book-collector, 
of Stand, near Manchester, was a native of Whit- 
church, and had been a great angler in his earlier 
days. He interested me, when I saw him at Stand, 
by telling me that his father was very intimate with 
Mr. Jenkins, who was Presbyterian minister at 
Whitchurch, and on very affectionate terms with 
my great-grandfather at Wem. I went to Stand 
two or three times, and Corser was always most 
friendly. The Rectory was a small detached house 


near the church, and the books were from insuffi- 
cient space stowed away in bedroom cupboards and 
even under beds* Corser had to light a candle to 
look for a Caxton in a cupboard. He could give 
you a good glass of port, and was not averse to it 
himself. His library cost, he told me, ,9,000, and, 
although many of the books were given away, 
realized ^"20,000. It curiously illustrates the change 
in the market value of some old books, that Corser 
kept his second folio Shakespear in the dining-room 
among the more ordinary works. A five-pound 
note secured a good copy in his day. 

A second leading figure in Manchester literary 
circles some years since was Mr. James Crossley, 
a retired solicitor and an enthusiastic book-lover. 
I saw him repeatedly, when I visited the city, and 
I ever found him most urbane and communicative. 
He remembered Piccadilly, Manchester, when two 
vehicles could not pass each other there. His 
collection of books was very extensive and multi- 
farious ; but he had certain specialities, particularly 
the writings of Defoe and of Lancashire and 
Cheshire authors. 

The removal of his library, when he left Picca- 
dilly to reside elsewhere, occupied three weeks, to 
the amazement and loss of the contractor, who, 


surveying it cursorily, calculated on achieving the 
task in as many days, and estimated accordingly. 

Crossley was rather a keen -hand at a bargain, 
and was during months engaged in a treaty for a 
copy of the first edition of Paradise Lost. When 
he had settled on the price, he asked the vendor if 
he had any more copies ; he would take all he had. 
The price for a fine copy thirty years ago was a 
couple of guineas, at which figure I acquired a 
beautiful one in the original sheep from Tomlins, 
in Great Russell Street, and when an American 
agent offered me double, I thought that he was in 

The Rev. Alexander Dyce was invariably willing 
to afford any information to me on literary or 
bibliographical subjects. When my father was first 
acquainted with him he lived in Gray's Inn, He 
was a bachelor. I met him one day at Russell 
Smith's, in Soho Square, a singularly huge, sham- 
bling, awkward, ungainly figure. He had come 
about an eighteenpenny book he required for use. 
There was some negotiation as to an abatement of 
the price, and ultimately he left the shop, book in 
hand. In a few moments he returned, and asked 
Smith if, when he had done with it, he would take 
the volume back at a reasonable reduction. On 


another occasion when I met Dyce, it was the 
sale of the library of the Rev. John Mitford in 
1860, and he spoke of Mitford's handwriting as a 
curious mixture of neatness and illegibility in fact, 
that the writer had come to him before then to 
ask him to assist in deciphering it. 

There was a creepy story about Mitford and a 
mysterious affair which took place at his rectory in 
Suffolk. A dead child was discovered behind a 

This gentleman edited many of the modern poets 
for Whittingham ; but all that he did, I understand, 
was to prefix a poorly- worded memoir and a passable 
sonnet. The texts took care of themselves. 

Of the late Mr. Henry Bradshaw, of the Univer- 
sity Library, Cambridge, I now regret that I saw 
so little. Through my old friend, Mr. G. A. Green- 
hill, of Emmanuel, whom I have known since he 
was a Bluecoat boy, I had been in communication 
with Bradshaw some little time before I went up to 
Cambridge in 1875 to examine personally as many 
of the rarities there as I could. 

I was in the habit of applying to Bradshaw for 
occasional assistance in regard to unique books at 
Cambridge, and as he was a very bad correspondent, 
I employed Greenhill to go to him, and obtain the 


required information. The curious part was that 
Bradshaw seated himself at one of the tables with 
Greenhill, and wrote him a note, which he threw 
across. When I waited on him myself, however, 
no man could have been more courteous or more 
liberal. Incidentally naming to him one day in 
conversation the Oxendens of Barham, near Canter- 
bury, he gave me to understand that he was related 
to that family. I think that his sister was Lady 

Bradshaw was sadly unpractical and inconsequent. 
He entered warmly into projects, but scarcely ever 
pursued the matter any farther. Publishers an- 
nounced books by him as about to appear, because, 
judging him by ordinary rules, they concluded that 
some arrangement, into which he had ostensibly 
entered, was a settled affair, whereas our excellent 
friend probably thought no more about it. 

Bradshaw had some project for rearranging Sir 
David Lyndsay's works, as they occur in my Collec- 
tions, according to Furnivall ; but I never under- 
stood what it was, nor did it come to anything, and 
when I mentioned the matter to David Laing, he 
did not seem to see what room or scope there could 
be for it ; Lyndsay's case stands so differently from 
Chaucer and the author of Piers Ploughman. 


The last time we met was in London, not very 
long prior to his unexpected death, and he informed 
me that a gentleman at Cambridge had just brought 
to light a tract which had been mislaid, adding that, 
as soon as he returned home, he would ask him to 
transmit me a full account. I knew too well that 
this was all that 1 should ever hear of it. 

I honestly consider it nevertheless a privilege and 
an honour to have met Bradshaw, and to have asso- 
ciated with him, for however brief a term. He was 
so thoroughly genuine and original. It was Furni- 
vall who gave me the account of him which was 
substantially printed at the time in a memoir. Brad- 
shaw's life was sacrificed to his inveterate neglect to 
take exercise. 

It was somewhat amusing to hear George Bullen 
speak of him as a man who had been absurdly over- 
rated in his (Bullen's) opinion. 

During my stay at the University upward of 
twenty years since, I visited most of the libraries, 
and left very little unnoted. I had at Magdalen 
a rather interesting conversation with the chamber- 
fellow of Minors Bright, who was himself away. He 
furnished me with a few samples of the passages in 
Pepys's Diary which Bright had deemed it necessary 
to suppress. One I remember was where the Secre- 


tary to the Admiralty described his intrigue with a 
pretty Dutch lady (it was well for his domestic 
peace that the account was in cryptogram), and 
another referred to his dilemma at his lodgings, 
where he was overtaken in the night, and secreted 
something in the chimney, faute de cabinet. 

A perfectly fortuitous circumstance introduced me 
in the winter of 1866 to the late Mr. Henry Huth. 
I solicited in writing the particulars of a unique 
volume which he had lately acquired, and he 
responded by inviting me to his house to inspect 
it. My conversance with the class of literature in 
which he ultimately took the greatest amount of 
interest, and for which his library is remarkable, led 
to a continuance of our intercourse, and during ten 
years I saw him regularly, as a rule, on Sunday 
afternoons when he was in town. My practice was 
to go to his house about one, lunch with the family, 
and spend two or three hours afterward in the 
library with Mr. Huth. Sometimes a guest or two 
called Mr. Turner, Mr. Russell, or Mr. Gayangos ; 
but more frequently we were alone. 

Mr. Huth was a gentleman, a scholar, and a 
linguist. He was particularly affable and kind, and 
no one could be less ostentatious and presuming. 
He afforded me enormous assistance in the prepara- 


tion of the later letters of my Handbook, and was at 
all times ready to lend me books, irrespectively of 
their pecuniary value. I have known what it was 
to return home from one of my afternoons with him 
with a hundred-guinea tome under my arm or in 
my pocket. 

He was born in 1815, I believe in Finsbury, 
where his father, Mr. Frederick Huth, lived at all 
events when he was a boy. He told me that his 
brothers and sisters and himself were taken out for 
exercise in what was then the open ground about. 
It was still the fashion for men of business in the 
City to fix themselves tolerably near to their offices, 
and the Huths removed from Finsbury to Clapton, 
formerly another favourite resort of City men. 

The founder of the firm of F. Huth and Co. was 
originally a clerk in a mercantile establishment at 
Hamburg. He went thence to Spain, where he 
settled and married a Spanish lady; but in 1812, 
during the disturbances in the Peninsula, he 
determined to remove to England. It was with 
great difficulty that he escaped, and shots were 
fired into the vessel in which he embarked. His 
aptitude for business gradually gave him a footing 
in London, and he, from modest beginnings, rose to 
a share in more ambitious transactions. His son, 


who characteristically described his father to me as 
an adventurer, mentioned that folks opened their 
eyes when a bill drawn upon F. Huth and Co. for 
,30,000 came into the market, and was duly met. 
But Frederick Huth was evidently a man of 

The house accepted any sort of factorship on 
a large scale. Huth told me, by way of illustration, 
that a single transaction in silkworms' eggs from 
Japan to Italy was worth to them ,25,000, or 
10 per cent, on a quarter of a million. It is not 
everybody who can afford to be generous that 
proves so ; but F. Huth and Co., as the firm 
continues to be called, were in nearly every public 
subscription in London for a handsome figure 
where or what the object was, so long as it was 
legitimate, it did not signify. 

Huth never went back beyond his father, but 
he shewed me a queer - looking portrait on the 
staircase at Prince's Gate, which purported to be 
the effigy of a certain person of his name, whether 
related to him or not, I am, as he was, uncertain. 
My former acquaintance married a Viennese, whose 
brother was a Consul at Hamburg, and a quiet, 
pleasant fellow enough. Mrs. Huth laid greater 
stress, poor soul! on her husband's wealth than 


he did, for of all the men whom I have known 
he was the most unassuming. As a book- collector, 
he possessed a tolerable knowledge of the insides 
of volumes, and he was the master of several 
languages. It was a saying of his that no man 
could be a gentleman who did not understand Latin. 

He has said to me more than once that all that 
he wanted was peace and quietness. In anyone 
else this would have been affectation ; but I think 
it was the beginning of that nervous debility which 
so strongly developed itself, and led to his going 
abroad one year for change and relief. I have 
known him so overcome by depression that he 
declared himself to me unable to face the process 
of looking for a book on the shelves. Halliwell- 
Phillipps was nearly as hypochondriacal while he 
lived at Brompton. 

Although Huth had the command of a well- 
appointed stable in town (that at Wykehurst, he 
told me, was nearly as large as the house), his 
regular routine was to go to the City in the morning 
in a four-wheeled cab, and to walk home, taking 
the booksellers in his way. The carriages were 
for the ladies. 

The earliest dealings of Huth with booksellers 
were when he was quite a young man, and he 


used to buy classics of Baldock in Holborn. I 
do not fancy that he retained any of his juvenile 
acquisitions. At a later period his brother Louis, 
to whom he once introduced me, and who lived 
with his wife (there was no family) in a large 
house, jocularly termed Windsor Castle, in Sussex, 
was slightly smitten by bibliomania, and frequented 
the shop of Payne and Foss. Old Spanish romances 
were his game, and one day, when the two brothers 
were there together, Henry diffidently asked the 
price of one of those excessively rare early folio 
tales of chivalry. The bookseller replied, Eight ; 
but his questioner did not know whether he meant 
pounds or shillings. Louis Huth, however, bought 
it, and subsequently, when he abandoned the pursuit, 
handed over the volume to the other. 

While the Daniel sale was going on in 1864, my 
friend was at Thames Ditton, and Joseph Lilly used 
to bring down the day's purchases every evening. 
Huth gave me a droll account of Lilly's embarrass- 
ment, when he asked him on one of these occa- 
sions into the room where they were at dessert, 
and begged him to take a glass of wine* The 
old bookseller spilled the liquor over the table- 
cloth and his own clothes, and retreated in the 
utmost confusion into the servants' hall. 


The circumstances of poor Huth's tragic end 
are perhaps not generally known. One evening 
in December, 1878, when the other members of 
the family were from home, he appears to have 
sat as usual in the little book-room out of the 
hall, and in rising to have had a slight fit, as 
there was evidence that, in trying to save himself, 
he bent the fire-screen. He recovered, however, 
for the time, and went up by the front-staircase 
to bed. On the way he experienced a second 
and more violent seizure, and fell backward, 
fracturing the skull ; and the next morning the 
servants, not finding him in the breakfast-room, 
discovered him on the stairs. Life had been long 
extinct, but there is the possibility that, had his 
wife and children not been in the country, he might 
have been saved. 

I shall never cease to regret that Huth permitted 
the catalogue of his library to suffer curtailment, 
and to fall under the control of a gentleman of 
great experience and capacity in certain directions, 
but of no literary training or sympathy. The 
consequence is that the volumes, which the owner 
of the collection fondly hoped to render immaculate, 
are replete alike with grave and with absurd errors, 
and that, in spite of my earnest representations, 


much valuable information has been suppressed. 
Yet it was peculiarly a case in which expense 
was immaterial, and it did not signify a straw 
whether the work made five, or six, or ten volumes. 

The catalogue does not contain all the Huth 
books. He did not for some reason wish the 
Chinese Bible, which someone sold to him in the 
streets of Mexico, inserted ; and he always told 
me that there was a copy of one of Southwell's 
books, which he intended to restore to Stony hurst 
College, from which it was a stray, not desiring to 
keep anything under such circumstances. I do not 
know what was actually done. 

His successor in the possession of the books 
projects, I understand, a Supplement, including 
his own acquisitions since his father's death. Of 
these I have very slight knowledge, except that 
they comprise an undescribed translation by Haring- 
ton (not Sir John) of Cornelius Agrippa in Com- 
mendation of Matrimony, printed by John Skot 
in 1528. A Table of Errata might be a desirable 
feature in the proposed Appendix, and it would 
be a long one. For instance, in one place the 
Romish Breviary of 1518 is stated to have been 
printed at the expense of the Count and Countess 
Frangepane [Frangipani] while they were confined 


as prisoners of war 'in the gaol called Dcrasel 
(Torcello, near Venice)' But Dorasel was the 
Venetian form of Torricella, the state-prison con- 
tiguous to the Ducal Palace at Venice itself. This 
is merely by way of example. The particular item 
was not catalogued by me. 

Huth, as a commercial man, regarded the ' knock- 
out ' in auctions as a moot question. He saw, what 
many others cannot help seeing, the injustice of one, 
or two, or more experts attending a public sale of 
any kind, and virtually giving away the fruit of a 
life-long study of some subject for the benefit of the 
vendor's estate ; and it is to be noted that, while a 
share of the prejudice against the process is due to 
the class of persons principally concerned in it, an 
arrangement substantially similar is capable of being 
made between two gentlemen or two purchasers of 
acknowledged position, who may say to one another: 
' I will leave such a lot to you, if you will leave such 
another to me'; or, * Do you buy lot 10, and what- 
ever you give for it I will recoup you, instead of 
bidding myself, and perhaps, by drawing attention, 
making it dearer.' The methods of varying the 
' knock-out/ in short, are numerous ; and it may 
seem to many (I think it did so to Huth) that the 
chief objection is superficial, in two senses an 

VOL. ii. 37 


objection to the idea of vulgar brokers reselling 
goods in a vulgar pot-house parlour over their 
liquor, and the objection which a judge or other 
illiterate person might raise primd Jade without 
any practical conversance with the bearings of the 

It is related that at the Mason sale in 1798 the 
Duke of Roxburgh and Lord Althorp obtained 
what they severally wanted at moderate prices by 
one bidding for the two, and then tossing up after- 
ward. This was a type of ' knock-out/ omitting 
some of the less genteel agrdmens. 

It was Huth who laid down very fairly, as I 
thought, the principle on which men should be 
estimated and accepted by society. This is a most 
important point at the present time, when the classes 
have become so mixed. He considered that the 
character of the occupation ought to govern the 
matter; he remarked that he would not recognise 
a lucifer-match-maker, a blacking-maker, or a dealer 
in any other sordid or offensive commodity, what- 
ever his means or surroundings might be. 

But this does not appear to me to cover the whole 
ground, or even to touch the most material element. 
Something depends, no doubt, on the employment ; 
but we have also to look at what a man is, and there 


is then the chronic difficulty that the acquaintance 
must be personal, as the master of the house is 
nearly always in these cases far superior to the rest. 
It asks three generations to make a family, and too 
often by that time the money has disappeared, and 
the members are statu quo ante not quite so well 
off, because they have pretensions which they are 
too poor to support. 

