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address the greatest individuals in the land, while the number of our patrons admits every shade of excellence. We reck little of any exoteric opinion. We should not exult, if our publication were honoured with an article in the Quarterly; it would be with no feeling of degradation that we should read an attack upon our performance in the pages of the Satirist or the Weekly Dispatch. Far different are our feelings towards the circle of our honoured patrons. A smile from an old Etonian would be our greatest reward; our sensibility would be acutely tried by a frown from a member of the Lower Greek.
Addressing ourselves, then, to you, Gentlemen, for whom everything connected with Eton has so great an interest, we need not apologize for relating without preface a circumstance bearing closely on our present undertaking.
Most of us in our time have ascended in no enviable mood to the room, to which tradition has given the name of Library, that scene of terror and punishment, where, as if in mockery of the culprits below, have been affixed the figures of festive maidens, and triumphant heroes. On the fatal staircase we bave remarked (when our feelings allowed us to remark objects of general curiosity) an ancient and unwieldy chest. Its appearance bafiled conjecture as to the nature of its contents; and conjecture accordingly has not ventured to speak. But for our liberal and patriotic disclosure, our readers would probably have remained in their former ignorance. We have braved the consequences; and richly do we deserve the tbanks of all, who will now be made aware that in that ancient depository lay a store of highly interesting and valuable records. Nay, more; we have been induced to give to the world (the Eton world, of course) the benefit of onr inestimable treasure. How we obtained possession of it, it matters little to our readers to know. Whether at the “witching time of night," amidst storm and tempest, the chest was supernaturally opened, and, after the sudden disappearance of the records, closed with a noise louder than the thunder echoing without; or whether in milder guise, a benevolent fairy, riding on a sunbeam, contrived to bear the precious burden through the keyhole, and convey it to our desk; whether these, or any other agents gave us possession of the documents, it matters not to our readers. Suffice it for them to know, that from time to time, some specimens of this our collection will appear in the pages of the Eton Bureau, Thus, while we invite the contributions of all our friends, we shall be able, occasionally, to place beside them the works of their ancestors and predecessors in these walks of learning. If we have discovered no state papers written by Walpole in his youth, if we can promise no hitherto undiscovered efforts of Waller's muse, yet may our friends be pleased to learn something of those who in past times sustained, as now, the credit of this place in every manly and honourable pursuit. Perhaps, even the confessions of some who passed the chest of old in their way to the fatal room above, may not be without their interest. But we are anticipating the feast which it is not yet time to set before our readers. To them, be it recollected, we look for the contributions which must form the staple of our produce, the prime flowers of our chaplet. But our flowers must not all exhibit the same hue; our garland must be redolent of various odours. Our contributors therefore must account for the occasional rejection of their choicest gifts, by the abundance of the offerings from which we choose. We invite all to aid us in our work
all who bave joined in the sports, the studies, and the honours of this place.
Etone nutriri mihi contigit, will be a sufficient introduction to our warmest friendship.
And sarely now, if ever, should we be active. The united excellence of Eton's ablest champions would not compensate for the loss of him, who learnt at her feet so well how the statesman's wisdom might be blended with the poet's sweetness, how Cæsar governed and Tibullus sang. If we cannot repair that sad bereavement, yet under the shade which he loved so fondly, our young hopes may find a shelter. Of those who shall trust their first dallyings with the muse to these pages, some may hereafter follow the track, if they cannot equal the honours, of the noble and lamented Wellesley.
[Our readers will undoubtedly expect a tale from the above-mentioned chest to follow here, but we regret to say, that owing to the remarkably crabbed and antiquated style of the writing, we have been as yet unable to decipher the characters sufficiently to make any selection worthy of perusal. We hope soon to have mastered the Old English, our present obstacle, as we anticipate something exceedingly interesting, from the cursory view we have already had of its contents.— Ed.]
By steam and stokers borne a-head,
All climb the giddy heights of knowledge,
A NIGHT IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.
In the south east of Sussex, not far from the sea-coast, lie the ruins of an embattled mansion, which once formed the principal abode of the noble family of Dacre. In external appearance, it is true, the castle of Herstmonceux does not much differ from the appearance it presented, when first raised by Sir Roger de Fynes, four centuries ago. But, alas! if we enter the spacious quadrangle, what a change! Where are the ancient draw-bridges, wbich excited the admiration of Horace Walpole? The chapel, the hall, the kitchen, the curious galleries, and a hundred other reliques of by-gone days? Within a century, it stood one of the most perfect and magnificent specimens of an old English house: built of brick, and two hundred feet square, Herstmonceux represented well the period when the baronial castle merged into the embattled and turretted mansion; its towers and courts were complete, its rooms and galleries unimpaired, --nothing altered since the days of its earliest possessors : now, there is hardly a vestige left of its internal arrangement, the mere shell remains. Shame on the memory of the " dull destroyer," who, to build a new house, so wantonly defaced this interesting relique of our forefathers !
Turn we from the melancholy scene, to contemplate the mansion, as it stood under its third possessor, in the reign of King Henry VIII,
The fire was burning merrily in the great hall of Herstmonceux; and its blaze, as it played over the weaponcovered walls, and oaken ceiling of the noble room, was pleasant enough to the inmates, though it was the last evening in April ; for the night was cold and stormy, and as the wind swept through the empty courts, and shook the oriel of the hall, its mournful noise seemed like the wail of the guardian spirit of the family, portending some coming woe.
Yet little recked the young lord Dacre, and his merry companions, of the storm without. They sat round the fire in the centre of the ball, and constantly quaffed copious draughts of sack or “maloisie" from the vessels which stood at hand. It was a late hour for those days; the clock of the castle had already tolled nine, and symptoms of the approach of " the drowsie god” were already appearing in the melancholy silence, which at length began to prevail. The songs, which, during the evening, had made the roof ring again, had long ago died away, and all seemed disposed for rest: not so lord Dacre.
“How now, gallants !” said he, “is our evening to end thus ? Are we, like saintly monks, to seek our chambers now, in order to be only half asleep, at the midnight service? Rouse ye, my drowsy companions ; bestir thyself, George Roidon !”