London: volume 2
The origin of this,
as the late estimable and distinguished Bishop of Calcutta, Conyers Middleton, designated the chief place of his own nurture and education, is of a more than commonly interesting character, not only from the associations connected with the early and lamented death of its founder, Edward VI., but from the circumstances which were the immediate cause of the foundation.
The youthful King appears to have been so much impressed by the nature and extent of the evils pointed out, that he could not rest till some remedy were devised. So he
sent for the famous Bishop immediately after the close of the service, when the following scene, so admirably and almost dramatically described by Stow,
Edward accordingly gave the good Bishop a letter, there and then, signed by his own hand, and sealed with his own signet, desiring him to deliver it personally, and to let him know, so soon as he conveniently might, how he had proceeded therein. The Bishop was
that he had an interview that same evening with the Lord Mayor, Sir Richard Dobbs, who on its receipt exhibited a like pleasure and eagerness to carry into effect the King's wishes. The Bishop dined the next day with Sir Richard by appointment, when aldermen and others of the City were present, and the matter was earnestly talked over. The citizens did not shame the character Ridley had given them for wisdom and humanity. A very comprehensive and business-like plan was soon laid before the King. The poor were divided into classes:--. The poor by impotency, consisting principally of orphans, the aged, blind and lame, and lepers; . The poor by casualty, comprising
and diseased persons; . The thriftless poor, including
Such were the people for whom provision was now to be made. was prepared for the last-mentioned class; the Hospitals of St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas for the (the decayed housekeeper being relieved at home); whilst as to the --the leper having been comfortably housed in proper places, so as to
(the mode in which these unhappy creatures were accustomed to call attention to their wants,) and the poor having been accommodated in an Almonry, belonging originally to the Priory of St. Mary Overies,--there remained only the destitute children to provide for: the largest, however, and in every way most important class. For these they set apart the most memorable of the old religious houses of London, the Grey Friars.
These religious mendicants appeared for the time in England, we may say in Europe, at a critical period in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The wealth, the
the idleness and sensuality of the indolent, and the frequently mischievous activity of the energetic monks, had well nigh made their name a by-word of scorn among no inconsiderable portion of the people. Enthusiastic minds became deeply impressed with the evil, and pondered and wept over it in the depths of their solitude and desolation, till suddenly a mighty light, perhaps, seemed to burst upon their dazzled eyes, or thrilling and mysterious voices to whisper in their ears, calling them to the regeneration of the world. About the same time appeared in Spain and in Italy of these men; who, renouncing not merely the spiritual haughtiness and personal luxuries of the monks, but even the commonest comforts of life, soon established the Orders known respectively as the Dominicans and Franciscans, or, from the colour of their habits, Black and Grey Friars. The settled in England in , building house at Oxford, and another in , London; and the soon followed. The founder of this Order, St. Francis-or, as his disciples loved to called him, the
--was born at Assisi, in Umbria, in . With him, as with many other great enthusiastic natures, the extreme severity of his religion may be partially attributed to the reaction of a generous mind suddenly turned from dissolute courses. He became a solitary, and was thought mad. His father threw him into prison, hoping thus to reclaim him, but without effect. He then took him before the Bishop of Assisi, in order to make him renounce all claim to the paternal possessions. Francis's answer was as brief as it was significant-he stripped himself, even to his shirt, before the Bishop. Soon after this the
--followers flocked around rules were drawn up and sanctioned by the reigning pontiff--the potent Order, which was eventually to exercise such influence upon the affairs of the civilized world--the Order of the Franciscans--was formally established. Francis died in , and was canonized in . Among his latest acts was an endeavour to convert the Sultan Meledin, to whom he is said to have made the offer of throwing himself into the flames to testify his own faith in what he taught, and the sending of deputations to different countries, and among the rest to England, to introduce the new discipline. The persons sent to this country came to Canterbury, where some stayed to build a house and establish themselves; others hastened up to London, where they were received with open arms by the Dominicans, who had so shortly before preceded them, and who now hospitably entertained them for days. This little incident may show, from the entire absence of any jealous feeling of rivalry, how true and earnest were both Orders as yet in their desire to fulfil the high mission allotted to them. A sheriff of London next received them into his house in , where they made themselves cells; but the place not having been consecrated, they were unable to perform divine offices in it. Their numbers, too, now increased so rapidly, that a more important habitation became in every way necessary. John Ewin, mercer, accordingly purchased a void plot of ground near to St. Nicholas's Shambles (part of the site of the present hospital), and there commenced the charitable and pious work. Nor did he rest here.