Mr. Huth set aside Sunday afternoons, as I 
mention, for the visits of his bibliographical acquaint- 
ance, and he would make no exceptions to this rule, 
although I have occasionally called on a week-day 
in the evening, when I saw so much of him. The 
late Lord Ashburnham expressed a desire to see the 
library, but intimated some difficulty or scruple 
about Sundays, and Mr. Huth told me that there 
the matter rested. I never heard that his lordship 

Here I once or twice met Herbert Spencer. He 
struck me as rather frail and languid. I do not 
know that any very striking observation escaped 
from him in my hearing. But I was impressed by 
his statement of the breakdown of a trial which he 
had given to vegetarianism, and the loss of brain- 
power which he had experienced from that sort of 
diet. F, found the same thing. He came to one's 


house and dined, like a rabbit, on a cabbage or a 
lettuce ; but he had to return to animal food. 

Herbert Spencer stayed three or four years ago 
at Dorking with Grant Allen, while I was in the 
same neighbourhood ; and I heard that he was then 
in very failing health and terribly nervous and 
crotchety. He had conceived an intolerance of 
remarks of a commonplace and unfruitful character, 
and had brought with him an apparatus which he 
could at pleasure slip over his ears, and which spared 
him the pain of auricular contact with less gifted 
mortals. Yet how vast a profit some of our greatest 
writers have derived from the comparative study of 
inferior minds ; and the investigation of graduated 
intellectual force must be very incomplete without 
a survey of every form and measure -of development. 
But I conclude that Herbert Spencer adopted this 
precaution as a valetudinarian in self-defence. 
We sometimes talked on religious topics. Huth 
used to say that he was not himself a church-goer, 
but that he never interfered with the arrangements 
of the house in this respect, leaving it open to his 
children to follow their own inclinations. As so 
often happens, whatever distinguished him above 
other persons of great wealth was a life-tenancy ; 
his qualities were personal and not transferable. 


When the Leigh Hunt Memorial started, he gave 
me ^5 toward it, and it led to him remarking that he 
once sent 20 to a son of the author, who pleaded 
great distress. I felt bound to explain to him that 
it was probably no such matter, and that the 
applicant was a person who made use of his name 
for begging purposes. 

He seldom spoke about money, unless it was to 
ask the price of a book, and that was not often. 
Even when he employed me to execute literary 
work, he left the remuneration open. But I recollect 
that, when I once spoke of someone who had ^"7,000 
a year, he quietly observed that it was a very nice 
income to have, yet a man could not do much 
with it. 

It was a pleasant little trait which Huth once 
related to me of his sister, who lived on Wimbledon 
Common. A very old friend arrived at the house 
on a visit, and she (I forget her married name, but 
she was the wife of a partner in the house) was at 
hand to receive him personally in the hall, and to 
take his bag, or whatever he carried, from him, of 
course, to transfer it to a servant. But the attention 
under the circumstances was what Huth's own wife 
would have called very * sweet/ 

He was rather ceremonious and reserved ; I 


ascribed this to his Spanish blood. At first, in 
his letters, I was Sir, then Dear Sir. Once I 
became My Dear Sir; but he repented this gushing 
familiarity, and returned and adhered to the middle 
form. I was comparatively indifferent to these 
details. Huth maintained me for over ten years, 
and enabled me to carry out my bibliographical 
design. That was his value, and it was a high one. 

Huth mentioned to me once at table that the 
firm kept a certain number of professional works in 
Moorgate Street, where their place of business was 
at that time, for reference and consultation. * Ah !' 
I was tempted to say, ' that is your Ckitty library. 
But my worthy acquaintance was joke-proof. 

He was more exempt than anyone I have met 
from that narrow partiality for their own property, 
whatever it may be, which distinguishes the majority 
of amateurs. He was essentially a man of liberal 
feeling in all questions ; but he offered a powerful 
contrast to such petty-minded collectors as George 
Daniel, of Canonbury, who invariably pronounced 
his own copies of books the ne plus ultra of 
excellence and value. 

The prepossession in favour of personal appur- 
tenances, no matter how unimportant they may be, 
frequently co-exists, however, with the most amiable 


qualities. The owner of a few defaced coins, some 
odds and ends of china, a ragged regiment of non- 
descript books, does not seek to enlarge his know- 
ledge or to refine his taste, even if he has the 
opportunity. You may tell him where the true 
examples are to be seen, or you may possess them 
yourself, and exhibit them to him. It is his mission 
or cue to admire, not what is worthy of admiration, 
but what is his. He has passed through life with 
his eyes shut, and declines to open them to please 
you or me. The brokers' shops have made his house 
a shoot for the last half-century ; but he is perfectly 
satisfied, and is impervious to argument. This is 
he history of the lamentable assemblages of literary 
and artistic effects which every season brings to the 
hammer. The unsophisticated enthusiast is the 
dealers and auctioneer's godsend. 

Huth and some of his friends projected about 
1868 a new literary paper, and promised me a place 
upon the staff ; but nothing came of it Truth was 
once wittily defined to be another and better World; 
we certainly want another and better Athenceum 
something, as Huth thought, younger and healthier. 
Periodicals experience the ailments of old age, like 
ourselves. I do not see Sir Charles Dilke's paper 
myself once in ten years, but I understand, from the 


author of the Sorrows of Satan and other reliable 
authorities, that it does not improve in amiability or 

Macaulay pronounced criticism extinct in this 
country long before he died ; but it would be 
desirable to possess, at any rate, an organ free from 
bias and animus, and capable of informing its readers 
what the books sent to it for notice really are. There 
is no necessity, in general, to call into service the 
almost painful culture of official pluralists ; all that 
seems to be ordinarily required is a certain measure 
of educated intelligence and a certain measure of 
equity. Of course, we want something more than 
the flippant school-usher and the strait-witted com- 
positor, whose eyes instinctively gravitate to accents 
and commas, something higher than the Erratum- 
hunter, and more respectable than the party with the 
vendetta, whose commission, or even whose friend's, 
to execute a book you may have unluckily inter- 
cepted. These prevailing types demonstrate the 
justice of Macaulay's remark, and explain Mr. 
Huth's sense of a deficiency in this direction. 

I may honestly affirm that I am profoundly in- 
different on the subject; but the publishers may 
naturally complain that their commercial investments 
suffer from the present unsatisfactory condition of 


affairs, while they so importantly contribute to keep 
the paper on its feet by their advertisements. Might 
not the proprietor of the At/ienaum, who is so very 
liberal in politics, carry the feeling and principle 
into the conduct of his periodical ? Or, as an 
alternative, might not the Law of Libel be made 
more stringent and summary ? 

Reviewing in the press is a process and system of 
which the general reader of daily and weekly pub- 
lications has a very limited and imperfect idea. He 
is apt to misunderstand its nature and significance. 
A review of a work is simply the opinion of one 
man about another man's book. The critic may by 
possibility come to his task with some foreknowledge 
of the subject, as when a member of the staff of a 
public institution is employed to notice ex cathedra a 
book dealing with his speciality, and rubs down any 
unfortunate wight who has presumed to encroach 
on the peculiar domain of these Trades- Unionists 
only themselves or their assigns warranted. This 
signifies, so far as the official range goes, that the 
normal literary man contributes to pay the salary of 
the very person who thus narrows his opportunities 
of employment, and is not unlikely, in addition, to 
lampoon him in the papers, while the official enjoys 
the advantage of his prestige in Bloomsbury and 


elsewhere in granting audiences to publishers eager 
to have the honour of placing his name on their 
title-pages, in lieu of ignobly waiting on them. By 
all means let us have a schedule of themes which 
may only be handled by the Illuminati. Or, shall 
certain books not be legally current without the old 
Permissu Superiorum ? 

But, as a rule, it is almost necessarily the case 
that the critic derives his acquaintance with the 
topic treated from a more or less cursory perusal 
of the volume in his hands, and it is not invariably 
found that he takes such pains as a conscientious 
judge should do to make himself a master of 
the bearings and of the author's plan. Of course, 
the instances are phenomenally rare where a re- 
viewer bestows on his undertaking an adequate 
amount of labour and thought, to say nothing of his 
outlay for material to enable him to do justice to his 
author and to himself. I do not wish to dwell too 
much on the less usual aspect of the matter, where it 
is the fashion to say all that is pleasant about the 
production of a friend, and much that is false and 
foolish about that of an enemy or rival book-builder, 
for I verily believe this cruel and cowardly practice 
to be on the decline among critics of any repute. 

There is one thing to be said in favour of the 


hypercritical and drastic style which distinguishes a 
few organs : it keeps authors and editors in their 
places. They might, after a while, begin to fancy 
themselves rather clever fellows with a middling 
knowledge of a subject or so ; but the heel of the 
censor presses on their neck ever and anon, and they 
are reminded by him or his assigns that they are 
damned fools, 

I have alluded to my personal want of interest in 
the notices of my literary efforts. I have also, I 
fear, been rather backward in replying to challenges 
in the press. Once it happened that someone wished 
to know my authority for ascribing a particular tract 
to a particular writer, and Mr, Huth recommended 
me to send a reply to the editor. Eventually, when 
he found me indomitably apathetic on the point, he 
very kindly set to work and wrote a letter for me, or 
in my name, I forget which. He was certainly most 
friendly, and when I borrowed a valuable book now 
and then, and I suggested that it should be packed 
up, he, instead of calling a servant, did it himself, 
for, if there is a thing in which I succeed worse than 
in writing, it is in making a parcel. 

I surprised C. by saying that although I had seen 
the finest libraries in the country, and they had 
served me passing well in a bibliographical sense, my 


private inclination as a book-lover was in favour of 
the humbler gathering which a man makes from 
choice of the authors or volumes for which he has 
a genuine personal affection. I like the old-fashioned 
book-closet, as I do the china-closet. There are two 
classes of literature to which one may be partial : 
one, which it seems sufficient to borrow at need, and 
another, which cannot be spared, lest we should 
desire to turn to a passage or to peruse once more a 
favourite poem or paper. There is a want of intimacy 
between the book and its owner in your great library. 
He is the caretaker rather than the master. 


Literary acquaintances (continued} The Tyssens F. W. Cosens 
What he said to me about himself His taste for Spanish 
literature and early English books His generous contribution 
to the Stratford-on-Avon Fund A strange mistake by a noble 
lord The first book printed at New York Mr. E. P. Shirley 
Value of pamphlets illustrated David Laing His varied 
acquirements and disinterested character A member of the 
old Scotish school His literary performances What they 
cost him and what he gained by them Sir Walter Scott's 
< Dear George 'Relics of Sir Walter The Britwell Library 
Its origin and fortunes Samuel Christie-Miller His 
criticisms on the books Indebtedness of the library to the 
Heber sale Frederic Locker-Lampson His advantages 
as a man of fortune Comparison of himself with Henry 
Huth His vers de sod'ctk As a man As a buyer Locker's 
father and brother The Mutual Admiration Society. 

THREE members of the Tyssen family were dis- 
tinguished early in the century in different ways. 
One brother was a book-collector, a second a numis- 
matist, a third a sportsman. At dinner one evening, 
when the three were together, and a friend, an 
Admiral R.N., made the fourth, the enthusiast for 
coins threw on the table a rare early English silver 
penny. ' There !' cried he. ' Congratulate me. I 


gave twenty guineas for it.' Of course they did. 
When he left the room, the sportsman remarked, 
' What a fool ! Why, he might have got a couple of 
pointers with the money!' ' Ah !' chimed in the 
sailor ; 'or, better still, the model of a ship/ The 
bibliophile was generous enough to say nothing. 
This I had from the son of one of those present. 

Concurrently with my knowledge of Mr. Huth, I 
formed the acquaintance of the late Mr. Frederic 
William Cosens, the wine-shipper, a self-raised and 
self-educated man, but a person of the kindest and 
most amiable character, and of tastes which did him 
infinite honour. He laboured under many draw- 
backs. He told me that he was thrown on the world 
to make his living at fifteen ; he had worked hard at 
his business during the best years of his life ; and 
when he sought me out some five-and-twenty years 
since, he was only just beginning to relax his attend- 
ance on his commercial duties. His relationship 
with Spain as a wine-importer had naturally led him 
to contract an interest in the literature of that 
country, and the circle into which he was drawn at 
home lent him an inducement to extend his range 
as a collector to our own early literature, especially 
Shakesperiana and poetical manuscripts. H e was one 
of the most munificent contributors to the Stratford- 


on- A von Fund; and he was of the Forty whom I have 
commemorated in a preceding section. Huth, as a 
Spanish scholar, thought rather poorly, I must own, 
of Cosens's efforts as a translator from Lope de Vega 
of certain novels cognate in their subject to Shake- 

Book-collectors are, as a rule, remarkably super- 
ficial. I was once at a bookseller's while the present 

Earl of C was looking at the first book printed 

at New York the Laws and Acts of the State, 
which issued from the parent-press of William Brad- 
ford in 1693-94, bearing, of course, the same relation 
to American literature and bibliography as a Caxton 
does to our own. Yet, incredible as it may appear, 
his lordship put the precious volume down, with the 
remark that it did not interest him, not having been 
printed in America. At the foot of the title-page 
he might have read : 'At New York, Printed and 
sold by William Bradford, Printer to Their 
Majesties^ King William and Queen Mary, 1694.' 
It was the copy which had belonged to Lord Chan- 
cellor Somers. 

Mr. Charlemagne Tower knew better, and the 
unique book is at present, by his bequest, in the 
library of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. From 
having been since Lord Somers's day in the centre 


of a volume of tracts, it is in the most beautiful con- 
dition imaginable. 

It rather surprised me, I confess, to hear the late 
Mr. Evelyn Philip Shirley, who was greatly in- 
terested in all matters relating to early Irish history, 
say that he did not include tracts in his collection, 
as it is to that class of record, transmitting to us, as 
they do, the impressions of contemporaries, and pre- 
serving facts not to be found in larger works, that 
we owe so much information which would have been 
otherwise lost 

Fox, in his Book of Martyrs, especially in the 
first edition, has inserted the texts of a large number 
of pamphlets, sometimes ipsissimis verbis, but more 
usually in substance, and in certain cases we are 
unable, perhaps, to detect his obligations from the 
disappearance of the originals. Stow did much the 
same, I think, in his Chronicle. 

I hold a number of letters on literary or biblio- 
graphical topics from David Laing, who was not 
only an interesting man as a link between the Scot- 
land of Sir Walter Scott and the Scotland which 
we know, but was quite an Aristarchus in his way, 
occupying a position, as I have always contended, 
never attained by any literary person on this side of 
Tweed. Laing was, in a certain sense, ambidexter. 


He was equally at home in the old Scotish writers 
and in the more modern. While he intimately knew, 
and cordially appreciated, the author of Waverley, 
he vindicated from oblivion and neglect the writings 
of Knox and of the early makars. But I suspect 
that with us Southrons his sympathy was less pro- 

The only occasion on which I had the honour 
of shaking him by the hand was in the Museum 
Reading Room. We met by appointment, and I 
shall never forget the veteran antiquary's change of 
countenance and accent when I suggested that he 
should dine with me at Kensington on the next 
ensuing Sabbath. He might have been the disciple 
of Knox, as well as his editor. He was of the unco' 
guid and godly. I heard from him, however, almost 
down to the last, and often forwarded information 
to him about books beyond his reach, bearing on 
some undertaking on which he was engaged. He 
was the very opposite to a bookmaker. Except 
Henry Bradshaw, no one of my time ever chewed 
the cud over an author or a subject v as Laing did. 
His edition of William D unbar, which had been 
commenced in 1820, was not published till 1834, 
nor did the supplement appear till 1865, because he 
had been hoping to "recover certain pieces or facts, 

VOL. n. 38 


which, after all, he never did ; and his edition of 
Robert Henry son, although he was collecting the 
material for it pari passu with Dunbar, did not see 
the light till the Supplement to the latter poet just 
mentioned came out. It was in hand between thirty 
and forty years. 

He used to explain how this arose. He did not 
derive any pecuniary advantage from these publica- 
tions ; his personal means were limited. He had 
manifold occupations, and the printing process had 
to await a convenient opportunity. He was a pure 
litterateur, and a fine old fellow, to boot. I have 
known him travel miles at his own expense to verify 
some trivial point in person, instead of acquiring the 
information at second-hand. 

