Old and New London: Volume 1. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
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ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.
St. Paul's Churchyard and LiteratureQueen Anne's StatueExecution of a Jesuit in St. Paul's ChurchyardMiracle of the "Face in the Straw"Wilkinson's StoryNewbery the BooksellerPaul's Chain"Cocker"Chapter House of St. Paul'sSt. Paul's Coffee House Child's Coffee House and the ClergyGarrick's Club at the "Queen's Arms," and the Company there"Sir Benjamin" FigginsJohnson the BooksellerHunter and his GuestsFuseliBonnycastleKinnairdMusical Associations of the ChurchyardJeremiah. Clark and his WorksHandel at Meares' ShopYoung the Violin-makerThe "Castle" ConcertsAn Old AdvertisementWren at the "Goose and Gridiron"St. Paul's SchoolFamous PaulinesPepys visiting his Old SchoolMilton at St. Paul's.
The shape of St. Paul's Churchyard has been compared to that of a bow and a string. The south side is the bow, the north the string. The booksellers overflowing from Fleet Street mustered strong here, till the Fire scared them off to Little Britain, from whence they regurgitated to the Row. At the sign of the "White Greyhound" the first editions of Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis" and "The Rape of Lucrece," the first-fruits of a great harvest, were published by John Harrison. At the "Flower de Luce" and the "Crown" appeared the Merry Wives of Windsor; at the "Green Dragon," in the same locality, the Merchant of Venice; at the "Fox," Richard II.; at the "Angel," Richard III.; at the "Gun," Titus Andronicus; and at the "Red Bull," that masterpiece, King Lear. So that in this area near the Row the great poet must have paced with his first proofs in his doublet-pocket, wondering whether he should ever rival Spenser, or become immortal, like Chaucer. Here he must have come smiling over Falstaff's perils, and here have walked with the ripened certainty of greatness and of fame stirring at his heart.
The ground-plot of the Cathedral is 2 acres 16 perches 70 feet. The western area of the churchyard marks the site of St. Gregory's Church. On the mean statue of Queen Anne a scurrilous epigram was once written by some ribald Jacobite, who spoke of the queen
"With her face to the brandy-shop and her back to the church."
The precinct wall of St. Paul's first ran from Ave Maria Lane eastward along Paternoster Row to the old Exchange, Cheapside, and then southwards to Carter Lane, at the end of which it turned to Ludgate Archway. In the reign of Edward II. the Dean and Chapter, finding the precinct a resort of thieves and courtesans, rebuilt and purified it. Within, at the north-west corner, stood the bishop's palace, beyond which, eastward, was Pardon Churchyard and Becket Chapel, rebuilt with a stately cloister in the reign of Henry V. On the walls of this cloister, pulled down by the greedy Protector Somerset (Edward VI.), was painted one of those grim Dances of Death which Holbein at last carried to perfection. The cloister was full of monuments, and above was a library. In an enclosure east of this stood the College of Minor Canons; and at Canon Alley, east, was a burial chapel called the Charnel, from whence Somerset sent cart-loads of bones to Finsbury Fields. East of Canon Alley stood Paul's Cross, where open-air sermons were preached to the citizens, and often to the reigning monarch. East of it rose St. Paul's School and a belfrey tower, in which hung the famous Jesus bells, won at dice by Sir Giles Partridge from that Ahab of England, Henry VIII. On the south side stood the Dean and Chapter's garden, dormitory, refectory, kitchen, slaughterhouse, and brewery. These eventually yielded to a cloister, near which, abutting on the cathedral wall, stood the chapterhouse and the Church of St. Gregory. Westward were the houses of the residentiaries; and the deanery, according to Milman, an excellent authority, stood on its present site. The precinct had six gatesthe first and chief in Ludgate Street; the second in Paul's Alley, leading to Paternoster Row; the third in Canon Alley, leading to the north door; the fourth, a little gate leading to Cheapside; the fifth, the Augustine gate, leading to Watling Street; the sixth, on the south side, by Paul's Chain. On the south tower of the west front was the Lollard's Tower, a bishop's prison for ecclesiastical offenders.
The 2,500 railings of the churchyard and the seven ornamental gates, weighing altogether two hundred tons, were cast in Kent, and cost 6d. a pound. The whole cost 11,202 0s. 6d.
In 1606 St. Paul's Churchyard was the scene of the execution of Father Garnet, one of the Gunpowder Plot conspiratorsthe only execution, as far as we know, that ever desecrated that spot. It is very doubtful, after all, whether Garnet was cognizant that the plot was really to be carried out, though he may have strongly suspected some dangerous and deadly conspiracy, and the Roman Catholics were prepared to see miracles wrought at his death.
