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lord chancellor to complain of the trespass committed on his mother's property, and to claim a recompence for the injury that had been sustained. When the chancellor saw that the claim was undeniable, he directly offered a few hundred pounds by way of compensation; but this was altogether refused; the old woman, advised by her son, would by no means settle the affair on such easy terms. After some deliberation, a ground rent of four hundred pounds a year was demanded, and his lordship, at last, agreed to the terms. It is added, that to this very day Apsley-house yields a ground rent of four hundred pounds yearly to the descendants of the old apple-woman.
The bronze figure of Achilles, on the granite pedestal, which meets the eye on entering the archway into the park, was erected in honour of the duke of Wellington. It is considered a fine specimen of art, and is very generally admired.
Of all the royal parks, no one is so extensive as Hyde Park, nor can such an assemblage of carriages and fine horses be seen in any other place in the whole world, as are here daily witnessed during the summer months: to a stranger they appear absolutely numberless, and the wonder rises in the mind, that there should be rich people enough to keep so many costly equipages.
Two hundred years back, Hyde Park contained as many as eighteen hundred acres; but now it has not quite four hundred, Kensington Gardens being separated from it. The Serpentine River, as it is called, which adorns the place, is as straight as if drawn with a rule and compasses: great is the number of persons who have therein met with a watery grave. There will always be found, among bathers and skaters, many of a daring, and others of an inconsiderate disposition, so that accidents are sure to take place. The Humane Society has a receiving house on the bank of the river, with every convenience for the restoration, if life be not extinct, of such sufferers as are taken there; and men provided with life preservers, may always be seen walking by the sides of the river, to prevent, as far as possible, the loss of life. How few of the names of those who are in the habit of driving round Hyde Park in carriages, or promenading there daily, are to be found among the supporters of the Humane Society!
The cloistered abbots and canons of Westminster Abbey, who owned the park in the time of Henry vm., would hardly be able, could they revisit the place, to identify their old property. In the reign of Charles i., Hyde Park, with its then capital stock of timber trees and deer, was sold by the Parliament for little more than seventeen thousand pounds. In the reign of Charles Ii. it was again resumed by the crown.
I have walked westward, and here is quite another scene! I have spread my handkerchief on the summit of the low wall of Kensington Gardens, and am sitting thereon at my ease. The band, from the neighbouring barrack, is playing most admirably, while a goodly group of two or three thousand people is assembled around. Rank, fashion, and beauty in every direction meet the eye, and the "concord of sweet sounds" and the stormy clangour of martial music alternately regale the ear.
On the opposite side of the wall, in Hyde Park, with only a dry ditch between us, are ranged in rows, ladies on noble palfreys, and gentlemen mounted on fiery, yet tractable steeds, that snort and paw the ground. The trees are in their freshest verdure, the sun is in the sky; gay dresses, sparkling eyes, smiling faces, and happy hearts abound. And yet, happy as the throng now may be, perhaps—perhaps what? Will it become me, in a moment like this, to encourage shadowy thoughts? to cast a gloom, where all around is sunshine? No! There is a time to be merry, as well as to moralize. Happiness is a costly thing, and where it is not purchased at the expense of others, when it is not indulged in by leaving duties unperformed, why, let it be enjoyed. Had I, at this moment, a sunnier glow at my disposal, than that which is now beaming in the bosoms around me, I would fling it at once into their hearts. Oh that all could be abidingly happy, and animated with the desire of making others happy also! But this cannot be, for the word has gone forth, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," John xvi. 33.
11 How happy those whose hopes depend
I have left the gardens of Kensington, and am again in Hyde Park, sitting on a bench under the spreading branches of an elm. Yesterday I was in Regent's Park. At present, the trees there are but young, but every year they are adding to the beauty of the walks and drives. The noble ranges of buildings around, the commodious drives, together with the neighbouring attractions of the Diorama, the Colosseum, and the Zoological Gardens, cannot fail to make the park popular. This noble elm, under which I am seated, reminds me of some of the glorious biblical descriptions that are given of trees. How striking is the description of that prophetic tree, given in the fourth chapter of Daniel. "I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: the leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; he cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit."
Victoria Park, which is about four miles round it, is for the benefit of the eastern part of London, and will, no doubt, when completed, be a' great ornament to its neighbourhood, affording health and enjoyment to thousands. Surrounded by Bethnal Green, Homerton, and Hackney, it is not likely to lack visitors. The lodge tower, of red and purple bricks, edged with stone, has a striking and attractive appearance. Report speaks highly of the salubrity of the air, and talks about a lake of several acres, and, perhaps, a museum of natural curiosities, being added to the park.
The parks, as I have already observed, as breathing places to the inhabitants, are indeed important appendages to the metropolis; but it must be admitted, that in a city park, even under the most favourable circumstances, there is a want of that privacy and seclusion, which constitute one of the great charms of rural scenery. Here, in Hyde Park, you have ample space, goodly trees, resting places, pure air, and an unbroken view of the glorious canopy of the skies; but you are either in a throng, or within the view of