When I was in Edinburgh about 1855, Sir Walter 
Scott's ' dear George ' was dead ; but his son, T. G. 
Stevenson, kept a bookshop in Prince's Street in, a 
sort of cellar, to which you descended by a few steps. 
His near neighbour, William Paterson, and he ,had 
an odd way of putting visitors, to whom they gave 
their confidence, on their guard one against the 

Sir Walter's inkstand, which he used in his office 
at Edinburgh while he discharged the duties of 
Sheriff-deputy, came to his assistant or closet-keeper, 


Mr. Carmichael, whose daughter Charlotte inherited 
it, and used to shew it as a curiosity. 

Messrs. Ballantyne and Co. have at their London 
house the desk upon which Scott corrected his 
proofs in his private room at their office. 

Mr. William Henry Miller, the founder of the 
celebrated Britwell Library, was an attorney at Edin- 
burgh, and made his fortune by farming the City 
sewage, or, at all events, by a share in the enter- 
prise. When ' Measure * Miller, as he was called, 
from his habit of carrying about an inch-rule to test 
the relative tallness of copies, began to collect, I do 
not quite know ; but he was a buyer at the White 
Knights sale in 1819, where he gave over 60 for 
the Book of 6/. Albans, printed by Wynkyn de 
Worde in 1496. An odd story was once afloat that 
Miller was really a woman ; but how that may have 
been, I cannot say. He had no family, at any rate, 
and died without issue in or about 1849, leaving 
sisters, but bequeathing his property, including the 
library, to his cousin, Miss Marsh, as I am credibly 
informed, who left it to a Mr. Samuel Christy, of 
i;he firm of hatters in Piccadilly, to whom he or she 
had taken a liking. This individual took the name 
of Miller, and altered his original name into Christie. 
He came into a pretty good thing for a hatter, as 


Riviere the bookbinder used to remark to me. 
He had the house at Craigentinny, near Edinburgh ; 
a second at Britwell, near Maidenhead ; and a town 
house in St James's Place the same which had 
once belonged to Samuel Rogers. Christie-Miller 
was a very commonplace, illiterate man, very proud 
of his possessions, of which he spoke as if they had 
been in his family since the Conquest, and laughably 
distrustful of any and every one. Bradshaw once 
went to Britwell to see some of the books, and little 
Miller watched him, as a cat watches a mouse. His 
own vulgar instincts led him to suspect even a man 
above suspicion. 

He remarked to me one day that he did not quite 
understand the value and interest of these old books, 
and he particularly insisted on the incorrectness of 
the orthography, which was a further betrayal of his 

He more than once rather contemptuously referred 
to the Huth books, saying that it was impossible for 
the owner to have secured more than a few here 
and there of the rarer early English works in poetry 
and romance; and, of course, had it not been for 
the Daniel and Corser sales, Huth would have 
never succeeded in obtaining much, although his 
large resources and the incessant vigilance of Lilly 


and other caterers for him did a great deal. It was 
rather absurd, however, for a parvenu like the 
hatter to pose as a man of the old school, seeing 
that the library came to him ready-made and by a 
fluke, and that his knowledge of it was infinitesimal. 
It may be added that the Britwell Library itself is 
what we see it mainly through the acquisition by 
the founder at the Heber sale of the rarest early 
English books at relatively nominal amounts. 

Mr. Frederic Locker- Lampson always struck me 
as a droll figure. He posed as a friend to men of 
letters, and subscribed, I believe, to the Literary 
Fund ; yet he held up his head as if his sole status 
had been his ancient descent and his territorial 
importance, whereas in reality his main title to 
notice was what he did in vers de socittd some very 
clever and pretty things, but assuredly no poetry. 
Like Tennyson, he was destitute of humour ; but of 
course he lacked Tennyson's power. 

Mr. Locker- Lampson was comparing his position 
with that of Huth one day in conversation with me, 
and pleading on his own behalf that he had at any 
rate done something meaning the London Lyrics. 
But Huth was a man of altogether superior calibre 
and morale. The other was a virtuoso, and perhaps 
a little of the petit matire. He was one of the 


spoiled children of fortune. His metrical trifles 
shewed you, if you did not know him, that he had 
a taste for culture and a handsome balance at his 
banker's. Canon G. very judiciously observed to 
me that culture might make or mar ; the young 
men who affect it too frequently carry the hobby 
to a point where it becomes distasteful or ridiculous. 
But Locker, as a man of fortune, had no object to 
gain by enunciating extreme opinions. He held the 
middle way. 

It was one of the most grotesque sights possible 
to see him, as I did one day, arrive in a high-pitched 
chariot at Coutts's with some of his belongings. He 
was perched up on a seat which placed him on a 
level with the top of an omnibus or a hay-cart, 
and his expression and air were ludicrously cox- 

But it was when I had occasion to call at his 
residence one evening, and he was in full dress, that 
I was most amused. I had met him in town just 
before in a stupendous fur- coat, in which he might 
have passed for a man of fifteen stone ; and in his 
swallow-tails, with his attenuated frame and his 
wizen face, you felt as if you could lift him with one 
i He honoured me by sending me a volume called 


Patchwvrk, published in 1879 ; but he did not 
mention that it was on the exact lines of one edited 
by myself a few years before. He might be sup- 
posed not to be aware of it ; we moved in such 
different circles. 

Locker also gave me a copy of his London 
Lyrics, with a request that I would send him my 
written opinion of it. I did so with a certain diffi- 
culty, as in a budget of vers de socittd, not of the 
highest class, one scarcely knew what to say. I 
have not looked into the book for years ; it left on 
my mind an agreeable impression of a few neatly- 
turned and graceful stanzas with the same fault 
which the writer displayed as a collector an absence 
of breadth and strength. I remember that Locker 
characteristically asked me to call for the little 
volume at a wine-shop in Piccadilly, in which he 
then had an interest. 

Locker, in his parsimonious ways, curiously 
resembled his relative by marriage, the late Poet 
Laureate. I met him in the Strand shortly after his 
accession to the Lampson property through his 
second wife, and congratulated him. He looked 
rather grave, and said, * Ah, yes ; but it is terrible 
to think of the expense I have to incur for 


It always seemed to me that Locker assumed a 
false attitude. His claim to consideration was not 
that he enjoyed so many thousands a year jure 
nxoris, but (as he owned himself) that he was the 
author of a creditable little book of verses, a lover 
of old literature, and the possessor of a certain 
feeling for art. A man of fortune who is also a 
man of letters is apt to be persuaded by his friends 
that he is a man of genius. Locker was a second- 
rate versifier of the Dobson and Calverley school. 

He was very manneristic in the way in which he 
approached you as an applicant for information on 
literary or bibliographical matters. He assumed an 
air of bland and almost infantile simplicity, and was 
apt to draw you out, unless you were on your guard* 
He once asked me, when I was at his house, to 
write a note on a flyleaf of a very rare edition of 
Heywood's Epigrams, 1550, which he had bought 
of John Pearson, calculating that some day my 
attestation as to the book might make it fetch a few 
pounds more. 

He was a very poor and injudicious buyer. He 
selected, it is true, for the reputation rather than for 
the mere rarity, and was so far wise. But he had a 
fiddling, undecided way of setting about his acquisi- 
tions, and the booksellers thought him mean. His 


collection was formed without any particular method, 
and its importance has been greatly overrated. Most 
of his rarest books are miserable copies. 

One day, at Chesham Place, Locker was speaking 
of the habit of stealing books, apropos of something 
I had told him about a fellow who habitually 
abstracted a volume whenever he went to Russell 
Smith's in Soho Square, and, like Lamb in writing 
about Fauntleroy, he looked at his own hands, and 
laughingly wondered whether, had he been put to 
his shifts, he might not have done something of the 
same sort. His daughter, who afterward married 
one of Tennyson's sons, was in the room. 

By the way, the modus qperandi of the party 
above mentioned was remarkable ; he stood on the 
mat by the door out of sheer humility (as it was 
thought), with his hands behind his back, and while 
he engaged the bookseller's attention by some 
query, he managed to insinuate any volume on the 
shelves in the rear, which happened to be accessible, 
into his tail-pocket. 

An odd adventure which I once had in reference 
to a rare Elizabethan tract in Locker's hands 
reminds me that the pursuit of knowledge under 
difficulties receives its share of illustration from the 
experiences of the book-hunter. Infinitely diverse 


are the methods by which I have accomplished the 
task, piecemeal, of drawing together authentic parti- 
culars of the early printed literature of my country 
for the first time on a systematic and comprehensive 
principle ; how far I have succeeded I shall leave 
others to discover and decide ; but I may just 
suggest a comparison between my Collections 1867- 
96 and the best authorities previously available or 
extant. At the auction-rooms I have seldom met 
with much inconvenience ; the leading members of 
the book-trade have, as a rule, been most helpful ; 
and the British Museum staff has invariably done 
its best to promote my objects. But among the 
minor dealers I have known what it is to witness 
disappointment, when, instead of an expected and 
desired customer, it was only a person in search of 
a title, or some such matter, who had presented 

I have just above alluded to Locker. He had 
agreed, if I would come to Chesham Place, where 
he then resided, that he would let me see the 
volume in question ; but when I went, everyone 
was out, and the book was in charge of a domestic, 
apparently a kitchenmaid, who apprised me that I 
might look at it, but that I was on no account to 
take it away, Mr. Locker said. I archly feigned 


unawareness of this superfluous communication for 
the sake of the highly welcome addition to my 
stores, yet thinking how differently Huth would 
have behaved. The latter, in truth, possessed 
qualities rarer and more valuable than the rarest 
and most valuable book in his fine library. 

Altogether Locker was a man of the time, and 
owed his position to the fact that he was a person 
of means and a genuine amateur. His taste for 
books he had perhaps inherited from his father, 
Captain Locker, who seems to have been a collector, 
and whose ex libris I have seen. This was the 
Edward Locker who published the Naval Gallery 
of Greenwich Hospital and other now not very well 
recollected works. 

Locker was accustomed to say of a certain book- 
seller who had 'done time/ that when he met him 
his eyes always mechanically gravitated to his hair. 

I shall never forget his gratification, when I once 
met him in a shop, and shewed him, at his request, 
while the owner had gone upstairs in quest of some- 
thing, a copy of a very rare old play, at intercepting 
it on its way to Mr. Huth, who subsequently found 
another copy. Locker clapped it in his pocket as 
if he had purloined it 

Locker was assuredly not prepossessing in his 


physical appearance, yet he seems to be entitled to 
rank among modern lady-killers, and owed his 
fortune, which so materially seconded his literary 
and social advancement, as it had done in the case 
of Disraeli, to two successive marriages. 

I have often smiled at the sort of common accord 
with which the booksellers spoke of him as ' Fred 
Locker ' ; it was a piece of affectionate familiarity, 
almost camaraderie, by which he might or might 
not have been flattered. I cannot be sure whether 
his rather artificial affability or bonhomie was mis- 
construed by some of those to whom he addressed 

He was eminently a gentleman, however, and 
his manners were even courtly, yet virile. He 
struck one as a person accustomed to excellent 
society, as of course he was. Some men are apt 
to be a little too effeminate too ladylike. There 

is , for example. A couple of girls looking in 

at a photographer's window, one exclaimed, 'Oh, 
there's Mr. ! Isn't he pretty ? 

Locker's brother, who formerly edited the Graphic, 
paid him full fraternal homage by the sympathetic 
and obsequious way in which he deployed his eye- 
glass. I do not know what other literary claims he 


The Mutual Admiration Society, to which this 
class of writer has owed so much, and which, again, 
thence derives its raison d?$tre y have of late had a 
merry and triumphant time of it, puffing their friends 
and themselves on strict debtor and creditor prin- 
ciples, and abusing non-subscribers till, as a natural 
consequence, they have done their full part in 
discrediting criticism, even among persons not 
professedly versed in literary matters, and in pros- 
tituting the press, so far as they can, to party and 
personal objects. 

But this unhealthy and mischievous movement 
has far outgrown the promise of its youth its 
limits, as Locker knew it and the production of a 
species of literary work, accompanied by so-called 
artistic embellishments, is at present arranged with 
the most minute and laborious attention to every 
detail. The text of a book may be apparently 
worthless, and the illustrations equally so, but by 
favour of a sort of critical* mesmerism two negatives 
become an affirmative. 

Imprimis, you must buy the book written by one 
of the set ; the progress toward publication, and 
the actual day of appearance, will be brought under 
your notice by a succession of paragraphs, diplo- 
matically distanced, which it is to be hoped you 


will not find too exciting; but you must not read 
the volume till you have gone through the official 
reviews of it, which will guide you to the beauties, 
and instruct you how to appreciate them. Other- 
wise you may miss the clue. 

It was a very different matter when the old 
writers, as Professor Arber points out, in his Preface 
to TottelFs Miscellany, 1557, 'wrote for their own 
delectation and for that of their friends : and not for 
the general public.' The new school has no such 
disinterested enthusiasm and retiring temper, but 
is a systematic scheme for hoaxing the readers and 
buyers of books by means of puffs in the organs 
of the press, with which it is their first business to 
connect themselves. The book itself is a secondary 
consideration ; it is sufficient for the purchaser or 
peruser to understand that it is written by the great 

Mr. , whose name and doings he sees so often 

recorded in . the columns of a particular class of 
paper ; he is not to know that the paragraph is from 
the same pen as the book, or from that of some 
alter ego> another member of this distinguished co- 
operative society of Horn and Bellows Blowers, and 
he must sometimes wonder, when he takes a copy 
in his hand, whether it is really the article of which 
so much has been said. 


All that seems requisite to complete this ingenious 
machinery seems to be the hoarding and the sand- 

Even this sort of history repeats itself. The 
silly and fulsome descriptions of the home life, the 
elegant interior, the toilette, the familiar mood, the 
diet, of these exquisites of the age, recall the 
Sentimentalities of that prince of prigs and cox- 
combs, Mr. Janus Weathercock, satirized by Hazlitt 
in the Dandy School alas, in vain ! Tamen usque 
recurrit. One sickens of the trash spun out about 
the Great Impressionists dismounted from their 
pedestals and consorting with ordinary mortals, like 
the gods of Olympos. 


Robert Herrick and the Perry-Herricks of Beaumanor Park, 
Loughborough My visit to the house Cherry Ripe 
Dorothy King To keep a true Lent Other book-col- 
lectors of my time R. S. Turner E. H. Lawrence 
Story of Ruskin and the Cypriot antiquities of Cesnola 
The Freres of Roydon Hall Their literary associations 
A portion of the Paston Letters sold with the library 
My Cornish acquaintances Llanhydrock Mr. and 
Mrs. Agar-Robartes Thomas Couch of Bodmin and 
Jonathan Couch of Polperro Henry Sewell Stokes, the 
poet My conversation with him about Tennyson The 
pack-horse road and the British huts near Bodmin Mr. 
Aldrich of Iowa, a friend of Jefferson Davis and an 
autograph-collector, at Barnes. 

I PAID a flying visit to Beaumanor Park, near 
Loughborough, in 1869, to see the Herrick manu- 
scripts, which it was necessary to collate for an 
edition of the poet undertaken gratuitously by 
me for the Library of Old Authors. 

Mr. W. Perry- Herrick, an indirect descendant 
of the poet, shewed me the stables on this occasion, 
with some of the curious old-fashioned carriages, 


which had belonged to members of his family 
in the present and last century ; and in the house 
was the truckle-bed on which, according to his 
account, Richard III. slept the night before 
Bosworth. You see at Leicester the little bridge 
over the Stour which occupies the site, and may 
follow the lines, of that which Richard crossed on 
horseback on his way to the fatal field, and they 
shew you the very spot where his foot struck 
against the side, and refer to the old woman's 

Mr. Perry-Herrick more immediately owed his 
large fortune to his connection with the Perrys of 
Wolverhampton, two brothers, who had an interest 
in the deep coal, and by very penurious habits 
amassed, it is said, ^2, 000,000. I do not think that 
much, if any, of the house built by the poet's uncle 

It is a highly touching trait, which a writer in 
the Quarterly Review for 1810 preserves, of an 
old woman, named Dorothy King, who lived, as 
her parents had done, at Dean Prior, the poet 
Herrick's residence and preferment in Devonshire. 
The Reviewer states that he found, on a visit to 
the spot, that Mrs. King used to repeat five of 
Herrick's Noble Numbers, including his Litany, 

VOL, n. 39 


which she called her Prayers, and she had no 
idea that they had ever been printed, or that 
the writer's name was known outside her native 
village. She had learned them, as a child, from 
her mother. 

