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Our ROMANCES and HISTORIETTES, of which nearly forty are comprised in this volume, will be found to possess more than ordinary merit; and we feel great satisfaction in saying, that nearly one-half åre to be found only in our pages.
Under the head of CUSTOMS, &c. we have introduced a variety of amusing papers, some of which are Original Communications, while others have been obtained from expensive, and, to many, inaccessible sources.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF HISTORY. This subject is one which cannot but prove interesting to all lovers of literature, but especially to the historian and those fond of antiquarian research.
POETRY. We may proudly refer to many pieces of real merit, which abound in this volume, and we confidently assert that no similar work can boast of so much that is really good: each stanza will be found Munus Apolline dignum.
In our NOTE BOOK are registered a multitude of original and choice Articles, seasoned with amusing Anecdote; and our DIARY and CHRONOLOGY will be found scrupulously correct as to facts, and a due regard paid to dates, which are given upon the best authorities.
Having said so much of the contents of this volume, we have only to add that we shall spare no expence or exertion to make it still more deserving of the patronage of the public, and an offering worthy to be dedicated"TO OUR FRIENDS."
London, July, 1829.
A TALE OF LONDON BRIDGE.
(For the Olio.),
"Tanta est discordia fratrum.- - OVID.
"Curse on the wretch a thousand fold,
FEW of our readers will require to be informed that in the reign of our first James, London bridge supported many gates and towers of considerable strength, and that its shops and houses were tenanted by some of the wealthiest citizens. It will also be remembered that many mills were turned by the rapid current which passed beneath its arches. The dwellings on either side hung in a terrific manner over the river, which, together with the tremendous roaring of the water beneath, rendered them only habitable to those who were accustomed to such a residence. Notwithstanding its narrowness, the bridge street was always a scene of VOL. III.
bustle and activity, and the resort of all classes, from the gallant ruffling in silk and velvet, to the sturdy porter and nimble 'prentice. Here too, the dame of quality and the rich citizen's wife came to make their purchases, for the shops in the bridge street were then held in great repute.
At the commencement of the reign of James the First, nearly opposite the chapel of St. Thomas, which stood on the eastern side of the bridge, dwelt one Master Bartholomew Wyvill, an old merchant, who was accounted passing rich by most of his neighbours. In early life he had taken unto himself a wife, but after a few short years of uninterrupted happiness, dame Wyvill quitted this sublunary world for another, and it is to be hoped a better, bequeathing him too fine boys. The death of his wife, whom he loved most tenderly, was a severe trial for Master Wyvill, but time and his children did much towards alleviating his grief. He determined to spare no expense in educating them, and as soon as
they had arrived at a proper age, they were sent to the grammar-school in Southwark. For the first few years, the progress the boys made in their learning, exceeded the most sanguine expectations of their indulgent father, who never forgot to visit them every Sunday, after leaving St. Magnus' church, at which he was a constant attendant. Perhaps it was not the good Curate's pious exhortations alone, which made the old merchant so constant and regular a visitor. 'Twas there he had first beheld the fair form and blue eyes of the being who had been so suddenly snatched from him, and who now lay beneath the cold marble slab near the seat which he usually occupied. His whole care was directed to his children, whom he anticipated would be a solace and a comfort to him in his declining years; but these visions of happiness were soon dispelled; the boys were growing up, and it was clearly perceptible that the youngest, who was named Edward, paid less attention to his studies than his brother Osborne, whom the old
merchant had named after his deceased wife. Edward became tetchy, wayward, and stubborn, and set many examples of insubordination to his school-fellows. Chastisement only tended to inflame his spirit the more, and at length wearied in his fruitless endeavours to subdue his fierce and fiery temper, he was dismissed from school by the master, who dreaded the consequence to the other boys if he remained any longer.
The good merchant, on receiving his son back, determined to treat, him with all possible kindness; well knowing that harsh measures seldom succeed in reclaiming such spirits. Edward was therefore treated with great tenderness by his father, and all but old Martha, his housekeeper, thought he had succeeded; she, on the contrary, always maintained that he was "an imp of the old one," and would again resume his proper character. These sage sayings were heeded not by the old merchant; but on Osborne's leaving school he soon experienced the truth of them. The brothers (spite of Os
borne's peaceable disposition) were perpetually quarrelling. Master Wyvill witnessed it with evident concern; for three years his house was a scene of strife and contention whenever they met ; even the presence of their father would not restrain them. The good merchant at length began to dread the issue, as they had almost arrived at man's estate, and the conduct of Edward became every day more fierce and violent. After consider ing a long time on the most expedient means of separating them, Master Wyvill resolved to send his eldest son into Italy. He fixed on Osborne, not because he loved him less, but that he feared to entrust Edward with such a journey.
Osborne accordingly left England with letters of introduction to some of the first merchants at Leghorn, with whom his father had become acquainted in the
course of business.
gave up all thoughts of his ever reforming, and became melancholy and dejected; his health declined and his life became a burthen to him. He at length, unknown to Edward, wrote to his absent son, begging him to return speedily.
On a fine evening in the spring of the year, two horsemen were seen advancing along the High-street in the Borough. The soiled and dirty condition of their apparel, and the jaded state of the beasts they rode, told that their journey had been long and unpleasant. He who rode first, appeared, from the superiority of his habiliments, to be the master, while the other wore the garb of a menial, and though he barely kept at the distance usually prescribed to those of his class, and laughed and chatted with the other, yet he preserved a degree of respect which the good nature and gentlemanly bearing of his master commanded. Their steeds seemed almost incapable of proceeding much farther, and the foremost horsemen by turns laughed at the knave's remarks on the passers by, and coaxed and patted his steed.
