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lish oak in the delicacy of its graining or the variety and warmth of its tints. In this respect the staircases, galleries, lobbies, doors, and doorways of Hatfield House are a delightful study to those who can open their eyes and use them. For this species of decoration the Earl wisely spared no expense. He spread it over all parts of his mansion with extraordinary profusion, from the Doric and Ionic columns with their friezes and swelling panels,' their triglyphs, cartouches, watercress and ogives, in the King's and the Queen's bed-chambers-for the Earl built his house with the view of entertaining royalty-down to the plainer work in the chapel, with its cipher and square, or the mitre and square of the hall.
By the 17th of May, 1611, the new mansion was rapidly approaching completion. The great hall was filled with tables and forms; the upper part of the screen, framed and carved, was ready for fixing. The masons had finished the walls of the great east chamber (the drawing-room). The scaffolding erected for "whiting" the fret ceiling of the long gallery "was to be cleared upon Tuesday." The jambs for the windows in the great chamber (the library), framed in London, had been promised by Janivere, with a foot-pace, to be laid, which is a-working, and then that room will be fully finished.' The withdrawing-chamber, the closet of the chapel, and the rooms adjoining, were ready to be lodged in within three weeks.' In July the work was still going on the great chamber was hanged and ready, the foot-pace and wainscot completed; and 'Dallam (how names fall into oblivion!) was to be sent down to tune the pipes of the wind instrument,' (probably an organ). The king's chamber and the rooms adjoining were matted and hanged. The chimney-pieces of plain wainscot had been set up in the gallery. The closet, chimney-piece and hangings, chairs and stools,' for the chapel, were suitable ready.' The frieze, and the pulpit, indispensable in great households, were to be done upon Thursday; the andirons only were wanting. On the 15th January, 1612, the masons were still engaged in paving the chapel with black and white marble, of which not more than one-third was completed; and the whole was to be finished in MidLent or thereabouts. But before Mid-Lent Death had laid his cold hand on the noble owner and architect. He was never destined to reside at Hatfield, or Cecil-Hatfield, as he proposed to call it. Visions of kings and queens passing through these
*According to the original design, there were no marble chimney-pieces. The first was introduced by the second Earl in 1612, for which he paid 50l. His father had a keener artistic instinct.
spacious and magnificent apartments; audiences held in the great west chamber with its foot-pace; masques, revels, and music in the east chamber, were not to be realized in his time. But if ever any man had a grand conception of what such a house ought to be where royalty might defile in full panoply, through its various apartments, without crowd or confusion, not shorn of its dignity like a provincial magistrate, that conception was realized at Hatfield. Two great chambers, each 60 feet long and 27 wide, on the east and west sides respectively, connected with a gallery 160 feet long, occupying the whole of the southern front, offer far greater advantages for grand entertainments, and enable a house full of guests to pass more freely from one end to the other, descending to the hall or the chapel by either of the opposite staircases, than rooms ranged in the same straight line, frigidly reproducing the same proportions, like the joints of a telescope or a nest of square boxes. Bedrooms in those days were not so numerous as modern usage requires. The more graceful sex formed a minority at festal gatherings. My lady's lady and my gentleman's gentleman were left behind; or if the one attended her mistress and the other his master, the lady's maid generally slept with her mistress, and my lord's gentleman occupied a pallet by the side of his master. Where the accommodation was scanty, two men of rank made no scruple of sharing the same chamber. The personal attendants of the great in those days were gentle by birth, and not unfrequently noble. So far from the truth is Lord Macaulay's flirt at the English clergy, whom he mistakes for the Dominie Sampsons of the novelist, and their wives for the menial waiting-women of his own time. Even Locke, Whig and philosopher as he was, did not sit at the same table with his aristocratic and liberal patron. He ate with the chaplain, at the side table. But neither one nor the other thought themselves degraded, or were degraded in the estimation of their contemporaries, by this rigid distinction of rank.
Sir Robert Cecil was his own architect. Two workmen on his estate—a mason named Conn, and a carpenter named Lyminge
-were his builders and surveyors, whilst his steward, Thomas Wilson, acted as general superintendent, paid the wages, and exercised a general supervision over the buildings and the gardens. The mansion, open to the south, occupies three sides of a hollow square, of which the north is 228 feet long, the two sides, east and west, 137 feet respectively, and the south front 133 feet 4 inches. Were it only for its architectural details Hatfield House is remarkable, more especially considering the means and instruments employed in its
erection. In apartments so vast and so numerous no blunders were committed. No gigantic staircase-obtruding its vastlike Behemoth, into a diminutive hall thrusts the sleeping apartments out of windows; no long narrow passages, pierced with doors exactly of the same shape and dimensions, and at the same intervals, puzzle the sensitive guest with a superfluous feeling of responsibility. Even in that difficulty of all difficulties, for which neither Greece nor Rome, nor Gothic pinnacle, to the dismay of modern architects, affords any solution-we mean the modern chimney-stack—the Earl, with his uneducated workmen, has afforded lessons modern builders might do well to study if not to imitate. Boldly grouping his chimneys, slightly enriched with interlacement, he made them subservient to the general effect of the whole design. At every distance they stand out against the sky, adding variety and effect to the outline.
