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Fleet Street Tributaries.}
THE MEMORY OF MR. FISHER.
have been on their knees in their own far-away | barrister friend by a noisy illumination-night crowd. Gloucestershire abbey, history does not choose to The street boys began firing a volley of squibs at record. The sign of their inn was the “Poppin the young curate, who found all hope of escape gaye” (popinjay, parrot), and in 1602 (last year of barred, and dreaded the pickpockets, who take rapid Elizabeth) the alley was called Poppingay Alley. advantage of such temporary embarrassments; but That excellent man Van Mildert (then a poor his good-natured exclamation, “Ah! here you are, curate, living in Ely Place, afterwards Bishop of popping away in Poppin's Court !” so pleased the Durham-a prelate remarkable for this above all crowd that they at once laughingly opened a pashis many other Christian virtues, that he was not sage for him. “Sic me servavit Apollo,” he used proud) was once driven into this alley with a young afterwards to add when telling the story.
FLEET STREET TRIBUTARIES-SOUTH.
Worthy Mr. Fisher-Lamb's Wednesday Evenings-Persons one would wish to have seen-Ram Alley-Serjeants' Inn-The Daily Nexus
"Memory" Woodfall--A Mug-Housc Riot--Richardson's Printing Office-Fielding and Richardson-Johnson's Estimate of Richardson-, Hogarth and Richardson's Guest--An Egotist Rebuked- The King's “Housewife"-Caleb Colton : his Life, Works, and Sentiments,
FALCON COURT, Fleet Street, took its name from Street till 1809, when he removed to Inner Temple an inn which bore the sign of the “Falcon.” This Lane. passage formerly belonged to a gentleman named It was whilst Lamb was residing in Mitre Court Fisher, who, out of gratitude to the Cordwainers' Buildings that those Wednesday evenings of his Company, bequeathed it to them by will. His were in their glory. In two of Mr. Hazlitt's papers gratitude is commonly said to have arisen from the are graphic pictures of these delightful Wednesdays number of good dinners that the Company had and the Wednesday men, and admirable notes of given him. However this may be, the Cordwainers several choice conversations. There is a curious are the present owners of the estate, and are under sketch in one of a little tilt between Coleridge and the obligation of having a sermon preached annu- Holcroft, which must not be omitted. “Coleridge ally at the neighbouring church of St. Dunstan, on was riding the high German horse, and demonthe 10th of July, when certain sums are given to strating the Categories of the Transcendental
Formerly it was the custom to drink sack Philosophy' to the author of The Road to Ruin, in the church to the pious memory of Mr. Fisher, who insisted on his knowledge of German and but this appears to have been discontinued for a German metaphysics, having read the “Critique considerable period. This Fisher was a jolly fellow, of Pure Reason' in the original. "My dear Mr. if all the tales are true which are related of him, Holcroft,' said Coleridge, in a tone of infinitely as, besides the sack-drinking, he stipulated that provoking conciliation, you really put me in mind the Cordwainers should give a grand feast on the of a sweet pretty German girl of about fifteen, in same day yearly to all their tenants. What a quaint the Hartz Forest, in Germany, and who one day, picture might be made of the church wardens in as I was reading “The Limits of the Knowable the old church drinking to the memory of Mr. and the Unknowable," the profoundest of all his Fisher ! Wynkyn de Worde, the father of printing works, with great attention, came behind my chair, in England, lived in Fleet Street, at his messuage and leaning over, said, “What! you read Kant? or inn known by the sign of the Falcon. Whether Why, I, that am a German born, don't underit was the inn that stood on the site of Falcon stand him!” This was too much to bear, and Court is not known with certainty, but most pro- Holcroft, starting up, called out, in no measured bably it was.
tone, ‘Mr. Coleridge, you are the most eloquent Charles Lamb came to 16, Mitre Court Build- man I ever met with, and the most troublesome ings in 1800, after leaving Southampton Buildings, with your eloquence.' Phillips held the cribbageand remained in that quiet harbour out of Fleet peg, that was to mark the game, suspended in his
hand, and the whist-table was silent for a moment. and slippers, and to exchange friendly greeting with I saw Holcroft downstairs, and on coming to the them. At this Ayrton laughed outright, and conlanding-place in Mitre Court he stopped me to ceived Lamb was jesting with him ; but as no one
l observe that he thought Mr. Coleridge a very followed his example he thought there might be clever man, with a great command of language, something in it, and waited for an explanation in but that he feared he did not always affix very a state of whimsical suspense. proper ideas to the words he used. After he was “When Lamb had given his explanation, some gone we had our laugh out, and went on with the one inquired of him if he could not see from the argument on “The Nature of Reason, the Imagi- window the Temple walk in which Chaucer used nation, and the Will.' . . . . It would make a to take his exercise, and on his name being put supplement to the ‘Biographia Literaria,' in a to the vote I was pleased to find there was a volume and a half, octavo."
