« IndietroContinua »
Thus the extent of carriage-way was bounded from Cow-lane to Long-lane, in a right line, nor were carriages or horses suffered to stand or linger, but the riders or drivers were compelled to go about their business, if business they had, or to alight for their pleasure, and enter the Fair, if they came thither in search of pleasure. So was order so far preserved; and the city officers, to whom was committed the power of enforcing it, exercised their duty rigorously, and properly; because, to their credit, they swerved not from their instructions, and did not give just cause of offence to any whom the regulations displeased. The sheep-pens occupying the area of
Smithfield, heretofore the great public cookery at Fair times, was this day resorted to by boys and others in expectation of steaming abundance; nor were they disappointed. The pens immediately contiguous to the passage through them from Bartholomew-hospital-gate towards Smithfield-bars, were not, as of old, decked out and denominated, as they were within recollection, with boughs and inscriptions tempting hungry errand boys, sweeps, scavengers, dustmen, drovers, and bullock-hankers to the “princel
leasures” within the “Brighton Pavi
ion,” the “Royal Eating Room,” “Fair Rosamond's Bower,” the “New London Tavern,” and the “Imperial Hotel:” these names were not:—nor were there any denominations; but there was sound, and smell, and sight, from sausages almost as large as thumbs, fried in miniature dripping-pans by old women, over fires in saucepans; and there were oysters, which were called “fine and fat,” because their shells were as large as tea saucers. Cloths were spread on tables or planks, with plates, knives and forks, pepper and salt, and, above all, those alluring condiments to persons of the rank described, mustard and vinegar. Here they came in crowds; each selecting his table-d'-hote, dined handsomely for threepence, and sumptuously for fourpence. The purveyors seemed aware of the growing demand for cleanliness of appearance, and whatever might be the quality of the viands, they were served up in a more decent way than many of the consumers were evidently accustomed to. Some of them seemed appalled by being in “good company,” and handled their knives and forks in a manner which bespoke the embarrassment of “dining in public” with such implements.
My object in going to Bartholomew Fair was to observe its present state, and record it as I witnessed it in the EveryDay Book. I therefore first took a perambulatory view of the exterior, from Giltspur-street, and keeping to the left, went completely round Smithfield, on the }. till I returned to the same spot; rom thence I ventured “to take the road” in the same direction, examined the promising show-cloths and inscriptions on each show, and shall now describe or mention every show in the Fair. It may be more interesting to read some years hence than now. Feeling that our ancestors have slenderly acquainted us with what was done here in their time, and presuming that our posterity may cultivate the “wisdom of looking backward” in some degree, as we do with the higher wisdom of “looking forward,” I write as regards Bartholomew Fair, rather to amuse the future, than to inform the present, generation.
This was the first show, and stood at the
corner of Hosier-lane. The inscription outside, painted in black letters, a little more than an inch in height, on a piece of white linen, was as follows:–
“Murder of Mr. JPeare, and Probert's cottage.—The Execution of William Probert.
“A Piew to be seen here of the Pisit of Queen Sheba to King Soloman on the Throne—Daniel in the Den of Lions.— St. Paul's Conversion.—The Tower of Babel—The Greenland IPhale-Fishery— The Battle of IPaterloo.—A Piew of the City of Dublin.—Coronation of George Ip'."
This was what is commonly, but erroneously called a puppet-show ; it consisted of scenes rudely painted, successively let down by strings pulled by the showman; and was viewed through eye-glasses of magnifying power, the spectators standing on the ground. A green curtain from a projecting rod was drawn round them while viewing. “Only a penny—only a penny,” cried the showman; I paid my penny, and saw the first and the meanest show in the Fair.
