Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places. Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 4Thornbury, Walter
The Neighbourhood of St. James's Square.
The Neighbourhood of St. James's Square.
Extending from the west side of the square to , parallel with and , runs a thoroughfare to which the loyalty of the Stuart times gave the name of . On the south side of this street, on the site now occupied by the St. James's Theatre, formerly stood a large building, long known as Nerot's Hotel. The premises were old, probably dating from the time of Charles II.; it had a large heavy staircase, carved after the fashion of the time, its panels being adorned with a series of mythical pictures of Apollo and Daphne and other heathen deities. The front of the house was pierced with no less than twentyfour windows.
The [extra_illustrations.4.191.1] , like the New Royalty, owes its existence to of those unaccountable infatuations which stake the earnings of a lifetime upon a hazardous speculation. It was built in , from a design by Mr. Beazley, and at a cost of , by the celebrated John Braham, then years of age. The great tenor, who was of Jewish origin, having from childhood developed remarkable vocal powers, made his at the old Royalty Theatre in , at the age of , as a pupil of Leoni; in the bills he is called
Here he is said to have attracted the notice of the wealthy Abraham Goldschmidt, who placed him under the tuition of Rauzzini, the director of the Bath concerts, in which city Braham established his reputation as a vocalist. He returned to London in , and made his appearance in Storace's opera of . Subsequently he proceeded to Italy, where he completed his musical studies, and returned to England in , from which time he pursued his professional career with uninterrupted success. His delivery of the recitative
from Handel's , is said to have been of the finest specimens of tragic vocalisation ever heard. Charles Lamb says of him:--
Henry Russell relates the following amusing story of him:--
Braham's theatre opened under the most
| favourable auspices on the , with an original operatic burletta by Gilbert À Beckett, entitled , in which the principal parts were sustained by Messrs. Braham and Morris Barnett, and the Misses Glossop and P. Horton. An original interlude, , followed the opera, and an original farce, , concluded the performances. Braham appears to have been a liberal patron of dramatic writers, as we find an unusual number of |
pieces produced at this theatre during his too brief reign, although far more numerous audiences assembled on the nights when he performed in his famous parts of
in . Mrs. Honey and Love, the polypho-
nist, were engaged at the St. James's Theatre during Lent, , Mrs. Honey appearing in the parts of |
in the , and
in . It seems rather ominous of the future that the season of the new theatre lasted little more than months, when Braham was glad to let it to Madame Jenny Vertpre for French plays, which commenced , and in which Mdlle. Plessis appeared. Braham re-opened his theatre on , with the somewhat pompous announcement that
The performances commenced on this occasion with
|, by |
followed by , by John Barnett, concluding with , all being burlettas, and all
Dr. Arne's operetta of was produced the following month, with Miss Rainforth as
and Braham as
again appears in , as the author of the libretto of , the music being by [extra_illustrations.4.193.1] , in which the chief performers were Miss Rainforth and Messrs. Braham, Morris Barnett, Harley, and John Parry--a strong caste, indeed, and which might have been supposed to ensure the success of any piece of average merit. seem, however, to have met with less favour than , the latter having had a
|run of more than nights, while the former disappeared from the bills after representations. By this time Wright and Mrs. Stirling had joined the already powerful company; yet, in spite of the combination of talent which he had assembled in his elegant little theatre, the unfortunate proprietor found himself at the close of the season of a ruined man, forced, at the age of , to seek a maintenance in America by the exercise of his profession. Here he achieved as great a popularity as he had enjoyed in England, and on his subsequent return a few years later to his native land, his old age was made happy by the dutiful affection of his daughter, the Countess Waldegrave. He died in , in his year, leaving a name which will always be remembered as of|
|the greatest of English singers. His fame did not rest solely upon his remarkable skill as a scientific vocalist in operas and oratorios, but upon his exquisite and most pathetic rendering of the homely ballads and patriotic songs so dear to the heart of the people of every country, and to an especial degree of the people of England.|
