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where they denounced the tyrant with Newcastle he led the forces of the a vociferous heartiness that ought to crown against the unlucky people who have made him tremble on his throne. had the misfortune to be born before As I walk through the streets of New- their time. Sir John Fife was castle to-day I see many announce- plucky fellow, and a good horseman, ments of sports of every kind, cricket, and his horsemanship most approgolf, bicycling, bowls, but not so much priately gained for him his knighthood. as a handbill summoning my fellow- Of men of letters in those days we townsmen as in the days of old, to a could boast few. Prominent amongst meeting in the lecture-room on behalf those few was Dr. Collingwood Bruce, of the alien victims of oppression. the historian of the Roman wall, dear Tempora mutantur et nos . ! Here, as to the elder men of the North to-day, elsewhere, a change has come over the because his was the one great public spirit of the people. Newcastle has school of Northumberland, at a time more theatres and music halls than in when Eton and Harrow were still the those days; more recreation grounds preserves of the great and their paraand public sports. It travels more on sites. But there was one distinguished pleasure. Its grand old moor and writer of whom some, at least, of the leazes have fallen into the hands of people of Newcastle were proud thirty the improvers. They are more orna- or forty years ago, and concerning mental; they are more in harmony with whom I venture to tell a simple but modern taste. But are they better? veracious tale. Somewhere in the fifAnd in any case, despite the political ties a certain boy in the old town clubs which I see in every district, showed a strong desire to embark upon is there any more of the real politi- the perilous career of journalism. To cal spirit than there was in the days him entered one day an old friend of when Joseph Cowen, with half-a-dozen the family, anxious if possible to foreign spies dogging his footsteps snatch the lad from the doom to which even in the streets of his native town, he was rushing unheeding. "Thomas," was summoning us to take our part in he said, in tones of solemn warning (and the battle of freedom ?

nobody but the lad in question knew Mr. Cowen represented, as I have how much he hated to be addressed as said, the extreme Radical element in Thomas), "ah'm sorry to hear that ye Newcastle in those days. But we were want to go to London, and to take to not without politicians of eminence of this writing in the papers.

It'll bring a different school. There still sur- ye to no good, my boy. I mind there vived amongst us Charles Larkin, the was a very decent friend of mine, auld Chartist orator, who won a passing no- Mr. Forster, the butcher in the Side. toriety by his declaration in the Re. He had a laddie just like you; and nothform agitations of 1830), that “a fairer ing would sarve him but he must go head than that of Adelaide, Queen of away to London to get eddicated, as he England, had already rolled upon the called it; and when he got eddicated, scaffold.” That was

outburst he wouldn't come back to his father's marking the epoch when the favorite shop, though it was a first-class busicry of the disappointed was that “the ness. He would do nothing but write, queen had done it all.In my time and write, and write; and at last he Mr. Larkin had ceased to be an active went back again to London, and left politician; I believe had even ceased to his poor old father all alone; and a're be a Radical. He was an extinct vol- never heard tell of that laddie since!” It cano; but one that spoke eloquently to was thus that the fame of John Forster, us of a great eruption. With him one the author of the “Life of Goldsmith" must place dapper Sir John Fife, the and the destined biographer of Charles eminent surgeon, who had won his Dickens, was cherished in his native knighthood by boldly charging the as- town by his father's ancient friends! sembled Chartists, when as mayor of One name was still held in special




honor in Newcastle forty years ago. day an elderly and most estimable That

the name of Thomas Quaker of Newcastle, in stepping from Bewicke, the ornithologist and wood a river steamboat to the quay, slipped engraver. His fame

dear to and fell into the stream. Cuckoo Jack the people of Tyneside, and the was at hand with his boat, and quickly fact that members of his family rescued the luckless “Friend," and were still living in the place was landed him dripping on the quay. The regarded as a matter of local pride. good man drew half-a-crown from his I have talked with some of Bewicke's pocket and solemnly handed it to his old cronies, and heard more than one preserver. Jack eyed the coin a mostory of his life. He was a jovial per

