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feet below the surface. I priced them, intending, if they could be had a bargain, to send them to the National Institute, at Washington City; but the distance to Liverpool, to have them shipped, was a serious obstacle, at the time, much to my regret, for they should be in that Institution, and no where else, and I still hope to have the pleasing satisfaction of presenting them to an institution which every American should be proud to acknowledge, and assisting to make it, in time, second to no other in the world.
The ancient town of Quarndon is in the Parish of Barrow-uponSoar, and only one mile distant. The beautiful chime bells in its venerable church, on whose towers the sun was casting his bright rays on a calm summer evening in June, came sweetly and soothingly on the balmy southerly air, which caused me to exclaim
Softly ye airs that bear it along,
For sweet are the murmurs ye bear. And, as it was Saturday, the chime bells and the view of the distant venerable church and picturesque village, decided me that that was the place of all others to pass the Sabbath, and worship in the church of my forefathers, whose towers had stood the storm and tempest for over five centuries. Therefore, requesting my luggage to be sent to the hotel in Quarndon, in the course of the evening, I shaped my course on foot through a lane leading direct to the village, on each side of which was the beautiful fragrant hawthorn hedge in full bloom, with the twittering lively goldfinch amid its branches, the song of the sky-lark above, and the pealing of the distant merry chime bells. One will easily perceive my preference for walking, in the place of riding, with so many pleasing rural temptations held out on a calm summer's afternoon in merrie England. The lane led me along the banks of the winding Soar, and through the romantic grounds of Quarndon Hall, the residence of the late Lord Southampton, so noted for his eccentric habits.
On arriving at Quarndon, I wended my way for the ancient church, where the merry chime of bells still sent forth their thrilling notes, to see the bell-ringers, and ask the cause of the merriemaking, which appeared on all sides as I passed towards the church which stood in an ancient burying-ground in the centre of the village. Six men were at the ropes, all pulling, as if by note, and listening to each bell as it sounded above, with as much anxiety depicted on their countenances as a leader in an orchestra. On concluding, I informed them from whence I came, and my curiosity to know the cause of all I had seen and heard, and was inforined it was on account of the favourable result of an election, which had arrived that afternoon, of the return to Parliament of the Hon. William Farnham, whose splendid residence in the vil
lage they pointed out, situated in an extensive park. These men asked me if we had such bells in America. I replied we had, but not so musical, theirs being the most ancient; and if they would give one more chime, I would give to each a pot of ale. My request was promptly complied with: after which, the sexton coming in to close the church, I asked as a favour to permit me to play an American hymn on the organ: he immediately went up, opened the organ, and took his place at the bellows. I played, “O, come and let us worship!” and, to my surprise, all the bell-ringers, with the sexton, joined in song, which, from their voices and time, convinced me they were acquainted with music. I concluded by playing, at their request, “ Old Hundred," and then adjourned to the ale-house, to comply with my promise, followed by the venerable and polite sexton, to whom I offered a double portion. My baggage having arrived at the hotel (the only one in the village), I was soon comfortably settled in a quiet room, conversing with my worthy host, Mr. P- who introduced me to his wife and daughter soon after at the tea table, and also to several gentlemen of note, who called (I suppose from curiosity) to see a person from America, and my object, as many Americans had passed through in the stage coach for London, but no one had ever stopped to say, “How do you do ?" We kept up a conversation on America and England until a late hour. "On parting, Mr. B- (a wealthy factor, who owned several factories in the village, and had shipped, to order, an immense quantity of gloves, hosiery and lace, in which he was still
very extensively engaged,) invited me to attend the Presbyterian Church the next afternoon, and pass the evening with his family; an invitation I politely accepted.” On the following morning, the friendly, venerable sexton of the English church called on me with the compliments of the Reverend Mr. B. to take a seat in his pew that morning, and when the chime bells commenced, I attended and was met at the door by the attentive sexton, and conducted to the Pastor's family pew, in which was his lady and two daughters. The pew was the family one of the late Lord Southampton, and was in the same style as when the church was built five centuries back. It was very conspicuous, rising above the other pews so high as to prevent any one in the church from seeing those seated within, and near the pulpit. Over the organ was the following in large black letters, viz. : * This gallery was built for the use of singing, A. D. 1761.". On the wall opposite: “ This church was new-pewed, whitewashed, and underlaid, A. D. 1790, Joseph Hudson, Minister."
Early in the last century, the pastor and clerk of the church resided a few miles in the country, and always on the Sabbath dined together at the old stone tavern at which I was quartered. In those early days, temperance societies were unknown, and the clergy, at dinner, usually had their pewter mug of sack. It so happened, one Sabbath, that the dinner was retarded, and the afternoon chime warned the good pastor and his mellow clerk that it was time to set off for church; but as dumplings were then, as they are now, a favourite dessert on the Sabbath, and being too hot to eat in haste, and not willing to go without them, each hurriedly took one, and placing it in the large loose sleve of the gowns worn then, and which were not changed during service, wended their way to church.