But to return to the history of the St. James's Theatre, which was opened by Mr. Hooper in , with a company comprising Messrs. Dowton, Wrench, Alfred Wigan, Mdmes. Glover, Honey, Nisbett, and several other excellent performers from the . As he was a sufficiently wise man in his generation to profit by the unfortunate experience of his predecessor, Hooper resolved not to depend upon talent alone for success. Van Amburgh, the lion-tamer, with his formidable of wild beasts, had at this time gained such a triumph over Macready and the legitimate drama at , that, as Mr. Bunn, the lessee, tells us, whereas the latter had been playing (at £i a night) to comparatively empty benches, the former now nightly exhibited his intrepidity before crowded audiences, including on several occasions the young Queen, who highly eulogised this fascinating exhibition! Mr. Hooper therefore announced that the St. James's Theatre would re-open on the , with new pieces, and a dozen lions and tigers of extraordinary size. The new pieces consisted of a burletta, , by Haynes Bayley; by Henry Mayhew; and by Bayley and Mayhew. Dowton, although at that time the oldest actor on the stage, having passed his seventieth year, was a universal favourite, as also were both Wrench and Mrs. Glover; but the manager soon found that the taste of the day gave -legged performers so decided a preference over bipeds, that he started off to Paris and obtained the services of a of highly-trained monkeys, dogs, and goats. The event proved his sagacity; the attraction was irresistible, and all the rank and fashion of the metropolis crowded to witness the antics of
So, at least, says Theodore Hook, in an essay written during this year upon
On the marriage of Her Majesty with Prince Albert, in , a scheme was set on foot for the establishment of a German opera in London. An arrangement was effected with Herr Schuman, director of the opera at Mayence, and the St. James's Theatre, of which Mr. Bunn had become the lessee, was selected as a suitable for the purpose, and its name changed to
in honour of the illustrious bridegroom. Public expectation was wrought up to the highest pitch: a new entrance was made for Her Majesty and the Queen Dowager through Mr. Braham's private house; the Duke of Brunswick engaged the box next to that of the Queen for the season, and long before the opening night every box and stall had been disposed of. The German company, headed by their director, Herr Schuman, duly arrived in London, and the procession of carriages and baggage wagons, containing the stage wardrobes, decorations, and other articles, resembled, said the ,
With all this flourish of trumpets, and under this distinguished patronage,
| the . |
says of the weekly papers of that date,
The well-known and ever-popular , by Weber, was judiciously chosen for the opening performance. Among the operas subsequently produced at this theatre were Spohr's ; his , of which it was remarked that
Weber's , said, on account of its dulness, to have been nicknamed in Germany ; Gluck's ; and Beethoven's
The German singers were not generally admired. The remarks, of the performance of Weber's :
In spite of these trifling drawbacks, the Prince's Theatre continued to be both fashionably and fully attended up to the close of the season, and Herr Schuman, previous to his departure, is said to have expressed himself
were never destined to be fulfilled. The late German opera-house reopened in , under the management of Mr. Morris Barnett, with , a new opera by Frank Romer, which, not proving a success, terminated the winter season before Christmas, and with it ended the career of this theatre as
In we find it was taken by Mr. Mitchell, and opened for French plays, in its old name of the St. James's, which it has ever since retained. Under the lesseeship of Mr. Mitchell, which lasted years, the English public had an opportunity of witnessing the best works of the French dramatists, represented by the best native artists, such as the veteran Perlet, Achard, Ravel, Levasseur, Lemaitre, Mdlle. Plessy, the famous Dejazet, and the gifted Rachel, who, to use the fashionable cant,
the parts of
of Racine's , and of Corneille's
in . At the close of each of his last seasons of French plays Mr. Mitchell essayed the experiment of a brief series of German dramas, but with no encouraging result. In , the St. James's Theatre, then under the management of Mrs. Seymour, produced the lyrical drama , adapted from the Greek of Euripides, set to music by Gluck, the choruses, &c., being under the direction of Sir Henry Bishop. This scarcely classical entertainment was lightened by after-pieces, , an extravaganza, and was not appreciated by the public, and was withdrawn after a few nights.
