Immagini della pagina

Pretorium of the Roman Camp near Pentonbille. The pencil of the artist has been em- complete, considering that nearly eighteen ployed to give a correct and picturesque centuries have elapsed since it was formed representation as it now appears, in Sep- by the Roman soldiery. In a short time the tember, 1826, of the last vestige of the spirit of improvement will entirely efface Roman power in this suburb. The view it, and houses and gardens occupy its site. is taken from the north-east angle of the In the fosse of this station, which is prætorium. Until within a few years the overrun with sedge and brake, there is ground about it was unbroken; and, even so pretty a “bit,” to use an artist's word, now, the quadrangle itself is surprisingly that I have caused it to be sketched.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

This may be more pleasantly regarded has long been the Sunday resort of Irishwhen the ancient works themseives have men for the game of foot-ball. vanished. Within a few yards of the Getting back into the New Road, its western side of the fosse, and parallel street which stands on fields I rambled with it, there is raised a mound or rain- in when a boy, leads to “ White Conduitpart of earth. It is in its original state house,” which derives its name from a and covered with verdure. In fine morn- building sti! preserved, I was going to ings a stray valitudinarian or two may be say, but I prefer to say, still standing. seen pacing its summit. Its western slope

[ocr errors]


The White Conduit. Mr. Joseph Fussell who resides within who lived in a handsome house within sight of this little edifice, and whose pencil sight, was at the expense of clearing the took the Roman general's station, and spring for the use of the inhabitants; but, the well, also drew this Conduit ; and because his pulpit opinions were obnoxhis neighbour, Mr. Henry White, engraved ious, some of the neighbouring vulgar the three, as they now present themselves threw loads of soil upon it in the night, to the reader's eye.

which rendered the water impure, and obThe view of the “White Conduit” is structed its channel, and finally ceasing to from the north, or back part, looking flow, the public was deprived of the kindtowards Pentonville, with Pancras new dess he proposed. The building itself church and other buildings in the distance. was in a very perfect state at that time, It was erected over a head of water that and ought to have been boarded up after formerly supplied the Charter-house, and the field it stood in was thrown open. As bore a stone in front inscribed “T. S.” the new buildings proceeded it was inthe initials of Sutton, the founder, with his jured and defaced by idle labourers and arms, and the date « 1641."

boys, from mere wantonness, and reduced. About 1810, the late celebrated Wm. to a mere ruin. There was a kind of Huntington, S.S., of Providence chapel, upper floor or hayloft in it, which was

frequently a shelter to the houseless * Nelson's History of Islington.

wanderer. A few years ago some poor



creatures made it a comfortable hostel for “ White Conduit-house," has ceased to the night, with a little hay. Early in the be a recreation in the good sense of the morning a passing workman perceived word. Its present denomination is the smoke issuing from the crevices, and as “Minor Vauxhall," and its chief attraction he approached heard loud cries from during the passing summer has been Mrs. within. Some mischievous miscreants Bland. She has still powers, and if their had set fire to the fodder beneath the exercise here has been a stay and support sleepers, and afterwards fastened the door to this sweet melodist, so far the establishon the outside : the inmates were scorched ment may be deemed respectable. It is a by the fire, and probably they would all ground for balloon-flying and skittle-playhave been suffocated in a few minutes, if ing, and just maintains itself above the the place had not been broken open. very lowest, so as to be one of the most

The “White Conduit" at this time merely doubtful places of public resort. Recolstands to shame those who had the power, lections of it some years ago are more in and neglected to preserve it. To the its favour. Its tea-gardens then in sumbuildings grown up around, it might mer afternoons, were well accustomed have been rendered a neat ornament, by by tradesmen and their families; they planting a few trees and enclosing the are now comparatively deserted, and inwhole with an iron railing, and have stood stead, there is, at night, a starveling show as a monument of departed worth. This of odd company and coloured lamps

, 3 vicinity was anciently full of springs and mock orchestra with mock singing, dancstone conduits; the erections have long ing in a room wbich decent persons would since gone to decay, and from their many prefer to withdraw their young folks from waters, only one has been preserved, if they entered, and fire-works “ as usual," which is notoriously deficient as a supply which, to say the truth, are usually very to the populous neighbourhood. During good. the heats of summer the inhabitants want this common element in the midst of Such is the present state of a vicinage plenty. The spring in a neighbouring which,“ in my time,” was the pleasantest street is frequently exhausted by three or near spot to the north of London. The meafour o'clock in the afternoon, the handle dow of the “ White Conduit" commanded of the pump is then padlocked till the next an extensive prospect of the Hampstead morning, and the grateful and necessary and Highgate hills, over beautiful pasrefreshment of spring-water is not to be tures and hedge-rows which are now obtained without going miles in search of built on, or converted into brick clamps, another pump. It would seem as if the for the material of irruption on the reparochial powers in this quarter were maining glades. The pleasant views are leagued with publicans and sinners, to wholly obstructed. In a few short years, compel the thirsty to buy deleterious beer London will distend its enormous bulk to and bowel-disturbing “ pop,” or to swal- the heights that overlook its proud low the New River water fresh with in- city; and, like the locusts of old, devour purities from the thousands of people who every green field, and nothing will daily cleanse their foul bodies in the be left to me to admire, of all that I stream, as it lags along for the use of our admired. kitchens and teatables.

[ocr errors]


Written in Bartlemy Fair, at Five o'clock in the morning, in 1810.

The clock-bell tolls the hour of early day,

The lowing herd their Smithfield penance drie,
The watchman homeward plods his weary way

And leaves the fair-all solitude to me!

