صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

then proved a work of thirty-three years, under the inspection of one Peter, curate of St. Mary Colechurch, a celebrated architect of those days, but who died four years before it was completed, and was buried in a beautiful chapel on the bridge, most probably of his own construction, and dedicated to St. Thomas : it stood on the ninth pier from the north end, and had an entrance from the river as well as the street, by a winding staircase. It was said to be beautifully paved with black and white marble, and in the middle was a tomb, supposed to contain the remains of Peter the architect.

"Originally there were houses on both sides of the bridge; which were continued until the year 1756, and which formed a dark narrow street, dangerous to passengers from the number of carriages. These houses were mostly inhabited by pin-makers ; —now I recollect, Mary, I must not neglect to inform you, that needles were first made in England by a negro in Cheapside, who died without communicating his art; but a German, in the reign of Elizabeth, was more liberal, and taught the method to the English. But to return," continued he, “ to the bridge; a fire happened on it four years after it was finished: it broke out on the Southwark side, and multitudes of people rushed out of London to extinguish it.

While they were engaged in this charitable design, the flames seized on the opposite end, and inclosed the crowd. Above three thousand persons perished either by fire, or were drowned by over-loading the vešsel that attempted to save them."

"«Dear me! how dreadful!" said Mary; “ the death of these poor people was occasioned by their good-nature and humanity, in endeavouring to save the sufferers and extinguish the fire.”

“ Doubtless so," replied Mr. Richardson; “but can we die better than in performing an action acceptable in the sight of God? and does he not command us to love one another; and to do unto all men as we would they should do unto us?

But to resume the discourse, I will relate to you an anecdote, which though tragical in the beginning, was very fortunate in its consequences.

About the year 1536, Edmond Osborne, an ancestor of the Duke of Leeds, lived an apprentice with Sir William Hewet, a cloth-worker, on this bridge. One day, as a maid-servant was playing at a window with Sir William's only daughter, the child, by a sudden spring, jumped from her arms, and fell into the water. Young Osborne, who was present at the misfortune, instantly leaped after her; and to the amazement of all, brought her safe to the arms of her terrified father. This generous action, joined to Osborne's universal good character, inade him, as you may suppose, no inconsiderable favour. ite in the family, so that when the young lady became marriageable, and was asked of her father by many suitors, and among others, by the Earl of Shrews. bury, he declined them all, and decided in favour of Osborne, saying, he saved

[ocr errors]

her life, and that he only should have his consent to espouse her. - In her right he possessed a great fortune, was made Sheriff of London in 1575, and Lord Mayor in 1582.”

“How fortunate!” cried Mary; “Osborne was very humane, and Sir William equally generous.”

“ Osborne's humanity was indeed great,” replied her father, " and it was well requited; but I cannot suppose that generosity alone influenced Sir William; he had a complete knowledge of the disposition and character of Osborne, during a seven years' residence, and had found him blameless; he therefore paid the debt he owed to Osborne, and secured the happiness of his child by uniting her to a worthy man.”

They conversed thus as they took the way homeward; when, in passing through East-Cheap, Charles's attention was attracted by a house on which was a boar's head cut in stone, with the letters I. T. and the date 1663 : “ My dear Sir," said

[ocr errors]

he, “why is that placed there : is it for any particular use?”

“ I should suppose," answered Mr. Richardson, “ that it is a memorial that on this spot stood the famous tavern of that name, so frequently mentioned by our ancient authors, and the rendezvous of the Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry the Fifth, and his profligate companions. - Here it was that Prince, with his brothers John and Thomas, and their party, made such a riot one morning, between two and three o'clock, that the city magistrates were obliged to interfere, which so highly exasperated the Prince, that the magistrates were convened before the Chief Justice, who, having examined the whole affair, dismissed them with honour, declaring they did no more than their duty, and what was requisite to maintain the peace. This decision was so vexatious to the Prince, that, in the moment of passion, he forgot himself so far as to strike Judge Gascoigne on the bench, who, like an upright magis

« السابقةمتابعة »