In , an English opera by Edward Loder, entitled , was brought out at this theatre, under the management of Augustus Braham, a son of the great tenor. The principal parts were sustained by Hamilton Braham, George Perren, Mdmes. Rudersdorf and Susan Pyne. But the St. James's Theatre would seem to have been the evil genius of the Braham family; for, although the opera was highly commended by musical authorities, and the caste unobjectionable, proved an utter failure, and after being performed nights to nearly empty benches disappeared on the , to be seen and heard no more. From to the St. James's was successively leased to Messrs. F. B. Chatterton, Alfred Wigan, Frank Matthews, and B. Webster, the short tenure of each lease proving that the speculation was in no case satisfactory. The company during the greater part of the time comprised the clever couples, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Wigan and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Matthews, Miss Rainforth, and Miss Herbert. The lastnamed lady became lessee of the theatre in , but, although an elegant and highly popular actress, she, like her predecessors, failed to make a fortune out of the proverbially unfortunate place. In the management was assumed by Mrs. John Wood, a lively lady, whose piquant performance of
was the great hit of the season of . In , the St. James's acquired an unenviable notoriety from the nature of the
|entertainment offered, which fell under the ban of the Lord Chamberlain, and completed up to the present time the list of the misfortunes of this persistently unlucky little playhouse. [extra_illustrations.4.196.1]|
We learn casually from Forster's
that when in the idea of giving readings from his published works came into his head, he at proposed to take the St. James's Theatre for that purpose.
of Mr. Braham's management of the St. James's, a story is told, which may be worth repeating here. Mr. Bunn was passing through late evening, and seeing Kenney at the corner of St. James's Church, swinging about in a nervous sort of manner, he inquired the cause of his being there at such an hour. He replied,
On asking why, he answered,
Close by the St. James's Theatre are
a noble suite of assembly-rooms, formerly known as
The building was erected by Mylne, for Almack, a tavern-keeper, and was opened in , with a ball, at which the Duke of Cumberland, the hero of Culloden, was present. Almack, who was a Scotchman by birth, seems to have been a large adventurer in clubs, for he at
the club afterwards known as
The large ball-room is about feet in length by feet in width, and is chastely decorated with columns and pilasters, classic medallions, and mirrors. The rooms are let for public meetings, dramatic readings, concerts, balls, and occasionally for dinners. Right and left, at the top of the grand staircase, and on either side of the vestibule of the ball-room, are spacious apartments, used occasionally for large suppers or dinners.
In these rooms are held the re-unions of the Dilettanti Society. This society, as we have stated in a previous chapter, was established in the year , and originally met at the
Tavern, , its object being
The members of this association dine here every fortnight during the
The walls of the apartment are still hung with the portraits of the members, most of which were removed hither on the demolition of the old
Many of the portraits are in the costume familiar to us through Hogarth, others are in Turkish or Roman dresses, and several of them are so represented as to show the convivial nature of the gatherings for which they were famous: for instance, Sir Francis Dashwood, afterwards Lord Le Despenser, who figures as a monk at his devotions--the object on which his gaze is intently fixed, however, is a crucifix, nor an image of
Charles Sackville, Duke of Dorset, appears as a Roman soldier. The principal pictures in the room are those by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was himself a member of the Dilettanti Society: of these represents a group containing portraits of the Duke of Leeds, Lord Dundas, Lord Mulgrave, Lord Seaforth, the Hon. Charles Greville, Charles Crowle, Esq., and Sir Joseph Banks; another is a group treated in the same manner, containing portraits of Sir William Hamilton, Sir Watkin W. Wynn, Mr. Richard Thomson, Sir John Taylor, Mr. Payne Gallwey, and Mr. Spencer Stanhope; the is a portrait of Sir Joshua himself, attired in a loose robe, and without the addition of his customary wig. There are also portraits of the late Lord Broughton (better known as Sir John Cam Hobhouse), and Lord Ligonier, and, in fact, nearly every man of note in the early part of the present century. The latest addition to the collection is the portrait of Sir Edward Ryan, who died in .
