Obrázky stránek



king and court went to Richmond. All visitors, however, were required to appear in full dress, which must have lent a stately and recherché character to the

These occasional glimpses into the seclusion of sovereigns who were foreigners in the land they reigned over, contrast characteristically with the publicity-courting manners of the time of Charles II. The formal solitudes of Kensington, remote from the brilliant gaiety of the Ring and Mall, mark a new and widely different era. St. James's Park was the appropriate locality of a court in which Etherege, Suckling, Sedley, and Buckingham dangled. The umbrageous shades of Kensington, into which the clatter of the gaudy equipages at the further end of the park penetrated " like notes by distance made more sweet," was the equally appropriate retirement of a court, the type of whose literary characters was Sir Richard Blackmore, and from which the light graces of Pope kept at a distance.

When the court ceased to reside at Kensington, the gardens were thrown entirely open. They still, however, retain so much of their original secluded character that they are impervious to horses and by goats, which have a stand near Cumberland-gate. equipages. Between their influence and that of the Next cross the park from Grosvenor-gate to the Drive in Hyde Park, the whole of the latter has been vestiges of the Ring, which scene of the gallantry of drawn into the vortex of gaiety. Its eastern ex- Charles II. you will in all probability find occupied tremity, except along the Serpentine, still retains a by half a dozen little chimney-sweeps playing at pitchhomely character, contrasting with that which St. and-toss. Advance in the same direction till midway James's Park has long worn, and the Green Park is between the Ring and the farm-house, and you stand now assuming It is questionable whether any on the spot which witnessed the tragedy described by attempt to make it finer would improve it. The Swift, in the passage quoted above from his ' Journal effect produced by the swift crossing and re-crossing to Stella.' Here turn down towards the Serpentine, of equipages, and the passage of horsemen—the and in passing admire the old elm-old amid an aged opportunity of mingling with the crowd of Sunday brotherhood, of which a representation is here inserted loungers and country cousins, congregated to catch a (Cut, No. 4); it served for many years as the stall of a glimpse of the leading characters of the day, or deter- humourous cobbler. Then passing along the edge of the mine the fashionable shade for demisaison trousers, Serpentine, hasten to reach the centre of the bridge which constitute the attraction of the park. The living crosses it, and there allow your eyes to wander across contents throw the scenery, amid which they move, into the shade. The plainness of the park, too, makes it perhaps a more fitting vestibule to the more ornamented gardens at its west end.

It may be useful to some among our readers, if we point out the most eligible method of entering Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Enter from Grosvenorgate, in Park-lane. After crossing the drive, if your object is to see the company, walk first along the footpath, in the direction of Hyde Park-corner, where Apsley House now stands, and the Parliamentary fort once stood; then returning, extend your lounge on the other side, till you reach Cumberland-gate, near where the elms of Tyburn witnessed the execution of the “ Gentle Mortimer;” and where, in after days, terminated the walk prescribed by way of penance to the Queen, of Charles I., by her Confessor, and the less voluntary excursions of many offenders against the law; and where an iron plate, bearing the inscription "Here stood Tyburn-turnpike," marks the last earthly resting-place of Oliver Cromwell. Do not forget to admire the little carriages for children, drawn


[ocr errors]

the water to the gateways admitting to Hyde Park and more decorated line of buildings which form the eastern Constitution Hill, and behind them to the towers of boundary of the Green Park in front. The pictures on Westminster Abbey. This is also a favourable spot every hand are at this point perfect in regard to comfor a morning or mid-day peep into Kensington position: the arrangement of trees, lawn, and archiGardens. It is a curious feeling with which one amid tecture is simply elegant. Turning to the right hand, the freshness of a spring or summer's morning watches at the mansion of the Duke of Sutherland, we come the boatman of the Humane Society slowly oaring his into St. James's Park, and, crossing the mall, enter the way across the "river,” sparkling in the early sun, as ornamented enclosure in front of the palace. Once if in quest of those who may have availed themselves here, it is a matter of perfect indifference what way

the of the silence of night to terminate their earthly loiterer turns-only, if it be possible, he ought to get sufferings in the water. It reminds one of the hor- | upon the grass as soon

as he can. From the side rible grotesque of the inscription below a plate of at which we have supposed him to enter, he catches Rosamond's-pond, which we quote when talking of through the trees as he moves along such partial that scene,