On the departure of Osborne, Master Wyvill's house became once more a scene of quietude. The brothers were separated, and the object which had so often kindled Edward's ire, no longer troubled him; yet he shewed no stronger inclination to business than before. The counting-house was seldom visited, unless for a fresh supply of money, which the old merchant-such was the ascendancy Edward had gained over him dared not refuse him. Much of his money was spent at taverns, and on different articles of dress. His doublet and hose were made after the fashion of the most cutting gallants, and a long rapier of Spanish steel of the newest and most approved shape dangled by his side. He was known by every one from his father's house to St. Paul's, where he daily lounged, with several gallants of his acquaintance, jingling his spurs and assuming the looks and airs of his superiors. A year had passed since Osborne left England, and the old merchant evinced great anxiety for his return; but on mentioning it to Edward, he flew into violent paroxysms of rage, and used many threats against his father and his brother, till at length the old merchant abandoned his intentions for a time. Osborne had been heard from several times since his departure, but his letters did not express any wish to return, which at the door of which he knocked loudno doubt arose from the recollection of ly. It was opened by old Martha, the his brother's violent temper. This, how- housekeeper, whose wrinkled face asever, served as an excellent pretext for sumed a smile on beholding her young his brother, who failed not to taunt his master again. "Well, Martha," said it. Yet it had but Osborne, "how fares my honoured little weight with the old man ; another father and my brother Ned? has he year passed, during which, Edward's grown steady yet?" To those interroconduct grew more violent, his father gatories Martha made no reply.
"So ho!" cried the latter, eyeing a respectable looking couple who walking on one side of the way, followed by a strapping wench with a fine infant in her arms. "Mistress Joyce is married at last to Ralph, the felt-maker's son, and has a fine boy too; and there," continued he, pointing to a demure looking personage, "there's Puritan Peter Cole o' the Bank side, with his bible stuck in his girdle, and his rapier hanging behind him like the tail of a lean rat-and there's Gaffer Robbins with his buxom daughter, an arch little Jezebel that and here is the White Hart, with a fresh daub of paint, which has been laid on pretty thickly." With these remarks, he followed his master, who rode under the gateway of the White Hart. It will be hardly necessary to inform our
readers that the travellers were Osborne
Wyvill and his man. He had obeyed his father's orders, and left Italy immediately on the receipt of the letter.
Osborne walked hastily along, and entered the Bridge-street, after passing through Southwark gate. In a short time he arrived at his father's house,
smile which had lit up for a moment her aged features, gave place to a look of sadness, she shook her head, and on being again questioned, raised her apron and covering her face, wept aloud. Osborne's mind misgave him, and on Martha's recovering herself his worst fears were realized. On hearing of his father's death, he bitterly reproached himself for not having returned sooner. To add to his grief he learnt that his brother's conduct had become worse and worse, that he was an object of hatred and execration to all his neighbours; and to crown all, she informed him that his father had willed all his property to the worthless Edward. However sincerely Osborne might have mourned the death of his father, his chagrin and vexation overmastered his sorrow on hearing that the old merchant had left him destitute. His further enquiries only tended to confirm what Martha had informed him of. He learnt too, that the house was a nightly scene of riot and debauchery, and had been complained of to the city authorities. Martha sympathized with the distress of her young master, who had flung himself into a chair, and remained for some time in a state of stupor. When he recovered his self-possession, he enquired for his brother.
"Alas!" replied Martha, "I know not whither he is gone; no doubt he is drinking at the White Horse with his trusty companion Bradshawe, or some other swinge buckler.”
"I will seek him,-I will seek him this instant," cried Osborne, starting up-"I will examine the will myself; my own eyes shall be witness that it bears my father's seal and his own signature." As he said this, he hastily threw his cloak round him, and passed out, followed by his trusty Jasper. A few minutes sharp walking brought them to the Bankside, and Osborne eagerly sought for the tavern spoken of by Martha. The sun was sinking fast and poured its light on the Thames, which glowed like molten gold. The noble steeple of St. Mary Overies threw its long shadow across the church yard, and seemed to look down with an air of pride and protection on the gabled fronted and whitewashed houses which surrounded it. Amongst the houses alluded to, stood one more conspicuous than the rest, having its door post ornamented with chequers of white, red, and gold. Over the door was fixed an uncouth figure, but little resembling the animal it was intended to represent; underneath which was painted in legible characters: THIS IS YE WHYTE HORSE."
Osborne abruptly entered the house, bidding Jasper remain without. He had already laid his hand on the handle of the door, which communicated with the public room, when the sound of several voices calling for a song arrested his attention, he paused awhile, thinking he might recognise his brother's voice amongst them, when the following song was sung in a deep base, but not unmusical tone, though it was evident the singer's voice had suffered from long and frequent potations.
Drain, drain the bowl,
If ye would not have your soul
Hasten, hasten here,
Hither, hither fly,
Is to driuk bright canarie,
A loud roar of applause followed, when Osborne entered the room, and his dark eye glanced hastily round the apartment; but his brother was not there.
"Ned's brother!" whispered some of the company, as they gazed with vacant countenances on Osborne, whose face and figure strikingly resembled Edward's.
"Yes, gentlemen," replied he, somewhat hastily; "I am indeed the brother of that Edward Wyvill-would to God it were not so."
"Why so, fair Sir?" enquired a tall gaunt figure, who sat with his elbow resting on a table, on which stood a Venice glass and a flask of Canary;-his high crowned and narrow brimmed hat, in which was stuck a tuft of cock's feathers, was placed on one side of his head, from which flowed a profusion of black hairhe wore a pourpoint of Milan fustian, with silver points-a broad belt sustained his dagger and a Bilboa blade of great length, and his high-heeled boots were ornamented with a pair of gilt spurs.
Osborne made no reply to this man's question, but enquired of one of the company if he had seen his brother Edward.