was already established as a place of public amusement as far back as , for in the of , in that year, we find the following notice:--
In a satire on the ladies of the age, published in , we read-
The assembly which bore the title of
was in its palmy days under the regulation of lady patronesses, of the distinction, whose fiat was decisive as to admission or rejection of every applicant for tickets, and became a most autocratic institution-quite an . In fact, the to
was in itself a passport to the highest society in London, being almost as high a certificate as the fact of having been presented at Court.
Lady Clementina Davies writes in her
A writer in the () observes:
Mr. T. Raikes tells us in his
that the celebrated , the Princess Lieven, was the only foreign lady who was ever admitted into the exclusive circle of the lady patronesses of this select society, into the of which establishment she entered very cordially, though her manner, tinctured at times with a certain degree of , made her many enemies.
writes Captain Gronow, in ,
Mr. T. Raikes thus commemorates the arrival of the German waltz in England :--
The author of
favors us with the following curious comments on quadrilles, then () newly exhibited in England:--
In , a splendid ball was given here in honour of the coronation of George IV. by the special Ambassador from France, the Duc de Grammont. The King himself was present, attended by some of his royal brothers, the Duke of Wellington, and a numerous circle of courtiers.
writes Mr. Rush in his
Here, from to , Mrs. Billington, Mr. Braham, and Signor Naldi gave concerts, in rivalry with Madame Catalini at Rooms. In Master Bassle, a youth only years of age, appeared here in an extraordinary mnemonic performance; and in the rooms were taken by Mr. Charles Kemble, for the purpose of giving his readings from Shakespeare. In , while the Great Exhibition was attracting its thousands, Thackeray here appeared in public as a lecturer, taking as his subject
Mr. Tom Taylor tells us an anecdote which belongs to his very evening:--
As far back as it was pretty evident that
was on the decline; as a writer in the of that time puts it, there was
Opposite Willis's Rooms are the auction-rooms of [extra_illustrations.4.200.2] , still celebrated as ever for sales of pictures and articles of The sale-rooms of Messrs. Christie, as stated in a previous chapter, were originally in , but were removed hither in . The eldest son of him who raised the firm to its lofty position, and who subsequently was himself its principal, was Mr. James Christie, no less distinguished as the scholar and the gentleman than as an auctioneer. His literary production was a disquisition upon Etruscan vases, a subject suggested to him through his intimacy with the collection of the famous Townley Marbles. Works of a similar character followed at different times; and, without entering into particulars, it will be sufficient to transcribe the opinion of the author of a memoir in the ,
To this we may add, from the same eloquent tribute to his memory, that it will not seem surprising to find that such a man
This, the best of auctioneers, if we may credit the portrait here drawn of him, died in .
The prices realised in these rooms for books, pictures, prints, old china, and other curiosities and antiquities, have almost always been high, though they have varied according to the direction taken by each passing mania of the day. It is stated that a pair of Sevres china vases, for which in Lord Dudley gave at Christie's, were not worth more than as many hundreds. It appears that a rival commission for this was given by of the Rothschilds. A story is also told of a nobleman who sent an agent to a sale here with directions to buy a certain picture. The work was knocked down for a very large sum.
said his lordship a few days after the sale,
said the steward,
said his lordship,
Similarly, these agents of china-loving millionaires were told to buy the vases, and it is a good thing for of the purchasers that both of them were not guided by the story of the noble lord, who, by the way, finished his rebuke to the steward with the remark,
Among the most important sales that have taken place here of late years was that of the beautiful collection of modern pictures, water-colour drawings, and objects of art belonging to Mr. Charles Dickens, and removed hither from his residence at Gad's Hill, near Rochester, where he died; the prices realised at this sale are said to have been fabulous.