Once in Kensington Gardens, you cannot glances of the palace, or of the Government offices at go wrong Ramble deviously on, past the Lodge, the opposite end of the park, as make pretty pictures (Cut, No. 5), which is in summer perfectly brilliant out of very questionable architecture. Opposite bim with flowers, along the vistas and through the thickets, he has the majestic receptacle of the dead royalty of now surrounded by nibbling sheep, now eyeing the old England. If he prefer the opposite side of the gambols of the squirrel, till you come into the airy central sheet of water, the most eligible point space surrounded by the palace, the banqueting-house of view is on the rising near the angle at Buckof Queen Anne, and stately trees, where a still pond ingham Gate, affording a

affording a fine view, closed by lies mirroring the soft blue sky.

the dome of St. Paul's. To turn to our gourmand metaphor : after he has discussed these pièces de résist

ance he may fill up the interstices of his appetite by ST. JAMES's Park.

discussing, hors d'oeuvres, the pretty vignettes of wood In this we include the Green Park, a good quiet and water which present themselves to a saunterer soul with a separate name, but without separate round the canal. (Cut, No. 6.) adventures or history. There are also some neighbour- This is the still life, but in the "enjoyment of prosing patches of ground now detached which must be pects" the shifting of the human and other figures is the included in an account of St. James's Park, ancient and most material source of pleasure to the spectator. Along modern.

the track which we have been pursuing in imaginaIt is impossible to saunter about St. James's Park with- tion, there is rich variety: from the glance and dash of out being struck by its beauties. If, however, any person equipages along Piccadilly to the pedestrians of the wishes to enjoy them like a true epicure--to take as Green Park ; thence to the stately noiseless sweep

of much of the beautiful and exclude as much of the com- the privileged vehicles of the nobility along the mall, mon-place as possible-to heighten the pleasure of each enlivened by the occasional passage of a horseman, succeeding morsel by a judicious regard to harmony who rides as if the fate of empires depended on his in the order in which they succeed each other,-it will keeping the appointment to which he is bound ; and be advisable to enter through the Green Park by the thence again into the ornamented enclosure, where, in gate opposite Hamilton Place, at the west end of the absence of other company, we are sure of the birds. Piccadilly. Lounging (quick business-like walking is There are worse companions than birds. We remember only for those unamiable localities one wishes to get once hearing the most sparkling writer in the Northern out of) onwards by the walk that descends close Review' complain that he had not been able to sleep by the spot formerly occupied by the Ranger's the whole of the preceding night. “What did you do, lodge, the eye passes along a vista between trees, at then?" asked a gentleman at his elbow, in a tone of this moment covered with the first delicate verdure of intense sympathy. “I got up,” said the invalid, with spring, to rest upon a beautiful line of wood in the an air of languid pleasure, " went into the dressingmiddle distance, out of which rise the towers of West- room, and talked with the parrot." And many an uninster Abbey. Looking to the right as we advance, hour of pleasant intercourse may be spent with the the royal standard of England, the most chastely gor- water-fowl in St. James's Park, whether they be geous banner in the world, is floating at the foot of showing the ease with which habit has taught them to Constitution-hill. Immediately afterwards a

mas- mingle in crowded society; or with their heads under sive corner of the Palace is seen between the trees their wings sleeping on the smooth water at eight o'clock nearer at hand. The walk here parts into two-that on in the morning—for like other inhabitants of the pleathe left hand descending into what has all the appear-sure seeking world of London, they have acquired bad ance from this point of a woody dell; the other carry- habits of late rising: or in the intoxication of returning ing us into an open space, where we have a view of spring, wheeling in pursuit of each other in long circles the white marble arch in front of the Palace, sur- overhead, then rushing down into their native elements, mounted by the standard on one side, the unobtrusively and ploughing long furrows in it on St. Valentine's wealthy mansions of Piccadilly on the other, and the Day. We want some new White of Selborne to come here, and, heedless of the din of revolutions, busy | the occasion referred to by Pepys into “ the inward himself deep in the philosophy of water-fowl. We park.” can conceive such a man not only spending a long So long as the tilt-yard maintained its interest, the life in this way, but publishing such a book at the space beyond it would have few attractions for the close, as would make us regret he had not lived still gazing public. On either side of the park there was longer to be able to do justice to the subject. Gentle a place of resort preferred by the loungers of the times reader, did you ever see a swan yawn? We have. anterior to the Restoration--Spring Garden and the Not with its mouth certainly. No, with an irresistible Mulberry Garden.