When a company had collected, they were shown from the floor of a caravan on wheels, one side whereof was taken out, and replaced by a curtain, which was either drawn to, or thrown back as occasion required. After the audience had dispersed, I was permitted by the proprietor of the show, Nicholas Maughan, of Ipswich, Suffolk, to go “behind the curtain,” where the artist completed his sketches, while I entered into conversation with the persons exhibited. Miss Hipson, only twelve years of age, is remarkably gigantic, or rather corpulent, for her age, pretty, well-behaved, and well-informed; she weighed sixteen stone a few months before, and has since increased in size; she has ten brothers and sisters, nowise remarkable in appearance: her father, who is dead, was a bargeman at Brentford. The name of the “little lady” is Lydia Walpole, she was born at Addiscombe,
near Yarmouth, and is sociable, agreeable, and intelligent. The fair Circassian is of pleasing countenance and manners. The Persian giant is a good-natured, tall, stately negro. The two Malays could not speak English, except, however, three words, “drop o' rum,” which they reE. with great glee. One of them, with ong hair reaching below the waist, exhibited the posture of drawing a bow; Mr. Maughan described them as being passionate, and showed me a severe wound on his finger which the little one, in the engraving, had given him by biting, while he endeavoured to part him and his countryman, during a quarrel a few days ago. A “female giant” was one of the attractions to this exhibition, but she could not be shown for illness: Miss Hipson described her to be a very good young Woman. There was an appearance of ease and good condition, with content of mind, in the persons composing this show, which induced me to put several questions to them, and I gathered that I was not mistaken in my conjecture. They described themselves as being very comfortable, and that they were taken great care of, and well treated by the proprietor, Mr. Maughan, and his partner in the show. The “little lady” had a thorough good character from Miss Hipson as an affectionate creature; and it seems the females obtained exercise by rising early, and being carried into the country in a post-chaise, where they walked and thus maintained their health. This was to me the most pleasing show in the Fair.
Here I saw a man who balanced chairs on his chin, and holding a knife in his mouth, balanced a sword on the edge of the knife; he then put a pewter plate on the hilt of the sword horizontally, and so balanced the sword with the plate on the edge of the knife as before, the plate having previously received a rotary motion, which it communicated to the sword and was preserved during the balancing. He then balanced the sword and plate in like manner, with a crown-piece placed edgewise between the point of the sword and the knife, and afterwards with two crownpieces, and then with a key. These feats were accompanied by the grimaces of a clown, and succeeded by children tumbling, and a female who danced a horn
ipe. A learned horse found out a lady in the company who wished to be married; a gentleman who preferred a quart of beer to going to church to hear a good sermon; a lady who liked to lie abed in the morning; and made other discoveries which he was requested to undertake by his master in language not only “ offensive to ears polite,” but to common decency. The admission to this show was a penny.
This inscription was in lamps on one of the largest shows in the fair. The display of show-cloths representing some of the animals exhibited within, reached about forty feet in heighth, and extended probably the same width. The admission was sixpence. As a curiosity, and because it is a singularly descriptive list, the printed bill of the show is subjoined.
* MoRE won DERS IN ATKINS’S ROYAL MENAGERIE.
“Under the Patronage of HIS MAJESTY.