Only a few days ago I heard a common boy 
in the street singing Cherry Ripe. Of course, he 
had no idea who wrote the verses, nor had he 
the whole poem. He had caught it from someone 
else. If you had stopped him and said that it 
was produced by a clergyman in Devonshire, named 
Robert Herrick, two hundred and odd years since, 
he would have grinned from ear to ear and been 
as wise as before. I passed on. 

There i$ a tradition that Herrick, on his super- 
session at the time of the Commonwealth, repeated 
to himself his ' Farewell to ' Dean Bourn ' as he 
crossed the brook on his way to return to London, 

But I think that the finest thing in all the 
Hesperides is to be found among the Nobk 
Numbers : 


i. Is this a Fast, to keep 

The Larder leane ? 

And cleane 
From fat of Veales, and Sheep ? 


2. Is it to quit the dish 

Of Flesh, yet still 
To fill 
The platter high with Fish? 

3. Is it to fast an houre, 

Or rag'd to go, 

Or show 
A down-cast look, and sowre ? 

4. No : 'tis a Fast, to dole 

Thy sheaf of wheat, 

And meat 
Unto the hungry Soule. 

5. It is to fast from strife, 

From old debate, 

And hate ; 
To circumcise thy life. 

6. To show a heart grief-rent : 

To sterve thy sin, 

Not Bin i 
And that's to keep thy Lent. 

R, S. Turner and E. H. Lawrence were, as 
collectors, two men of the rarest taste and dis- 
crimination, and in their personal appearance two 
of the most commonplace. Lawrence had a curious 
idiosyncrasy of signing himself F.S.A. even on 
his cheques. But no one comprehended better 
the difference between a fine article and a poor 
one than he did. He was, I believe, a thoroughly 
kind-hearted fellow, and from his vocation as a 


stockbroker must have accumulated a handsome 
fortune. The only purchase on his part I never 
understood was that of a miscellaneous assemblage 
of Cypriot glass and pottery. 

I am prompted to mention here that while the 
Cypriot antiquities of Cesnola were being packed 
at Rollin and Feuardent's in Great Russell Street, 
preparatory to their transfer to the American 
Government, which bought them entire for ,16,000, 
several distinguished persons interested in art came 
to see them, among others Ruskin, who made some 
sketches from these fine objects. 

He went down on his knees to examine the 
details more carefully, but many had been already 
packed up. 'Ah/ said he, M wish I had known 
of this before. I must go to America to see them 
when they are on view/ Did he ? 

The British Museum would have gladly purchased 
a few ; but, as Cesnola observed, they would have 
left him with the less valuable bulk. 

Turner's death was even more melancholy than 
Huth's. He had long suffered from morbid depres- 
sion, and at last threw himself from the top of the 
well-staircase of a hotel at Brighton. His physical 
bearing was just as unprepossessing and unaristo- 
cratic as Lawrence's ; but he had a more polished 


manner, and spoke correctly. I do not think that 
he was a scholar, but he knew a great deal about 
French and Italian books. The former, which cost 
him about ,3,000, fetched ^15,000. 

Among the sufferers from the acute agricultural 
depression in East Anglia were the Freres of 
Roydon Hall, Norfolk. In February, 1896, as I 
was laying down my pen, Mr. John Tudor Frere, 
who had previously sold other inherited effects, and 
had found it necessary to live in the lodge attached 
to the Hall, parted at Sotheby's rooms with certain 
of his books, which derived their chief interest from 
including the collections of Sir John Fenn. The 
library had been formed by Sheppard Frere, John 
Frere, and John Hookham Frere, the last a man of 
some literary and political repute in his day, and a 
friend of Byron, Coleridge, etc. The prices realized 
were wholly in excess of the value. I saw three or 
four members of the family in the auction-room, and 
I understood that many lots were bought in, and 
that there is a considerable body of books behind 
unsold. A portion of the Paston Letters (about 
two-fifths) fetched ^400, and ought, with the Tom- 
line volumes elsewhere referred to, to find a home 
in the British Museum. 

Another of my bibliographical expeditions was to 


Llanhydrock, near Bodmin, Cornwall, the seat of 
the late Mr. Agar-Robartes, M.P., afterward Lord 
Robartes. ,He had married the daughter of Mr. 
Carew of Antony. Both Robartes and his wife 
were very polite and attentive, and shewed me, or 
allowed me to examine, the rare and curious books 
in the Long Room there. The house was built by 
John, Lord Roberts, first Earl of Radnor, Lord- 
Lieutenant of Ireland in the time of Charles II., 
and had his initials and the date of erection carved 
on several parts of the premises. I once attended 
the little church in the Park, and Robartes himself 
read the lessons. There were several old horses 
wandering about, their term of service expired ; 
for their master never allowed one to be de- 

I was permitted to take what notes I pleased of 
the old books in the Long Room, and I met with a 
few singularly rare items. Mrs. Robartes was good 
enough to look out personally for me some volumes 
containing manuscript remarks by the first Earl of 
Radnor, who died in 1685. My examination of the 
library was very cursory, as I was accompanied by 
a friend who entertained no literary sympathies ; 
and I have recently understood that there are some 
undescribed books and tracts overlooked by me, 


and that a catalogue of the whole collection may be 

Robartes was a very benevolent man, and spent 
a good deal in charity in the poorer quarters of 
London, as well as in his native county. His only 
son Charles, the present Lord Robartes, was a lad 
when I was last in Cornwall ; he had been very 
simply brought up, and it was said that he thought 
much of being asked out to tea. 
, One of our common acquaintances at this time 
(1875) was Mr. Thomas Couch of Bodmin, the 
eminent archaeologist, whose father, Jonathan Couch 
of Polperro, wrote the work on British Fishes. 
The latter derived his information on ichthyology 
from personal research, and was often to be seen 
about the precincts of the fishing village, where he 
lived and died, in primitive attire and barefoot, on 
his way to the shore and rocks or on his return. 
Thomas Couch, who assisted me in my edition of 
Brand's Popular Antiquities, compiled a Glossary 
of Words used in East Cornwall, of which a copy, 
given me by him in 1865, contains large manuscript 
additions made by me in the course of my Cornish 
sojourns. He long acted as confidential adviser to 
Robartes in matters of local charity and distress. 
, The last time I was at Bodmin, I saw in the 


Asylum poor Blight, the accomplished artist, and 
author of A Week at the Land's End\ he was 
hopelessly hypochondriacal. 

But one of the most noted characters in those 
parts, thirty years or so since, was Mr. William 
Hicks, whose powers as a raconteur of Cornish 
stories have probably never been surpassed. His 
accurate and droll rendering of the provincial patois 
and mannerism was irresistible. He was a perfect 
host in himself at any entertainment. Hicks was 
intimate with Jackson the water-colour painter, and 
received him at his house during many years ; and 
Jackson executed quite a series of complimentary 
pictures for Hicks, who highly prized them. After 
his death, they were unfortunately removed to a 
damp house, and I understood that they suffered 
serious detriment. 

The literary circle here in my time also com- 
prised Sir John Maclean, author of a History of the 
Deanery of Trigg Minor and other works ; William 
Jago, a thoughtful and well-informed local antiquary ; 
and Henry Sewell Stokes, the Cornish poet ; and 
there was Blight. 

My daughter had written to Mr. Jago's, describing 
in rather glowing colours an article of dress just 
acquired; and her young correspondent replied, 


' Your hat is a dream.' She was probably un- 
acquainted with the fact that this expression is 
common in French literature. 

When I met Stokes, he spoke of Tennyson 
having been with him, and of their conversation 
together about the Arthur Poems. Stokes said 
that T. admitted to him his obligations to the old 
metrical Morte Arthur^ and I went so far as to 
express my opinion that, looking at the antiquity 
and priority of it, the prototype was the finer pro- 
duction, and it is extraordinary how modern it 
strikes one as being in comparison with much of 
the poetry belonging to the same period. This is 
the common attribute of genius to make us lose 
sight of chronological boundaries. It is so with 
Chaucer. It is so with Shakespear. I would add, 
it is so largely with the author of Piers Ploughman. 
The essence is of all time ; the outward texture 
only is antique. 

The County Asylum occupies a large plot of 
ground formerly open and the site of the gallows. 
The name Bodmin is identical with Bodnam or 
Bodenham; the original town lay at some distance in 
the valley. 

On the high ground above, three roads run 
parallel with each other : the pack-horse road, the 


old coach road, and the modern coach road. Just 
about here there are some strange low-pitched 
hovels, which they call British huts. 

The pack-horse tracks are of the greatest antiquity. 
They just remind me of those over the mountains 
in Cumberland, some distance from Broughton-in- 
Furness. The keeper of the inn at Broughton, in 
former days, used to see the packmen from a long 
way off coming over the hills, and set to work to 
brew his ale, which was ready against their arrival. 
They eat the oat-cake in this country, as they do in 
Nidderdale, instead of bread. 

Mr. Aldrich of Iowa, who has been only one of 
the gentlemen on the other side of the Atlantic to 
honour me by their correspondence and personal 
visits, formed the plan of establishing at Webster 
City, where he lived, a public collection of auto- 
graphs and manuscripts, and he had met with some 
considerable success in inducing people, her Britannic 
Majesty included, to contribute to his .object I 
gave him some Hazlitt manuscript. 

When he last called on me, he had not long since 
visited Jefferson Davis and his wife, who were very 
cheerful, with just enough to live upon from the 
wreck of their fortune. His attainder was never 
reversed ; but he was left unmolested. 


The auction-rooms Development and machinery of sales by 
auction The cataloguer Influence of sale-catalogues on 
prices- Origin of my career as a bibliographer Sotheby's 
Account of some of the early sales there Strange personality 
of Mister Sotheby The Wolfreston sale in 1856 How it 
came about. 

MY bibliographical, numismatic, and other cognate 
pursuits naturally brought me into contact with those 
auction-rooms which lend themselves to the disper- 
sion of literary and artistic objects. Of all my 
haunts in pursuit of information, the famous 
emporium in Wellington Street has been the most 
constant and the most productive. 

Sales under the hammer originally embraced every 
description of merchandise within the covers of a 
single catalogue, just as the fine art auctioneer was 
a gradual evolution from the house-salesman. A 
very cursory examination of the catalogues of the 
last and earliest quarter of the present century will 
satisfy one that such was the case. As matters now 
stand, the various kinds of property submitted to 


competition are not only as a rule carefully classified 
and separately offered, but certain houses are con- 
sidered the most advantageous for the realization of 
particular effects. You are told that you must send 
pictures and china to Christie's ; books, manuscripts, 
autographs, and coins to Sotheby's ; and musical 
copyrights and literature, and theatrical wardrobes, 
to Puttick's. 

There is some truth in this ; but there is a good 
deal of superstition and prejudice, too, founded on 
an imperfect conversance with the bearings and 
inner working of the system. For much depends 
on an agency to a certain extent independent of the 
auctioneer. A large proportion of the property sent 
into the rooms for sale is catalogued by outsiders ; 
there is in many cases no one on the premises 
qualified to describe correctly and advantageously 
antiquities, coins, autographs, prints, or even manu- 
scripts and books of other than ordinary character. 
The expert has to be called in ; it does not signify 
what house it is ; the work is his, not the auctioneer's ; 
and the result is mainly in his hands. 

If things of value are consigned to Christie's, 
Sotheby's, Puttick's, or elsewhere, the same course 
is pursued, and more than probably the same persons 
are employed. The immediate seller is the medium 


for taking the order from the owners, commissioning 
the expert, and keeping the account. If he is above 
the normal standard, he may have a fair idea before- 
hand of the nature of the issue, or he may be 
acquainted with one class of goods more than with 
another. Not seldom his estimate is derived from 
the information supplied to him by his agent, the 
cataloguer ; and, of course, this is a common incident 
in these transactions, as parties so frequently apply 
for advances to meet pressing engagements. The 
auctioneer is, then, mainly a book-keeper, a financier, 
and a salesman. The volume of his business is apt 
to be in the ratio of his floating capital, his adminis- 
trative machinery, and his competence in the 

The machinery, as we perceive, is threefold : the 
counting-house and establishment, the expert in 
the background, and the auctioneer's more or less 
influential personality. Where you have these three 
conditions fulfilled to a nicety, the success of a house 
almost follows as a corollary. But how rarely such 
a thing occurs ! 

And, again, the expert that very important 
factor in this industry is a Free Lance, whose 
services are at the command of every paymaster. 
Given a good time, a good cataloguer, and good 


property, the counting-house is nearly bound to 
prove secondary ; and any respectable firm has it 
in its power to arrange with owners in need of 
immediate accommodation. Perhaps middle-class 
or neiitral effects depend in chief measure on the 
atmosphere in which they are submitted for sale. 
You can give away your property, if it is second- 
rate, at Christie's or Sotheby's without going farther : 
you can sell it for the maximum worth on any 
recognised ground, if certain essential conditions are 
complied with. 

The principle of publishing the results of sales of 
literary and other high-class property has had the 
effect of opening the eyes of persons who happen to 
possess anything of value, and even in the most 
pressing cases to render careful realization almost 
as important to the credit of an auctioneer as the 
payment on account and a prompt settlement are in 
their way ; and here the expert comes in at every 
turn. The auctioneer, unless he is a Crichton 
among auctioneers, may, if he acts on his own 
judgment, either lose his money by lending too 
much, or may lose the business by offering too 
little ; the details of the sale have to be controlled 
by the cataloguer, and, if he is worthy of his hire, 
are safest in his hands ; and, after all, the means 


which are open to any or every house of providing 
itself with proper financial and executive resources 
are normal mercantile problems. A well-established 
and straightforward firm, with an untarnished record 
and known facilities for converting property into the 
utmost equivalent cash, may treat the rest as a fore- 
gone conclusion. 

Many things have occurred since I first became 
acquainted with Sotheby's. As a mere youth, .1 
had collected for a passing literary purpose an 
assortment of books which circumstances obliged 
me to realize when I had done with them. I 
sent them there. It was my first experience of 
an auction, and it was a sorrowful one. The 
volumes, many in handsome new liveries, went 
for next to nothing. Someone then in Castle 
Street, now in Piccadilly, bought largely at the 
sale. It was somewhere about 1858. I thought 
that I had made up my mind to turn my back 
on Sotheby's for ever. To buy books and sell 
them again was clearly a losing game. How little 
I knew about myself, of what the future would 
develop, of the direction given to a career by 
some slight and fortuitous cause ! 

A copy of Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual^ 
purporting to be a guide to old English books, 


fell just about the same time in my way. I can 
hardly tell how it was, but I began to discern 
and note shortcomings in it. My copy became 
a repository for marginalia and cuttings. It was 
as if Sotheby's had baited a hook with that work, 
guessing that I must bite and be caught ; and I 
did, and was ! This is another way of saying that 
I forgave Sotheby's, and stole back to the old 

I found myself once more in Wellington Street, 
yet with a difference. Some three years had 
elapsed. A strange new awakening had taken 
place. I was a bibliographer, with some of the 
chrysalis still visible. I had begun to make 
memoranda and copy titles. Neither myself nor 
anyone else at that juncture was aware that I 
should carry the hobby further than scores of 
others who have done the same thing ever since 
Sotheby's was established, left their mark on a 
few fly-leaves, and there stopped. 

In 1858 the celebrated library of Dr. Philip 
Bliss was sold here. I did not attend it, but I 
purchased a lot or so. I had sold my own property 
rather cheaply. I bought these new items rather 
dear. I was not discouraged, simply because I 
was impelled by a secret bent, an innate lues, 


which was steadily and irresistibly disclosing itself. 
My eyes were turned on other publications treating 
of our old English authors, and I saw how curiously 
they resembled the Manual I had and each other 
in the imperfect justice which they did to the 
subject. I felt that I could do something better, 
and I soon began to try. 