. air of languor he draws up one leg close to his body, The period at which Spring Garden was enclosed and then slowly stretches it out-very slowly, but fur- and laid out is uncertain. The clump of houses which ther and further still, with such evident gusto and still bears the name, indicates its limits with tolerable relief, that your own jaws expand in sympathy. Here, exactness. A servant of the court was allowed in the too, one touch of Nature make the whole world kin." time of Charles I. to keep an ordinary and bowling

St. James's Park, with its exquisite finish, sur- green in it. An idea of the aspect of the garden at that rounded on all sides by buildings, scarcely disturbed by time may be gathered from a letter of Mr. Garrard to vehicles or horsemen, always wears in our eyes a draw

the Earl of Stafford in 1634 :-" The bowling-green ing-room character: it is a sort of in-doors rurality, in the Spring Gardens was put down one day by the and such it has been ever since we have records of it king's command; but by the intercession of the queen as a public haunt.

it was reprieved for this year ; but hereafter it shall be Its history falls naturally into three epochs :-- from no common bowling-place. There was kept an ordithe first enclosure of the park by Henry VIII. to its nary of six shillings a meal (where the king's proclamareformation under the auspices of Le Notre, under tion allows but two elsewhere), continual bibbing and Charles II. ; from the time of the merry monarch till drinking wine under all trees; two or three quarrels the abolition of the old formal canal by George IV. and every week. It was grown scandalous and insufferable ; Nash; and the era in which we have the pleasure to besides, my Lord Digby being reprehended for striking exist.

in the king's garden, he said he took it for a common The history of the first of these periods ought to be bowling-place.” The king carried his point; for in a written by an author like Niebuhr, who feels himself put subsequent letter Mr. Garrard says :-“Since the out by facts and contemporary narratives, and builds up Spring Garden was put down, we have, by a servant a story more true than truth out of hints in old frag- of the lord-chamberlain's, a new Spring Garden erected ments of laws, treaties, and charters. At least the in the fields behind the Meuse, where is built a fair materials are too scanty to admit of treating it in any house and two bowling-greens, made to entertain other fashion.

gamesters and bowlers tó an excessive rate ; for I During the reigns of Elizabeth and the first two believe it has cost him 4001. ; a dear undertaking for Stuarts, St. James's Park can only be considered as a a gentleman barber.” The gardens must, however, nursery for deer and an appendage to the tilt-yard. I have been re-opened at a later period, for Evelyn has The frequent allusions to it as a place of rendezvous this entry in his diary, 13th June, 1649 :-“ Dined by the dramatists of the age of Charles II. are sought with Sir John Owen ; and afterwards I treated divers in vain in Shakspere and his contemporaries, with ladies of my relations in Spring Gardens." They were whom St. Paul's occupies its place. It could not well again shut up under Oliver Cromwell, as we learn from be otherwise. A visit to the palace at Westminster the same source :- -"' 13th June, 1649. Lady Gerrard was then going out of London, and to have gone out of treated us at Mulberry Garden, now the only place of the palace into the park would have been in the way refreshment about the town for persons of the best of pleasure-hunting a work of supererogation-gilding quality to be exceedingly cheated at; Cromwell and refined gold. A passage occurs in Pepys's Diary,' his partisans having shut up and seized on Spring which enables us to form an idea of the comparative Gardens, which till now had been the usual rendezvous seclusion of the park in these days. The date of the for ladies and gallants at this season." The Restoraentry is not much earlier than that of the notice of the tion again gave them to the public ; in evidence of alterations made by Charles II., which ushered in the which a passage from a writer of the seventeenth censecond period of the park's history : “ 1660, July 22nd. tury* may be cited, which bears more properly upon a Went to walk in the inward park, but could not get later period of park history, bnt being introduced here in; one man was basted by the keeper for carrying will prevent the necessity of recurring to this branch some people over on his back through the water." If of the subject :-" The inclosure (Spring Gardens) is the reader will consult one of the earlier maps of London, not disagreeable, for the solemnness of the grove, he will find a long, narrow, four-cornered piece of the warbling of the birds, and as it opens into the water introduced behind the tilt-yard, extending nearly spacious walk at St. James's; but the company walk from side to side of the park, at right angles to the in at such a rate you would think all the ladies were direction of the canal constructed in the time of Charles so many Atalantas contending with their wooers; but II. This apparently is the piece of water across which the crowd attempted to get themselves smuggled on * Quoted, but not named, in Brayley's 'Middlesex.'

