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Who lose the deepening twilight of the Spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still,
Full of meek sympathy, must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
.    .    .    .    .    .    We have learnt
A different lore: we may not thus profane
Nature's sweet voices, always full of love
And joyance!—'Tis the MERRY nightingale!
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates,
With fast, thick warble, his delicious notes,
As he were fearful that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
His love chant, and disburthen his full soul
Of all its music."

After the nightingale, there comes the
wryneck, our woodpecker, and the cuckoo:
he is melancholy, perhaps. Spring pigeons
are to hand, and a rage for building speculation
seizes all the birds. Now is the time
for feathering their nests.

Then, there comes also, in April, the
festival of the English Patron St. George,
formerly of Cappadocia, the most unmitigated
rogue that ever got a church legend to
himself, and suffered registration in the list of

There. I shall say nothing about May. I
scorn to talk of May till I have had my Winter.
I don't care for the disappointment that
the Spring must suffer in losing all the praise
I could have showered on it; it is nothing
to the disappointment I have suffered from
the constant liquidity of the Serpentine. If
I have tagged rhymes from all manner of
poets about flowers, and that sort of thing,
I beg to inform Londoners that they are of
no consequence. Let them stand on any of
their bridges in the morning, and they will
see what Wordsworth himself declares to be
quite equal to Cumberland. Hear him:—

"Earth has not anything to show more fair.
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty!
This city now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning. Silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie,
Open unto the fields and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valleys, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw Inever felta calm so deep!"

So let us not be sighing here in London after
fields and flowers. We are better off. What
are the lambs to us unroasted? And what
do birds concern us with their feathers on?
They had better float in gravy than in music.
Others may do as they please, but I shall
stop in town. I suspect foul play. I suspect
that Winter has been made away with, and
Spring is too clearly a gainer not to lie open
to suspicion. Spring was seen where she had
no business to be, stealing about timidly at
Christmas; and, when her proper time came,
stealing away altogether to let Winter in
where, and when he was not wanted. There
is something wrong in all this; although I
hope it is all right; but I shall stay in town;
for I do not choose to be mixed up with such
irregular transactions.


FEW persons are aware of the strictness
with which the Tower of London is guarded
from foes without and from treachery within.
The ceremony of shutting it up every night
continues to be as solemn and as rigidly
precautionary as if the French invasion were
actually afoot. Immediately after "tattoo"
all strangers are expelled; and, the gates once
closed, nothing short of such imperative
necessity as fire or sudden illness can procure
their being re-opened till the appointed hour
the next morning.

The ceremony of locking up is very ancient,
curious, and stately. A few minutes before
the clock strikes the hour of elevenon Tuesdays
and Fridays, twelvethe Head Warden
(Yeoman Porter), clothed in a long red cloak,
bearing in his hand a huge bunch of keys,
and attended by a brother Warden, carrying a
gigantic lantern, appears in front of the main
guard-house, and calls out in a loud voice,
"Escort keys!" At these words the Sergeant
of the Guard, with five or six men, turns out
and follows him to the "Spur," or outer
gate; each sentry challenging, as they pass his
post, "Who goes there?"—"Keys." The
gates being carefully locked and barredthe
Warden wearing as solemn an aspect and
making as much noise as possiblethe
procession returns, the sentries exacting the same
explanation, and receiving the same answer
as before. Arrived once more in front of the
main guard-house, the sentry there gives a
loud stamp with his foot, and the following
conversation takes place between him and the
approaching party:—

"Who goes there?"


"Whose keys?"

"Queen Victoria's keys."

"Advance Queen Victoria's keys, and all's

The Yeoman Porter then exclaims, "God
bless Queen Victoria." The main guard
devoutly respond "Amen." The officer on duty
gives the word, "Present arms!" the
firelocks rattle; the officer kisses the hilt of
his sword; the escort fall in among their
companions; and the Yeoman Porter marches
majestically across the parade alone to deposit
the keys in the Lieutenant's lodgings.

The ceremony over, not only is all egress and
ingress totally precluded, but even within the
walls no one can stir without being furnished
with the countersign; and any one who,
unhappily forgetful, ventures from his quarters
unprovided with his talisman, is sure to be
made the prey of the first sentinel whose
post he crosses.

All of which is pleasantly absurd, and

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