were soon seen to rise on the once void plot of ground, principally at Ewin's cost; and when the whole was finished,
| the good citizen set the seal to his exertions by entering the Order himself in the humble position of a lay-brother. Other citizens also stepped forward to complete what had been so well begun. William Joyner, Lord Mayor in , built the brethren a chapel, the sumptuous character of which may be judged by the expense- of the money of the century; Henry Wallis, another Lord Mayor, raised the Nave; Mr. Walter Porter, an alderman, built the Chapter House, and gave divers vessels of brass for the kitchen; Thomas Felcham built the Vestry; George Rokesly, a mayor, the Dormitory, to which he added beds; Mr. Bartholomew, of the Castle, the Refectory, in which he always feasted the friars on St. Bartholomew's Day; Mr. Peter De Heliland the Infirmary; and Mr. Bevis Bond, the herald and King-at-arms, the |
or Library. Can any better evidence be desired of the state of the religious feelings of society at the period in question--the
for spiritual refreshment--for a practical example of the
which men yearned after, but felt themselves inadequate to-or at least without much encouragement-than is here afforded? It should seem that the difficulty of the good friars must have been, not to inquire who erect them a habitation, but to whom that high privilege should be allotted. The still growing reputation of the house attracted the attention of more distinguished personages than those we have mentioned. A new church must now be erected worthy of such benefactors. Accordingly the wife of Edward I., Margaret, began to build them a magnificent choir; John Britain, Earl of Richmond, built the nave, and gave, in addition, hangings, vestments, and a golden chalice for the altar; Gilbert de Clare bestowed large beams out of his forest of Tunbridge; the excellent Philippa, wife to the young Edward III., gave ; and lastly, Edward's mother, Isabel, gave : other gifts were also received;
This splendid church, when finished, was feet long, broad, and high. From that time even itself appears to have been almost thrown into comparative shade as a place of assemblage for divine worship for persons of wealth and rank during life, and for their burial when deceased. Weever, in his
The most memorable of these is the
-- Queen Isabella, wife of the Edward. The poet might have given an additional trait to the terrible portrait: he was not aware, probably, that the same affectionate lady directed that the heart of her husband should be placed upon her breast when she was dead, which was accordingly done. Among the other great personages who took up their last resting-place in the house of the Grey Friars were the foundress of the church, Queen Margaret; the Queen of Scots, wife of David Bruce; Baron Fitzwarren, and his wife Isabel, sometime Queen of the Isle of Man; Sir Robert Tresilian, Chief Justice of Eng.
|land, who was executed at Tyburn in ; Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, beheaded in ; the enterprising John Philpot, Mayor of London; John, Duke of Bourbon, taken prisoner at Agincourt, and buried here after a dreary captivity of eighteen years; Sir Nicholas Brember; and Thomas Burdett, who was beheaded in . for the mere utterance of an angry wish. He had a favourite buck, which the King (Edward IV.) happened to kill. The unfortunate owner, on hearing of the circumstance, said he wished the horns were in the body of the man who had urged the King to sahoot his poor animal. The saying reached the King's ears, and Burdett was immediately sent to execution!|
Another memory of the old Grey Friars is connected with its library, which must have been of no ordinary extent or value; and was founded by the famous Whittington, who laid the stone in . It was a noble room, feet long by broad, wainscoted throughout, with carved shelves, desks, and settles. The books for the new library were furnished at a cost of ; of which were defrayed by Sir Richard Whittington, and the rest by Dr. Thomas Whinchelsen, a friar of the house. Stow has in particular informed us that were paid for
The historian of [n.333.1] has justly observed,
As the friars began by surpassing the monks in self-mortification, comparing together the early periods of the respective orders, so did they at a later period far outstrip them in learning and intellectual power. The most illustrious name of the period is that of Bacon: he was a friar. And of the different orders (for others besides the great ones rose subsequently from time to time) the Franciscans, or Friars Minor as they sometimes in their humility delighted to call themselves, were the most distinguished. Popes, cardinals, patriarchs, and legates-archbishops, bishops, and the most eminent writers in divinity or science--were proud to say they had been Franciscans. Institutions, like individuals, are frequently more severely tried by prosperity than by adversity. The Friars, as the Monks had done before them, stood the nobly; but also, as with them, their strength wasted like wax before the fire when the other was applied. A short century may be said to comprise all that is essential of their history,--their rise-their power-their decay. What Friars had become in the century may be seen in Chaucer's
