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the church he was the chief contributor. Hammersmith Church is by no means a handsome building1, but with the trees about it its appearance is rather picturesque. Among other noteworthy monuments are those of Arthur Murphy, and Thomas Worlidge, celebrated for his etchings. Bubb Dodington and other men of rank and notoriety have memorials here.
About a mile below Hammersmith we come upon the grounds of Barnes Elms. In the reign of Elizabeth it belonged to her astute minister, Sir Francis Walsingham, who had the honour of here receiving his mistress more than once as his guest. His daughter Frances had the singular fortune of being successively the wife of three of the most distinguished men of that age of remarkable men: Sir Philip Sidney; Robert Devereux, the famous and unfortunate Earl of Essex (who resided for some time at Barnes Elms); and the Marquis of Clanricarde. Barnes Elms, it will be remembered, was the place to which Cowley first retired when he resolved on a country life—what would be thought of a country life there now! In the grounds there is a memorial of Cowley, which seems a straining of complacency, seeing how unanimously Cowley's biographers have dispraised the place. A house close by was the residence of Jacob Tonson, the bookseller, and here the Kit-Cat Club held its original meetings; the room which was built especially for the meetings was hung round with Kneller's famous portraits of the members.
On approaching Putney Bridge there will be noticed, on the right bank, a long stand-like erection; it marks the starting-place of the Thames Regatta: the race is up the stream; the suspensionBridge is the goal for wherries, the Willow Ait for cutters. One of these annual trials of skill is worth anyone's witnessing. The Thames watermen are masters of their craft; and they are as resolute as they are skilful. The style in which they manage the flimsy boats, sitting in them and wielding them as though a part of themselves, and the unflinching energy of the struggle for victory, are quite a study in their way. Poor Haydon used to declare that for any English animal—" from an historical painter to a bulldog"—to be worth anything, he must possess, as an essential attribute, "plenty of bottom." There is no lack of this attribute in our boatmen now, and one may fancy there never was. Two centuries ago, that prince of Thames watermen, glorious John Taylor, ventured on " a voyage in a boat of brown paper from London to Queenborough," accomplished.it in safety, and wrote a merry account of it afterwards. We have no such literary watermen in these days, but I doubt if we have not some who would " handle their oars with skill and dexterity," at least equal to his. Five or six years ago, an English amateur of aquatics, being a little provoked by some Hollanders who vaunted of the surpassing skill of their boatmen, offered to find a Thames waterman who should beat any four in Holland ;—he being in a wherry, they of course in a four-oared cutter. The challenge was at once accepted. A Thames boatman and his boat were put on board a Dutch steamer, and in due time landed. The Dutchmen were surprised at the lightness of the London wherry (which only weighed about half a hundredweight); but four against one seemed such favourable odds, that they stepped into their clumsy cutter with all possible Dutch alacrity. The day was fair, and the water smooth. When the signal was given, the Thames champion went off like an arrow. "The panting crew toiled after him in vain." Every stroke increased the distance, and the Englishman won without his opponents having even a momentary chance of success. But the Dutchmen naturally enough thought their defeat to be owing rather to the clumsiness of their boat than their own inferior skill. They procured a Thames-built cutter of the best construction, and practised in it till they felt assured of the mastery. They requested a repetition of the contest, which the others nothing loth agreed to. The Englishman with his boat again went to Holland. But this time the day fixed proved to be very stormy, and it seemed hardly possible for the flimsy wherry to live in such rough water. His backer would have given up the contest, but the Briton was resolved to " try." He asked to be allowed to put canvas over the boat to repel the waves, but it was refused. They started, and Thames rowed manfully, but it was in vain. The weight of the four told in their cutter, and they drew steadily ahead. Wherever the bank gave a little shelter, the Englishman gained rapidly, but such places were few. The water kept filling his boat, but the " essential attribute" never failed, and he scorned to give in. He rowed with one hand, and baled out the water with the other; till the wrist of his rowing hand swelled to double its natural size. Still he kept on, and though the distance rowed was considerable, he reached the winning post very soon after his opponents. The Dutch were gallant fellows, and cheered him
heartily. The time he stayed in their country, he was a little lion among them; but they declined all offers to repeat the match. They were quite satisfied, they said.
I hope my readers do not think that long story too long, or outof place. If we talked of Thames swans in the upper part of the river, surely Thames watermen ought not to be omitted in the lower—and that story seems to me a good illustration of the characteristics of the fraternity. Great is the change within these twenty years in the state of the watermen on the Thames. John Taylor lived at a time when coaches were coming into use, and he utters doleful lamentations over the approaching ruin of his trade. Doubtless they did produce a wonderful alteration in the amount of traffic on "the silent highway." But the change in our time is of a different kind. Bridges and tunnels have been so increased, that very few people about London now think of crossing the Thames in a boat; and the steamers have equally destroyed the traffic up and down the river. The spectator, who looks with wonder on the skill of the best men at the Thames Regatta, doubts not for a moment that, it is acquired and kept up by incessant practice. But it is not so. The most skilful, steady, and industrious watermen—and the skilful men are generally both-—are unable now to earn a living at their business. They keep their boats if they can, or else borrow one when they require it, but their dependence is on other work than rowing. Most of the London watermen are fellowship porters, or river-pilots, or have some other river-side occupation :—but they continue attached to some particular stairs, though seldom to be found at them. For example, Newell, one of the best watermen on the Thames—the man who so gallantly rowed against the Dutchmen—is a fellowship porter: being a St. Olave's man, he 'hails' from Battle Stairs, but may more commonly be seen at work as a porter along-shore there—except during part of the summer, when he is employed as coxswain by Lord Kilmorey.
Thus do our Thames watermen now manage to gain a hard-earned subsistence, exactly in the spirit, though not in the manner, of their poetic predecessor. Thus resolutely sang sturdy John Taylor:
"Let trencher-poets scrape for their base vails,
The Thames just here is remarkably picturesque. On one side is a line of irregular buildings; on the other, the stately trees of the Bishop's Walks. In front is a rude many-arched wooden bridge, having a weather-beaten church at either end of it. Altogether Putney bridge with the two churches and the surrounding scenery is one of the more rememberable views on the lower part of the Thames.
Antiquaries have fixed an uncleanly etymology upon Fulham: "Fulham, quasi Foul-ham, because it is a dirty place." It does not concern us to find a daintier derivation, but this is certainly unsustained by the present condition of the place. Fulham has been an appendage to the see of London, from a period long anterior to the Conquest. "Anciently," says Selden, "the bishops' houses were built by the water-side, because they