On the 3rd day of May, 1606 (to condense Dr. Abbott's account), Garnet was drawn upon a hurdle, according to the usual practice, to his place of execution. The Recorder of London, the Dean of St. Paul's, and the Dean of Winchester were present, by command of the King the former in the King's name, and the two latter in the name of God and Christ, to assist Garnet with such advice as suited the condition of a dying man. As soon as he had ascended the scaffold, which was much elevated in order that the people might behold the spectacle, Garnet saluted the Recorder somewhat familiarly, who told him that "it was expected from him that he should publicly deliver his real opinion respecting the conspiracy and treason; that it was now of no use to dissemble, as all was clearly and manifestly proved; but that if, in the true spirit of repentance, he was willing to satisfy the Christian world by declaring his hearty compunction, he might freely state what he pleased." The deans then told him that they were present on that occasion by authority, in order to suggest to him such matters as might be useful for his soul; that they desired to do this without offence, and exhorted him to prepare and settle himself for another world, and to commence his reconciliation with God by a sincere and saving repentance. To this exhortation Garnet replied "that he had already done so, and that he had before satisfied himself in this respect." The clergymen then suggested "that he would do well to declare his mind to the people." Then Garnet said to those near him, "I always disapproved of tumults and seditions against the king, and if this crime of the powder treason had been completed I should have abhorred it with my whole soul and conscience." They then advised him to declare as much to the people. "I am very weak," said he, "and my voice fails me. If I should speak to the people, I cannot make them hear me; it is impossible that they should hear me." Then said Mr. Recorder, "Mr. Garnet, if you will come with me, I will take care that they shall hear you," and, going before him, led him to the western end of the scaffold. He still hesitated to address the people, but the Recorder urged him to speak his mind freely, promising to repeat his words aloud to the multitude. Garnet then addressed the crowd as follows:"My good fellow-citizens,I am come hither, on the morrow of the invention of the Holy Cross, to see an end of all my pains and troubles in this world. I here declare before you all that I consider the late treason and conspiracy against the State to be cruel and detestable; and, for my part, all designs and endeavours against the king were ever misliked by me; and if this attempt had been perfected, as it was designed, I think it would have been altogether damnable; and I pray for all prosperity to the king, the queen, and the royal family." Here he paused, and the Recorder reminded him to ask pardon of the King for that which he had attempted. "I do so," said Garnet, "as far as I have sinned against himnamely, in that I did not reveal that whereof I had a general knowledge from Mr. Catesby, but not otherwise." Then said the Dean of Winchester, "Mr. Garnet, I pray you deal clearly in the matter: you were certainly privy to the whole business." "God forbid !" said Garnet; "I never understood anything of the design of blowing up the Parliament House." "Nay," responded the Dean of Winchester, "it is manifest that all the particulars were known to you, and you have declared under your own hand that Greenaway told you all the circumstances in Essex." "That," said Garnet, "was in secret confession, which I could by no means reveal." Then said the Dean, "You have yourself, Mr. Garnet, almost acknowledged that this was only a pretence, for you have openly confessed that Greenaway told you not in a confession, but by way of a confession, and that he came of purpose to you with the design of making a confession; but you answered that it was not necessary you should know the full extent of his knowledge." The dean 'further reminded him that he had affirmed under his own hand that this was not told him by way of confessing a sin, but by way of conference and consultation; and that Greenaway and Catesby both came to confer with him upon that business, and that as often as he saw Greenaway he would ask him about that business because it troubled him. "Most certainly," said Garnet; "I did so in order to prevent it, for I always misliked it." Then said the Dean, "You only withheld your approbation until the Pope had given his opinion." "But I was well persuaded," said Garnet, "that the Pope would never approve the design." "Your intention," said the Dean of Winchester, "was clear from those two breves which you received from Rome for the exclusion of the King." "That," said Garnet, "was before the King came in." "But if you knew nothing of the particulars of the business," said the Dean, "why did you send Baynham to inform the Pope? for this also you have confessed in your examinations." Garnet replied, "I have already answered to all these matters on my trial, and I acknowledge everything that is contained in my written confessions."
Then, turning his discourse again to the people, at the instance of the Recorder, he proceeded to the same effect as before, declaring "that he wholly misliked that cruel and inhuman design, and that he had never sanctioned or approved of any such attempts against the King and State, and that this project, if it had succeeded, would have been in his mind most damnable."
Having thus spoken, he raised his hands, and made the sign of the cross upon his forehead and breast, saying, "In nomine Patris, Filii, et Spiritus Sancti! Jesus Maria! Maria, mater grati! Mater misericordi ! Tu me ab hoste protege, et hora mortis suscipe!" Then he said, "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, quia tu redemisti me, Domine, Deus veritatis!" Then, again crossing himself, he said, "Per crucis hoc signum fugiat procul omne malignum ! Infige crucem tuam, Domine, in corde meo;" and again, "Jesus Maria! Maria, mater grati!" In the midst of these prayers the ladder was drawn away, and, by the express command of the King, he remained hanging from the gallows until he was quite dead.
The "face in the straw" was a miracle said to be performed at Garnet's death.