The Grey Friars of course shared the common fate of the monastic establishments at the dissolution; although, as the inmates seem to have been more than commonly obsequious, they perhaps were also somewhat better treated than usual. The documents preserved in connexion with this event are quite models in their way: is a letter from the Warden to Cromwell, before the suppression of the House; the other the deed of surrender, signed by the Warden and the brethren. passage of the former runs thus:
Such reasoning and such illustration on the part of the men whose homes he was breaking up for his own especial benefit must have been very agreeable to Henry, and have somewhat sweetened the mortification he could not but have felt at the heroic conduct that characterised some of these establishments,--the , for instance, described in a former Number. A few years after, the King's brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, died; and Fuller says,
So remembering the representations of Sir Richard Gresham, father to the Royal Merchaht, the King made over the Grey Friars to the City of London, in trust for
The King's death, however, prevented any further proceedings in the matter. Such was the place chosen by the young Edward for the purposes of the new Hospital.
The work was commenced by a repair of the old conventual buildings, which had become greatly dilapidated, and the natural effects of time had been assisted by the carelessness of the tenants who occupied them after the dissolution. The church, for instance, was then converted into a store-house for the reception of prizes taken from the French, the consecrated utensils having been previously sold for the benefit of the crown, and the beautiful and costly monuments torn away, comprising of alabaster and marble, with some rare marble grave-stones,
It was a bold thing of
after this to cause himself to be buried where he had set so bad a precedent, but perhaps he had as little respect for his own remains as he had previously exhibited for the remains of others. As it happened, all this wilful and barbarous destruction proved of little ultimate consequence: had they been preserved then, they must have afterwards perished with the building in the Great Fire. To return the citizens, animated by Edward's zeal, soon restored the place to a fit state, and in months' time children were admitted into the old monastic walls. They were then clothed in a livery of russet cotton, which was soon changed for the garb that, with some trifling alterations, they still wear. In , the children, with the Corporation at their head, were received in that same palace wherein but a few months before Edward and Ridley had held their memorable conversation, and the charter of incorporation of the different hospitals before mentioned was delivered by the gratified King. An admirable description of that scene has been preserved by who was no doubt an eye-witness-the great painter, Holbein, whose work, commemorative of the event, yet hangs in the Hospital hall. The young monarch, in an easy, natural, and dignified position, sits on an elevated throne, in a scarlet and ermined robe, holding the sceptre in his left hand, and presenting with the other the charter to the kneeling Lord Mayor. By his side stands the Chancellor, holding the seals, and other officers of state. Bishop Ridley, deservedly a prominent figure, kneels before him, with uplifted hands, as if supplicating a blessing on the event: whilst the aldermen, &c., with the Lord Mayor, kneel on both sides, occupying the middle ground of
| the picture; citizens stand behind them ; and lastly, in front, are a double row of boys on side, and of girls on the other,--
from the master and matron down to the boy and the girl who have stepped forward from their respective rows, and kneel with raised hands before the King, The old-fashioned square windows, with rude niches between ( having statues), and the chequered floor, bear every mark of being real representations of the chief features of the old palace at . Stow describes, in his usually graphic manner, a scene which appears to have been a kind of supplement to that just referred to. He says,
And thus died, in his year, the King of whom who was about his person speaks in a tone of deep and touching affection that of itself bespeaks the extraordinary qualities and attainments so early lost to the nation and to the world:--
Benefactions flowed in from different quarters to the support of the infant establishment; of these in particular deserves especial mention :--
[n.335.1] The benevolent shoemaker's estate is now of considerable value. Another Pgreat benefactor was Sir Richard Dobbs, the President, and the man who had so praiseworthily exerted himself, in the year of his mayor- Jalty, in carrying out the King's wishes, and whose memory is preserved in the Hospital by a-portrait, with an inscription beneath, which says much for the gratitude of his fellow-citizens, if it does not show their poetical tastes in a very flattering light:--
Since the period of the foundation, the income of the institution has known much fluctuation, and.consequently also the number of the inmates. The children, with which the Hospital opened, had dwindled down, in , to ; at the present time there are above boys on the foundation in London and Hertford, and girls. The object of the institution has also, in the lapse of time, become materially changed; which may, in a great measure, be attributed to the influence of the Governors or Benefactors, who have now long been the chief supporters of .