It may be interesting to record here the fact that the book-auction in England, of which there is any record, was held in , when the library of Dr. Seaman was brought to the hammer. Prefixed to the catalogue there is an address to the reader, saying,
For general purposes this mode of sale was scarcely known till .
In this street was born, in , Mrs. Charlotte Smith, well known as a poet and a novelist. She was the daughter of Nicholas Turner, Esq., of Bignor Park, Sussex. She was the author of
and other works which enjoyed a wonderful popularity near the close of the last century. She died in , at the age of .
At the beginning of the future Emperor of the French, then known as Prince Louis Napoleon, and an exile, took up his abode at No. , on the north side of , which bears on its front a tablet commemorating the fact. There he amused himself by collecting his books, portfolios, and family portraits, and made it his regular home. He was elected an honorary member of the Army and Navy Club, where he spent much of his spare time, rode in constantly, and frequented
in the evening. Here he entertained his friends quietly and unostentatiously, living quite a retired life in his
and it is pleasant news to learn, on the authority of Mr. B. Jerrold, that here the Prince made some clever sketches of decorations for Lady Combermere's and Lady Londonderry's stalls at the great military bazaar for the benefit of the Irish, which was held in the barracks of the Life Guards. Louis Napoleon was still living here in the following spring, when he served as of special constables who had been sworn in to keep order in anticipation of a Chartist rising. And here, too, he was residing when summoned to Paris a few months later by the events of the Revolution, which speedily raised him to the presidential chair, and ultimately to the imperial throne. When he entered London in along with his bride, the Empress Eugenie, he was seen to point out to her with interest and pleasure the street in which he had spent those months of weary waiting, as, amid the cheering of the crowds, the drove slowly up .
At comer of , in the year , a large saloon, nearly feet in length, was built for Mr. Crockford, and opened by him as the St. James's Bazaar. It was not, however, successful in attracting visitors. Here were exhibited, in , dioramic of the obsequies of the great Napoleon in Paris ; and in the exhibition of decorative works for the New Houses of Parliament was held here.
main thoroughfares connect on the north with Jermyn Street-namely, and . In the former, on the , was born Edward Burtenshaw Sugden, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and subsequently of England also, and of the most consummate lawyers of the century. His father was a fashionable hairdresser and wig-maker; and it is said-we know not with how much of truth--that the future occupant of the woolsack and
as a boy, often held the bridles of the horses of customers who stopped to make their purchases at the shop of Mr. Richard Sugden. On occasion, later in life, on the Sussex hustings, when reproached with his being the son of a barber, Mr. Sugden made the brave and noble reply,
As it was, he netted in middle life an income of a year, and no doubt was a great loser in money by accepting a seat upon the judicial bench. It was late in life that he took a peerage, his patent as Lord being dated , certain obstacles to its acceptance being then removed. His lordship died in , having reached the good old age of . His will was afterwards the subject of litigation, the result of which was to establish, under certain conditions, the validity of a formal declaration of a testator's intentions, if satisfactorily proved and corroborated, as equivalent to a written will, where that will was known to exist, but was accidentally lost.
In this street Edmund Burke was living in when his hopes and parental pride were raised to the highest pitch by the election of his only son,
|Richard, in his own room, as M.P. for Malton. These hopes, however, were destined to be speedily and rudely cast down, for no sooner had the father and son returned thither from Yorkshire than the latter was seized with a fatal illness, and died a week later at Brompton. The aged statesman was never himself again, and he survived the heavy blow only just years.|
At No. , now called Sussex Chambers, was formerly the Association of the Friends of Poland, over which the late [extra_illustrations.4.202.1] so long presided. This association was founded in , for the purpose of diffusing information about Poland, of relieving poor Polish refugees, and of educating their children. The building, now the head-quarters of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, is, or once was, a very fine mansion, with a noble staircase, ornamental ceilings, and doors of the finest mahogany. It has below it large cellars and vaults, which, tradition says, went under and , and led to the Houses of Parliament. This, however, must be a fiction. There may, perhaps, be more truth in the story that the house was once occupied for a time by Oliver Cromwell.