Of Christie's and Puttick's, and the other emporia 
where books are knocked clown, and occasionally, 
as in my case, the hopes of their owners with them, 
I have enjoyed a more limited experience. One 
point the three haunts which I have been specify- 
ing have in common, for as there is no Christie 
and no Puttick, so there is no Sotheby. It is a 
nom de marteau. Everybody knows Sotheby's. 
No one would dream of mentioning to you that 
he was going to Wilkinson's, or had made a 
purchase at Sotheby, Wilkinson, and Hodge's. 
These modern excrescences the public repudiates. 

The business of the house has enormously ex- 
panded; it has identified itself with almost every 
big affair in books, prints, coins, china, all the 
days I am able to recall. I have grown up into 
a slowly-developing knowledge of that eventful and 
ever-changing scene. I have witnessed all the most 
important properties which have been submitted to 

VOL. ii. 40 


the hammer in those rooms. I have beheld genera- 
tions of collectors, generations of booksellers, come 
and go. It is not that I am very old, but it has 
been my fortune to mingle much with my seniors, 
and I once surprised and amused someone who 
was speaking to me of Mr. Coventry Patmore 
by saying : ' Yes, I knew his father and mother, 
and his grandmother/ What is more to the im- 
mediate purpose, I knew Sotheby's when there was 
a Sotheby, and was in the room when, in 1864, 
the tidings came of his death by drowning while 
on an angling excursion. I retain his short, slight 
figure perfectly in my mind. 

The last of the Sotheby s, besides the works on 
typographical antiquities and other matters with 
which his name is honourably connected, compiled 
a bibliographical account of the Early English Poets, 
so far as their publications came under the notice 
of the firm in Wellington Street. The manuscript 
was offered to the British Museum by his widow, 
and Bond consulted me about the purchase, from 
which I felt bound to dissuade him, as it was an 
imperfect and jejune performance which my own 
labours had gone very far to reduce to. a caput 

It was precisely when the sale of the grand 


Harleian library, of which the catalogue was drawn 
up for Osborne by Dr. Johnson, was impending, 
and a larger share of public notice was attracted 
to these matters, that Samuel Baker started in 
York Street, Covent Garden. The maiden sale 
was the collection of books belonging to Thomas 
Pellet, M.D., which lasted sixteen days, and pro- 
duced ^"859 odd. 

Of course, very interesting days have been ex- 
perienced where the financial result was not very 
striking, as when, in 1799, the firm disposed of 
the library of the Right Hon. Joseph Addison, 
4 Author and Secretary of State/ for ^533 43. 4d. ; 
and in 1833 of that of * the Emperor Napol6on 
Buonaparte' (sic), removed from St. Helena, for 
^"450 93. (his tortoiseshell walking-stick bringing 
^38 175,) ; and, once more, when the drawings 
of T. Rowlandson, the caricaturist, were sold in 
1818 for ^700. Are not those living who would 
now add a third o, and think the lot not too high ? 
But the portions of the stupendous Heber library 
dispersed here in 1834, owing to what Dibdin 
called the biblioplwbia, nearly ruined the auctioneers. 
They rallied from the blow, however, and have 
never suffered any relapse to bad times, whatever 
account they may be pleased to give of the very 


piping ones which they have known pretty well 
ever since '45, when Mr. Benjamin Heywood 
Bright's important library was entrusted to their care. 

I cannot help thinking, however, that whatever 
credit the existing management may fairly claim, it 
was the second Sotheby the Mister Sotheby of or 
about 1816-30 who impressed on the concern his 
powerful and enduring individuality. He had a 
long innings, and had excellent opportunities of 
building up the structure which his son and suc- 
cessor inherited. The latter was the link between 
the old regime and the new. He lived to see many 
modifications, and to contract an alliance with fresh 
blood ; and he survives to-day in Wellington Street, 
hard by Waterloo Bridge, as certainly as Shake- 
speare does in Stratford-upon-Avon, and elsewhere, 
carrying on his affairs by proxy, as it were. Others, 
for the sake of convenience, act on his behalf; 
nevertheless, no one should deceive himself. The 
place is ' Sotheby's' in 1896 just as it was in 1796. 

Two more modern personalities with whom I 
have come into very frequent contact during my 
visits to Sotheby's were Mr. John Wilkinson, who 
died in the commencement of 1894 at a patriarchal 
age, and Mr. Edward Grose Hodge. Of the latter, 
who in bygone half-historical times occupied a 


stool in the counting-house as a book-keeper, and 
was conspicuous by his raven-black locks, I shall 
say nothing", because I could only reiterate the 
common feeling about his capacity for business, his 
gentlemanly address, and his thorough independence 
of character. 

Mr. Wilkinson was the principal seller in my 
earlier days. His appearance, as it was impressed 
on my mind when I became an habitual frequenter of 
the rooms about 1858, was very agreeable, and his 
manner highly prepossessing ; he was then in the 
full vigour of life. H alii well and he were very 
intimate, and I have dined with him at Halliwell's 
table. One not very unreasonable idiosyncrasy on 
his part was his tenacious resistance to the admis- 
sion of anyone else to a share in the conduct of the 
sales ; he persisted in keeping his junior partner out 
so long as he physically could. He liked to lord 
over the whole show to the very last. I think that 
the spirit of monarchy remains rather strong in- 
Wellington Street. 

I understand that the ivory hammer which Mr. 
George Leigh used during his brief association with 
the house as a partner had belonged to Langford 
the auctioneer. It was given by the former to Mr, 
Benjamin Wheatley, an employ^ at that time, after- 


ward a partner in another firm ; and it is now in the 
possession of his son, Mr. H. B. Wheatley. 

I can just recall the Wolfreston sale in 1856. I 
was not actually present, but I heard a good deal 
about it soon afterward. It was a small collection 
of early English books and tracts formed under the 
Tudors and Stuarts ; the copies were often uncut, 
and as often imperfect or dog's-eared. But there 
were among them a few startling rarities some not 
even till then put on record by the learned in these 
affairs. The owner would have gladly accepted 
^"30 for the lot, and the day's sale realized ^750. 
Think of that ! Is it nothing to have Sotheby's to 
our friend? In spite of disappointments, which will 
sometimes happen, and flat Saturday afternoons, 
when sovereigns are constantly knocked down for 
ten shillings each, this institution is among our 
public benefactors not the least. 

One of the family the Wolfrestons, not the 
Sothebys dined with me years after, and told me 
how it was. The books had lain in a corner of the 
library time out of mind unnoticed and unheeded, 
and it was thought as well to get rid of them. They 
should have marked the day with a white stone 
when a friend (he was a friend) recommended them 
to apply to Wellington Street. 


Persons whom I have met at Sotheby's A recollection of 1858 
George Daniel of Canonbury Some account of him and his 
books His visit to Charles Mathews the elder at Highgate 
He tells me a story of Charles Lamb Samuel Addington 
His extraordinary character as a collector His method of 
buying Compared with Quaritch The Sixpenny Solicitor 
Booksellers at Sotheby's Curious methods of bidding 
The bundle-hunter, past and present His fallen fortunes 
The smaller room at Sotheby's Anecdote of a Bristol 

LETTING alone the professional element at Sotheby's, 
to which I shall advert in a moment, think of the 
names which rise up to one's lips names of persons 
eminent in nearly every vocation and walk of life : 
men of genius, of culture, of rank, the student, 
the amateur, the spectator ! I have beheld with my 
own eyes J. B. Inglis, who had sold a magnificent 
library in 1826, before I was born, and lived to 
form a second ; George Daniel, David Laing, Henry 
Bradshaw, Alexander Dyce, John Forster, J. (X 
Halliwell, Sir Stirling Maxwell, Henry Stevens of 
Vermont, Sir Thomas Phillipps of Middle Hill, 


George Smith, Christie-Miller, R. S. Turner, and 
Samuel Addington. But Lord Melbourne, Tommy 
Hill (Paul Pry), Lord Macaulay, M. Libri, Philip 
Bliss, Bulkeley Bandinel, Lord Crawford, and a 
host of others, have crossed this threshold. Henry 
Huth looked in once or twice while the Daniel sale 
was going on, and you brush elbows at this moment 
with other notabilities of our own day. 

So it has always been ; there is a weird fascina- 
tion, there is a charm, which draws us all more or 
less toward the spot where the game of chance (for 
such it is) is being played, even if we do not enter 
the lists, or let our own voices become audible. 
Leigh Hunt used to be fond of telling me how he 
had attended the Roxburghe sale in 1812, just as 
a looker-on, out of a sort of speculative curiosity, 
which it might ask a separate paper to define. 

The tap of the hammer against the desk is often 
awaited with considerable anxiety by those actually 
competing for the lot before the room. 

I had a singular adventure here in 1858. Among 
a mass of rubbish a unique copy of the Earl of 
Surrey's English Virgil was put up one day. The 
bidding for it stopped at 6 1 2s. 6d. At that sum 
it was mine. But the hammer did not fall. The 
auctioneer repeated the amount several times, and 


kept his eye on the open door. The company did 
not understand what this strange movement signi- 
fied. No one topped my offer. All at once, breath- 
less, rushed in Mr. Thorpe, agent for the library at 
BritwelL asked what lot was up, and what price 
had been reached. * 6 I2S. 6d./ now said Mr. 
Wilkinson, unmasking, and I lost my gem, which 
Mr. Thorpe carried off at 20. How I disliked 
him ! 

An occasional visitor to the rooms was George 
Daniel, of Canonbury, whom I well recollect. I 
sat next to him at a sale, and when some ordinary 
bookseller's lot was knocked down in his name, I 
innocently inquired if he had purchased it. ' No, 
sir/ he urbanely replied ; ' if I were to buy all that 
Mr. Daniel does, I should have an Alexandrian 
library/ The authentic G. D. was a retired 
accountant, whose idiosyncrasy consisted of rares 
morfeaux, bonnes bouches, uniques copies of books 
with a provenance, or in jackets made for them by 
Roger Payne ; nay, in the original parchment or 
paper wrapper, or in a bit of real mutton, which 
certain men call sheep. He was a person of literary 
tastes, and had written books in his day. But his 
chief celebrity was as an acquirer of those of others, 
provided always that they were old enough or rare 


enough. An item never passed into his possession 
without at once ipso facto gaining new attributes, 
almost invariably worded in a holograph memor- 
andum on the fly-leaf. 

Daniel was in the market at a fortunate and 
peculiar juncture, just when prices were depressed, 
about the time of the great Heber sale. His 
marvellous gleanings came to the hammer pre- 
cisely when the quarto Shakespear, the black-letter 
romance, the unique book of Elizabethan verse, 
had grown worth ten times their weight in sover- 
eigns. Sir William Tite, J. O. Halliwell, and 
Henry Huth, were to the front. 

It was in 1864. What a wonderful sight it was! 
No living man had ever witnessed the like. Copies 
of Shakespear printed from the prompters' manu- 
scripts and published at fourpence, fetched ^300 or 
^400. I remember old Joseph Lilly, when he had 
secured the famous ballads, which came from the 
Tollemaches of Helmingham Hall, holding up 
the folio volume in which they were contained in 
triumph, as Mr. Huth happened to enter the room. 

Poor Daniel ! He had no mean estimate of his 
treasures ; what he had was always better than 
what you had. Books, prints, autographs, it was all 
the same. I met him one morning in Long Acre. 


I had bought a very fine copy of Taylor the Water 
Poet. ' Oh yes, sir/ he said, ' I saw it ; but not 
quite so fine as mine.' He went up to Highgate 
to look through Charles Mathews the elder's 
engravings. They were all duplicates of course, 
inferior ones. * Damn him, sir !' cried Mathews 
afterward to a friend ; * I should like him to have 
had a duplicate of my poor leg/ 

This was the commercial bias of the ex- 

Another thing which I had direct from Daniel 
was the occasional habit which Charles Lamb had 
of paying him a visit, and looking at his old books 
looking at them, not touching. ' For/ said Daniel 
to me, ' you know, sir, I could not have allowed 
that. Why, Mr. Lamb would turn over the leaves 
of a volume with his wet finger ' and the narrator 
represented the operation in the street, so far as 
he could without a book and with gloved hands 
1 and I always kept a particular copy of old ballads 
for him/ 

While Daniel's books were on view at the 
auction-room, in 1864, one of his family came for 
the purpose of seeing them, as it appeared that he 
never shewed his treasures to his children. From 
the account which a descendant gave me, I judge 


that the handsome result of the sale did not prove 
of much benefit to those interested. 

Daniel was a virtuoso rather than a connoisseur. 
He studied the commercial barometer, and knew 
the right things to buy. Still, as the money expended 
would have realized at compound interest more than 
even the extravagant prices paid for his biblio- 
graphical rarities in 1864, and as he could not have 
forecast the issue, some credit is due to him for 
having preferred to invest his savings as he did in 
early English books. He purchased in later life 
very sparingly, and so far did not obey the ordinary 
instincts of the collector, whose zest is derived from 
acquiring, not from possessing. He is apt to contem- 
plate the treasures which he has secured with the 
sated feeling of the author toward the printed 
transfers from his own mind. 

A noted and conspicuous character in the rooms 
during many years, whenever any remarkable 
objects were to be submitted to competition, was 
Mr, Samuel Addington, of St. Martin's Lane. A 
tall, imposing figure, with an inclination at the last 
to stoop somewhat, Addington deserves to be 
regarded in one or two respects as the most extra- 
ordinary person who frequented Sotheby's in my 
earlier recollection. He was, like R. S. Turner 


and Edwin Lawrence, illiterate, but also, like them, 
a man of the keenest and truest instinct for what 
was worth having, and withal of commanding 

His collections of Prints, Miniatures, Books, Manu- 
scripts, Coins, were a-per-se. I once had occasion to 
solicit for a literary acquaintance the loan of the 
miniature of Dr. Donne by Oliver, and Addington 
shewed me some of his gems, and gems they were. 
His knowledge of them was mainly per Catalogue. 
When he upset a tray of coins, someone had to go 
and set it in order again. It was his instinct which 
was so surprising. His handwriting was rather 
worse, I think, than mine, and was wanting in 

I frequently met him at Sotheby's and in the 
street (he generally walked with his head slightly 
inclined and his hands crossed behind his back), and 
have more than once seen him arming Mrs. Noseda, 
the printseller, to the Royal Academy. She was the 
only person on whose judgment in her particular line 
he relied. But Addington also saw a good deal of 
Wareham, the dealer in antiquities, and, it is said, 
helped him. 

He bought in his time almost everything, and of 
the finest and choicest, for the cost did not signify. 


He lived over his shop in the Lane, and was a 
bachelor with some ;i 5,000 a year. I think that he 
dined nearer the Elizabethan hour than most of us 
do ; and when there was something to attract him 
to Wellington Street, it was his not unfrequent habit 
to arrive there on the stroke of one p.m., his frugal 
dessert an orange in his hand. If you were on 
the scent after a prize in the rooms, and Addington 
had fixed his mind upon the same lot, you were as 
one whose chance had gone. 

He was perhaps the first who set the precedent of 
giving prices for articles totally beyond record and 
example. It was his cue, and it is, so to speak, his 
epitaph. Addington, as a collector, followed some- 
what parallel lines to Quaritch as a man of busi- 
ness he declined to be beaten. As some of us are 
said to be makers of history, Addington was, and 
the autocrat of the auction-room still is, a maker of 
market values and prices current. I hardly believe 
that his knowledge of books and other curiosities 
was in any way great. He watched the biddings 
carefully, ignored all lots which fell at humble prices, 
but began to prick up his ears when 10 or 20 
had been reached. His entrance into the fray was 
ordinarily prefigured by the relegation of his glasses 
to the top of his head. 


Let me consecrate a few lines to a widely different 
individual who haunted this purlieu in my youth, the 
Sixpenny Solicitor. He was a tall, poorly-clad man 
who wore an appallingly bad hat. I kept his name 
in my head, as I did the odour which accompanied 
him in my nostrils, for years. I regret the loss of 
the one, not that of the other. Someone thinks that 
it was Adams ; perhaps so but no matter. He used 
to sit at the table too, but as far as he could from 
everybody else. He might harbour a consciousness 
that he was not too welcome ; and sixpence was his 
Alpha and his Omega. Ay, and you would have been 
surprised at the lots which fell to him. He was one 
of the surest customers of the firm, for he invariably 
paid cash, which is a strongly-marked exception to 
the general rule. Poor fellow ! at last I lost sight of 
him, Of his humble profits much, I fear, went in 
the purchase of liquor, probably on a par in quality 
with his habiliments and his hat. 

