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of activity compared with these Warwickshire serfs, who belong to the constituency of Mr. Joseph Arch. In the early part of the century, it was reported that every eighth person in Warwickshire was a pauper. If agriculture is the only resource of the county, the proportion ought to constantly increase.
In this region I saw for the first time numerous thatched cottages. They look very romantic in pictures, and that is a very pretty line about “The swallow twittering in the straw-built shed,” but practically and prosaically, a thatched roof is a great nuisance, in perpetual danger of fire, and a harbor for uncounted rats. A farm laborer's thatched cottage in England comes next to a Kansas dug-out, which I have always maintained was the meanest human habitation. The farm-houses proper were substantial structures, and the outbuildings usually formed quite a village.
In time, under a dim gray sky, we arrived at the mossy old town of Warwick. The gentle reader will pause to be told here that this word is pronounced Warrick; in fact, the phonetic Indianians once having occasion to name a county after an army officer named Warwick, spelled the name as it was pronounced, and so it remains even unto this day.
Other old towns that I had seen in England looked as if they had changed somewhat in the last thousand years or so, but not 80 Warwick. As soon as the smart railroad station was out of sight, and the shady winding street shut one in, it was easy to imagine that Warwick town was still a dependency on the castle, and that the warder still kept his watch on the castle walls. I remarked the image carved in stone of a very venerable-looking goat, standing on his hind legs on top of an ivy-covered gate-post, and was speculating as to the character of the old house in front of which this goat seemed to be a mute sentry, and whether the occupant was my Lord Neville, or, perhaps, Beauchamp, when I saw the very common-place notice, “Boarding,” in the window. It was 1877, after all.
The castle is the great feature of Warwick. It is one of the very few edifices of the kind in England, still kept up and occupied as residences.
The plan of these old castles appears to have been substantially the same.
Elevated ground was selected — at Warwick, a cliff high above the Avon. There the walls and towers were built about an inclosure — the court-yard. At first, the structure might be limited and rude, but successive occupants added towers and battlements, till in time, as at Warwick, an immense collection of buildings was the result. A village grew up about the castle, and in these latter days, the village, grown to a city, usually exists still, while the castle is a mouldering ruin; but at Warwick both castle and village are in "full force and effect.” The entrance to Warwick castle is through a portion of the park, and the road at one place goes through a cutting in the rock, which is so overhung with trees that it is twilight there at noonday. You emerge into the midst of shrubbery and flowers, and, crossing the moat, which is now dry and beautifully sodded, you enter the courtyard, and the venerable walls of Warwick castle are about you.
A guide, for a shilling, will tell you in which century each tower was constructed, but I forget what the guide said. I know that there was a castle here when the robber William, known as the Conqueror, took possession of the country. The Saxon owner had sided with the Normans, or had remained neutral, and hoped to retain possession, but was kicked out in due time, and the property given to a gentleman named, I think, Newburgh. Then the pleasant lords who occupied the castle raided other lords, and they returned the compliment by storming the castle and burning it; and then new towers and walls were constructed — and so the castle grew to be the wonder it is. The towers, externally, seem well preserved; but when you climb the stone stairs, you see that the steps have been worn thin by the feet of successive generations. The old guard-rooms in the tower are curious places, the stone floors fairly hollowed by the wear of centuries. In these rooms, the mail-clad warriors tramped about and looked out of the narrow windows, and longed for a chance to get down and out and nurder and plunder somebody. It easy to be romantic in these old places, and one gets to speculating who the present lord of the castle may be, and fancies that he must be a descendant of the haughty barons who domineered over these premises and the surrounding region; and who flung down their gauntlets at the feet of kings, and made such remarks as, “Lord Angus, thou hast lied !” and that he must inherit the fierce features of his warlike ancestry; but, in the case of Warwick castle, this is the purest fiction. The lord of the castle, and the ruler of this “battled wall and donjon keep,” is, or would be in America, Mr. George Guy Greville, a mild-mannered old gentleman of sixty or thereabouts, who probably wears a tweed suit and an umbrella and a silk hat; who sits on a red cushion in the House of Lords and seldom says anything, and who resides in a modern house in London, instead of holding “high wassail” in his banqueting hall at Warwick, or storming about, shouting, “What, warder, ho! let the portcullis fall.” The present Earl of Warwick is not in the least a relative of the Nevilles or the Beauchamps,
the Warwicks of old. They are all dead, and the present earl is a descendant of a certain Sir Fulke Greville, who flourished not longer ago than Queen Elizabeth's time. These Grevilles do not appear to have been very distinguished as fighters, though Lord Brooke, one of the family, was killed at the siege of Lichfield, in the days of Cromwell. The present Countess of Warwick, I was told, comes of a military family, being a sister of that dashing and enterprising donkey, Lord Lucan, who ordered the Light Brigade to death and destruction at Balaklava.
As I have said, Warwick castle is one of the few old castles still occupied as a residence. Although over thirty rooms were destroyed by fire a few years ago, a considerable portion of the residence part remained untouched; and in turn we may say, that the occupied portion of the castle comprises but a small portion of the castle itself. Warwick castle is, then, partly a residence, partly a picture gallery, and partly a carefully-preserved ruin.
The state rooms are open to the public on the payment, of course, of one shilling. If heaven were under English management, an entrance fee of one shilling - neither more nor less would be demanded. A noble suite of rooms, filled with costly and beautiful objects, is traversed by the visitor. At Warwick I first saw the original portrait of Charles I, by Van Dyke: as I have seen this original several times since, I think Van Dyke must have painted several pictures at once. It is this portrait, Macaulay thinks, that makes people believe that Charles was a “martyr.” His Majesty struck me as having a long nose, and a mean expression of countenance. Holbein's picture of Henry VIII is also at Warwick. No engraving does this picture justice. It must have been a most faithful portrait, for a more beastly countenance can
not well be imagined. The finest picture in the collection, in my opinion, is a portrait of a Spanish embassador, by Velasquez. I hope such of my friends as may hereafter visit Warwick will not fail to look at it. I ought not to omit to mention, also, Sir Joshua Reynolds's famous picture of Mrs. Siddons. The greatest curiosity of the place is the suite of rooms devoted to a display of ancient weapons and armor. These rooms are hollowed out in the enormous thickness of the old castle walls, which after the process are still heavier than the walls of our strongest houses.
In going to Warwick, I was moved in a great degree by a desire to visit the Earl of Leicester's hospital, so pleasantly described by Hawthorne, a description which will bear reading many times. This asylum was founded by that Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the favorite of the “Virgin Qneen,” Elizabeth, for whose virginity we are indebted for the name of Virginia. Robert had his faults — who has not? He poisoned one wife, dishonored another before he married her, and disowned a third; but his monument in the church at Warwick bears the usual inscription: “A kind husband, an affectionate father.” However, to decidedly alter Shakspeare, the good that bad men do lives after them. The little boys of Warwick go to a school established by a bequest of murdering old Henry VIII, and the provisions respecting the Earl of Leicester's “bounty" are still carried out. He provided that twelve old soldiers, to be selected from four parishes named, should be forever sheltered at this hospital. The master of the hospital must be a clergyman. Failing in finding soldiers, marines are eligible to the bounty. The buildings are quaint old structures of the timber-and-plaster order of architecture, like Shakspeare's birthplace at Stratford. Each