It is probable that the house was never entirely completed according to the Earl's intentions. We miss the full complement of the twenty gables, with their twenty lions, and their twenty vanes. We miss the grand quadrilateral esplanade,. enclosing the house with its architectural enceinte, and cutting. it off by a definite outline from the surrounding country. We miss the great gates at its northern and southern extremities, with their long level line of Purbeck marble, from end to end, flanked with myrtles or formal orange-trees. Time, also, has laid its hand here and there on turret and stone-work. The clock-tower has been shorn of its full proportions. Still, the marvel is how so grand a work could have been carried out with such hands, and in so short a space; how, to this moment, not an opening large enough to admit the blade of a penknife is to be found in the parquetry floor of its long gallery, nor a panel has started from the walls. These were the workmanship of obscure English hands before technical education was invented. Could they, we will not say be surpassed, but be equalled by English carpenters and masons now?
Of the books, pictures, and antiquities, we propose not to speak; we must turn to less familiar subjects. Whilst the Earl was thus occupied in building, a new era of gardening and picturesque horticulture had sprung up in England. The readers of Bacon will call to mind his essay on this subject; the readers of Milton will remember his association of study and contemplation with trim gardens.' By a policy fatal to his successor, James I. had sent the English gentry to reside on their estates in the country; there to study law, like Hampden, or divinity, like Falkland, or chemistry, like Digby. Country
houses showed the result in their greater air of refinement, in their libraries, in their fountains and terrace walks. The Earl was not indifferent to these things, immersed, as he seemed to be, in politics, with his abstracted air, and his large lustrous eyes apparently gazing on vacancy. His grounds absorbed as much of his attention as his house. The garden on the west side belonged to the ancient palace. The garden on the east side, with its great flight of steps from the terrace, dates from the new house. It consisted of an upper and a lower level. It was to have been enriched with fountains, two in the quarters of the upper part and one in the midst of the lower part, each receiving their water from that next above it.' In addition to these was a pleasaunce, called in the papers of the times 'The Dell,' since better known as 'The Vineyard,' occupying the two opposite banks of the Lee. Nothing can be more picturesque or more delightful on a hot summer's day. Its steep slope of the greenest turf descending to the river, its primly-cut methodical yews, with their parallel alleys, carry the imagination back, without an effort, to the days of Donne, Burton, and Herbert. Such poetry and such prose, so fresh, so scholarly, so contemplative, solemn as these yews, quaint and as fantastic as they, could never have been meditated except in retreats like this, and only in such retreats can they be fully appreciated. Delightful in itself, it is still more delightful from the contrast of its geometrical primness with the unclipped limes and oaks growing in untamed strength and majesty in the dark avenue which abuts upon it. 'Went to see my Lord of Salisbury's palace at Hatfield,' writes Evelyn, no bad judge of houses and gardens, where the most considerable rarity, besides the house, inferior to few then in England for its architecture, were the garden and vineyard, rarely well watered and planted. They also showed us the picture of Secretary Cecil, in mosaic work, very well done by some Italian hand.'* This retreat was designed by a Frenchman, as we learn from a letter of the Earl's factotum, addressed to the Earl himself; and at the visit of Evelyn, who prided himself on his jets d'eau, seems to have possessed more of its original features than it retains at present, for he says, 'it was rarely well watered.' 'At the river (Lee),' says the letter just mentioned, the Frenchman meaneth to make a force (a forcing machine) at the going out of the water from the island, which by the current of the water shall drive up water to the top of the bank above the dell, and so descend into two fountains.' For this purpose the bank on
* Procured in 1608 by the celebrated Sir Henry Wotton, then ambassador at Venice. Contemporary letters speak of it as a very good likeness. Probably it was copied from Hilliard's picture of the Earl, now at Hatfield.
the other side of the Lee had to be levelled and the earth transported to the east garden. These water-works are explained by a rude sketch, with which we will not trouble our readers. For this vineyard and his other grounds the Earl received from France, through the care of Madame La Boderie, wife of the French Ambassador, 20,000 vines at the cost of 507., and 10,000 more were expected. This evening came to me,' says the steward, the French queen's gardener, that hath brought over the fruit-trees for the King and your Lordship; 2,000 for the King, and above 500 for your Lordship. There are two other gardeners besides this man, sent over by the French queen, to see the setting and bestowing of these trees.' From Lady Tresham, at Lyndon, whose husband had bestowed great care on horticulture, he received the offer of fifty cherry-trees; vines and nectarines from Sir Edward Sulyard; liquorice, with explanations for its culture, from the Earl of Shrewsbury; and a Norfolk tumbler for his warren, from Sir Edward Coke. His two gardeners were Montague Jennings and John Tradescant, afterwards horticulturist to Charles I., and father of the still more celebrated John Tradescant, founder of the Tradescant Museum, now better known as the Ashmolean Museum, at Oxford.
But it is not for its bricks and mortar, or the skill exhibited by its architect, or its curious gardens, or even its ancient surroundings, that Hatfield House is famous. Its greatest treasure consists in its collection of original papers, from Edward III. to the House of Hanover, embracing the correspondence of Lord Burghley and his son, from the reign of Henry VIII. to the middle of the reign of James I. No period in our annals is more full of moving accidents;' in none certainly was the spirit of the nation more profoundly stirred, or the chief actors on the stage of its history cast in a mightier mould—
'Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe.'
It embraces the two most fiery ordeals through which any nation can be doomed to pass. The conflict of opposite elements equally strong, their alternate preponderance, their eventual fusion, invest the whole of this epoch with a dramatic interest and grandeur never surpassed. Within its limits there is scarcely any event of moment, scarcely any personage that 'frets his hour' on the stage of history, that is not set in a clearer light, or brought more vividly home to the reader, by the Cecil manuscripts. Bequeathed by Lord Burghley to his son, Sir Robert, the first Earl of Salisbury, containing a more complete and voluminous collection of the papers of the son than even of the father, the correspondence preserves, as might be expected, im