Page images
PDF
EPUB

she first prayed with great composure, then went and kissed the dear bed, and got into it with a sad pleasure."

It was not till upwards of two years after her husband's death, that Mrs. Garrick again opened her house in the Adelphi to that intellectual circle with which the great actor had delighted to surround himself. Boswell, speaking of the 20th of April 1701, observes,-“Mrs. Garrick had this day, for the first time since his death, a select party of his friends to dine with her. The company was, Miss Hannah More, who lived with her, and whom she called her chaplain ; Mrs. Boscawen, Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dr. Burney, Dr. Johnson, and myself. We found ourselves very elegantly entertained at her house in the Adelphi, where I have passed many a pleasing hour with him “who gladdened life. She looked well, talked of her husband with complacency; and while she cast her eyes on his portrait which hung over the chimneypiece, said, that death was now the most agreeable object to her.' The very semblance of David Garrick was cheering.” Boswell informs us, that after quitting the house, Johnson and he remained a short time by the rails of the Adelphi, looking on the Thames. “I said to him, with some emotion, that I was now thinking of two friends we had lost, who once lived in the buildings behind us, Beauclerk and Garrick. “Ay, Sir,' said he, tenderly, and two such friends as cannot be supplied. Garrick expired on the 20th of January 1779, in

the back room of the first floor. Forty-three years afterwards, in October 1822, his venerable widow, the once beautiful and celebrated Violette, quietly breathed her last while seated in her arm-chair, in the front drawing-room of the same house.

In John Street, Adelphi, is the Society of Arts, established on the 22d March 1754. “The great room of the society,” we are told, “ was for several years the place where many persons chose to try, or to display, their oratorial abilities. Dr. Goldsmith, I remember, made an attempt at a speech, but was obliged to sit down in confusion. I once heard Dr. Johnson speak there, upon a subject relative to mechanics, with a propriety, perspicuity, and energy which excited general admiration."* Here are to be seen the six famous pictures by James Barry, which alone render it well worthy of a visit.

To the west of the Adelphi are York Buildings, which derive their name from the palace of the Archbishops of York, which anciently occupied their site. These buildings consist chiefly of George Street, Villiers Street, Duke Street, and Buckingham Street, so called from the last inhabitant of this princely palace, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. As Pennant observes, "Even the particle of is not forgotten, being preserved in Of-alley." At the end of Buckingham Street still stands the beautiful gateway or water-entrance to York House, the work of Inigo Jones. The house in York Buildings, occupied by Peter the Great, during his visit to London, in 1698, is said to have been the one in the east corner of Buckingham Street, overlooking the Thames. It has been since rebuilt. William the Third was unremitting in his attentions to his illustrious visitor, and more than once paid a social visit to the Czar, at his apartments, in York Buildings. During one of those interviews, there occurred an incident, which, in a more stately and polished court, would have been strangely subversive of courtly decorum. “The King,” says Lord Dartmouth, “made the Czar a visit, in which an odd incident happenedthe Czar had a favourite monkey which sat upon the back of his chair: as soon as the King was sat down, the monkey jumped upon him in some wrath, which discomposed the whole ceremonial, and most part of the time was afterwards spent in apologies for the monkey's misbehaviour."*

* Kippis, Biog. Brit. vol. vi. p. 266.

It was not improbably in the crowded thoroughfare of the Strand, that the following still more amusing adventure occurred to the Czar. He was one day, we are told, walking in one of the streets of London, with the Marquis of Carmarthen, who had been selected to be his cicerone, when a porter, bearing a heavy weight upon his back, pushed against him with so much violence, as to overturn him in the kennel. In the highest degree irritated, the Czar, immediately that he recovered his legs, made a rush at the offender, with the intention of striking him. Lord Carmarthen, however, apprehending that in a pugilistic encounter, the porter would, in all probability, have the advantage, interfered with so much promptitude as to prevent further hostilities. Turning angrily to the porter-"Do not you know,” said the Marquis, “ that this is the Czar?” The man's countenance lighted up with an impudent grin :-“ Czar!” he said, “we are all Czars here.”

* Burnet's “ History of his Own Time," vol. iv. p. 406, note by Lord Dartmouth.

The large building, at the south-west corner of Buckingham Street, was once the residence of Samuel Pepys, who took up his abode here in 1684. This house has also been inhabited by Etty, the Royal Academician, and Stanfield, the landscape painter.

In the latter part of the reign of Charles the Second, Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset,

The best good man, with the worst-natured muse,

was residing in Buckingham Street; and in this street, near the water-side, a still more celebrated man, Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, was residing in 1708. John Henderson, the actor died in Buckingham Street, in 1785.

In Villiers Street, the virtuous and high-minded John Evelyn, was, at one period residing. He writes, “ On the 17th of November 1683, I took a house in Villiers Street, York Buildings, for the winter, having many important concerns to dispatch, and for the education of my daughters.” Sir Richard Steele was residing in this street, in 1721. Close to Villiers Street, is Hungerford Market, which stands on the site of the town mansion of the Hungerfords, of Fairleigh, in Somersetshire; adjoining which is Craven Street. At No. 7, in this street, the great philosopher, Benjamin Franklin, lived for some time; and at No. 27, James Smith, one of the authors of the “Rejected Addresses," breathed his last, on the 24th December 1839. The following pleasing trifle, composed by him during his residence in this street, is perhaps familiar to most of our readers :

In Craven Street, Strand, ten attorneys find place,
And ten dark coal-barges are moored at its base ;
Fly, Honesty, fly! seek some safer retreat,
For there 's craft in the river and craft in the street.

This epigram drew from Sir George Rose the following retort. They are said to have been written extempore at a dinner party :

Why should Honesty fly to some safer retreat,

From attorneys and barges ?—’od rot 'em !
For the lawyers are just at the top of the street,

And the barges are just at the bottom.

The house adjoining Northumberland House, on the Strand side, was long the official residence of the Secretary of State. Here resided Sir Harry Vane, the elder, at the time when he held that appointment under Charles the First; and here lived Sir Edward Nicholas, when Secretary of State to Charles the Second.

In Hartshorne Lane, now Northumberland Street, the parents of Ben Jonson were residing at the

« PreviousContinue »