During the serion, the veteran clerk, who had a bald head, was inclined to doze from the effects of the sack, and the pastor, in one of his usual quick down gestures, let the dumpling fall from his sleeve with some force, plump upon the bald pate of the sleepy clerk, who, springing up, red with rage and mortification, and supposing it was intentional to awake him, as quick as thought, drew forth his hidden treasure, and hurled it at the astonished pastor's head—but missing its mark, it spent its force on the sounding board above, to the surprise, yet amusement, of the younger part of the congregation.
This anecdote was told me while seated at dinner in the same tavern and room on the Sabbath, where the pastor and his clerk formerly dined, and having dumplings for a dessert, the mellow facetious host took the occasion to relate it on hearing the chimes for the afternoon service.
CHAPTER I V.
Quarndon; Its Factories; Quarndon Hall; Fox Club; Thc chase; Will
of the Earl of Southampton; Marquis of Waterford; His eccentric habits; Ghost story; Bradgate Park; Game; The chapel; Tomb of the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey; Inscription; The Tilt Yard; Fish pond; The ghost of Lady Jane Grey; Superstition; Johnnystone Tower;. Its cells; Prospect from the tower; Impromptu; Ruins of Mount Sorrell Castle; The siege and bombardment by Oliver Cromwell; Imprisonment of Stephen, King of Scotland, in 1135; Rothby Village; Ancient temple; Its paintings, walls, garden, etc. etc.
The second morning after my arrival at Quarndon, I was called upon and invited by Mr. B- to visit his lace, glove and hose factories, in the neighbourhood, to see them when in full operation under steam power, the old-fashion stocking and glove loom being mostly laid aside; hence the great number of men, women and children thrown out of employ, and the increased emigration to the United States, to seek bread which is denied them at home. Each loom contained one dozen hose, or gloves, and two of them attended by a girl about fifteen years of age. A dozen pairs of gloves are made, packed and shipped to the United States, at the low price of one shilling sterling per dozen. The lace is made the whole width of the loom, and cut apart by young girls, then neatly put up in cases for shipment, at a price next to giving it away. Attached to one of Mr. B- -'s factories is a grain mill, also under steam power, which serves for the whole town. The books and accounts, in fact all the financial operations of the factories, are under the sole direction of the eldest daughter of Mr. B, to whom I am much indebted for the information I received, and for many civilities while sojourning at Quarndon. After having visited all the factories, I was introduced by Mr. B to the pastor of the church, Mr. S—, and his amiable family. Mr. S. was the Pre. sident of the Leicestershire County Board of Foreign Missions among the heathen, on which subject we had a very long and interesting conversation, which was ended by the folding doors opening and the musical voice of Mrs. S-, inviting us to the tea table.
Quarndon is noted for its being the place of meeting, once a year, of the “ Fox Club," at Quarndon Hall, at which all the nobility and gentry of the county attend for the chase, in purchasing hounds, exchanging and buying hunters, &c., making the ancient hall and village alive with their merriment for a season. The late eccentric Lord Southampton, who owned and for many years resided at this baronial hall, left in his will all his hounds to the “ Fox Club," with a provision to keep the number up at the hall during the life-time of each member, and to meet annually at the hall for the purpose of joining in the chase and partaking of its hospitalities, the same as in the lifetime of the noble lord, who was the President of the Club many years previous to his death. The Marquis of Waterford attended as a member of the Club, and was rather conspicuous, while dashing through the country, in being seated on the coachman's box, driving his four splendid bloods, while his servant in livery was coolly seated in the beautiful landau, admiring the picturesque country through which his master was driving post-haste. The marquis
, while at the hall, purchased twenty-five couple of hounds, for which he paid £1000 sterling, and then made overtures to purchase the ancient hall situated on the banks of the placid Soar, which gently winds through the beautiful gardens and park, giving it a truly picturesque appearance, retired as it is amid deep foliage, with the towering elm gracefully bowing its branches, as if in respect for the ancient structure. I found the old house-keeper a pleasing, loquacious dame, who had once crossed the Atlantic to New York with her only son; but, not pleased with the new world, soon returned to Quarndon, to take her place as keeper of the hall. This good dame, with whom I dined, put herself
, I thought, to some inconvenience in showing her hospitality, from the viands she set upon the table. She said, with a very serious countenance, that the hall was haunted by the spirit of the departed baron, who, at times, especially in storms, visits the hall of his ancestors at midnight, rings all the bells, throws open all the doors and gates, sets the whole pack of hounds yelping, and as the old clock on the tower chimes the morning's dawn, he is off
, sing. ing “tally ho, tally ho, ho, ho, ho;" all of which is believed by the tenantry for miles around the hall; and I, not wishing the good dame to think me sceptical on such a serious subject, applauded her courage in remaining under such trying scenes.
As Bradgate Park, the birth-place and residence of the late unfortunate Lady Jane Grey, (who was beheaded in the Tower of London, with her husband, Lord Guilford Dudley, on the 12th of February, 1554, great grand-daughter of Henry VII.) is but ten miles from Quarndon, and having a strong desire to visit that memorable spot, I, with some little trouble, procured a light baker's