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And the naiadlike lily of the vale,
where it did, looking into a discoloured To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
dingy garden in the passage leading from
Fetter Lane into Bartlett's Buildings. It Dear Sir,
is still a School, though the main prop, I read your account of this unfortunate alas ! has fallen so ingloriously; and bears Being, and his forlorn piece of self-history, a Latin inscription over the entrance in with that smile of half-interest which the the Lane, which was unknown in our Annals of Insignificance excite, till I humbler times. Heaven knows what came to where he says “I was bound "languages” were taught in it then; I apprentice to Mr. William Bird, an emi. am sure that neither my Sister nor mynent writer and Teacher of languages and self brought any out of it, but a little of Mathematics," &c.—when I started as our native English. By“ mathematics," one does on the recognition of an old reader, must be understood “cyphering." acquaintance in a supposed stranger. It was in fact a humble day-school, at This then was that Starkey of whom I which reading and writing were taught have heard my Sister relate so many plea- to us boys in the morning, and the same sant anecdotes; and whom, never having slender erudition was communicated to seen,
I yet seem almost to remember. the girls, our sisters, &c. in the evening. For nearly fifty years she had lost all Now Starkey presided, under Bird, over sight of him—and behold the gentle both establishments. In my time, Mr. Usher of her youth, grown into an aged Cook, now or lately a respectable Singer Beggar, dubbed with an opprobrious title, and Performer at Drury-lane Theatre, to which he had no pretensions; an ob- and Nephew to Mr. Bird, had succeeded ject, and a May game! To what base to him. I well remember Bird. He purposes may we not return! What may was a squat, corpulent, middle-sized man, not have been the meek creature's suffer- with something of the gentleman about ings—what his wanderings—before he him, and that peculiar mild tone—espefinally settled down in the comparative cially while he was inflicting punishment comfort of an old Hospitaller of the --which is so much more terrible to chilAlmonry of Newcastle ? And is poor dren, than the angriest looks and gestures. Starkey dead ?
Whippings were not frequent; but when I was a scholar of that“ eminent writer” they took place, the correction was perthat he speaks of; but Starkey had quitted formed in a private room adjoining, the school about a year before I came to whence we could only hear the plaints, it. Still the odour of his merits had left a but saw nothing. This heightened the fragrancy upon the recollection of the decorum and the solemnity. But the elder pupils.
The school-room stands ordinary public chastisement was the
bastinado, a stroke or two on the palm seems, he was not always the abject with that almost obsolete weapon now, thing he came to. My Sister, who well the ferule. A ferule was a sort of flat remembers him, can hardly forgive Mr. ruler, widened at the inflicting end into Thomas Ranson for making an etching so a shape resembling a pear,—but nothing unlike her idea of him, when he was a like so sweet-with a delectable hole in youthful teacher at Mr. Bird's school. the middle, to raise blisters, like a cup- Old age and poverty—a life-long poverty ping-glass. I have an intense recollection she thinks, could at no time have so eiof that disused instrument of torture- faced the marks of native gentility, which and the malignancy, in proportion to the were once so visible in a face, otherwise apparent mildness, with which its strokes strikingly ugly, thin, and care-worn. were applied. The idea of a rod is From her recollections of him, she thinks accompanied with something ludicrous; that he would have wanted bread, before but by no process can I look back upon he would have begged or borrowed a this blister-raiser with any thing but un- halfpenny. If any of the girls (she says) mingied horror.-To make him look more who were my school-fellows should be formidable if a pedagogue had need of reading, through their aged spectacles, these heightenings—Bird wore one of tidings from the dead of their youthful those flowered Indian gowns, formerly in friend Starkey, they will feel a pang, as I use with schoolmasters; the strange fi- do, at ever having teased his gentle spirit. gures upon which we used to interpret They were big girls, it seems, too old to into hieroglyphics of pain and suffering attend his instructions with the silence But boyish fears apart--Bird I believe necessary; and however old age, and a was in the main a humane and judicious long state of beggary, seem to have remaster.
