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my lot, but resolved to do so, and I found that this resolution took away half its hardship. I recalled one of the Promises your mamma has often read to you, which I had chosen to forget-that, as our day is, so, if we will it, shall our strength be. From that time I no longer gave way to despair, but struggled on, doing my very best in reliant trust and hope. And—you see, my children, you know how we have been brought through we have regained all we had lost, even former friends ; content, plenty, and peace are ours, and those dark days are remembered but as a dream."

That these words of Adam Grainger could be heard by all, who, like him, feel tempted to believe they are abandoned of Heaven! Oh! let the would-be suicide remember them to his comfort, and stay his hand.

Though his spirit be faint and weary and his health shattered; though hope has flown far away, and he looks around him, and finds nowhere, under the four winds of heaven, to turn to for comfort or rest; and so despair has laid hold upon him, and he seizes, in his madness, the fatal weapon that will end his woes in this life ; even at that last dread moment, LET HIM STAY HIS HAND: he knows not what an hour may bring forth, what God's compassion may have in store for him.

THE RENAISSANCE AT ALNWICK CASTLE.

THE present age is hardly less marked by its great utilitarian works of applied science and mechanical skill, than by a revived taste for architecture, and an outward homage, if not an advancing love, for art; and while legislators and Royal Commissioners of Fine Arts are still devising such adornments for their pile of profuse workmanship--the new palace at old regal Westminster-as may recal the splendour of the Plantagenets, the Duke of Northumberland is transforming the northern stronghold of his ancestors in the spirit in which Augustus transformed Rome, and is bringing to the adornment of Alnwick Castle such decorative arts of Italy as the martial Percys never knew.

Umbrian art is said to have been brought to England by the Romans, and to have once flourished in the territory that afterwards became the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria ; the arts again came from Italy to this remote region not long after its conversion to Christianity (or nearly twelve centuries ago), in the service of the Anglo-Saxon Church; and now Italy gives her Renaissance decoration to the chief edifice of Northumberland-a country where, perhaps, for twelve hundred years Italian artists have not been seen engaged on native works. As Leonardo da Vinci and subsequent great masters of Italy enriched the châteaux of French kings with productions to which the development of native talent became attributable, so Italian artists of this day, at the instance of a great English nobleman, are adorning his castle with works which seem to revive the age of the tenth Leo before our eyes, and which, in

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combination with the architectural works and restorations in progress there under the direction of Mr. Salvin (employing more than two hundred and fifty persons), can bardly fail to raise and keep alive a native school of art.

To those costly works an especial interest is given by their great prospective importance, their dignified character, and the historical celebrity of Alnwick Castle ; and for these reasons, and because little is known about them save by a privileged few, we will endeavour to describe briefly what is now in progress on the remote yet not unsung eminences of the Aln. A recent discussion at the Institute of British Architects on the very debatable question of combining Italian decoration with an English castle of mediæval associations and aspect, has also directed much attention to the princely undertaking of the Duke of Northumberland.

Alnwick Castle-as doubtless our readers kuow—is situated in perhaps the finest part of the county, formerly commanding the great north-road, and within thirty miles of the Scottish border. It stands upon a plateau which slopes by steep declivities on the north side to the river Aln. Stretching from its walls for miles is a magnificent park, through which the Aln gently flows by wooded hills and green meadows—once the lands of Carmelites and of Austin canons-before its waters mirror Alnwick's castellated pride. The aspect and associations of these towers recal the days

When English lords and Scottish chiefs were foes ; and the name of Alnwick Castle is famous in Border story from the time of the Norman conquest. Often have its walls “ delayed the baffled strength” of Scottish kings and all their hosts ; often have its halls received the royal and the noble, the brave and the fair of English history. The visitor may at this day stand beneath an archway under which crusaders and the mightiest of our sovereigns passed, and which saw the gallant Hotspur whom Shakspeare celebrates, ride forth for his country and his king.

But even in Saxon days a stronghold of some kind existed here ; and portions, besides the archway just referred to, remain of the Norman castle which was built by Ivo de Vesci, that bold companion of the Conqueror, who received with the Saxon heiress in marriage the lordly inheritance of Alnwick. At a later period-probably about five hundred

— years ago—when the castle and barony had come to the great family of Percy, the Norman fortress underwent considerable changes. The square Norman keep of the lords de Vesci yielded to a picturesque group of semicircular and angular towers, forming—as at Conway and Caernarvon

a central keep enclosing a large court-yard, and surrounded by an area defended by curtain-walls fortified at various distances, like those of the Tower of London, by square and circular towers, and entered only from a barbican or gateway on the west, which was defended by a drawbridge and all the stern appliances of that iron age. Each tower of the central keep seems to have had a distinct appropriation, and the whole of this Edwardian castle formed a fortress in which the lord might have held his own even if the outer towers should have fallen into the power of besiegers. The gate-tower and its barbican (by which entrance is given from the town) retain enough of their original character to form a very bold and striking feature. An outer gateway opens into a narrow passage

March-VOL. CIX. NO, CCCCXXXV.