ment with lack-lustre gaze, spat upon son, and like most jovial persons of it solemnly "for luck," and having that generation, had a weakness for placed it safely in his pocket, said in a late sittings at the public-house, which matter-of-fact tone to the soaked Quarepresented the club of modern times. ker, “Man, ah'd hev gotten five shillin' His wife did not appreciate this side for taking ye to the dead-hoose!" of the character of her distinguished Newcastle has always been too busy, husband; and her tongue was sharp too much engrossed in the practical, and bitter. One evening, according to care much for literary fame, and, so to a legend I heard from one of Be- far as I know, its only literary poet is wicke's friends, the great man came that respectable mediocrity, Mr. Mark home latevery late. But when he Akenside. Its real poets have been entered the nuptial chamber, to his re- its Stephensons and Armstrongs, and lief he saw that his wife was, to all other masters of the forces of nature, appearances, wrapped in profound re- who have known how to make the pose. Quickly and silently he un- poetry of life out of more stubborn dressed and slipped into bed. Scarcely things than words. Yet in the history was his head upon the pillow, however, of the town, even within living membefore the good lady had laid aside the ory, there have been incidents that mask she had chosen to don, and had might have moved the poet's heart. begun to pour forth all her grievances Among these the outbreak of cholera in a flood of angry words. For half in 1853 may well be counted. No simian hour by the clock she continued to lar visitation of that dread scourge berate her erring spouse after the man- has occurred in this country within the ner of Mrs. Caudle, and then paused for half century. It was the story of the want of breath. “Thomas Bewicke," Great Plague of London on a smaller she said, as her last words, “hast thou scale. The epidemic descended upon nothing to say for thyself ?”! Now Be- us like an armed invader. wicke was a shrewd man. He had But he did not come unberalded. seen the ruse practised upon him by One day I went out to school and his wife, and was quick to copy it. found that a mysterious gloom brooded Turning slowly in his bed as his ex- in the sunny September sky.

It was hausted spouse paused in her speech, not an ordinary cloud that made all he yawned ostentatiously, and then, as things dark. It was a plague of mithough suddenly awaking to conscious- nute flies. They filled the air; one ness, murmured in his softest tones, could not breathe without swallowing "Hinny, wast thou talking?"

them. They were everywhere-a host There was a worthy, long since for- as terrible and loathesome as that gotten, in my time who was a kind of which subdued Gulliver in Lilliput. prototype of Rogue Riderhood in “Our Even a schoolboy could not face such a Mutual Friend." He was known as plague. I covered my face with my Cuckoo Jack, and he lived upon the handkerchief, and only in that fashion Tyne in a well-patched old boat, pick- was it possible to pursue one's way to ing up any trifle that came in his way, school. Everybody else I found had from a derelict log to a corpse. One adopted the same expedient, and ou that dreadful day none but veiled faces —the County-furnishes admirable acwere to be seen in the streets of New- commodation for the visitor. From castle. We had heard that the “chol- the window of my sitting-room I could era fies” invariably preceded the chol- see the very spot where I caught my era itself.

Such was the legend. first trout, and experienced one of the Whether true or false, our experience keenest pleasures of life. In few disserved to verify it. Within a couple tricts of England is there to be seen of days the cholera was upon us, and such a combination of the grand and then for six terrible weeks we were the gentle in nature as here. The noble at its mercy. I remember the dead Cheviots rise in the distance; heatherbeing wheeled in common barrows to clad moors with precipitous walls of the churchyard, for the undertakers rock crown the sides of the valley; were done to death. I remember the whilst below are the greenest of meadmen who went about the streets at ows, through which the Coquet purnight, carrying burning vessels of dis- sues its way, musical at every step. infectants, whose acrid odor is not yet The keen air that sweeps down from forgotten. On one dreadful day more the north is as exhilarating as iced than a hundred persons died, and at champagne. London was grilling in that time the population of the town a temperature of 80° in the shade. was only some eighty thousand. A Here I found a fire a pleasant incident death-rate of four hundred and fifty in the evening. In one thing only had in the thousand per annum was some- there been any change in Rothbury thing to startle even the most callous. during my forty years of absence. Lord But the plague passed, and we had Armstrong has made his home here, at almost ceased to compare it with that one end of the oval cup which forms of which Pepys has left an undying the vale of Rothbury. At Cragside the record, when the parallel between the master of the Elswick works has built fate of London and Newcastle was himself the lordliest of pleasure-houses. made strangely complete by the great About that pleasure-house I have little fire of 1854. The scars of that fire,

The great genius who has which was attended by a great loss of made it his home has a right to its life and the destruction of nearly a beauty and its seclusion.