duced his writing faculties to a state of imO, how I remember our legs wedged becility, in those days, his language occain to those uncomfortable sloping desks, sivnally rose to the bold and figurative, for where we sat elbowing each other and when he was ia despair to stop their chatthe injunctions to attain a free hand, un- tering, his ordinary phrase was, “ Ladies, if attainable in that position; the first copy you will not hold your peace, not all the I wrote after, with its moral lesson “ Art powers in heaven can make you.". Once improves Nature;" the still earlier pot. he was missing for a day or two; he had hooks and the hangers some traces of run away. A little old unhappy-looking which I fear may yet be apparent in this man brought him back-it was his father manuscript; the truant looks side.long to -and he did no business in the school the garden, which seemed a mockery of that day, but sate moping in a corner, our imprisonment; the prize for best with his hands before his face; and the spelling, which had almost turned my girls, his tormentors, in pity for his case, head, and which to this day I cannot re- for the rest of that day forbore to annoy flect
upon without a vanity, which I ought him. I had been there but a few months to be ashamed of-our little leaden ink. (adds she) when Starkey, who was the stands, not separately subsisting, but chief instructor of us girls, communicated sunk into the desks; the bright, punctu- to us as a profound secret, that the traally-washed morning fingers, darkening gedy of “Cato" was shortly to be acted by gradually with another and another ink- the elder boys, and that we were to be spot: what a world of little associated invited to the representation. That Starcircumstances, pains and pleasures min- key lent a helping hand in fashioning the gling their quotas of pleasure, arise at actors, she remembers; and but for his the reading of those few simple words- unfortunate person, he might have had “Mr. William Bird, an eminent Writer some distinguished part in the scene to and Teacher of languages and mathema- enact; as it was, he had the arduous task tics in Fetter Lane, Holborn !"
of prompter assigned to him, and his Poor Starkey, when young, had that feeble voice was heard clear and distinct, peculiar stamp of old-fashionedness in his repeating the text during the whole perface, which makes it impossible for a formance. She describes her recollection beholder to predicate any particular age of the cast of characters even now with a in the object. You can scarce make a relish. Martia, by the handsome Edgar guess between seventeen and seven and Hickman, who afterwards went to Africa, thirty. This antique cast always seems and of whom she never afterwards heard to promise ill-luck and periury. Yet it tidings,-Lucia, by Master Walker, whose
sister was her particular friend ; Cato, by penury into dejection and teebleness. He John Hunter, a masterly declaimer, but a might have proved a useful adjunct, if not plain boy, and shorter by the head than an ornament to Society, if Fortune had his two sons in the scene, &c. In con- taken him into a very little fostering, but clusion, Starkey appears to have been one wanting that, he became a Captain-a of those mild spirits, which, not originally by-word-and lived, and died, a broken deficient in understanding, are crushed by bulrush.
-The sprightly youth
Coming from the city, on the left-hand surrounded by trees, with an arcade diside of the City-road, just beyond Old- vided off into boxes for privately dressing street, and immediately at the back of and undressing; and is therefore, both in St. Luke's hospital, Peerless Pool magnitude and convenience, the greatest flows unseen,
bathing-place in the metropolis. Here
the lover of cleanliness, or of a “cool dip” And wastes its waters in the silver Thames.
in a hot day, may at all times, for a shilIt is a pleasure-bath in the open air, ling, enjoy the refreshment he desires, a hundred and seventy feet long, and without the offensive publicity, and withupwards of a hundred feet wide, nearly out the risk of life, attendant on river
bathing; while there is “ample room world;” and “ in reference to the imand verge enough" for all the sports and provements he had made on the ruins of delights which“ swimmers only know.” that once Perilous Pond, and by a very It is no where so deep as five feet, and natural transition, he changed that dison one side only three; the experienced agreeable appellation of Perilous,“that is,” and the inexperienced are alike safe. says Maitland, “ dangerous, or kazardous, There is likewise a capacious cold-bath in to the more agreeable name of Peerless an adjacent building, for the use of those Pool, that is, Matchless Bath, a name who prefer a temperature below that of which carries its own reason with it." the atmosphere.