The singular and hitherto deemed impossible occurrence of a LION and TIGRESS cohabiting and producing young, has actually taken place in this menagerie, at Windsor. e tigress, on Wednesday, the 27th of October last, produced three fine cubs ; one of them strongly resembles the tigress; the other two are of a lighter colour, but striped. Mr. Atkins had the honour (through the kind intervention of the marquis of Conyngham,) of exhibiting the lion-tigers to his majesty, on the first of November, 1824, at the Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park, when his majesty was pleased to observe, they were the greatest curiosity of the beast creation he ever witnessed. “The royal striped Bengal Tigress has again . three fine cubs, (April 22,) two males and one female: the males are white, but striped; the female resembles the tigress, and singular to observe, she fondles them with all the care of an attentive mother. The sire of the young cubs is the noble male lion. This remarkable instance of subdued temper and association of animals to permit the keeper to enter their den, ins introduce their young to the spectators, is the greatest phenomenon in natural philosophy. “That truly singular and *. animal, the AUROCHOS. Words can only convey but a very confused idea of this animal's shape, for there are few so remarkably formed. Its head is furnished with two large horns, growing from the forehead, in a form peculiar to no other animal; from the nostrils to the forehead, is a stiff tuft of hair, and underneath the jaw to the neck is a similar brush of hair, and between the fore legs is hair growing about a foot and a half leng. The mane is like that of a horse, white, tinged with black, with a beautiful long flowing white tail; the eye remarkably keen, and as large as the eye of the elephant: colour of the animal, dark chesnut; the appearance of the head, in some degree similar to the buffalo, and in some part formed
like the goat, the hoof being divided ; such is the general outline of this quadruped, which seems to partake of several species. This beautiful animal was brought over by captain White, from the south of Africa, and landed in England, September 20, 1823, and is the same animal so frequently mistaken by travellers for the unicorn: further to describe its peculiarities would occupy too much space in a handbill. The only one in ngland. “That colossal animal, the wonderful
Upwards of ten feet high 11–Five tons weight!! His consumption of hay, corn, straw, carrots, water, &c., exceeds 800lbs. daily. The elephant, the human race excepted, is the most respectable of animals. In size, he surpasses all other terrestrial creatures, and by far exceeds any other travelling animal in England. He has ivory tusks, four feet long, one standing out on each side of his trunk. His trunk serves him instead of hands and arms, with which he can lift up and seize the smallest as well as the largest objects. He alone drags machines which six horses cannot move. To his prodigious strength, he adds courage, prudence, and an exact obedience. He remembers favours as long as injuries: in short, the sagacity and knowledge of this extraordinary animal are beyond any thing human imagination can possibly suggest. . He will lie down and get up at the word of command, notwithstanding the many fabulous tales of their having no joints in their legs. He will take a sixpence from the floor, and lace it in a box he has in the caravan; É. and unbolt a door; take his keeper's hat off, and replace it; and by the command of his keeper will perform so many wonderful tricks, that he will not only astonish and entertain the audience, but justly prove himself the half-reasoning beast. He is the only elephant now travelling. “A full grown LION and LIONESS, with four cubs, produced December 12, 1824, at Cheltenham. “Male Bengal Tiger. Next to the lion, the tiger is the most tremendous of the carnivorous class; and whilst he possesses all the bad qualities of the former, seems to be a stranger to the good ones: to pride, to strength, to courage, the lion adds greatness, and sometimes, perhaps, No. 38.
clemency; while the tiger, without provocation, is fierce—without necessity, is cruel. Instead of instinct, he hath nothing but a uniform rage, a blind fury; so blind, indeed, so undistinguishing, that he frequently devours his own progeny; and if the tigress offers to defend them, he tears in pieces the dam herself. “The Onagra, a native of the Levant, the eastern parts of Asia, and the northern parts of Africa. This race differs from the zebra by the size of the body, (which is larger,) slenderness of the legs, and lustre of the hair. The only one now alive in England. “Two Zebras, one full grown, the other in its infant state, in which it seems as if the works of art had been combined with those of nature in this wonderful E. In symmetry of shape, and eauty of colour, it is the most elegant of all quadrupeds ever presented; uniting the graceful figure of a horse, with the fleetness of a stag: beautifully striped with regular lines, black and white. “A Nepaul Bison, only twenty-four inches high. “Panther, or spotted tiger of Buenos Ayres, the only one travelling. “A pair of rattle-tail Porcupines. “Striped untameable Hyaena, or tiger wolf. “An elegant Leopard, the handsomest marked animal ever seen. “Spotted Laughing Hyaena, the same kind of animal described never to be tamed ; but