Bury (or, more properly, , being so named after its original builder, being mainly let out as
has had the honour of accommodating some distinguished residents; among others, Sir Richard Steele and Dean Swift, George Crabbe and Thomas Moore. Swift, as we learn from his writings, occupied a -floor set of rooms, for which he paid a week rent,
as he remarks; but it is as well that he did not live here in our own day, and in the
or we fear that he would have found himself far more heavily rented.
Here, upon his marriage, in ,
(afterwards Sir Richard) Steele, the wit and essayist, took for his lady a house,
But it is clear, from autograph letters still to be seen at the , that the rent of this nuptial house, so sacred to
and to the tenderness and endearments of the honeymoon, was not paid until the landlord had put in an execution upon Steele's furniture. He appears soon after this to have migrated to , where the same fate befell his establishment. Steele and
were married, in all probability, about the in the above-mentioned year.
Swift shared his lodgings here with his
Hester Johnson. doors off lived the rival lady, who flattered him and made love to him so outrageously, and in the end died for hopeless love of him-his
Thackeray tells us that Mrs. Vanhomrigh,
mother, was the widow of a Dutch merchant who had held some lucrative posts in the time of King William. The family settled in London in Anne's reign, and had a house in -
In of his letters Swift describes his lodging in detail: he has
He often lounged in upon the Vanhomrighs. In his journal to Stella, he writes:
On coming up to London from Trowbridge, late in life, George Crabbe took lodgings in this street, to be near Rogers and some other literary friends. Whilst here, he was a frequent visitor at Holland House, at Mr. Murray's, in , and at , from the doors of which he had been repulsed by its former owner, Lord Shelburne. At Holland House he made the acquaintance of Thomas Campbell, and Tommy Moore, and Brougham, and Sylvester Douglas, and the Smiths of the
and Sydney Smith, and Ugo Foscolo. He writes in his
on his return,
It is only fair to add that by all that the quiet country parson-poet saw in the gay world of London he seems' to have been quite unaltered, and that he returned to Trowbridge and his parochial duties with his head unturned and his kind heart unchanged.
At the corner of and for many years lived William Yarrell, the naturalist, the author of
&c. He followed the trade of a news-agent. In he was elected a vice-president of the Linnaean Society. He died in . His collections of British fishes, and the specimens illustrative of his papers in the
of the Linnaean Society, were secured by the trustees of the British I Museum at the sale of Mr. Yarrell's effects.
, a short thoroughfare extending from the north side of to , was the street in London paved for foot-passengers. Strype, in his edition of Stow, describes it as
but, he adds,
On the eastern side of this street stood, till the present year, , a dull and poorlooking chapel-of-ease to the parish church. It was formerly occupied by Josiah Wedgwood, as a show-room for his pottery and porcelain from Etruria, in Staffordshire. In previous time this had been the residence of the Spanish ambassador, the chapel being used as a Roman Catholic place of worship under the ambassador's wing. It was subsequently used by Dissenting congregations, and from down to the time of its demolition it was the scene of the ministrations of the Rev. Stopford Brooke.