general sensation in his favour in all but Ayrton, It was at one of these Wednesdays that Lamb who said something about the ruggedness of the started his famous question as to persons “one metre, and even objected to the quaintness of the would wish to have seen.” It was a suggestive orthography. . topic, and proved a fruitful one. Mr. Hazlitt, who “Captain Burney muttered something about was there, has left an account behind him of the Columbus, and Martin Burney hinted at the kind of talk which arose out of this hint, so lightly Wandering Jew; but the last was set aside as thrown out by the author of “ 'Elia,” and it is spurious, and the first made over to the New worth giving in his own words :
World. “On the question being started, Ayrton said, “I should like,' said Mr. Reynolds, 'to have I suppose the two first persons you would choose seen Pope talking with Patty Blount, and I have to see would be the two greatest names in English seen Goldsmith.' Every one turned round to look literature, Sir Isaac Newton and Locke?' In this at Mr. Reynolds, as if by so doing they too could Ayrton, as usual, reckoned without his host. get a sight of Goldsmith. Every one burst out a-laughing at the expression of “ Erasmus Phillips, who was deep in a game of Lamb's face, in which impatience was restrained piquet at the other end of the room, whispered to by courtesy ‘Y-yes, the greatest names,' he Martin Burney to ask if Junius would not be a stammered out hastily ; ' but they were not persons fit person to invoke from the dead. “Yes,' said
-not persons.' Not persons ?' said Ayrton, Lamb, provided he would agree to lay aside his looking wi and foolish at the same time, afraid his mask.' triumph might be premature. "That is,' rejoined “We were now at a stand for a short time, when Lamb, ‘not characters, you know. By Mr. Locke Fielding was mentioned as a candidate. Only one, and Sir Isaac Newton you mean the “Essay on however, seconded the proposition. • Richardthe Human Understanding” and “ Principia,” son?' By all means; but only to look at him which we have to this day. Beyond their contents, through the glass door of his back-shop, hard at there is nothing personally interesting in the men. work upon one of his novels (the most extraorBut what we want to see any one bodily for is dinary contrast that ever was presented between an when there is something peculiar, striking in the author and his works), but not to let him come individuals, more than we can learn from their behind his counter, lest he should want you to turn writings and yet are curious to know. I dare say customer; nor to go upstairs with him, lest he Locke and Newton were very like Kneller's portraits should offer to read the first manuscript of “ Sir of them; but who could paint Shakespeare ?' Charles Grandison,” which was originally written in * Ay,' retorted Ayrton, there it is. Then I sup- twenty-eight volumes octavo; or get out the letters pose you would prefer seeing him and Milton of his female correspondents to prove that “ Joseph instead ?' 'No,' said Lamb, neither; I have seen Andrews
was low.' so much of Shakespeare on the stage.' 'I “ There was but one statesman in the whole of shall guess no more,' said Ayrton. “Who is it, then, English history that any one expressed the least you would like to see “in his habit as he lived," desire to see-Oliver Cromwell, with his fine, frank, if you had your choice of the whole range of rough, pimply face and wily policy-and one English literature ?' Lamb then named Sir enthusiast, John Bunyan, the immortal author of Thomas Brown and Fulke Greville, the friend of “The Pilgrim's Progress.' Sir Philip Sidney, as the two worthies whom he “Of all persons near our own time, Garrick's should feel the greatest pleasure to encounter on name was received with the greatest enthusiasm. the floor of his apartment in their night-gowns He presently superseded both Hogarth and
Fleet Street Tributaries.)
THE DOVE AND THE SERPENT.
Handel, who had been talked of, but then it was leges by agreeing that peers might be attached on condition that he should sit in tragedy and upon process for contempt out of Chancery. In comedy, in the play and the farce,-Lear and 1723 (George I.) the inn was highly aristocratic, Wildair, and Abel Drugger.
its inmates being the Lord Chief Justice, the Lord “ “ Lamb inquired if there was any one that was Chief Baron, justices, and serjeants. In 1730, hanged that I would choose to mention, and I however, the fickle serjeants removed to Chancery answered, 'Eugene Aram.'”