singular to observe, it is perfectly tame, and its attachment to a dog in the same den is very remarkable. “The spotted Cavy. “Pair of Jackalls. “Pair of interesting Sledge Dogs, brought over by captain Parry from one of the northern expeditions: they are used by the Esquimaux to draw the sledges on the ice, which they accomplish with great velocity. “A pair of Rackoons, from North America. “The Oggouta, from Java. “A pair of Jennetts, or wild cats. “The Coatimondi, or ant-eater. “A pair of those extraordinary and rare birds, PELICANS of the wilderness. The only two alive in the three kingdoms. —These birds have been represented on all crests and coats of arms, to cut their breasts open with the points of their bills, and feed their young with their own blood, and are justly allowed by all authors to be the greatest curiosity of the feathered tribe. “Ardea Dubia, or adjutant of Bengal, gigantic emew, or Linnaeus's southern ostrich. The peculiar characteristics that distinguish this bird from the rest of the feathered tribe;—it comes from Brazil, in the new continent; it stands from eight to nine feet high when full grown; it is too large to fly, but is capable o. out-running the fleetest horses of Arabia; what is still more singular, every quill produces two feathers. The only one travelling. “A pair of rapacious Condor-Minors, from the interior of South America, the largest birds of flight in the world when full grown; it is the same kind of bird the Indians have asserted to carry off a deer or young calf in their talons, and two of them are sufficient to destroy a buffalo, and the wings are as much as eighteen feet across. “The great Horned Owl of Bohemia. Several species of gold and silver pheasants, of the most splendid plumage, from China and Peru. Yellow-crested cockatoo. Scarlet and buff macaws.-Admittance to see the whole menagerie, 1s.Children, 6d.—Open from ten in the forenoon till feeding-time, half-past-nine, 2s.” Here ends Atkins's bill; which was plentifully stuck against the outside, and the people “tumbled up" in crowds, to the sound of clarionets, trombones, and a long drum, played by eight performers in scarlet beef-eater coats, with wild-skin caps, who sat fronting the crowd, while a stentorian showman called out “don’t be deceived; the great performing elephant —the only lion and tigress in one den that are to be seen in the Fair, or the prorietor will forfeit a thousand guineasl W. in walk in " I paid my sixpence, and certainly the idea of the exhibition raised by the invitation and the programme, was in no respect overcharged. The “menagerie” was thoroughly clean, and the condition of the assembled animals, told that they were well taken care of. The elephant, with his head through the bars of his cage, whisked his ". diligently in search of eatables from the spectators, who supplied him with fruit or biscuits, or handed him halfpence, which he uniformly conveyed by his trunk to a retailer of gingerbread, and got the money's-worth in return. Then he unbolted the door to let in his keeper,
and bolted it after him; took up a sixpence with his trunk, lifted the lid of a little box fixed against the wall and deposited it within it, and some time afterwards relifted the lid, and taking out the sixpence with a single motion, returned it to the keeper; he knelt down when told, fired off a blunderbuss, took off the keeper's hat, and afterwards replaced it on his head with as fitting propriety as the man's own hand could have done; in short, he was perfectly docile, and performed various feats that justified the reputation of his species for high understanding. The keeper showed every animal in an intelligent manner, and answered the questions of the company readily and with civility. His conduct was rewarded by a good parcel of half
ence, when his hat went round with a
ope, that “the ladies and gentlemen would not forget the keeper before he showed the lion and the tigress.” The latter was a beautiful young animal, with two playful cubs about the size of bulldogs, but without the least fierceness. When the man entered the den, they frolicked and climbed about him like kittens; he took them up in his arms, bolted them in a back apartment, and after playing with the tigress a little, threw back a partition which separated her den from the lion's, and then took the lion by the beard. This was a noble animal; he was couching, and being inclined to take his rest, only answered the keeper's command to rise, by extending his whole length, and playfully putting up one of his mag. nificent paws, as a cat does when in a good humour. The man then took a short whip, and after a smart lash or two upon his back, the lion rose with a yawn, and fixed his eye on his keeper with a look that seemed to say—“ Well, I suppose I must humour you.” The man then sat down at the back of the den, with his back against the partition, and after some ordering and coaxing, the tigress sat on his right hand, and the lion on his left, and, all three being thus seated, he threw his arms round their necks, played with their noses, and laid their heads in his lap. He arose and the animals with him; the lion stood in a fine majestic position, but the tigress reared, and putting one foot over his shoulder, and patting him with the other, as if she had been frolicking with one of her cubs, he was obliged to check her playfulness. Then by coaxing, and pushing him about, he caused the