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showed him all his rarities, vizt, ancient coins, medals, pictures, old MSS., &c., which took them up near two hours' time.”*
In Shire Lane, also, the celebrated “ Kit-Cat Club,” founded in the reign of James the Second, originally held their meetings. Mutton pies formed a standing dish of the club, and Defoe informs us that it was from their maker, one Christopher Catt, that the Club derived its name.
Immortal made as Kit Kat by his pies.
The “Spectator,” however (No. 9), is of opinion, that the Club derived its designation from the pies themselves, which were called “ Kit-Cats,” and not from the name of the maker. We are inclined to think that this is the true derivation. For instance, in a Tory pasquinade of the period, we find :
Here did the Assembly's title first arise,
And again, in the prologue to Burnaby's comedy, “ The Reformed Wife ” (1700), we find :
Though the town all delicates afford,
In the reign of Queen Anne, we find the Club consisting of thirty-nine noblemen and gentlemen, all of whom were zealously attached to Protestant ascendancy and the House of Hanover.
“ Lives of Leland, Hearne, and Wood," ii 234.
At a later period the Kit-Cat Club held their meetings at the Fountain Tavern, in the Strand; from whence they removed to the house of their secretary, the celebrated Jacob Tonson, at Barn Elms; a house which is rendered the more interesting from having been previously the residence of Cowley the poet. The portraits of the most distinguished members were painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, of one uniform size, which is still known among artists as the Kit-Cat size. At one period we find the Club holding their summer meetings at “the Upper Flask,” on Hampstead Heath.
In connexion with the Kit-Cat Club, Lady Mary Wortley Montague used to relate the following lively anecdote. Her father, Evelyn Duke of Kingston, as a man of fashion and a staunch Whig, was of course a member of the Club. day, at a meeting to choose toasts for the year, a whim seized him to nominate her, then not eight years old, a candidate; alleging that she was far prettier than any lady on their list. The other members demurred, because the rules of the Club forbade them to elect a beauty whom they had
' Then you shall see her,' cries he; and in the gaiety of the moment, sent orders home to have her finely dressed, and brought to him at the tavern, where she was received with acclamations, her claim unanimously allowed, her health drunk by every one present, and her name engraved in due form upon a drinking glass. consisting of some of the most eminent men in
England, she went from the lap of one poet, or patriot, or statesman, to the arms of another ; was feasted with sweetmeats, overwhelmed with caresses, and, what perhaps already pleased her better than either, heard her wit and beauty loudly extolled on every side. Pleasure, she said, was too poor a word to express her sensations, they amounted to ecstacy: never again, throughout her whole future life, did she pass so happy a day."
At a public-house in Shire Lane, called the Trumpet (afterwards the Duke of York), old Isaac Bickerstaff, the “Tatler," is described as meeting his club. The house (No. 86), unfortunately, no longer exists. The “ Tatler,” himself, is described as residing at “the upper end” of Shire Lane, from whence many of his papers are dated.
We will conclude our memoir of Fleet Street with a brief notice of St. Dunstan's Church.
St. Dunstan, to whom this church is dedicated, appears to have been one of those gifted beings, who, had he lived in our own time, would have achieved the highest eminence as a man of learning and science, but whose accomplishments, in the dark age in which he flourished, led to his being regarded, and even persecuted, as a magician. He was born at Glastonbury, in Somersetshire, of noble parentage, about the year 925. As a sculptor, a chemist, a painter, a musician, and a “worker in iron and
* "Lady Mary W. Montague's Works,” i. 5., edition by Lord Wharncliffe.
brass,” he appears to have far outstripped his contemporaries. Endowed with these accomplishments, he proceeded to the court of King Athelstan, in hopes of attaining to the highest honours in the
His genius, however, proved his bane; for it being represented to the King that among other sorceries, his harp played of its own accord, without the touch of mortal fingers, he was driven from the court, and compelled to return to Glastonbury.
St. Dunstan's harp, fast by the wall,
Upon a pin did hang a',
Untouched by hand did twang a'.
Doubtless this was no more than the Æolian harp, which has been supposed to be an invention of modern times. On his return to his native place, St. Dunstan became a Benedictine monk in the Abbey of Glastonbury, of which he subsequently rose to be Abbot. It was while employed in his cell at this place, engaged in forging iron trinkets, that the devil is said to have appeared to him in the shape of a beautiful woman; St. Dunstan, however, fortunately recognizing the foul fiend, seized him by the nose with his red-hot tongs, and made him utter such terrific shrieks as to be heard by the whole neighbourhood. After the death of Athelstan, he was recalled to court by King Edmund, and in the reign of King Eldred, rose successively to be Bishop of Worcester and London, and Archbishop of Canterbury. He died
at the latter place, in 987, and was buried under the high altar of the cathedral.
St. Dunstan's Church, Fleet Street, appears to have been of very ancient foundation ; but we discover no direct mention of it, till 1237, in which year the abbot and convent of Westminster transferred it to King Henry the Third, 66 towards the maintenance of the house called the Rolls, for the reception of converted Jews.” The old building narrowly escaped being destroyed by the great Fire of 1666. Having become greatly dilapidated, an Act of Parliament was obtained, in June 1829, authorizing its removal ; and between this date and July 1833, the present church was built, after designs of the late John Shaw.
The old edifice appears to have contained the remains of a greater number of Lord Mayors, Sheriffs, and Aldermen, than perhaps any other church in London. The great Lord Strafford, and Bulstrode Whitelocke, the author of the well-known “ Memorials,” were baptized in this church; and in 1620 Dr. Donne was appointed to the vicarage.
Many of our readers will doubtless recollect the whimsical appearance presented by the dial of St. Dunstan's clock, as it projected into Fleet Street. In an alcove above it stood two figures of savages, of the size of life, each with a knotted club in his right hand, with which they struck the hours and quarters on two bells, suspended between them. told that it was “a whimsical conceit, calculated only for the amusement of countrymen and chil