The original fabricator of the miracle of the straw was one John Wilkinson, a young Roman Catholic, who at the time of Garnet's trial and execution was about to pass over into France, to commence his studies at the Jesuits' College at St. Omer's. Some time after his arrival there, Wilkinson was attacked by a dangerous disease, from which there was no hope of his recovery; and while in this state he gave utterance to the story, which EndmonJoannes relates in his own words, as follows: "The day before Father Garnet's execution my mind was suddenly impressed (as by some external impulse) with a strong desire to witness his death, and bring home with me some relic of him. I had at that time conceived so certain a persuasion that my design would be gratified, that I did not for a moment doubt that I should witness some immediate testimony from God in favour of the innocence of his saint; though as often as the idea occurred to my mind, I endeavoured to drive it away, that I might not vainly appear to tempt Providence by looking for a miracle where it was not necessarily to be expected. Early the next morning I betook myself to the place of execution, and, arriving there before any other person, stationed myself close to the scaffold, though I was afterwards somewhat forced from my position as the crowd increased." Having then described the details of the execution, he proceeds thus:"Garnet's limbs having been divided into four parts, and placed, together with the head, in a basket, in order that they might be exhibited, according to law, in some conspicuous place, the crowd began to disperse. I then again approached close to the scaffold, and stood between the cart and place of execution; and as I lingered in that situation, still burning with the desire of bearing away some relic, that miraculous ear of straw, since so highly celebrated, came, I know not how, into my hand. A considerable quantity of dry straw had been thrown with Garnet's head and quarters into the basket, but whether this ear came into my hand from the scaffold or from the basket I cannot venture to affirm; this only I can truly say, that a straw of this kind was thrown towards me before it had touched the ground. This straw I afterwards delivered to Mrs. N, a matron of singular Catholic piety, who inclosed it in a bottle, which being rather shorter than the straw, it became slightly bent. A few days afterwards Mrs. N showed the straw in a bottle to a certain noble person, her intimate acquaintance, who, looking at it attentively, at length said, 'I can see nothing in it but a man's face." Mrs. N and myself being astonished at this unexpected exclamation, again and again examined the ear of the straw, and distinctly perceived in it a human countenance, which others also, coming in as casual spectators, or expressly called by us as witnesses, likewise beheld at that time. This is, as God knoweth, the true history of Father Garnet's straw." The engraving upon the preceding page is taken from Abbot's "Anthologia," published in 1613, in which a full account of the "miracle" is given.
At 65, St. Paul's Churchyard, north-west corner, lived the worthy predecessor of Messrs. Grant and Griffith, Goldsmith's friend and employer, Mr. John Newbery, that good-natured man with the red-pimpled face, who, as the philanthropic bookseller, figures pleasantly in the "Vicar of Wakefield;" always in haste to be gone, he was ever on business of the utmost importance, and was at that time actually compiling materials for the history of one Thomas Trip. "The friend of all mankind," Dr. Primrose calls him. "The honestest man in the nation," as Goldsmith said of him in a doggerel riddle which he wrote. Newbery's nephew printed the "Vicar of Wakefield" for Goldsmith, and the elder Newbury published the "Traveller," the corner-stone of Goldsmith's fame. It was the elder Newbery who unearthed the poet at his miserable lodgings in Green Arbour Court, and employed him to write his "Citizens of the World," at a guinea each, for his daily newspaper, the Public Ledger (1760). The Newberys seem to have been worthy, prudent tradesmen, constantly vexed and irritated at Goldsmith's extravagance, carelessness, and ceaseless cry for money; and so it went on till the hare-brained, delightful fellow died, when Francis Newbery wrote a violent defence of the fever medicine, an excess of which had killed Goldsmith.
The office of the Registrar of the High Court of Admiralty occupied the site of the old cathedral bakehouse. Paul's Chain is so called from a chain that used to be drawn across the carriage-way of the churchyard, to preserve silence during divine service. The northern barrier of St. Paul's is of wood. Opposite the Chain, in 1660 (the Restoration), lived that king of writing and arithmetic masters, the man whose name has grown into a proverbEdward Cockerwho wrote "The Pen's Transcendancy," an extraordinary proof of true eye and clever hand.
In the Chapter House of St. Paul's, which Mr. Peter Cunningham not too severely calls "a shabby, dingy-looking building," on the north side of the churchyard, was performed the unjust ceremony of degrading Samuel Johnson, the chaplain to William Lord Russell, the martyr of the party of liberty. The divines present, in compassion, and with a prescient eye for the future, purposely omitted to strip off his cassock, which rendered the ceremony imperfect, and afterwards saved the worthy man his benefice.
St. Paul's Coffee House stood at the corner of the archway of Doctors' Commons, on the site of "Paul's Brew House" and the "Paul's Head" tavern. Here, in 1721, the books of the great collector, Dr. Rawlinson, were sold, "after dinner;" and they sold well.
Child's Coffee House, in St. Paul's Churchyard, was a quiet place, much frequented by the clergy of Queen Anne's reign, and by proctors from Doctors' Commons. Addison used to look in there, to smoke a pipe and listen, behind his paper, to the conversation. In the Spectator, No. 609, he smiles at a country gentleman who mistook all persons in scarves for doctors of divinity. This was at a time when clergymen always wore their black gowns in public. "Only a scarf of the first magnitude," he says, "entitles one to the appellation of 'doctor' from the landlady and the boy at 'Child's.'"