There are few places in London where visitors may be more frequently observed to stand and enjoy the scene before them than by those large gates which span the opening in , revealing the magnificent Hall to every passer by; with the countless throngs of hatless, blue-gowned, and yellow-stockinged boys, who are making the--area before it resound again with their boisterous mirth. Such a scene, indeed, in the very heart of London, may well excite notice; but there is something about a blue-coat boy, or his school, that makes him always an object of interest, whether you meet him in some remote street of London, with his little ticket of leave attached to his button-hole, showing he has a few hours' holiday only,--or on the top of a stage-coach during Christmas time, looking as blooming, and uncovered, and apparently as unconcerned as ever at the severities of the season, whilst every else is shivering beneath the completest panoply of caps, shawls, and great coats,--r, lastly, in some remote country village, hundreds of miles from the school, where the annual visit of the blue-coat boy, in his strange costume, makes as much sensation among the more youthful inhabitants of the place, as the novel appearance of the conjurer from the neighbouring fair, and no doubt the attainments of the boy are supposed to be scarcely less wonderful. Many circumstances combine to create this interest: the dress, the history of the foundation already narrated, associations connected with the eminent men who have been there educated, and remembrances of our boyhood, when some dim vision perhaps long floated before our eyes, beguiling us with the notion of ourselves becoming, in technical language,
or the hopes of mature age, to obtain admittance for our own children;these are all influences common enough to some or other of the individuals in every knot of spectators that may be found gazing upon the cheerful sights and sounds of the playground of . Among those persons too, no doubt, often mingles some old inmate of the place, a genuine
He is old now, perhaps, and the changes visible in all he sees make him unwilling to go beyond the threshold. He knows not that Hall: it is very splendid, but it is not the in which he ate, and drank, and prayed, and sang; and beheld, on days of high festival, magnificent processions wind along-furred and chained Lord Mayors, starred and gartered nobles, beautiful and magnificently arrayed ladies. He has heard that it is the same with the school in which he was educated with the Dormitory in which he slept, with the Infirmary in which he was so carefully tended when ill :---all are changed. He asks a question or at the
|handsome lodge, but cannot learn that a single nanbe familiar to him yet remains connected with the Hospital. Why should he go in? Another wistful look, as if still unconsciously expecting to see some well-known face of a playmate among the boys, and he hurries on. Lastly, there is a more general feeling of interest aroused by that striking and picturesque scene; , indeed, in which few spectators can avoid occasionally participating. Its position must frequently cause it to bring suddenly, and therefore with all the greater force, before the eyes of men, whom the occupations of life have so completely absorbed that they have almost forgot that such a thing as simple, innocent enjoyment exists, the living evidences of what they themselves were; and thus sometimes perhaps arouse trains of thought or emotion, of a more than ordinarily refreshing and beneficial nature.|
Let us enter the gates and pass through the play-ground. We find to the right an entrance (beneath a new building containing dormitories) to the cloisters, forming a large square, enclosing a space called the Garden, where the monks are said to have been onpe accustomed to solace themselves, and which was at no very distant period covered with grass, and had a fine large tree in the centre. All this part is consecrated, and many burials have taken place both in the cloisters and the quadrangle within. The general burial-ground of the hospital is between the south cloister and the houses in which conceal it from public view. This place used to possess a kind of melancholy attraction, from the exceedingly interesting character of its funeral ceremonies. Here is a picture of of them :--
We are sorry to add that the impressive features of the ceremonial have, like the cloisters of the old priory here referred to, disappeared. Burials now take place by daylight.