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between two lofty walls, which was further defended by a portcullis and double gates. Within the ward or bailey to which the tower at the end of this passage gives access, some buildings stood which were removed in the latter half of the last century, so that a clear area extends round the central keep to the curtain-walls. This line of circumvallation resembles an isosceles triangle, the curtain-wall, in the centre of which the gatetower rises, forming a base 416 feet in length, the walls on either side sweeping for the length of 680 feet to “the Record Tower,” which forms what be called the

apex of the triangle at the eastern end. The area within the walls is divided into two wards by “the Middle-gate Tower," which connects the keep with the curtain-wall on the south side of the castle. The north side of the keep, from which there is a declivity towards the river, does not appear to have ever been encircled by the curtain-wall; and at the present day there is a modern embattled platform or terrace on that side, which commands an enchanting view over the park.

The seven round towers and original square Norman tower which were grouped together in the Edwardian keep, formed a polygon around an inner court, which is entered, as the inner court was in the days of Edward III., under the square Norman tower, and it is the inner face of this archway that is enriched with the noble Norman mouldings already referred to. A moat surrounded the keep; over it was of course a drawbridge, and on either side of the square tower half-octagon towers were added by the second lord of the Percy line, when he executed the rest of the works of the Edwardian period. Below the porter's lodge in this tower is a deep dungeon-prison, with dome-shaped roof, into whose dreaded gloom prisoners were lowered through the floor—a grim feature which suggestively contrasts

the antique age of bow and spear

And feudal rapine clothed in iron mail, with our peaceful days, when none but friends can approach the noble lord of Alnwick Castle. Within the inner court is a draw-well in the thickness of the wall, the face of which, with its three pointed arches, still forms a picturesque feature. Several of the corner towers at the angles and on the curtain-walls form noble and commanding objects, and, with the ramparts and parapets that connect them, retain much of the mediæval character of which the keep itself has been deprived by the alterations made in the latter half of last century; and much of the curtain-wall is, moreover, of Norman work, consisting of parallel courses of small square stones. In some of these towers, warders, armourers, and other retainers of the castle anciently dwelt; others were used for stables and by domestics; while towers of the central keep were distinctly appropriated to the family, their guests, and chief officers. The wellknown Northumberland Household Book, which in the reign of Henry the Seventh was ordained by Henry Algernon Percy, fifth Earl of Northumberland, for his Yorkshire castles, helps one to form an idea of the regulated splendour of the establishment which the lords of Alnwick here maintained when the castle was in its pride, which, however, it had ceased to be before the time of Henry VII.

Such was Alnwick Castle as completed shortly before the glorious age of William of Wykeham, by the second Henry de Percy of Alnwick, Earl of Northumberland, who is supposed to have added the stone figures which stood upon the battlements, and looked as if some former