"Child's" was the resort of Dr. Mead, and other professional men of eminence. The Fellows of the Royal Society came here. Whiston relates that Sir Hans Sloane, Dr. Halley, and he were once at "Child's," when Dr. Halley asked him (Whiston) why he was not a member of the Royal Society? Whiston answered, "Because they durst not choose a heretic."Upon which Dr. Halley said, if Sir Hans Sloane would propose him, he (Dr. Halley) would second it, which was done accordingly.
Garrick, who kept up his interest with different coteries, carefully cultivated the City men, by attending a club held at the "Queen's Arms" tavern, in St. Paul's Churchyard. Here he used to meet Mr. Sharpe, a surgeon; Mr. Paterson, the City Solicitor; Mr. Draper, a bookseller, and Mr. Clutterbuck, a mercer; and these quiet cool men were his standing council in theatrical affairs, and his gauge of the city taste. They were none of them drinkers, and in order to make a reckoning, called only for French wine. Here Dr. Johnson started a City club, and was particular the members should not be "patriotic." Boswell, who went with him to the "Queen's Arms" club, found the members "very sensible, well-behaved men." Brasbridge, the silversmith of Fleet Street, who wrote his memoirs, has described a sixpenny card club held here at a later date. Among the members was that generous and hospitable man, Henry Baldwin, who, under the auspices of Garrick, the elder Colman, and Bonnell Thornton, started the St. James's Chronicle, the most popular evening paper of the day.
"I belonged," says Brasbridge, "to a sixpenny card club, at the 'Queen's Arms,' in St. Paul's Churchyard; it consisted of about twenty members, of whom I am the sole survivor. Among them was Mr. Goodwin, of St. Paul's Churchyard, a woollen draper, whose constant salutation, when he first came down-stairs in the morning, was to his shop, in these words, 'Good morrow, Mr. Shop; you'll take care of me, Mr. Shop, and I'll take care of you.' Another was Mr. Curtis, a respectable stationer, who from very small beginnings left his son 90,000 in one line, besides an estate of near 300 a year."
"The 'Free and Easy under the Rose' was another society which I frequented. It was founded sixty years ago, at the 'Queen's Arms,' in St. Paul's Churchyard, and was afterwards removed to the 'Horn' tavern. It was originally kept by Bates, who was never so happy as when standing behind a chair with a napkin under his arm; but arriving at the dignity of alderman, tucking in his callipash and calipee himself, instead of handing it round to the company, soon did his business. My excellent friend Briskett, the Marshal of the High Court of Admiralty, was president of this society for many years, and I was constantly in attendance as his vice. It consisted of some thousand members, and I never heard of any one of them that ever incurred any serious punishment. Our great fault was sitting too late; in this respect, according to the principle of Franklin, that 'time is money,' we were most unwary spendthrifts; in other instances, our conduct was orderly and correct."
One of the members in Brasbridge's time was Mr. Hawkins, a worthy but ill-educated spatterdash maker, of Chancery Lane, who daily murdered the king's English. He called an invalid an "individual," and said our troops in America had been "manured" to hardship. Another oddity was a Mr. Darwin, a Radical, who one night brought to the club-room a caricature of the head of George III. in a basket; and whom Brasbridge nearly frightened out of his wits by pretending to send one of the waiters for the City Marshal. Darwin was the great chum of Mr. Figgins, a waxchandler in the Poultry; and as they always entered the room together, Brasbridge gave them the nickname of "Liver and Gizzard." Miss Boydell, when her uncle was Lord Mayor, conferred sham knighthood on Figgins, with a tap of her fan, and he was henceforward known as "Sir Benjamin."
The Churchyard publisher of Cowper's first volume of poems, "Table Talk," and also of "The Task," was a very worthy, liberal manJoseph Johnson, who also published the "Olney Hymns" for Newton, the scientific writings of the persecuted Priestley, and the smooth, vapid verses of Darwin. Johnson encouraged Fuseli to paint a Milton Gallery, for an edition of the poet to be edited by Cowper. Johnson was imprisoned nine months in the King's Bench, for selling the political writings of Gilbert Wakefield. He, however, bore the oppression of the majority philosophically, and rented the marshal's house, where he gave dinners to his distinguished literary friends.
"Another set of my acquaintances," says Leigh Hunt in his autobiography, "used to assemble on Fridays at the hospitable table of Mr. Hunter, the bookseller, in St. Paul's Churchyard. They were the survivors of the literary party that were accustomed to dine with his predecessor, Mr. Johnson. The most regular were Fuseli and Bonnycastle. Now and then Godwin was present; oftener Mr. Kinnaird, the magistrate, a great lover of Horace.
"Fuseli was a small man, with energetic features and a white head of hair. Our host's daughter, then a little girl, used to call him the white-headed lion. He combed his hair up from the forehead, and as his whiskers were large his face was set in a kind of hairy frame, which, in addition to the fierceness of his look, really gave him an aspect of that sort. Otherwise his features were rather sharp than round. He would have looked much like an old military officer if his face, besides its real energy, had not affected more, There was the same defect in it as in his pictures. Conscious of not having all the strength he wished, he endeavoured to make up for it by violence and pretension. He carried this so far as to look fiercer than usual when he sat for his picture. His friend and engraver, Mr. Houghton, drew an admirable likeness of him in this state of dignified extravagance. He is sitting back in his chair, leaning on his hand, but looking ready to pounce withal. His notion of repose was like that of Pistol.