Among 1 the booksellers who have assembled here, 
and .whose acquaintance and sympathy I have 
enjoyed through many pleasant, if laborious, years, 
I may enumerate Joseph Lilly, the Boones, Bernard 
Quaritch, F, S, Ellis, the two Molini, the younger 
Pickering, James Toovey (of the Temple of Leather 
and Literature, Piccadilly), George Willis, Edward 


Stibbs, the two Wallers, the Russell-Smiths, the 
Walfords, William Reeves, George Bumstead, and 
the Rimells. I once fell in with Robert Triphook, 
and conversed with him ; but he had retired before 
my time. The elder Boone had a curious way of 
bidding ; he sat just under the auctioneer, and would 
tap the heel of Mr. Wilkinson's boot with his pencil. 

Bumstead, who executed commissions for George 
Smith and Sir Stirling Maxwell, usually stood by 
the side of the rostrum, and, laying his hand on his 
right cheek, made his thumb turn as on a hinge, 
each movement signifying an advance. A third was 
supposed to remain in the field so long as he kept 
his eye on the seller, or continued to strike his 
catalogue with his pencil. 

These and other droles were the strategists, the 
employers of a secret language. Is it necessary to 
say that they ail conceived themselves unobserved ? 
But, again, there was the opposite extreme the 
stentorian throat, generally of some provincial or 
Continental tyro, which made the room vibrate, and 
everybody present look round; and an occasional 
episode, a generation ago, was the shout with which 
poor Tom Arthur, if he had indulged rather too 
freely at his mid-day repast before the sale, bade 
at random for whatever was on the table* 


One signal difference between Sotheby's as it now 
exists, and the house as I was familiar with it in my 
younger days, lies in the almost ruined hopes of the 
Bundle-hunter. There was a time when this 
peculiar pursuit was attended by lucrative results, 
and partook of that adventurous complexion so dear 
to the trader, the dream of whose life it is to become 
rich soon and retire early. Weird tales used to be 
related of fabulous bargains acquired by keen and 
persistent study of the Bundle. 

Those are living who remember what it was to 
discover in the heart of one some gem beyond price, 
some reputed introuvablc. The very interior was a 
terra incognita, a Pandora's box, a possible Eldorado. 
A relic of the days of the earlier Tudors or a 
Wynkyn de Worde, a lost Elizabethan fragment or 
some piece by Taylor the Water Poet, which the 
world had long despaired of ever beholding, can it 
be that such, and many more like these nay, better 
were once not seldom the portions of the wary 
and diligent harvestman ? Ay, indeed ; and not very 
different was it of old with the composite volume 
the heterogeneous assemblage of pieces united by 
unforeseeing owners or indiscreet bibliopegists (bless 
them both !) in unholy wedlock ; nor with the folio 
volume, lettered outside perchance, ' Old News- 

VOL. n. 4 1 


papers/ and the resting-place of black-letter ballads 
threescore and upward, which, a beneficent spirit 
casting a spell on all save one alone, no other eye 

Yet now and again the labours of the seeker are 
still rewarded. Stories have been rife within reason- 
able years of literary bijoux disinterred by the vigilant 
and sagacious explorer from unpromising, nay, 
repellent, upper stratifications of ragged, dust- 
ingrained, penny-box ware. Mark you, the suc- 
cessful expert of the Victorian era has all his work 
before him. He has to be wary to excess. He 
has to snatch the right moment for investigating the 
contents of these * parcels/ as the phrase is. He 
must assure himself that no enemy is in ambush. 
A quick eye, a deft hand, and an impassible 
demeanour are essential. 

Let him not be too sanguine till the hammer is 
down, and the prize is his ; for instances are cited 
by the knowing in these by-paths of research where 
the hidden quarry has been secretly noted by more 
than a single hunter by a second Argus and then, 
while others have beaten the bush, the auctioneer it 
is who catches the hare ; for, however sorrowful it 
may be to relate it, the baffled game operates 
exactly in a contrary direction, and the article, 


instead of dropping for a song, realizes in the heat 
of exasperated competition a figure which makes 
the occupant of the rostrum lick his lips, as it is not 
etiquette for him to betray emotion in any other 

But the prevailing experience at present is cer- 
tainly in the direction opposite to that which the 
nugget-digger desiderates. The auctioneer's staff, 
doubtless obeying instructions, is most distastefully 
minute in detailing out the contents of lots and 
parcels, and in searching beforehand for hidden ore. 
From the bundle-hunter's seeing-point the game is 
well-nigh up. Ere long the bladder will be pricked, 
and he will be like another Othello. When a 
volume of commonplace tracts fills an entire page, 
if not two, of a catalogue, it is time for him to break, 
his staff. The latter-day auctioneer, sooth to say, 
errs on the side of accentuation. 

It seems, however, as if the keenest and most 
jealous competition, the most strongly emphasized 
printed accounts, and the latest improvements in 
distributing and circulating catalogues of sales, are 
unequal to the removal of a curious phenomenon 
which periodically recurs, and yet on each occasion 
is declared to be so remarkable that it cannot by 
possibility happen again : I mean the Frost the 


sudden and capricious fall of the temperature in the 
room, or in the veins of those frequenting it, to zero. 

Who shall attempt to explain it ? Provided always 
that property of a certain stamp usually protects 
itself by guaranteeing attendance and opposition, 
it is not that the character of the sale is unfavour- 
able, or that of the articles offered liable to question, 
for I have had personal experience of cases where 
some of the rarest books and best copies went at 
nominal figures. The trade 'hung off'; there was 
a likelier sale elsewhere ; business was quiet and 
stocks were full ; or it was an occasion where the 
national library might have filled many gaps, and 
the authorities were enjoying a nap, or the Trustees 
had sagaciously interdicted farther expenditure for 
the time being, because Parliament had not passed 
the vote, and they were too proud or too cautious 
to go on credit. At one time, mediocre copies of 
more or less common books are found realizing 
artificially high prices ; at another, old English 
plays and poetry, and historical tracts of the utmost 
rarity, are given away. Lotteries are forbidden by 
statute, yet this is the greatest lottery of all ! 

Now it begins, I apprehend, to be better under- 
stood that it is not only the property which governs 
the result, but the atmosphere and the name. Some 
years ago, for instance, Mr. Gladstone placed his 


old china in the hands of Christie's for sale. It was 
a very second-rate collection, but the reputation of 
the owner drew a company which was willing to pay 
for sentiment. 

Of the smaller room looking to Wellington Street, 
and a later addition, where the coin, print, and 
autograph sales are often held, I do not profess to 
know much. The earliest boom, by the way, in 
the numismatic department was the noble collection 
of Marmaduke Trattle in 1832, which brought 
nearly ^ir,ooo. In later life, when my own atten- 
tion was directed to one or two studies outside the 
library, I acquired the habit of looking on now and 
then while these collateral descriptions of property 
were changing hands, but I seldom intervened. 

On the dispersion of the Edkins collection of 
Bristol porcelain many years ago, my brother had 
been asked by Dr. Diamond of Twickenham, who 
could not be there in person, if he would mind 
going to 20 for a certain teapot. The trust was 
accepted, and the holder of this heavy commission 
(as it seemed to him to be) imagined himself the 
central figure in a thrilling episode the hero, in 
fact, of the day. When the item came on, a gentle- 
man stepped forward and said to the auctioneer : 'If 
it will save the time of the company, sir, I will say 
^105 just to start you 1' 


One or two coin-collectors Lord Ashburnham How he lost his 
first collection Edward Wigan Illustration of his en- 
thusiasm The Blenheim sale The Marlborough gems 
The Althorp Library The house in Leicester Square 
Its history and development Remarkable sales which 
have been held by Messrs. Puttick and Simpson Books 
Manuscripts Autographs My obligations to the house 
The Somers Tracts. 

THE late Earl of Ashburnham formed two collec- 
tions of Greek coins. The first he used to carry 
about with him in his yacht, and it was taken by 
pirates. Lord A. saw one of his coins offered for 
sale in a Greek or Mediterranean town, and it led 
to a revival of the hobby. His cabinet was not 
extensive, but included many rare pieces. 

Mr. Edward Wigan, of the great hop firm in the 
Borough, whose cabinets were privately bought by 
Rollin and Feuardent of Paris after his death, was 
one of the most ardent collectors we have ever had 
of Greek and Roman silver and copper coins. But 
of Greek copper he made a speciality. He bought 


a good deal of Whelan in the Haymarket, and Mr. 
F. Whelan, then a boy, recollects his visits to his 
father's, when the sherry was invariably brought 
out, and any fresh acquisition discussed. One day 
a rare type of Greek money lay on Whelan J s table, 
and Wigan was tantalized by the announcement 
that it was not for immediate sale. He went on 
talking to Whelan, and every now and then 
reverting to the coin. At last he took up a slip 
of paper, and, writing his name at the foot, 
cried : ' There, fill it up with what figure you 
like/ He could afford to be liberal He told 
F. W. that his share of the profits one half-year 
was ,34,000. 

Wigan to a considerable extent derived his taste 
for coins from General York- Moore, with whom 
he grew very intimate, and in whose company* he 
was often to be seen too often, some say ; for the 
General was convivial to a fault. 

The Duke of Marlborough, I believe, imagined that 
the proceeds of the sale of the Blenheim library would 
be handed over to him ; but the trustees insisted on the 
fund being applied to the improvement of the estate, 
and a round sum went in a contract with Fentums 
for new grates for Blenheim. While the auction 
was going on in Leicester Square, a firm of solicitors 


at Manchester was kept informed from day to day 
of the result. 

The gentleman who' gave a large sum for the 
Marlborough gems, without knowing much about 
them, once allowed the Rev. S. S. Lewis, of Corpus, 
Cambridge, to shew the collection to a friend of 
his. But the owner chose to be present, and after 
observing silence for some time, while Lewis was 
doing the honours, he ventured to interpolate at a 
pause in the proceedings a humble piece of criticism. 
Taking up one of the treasures, he said to the 
visitor: * That's nice f 'Nice! Mr. / ex- 
claimed Lewis; '"nice" is a word to apply to a 
jam-tart, not to an ancient gem.' 

Lewis himself left an important collection of coins 
and other antiquities to Corpus. I was told that 
he had laid out ^"500 a year on this fancy or pursuit 
during more than twenty years. Among much that 
was mediocre in point of preservation (for Lewis did 
not specially study what is called state], there were 
many fine things which he had acquired during his 
travels in Greece and elsewhere. Someone related 
to me an odd trait in him, when a young lady who 
had died testified her regard for Lewis by leaving 
him .5,000. He went into an ordinary shop with 
the cheque, and asked my informant if he would 


oblige him with change. He had a brother, whom 
I never saw, but who had, I was told, a funny way, 
if he met you and you made an observation which 
struck him, of saying : * Ah ! very curious/ pulling 
out a memorandum - book ; * would you mind me 
jotting that down ?' 

Lord Spencer told me in 1868, when I paid a 
visit to Althorp to take notes of some of the books 
so far unseen by me, many years prior to the dis- 
persion of the Blenheim-Sunderland library, that 
the latter books were so neglected that birds had 
built their nests behind the shelves. 

Hearing recently that the Spencer collection 
had gone to Manchester, and recalling the look of 
Althorp as it was when the library remained there, I 
asked someone in town what had been done to fill 
up the gaps ; and I was told that the large billiard 
room with the gallery had been clean swept away, 
and that the empty shelves were replenished with 
all sorts of commonplace stuff gathered from the 
shops. What a fall ! They sold Wimbledon to 
save the books, and they have sold the books to 
save themselves. What would Dibdin's Spencer 
say, if he could behold Althorp almost a sepulchre? 
Let the pictures and china go, and the house might 
as well be levelled with the ground. 


There are many not willing to acknowledge them- 
selves very old who remember the porticoed entrance 
in Piccadilly, a little westward from St. James's 
Church, where lay the place of business of Messrs. 
Puttick and Simpson. It is only about a dozen 
years since the building stood there ; but the sale- 
room itself had been already demolished, necessi- 
tating the removal elsewhere ; and every trace of it 
and the other buildings which occupied the site has 
disappeared. Nor had the names which I now 
give been identified with the locality much more 
than a decade. But it was old ground, and they 
succeeded to an established and respectable inherit- 
ance. In 1794 this s P ot h^d the Great Room of 
Mr. Stewart, who continued here alone till 1825-26, 
when Mr. Benjamin Wheatley, a member of the 
staff at Sotheby's, and Mr. Adlard, a son of the 
printer of that name, purchased the business with 
the understanding that the old name should 
stand for a time, the house being styled Stewart, 
Wheatley and Adlard. It was in the days of the 
nominal triumvirate that the famous library of the 
Rev. Theodore Williams was sold here. 

Mr. Stewart did not long survive his arrangement 
with Messrs. Wheatley and Adlard, the two latter 
being found carrying on the concern in 1830, and in 


1837 Mr. Wheatley died. The latter was a man of 
superior attainments, and sold many fine collections, 
including part of the Heber library. The interest 
seems to have passed into the hands of Messrs. 
John and James Fletcher shortly afterward, but a 
son of Mr. Wheatley was admitted for the sake of 
the familiar name ; the style of the firm for a short 
time was Fletcher and Wheatley, but in 1843 ' Mr. 
Fletcher ' occurs on the catalogues, and he inserts, 
as a novel feature, a notice to executors, assignees, 
and others, stating that he is prepared to make 
advances to the extent of three-fourths of the value 
of goods actually in his hands. Of course, the value 
was what Mr. Fletcher computed it to be, and, to go 
back for a moment to 1837, we observe at the end 
of a catalogue of dramatic poetry an announcement 
of other sales in prospect, in one of which there was 
to be a fine portrait of the second Marquis of Bute 
by Gainsborough. 

It was while the late Mr, B. R. Wheatley belonged 
to the firm, and prior to his father s death, that the 
auction-room was converted on one occasion into a 
theatre for the production of Goldsmith's She Stoops 
to Conquer by amateurs, Mr. Wheatley himself, 
then quite a lad, with a strong taste and talent for 
theatricals, taking the part of Tony Lumpkin. 


We lose sight of Mr. Fletcher in 1846, in which 
year he sold a further portion of the stock of Mr. 
John Bohn, and come face to face with the now long- 
familiar names of Puttick and Simpson, the former, 
who had been a clerk to Mr. Fletcher, taking Mr. 
Simpson into partnership. This change took place 
between April and July, 1846, and in all their earlier 
catalogues the new firm describe themselves as suc- 
cessors to Mr. Fletcher. Mr. Puttick was an active 
man of business, and from this point we have to date 
the commencement of a period of distinct progress 
and improvement. 

To enumerate even the more important auctions 
which have been held in the Great Room, 191, Pic- 
cadilly, and since the removal to 47, Leicester 
Square, in 1858, would occupy more space than I 
can spare. Taking, so far as literary property is 
concerned, 1846 as my point of departure, I may 
give a few items : 

The Donnadieu Books and Manuscripts, ^3,923 ; the Libri 
Collection, ^8,929 ; Books and Manuscripts of Dawson Turner, 
^"9,453 195. ; Books and Manuscripts of Edward Crowninshield, 
of Boston, N.E., ^4,826 6s. ; Books and Manuscripts of Sir 
Edward Dering, ^7,259 i6s, ; the Emperor Maximilian's Mexican 
Library (1869), ^3,985 128. 6d. ; Books from William Penn's 
Library, ^1,350; Books of Sir Edward Nicholas, Secretary to 
Charles I. (1877), ^977 i6s. ; the Sunderland Library (1881-83) 
;6o,ooo; the Gosford Library (1884), ^"11,318 53, 6d, ; the 
Hartley Library (1885-87), ;x 6,530. 


But the list is inexhaustible. 

Then, in the department of Autograph Letters, 
there is a continuous record from 1848, if we exclude 
such as form part of prior miscellaneous sales. Many 
of us recollect the Oilier Collection not so long ago 
when a sonnet, and a published one, too, in the 
handwriting of Keats, realized here S 153. 