At No. in this street are the offices of the Charity Commission. The endowed charities amounted, in , according to returns then made to Parliament under the Gilbert Act, to a year. A Committee of the , moved for by Mr. Brougham in , recommended an inquiry into their condition. The commission for this purpose was appointed by the Crown, under an Act of , and further commissions of inquiry were issued and prosecuted under that and several subsequent Acts, until . During many years after this time, numerous ineffectual proposals were made, in and out of Par- Parliament, for the establishment of some jurisdiction for the permanent superintendence and control of these endowments. In , an Act for the better administration of charitable trusts was, however, obtained, appointing commissioners and inspectors, but with the very minimum of power which could be given without rendering the commission altogether nugatory. Beyond a veto on suits by any but the Attorney-General, the commissioners had only powers of inquiry, of advice, and of rendering assistance in a few cases in which trustees might seek it. The Act enabled the Lord Chancellor to appoint official trustees of charity funds; and those officers, who were constituted in , now hold probably upwards of a million and a half of charity stock. In , another Act empowered the Board to apportion parish charities under a year; but with regard to new schemes, its operations were still subordinate, not only to Chancery, but to the County Courts. An Act passed in for the time gave the commissioners judicial power over charities of a year, and like power, with the consent of the trustees, over larger charities; but being judicial, they can only be called into operation at the suit of persons interested in each case. Under the jurisdiction thus given, the Charity Commission has aided in establishing improved schemes in several cases; but a public department, which Parliament did not at its outset place even as high as a County Court, and which has ever since remained in the same position, cannot be expected to exercise influence enough with the public to originate and carry out any enlarged principles of administration on a subject in which so many individual and local prejudices are to be encountered. The Education Commissioners have proposed to vest the control of charities in a committee of the Privy Council, which might be governed less by technical and narrow rules than by an enlightened public opinion.
Abutting on is , so called after the Duke of Ormond, who suffered so severely in the royal cause during the Civil War. Mr. P. Cunningham reminds us that
was his son, and the beautiful Countess of Chesterfield, of De Grammont's
his daughter, and that his grandson and heir was attainted in for his share in the rebellion of that year.
, which runs parallel with on the north side of , and extends from to the , was named from Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans. This nobleman's residence, called St. Albans House, was on the south side of the street, and its site was afterwards occupied by part of Ormond House, of which we have already spoken. Like many other staunch loyalists, the Earl of St. Albans was little remembered by Charles II. He was, however, an attendant at court, and of his Majesty's companions in his gay hours. On of these occasions a stranger came with an importunate suit for an office of great value just vacant. The King, by way of joke, desired the Earl to personate him, and commanded the petitioner to be admitted. The gentleman, addressing himself to the supposed monarch, enumerated his services to the royal family, and hoped the grant of the place would not be deemed too great a reward.
answered the Earl,
pointing to the King,
Charles granted, for this joke,
| what the utmost real service would not have received. The Earl was supposed to have been privately married to the Queen Dowager, Henrietta Maria, who, as Pennant puts it, |
The Earl died here in .
In , near the church, there was living, in the reign of Queen Anne, a Mrs. Howe, of whom, or rather of whose husband, we find an amusing account in Dr. W. King's
Her maiden name was Mallett; she was of a good family in the West of England, and married a Mr. Howe, who had a fortune of some or a year. or years after his marriage, when he had children, apparently without any reason he disappeared from his home in , leading his wife to suppose that he had gone abroad. For years she heard no tidings of him, and, her children having died, she removed into a smaller abode in , . It appears that during all this long period Mr. Howe had gone no further away than , where he lived under an assumed name, and disguised in dress; that he constantly saw his wife at St. James's
|Church, (being so placed that she could not see him); and even frequented a coffee-house, from the window of which he could see his own wife at her meals. The strangest thing is, that the coffee-house keeper, supposing him to be an elderly bachelor, recommended to him the deserted lady and supposed widow as a wife. At the end of years, Mr. Howe sent to his wife an anonymous letter, begging her to be the next night, at a particular hour, in . On repairing thither, the truant husband declared himself, and they lived happily together ever afterwards. It appears that the eccentric old gentleman was in the habit of even reading in the newspapers his wife's petition for a private Act of Parliament, entitling her and her children to a maintenance out of his estate; but that, in spite of this, he continued to keep up his incognito. The story is improbable, and would make the subject of a comedy.|
At the Brunswick Hotel, in this street, Louis Napoleon took up his residence, under the assumed name of the Comte d'Arenenberg, on his escape from his captivity in the fortress of Ham, in .