"A student reading in a garden is all over intensity of muscle, and the quiet tea-table scene in Cowper he has turned into a preposterous conspiracy of huge men and women, all bent on showing their thews and postures, with dresses as fantastic as their minds. One gentleman, of the existence of whose trousers you are not aware till you see the terminating line at the ankle, is sitting and looking grim on a sofa, with his hat on and no waistcoat.
"Fuseli was lively and interesting in conversation, but not without his usual faults of violence and pretension. Nor was he always as decorous as an old man ought to be, especially one whose turn of mind is not of the lighter and more pleasurable cast. The licences he took were coarse, and had not sufficient regard to his company. Certainly they went a great deal beyond his friend Armstrong, to whose account, I believe, Fuseli's passion for swearing was laid. The poet condescended to be a great swearer, and Fuseli thought it energetic to swear like him. His friendship with Bonnycastle had something childlike and agreeable in it. They came and went away together for years, like a couple of old schoolboys. They also like boys rallied one another, and sometimes made a singular display of itFuseli, at least, for it was he who was the aggressor.
"Bonnycastle was a good fellow. He was a tall, gaunt, long-headed man, with large features and spectacles, and a deep internal voice, with a twang of rusticity in it; and he goggled over his plate like a horse. I often thought that a bag of corn would have hung well on him. His laugh was equine, and showed his teeth upwards at the sides. Wordsworth, who notices similar mysterious manifestations on the part of donkeys, would have thought it ominous. Bonnycastle was extremely fond of quoting Shakespeare and telling stories, and if the Edinburgh Review had just come out, would have given us all the jokes in it. He had once a hypochondriacal disorder of long duration, and he told us that he should never forget the comfortable sensation given him one night during this disorder by his knocking a landlord that was insolent to him down the man's staircase, On the strength of this piece of energy (having first ascertained that the offender was not killed) he went to bed, and had a sleep of unusual soundness.
"It was delightful one day to hear him speak with complacency of a translation which had appeared in Arabic, and which began by saying, on the part of the translator, that it pleased God, for the advancement of human knowledge, to raise us up a Bonnycastle.
"Kinnaird, the magistrate, was a sanguine man, under the middle height, with a fine lamping black eye, lively to the last, and a body that 'had increased, was increasing, and ought to have been diminished,' which is by no means what he thought of the prerogative. Next to his bottle, he was fond of his Horace, and, in the intervals of business at the police office, would enjoy both in his arm-chair, Between the vulgar calls of this kind of magistracy and the perusal of the urbane Horace there must have been a quota of contradiction, which the bottle, perhaps, was required to render quite palatable."
Mr. Charles Knight's pleasant book, "Shadows of the Old Booksellers," also reminds us of another of the great Churchyard booksellers, John Rivington and Sons, at the "Bible and Crown." They published, in 1737, an early sermon of Whitefield's, before he left the Church, and were booksellers to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; and to this shop country clergymen invariably went to buy their theology, or to publish their own sermons.
In St. Paul's Churchyard (says Sir John Hawkins, in his "History of Music") were formerly many shops where music and musical instruments were sold, for which, at this time, no better reason can be given than that the service at the Cathedral drew together, twice a day, all the lovers of music in Londonnot to mention that the choirmen were wont to assemble there, and were met by their friends and acquaintances.
Jeremiah Clark, a composer of sacred music, who shot himself in his house in St. Paul's Churchyard, was educated in the Royal Chapel, under Dr. Blow, who entertained so great a friendship for him as to resign in his favour his place of Master of the Children and Almoner of St. Paul's, Clark being appointed his successor, in 1693, and shortly afterwards he became organist of the cathedral. "In July, 1700," says Sir John Hawkins, "he and his fellow pupils were appointed Gentlemen Extraordinary of the Royal Chapel; and in 1704 they were jointly admitted to the place of organist thereof, in the room of Mr. Francis Piggot. Clark had the misfortune to entertain a hopeless passion for a very beautiful lady, in a station of life far above him; his despair of success threw him into a deep melancholy; in short, he grew weary of his life, and on the first day of December, 1707, shot himself. He was determined upon this method of putting an end to his life by an event which, strange as it may seem, is attested by the late Mr. Samuel Weeley, one of the lay-vicars of St. Paul's, who was very intimate with him, and had heard him relate it. Being at the house of a friend in the country, he took an abrupt resolution to return to London; this friend having observed in his behaviour marks of great dejection, furnished him with a horse and a servant. Riding along the road, a fit of melancholy seized him, upon which he alighted, and giving the servant his horse to hold, went into a field, in a corner whereof was a pond, and also trees, and began a debate with himself whether he should then end his days by hanging or drowning. Not being able to resolve on either, he thought of making what he looked upon as chance the umpire, and drew out of his pocket a piece of money, and tossing it into the air, it came down on its edge, and stuck in the clay. Though the determination answered not his wish, it was far from ambiguous, as it seemed to forbid both methods of destruction, and would have given unspeakable comfort to a mind less disordered than his was. Being thus interrupted in his purpose, he returned, and mounting his horse, rode on to London, and in a short time after shot himself. He dwelt in a house in St. Paul's Churchyard, situate on the place where the Chapter-house now stands. Old Mr. Reading was passing by at the instant the pistol went off, and entering the house, found his friend in the agonies of death.