[graphic][merged small]

as they run, they stay so long as if they wanted time For Locket's stands where gardens once did spring, to finish the race: for it is usual to find some of the

And wild ducks quack where grasshoppers did sing; young company here till midnight."

A princely palace on that space does rise The Mulberry Garden was planted by order of

Where Sudley's noble muse found mulberries." James I., who attempted in 1608 to produce silk in After Charing-cross had become more and more conEngland, and to that end imported many hundred nected by lines of buildings with the City, and private thousand mulberry-trees from France, some of which dwelling-houses had multiplied along three sides of the were planted under his own inspection, and the rest Park by Pall-mall and King-street, and the streets dispersed through all the counties, with circular letters behind Queen-square, and when tournaments fell into directing the planting of the trees, and giving instruc- disuse, the temptation to penetrate into the recesses of tions for the breeding and feeding of silk worms. In the park would increase ; and the lines just quoted 1629 a grant was made to Walter, Lord Aston, &c., seem to point at a tradition that it was a favourite of "the custody of the garden, mulberry-trees, and haunt of the cavaliers. In the time of Charles I. a silk-worms, near St. James's, in the county of Middle- sort of royal menagerie had begun to take the place of sex.” How soon after this the silk-worms disappeared the deer with which the “inward park” was stocked in and the gardens were opened to the gay world in the the days of Henry and Elizabeth. So far our history manner indicated by the above quotation from Evelyn, has been based upon a very slender foundation. With does not appear. He does not speak of the opening of the restoration of Charles II. begins the era of the the Mulberry Gardens as anything new. A passage in park's existence as a public haunt, and materials for Pepys's Diary,' not long after the Restoration, men- its history become accessible. tions a visit to these gardens, but speaks rather dis- The design according to which the park was laid out paragingly of their attractions. Buckingham House, has been generally attributed to Le Notre. Charles which stood where the central part of the palace now seems to have set to work with its adornment immestands, was erected by John, Duke of Buckingham, in diately on his return. We can trace the progress of the 1703, and the Mulberry Garden attached to the house operations in Pepys's Diary :' as private property. Previously Arlington House, and “ 1660. Sept. 16. ** * To the park, where I saw a building to which the name of Tart-hall is given in how far they had proceeded in the Pall-mall, and in some old plans, occupied the same site. These build- making a river through the park which I had never ings seem to indicate the period at which the Mulberry seen before since it was begun. * * * October 11. To Gardens ceased to be a place of public resort. walk in St. James's Park, where we observed the

Some indications exist of St. James's having become several engines at work to draw up water, with which to a certain extent a favourite lounge during, or sight I was very much pleased. Above all the rest I immediately previous to the civil war. Dr. King liked that which Mr. Greatorex brought, which do observes,

carry up the water with a great deal of ease. “The fate of things lies always in the dark :

1661. August 4, *** Walked into St. James's Park What cavalier would know St. James's Park ?

(where I had not been a great while), and there found

* * *

[graphic][merged small]

great and very noble alterations. *** 1662. July 27. Wallingford House stood on the site of the Admiralty ; I went to walk in the park, which is now every day the old Horse Guards, the Tennis-yard, Cock-pit, and more and more pleasant by the new works upon it.” other appendages of Whitehall, on the sites of the

All the future representations of the park during the present Horse Guards, Treasury, and offices of the reign of Charles II., exhibit to us his long rows of Secretaries of State. The buildings then occupied by young elm and lime-trees, fenced round with palings the Admiralty stood where the gate entering from to protect them from injury. We have such a row in Great George-street now is. From Wallingford House front of the old Horse Guards, and another such towards Pall-mall were the Spring Gardens, opening following the line of the canals. These are occasion- as we have seen into the park. ally relieved by some fine old trees, as in Tempest's The Mall itself (a vista half a mile in length) review above. (Cut, No. 7.)

ceived its name from a game at ball, for which was We are able from various sources, plans, engravings, formed a hollow smooth walk, enclosed on each side by and incidental notices in books, to form a tolerably a border of wood, and having an iron hoop at one exaccurate notion of the aspect which the park assumed tremity. The curiously inquiring Mr. Pepys records : in the course of these operations. At the end nearest _"1663. May 15, I walked in the park, discoursing Whitehall, was a line of buildings occupying nearly with the keeper of the Pall-mall, who was sweeping of the site of the present range of Government offices, 'it; who told me that the earth is mixed that do floor

[graphic][merged small]
« PředchozíPokračovat »