On the north side, extending through to the
|south of , is the Museum of Practical Geology and Government School of Mines. It occupies an area of feet by feet, specially designed and built for its purposes by Mr. James Pennithorne, architect, at a cost of . The building comprises, on the ground storey, a spacious hall, formed into divisions by Doric columns, for the exhibition of building-stones, marbles, the heavier geological specimens, and works of art. Adjoining is a theatre for lectures upon scientific subjects, capable of accommodating upwards of persons. There is also a library, librarian's apartments, and reception-room. On each side the entrance-hall is a staircase, joining in a central flight between Ionic columns, leading to the principal floor, containing the museum, a splendid|
|apartment having galleries along its sides to give access to the cases with which the walls are lined. At the north and south ends are modelrooms, containing a gallery, and connected with the principal museum. The principal object of the Government School of Mines, which is engrafted on the Museum of Practical Geology and Geological Survey, is to discipline the students thoroughly in the principles of those sciences upon which the successful operations of the miner and metallurgist depend. During the session, viz., from October to June, courses of lectures are delivered on chemistry, natural history, physics, mining, mineralogy, geology, applied mechanics, and metallurgy.|
At No. , on the south side, is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
|This institution, the only having for its object the protection of dumb and defenceless animals, was founded in , and is under the patronage of Her Majesty. The labours of this institution embrace the circulation of appropriate tracts, books, lectures, and sermons, and the prosecution of persons guilty of acts of cruelty to the brute creation.|
At No. , on the same side of the street, is the London and Provincial [extra_illustrations.4.206.1] Company, which was established about the year . Here, as in establishments of a similar kind which have sprung up in various parts of the United Kingdom, the plan of the old Roman bath is strictly followed There is the Tepidarium, the Sudatorium (heated to a temperature of ) and the Calidarium, in which the heat is exalted to degrees. Next to this is the Lavatorium, in which the washing and shampooing process is carried on. of such baths, a writer in has remarked that
In Dr. Hunter gave up his house in this street to his brother John, and took possession of which he had built in , whence ultimately he moved, as we have noticed in a previous chapter, into .
appears to have been at time inhabited by artists. In , at his rooms in this street, Mrs. Siddons gave sittings to Sherwin, for her portrait, in the character of the
which was afterwards engraved; the print from which, in consequence of a purse having been presented to Mrs. Siddons by gentlemen of the long robe, was dedicated to the Bar.
In this neighbourhood meets a Bohemian club called the
composed of worshippers of the philosophy of Herbert Spencer, and other thinkers of the
school. The rest of the street is now mainly devoted to private family hotels, and to apartments for members of Parliament and aristocratic bachelors. A few years ago it was of the head-quarters of gambling-houses.
In some papers in the for , signed
the whole of the neighbourhood of St. James's and , which we have described in this and the preceding chapters, is fictitiously traversed by a sprite, who peeps in at St. James's, at Carlton House, in , at
and at the
It is amusing, at the distance of a century or more, to note the scenes witnessed by
In he saw the interior of the royal nursery, where
while his brother, the
and at Carlton House, Prince George and the Earl of Bute were standing in a bow window, while the Queen and the princess were engaged in working a flowered waistcoat for the simple and easy-going king.
[extra_illustrations.4.191.1] St. James's Theatre
[extra_illustrations.4.193.1] John Hullah
[extra_illustrations.4.196.1] Entertainment to American Minister--Almack's
[extra_illustrations.4.200.1] Jews' Infant-School Ball--Willis's Rooms, 1872
[extra_illustrations.4.200.2] Messrs. Christie and Manson
[extra_illustrations.4.202.1] Lord Dudley Coutts Stuart
[extra_illustrations.4.206.1] Turkish Bath