But one million pounds' worth of property, are who remembers Rothbury in the old still visible in the old town. But the days, and who roamed freely over the worst of the narrow alleys abutting rocks and crags of the moors before any upon the river were destroyed, and the millionaire had thought of fixing his Quayside of to-day, with its handsome abode here, may be pardoned if he does buildings, dates from that calamity. not enjoy the transformation of the

It is not generally known that North- wild moorland into a sumptuous pleasumberland has picturesqueness ure garden, in which artificial waterwhich can vie with that of any county falls and rockeries and ferneries have of England. From the city of many taken the place of the bare hillside of memories I made my way to Rothbury, his youth. Perhaps it was the intimaa village on the banks of the delightful tion on the ticket by which I obtained Coquet, one of the best trout streams admission to this rather cockneyfied of England. It was forty-one years paradise that smoking was strictly prosince I had last stayed in the hamlet. hibited that hardened my heart. WhatHere time had dealt gently with the ever may have been the cause, I prescene. The lovely valley was the val- ferred Cragside in its original form to ley I remembered. Old Simonside had that which it has now assumed. not changed a jot or a tittle. His con

One purpose with which I came to tour was precisely that which I remem- Rothbury was to ascend the valley of bered as a boy, and the most beautiful the Coquet as far as Alwinton. Forty of all Northumbrian valleys was as years ago I had walked from the one beautiful as ever. An excellent hotel place to the other. It was a long walk

to say.


for a boy of fourteen, and the recollec- turesque old watering-place which tion of it had never been lost. My com- faces the German Ocean at the mouth panions in that memorable walk had of the Tyne. It was changed, as were long since passed away. But they lived all the spots I visited, but changed again as I set out in the dogcart pro- wholly for the better. Its gardens and vided by my host of the County Hotel, the sea-banks were better kept than of to retrace the steps of my lost youth. yore. Unlike most of our wateringA fairer drive no man need wish. As places nowadays, it had not been overcending from the delightful summer built; and the splendid sea, with its meadows of Rothbury, I followed the silvery waves breaking on the Long Coquet in its upward course by Throp-· Sands or the rocks at the Ox Ford, was ton, Sharperton, and Harbottle, until the same rushing, resistless ocean as of I reached the remote hamlet of Alwin

old. The finest feature of Tynemouth ton at the foot of the Cheviots. All is the Castle Rock, a bold promontory along the valley the scenery was typi- of sand-stone jutting out into the sea, cally English of the best kind. At crowned by the grand ruins of TyneHarbottle the remains of the old castle mouth Priory, and by the white lightwhere one queen was imprisoned and house, which from time immemorial another born, were still to be seen. has guided the mariner seeking to enter This mouldering keep was in the old the river below. The place has now days the stronghold of the warden of a new attraction in the shape of the the Middle Marches, the warrior whose majestic crescent-shaped piers which business it was to keep Central North- stretch forth into the sea from either umberland free from the encroach- side of the river. The North Pier is ments of the reiving Scot. At Alwin- more than half a mile in length, whilst ton, as at Harbottle, an eminence near its sister pier, jutting from South the village bore the name of Gallows Shields is longer still. These massive Law. It was the old place of execu- structures have been for more than tion, in the days when the chief of each forty years in course of construction, small border hamlet held power of life and their like is hardly to be found and death in his hands—and used it elsewhere upon the surface of the freely. From the Gallows Law at Al- globe. They have converted the once winton there is a wonderful view into the dangerous entrance to the Tyne into a very heart of the Cheviots. These bil- vast harbor of refuge, where a fleet of low-like hills, covered with grass and ironclads might lie in safety. How heather, bave a charm peculiar to them- many times during the past forty years selves. The pity is that so few persons the whole work of a summer-for it is visit them, and that one of the health- only in summer that real work is possiiest and most picturesque districts of ble—has been undone in a single night England is practically unknown to the of tempest, I dare not say. But at last tourist. Here at least the tired Lon- the piers are practically finished and doner can revel in absolute solitude. their formal opening is at hand. One As I stood on the Gallows Law, where cannot conceive a more picturesque many a moss-trooper had met his death spectacle than that which is presented of old, I could not see a single human as one stands at the end of the North being, I could hardly see a human hab- Pier. Between it and the South Pier: itation. The distant barking of a dog there is an opening a third of a mile in was the only sound that broke the still- width, and through that opening the ness of the summer air. The voices of commerce of one of the greatest Enthe dead who had been my companions glish ports passes daily. “There go the all along the valley were the only ships," from the humble ocean tramp voices that I heard.

