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to the Athenians, as in chap. xvii.; the Ephesians burning their magical books, follows, chap. xix. ; his defence before Agrippa, chap. xxiv., and his shipwreck, near Melita, chap. xxvii., conclude the series.
The dampness of time has greatly dulled the beauties of this noble work; already the plaster is peeling off; and unless some pains be resorted to for the preservation of this prominent ornament, a trace of it, ere long, will not be visible on the walls. There is an anecdote of powerful interest told of Sir James Thornhill, while painting this cupola. One day, while at work, a friend stood talking to him on the scaffold, which though broad, was not railed in. He had just given the last touch to the head of one of the Apostles, and retreating hastily, as is the custom with artists, to observe the effect, had actually traced back the last step of the scaffolding, when the gentleman observing his danger, snatched up a brush and hastily bedaubed the whole figure. “ Bless my soul,” exclaimed the artist, again advancing as quickly as he had retired ; “What have you done ?"_“Only saved your life,” replied his companion, describing the imminent position in which the painter stood when his labour was defaced. While speaking of the works of art in the Cathedral, it were unpardonable to omit a notice of the beautiful simplicity of the clock-work, and the fine tone of the great bell. Both are of wonderful construction; the dial-plate of the clock, small as it appears from the street below, is fifty-seven feet in circumference; and has its minute-hand eight feet in length. The weight of the bell is 11,4741bs. ; it strikes the hours ; is heard at a distance of twenty miles, and is only tolled to announce the death of the King, the Lord Mayor, the Bishop of London, or a member of the Royal family. Neither are the iron gates entering the choir and dividing the aisles to be passed without attention; the workmanship on them will be found exquisitely fine, and highly deserving of praise.
Near the altar stands the episcopal throne, surmounted by a mitre, and relieved by carved festoons of fruit and flowers. It is seldom occupied, but on occasions of great solemnity; the more usual seat for the bishop of the diocese may be known from the carved pelican sucked by its young, and the mitre upon it. Opposite is the Lord Mayor's seat, recognised by the city sword and mace: the Dean's stall is covered by a canopy under the choir, and may be distinguished by the festooning of fruit and flowers. The contiguous seats are reserved for the Canons Residentiary ; while the other clerks, choristers, and officers, have appropriate seats, railed with brass, on either side of the choir.
There are two meetings of singular interest and benevolence held yearly in St. Paul's Cathedral. The first, which usually takes place in the month of May, is for the benefit of the charitable foundation, situated in St. John's Wood, near the Regent's Park, for the relief of the widows and orphans of such clergymen of the established Church as may have died in want and misfortune. Upon this day the service is attended by all the objects of the charity, and preceded by a miscellaneous concert of sacred music, selected from the admirable compositions of Handel, Boyce, and others. To give effect to this performance, the three choirs of St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey, and the King's Chapel Royal, are expected to give their gratuitous attendance. The stewards who regulate the day's homage, are generally headed by the Lord Mayor of the year, some members of the Royal family, the judges, and highest civil as well as ecclesiastical dignitaries. The attendance of visitors is highly respectable and numerous, and the only terms requisite for admission, are a contribution to the funds of the charity. The second is even more popular and attractive; it occurs generally in the month of June, and is held for the purpose of collecting together all the children educated in the parochial schools of the metropolis, to offer up to Heaven their little devotions in gratitude for the blessings they receive on earth. Upon this day they are all newly clad; the number assembled amounts, on most occasions, to ten thousand : and the sight is one of the most impressive that can be witnessed, as the benefit is one of the most creditable that can be performed.