garrison had been suddenly turned to stone, and fixed in their attitudes of defence. Nearly all the figures that now stand on the merlons were imitated from these sculptures — many of them uncouthly enough. These strange additions seem to have been placed on the battlements to break the horizontal lines of the castle, and give some variety of outline; or, possibly, it was remembered that the multitude of stone figures before the temple of Delphi frightened the Gauls from attacking it, as they took the statues for gods; yet the Scots and the Border robbers had little fear of gods of any kind, and must have soon found these stone warders very harmless. But to return to the Lords de Percy : it was the second lord, already mentioned, who defeated David of Scotland at the battle of Nevil's Cross. The great-grandson of the first Henry de Percy, of Alnwick, was created earl at the coronation of Richard II. His son was the gallant Hotspur of Shakspeare, who was slain at Shrewsbury, 21st of July, 1403 ; and his son succeeded to the grandfather's inheritance, and repaired the castle. He also fortified the town of Alnwick. Then came the Civil Wars, in which this nobleman fell, as did his son, who was slain at Towton Field; and after these disastrous events came the losses and forfeitures which their successors underwent for their noble devotion to their faith. The castle became dilapidated; but at length Thomas de Percy — who in 1557 was created Earl of Northumberland-executed considerable works of building and repair. It was this nobleman who suffered the death of a martyr at York, on the 22nd of August, 1572, under Queen Elizabeth. After the Civil Wars and the Great Rebellion, the castle fell into considerable decay. But in the time of Hugh, thirteenth Earl and first Duke of Northumberland, Adam, the well-known architect, executed very extensive works, which, while they saved Alnwick Castle from ruin, deplorably changed its aspect. During these works the moat round the keep was filled up, and the earth was piled high against the central towers and curtain-walls. The old chapel in the middle ward was removed, many domestic offices were erected, and within the keep itself such important changes were made, that its towers were almost entirely reconstructed. The isolated groups of chambers which they had hitherto contained were demolished, leaving little more than the shell of the walls on the outer side ; the inner walls were carried into the court, and a range of lofty, modernised reception-rooms, ornamented with plasterwork, of the “ Strawberry-Hill Gothic” school, were formed on the first floor, to which a new staircase and entrance-hall gave access, but the drawing-room could be reached only through the saloon or the diningroom, and one room was traversed in order to gain access to another, or approached by a circuitous route; while the kitchens were divided from the keep by the open archway under which company arrived, and there was no such facility of access to the bedchambers as to connect them with the other rooms of the castle. Then, externally, all the earlier character of the building was destroyed. The narrow apertures of former days were widened, and incongruous quatrefoils were inserted in an upper range. The style of these works of 1780 evinces a desire to achieve the decorative forms of mediæval art, but is of the true Georgian type, and so thoroughly bad in its character, architecturally, that it was found impossible to perpetuate such work. The transformations of that age, in short, deprived the castle of some of its most characteristic features ;

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its feudal dignity was impaired, if not gone ; its exterior had lost the imposing features and variety of outline characteristic of mediæval architecture, and had become tame and level; while, internally, it was sadly deficient in comfort, and none of its ancient grandeur remained.

The present duke, therefore, formed a very noble design. He determined to remodel the keep or central group of towers, so as to combine suitable apartments with the retention of its castellated features, and to build a new tower, for the purpose of accomplishing that object, and also of giving grandeur and due subordination of parts to the exterior aspect. We wish that we had seen the last of the pretentious adaptations of mediæval architecture to modern mansions, and that the attempts in the present century to restore existing mediæval castles in the style of their period had not been, for the most part, such miserable failures, from Windsor downwards; but the days have come when the restoration of a genuine mediæval castle is regarded as the preservation of an historical monument full of the noble thoughts and the skill of the artists of other days. At Alnwick Castle, it is, happily, no longer necessary to defend the borders or repel besiegers, and the princely hospitalities of the house of Percy need not be dispensed within a fortress; but the restoration of the castle, as far as practicable, to its original character, is with great good taste aimed at in the present works. Mr. Salvin's alterations have not caused the destruction of any ancient fabric, while the new tower he has built-appropriately called " The Prudhoe Tower"-is itself a feature which will give dignity and a culminating point to the grouping of the exterior, and restore to Alnwick Castle much of its original grandeur. Two towers were taken down: one to make room for the Prudhoe Tower, in which are the great staircase, vestibule, and library, and another to make room for a chapel and a staircase to the bedrooms; and by a corridor projected on arches and corbels, a separate access is given to the reception-rooms, while a covered drive below affords a suitable entrance. We could not make the structural arrangements intelligible without going into details which would be more fitted for an architectural society than for general readers, and we therefore pass at once to the decorative treatment of the new library, and the saloon, dining-room, and drawing-room, which are retained in their former position, but enlarged and improved in form.

The Duke of Northumberland determined to maintain the distinctive dignity inseparable from historic associations, and to adopt a lofty style of art, equally removed from the decorative caprices of the day, and the rigid, if not unrefined arrangements which anciently surrounded the lords of Alnwick in their castle. The question was, whether a mediæval style of decoration, in keeping with the external character of the castle, was to be adapted to the requirements of modern splendour, or whether that classical style of art, which is associated in Italy with the architecture of Bramante and the frescoes of Raffaelle, was to be adopted in the decoration of these princely halls. On the one hand, very eminent authorities hold that the art of the reign of Edward III. is capable of being modified to modern requirements, the great principles of decoration being invariable; and a very grand opportunity for developing an English style and school of mediæval decoration was undoubtedly afforded by such great works. It was said (and very truly) that it does not follow from windows and ceilings being in mediæval style, that the walls are to be

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