"The compositions of Clark are few. His anthems are remarkably pathetic, at the same time that they preserve the dignity and majesty of the church style. The most celebrated of them are 'I will love thee,' printed in the second book of the 'Harmonia Sacra;' 'Bow down thine ear,' and 'Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem.'
"The only works of Clark published by himself are lessons for the harpsichord and sundry songs, which are to be found in the collections of that day, particularly in the 'Pills to Purge Melancholy,' but they are there printed without the basses. He also composed for D'Urfey's comedy of 'The Fond Husband, or the Plotting Sisters,' that sweet ballad air, 'The bonny grey-eyed Morn,' which Mr. Gay has introduced into 'The Beggar's Opera,' and is sung to the words, 'Tis woman that seduces all mankind.'"
"Mattheson, of Hamburg," says Hawkins, "had sent over to England, in order to their being published here, two collections of lessons for the harpsichord, and they were accordingly engraved on copper, and printed for Richard Meares, in St. Paul's Churchyard, and published in the year 1714. Handel was at this time in London, and in the afternoon was used to frequent St. Paul's Church for the sake of hearing the service, and of playing on the organ after it was over; from whence he and some of the gentlemen of the choir would frequently adjourn to the 'Queen's Arms' tavern, in St. Paul's Churchyard, where was a harpsichord. It happened one afternoon, when they were thus met together, Mr. Weeley, a gentleman of the choir; came in and informed them that Mr. Mattheson's lessons were then to be had at Mr. Meares's shop; upon which Mr. Handel ordered them immediately to be sent for, and upon their being brought, played them all over without rising from the instrument."
"There dwelt," says Sir John Hawkins, "at the
west corner of London House Yard, in St. Paul's
Churchyard, at the sign of the 'Dolphin and
Crown,' one John Young, a maker of violins and
other musical instruments. This man had a son,
whose Christian name was Talbot, who had been
brought up with Greene in St. Paul's choir, and
had attained to great proficiency on the violin, as
Greene had on the harpsichord. The merits of the
two Youngs, father and son, are celebrated in the
following quibbling verses, which were set to music
in the form of a catch, printed in the pleasant
'Musical Companion,' published in 1726:
"'You scrapers that want a good fiddle well strung,
You must go to the man that is old while he's young;
But if this same fiddle you fain would play bold,
You must go to his son, who'll be young when he's old.
There's old Young and young Young, both men of renown,
Old sells and young plays the best fiddle in town.
Young and old live together, and may they live long,
Young to play an old fiddle, old to sell a new song.'
"This young man, Talbot Young, together with Greene and several persons, had weekly meetings at his father's house, for practice of music. The fame of this performance spread far and wide; and in a few winters the resort of gentlemen performers was greater than the house would admit of; a small subscription was set on foot, and they removed to the 'Queen's Head' tavern, in Paternoster Row. Here they were joined by Mr. Woolaston and his friends, and also by a Mr. Franckville, a fine performer on the viol de Gamba. And after a few winters, being grown rich enough to hire additional performers, they removed, in the year 1724, to the 'Castle,' in Paternoster Row, which was adorned with a picture of Mr. Young, painted by Woolaston.
"The 'Castle' concerts continuing to flourish for many years, auditors as well as performers were admitted subscribers, and tickets were delivered out to the members in rotation for the admission of ladies. Their fund enabling them, they hired second-rate singers from the operas, and many young persons of professions and trades that depended upon a numerous acquaintance, were induced by motives of interest to become members of the 'Castle' concert.
"Mr. Young continued to perform in this society till the declining state of his health obliged him to quit it; after which time Prospero Castrucci and other eminent performers in succession continued to lead the band. About the year 1744, at the instance of an alderman of London, now deservedly forgotten, the subscription was raised from two guineas to five, for the purpose of performing oratorios. From the 'Castle' this society removed to Haberdashers' Hall, where they continued for fifteen or sixteen years; from thence they removed to the 'King's Arms,' in Cornhill."
A curious old advertisement of 1681 relates to St. Paul's Alley:"Whereas the yearly meeting of the name of Adam hath of late, through the deficiency of the last stewards, been neglected, these are to give notice to all gentlemen and others that are of that name that at William Adam's, commonly called the 'Northern Ale-house,' in St. Paul's Alley, in St. Paul's Churchyard, there will be a weekly meeting, every Monday night, of our namesakes, between the hours of six and eight of the clock in the evening, in order to choose stewards to revive our antient and annual feast."Domestic Intelligence, 1681.
