+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

words to part with," had fallen into the hands
of one who was likely to raise the venerable
building to something like its former splendour.
The much larger amount of the purchase-money
on the recent sale is, of course, significant of
the improvement which everything at Newstead
underwent in the hands of the late owner, who
not only planted largely and increased the value
of the estate generally, but marked his possession
of a higher and artistic taste by his care and
improvement of the domestic buildings of the
romantic old pile.

On the 16th July, 1824, the remains of Byron
were brought from beyond the " Edens of the
Eastern wave" to his last resting-place beside the
remains of his mother in the family vault of the
little village church of Hucknall, near Newstead.

The rooms that the poet inhabited, and the
very furniture he used, are preserved as he left
them, plain and sombre, but more attractive to
the visitor than the new and luxurious halls of
Newstead in all their modern splendour. The
life-like portrait of the noble poet, by Phillips,
adorns the drawing-room, and a few less
important objectspersonal relics, such as the
little bronze candlesticks of his writing-table and
the collar of " Boatswain," his favourite dog--
are still preserved upon the spot. The library
is more in keeping with the historical shadows
of Newstead Priory than any other room, and
the books (which have been sold in bulk to the
new owner of the estate) remain as Colonel
Wildman left them; but the collection does not
appear to include any that belonged to Byron.
Heavy tapestries, old cabinets, and quaint
portraits, collected by the late owner, and carved
ceilings of seventeenth-century date, give a very
antique aspect to most of the bedrooms in the
abbey; but the private apartments, as lately
used by Colonel and Mrs. Wildman, enriched as
they are by historical portraits and more recent
works of art, are of a more cheerful character;
and in the noble drawing-room and dining-hall,
into which the old refectory and dormitory
have been respectively converted, one forgets the
former destination of the walls amidst objects
that speak more " of the baron than the monk."

The adjacent lakeknown as "The Eagle
Pond"—shares in the romance which
surrounds everything at Newstead. When the
lake was drained in the time of the noble poet's
immediate predecessor, commonly called "the
wicked lord," the workmen fished up from its
deepest part a fine brass eagle, mounted as a
reading-desk on a pedestal, and, as Colonel
Wildman always said, two candlesticks also, all
which articles had doubtless formed part of the
ornaments of the priory church, and had been
concealed in the lake by the monks on the
threatened spoliation of monasteriesthe
brethren probably hoping that they might someday
return to recover their possessions. But, after
remaining submerged for nearly two centuries
and a half, the eagle was raised, sold to a dealer
at Nottingham, rescued by a worthy dignitary of
Southwell, and presented early in the present
century to that noble collegiate church, the
choir of which it now adorns. Strange to say,
the hollow globe on which the figure of the bird
stands was found to contain deeds and
muniments of the monastery, about one of which
a general pardon granted by Henry the Fifth
something disparaging the monks has been
ignorantly written. Two chests, supposed to be filled
with the plate and valuables of the monastery, are
stated also to have been seen when the lake was
drained, but not raised, as the water was hastily
re-admitted. It was again drained after Colonel
Wildman's purchase, when old people who
professed to have laboured in vain to raise the
chests on the former draining, were allowed to
make a new search ; but the chests were not
found, and a man having been suffocated in the
mud, no further trial was allowed to be made.

Of Sherwood Forest itself few portions
remain uncleared around Newstead Priory, and
the greenwood is not what it was when
inhabited by the red deer and haunted by the
outlaw; but scathed oaks stand like sentinels on
the ancient domain of forest, and waving woods
form a sylvan framework round the old
historic walls, isolating the spot, with all its
memories, from the jarring world. Among all
the scenes consecrated by the piety of former
days, or associated with the memory of worth
and valour, it would be difficult to find a place
where the genius loci makes its presence more
strongly felt: it accompanies the visitor through
the chambers and corridors of Newstead; and
the very winds that murmur through its spreading
woods, that fill its empty chambers with
the music of the waterfall, or sigh in its antique
cloisters, seem to bring some old memory to mind.


NOT far to the west of that quiet, unpretending
white freestone house in Washington, under
the roof of which honest Abe Lincoln, formerly
the Illinois boatman, and now the President of
many millions of free (and before the fatal war)
happy people, stand two old-fashioned brick
buildings, the one, one hundred and fifty-nine
feet long by fifty-seven deep, the other, sixty
feet deep by one hundred and thirty feet long.
These buildings, girded with trees and flowering
shrubs, belong respectively to the Army and Navy
Departments of the United States government.

The best ideal of national happiness is that of
a nation that has no government because it
requires none; where the wisest and best men
should govern, and where caste, rank, and wealth
should nave no claims of ruling in the place of
virtue and intellect. I do not by any means say
that America, fast as she progresses, has yet got
far on that desirable but very long and narrow
ideal road, but certainly there is no country where
the interference and meddling restrictions of
a governing oligarchy strike you less than in
America. Army you see none; no jealous
bayonets unmeaningly guard public buildings
from the people to whom they belong, and who
would never dream of injuring what they pay for