From the burial-ground we step into the well-known Passage, which forms the entrance to the church and the east cloister, over which is the statue of the youthful founder, shown in our page. This, with the adjoining south front of the hospital, was erected soon after the destruction of the old front, with the church, &c., in the great fire, by Sir Robert Clayton, alderman, and sometime Lord Mayor; of those men who
It was not known till the whole was finished to whom the public were indebted
|for the work; and then the name appears to have been only promulgated by a friend, in consequence of the worthy Knight's having been ejected from the government of the very institution for which he had done so much, during the political excitement of the reign of the James. The church was built by Sir Christopher Wren, on the site of the choir of the conventual edifice, and is a large and handsome structure. But the Blue-coat boys are here also the chief feature, filling the gallery on both sides of the organ with an almost interminable expanse of faces, and where the order and silence prevailing among so dense a multitude are equally noticeable. Behind the church, and parallel with the East Cloister, is a kind of street opening fiom Butcher-hall Lane, in which are various houses for the Masters, and the Counting House with the Court Room above, where the financial and other business of the institution is carried on, including the nomination of Governors, and the admittance of children to the benefits of the Hospital. A brief outline of the general management of the Hospital may be here fitly introduced. The Governors consist, , of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council men, chosen by the other members of the Council; and, secondly, of noblemen and gentlemen of all ranks, who become benefactors to the amount of not less than --these elect, for life, an Alderman as President, in whom is] vested the chief direction of affairs. The rights of presentation are thus exercised--the Lord Mayor annually nominates children, and the President (which includes their rights as Aldermen), each Alderman , the Treasurer , besides his occasional as Governor; lastly, the Governors fill up the remaining vacancies by rotation. The principal qualifications required on the part of the children are,--that they be not less than , nor more than years of age; that they be neither foundlings nor maintained at the parish charge; that they have been born in wedlock; that they are free from any infectious distemper or incurable disease; and that their parents have no adequate means of maintaining and educating them, The other officers|
| of the house comprise classical masters, writing-masters, and ushers, mathematical, drawing, and singing masters, in the schools; chief and assistant clerks, steward and matron, nurses, beadles, &c. &c. The admission of children and the ordinary routine of the affairs of the Hospital are managed by a numerous Committee of Governors, meeting once a month in the Court Room before mentioned, or in the Treasurer's room adjoining. Here also the Governors and Officers dine together on certain days in every year. It is a handsome, stately-looking place, with a vaulted ceiling, crossed near each end by a carved oak beam supported on a pillar. At the farther end, behind the President's chair, is the famous picture of Edward VI. by Holbein, of the most masterly of the great artist's works. other portraits of the King, on each side, testify the grateful remembrance in which he is here held. of these is a comparatively recent acquisition, and was presented by T. Nixson, Esq. It belonged, it appears, to Sir Anthony Mildmnay, Queen Elizabeth's Chancellor,--is looked upon as a genuine Holbein, and, says its former owner, The late Sir Thomas Lawrence told me that he thought it wys an admirable painting, and the best portrait of the King he had ever seen. |
Peter and Mary.
Peter, who so long lived single, was now too old to have a feminine partner;
At the termination of Counting House Yard we find the old play-ground nearly facing . This extensive area is called the Ditch, from the circumstance that the great water-course which environed the ancient city wall ran through it, as, indeed, in the form of a drain, it still does. On the northern side of the ditch are the Grammar and Mathematical Schools, on the western the Writing School, and on the southern the beautiful architectural gateway over the cloister, which at oncr as it were, divides and connects the quadrangles of the Ditch and the Garden. The Writing School was built by of the Presidents of the Hospital, Sir John Moore, the La:thitect being Wren. The founder's statue very appropriately stands in front of the building. The elegant structure comprising the Grammar and Mathematical Schools was built in , from the designs of the architect of the Hospital. the late Mr. Shaw. The statues are those of Charles II., the original founder of the Mathematical School, and Edward VI. The interior consists chiefly of large apartments, with studies, &c., for the masters. Though the buildings have disappeared with which most of the interesting school-memories of the Hospital are connected, yet even the site has a certain interest. still seems to breathe the same air with the master-minds whose weak and aimless attempts were here guided and strengthened. Coleridge was here; and a memorable record of his presence, and of the benefits he owed to the Hospital, and its then master, the Rev. James Boyer, has been left to us in the poet's own words :--