During the building of St. Paul's, Wren was the zealous Master of the St. Paul's Freemason's Lodge, which assembled at the "Goose and Gridiron," one of the most ancient lodges in London. He presided regularly at its meetings for upwards of eighteen years. He presented the lodge with three beautifully carved mahogany candlesticks, and the trowel and mallet which he used in laying the first stone of the great cathedral in 1675. In 1688 Wren was elected Grand Master of the order, and he nominated his old fellow-workers at St. Paul's, Cibber, the sculptor, and Strong, the master mason, Grand Wardens. In Queen Anne's reign there were 129 lodgeseighty-six in London, thirty-six in provincial cities, and seven abroad. Many of the oldest lodges in London are in the neighbourhood of St. Paul's.
"At the 'Apple Tree' Tavern," say Messrs. Hotten and Larwood, in their history of "Inn and Tavern Signs," "in Charles Street, Covent Garden, in 1716, four of the leading London Freemasons' lodges, considering themselves neglected by Sir Christopher Wren, met and chose a Grand Master, pro tem., until they should be able to place a noble brother at the head, which they did the year following, electing the Duke of Montague. Sir Christopher had been chosen in 1698. The three lodges that joined with the 'Apple Tree' lodge used to meet respectively at the 'Goose and Gridiron,' St. Paul's Churchyard; the 'Crown,' Parker's Lane; and at the 'Rummer and Grapes' Tavern, Westminster. The 'Goose and Gridiron' occurs at Woodhall, Lincolnshire, and in a few other localities. It is said to owe its origin to the following circumstances:The 'Mitre' was a celebrated music-house in London House Yard, at the north-west end of St. Paul's. When it ceased to be a music-house, the succeeding landlord, to ridicule its former destiny, chose for his sign a goose striking the bars of a gridiron with his foot, in ridicule of the 'Swan and Harp,' a common sign for the early music-houses. Such an origin does the Tatler give; but it may also be a vernacular reading of the coat of arms of the Company of Musicians, suspended probably at the door of the 'Mitre' when it was a music-house. These arms are a swan with his wings expanded, within a double tressure, counter, flory, argent. This double tressure might have suggested a gridiron to unsophisticated passers-by.
"The celebrated 'Mitre,' near the west end of St. Paul's, was the first music-house in London. The name of the master was Robert Herbert, alias Farges. Like many brother publicans, he was, besides being a lover of music, also a collector of natural curiosities, as appears by his 'Catalogue of many natural rarities, collected with great industrie, cost, and thirty years' travel into foreign countries, collected by Robert Herbert, alias Farges, gent., and sworn servant to his Majesty; to be seen at the place called the Music-house, at the Mitre, near the west end of S. Paul's Church, 1664.' This collection, or, at least, a great part of it, was bought by Sir Hans Sloane. It is conjectured that the 'Mitre' was situated in London House Yard, at the north-west end of St. Paul's, on the spot where afterwards stood the house known by the sign of the 'Goose and Gridiron.'"
St. Paul's School, known to cathedral visitors chiefly by that murky, barred-in, purgatorial playground opposite the east end of Wren's great edifice, is of considerable antiquity, for it was founded in 1512 by that zealous patron of learning, and friend of Erasmus, Dean Colet. This liberalminded man was the eldest of twenty-two children, all of whom he survived. His father was a City mercer, who was twice Lord Mayor of London. Colet became Dean of St. Paul's in 1505, and soon afterwards (as Latimer tells us) narrowly escaped burning for his opposition to image-worship. Having no near relatives, Colet, in 1509, began to found St. Paul's School, adapted to receive 153 poor boys (the number of fishes taken by Peter in the miraculous draught). The building is said to have cost 4,500, and was endowed with lands in Buckinghamshire estimated by Stow, in 1598, as of the yearly value of 120 or better, and now worth 12,000, with a certainty of rising.
No children were to be admitted into the school but such as could say their catechism, and read and write competently. Each child was required to pay fourpence on his first admission to the school, which sum was to be given to the "poor scholar" who swept the school and kept the seats clean. The hours of study were to be from seven till eleven in the morning, and from one to five in the afternoon, with prayers in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. It was expressly stipulated that the pupils should never use tallow candles, but only wax, and those "at the cost of their friends." The most remarkable statute of the school is that by which the scholars were bound on Christmas-day to attend at St. Paul's Church and hear the child-bishop sermon, and after be at the high mass, and each of them offer one penny to the child-bishop. When Dean Colet was asked why he had left his foundation in trust to laymen (the Mercers' Company), as tenants of his father, rather than to an ecclesiastical foundation, he answered, "that there was no absolute certainty in human affairs, but, for his part, he found less corruption in such a body of citizens than in any other order or degree of mankind."
Erasmus, after describing the foundation and the school, which he calls "a magnificent structure, to which were attached two dwelling-houses for the masters," proceeds to say, "He divided the school into four chambers. The firstnamely, the porch and entrancein which the chaplain teaches, where no child is to be admitted who cannot read and write; the second apartment is for those who are taught by the under-master; the third is for the boys of the upper form, taught by the high master. These two parts of the school are divided by a curtain, to be drawn at will. Over the headmaster's chair is an image of the boy Jesus, a beautiful work, in the gesture of teaching, whom all the scholars, going and departing, salute with a hymn. There is a representation of God the Father, also, saying, 'Hear ye him,' which words were written at my suggestion."