Lane, and Adam, the architect of the Adelphi, The present Hare Place was the once dis- designed the present nineteen houses and the reputable Ram Alley, the scene of a comedy of present street frontage. On the site of the hall that name, written by Lodowick Barry and drama- arose the Amicable Assurance Society, which in tised in the reign of James I.; the plot Killigrew 1865 transferred its business to the Economic, and afterwards used in his vulgar Parson's Wedding. the house is now the Norwich Union Office. The Barry, an Irishman, of whom nothing much is inn is a parish in itself, making its own assessment, known, makes one of his roystering characters say,—and contributing to the City rates. Its pavement,
which had been part of the stonework of Old And rough Ram Alley stinks with cooks' shops vile ;
St. Paul's, was not replaced till 1860. The conYet, stay, there's many a worthy lawyer's chamber
servative old inn retained its old dim lamps long 'Buts on Ram Alley."
after the introduction of gas. As a precinct of Whitefriars, Ram Alley en- The arms of Serjeants' Inn, worked into the joyed the mischievous privilege of sanctuary for iron gate opening on Fleet Street, are a dove and a murderers, thieves, and debtors—indeed, any class serpent, the serpent twisted into a kind of true of rascals except traitors—till the fifteenth century. lover's knot. The lawyers of Serjeants' Inn, no After this it sheltered
it sheltered only debtors. Barry doubt, unite the wisdom of the serpent with the speaks of its cooks, salesmen, and laundresses; guilelessness of the dove. Singularly enough Dr. and Shadwell classes it (Charles II.) with Pye Dodd, the popular preacher, who was hanged, bore Corner, as the resort of “rascally stuff.” Lord arms nearly similar. Clarendon, in his autobiography, describes the Half way down Bouverie Street, in the centre of Great Fire as burning on the Thames side as far as old Whitefriars, is the office of the Daily News. the “ new buildings of the Inner Temple next to The first number of this popular and influential Whitefriars,” striking next on some of the build- paper appeared on January 21, 1846. The pubings which joined to Ram Alley, and sweeping lishers, and part proprietors, were Messrs. Bradall those into Fleet Street. In the reign of bury and Evans; the principal editor was Charles George I. Ram Alley was full of public-houses, Dickens; the manager was Dickens's father; the and was a place of no reputation, having passages second, or assistant editor, Douglas Jerrold; and into the Temple and Serjeants' Inn. “A kind of among the other “leader” writers and contributors privileged place for debtors," adds Hatton, “ before were Albany Fonblanque and John Forster, both the late Act of Parliament (9 & 10 William III. of the Examiner. “Father Prout” (Mahoney) C. 17, S. 15) for taking them away." This useful acted as Roman correspondent. The musical Act swept out all the London sanctuaries, those critic was the late Mr. George Hogarth, Dickens's vicious relics of monastic rights, including Mitre father-in-law; and the new journal had an “ Irish Court, Salisbury Court (Fleet Street), the Savoy, Famine Commissioner” in the person of Mr. R. Fulwood Rents (Holborn), Baldwin's Gardens H. Horne, the poet. Miss Martineau wrote leading (Gray's Inn Lane), the Minories, Deadman's Place, articles in the new paper for several years, and Mr. Montague Close (Southwark), the Clink, and the M‘Cullagh Torrens was also a recognised conMint in the same locality. The Savoy and the tributor. The staff of Parliamentary reporters was Mint, however, remained disreputable a generation said to be the best in London, several having been or two later.
taken, at advanced salaries, off the Times. Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, now deserted by the “ The speculative proprietorship,” says Mr. faithless serjeants, is supposed to have been Grant, in his “ History of the Newspaper Press," given to the Dean and Chapter of York in 1409 was divided into one hundred shares, some of (Henry IV.). It then consisted of shops, &c. In which were held by Sir William Jackson, M.P., 1627 (Charles I.) the inn began its legal career Sir Joshua Watkins, and the late Sir Joseph Paxton. by being leased for forty years to nine judges and Mr. Charles Dickens, as editor, received a salary fifteen serjeants. In this hall, in 1629, the judges of £2,000 a year.” in full bench struck a sturdy blow at feudal privi- The early numbers of the paper contained instalments of Dickens's “ Pictures from Italy ;' paper, was in effect three halfpence. One of the yet the new venture did not succeed. Charles features of the new plan was that the sheet Dickens and Douglas Jerrold took the night-work should vary in size, according to the requirements on alternate days; but Dickens, who never made of the day—with an eye, nevertheless, at all politics a special study, very soon retired from times to selection and condensation. the editorship altogether, and Jerrold was chief bold attempt, carried out with great intelligence editor for a little while, till he left to set up his and spirit ; but it was soon found necessary to put
It was a
Weekly Newspaper. Mr. Forster also held the on another halfpenny, and in a year or two the
, editorship for a short period, and the paper then Daily News was obliged to return to the usual fell into the hands of the late Mr. Dilke, of the price of “ dailies” at that time—fivepence. The Athenæum, who excited some curiosity by extensively chief editors of the paper, besides those already advertising these words : "See the Daily News of mentioned, have been Mr. Eyre Evans Crowe, June ist.” The Daily News of June 1, 1846 Mr. Frederick Knight Hunt, Mr. Weir, and Mr. (which began No. I again), was a paper of four Thomas Walker, who retired in January, 1870, on pages, issued at 21d., which, deducting the stamp, receiving the editorship of the London Gazette. The at that time affixed to every copy of every news- ' journal came down to a penny in June, 1868.