[blocks in formation]

Save that where sheltered, or from wind or shower,

The lock'd-out 'prentice, or frail nymph complain, Of such as, wandering near their secret bower,

Molest them, sensible in sleep, to pain.

Beneath those ragged tents—that boarded shade,

Which late display'd its stores in tempting heaps; There, children, dogs, cakes, oysters, all are laid,

There, guardian of the whole, the master sļeeps. The busy call of care-begetting morn,

The well-slept passenger's unheeding tread; The showman's clarion, or the echoing horn,

Too soon must rouse them from their lowly bed. Perhaps in this neglected booth is laid

Some head volcanic, oft discharging fire ! Hands—that the rod of magic lately sway'd;

Toes-that so nimbly danc'd upon the wire. Some clown, cr pantaloon-the gazers' jest,

Here, with his train in dirty pageant stood : Some tired-out posture-master here may rest,

Some conjuring swordsman-guiltless of his blood! The applause of listening cockneys to command,

The threats of city-marshal to despise ; To give delight to all the grinning band,

And read their merit in spectators' eyes,

Is still their boast;-nor, haply, theirs alone,

Polito's lions (though now dormant laid) And human monsters, shall acquire renown,

The spotted Negro—and the armless maid ! Peace to the youth, who, slumbering at the Bear,

Forgets his present lot, his perils past: Soon will the crowd again be thronging there,

To view the man on wild Sombrero cast.

Careful their booths, from insult to protect,

These furl their tapestry, late erected high; Nor longer with prodigious pictures deck'd,

They tempt the passing youth's astonish'd eye. But when the day calls forth the belles and beaux,

The cunning showmen each device display, And many a clown the useful notice shows,

To teach ascending strangers--where to pay. Sleep on, ye imps of merriment-sleep on!

In this short respite to your labouring train;
And when this time of annual mirth is gone,
May ye enjoy, in peace, your hard-earned gain ! *

Mean Temperature ... 60 · 40.


• The Morning Chronicle, 1810.

September 3.

On the morning of the fair, as soon as

the day begins to dawn, all is bustle and Purton Fair, Wilts.

confusion throughout the village. Gipsies To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. are first seen with their donkies approach

August 18, 1826. ing the place of rendezvous; then the Dear Sir,-Perhaps you, or some of village rustics in their clean white Sunday your readers, may be acquainted with a smocks, and the lasses with their Sunday small village in the north of Wiltshire, gowns, caps, and ribands, hasten to the called Purton, very pleasantly situated, green, and all is mirth and gaiety. and dear to me, from a child it; being the I cannot pass 'over a very curious chaplace where I passed nearly all my boy. racter who used regularly to visit the fair, ish days. I went to school there, and and I was told by an ancient inhabitant there spent many a pleasant hour which that he had done so for several years. I now think of with sincere delight; and He was an old gipsy who had attained perhaps you will not object to a few par- to high favour with all the younkers of the ticulars concerning a fair held there on the place, from his jocular habits, curious first day of May and the third day of dress, and the pleasant stories he used to September in every year.

relate. He called himself “

Corey The

spot whereon Purton fair is annu- Dyne," or “ Old Corey,” and those are ally celebrated, is a very pleasant little the only names by which he was known. green called the “close,” or play-ground, He was accustomed to place a little hat belonging

to all the unmarried men in the on the ground, from the centre of which village. They generally assemble there rose a stick about three feet high, whereon every evening after the toils of the day to he put either halfpence or a small painted recreate themselves with a few pleasant box, or something equally winning to the sports. Their favourite game is what eye of his little customers. There he they call backswording, in some places stood crying, “ Now who throws with called singlestick. Some few of the vil- poor old Corey-come to Corey-come lage have the good fortune to be adepts to Corey Dyne; only a halfpenny a throw, in that noble art, and are held up as and only once a year!" A boy who had beings of transcendent genius among the purchased the right to throw was placed rustic admirers of that noted science. about three feet from the hat, with a small They have one whom they call their um- piece of wood which he threw at the artipire, to whom all disputes are referred, cle on the stick, and if it fell in the bat, and he always, with the greatest possible (which by the by it was almost invariably impartiality, decides them.

sure to do,) the thrower lost his money; About six years ago, a neighbouring but if out of the hat, on the ground, the farmer, whose orchard joins the green, article from the stick was claimed by the thought that his orchard might be greatly thrower. The good humour of « Old improved. He accordingly set to work, Corey” generally ensured him plenty of pulled down the original wall, and built a

I have oftentimes been a loser new one, not forgetting to take in several with him, but never a winner. I believe feet of the green. The llagers felt great that no one in all Purton knows from indignity at the encroachment, and re- whence he is, although every body is acsolved to claim their rights. They waited quainted with him. till the new wall should be complete, and There was a large show on the place, at in the evening of the same day a party of which the rustics were wont to gaze with about forty marched to the spot armed surprise and admiration. The chief object with great sticks, pickaxes, &c., and very of their wonder was our“ punch.” They deliberately commenced breaking down could not form the slightest idea how the wall. The owner on being apprised little wooden figures could talk and dance of what was passing, assembled all his about; they supposed that there must be domestics and proceeded to the spot, some life in them. I well remember that when a furious scuffle ensued, and several I once undertook to set them right, but serious accidents happened. At last, was laughed at and derided me for my however, the aggressor finding he could presumption, and boast of superior not succeed, proposed a settlement; he knowledge. entirely removed the new wall on the fol- There was also another very merry lowing day, and returned it to the place fellow who frequented the fair by the where the old one stood.

name of “Mr. Merryman." He obtained


« IndietroContinua »