"The last apartment is a little chapel for divine service. In the whole school there are no corners or hiding-places; neither a dining nor a sleeping place. Each boy has his own place, one above another. Every class or form contains sixteen boys, and he that is at the head of a class has a little seat, by way of pre-eminence."
Erasmus, who took a great interest in St. Paul's School, drew up a grammar, and other elementary books of value, for his friend Colet, who had for one of his masters William Lily, "the model of grammarians." Colet's masters were always to be married men.
The school thus described shared in the Great Fire of 1666, and was rebuilt by the Mercers' Company in 1670. This second structure was superseded by the present edifice, designed and erected by George Smith, Esq., the architect of the Mercers' Company. It has the advantage of two additional masters' houses, and a large cloister for a playground underneath the school.
On occasions of the sovereigns of England, or other royal or distinguished persons, going in state through the City, a balcony is erected in front of this building, whence addresses from the school are presented to the illustrious visitors by the head boys. The origin of this right or custom of the Paulines is not known, but it is of some antiquity. Addresses were so presented to Charles V. and Henry VIII., in 1522; to Queen Elizabeth, 1558; and to Queen Victoria, when the Royal Exchange was opened, in 1844. Her Majesty, however, preferred to receive the address at the next levee; and this precedent was followed when the multitudes of London rushed to welcome the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra, in 1863.
The ancient school-room was on a level with the street, the modern one is built over the cloister. It is a finely-proportioned apartment, and has several new class-rooms adjoining, erected upon a plan proposed by Dr. Kynaston, the present headmaster. At the south end of this noble room, above the master's chair, is a bust of the founder by Roubiliac. Over the seat is inscribed, "Intendas animum studiis et rebus honestis," and over the entrance to the room is the quaint and appropriate injunction found at Winchester and other public schools"Doce, disce, aut discede."
St. Paul's School has an excellent library immediately adjoining the school-room, to which the eighth class have access out of school-hours, the six seniors occupying places in it in school-time.
In 1602 the masters' stipends were enlarged, and the surplus money set apart for college exhibitions. The head master receives 900 a year, the second master 400. The education is entirely gratuitous. The presentations to the school are in the gift of the Master of the Mercers' Company, which company has undoubtedly much limited Dean Colet's generous intentions. The school is rich in prizes and exhibitions. The latest chronicler of the Paulines says:
"Few public schools can claim to have educated more men who figure prominently in English history than St. Paul's School. Sir Edward North, founder of the noble family of that name; Sir William Paget, who from being the son of a serjeant-atmace became privy councillor to four successive sovereigns, and acquired the title now held by his descendant, the owner of Beaudesert; and John Leland, the celebrated archologist; William Whitaker, one of the earliest and most prominent chaplains of the Reformation; William Camden, antiquarian and herald; the immortal John Milton; Samuel Pepys; Robert Nelson, author of the 'Companion to the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England;' Dr. Benjamin Calamy; Sir John Trevor, Master of the Rolls and Speaker of the House of Commons; John, the great Duke of Marlborough; Halley, the great astronomer; the gallant but unfortunate Major Andr Sir Philip Francis; Sir Charles Wetherell; Sir Frederick Pollock, the late Lord Chief Baron; Lord Chancellor Truro; and the distinguished Greek Professor at Oxford, Benjamin Jowett."
Pepys seems to have been very fond of his old school. In 1659, he goes on Apposition Day to hear his brother John deliver his speech, which he had corrected; and on another occasion, meeting his old second master, Crumbuna dogmatic old pedagogue, as he calls himat a bookseller's in the Churchyard, he gives the school a fine copy of Stephens' "Thesaurus." In 1661, going to the Mercers' Hall in the Lord Admiral's coach, we find him expressing pleasure at going in state to the place where as a boy he had himself humbly pleaded for an exhibition to St. Paul's School.
According to Dugdale, an ancient cathedral school existed at St. Paul's. Bishop Balmeis (Henry I.) bestowed on it "the house of Durandus, near the Bell Tower;" and no one could keep a school in London without the licence of the master of Paul's, except the masters of St. Mary-le-Bow and St. Martin's-le-Grand.
The old laws of Dean Colet, containing many curious provisions and restrictions, among other things forbad cock-fighting "and other pageantry" in the school. It was ordered that the second master and chaplain were to reside in Old Change. There was a bust of good Dean Colet over the head-master's throne. Strype, speaking of the original dedication of the school to the child Jesus, says, "but the saint robbed his Master of the title." In early days there used to be great war between the "Paul's pigeons," as they were called, and the boys of St. Anthony's Free School, Threadneedle Street, whom the Paulines nicknamed "Anthony's pigs." The Anthony's boys were great carriers off of prizes for logic and grammar.
Of Milton's school-days Mr. Masson, in his voluminous life of the poet, says, "Milton was at St. Paul's, as far as we can calculate, from 1620, when he passed his eleventh year, to 16245, when he had passed his sixteenth."