to the mighty ironclad fresh from its There was one other spot familiar in cradle at Elswick. One of these same times past to which my pilgrimage led ironclads passed out upon its steam

This was Tynemouth, the pic- trial trip as I watched the scene, and for six bours it cruised up and down. That is the ghost!" I laughed at the in front of Tynemouth at a speed of notion, for there was certainly nothing nineteen knots. Why a watering-place ghost-like about the figure I was watchwhich possesses such special attrac- ing. At a sign from my host, the cartions of its own is so little known be- riage advanced a few paces, and inyond the limits of Northumberland is stantly the woman at the window vana point that baffes understanding. ished. I saw at the same moment that


I renewed my acquaintance with pic- the window at which I had seen the turesque Cullercoats, beloved of ar- figure belonged to the ruined portion of tists, and Whitley, where for many a the hall. The apparition was of course summer I had enjoyed myself as a nothing more than an optical illusion, child among the sands and rocks, in the effect of lights and shadows from the course of a long drive. Unlike the carved stone-work adjoining the Tynemouth, these once beautiful spots window; but so real was the spectral had been altered for the worse. The appearance that I was not surprised plague of cheap building bad afflicted that local tradition claimed it unbesithem, and the fields I knew of old were tatingly as the ghost of a building now a wilderness of bricks. But my which, if tradition speaks truly of its drive carried me beyond the building former owners, might certainly well be limit. I went as far as Seaton Dela vel haunted. Hall, once one of the stateliest of En- But it is not Seaton Delavel Hall, it glish mansions, the work of Sir John is the engine-house of a colliery that Vanbrugh, and generally recognized as stands within a stone's throw of the superior in beauty to Blenheim itself. gates at the foot of the long avenue, The greater part of the mansion has that furnishes the haunted ground of stood for more than a century in ruins. this part of Northumberland. As I The “wicked Delavels" have disap- drove up to the well-remembered pitpeared, and the strange rites and un- buildings, I was surprised to see that holy sports which were once carried on smoke

issuing from the tall within the grey walls are now only chimney, and that there were signs matter of tradition. One of the three of cheerful life about the place. huge pavilions which constitute the When last I had

it the hall has been restored by the present shadow of doom hung over it, and the owner, Lord Hastings, and he lives rusting iron-work, the mouldering there on the scene of the former gran- pit-heap, the disused tramways, all deur of an ancient family.

told their own tale of ruin and death. It was at Delavel Hall that I had an Four-and-thirty years ago,


the unusual experience. As we drove near month of January, 1862, all England the front of the house, my companion was awaiting in breathless suspense bade the coachman stop, and pointed the issue of a struggle which was being out the different features of the build- carried on at this spot. More than two ing to me. “Do you see the housemaid hundred men and boys had been made standing at that. window?” said my prisoners in the pit, by the blocking of host's wife, indicating an upper win-' the single shaft which gave admission dow in the central pavilion.

I saw

to it. The accident was due to the some one at the spot indicated, but my breaking of the great beam of a pumpdefective vision did not allow me to ing-engine, which worked directly recognize the sex or condition of the above the opening of the shaft. When stranger until I had donned my spec- the beam broke one-half fell into the pit tacles. Then I saw plainly and un. and choked it. For a whole week, a bitmistakably a woman clad in the dress ter week in mid-winter, I was one of of a housemaid apparently watching those who stood on this pit-heap and us as we sat in the carriage. “Well," watched the ceaseless and heroic efI said by and by, “what about the forts of brave men to rescue the imhousemaid?" "Oh, don't you know? prisoned miners. To the last we hoped



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