Maitland says, that Kemp“ spared no
expense nor contrivance to render it quite Peerless Pool is distinguished for having private and retired from public inspecbeen one of the ancient springs that sup- tion, decent in its regulation, and as genplied the metropolis with water, when teel in its furniture as such a place could our ancestors drew that essential element be made.” He added a cold-bath, gefrom public conduits ; that is to say, be- nerally allowed,” says Maitland,“ to be fore the “ old” water-works at London- the largest in England, being forty feet bridge" commenced to be," or the “New long, and twenty feet broad; this bath is River" had been brought to London by supplied by a remarkably cold spring, sir Hugh Myddelton. The streams of with a convenient room for dressing." this “ pool" at that time were conveyed, The present cold-bath, faced with marble for the convenience of the inhabitants and paved with stone, was executed by near Lothbury, through pipes terminating sir William Staines, when he was a “ close to the south-west corner of the journeyman mason. He was afterwards church."* Stow speaks of it as a “cleere lord mayor of London, and often boasted water, called Perilous Pord, because," of this, while he smoked his pipe at the says our chronicler, “ divers youths, by Jacob's-well in Barbican, as amongst his swimming therein, have been drowned.”+
66 best work." Upon Saterday the 19 of January, 1633, Kemp's improvements provided an ensixe pretty young lads, going to sport trance to it across a bowling-green on the themselves upon the frozen Ducking- south side, through a neat marble pavipond, neere to Clearkenwell, the ice too lion or saloon, 'thirty feet long, with a weake to support them, fell into the large gilt sconce over a marble table. water, concluding their pastime with the Contiguous to this saloon were the dresslamentable losse of their lives : to the ing apartments, some of which were open, great griefe of many that saw them dying, others were private with doors. There many more that afterward saw them dead, was also a green bower on each side of with the in-expressible griefe of their the bath, divided into other apartments parents.". In consequence of such acci- for dressing. At the upper end was a dents, and the worthy inhabitants of circus-bench, capable of accommodating Lothbury having obtained their water forty persons, under the cover of a wal
. from other sources, Perilous Pond was twelve feet high, surmounted on one side entirely filled up, and rendered useless, by a lofty bank with shrubs, and encirtill Mr. William Kemp," an eminent cled by a terrace-walk planted with limejeweller and citizen of London,” “after trees at the top. The descent to the ten years' experience of the temperature" bath was by four pair of marble stairs, as of this water, and the happy success of it still is, to a fine gravel-bottom, through getting clear of a violent pain of the head which the springs gently bubbled and by bathing in it, to which he had for supplied, as they do at this time, the many years been subject, was generously entire basin with the crystal fluid. Hither led for public benefit" to open the spring many a “ lover and preserver” of health in the year 1743, and “to form the com- and long life, and many an admirer of pletest swimming-bath in the whole calm retreat, resorted “ever and anon:”
And in hyghe sommer eueriche daye I wene,
Scapyng the hot son's euer bemyng face,
Stow's Survey, edit. 1633,p. ll.
• Ibid. f. 782
And in a solempne lyghte, through braunches grene
In quyet, sytting on a lytel stole,
Wythin an arbre, where bryddes onlie bene
That alway wellyd there, and made a peerlesse poole. The most remarkable feature of Peer- tribe, wherein subscribers and frequenters less Pool, to the public eye, was a noble of either the pleasure or the cold-bath fish-pond, constructed by Kemp, due east were privileged to angle. On each side and west. It was three hundred and
was a high slope or bank, with thousands twenty feet long, ninety-three feet broad, of variegated shrubs, terminated at the and eleven feet deep, stocked with carp, top by a gravelled walk between stately tench, and a great variety of the finny lime-trees :
These beautiful plantations shadow'd all;
Inviting entrance. At the head of the fish-pond, westward, both that and the cold-bath retain their stood the house that Kemp built for his ancient capabilities. Indeed, the attracown residence, with a garden and orchard tions to the pleasure-bath are undimiof pears and apple-trees, and walled nished. Its size is the same as in Kemp's round. It was a handsome old-country- time, and trees enough remain to shade 'squire-like building, very similar to the the visitor from the heat of the sun while present parsonage-house of St. Luke's in on the brink, irresolute whether to plunge Helmet-row; the back-front looked upon gloriously in, or ignobly walk down the the water, and had an arch in the em- steps. On a summer evening it is amusbankment on that side, beneath which ing to survey the conduct of the bathers : two boats, kept for the accommodation of some boldly dive; others
“ timorous gentlemen of the rod and line, were stand," and then descend step by step, drawn in at night.
unwillingly and slow.” Choice swimMr. Kemp expired before his lease; mers attract attention by divings and but he left property to his family, and somersets, and the whole sheet of water his son in possession of the “Pool," and sometimes rings with merriment. Every of his lease. He was not so successful as fine Thursday and Saturday afternoon in his father; and after him the premises the summer, columns of blue-coat boys, were held by a person named Taylor, more than three score in each, headed by and subsequently by one Crewe. At the their respective beadles, arrive, and some expiration of his lease, a new lease upon half-strip themselves ere they reach their building terms was obtained of St. Bar- destination; the rapid plunges they make tholomew's hospital, at a rental of 6001. into the pool, and their hilarity in the per annum, by Mr. Joseph Watts, the bath, testify their enjoyment of the tepid present occupier and proprietor of the fluid. baths, who, to remunerate himself, set about “improving,” by draining the fish Mr. John Cleghorn, of Chapman-street, pond, pulling down Kemp's house, and Islington, the architectural draftsman and felling the trees. He built Baldwyn-street engraver, was resident near Peerless Pool on the site of the fish-pond; Bath-build- many years. There being no representings on the ground of Kemp's orchard; ation of the fish-pond and house, as they and erected other adjoining streets; pre- remained within the recollection of himserving the baths as he found them, and self and the editor of the Every-Day Book, in many respects improving them. The this gentleman, whose taste and knowpleasure-bath is still a pleasant spot, and ledge of perspective have by the pencil