It is only right to observe, that Mr. Leigh Hunt has given, in his
a terrible reverse to the picture. There is no doubt that Mr. Boyer carried his severity, if not worse qualities, to an undue length. Coleridge himself observed, when he heard of his death,
Here also was educated Charles Lamb, who has left us pleasant papers on the Hospital; but, with that love of subtle mystification common to him, has made them of so precisely opposite a character, that might almost suppose the Hospital to be the best or the worst managed institution in the world, just as we happened to read the or the other only. Lamb would, however, be read to little purpose by those who should look upon the mystification we have spoken of as any thing more than the superficial medium in which the writer chose to work. In these very papers, for instance, he has given us of the great essentials of all philosophical inquiry-he has shown us both sides of the question. Going regularly back from the present period into the history of the School, we find among its names, Barnes, the late Editor of the
says Mr. Leigh Hunt,
Mitchell, the translator of
Lamb, Coleridge, Bishop Middleton, Jeremiah Markland, esteemed the best scholar and critic of the last century, Richardson, the great novelist, Joshua Barnes, another famous scholiast, whose pretensions, however, have been thought at least equal to his qualifications, Bishop Stillingfleet, Camden, the most illustrious of British antiquarians, and Campion the Jesuit, whose talents, learning, and melancholy fate excited so much notice during the reign of Elizabeth, and, with a portion at least of society, so much sympathy. This is the unfortunate man who was so atrociously racked in the Tower, that a hand-breadth was added to his stature. Such were some of the men of whom, with a slight alteration of the lines of Bishop Middleton, written whilst he was a boy in the school,
| and still preserved with other school exercises in the Hospital, it might be said:--
With notices of the infirmary, the dormitory, and the hall we shall conclude. Although there is little general need of the large building, erected in , for the purposes of the infirmary, the average number of patients being about , yet it was wisely anticipated that some prevailing epidemic might suddenly appear in the hospital, and, without such provision, might be attended with alarming consequences. It stands behind the hall. The principal dormitories are erected on each of the east and west sides of the cloister; and present, of course, very similar interior arrangements. The through which we passed had a row of pillars down the centre, with a range of beds projecting from the line of their base, on each side, and similar ranges from each wall; and very convenient, comfortable-looking little beds they are-each numbered, and each having at the extremity the little box for the books, playthings, &c., of the young owner. Dim lamps, having a very cloistral sort of appearance, are suspended from the ceiling. At the end are the nurse's apartments, with their curtained windows, looking like a little interior house. But the most noticeable feature of the spot was the corner against the nurse's apartments, where stood a bed of a more distinguished-looking character than the rest, and by its side a glazed door with the light shining through :--the lamp of the solitary student, of the intellectual aristocracy of the Hospital, a Deputy Grecian. We may know what he is thinking and what he is doing, as well as if both mind and place were opened to us. He has mastered the difficulties attending the attainment of the honour, why should he not do the same with the , and become of the awful triumvirate of ?-And then what a vista opens! University, its honours; the church, its wealth, leisure, and influence!-Before we quit the dormitory, let us--in few words trace the history of a Blue-coat boy's day. A bell rings at ( in summer), that is the signal to rise; at a quarter past, the boys proceed to the lavatory (a model of convenient arrangement), to wash; at , they breakfast in the hall. School begins at , and lasts till ; the boys again wash, play for half an hour, when they hurry into the hall to dinner. From half-past . to the schools again open; another half hour's play, then supper at in the hall, washing at ; prayers read by the monitor in the dormitory afterwards complete the day's proceedings. Several small intervals of spare time of course occur, which the boys find no difficulty in disposing of.
