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Chambers, Robert, 1802-1871 / Chambers's book of days, a miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar, including anecdote, biography & history, curiosities of literature and oddities of human life and character
Vol. I (1879)

February,   pp. 202-310 PDF (70.7 MB)

Page 310

folk.wing Sunday, after a long interview with
the King, was seized with a fit, which ended
in v.a attack of palsy and loss of speech. The
King visited him at Lambeth, and told him that
he ' would pray for his life ; and if he could
obtain it, he should think it one of the greatest
temporal blessings that could be given him in this
kingdom.' He died on the 29th of February, in
the seventy-third year of his age, and was buried
in the parish church of Croydon, on the second
day after his death; his funeral was solemnized
on the 27th of March, in a manner suitable to
the splendour in which he had lived.
The Archbishop always took a lively interest
in the management of public charities, and he
left several instances oF his munificence. He
built and endowed, entirely from his own reve-
nues, a hospital, free-school, and chapel, at
Croydon, which he completed during his own
lifetime. He commenced building the hospital
on the 14th of February 1596, and finished it
within three years. It is a brick edifice, in the
Elizabethan style, at the entrance of the town
from London: over the entrance are the armorial
bearings of the see of Canterbury, and this in-
The original y early revenue was only 2185 4s. 2d.;
but, by improved rents and sundry benefactions,
it now exceeds £2000 per annum.    Each poor
brother and sister is to receive £5 per annum,
besides wood, corn, and other provisions.
Amongst the crimes to be punished by expulsion,
are ' obstinate heresye, sorcerye, any kind of
charmynge, or witchcrafte.' In the chapel is a
portrait of the Archbishop, painted on board
and an outline delineation of Death, as a skeleton
and gravedigger. Among the documents are the
patent granted to the founder, with a drawing of
Queen Elizabeth, on vellum; and on the Arch-
bishop's deed of foundation is a drawing of him-
self, very beautifully executed.  In the hall,
where the brethren dine together three times
yearly, is a folio Bible, in black letter, with
wooden covers, mounted with brass; it has
Cranmer's prefaces, and was printed in 1596.
Here also, formerly, were three ancient wooden
goblets, one of which was inscribed:
'What, sirrah! hold thy peaseI
Thirst satisfied, cease.'
29th February, 1730, in a small private nunnery
of Poor Clares, in King-street, Dublin, an aged
lady was found in the morning, fallen out of bed,
stiff with cold, and beyond recovery. The per-
son who died in this obscure and miserable
manner had once been the very prime lady of
the land, the mistress of Dublin Castle, where
she had received a monarch as her guest. At
an early period of her life, she had been one of
the loveliest figures in the gay and luxurious
court of Charles II.   She was, in short, the
person celebrated as La Belle Jennings, and
latterly the wife of that Duke of Tyrconnel who
nearly recovered Ireland for King James II.
She entered life soon after the Restoration, as
maid of honour to the Duchess of York, and in
that position had conducted herself with a pro-
OF DAYS.              JOHN DUNS sCOTUS
priety all the more commendable that it was in
her time and place almost unique. As wife of
the Duke of Tyrconnel, during his rule in Dub-
lin in 1689-90, her conduct appears to have been
as dignified, as it had formerly been pure. It is
presented in a striking light in Mrs Jameson's
account of what happened after the battle of
the Boyne-'where fifteen Talbots of Tyrconnel's
family were slain, and he himself fought like a
hero of romance.' ' After that memorable defeat,'
says our authoress, 'King James and Tyrconnel
reached Dublin on the evening of the same day.
The Duchess, who had been left in the Castle,
had passed four-and-twenty hours in all the
agonies of suspense; but when the worst was
known, she showed that the spirit and strength
of mind which distinguished her in her early
days was not all extinguished. When the King
and her husband arrived as fugitives from the
lost battle, on which her fortunes and her hopes
had depended, harassed, faint, and so covered
with mud, that their persons could scarcely be
distinguished, she, hearing of their plight, as-
sembled all her household in state, dressed her-
self richly, and received the fugitive King and
his dispirited friends with all the splendour of
court etiquette. Advancing to the head of the
grand staircase with all her attendants, she
k-neeled on one knee, congratulated him on his
safety, and invited him to a banquet, respectfully
inquiring what refreshment he would be pleased
to take at the moment. James answered sadly
that he had but little stomach for supper, con-
sidering the sorry breakfast he had made that
morning. She, however, led the way to a ban-
quet already prepared; and did the honours
with as much self-possession and dignity as Lady
Macbeth, though racked at the moment with
equal terror and anxiety.'*
It is a pity that such obscurity rests on the personal
history of this light of the middle ages. He was an
innovator upon the stereotyped ideas of his age, and
got accordingly a dubious reputation among for-
malists. If he had been solely the author of the
following sentence-' Authority springs from reason,
not reason from authority-true reason needs not be
confirmed by any authority'-it would have been
worth while for Scotland to contend for the honour of
having given him birth.
School Exercise.-In several old grammar-schools
there was a liberal rule that the boys should have an
hour from three till four for their drinkings. Some-
times the schoolmaster, for want of occupation,
employed himself oddly enough. One day a visitor
to the school of - observing some deep-coloured
stains upon the oaken floor, inquired the cause. He
was told that they were occasioned by the leakage of
a butt of Madeira, which the master of the grammar
school, who had grown lusty, not having had for some
time any scholar who might afford him the opportunity
of taking exercise, employed himself upon a rainy day
in rolling up and down the schoolroom for the purpose
of ripening the wine, and keeping himself in good
* Memoirs of the Beauties of the Court of Charles II.,
vol. ii. p. 223.

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