Numerous catalogues before us shew that Mr- 
Redford in his * Art Sales,' as well as Mr. Tuer in 
his Bartolozzi volume, does imperfect justice to the 
pictures and prints which have found new owners 
under the hammer here and in Piccadilly right away 
from 1806. A suggestive clause presents itself in 
the Conditions of Sale attached to this class of pro- 
perty so far back as 1812, when intending buyers of 
paintings are apprised by Mr. Stewart that 'to 
prevent inconveniences that frequently attend long 
and open accounts, the remainder of the purchase- 
money is to be absolutely paid on or before delivery. 7 

The prices obtained were, in the old days, fairly 
high ; but even chef Douvres (as Mr. Stewart was 
pleased to write it) did not invariably answer the 
expectations of the parties interested. Do we not 
still find the same thing occasionally ? 

The series of priced catalogues from 1805 (the 
earliest in the possession of Messrs. Puttick and 


Simpson) to the present time is a strange sort of 
homily on the fortunes of families, the progress of 
learning, and the caprices of taste. 

To the litterateur and bibliographer, through all 
the long vista of years, these classic rooms, associated 
with Sir Joshua Reynolds and his friends, and with 
the Western Literary Institution, have afforded 
many and many a precious gem and fascinating dis- 

It would be ungrateful to the house in Leicester 
Square if I were not to confess that it has yielded 
me in my time many a pleasant discovery and many 
an excellent bargain. Was it not there that I bought 
the classic Somers Tracts in thirty folio volumes, 
with the ' Laws of New York/ 1693 the first book 
printed there, I take it and several other unique 
Americana among them ? Did I not attend the 
great Surrenden sale there, when the Dering books 
were offered, and have to my next neighbour at the 
table no less a man than John Forster, Esquire? 
How vividly I call to mind pointing out to him the 
rarity and interest of an uncut copy on large paper 
of Archbishop Laud's ' Speech in the Star Chamber/ 
1637, and his magnificent affability in rendering me 
thanks ! 

The contributors to the press, as a rule, depend on 


the priced catalogue of a sale for their guidance in 
selecting the items for the paragraph which they 
draw up for the organ by which they happen to be 
employed. They seldom possess much independent 
experience. They let their eyes run down the 
columns, and note the highest prices, the disadvan- 
tage being that they are apt to miss the rarities 
which go, perchance, below their value, no less than 
to cite without comment the lots which on some 
special account fetch artificial figures. 


The British Museum My recollection of the old building and 
Reading Room Members of the staff whom I have known 
Panizzi and the New General Catalogue Sir Henry Ellis 
George Bullen Grenville Collection Mr. Grenville and my 
father The frequenters of the Reading Room Mr. Glad- 
stone's views about the Museum staff Proposed insulation 
of the national collections Publishers Different schools or 
types George Routledge Henry George Bohn George 
Willis A literary adventure Some other booksellers The 
Leadenhall and Cornhill schools of painting The 'edition 
de luxe The Illustrated Copy. 

THE present Principal Librarian and Keeper of 
the Printed Books at the British Museum are 
respectively the fifth and fourth holders of the 
office whom I have known. After the retirement 
of Sir Henry Ellis in 1856, the influence of Lord 
Brougham procured the appointment of Antonio 
Panizzi, who had succeeded in ingratiating himself 
with that once powerful statesman and Minister. 
He also courted old Mr. Grenville. 

Jones, who followed Panizzi, owed his fortune 
to the latter ; but, Dr. Bond was selected partly 


on the alternate principle, and partly from the 
absence of anyone at the moment from the other 
Departments willing or competent to take the post. 
Dr. Newton had the first offer, and declined. Bond 
was by far the best and most liberal man whom 
we have had ; but Sir E. M. Thompson, who was 
brought up under him in the Manuscript Depart- 
ment, was the most judicious choice which the 
Trustees could have made when Bond resigned. 

When I first frequented the Museum, the old 
Reading Room was, of course, still in use. Mr. 
Watts was keeper of the Printed Books. At that 
time the national library was very weak in early 
English literature, and Watts took comparatively 
little interest in it, having made no special study 
of the subject Under the advice of one or another, 
certain gaps had been filled up as opportunities 
presented themselves, and at the Bright sale in 
1845 more particularly the Museum authorities 
secured many valuable items. Within the last 
thirty years, however, under the auspices of Mr. 
Rye Mr. Bullen, and Mr. Garnett, the acquisitions 
in this direction have been continuous and immense. 
Even phenomenal prices have been given for ex- 
ceptionally interesting and important articles, and 
had it not been for the keenness of private compe- 

VOL. II, 42 


tition, the national collection would at this moment 
be marvellously complete. But the annual grant 
for the library is moderate ; and while the English 
or American amateur can afford to outbid the 
Trustees, the latter can afford on their part to 
wait. They are, as I have more than once re- 
marked, the heirs of all men. 

Yet it is more than ridiculoustoexpend ,22, 000,000 
on the Navy, because that step strengthens the 
Government in the popular estimation, and to 
make a pretence of economy in another direction, 
of which the general knowledge is less clear, 
by paring down the allowance for books and 
manuscripts a thousand or so. It is not that 
Ministers care for the Navy more than the 
Museum ; but the Navy means Votes, and the 
other does not. 

At the same time, the steady absorption of our 
early literature by the British Museum, and of 
ancient books generally by that and other public 
libraries in Europe and America, with the tendency 
to destroy volumes belonging to the theological 
and scientific series, for which the demand has 
ceased, must have the ultimate effect of narrowing 
the opportunities for forming important private 
cabinets, and of gradually diminishing the bulk of 


old printed matter in existence ; and with what 
is actually valueless much which was highly de- 
serving of preservation has not only perished in 
the past, but perishes from ignorance or accident 
year by year. 

Take one case out of thousands. An old gentleman 
in Suffolk was discovered by his cousin, my in- 
formant, not long since, making a bonfire of some 
old books, including a copy of Burton's Anatomy 
of Melancholy, 1621. On being challenged for 
his reason for committing this act of vandalism, 
the owner remarked that he had been looking into 
the Burton, and did not think it was a fit book 
for the girls his four daughters, of whom the 
most juvenile was about fifty. 

Here was one of the makers of rare books ! 
The same wise gentleman had included in the 
holocaust a manuscript Diary kept by his father 
during sixty years. 

The magnum opus of Panizzi was, I believe, the 
New General Catalogue of the Printed Books. On 
this scheme and his editorial work on the lives and 
writings of Dante, Ariosto, and Boiardo, his fame 
rests. I prefer to limit myself to a passing criticism 
on that section of the Panizzi undertaking of which 
my bibliographical labours and researches have led 


me to take special cognizance, and I must affirm 
that the arrangement of the entries is most em- 
barrassing and most troublesome. Items, instead 
of being placed under obvious heads, are reached 
with more or less sacrifice of time by cross-references 
to other volumes of the Catalogue and other letters 
of the alphabet, necessarily occupying the time of 
workers and consulters. 

Some of the present staff of officials are fully 
sensible of the injudicious character of the plan 
pursued, and seem to be of my opinion, that the 
whole fabric ought to be reconstructed in the public 
interest. The pedantic and nonsensical practice ot 
mixing up I and J and U and V, and of ranging 
certain classes of books under Academies, must 
ultimately be given up. 

The fifth article of the Protest made by the late 
Mr. Bolton Corney against the appointment of 
Panizzi to the head of the Museum in 1856 runs 
thus : * Because the said Antonio Panizzi, on account 
of the failure of his engagements with regard to 
the Catalogue of printed books, and the fictions 
and absurdities of the only fragment thereof hitherto 
published, appears to have deserved reprehension 
rather than promotion/ 

When my father lived in Great Russell Street 


in 1846, the Museum was still enclosed within a 
dead wall, and was guarded by sentinels. 

It was from Sir Henry Ellis that I obtained my 
first reader s ticket. My next step was to lose it, 
and during about twenty years I held none, nor 
was ever challenged. Then came the dynamite 
scare, and one day I was stopped at the door 
of the Library. ' You know me ?' I said. * Yes, 
sir.' * How singular!' * Well, you see, sir, it is 
our orders. If you were the Archbishop of 

Canterbury, sir ' This appeal I was powerless 

to resist, and I went round the other way. 

I never saw Ellis ; but I had to communicate 
with him in 1869 on a literary matter in which he 
had a voice. So far back as 1813 he had edited 
Brand's Popular Antiquities ; and without taking 
into account the legal bearing of his phenomenal 
survivorship till I had printed off, and was ready 
to issue, my new recension, I found myself in the 
dilemma of having to secure his assent prior to 
publication. Ellis peremptorily refused ; but twelve 
days after he died, and, although the copyright did 
not ipso facto determine, I launched my scheme 
neck or naught The letter to me, written in his 
ninety-second year, was probably the last which the 
old gentleman ever despatched. 


My father found himself in a similar dilemma, 
when he inserted in the Romancist, in 1840, a tale 
called the Children of the Abbey, written generations 
before ; but he was less fortunate than myself. The 
authoress emerged, to his consternation, from her 
hiding-place, and had to be 'squared.' God knows 
if she might not do the same thing now, if anyone 
had the hardihood to try the experiment ! 

The late Mr. George Bullen is my authority for 
stating that at Paris they have among the archives 
both the original Edict of Nantes and the original 
Revocation. Panizzi told Bullen that * he never 
knew a Protestant turn Papist unless he was a 
damned fool, or a Papist turn Protestant unless he 
was a damned rogue/ 

Bullen was civilly elbowed out of the Keepership 
of the Printed Books, as Reid was out of that of 
the Prints. He had applied to F. for a testimonial 
to support his candidature for Bond's place as prin- 
cipal librarian ; but F. excused himself. At the 
same time, it is due alike to Bullen and Reid, and 
I may add Vaux, to testify that they always dis- 
played toward myself, as a student and inquirer, the 
utmost amount of friendly sympathy and interest. 

Bullen had, however, a tiresome and tantalizing 
way of disparaging the commercial value (of which 


he, in fact, knew little or nothing) of any rare book 
submitted to his approval, and then making a great 
splutter about the remarkable acquisition which the 
Museum had obtained through his discernment. 
From his want of knowledge, the national library 
missed many desiderata. His predecessor Rye was 
a stronger man, and relied on his own judgment ; 
whereas Bullen made the circuit of the building, if 
something was offered, in quest of opinions upon 
it. For what was he there? He was paid for his 
opinion ; and he had none. 

The weakest proceeding under his Keepership 
was the compilation of the three-volume catalogue 
of Early English Literature, which might, without 
detriment on the one hand, and with positive ad- 
vantage on the other, have been, in the first place, 
digested into one ; but the book abounds with errors 
of every description, nor is it easy to see of what 
use, save as a work of strictly local reference, a new 
and improved edition would be, since the whole of 
the most valuable material is more fully, if not 4 more 
accurately, described elsewhere. 

I recollect, as an old frequenter of the place, the 
curious episodes of Vaux and Madden ; but I desist 
from entering into them, as they are of no general 


A reminiscence of the Museum, as agreeable as 
it is permanent, is the gracious reply by Mr. Watts, 
when he was superintendent of the Reading Room, 
to my explanation that I was Mr. Hazlitt's son. 
1 Mr. Hazlitt yourself," Mr. Watts was kind enough 
to say. The words made me feel that I was really 
an individual. 

The Grenville collection at the Museum is, of 
course, infinitely precious ; but the owner unfor- 
tunately displayed too little caution in examining 
the copies of books which he bought, and many 
of which have proved imperfect. I recollect that, 
when my father resided at Old Brompton in the 
early forties in Mr. Grenville's lifetime, he occa- 
sionally obtained the loan of some volume for a 
passing literary purpose, and that the old servant 
who brought it to our house flattered his master, 
as we thought, by his resemblance to him in his 
general manner and bearing. 

How many a worthy soul with a mysterious pied 
d terre God knows where or what finds shelter 
and warmth beneath the ample and friendly dome 
of the new Reading Room ! What many of them 
do, how they live, may be within the knowledge of 
some ; all that I can affirm is that, within my ex- 
perience, a succession of them, which seems inter- 


minable, has corne and gone, and has vexed the 
souls of hapless officials, to whom Job the prophetic 
was, in point of patience, a baby. 

The Superintendent must perforce be genial and 
obliging to all comers. It is in his diploma. The 
public has been exceedingly fortunate here, Mr. 
Watts, Mr. Bullen, Mr. Garnett, Mr. Fortescue, 
and Mr. Wilson, have left in succession nothing to 
be desired in the way of courtesy and good temper. 
I once watched a lady-reader, who had manifestly 
made some subject her absorbing study, while she 
catechized Mr. Garnett, and I have to avow that 
even he at last came to the end of his resources. 
But he had a thousand topics at his fingers* ends, 
the lady, perhaps, only that one. 

I am not going for an instant to allege that Mr. 
Garnett is addicted to favouritism ; but if any gentle- 
man calls to see him, and finds that he has an American 
lady with him, his best plan is to say that he will look 
in again that day week. Our lady-cousins from 
the other side are certainly desperate button-holers. 

Such odd figures, occasionally with cloaks of im- 
posing amplitude such bizarre costumes ! Gentle- 
men of foreign extraction and ancient lineage 
maybe, counts in the land of their birth ; elderly 
persons of the softer sex in motley toilettes, in 


whom the softness has become barely recognisable, 
with whom one almost associates the notion of a 
snuffbox ; damsels in spectacles, who, if they do 
time-work, spend unconscionably too large a share 
of the day in mild flirtations with picturesquely 
pallid and ntgligd young men, which relieve the 
pervading silence with a sort of sotto-voce buzz. If 
one had the means of forming these and the rest 
to be found in the Rotunda any given morning into 
a procession, what spectacle stranger ? and if one 
could get at the story of the Thousand and One 
Readers, it might have its instructive and amusing 
side. Ah me ! it would have its mournful and tragic. 
I have now and then used the Medal and Print 
rooms, and have always met with the utmost con- 
sideration. The lace Keeper of the Prints told me 
a curious anecdote about the Temptation by Dilrer. 
The Museum example was very fine ; but a gentle- 
man called one day, asked to see it, and said that 
he had a better one, he thought. Would they like 
to look at his ? Of course, Mr. Reid was incredu- 
lous, and replied that they would. The owner 
brought it shortly after : it completely eclipsed the 
one in the national collection, and Mr. Edwards 
presented it. They never heard a word more about 
him, except that that was his name. 


Dr. Gray, of the Natural History Section, received 
Du Chaillu, the African explorer, on his visit to 
London and the Museum, and, there being some 
scepticism at the time as to the truth of the writer's 
account of the gorilla, and Gray seeming to share 
the prevailing doubts, Du Chaillu expressed his 
disapprobation by spitting in his face. It was a 
brother of Gray who was engaged as an assistant 
by Sir Richard Phillips, and who is the boy attend- 
ing the author on the vignette of the title-page of 
Phillips's Mornings Walk from London to Kew, 
1817. Gray's brother had also a taste for natural 
history and botany. He was subsequently secretary 
at Crockford's. 

The shabbiest tricks arc played by persons 
frequenting the Reading Room, as no one will be 
surprised to hear who has studied the physiognomy 
and costume of many of those admitted. Bullen 
shewed me one day a volume of one of the Quarterlies 
with several pages cut out by a student, who had 
presumably a commission to copy the matter. 
Another time both copies of H alii well's Dictionary 
of Old Plays had been simultaneously stolen, Even 
the leaden weights disappeared. A detective was 
placed at a reading-desk to reconnoitre ; he lost his 
great-coat, which he had laid on the back of his 


chair ; and the thief was not detected till a second 
spy was stationed in the roof to watch for him, 

Mr. Gladstone used to hold that the employments 
here were of such an exceptionally agreeable and 
compensating character that gentlemen should be 
readily found willing to fulfil them on the most 
reasonable terms a proposition which might be 
equally applicable to the staff of a pastrycook or a 
dealer in sweetmeats. The result not a very satis- 
factory or proud one is seen in the notorious resort 
to outside work for publishers, periodicals, and 
auctioneers. Certain members of the staff, in fact, 
go so far as to look upon given topics as their free- 
hold, and resent personally, or through their friends 
on the press, the interference of unofficial workers, 
as if some provinces of research were a sort of 
literary Tom Tiddlers Ground. This seems to be 
an injustice and an anomaly calling for rectifica- 

The scheme for insulating the building as a means 
of security against fire, and of obtaining additional 
space by the demolition of all the surrounding 
houses, is all very well ; but a still more immediate 
danger is the residential principle and privilege, 
which involve a peculiar risk, owing to the exemp- 
tion of the officials in their homes from the eye of 


any night-watcher; and at the South Kensington 
establishment it is even worse, as certain members 
of the staff have open fires in their private rooms, 
and smoke there, as they do in some of the Oxford 
and Cambridge college libraries. There will be a 
terrible catastrophe one day, and has not Parliament 
given ,200,000 to remove, as we were told, the 
mischief? In 1865 there was a fire in the Binding 
Department, but the loss was happily less serious 
than it might have been. 