The stone of the new Hall was laid in , by the Duke of York, in the presence of an imposing array of distinguished persons, and was opened in , with ceremonials of a still more important character. The exterior of this beautiful building is too well known to need description: we merely therefore observe that it is built in the purest style of Gothic architecture, with embattled and
|pinnacled summit, octagonal towers at the ends, very lofty pointed windows, and low arches in the basement, opening upon an arcade, where the boys find shelter during their sports in bad weather. A bust of Edward decorates the space over the centre arch. The Hall stands on an interesting spot; being erected partly over the foundations of the Refectory of the Grey Friars, and partly on the site of the old City wall. The interior forms, next to Hall, the noblest room in the metropolis. It measures feet in length, wide, and and a half high, and it is in every respect as architecturally beautiful as it is gigantic in dimensions.|
The shades of twilight were beginning to gather as we passed up the broad staircase, and entered into the solemn-looking Hall, and we could scarcely believe that we looked upon an erection of the present century. All is in harmony with the associations of the place; the stately range of beautiful windows, with their stained glass arms and devices, the flat ribbed ceiling, the galleries, the great pictures extending midway between the floor and the roof along the wall, the deep-toned organ, and the small casements, on each side of it, with their gorgeous-looking figures of Faith, Hope, Truth, and Justice. In the gallery at the opposite end is Holbein's great picture which we have already described, hanging, we regret to say, where there is seldom or ever a sufficiency of light to allow of its careful inspection: we have been told too that the damp is making sad ravages with it. Surely something will be done in time to remedy the evil, if not the other. On the long line of wall facing the windows is another portrait of Charles II. by Lely; also an interesting painting, well known from engravings, descriptive of Brooke Watson's escape from a shark with the loss of a leg, whilst bathing, and who, afterwards becoming Lord Mayor of London, presented this memorial of the incident to the Hospital. Lastly, there is the great picture (great in size, whatever it be in quality) by Verrio, whom Walpole has characterised as
In the picture before us, Charles II. is giving audience to a deputation from the Hospital, including the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, Governors and children. The King sits on a throne of crimson damask, beneath a canopy of figured white cloth of gold: he holds a scroll in his hand. The Lord Mayor is pointing to an extended map and a globe, as if exulting in the progress of the boys in Charles's own school--the mathematical. A great number of youthful figures are present, boys and girls: the faces of the latter generally handsome, and their figures graceful. Verrio very characteristically has placed himself in corner, and appears, as Malcolm has observed, to be inquiring the spectator's opinion of his performance. The
of have long been celebrated, and deservedly, for their interesting character. In this magnificent Hall they derive new attractions. They are held on every Sunday evening, from the commencement of February until Easter. At the appointed time the double row of chandeliers are lighted, and shed their brilliant illumination through the extensive
| space; the |
whose turn it is to officiate (a party to each table), bring in their baskets of bread, knives, &c., leathern piggins, into which the beer is poured from a leathern
and among the rest brings variegated candles, which are lighted and scattered about the tables. Now come the boys, who seat themselves at their respective tables, each of which has its separate nurse. All thus far/prepared, precisely at o'clock the procession enters, consisting of the Lord Mayor, President, Treasurer, and Governors, walking by ; the organ swells out its mighty welcome, the vast youthful assemblage stands up and joins in the psalm, which is led by the singing boys in the organ gallery, and as it proceeds the great personages take their seat on the raised dais stretching across the Hall at the farther end. A splendidly carved chair, framed from the oak of old St. Katherine's church, invites the Lord Mayor to the chief direction of the feast. Behind him, and the long row of personages who accompany him, sit the more distinguished visitors, including a brilliant galaxy of bright jewels, and brighter eyes, enough to dazzle the vision of the more romantic among those young gazers. Strangers are admitted into the gallery where Holbein's picture is placed, and also into the body of the hall. The last are also allowed the further indulgence of walking to and fro between the tables as soon as the supper is commenced, on the close of the singing, reading, and prayers. After supper the organ again reverberates through the Hall, and the lovers of music find in the anthem which is now sung not the least interesting of the features of the evening. The singing boys now join their fellows, and the nurse of the table leads the way, followed by the boys and , towards the Lord Mayor, where she curtseys, and they bow, trade boys and all with their baskets (there is a smile sometimes at their expense); then along the whole length of the room towards the door, where they disappear. And thus, till the whole and odd boys have passed in review before the high civic dignitary, continues the long procession to glide on, the organ pealing again as grandly as ever.
We must make a brief visit to the kitchen beneath the Hall, which is truly of Cyclopean architecture, with its tall and massy granite pillars, if it be only to allude to the great ameliorations that have been made of late years both in the .quality and quantity of the-boys' food, and for the purpose of introducing an incident, having no remote connection with the subject, which is too honourable to all parties to be overlooked. Charles Lamb is the recorder. It appears that, in spite of the small amount of food allowed, much of what was given could not be eaten, more particularly the fat of-_the fresh boiled beef, which was called . And, says Charles Lamb,
Notwithstanding this universality of feeling, it appears there was memorable exception. This boy
[n.333.1] Rev. W. Trollope.