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and its internal arrangements, its system of business, its branch offices, and its regulations for receiving and despatching letters; for it is a little city in itself, and may be said, in some degree, if not to regulate, at least to affect, the beating of every heart and the throbbing of every pulse in the metropolis.
And that is St. Martin's-le-Grand ! Could I go back a few short centuries, instead of the scene which now presents itself, I should be gazing on old Alders-gate ; the richly and royally endowed priory of St. Martin-le-Grand; and the proud and princely mansion of the duke of Brittany. Even now, I can fancy that I hear the Christmas anthem of a band of brotherhood, portly in form and feature, as with sack and wallet they plod their way through the miry streets to gather largesses against the holy tide. Christmas was Christmas then, in all its cre-e monial decorations, its wide-spread charities, its open-hearted hospitality, and its reckless revelry.
He who would learn to the full the manner and spirit with which our ancestors commemorated Christmas, had need be patient and persevering, as well as ardent, in his inquiry; for the authorities he has to consult, and the evidence he has to collect, are widely scattered through records of a varied character.
Should he fix on the days of William the Norman, as on a starting point, and continue his course to those of Oliver Cromwell; he must turn over the ample pages of many an ancient record and time-worn chronicle ; he must ponder over the statute-book, scrutinize the rolls of court, and read the antique ballads of the olden times. The royal household books, and the archives of noble families, will furnish him with much information ; and the popular traditions, and expiring observances in many a country homestead at Christmas, will throw occasional light on the faint and shadowy remembrances of remoter times. selves at the festive board on the faithfullyobserved festival days of olden time,
When we read of our great-great-grandfathers, and our equally memorable and venerated-greatgreat-grandmothers, sitting at the huge dinner table, prodigally supplied with orthodox dishes ; the damask napkin drawn through the highest button-hole of their church-going, Christmasvisiting coats; or the lawn handkerchief carefully pinned over the brocade stomacher, reciprocating healths; and unitedly complimenting the mistress of the entertainment; who, well versed in all the mysteries of the still and stewpan, competent to “rear a goose,” “ sauce a capon,” “ border a pasty,” or “ barb a lobster," with her best point ruffles pinned up, and brandishing her huge carving-knife, occupied her household throne the large arm-chair, at the head of the table : when we read that our ancestors assembled them
“And served up salmon, venison, and wild boars,
By hundreds, and by dozens, and by scores ;"
we regard them as a race of men altogether diverse from those who now people our pathways. We can now hardly realize, even by the glimpses we may get of a lord mayor's feast, the wassailry and prodigality of our progenitors, when, with sinewy frames and lusty appetites, they revelled ’mid
"Hogsheads of honey, kilderkins of mustard,
Mutton and fatted beeves, and bacon swine;
Teal, mallard, pigeons, widgeons, and in fine
And therewithal they drank good Gascon wine,
For porter, punch, and negus were not known.”
Christ's Hospital is plainly seen. It was originally a religious house of the order of Grey Friars, who came from Italy, 1224. The new hall is a noble building in the Tudor style, and stands partly on the ancient wall of London, and partly on the spot where stood the refectory of Grey Friars. The principal front is towards Newgate-street. It has an octagon tower at each extremity, and is supported by buttresses with an embattled top and pinnacles.
Christ's Hospital, in 1552, was prepared to receive poor fatherless children. Their livery was russet cotton, which soon after was changed for blue. The present Christ Church was built by sir Christopher Wren, the architect of the goodly pile on which I am now standing. The old Monastery church was burned down by the great fire of London, in 1666.
Who has not stood at the iron gates, to see the boys belonging to the place at play, in their olafashioned monkish garb? The dark blue coat with long skirts, the yellow petticoat and stockings, the leathern girdle, the white reckband, and the small black worsted cap, are altogether unlike the dress of modern times.
The square there, with the four noble stone buildings, united by stone gateways at the angles, is St. Bartholomew's Hospital. It is devoted to the use of the sick : nearly four thousand in-patients, and a yet greater number of out-patients, have been cured or relieved by this establishment, in the course of a year.
A little to the right, yonder, is the Charterhouse, with its front in Charter-house-square. An extensive Carthusian monastery once stood on the spot where the present building is situated. The Charter-house Hospital and Free-school were founded by a wealthy citizen of the name of Sutton.
Another monastic establishment occupied a spot beyond, where the knights-hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem resided. St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell, is well known. Changed as London is from what it was in the olden time, who shall say that it will not be much more so in future days ?
I can just catch a glimpse of Smithfield. “ Schmyt Fyeld,” it was once called; but a different place it was then, to what it is now. About a third of it may be seen from this gallery. It is the principal London mart for cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, and hay. More than sixteen thousand pigs, seventeen thousand calves, twenty thousand horses, a hundred thousand bullocks, and nine hundred thousand sheep and lambs, are here annually sold.
It was in Smithfield, that the lord mayor, Walworth, in the reign of Richard 11, killed Wat Tyler ; and at a yet earlier date, duels were decided there according to the “ kamp-fight” ordeal of the Saxons.
Tilts and tournaments, also, were held in Smithtield. Three thousand archers once assembled here, most of them with golden chains suspended from their pecks, attended by crowds of people ; and Henry viii created, in a jestful manner, one Barlow duke of Shoreditch, for his skill in archery.
It was here that the doting hero, Edward 111, in his sixty-secor 1 year, when he ought to have