There are schools of Publishers as there are of 
Art and Cookery. We get the old-established 
respectable houses, which deal only with certain 
classes of books and people, and correspond with 
you on quarto paper. There are the specialists, 
who limit themselves to subjects or topics. There 
are the opportunists, who seek to profit by every 
ephemeral taste and fancy which takes the public 
captive. There are the book-drapers, who treat 
literature like any other dry goods, and sell it in 
gross, as if it were cheese or sugar. They will 
deliver you a hundredweight of Dickens, or shoot 
down into your shop-cellar half a ton of * assorted * 
sixpenny ware. 

Someone was speaking to me of a publisher who 
suffered imprisonment for issuing immoral French 


books in an English dress, and was reminding me 
of the applicability of Macaulay's criticism on the 
spasmodic virtue of the British public and authorities; 
for almost before the prisoner's term had expired, 
another house brought out the same things without 
comment. It is not what is done, but the doer and 
the manner of doing. 

'One man may steal a horse, and another may 
not look over the hedge.' A person is prosecuted 
and imprisoned, no doubt deservedly, for publishing 
objectionable books. The auctioneers issue cata- 
logues giving full and appetizing titles of others ten 
times as bad, and offer them for public inspection 
and sale with impunity. 

There comes into my hands opportunely for 
recommendation as a model and beau iddal of what 
I mean, a * Catalogue of Valuable and Rare Books 
and Manuscripts, Consisting of Duplicates from the 
Library of the Right Hon. the Earl of Crawford, 
and A Selection from the French Library of the 
Right Hon. Lord Ashburton.' The singular and 
unusual part is that one does not know where the 
first Right Honourable ends, and the second Right 
Honourable begins. Mayhap, one has bought up 
the other; but however that may be, the foreign 
element is a fairly representative one as regards the 


most licentious literature of all periods, with notes 
drawing attention to the character of the lot in many 
instances, where there might be a doubt in the mind 
of the bidder. 

It is a great mistake to suppose that improper 
literature is mostly sold in such places as Holy well 
Street. The West End is the actual centre. The 

residual stock of the late Mr. was said at the 

time to have been secured en bloc for a foreign 
market ; mats on ne sait pas toujours. I was told 
(to be sure, not by a person of unimpeachable 
veracity) that those items in a celebrated Yorkshire 
library which were too bad for the auctioneers were 
not thrown into the moat, as generally believed, but 
secured by him by a coup dc main, of which he was 
justly proud. 

Two men whom I should select as, in their re- 
spective lines, models of integrity in the publishing 
way are Mr. William Reeves and the late Mn John 
Russell-Smith ; but the latter was less liberal than 
Reeves. Certain houses, of course, carry loyally 
out any undertaking into which they may enter, and 
their word is as good as their bond. But there are 
others with which it is an absolute courtship of 
misery to deal, even if you hold them in the clauses 
of an agreement as in a vice, 


The late George Routledge was a very frank and 
unpretending North -Countryman, though latterly 
rather fond of letting one know that he was a justice 
of the peace. The last time I saw him was at his 
place of business at the back of Ludgate Hill. He 
mentioned to me that he had been served with a 
notice of action by a lady for some remark about 
her in a book recently published by him, but which 
he had not examined, or even seen, prior to issue ; 
and he also told me that he had just had an in- 
dignant letter from some clergyman for reprinting 
Voltaire's Candide in Professor Morley's cheap 
series. I took the occasion to inquire where the 
Professor saw the affinity between Candide and 
Johnson's Rasselas, which he had put together in a 
volume on that account. 

When I first remember Routledge, he was in 
Soho Square, where Chidley had been before him, 
and where Russell-Smith succeeded him. My old 
acquaintance, Mr. Henry Pyne, late Assistant Tithe 
Commissioner, used to refer sometimes to him, for 
Routledge had been at first, by the interest of the 
Member for Carlisle, a clerk in that office, and 
occasionally his first wife would bring him his 
dinner in a pocket-handkerchief. 

I was in lodgings in Buckingham Street, Strand, 


in 1862, when I was informed that a gentleman 
wished to see me. I went down, and found Rout- 
ledge on the stairs. He had come personally to 
ask me to prepare a second edition of a small 
fugitive volume, which he had published in 1858, 
on British Columbia, and which I had with my 
excellent father's help compiled in the first furor 
of the emigration movement in two or three 

The firm of Chapman and Hall, like many others, 
traded, to a certain extent, for many years under a 
nom de guerre 9 one of the partners being non- 
existent. Somebody once asked Frederick Chap- 
man of whom the house really consisted. ' I'm 
Chapman/ he replied, * and that's Hall! 

Some memorabilia about the late Henry George 
Bohn are already in print. Many others might, no 
doubt, be collected. 

I was told that at a wine sale Bohn insisted on 
tasting all the samples, and became incapable of 
looking after himself ; they had to carry him down 
and put him into a cab. He found the next morn- 
ing that he had bought two hundred dozen. 

He was very fond of boasting about being invited 
to great folks' houses. He told a confrere one day 
that it was a very singular thing that at Lord *s 

VOL, it. 43 


there was no fish. ' Ah,' rejoined the other wickedly, 
' perhaps they ate it all upstairs/ 

It was an edifying spectacle to watch Henry 
Bohn and his brother John verbally sparring across 
the table at Sotheby's. I was not present when 
E. is reported to have openly told Bohn that 
some statement was the biggest lie which he had 
ever uttered, and that it must by consequence be a 
big one. 

As regarded the relations between Bohn and his 
sisters, he used to insist that he had made them 
handsome proposals, which they rejected. They 
came into Russell-Smith's, in Soho Square, when 
I was there one day, to beg him to give them 

The predecessor of John Bohn as principal cata- 
loguer at Sotheby's was Bryant, of Wardour Street, 
who supplied Dr. Bliss and other collectors of a 
bygone generation with some of their treasures, and 
who had a hand in the new edition of Lowndes. 
Bryant, who died in 1864, once made this very 
judicious observation to me that there were many 
books which occurred very seldom, and when they 
did, were worth very little. 

The edition of Lowndes which bears the name 
of H. G. Bohn as the overseer was, in fact, done. 


so far as it was done at all, by Bryant, with the 
occasional assistance of others. Bohn, when anyone 
came to him with a complaint of mistakes in the 
book, used always to exclaim, * Oh, it was that ass 
Bryant ' ; but if you went to Bohn, and mentioned 
that some particular article was improved, he would 
say, * Ah, yes, I did that myself, ' 

J. W. Parker, the publisher, speaking of books 
which paid, asked F. what book he supposed had 
proved most remunerative to him. On F. shaking 
his head, Parker said, ' Why, I gave my daughter 
^"25, thirty-six years ago, to compile a little selec- 
tion of hymns and psalms, and last year it brought in 
200 profit, and it has never been worthless to me.' 

There are here and there instances where a firm, 
enjoying an independent fortune, consults its own 
pleasure or caprice in its selection of authors and its 
espousal of schemes, sometimes quite irrespectively 
of the financial question ; it is Maecenas in the 
counting-house ; and modern litterateurs, even if 
they are not Horaces, might be apt to find a better 
account in paying their addresses to such than to 
noble lords or royal highnesses, who have nowa- 
days, as a rule, very different fish to fry. 

If ever there should come a time when publisher 
and author act in loyal and mutually satisfactory 


co-operation, it would be the Golden Age indeed 
the lion lying down with the lamb, although which 
is the lion and which is the lamb in this case I 
forbear to pronounce. 

1 Repairs neatly executed ' might be a good title 
for a paper on the well-known literary contingency, 

where a famous author, such as , or , or 

, is just the least weak in his information, his 

grammar, and his points, and where some obscure 
person in the background is engaged by the pub- 
lisher with his privity and at his cost to make the 
otherwise chef d'ceuvre exactly suitable for public 
use and view. The odd part comes when the 
famous author carries about his volume, as a sample 
of his cunning and style, and perhaps receives a 
commission to execute a second masterpiece. 

It can only yield astonishment to general readers 
to hear that there have long been individuals whose 
most lucrative employment consists in * finishing 1 / to 
use bookbinders' parlance, works which have been 
* forwarded' by the author. The name of the 
former seldom appears, and it is often the case 
always, where it happens that anyone has much 
credit to lose that it is to the reviser's advantage 
that he should preserve a strict incognito. For 
here the exceptions, where a manuscript emerges 


from this process a source of gratifying surprise to 
the parties concerned, are so rare, that they prove 
the rule indeed. Every season witnesses the sale 
of hundredweights of written matter by auction or 
otherwise, which has been carefully prepared by 
the departed author with a view to publication by 
Murray or Longman, and which is at last en route 
to that Alma Mater of Scriblerus, the omnivorous 

George Willis the bookseller, who recently 
passed away at an advanced age, and who is asso- 
ciated in the mincl of the more modern collector 
with the late firm of Willis and Sotheran, was an 
Essex man* My father told me that he recollected 
him as a stall-keeper in Prince's Street, Coventry 
Street, and his wife attended to the stall while he 
went in quest of stock. He used to say that his 
main idea was to buy for a shilling and sell for 
eighteen-pence very good interest, but only six- 
pence, Mrs. Willis has been seen at her husband's 
stall with an umbrella over her head. 

I believe that he subsequently occupied the corner 
shop where Noah Huett was in my time originally 
small premises, which Huett enlarged. Then he 
went to the Piazza in Covent Garden, where he 
failed* But he was a man of persevering character 


and commercial aptitude, and during the time that 
he was in partnership with Mr. Sotheran com- 
pletely recovered his position. Willis and Sotheran's 
General Catalogue for 1862 long remained a 
standard work of reference. 

I personally remember Willis as a very pleasant, 
courteous, and intelligent man of business, and his 
Current Notes*, sort of illustrated Notes and 
Queries -is a favourite book with many. He joined 
his sons in the card-making way, and, as I heard, 
lost a good deal of the money which he had taken 
out of the concern in the Strand. 

I owed to Willis a rather curious experience. He 
introduced me, about 1865, to a member of the 
Society of Friends, a former neighbour of his at 
Reigate, and an eminent photographer, who, having 
executed a series of views in Egypt, desired to 
publish the work with a poetical letter-press in the 
old spelling. I agreed to revise this for him, and 
after some delay the first instalment arrived, was 
put as far as possible into form in a couple of hours, 
and was despatched home. Hearing no more for 
some time, I dropped the poetical photographer a 
civil reminder, and was then apprised that he had 
abandoned the project But he kept his engage- 
ment with me. It was ^25 not very hardly earned. 


I have sometimes speculated whether he would 
have printed the text in Gothic letter. Good, as 
Jerrold once said of a weak play shown to him, was 
not the word for his literary offspring. 

Baldock in Holborn I have already introduced. 
Not far from him were the places of business of 
Petheram and Newman. The former had an 
assistant named John Hotten, a Cornish man, better 
known as John Camden Hotten, who, before he set 
up in business in London, spent some time in the 
United States at Petheram's suggestion. Newman 
was a strictly upright man, and dealt in topography. 
He found in his later days, when his health failed, a 
valuable friend in Leonard Hartley the collector, at 
whose house in Hastings he died. 

A rather good story was once told about Newman. 
There was a sale at Sotheby's just in his way, rich 
in the very class of books which he wanted for 
Hartley and other clients. He was not an habitual 
attendant at the auctions, but on this occasion he 
was there in person, and bade for every lot. A 
whisper circulated that it was a rig, that it was 
Newman's property. * Let him have his stuff back 
again,* said his confreres. But it turned out that 
they were mistaken ; and some of them had to go 
round to him the next day and give him his own 


price for what they required, or find that the items 
were bought on commission for common acquaint- 

Mr. F. S. Ellis used to say that the meaning of 
the term confrere in the book trade was a man 
who would cut your throat, if he could do it with 

Another person of whom I bought a few curious 
books was Elkins. He had an odd little shop at the 
top of Lombard Street, about the size of a rabbit- 
hutch, into which, as into a spider's web, he was wont 
to inveigle the unwary. Let it pass. He did me no 
great harm. He laid his net, I conceive, for the 
City groundlings, who are still affectionately nursed 
by Jew and Gentile, planting on the route from rail- 
way terminus to counting-house triumphs of pictorial 
art. Occasionally these interesting characters reside 
on a line, and enter into conversation with their 
fellow-passengers, who are quite casually apprised 
that certain masterpieces of the Leadenhall or 
Cornhill school are to be seen at such and such 
an address* But the old book-shop has migrated 

The book-buyer is not exempt from the danger 
which besets all other classes of enthusiasts for what 
strikes the fancy as rare or curious, or both. It is 


by no means invariably the case that an inexperi- 
enced collector can safely place himself in the hands 
of an occupier of ordinary business premises ; he will 
probably have to pay for his education before he can 
trust to his own judgment ; but the back-parlour, 
where property is introduced to gentlemen of means 
by enterprising merchants, whose affairs are entirely 
conducted by correspondence, is the rock to be 
avoided. It is a type of the confidence- trick. 

E. H. was laughing at that almost effete phan- 
tasma, the Edition de luxe; and he said that he 
thought, if the craze had gone much farther, it would 
have been necessary for an intending purchaser, 
before his book came home, to hire a paddock. The 
only kind of work suitable for such treatment is what 
may be termed literary bijouterie. 

Another unwholesome development is the Illus- 
trated Copy. This first arose from the Grangerite 
movement, and, the trade having accumulated a 
vast number of portraits and views, every book 
which contained copious references to persons and 
places became a convenient and remunerative shoot 
for these productions, intrinsically and independently 
unsaleable. The conception has been worn well- 
nigh threadbare, but there must be up and down the 
world cartloads of this species of manufacture, since 


it was found to be so profitable, and appealed to so 
many who were not critical judges of prints or 

There is- not one book of this character in ten 
thousand which is unimpeachable throughout. To 
obtain certain material it is necessary to wait perhaps 
months, perhaps years ; and the commercial illus- 
trator cannot afford to lock up his capital too long. 
It is only in those excessively rare cases where a 
private connoisseur of fortune engages in the under- 
taking that a creditable result accrues. But, from 
the increasing scarcity of fine early prints in the 
right state, the pursuit has become almost hopelessly 
difficult Even the few examples purchased by the 
late Mr. Huth struck me as very unequal and 

I have arrived at the conclusion of my somewhat 
peculiar and somewhat difficult undertaking, of which 
the scope and dimensions exceed by much my 
original estimate. But there was a strong tempta- 
tion throughout, under the different sections into 
which I have divided the work, to bring forward 
as I proceeded, details only occurring to my memory 
by association or accident ; and I sincerely and 
respectfully hope that these may not too often 


strike my readers either as trivial or obnoxious. 
It becomes rather hard, when one has to deal 
with a vast number of names, and with infinite 
matters of fact, opinion, and taste, to draw the line 
with absolute precision, and to avoid in all cases 
personalities affecting the departed, or expressions 
of feeling which may prove unpalatable to a few still 
among us. There has not been on my part any 
desire to give wilful or wanton umbrage to anyone. 
I think that my references to living contemporaries, 
as well as to those whom we have lost, are, as a rule, 
neither unjust nor intemperate ; and my farewell 
wish is, that my volumes may, on the whole, be 
treated as a not unacceptable addition to the class 
to which they belong. 



Date Due 

Hunt Library 

Carnegie Institute of Technology 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania