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upon the bridge, could not be perceived to waste nor consume, neither for the weather, which was then very hot, neither for the parboiling in hot water, but grew daily fresher and fresher, so that in his lifetime he never looked so well; for his cheeks being beautified with a comely red, the face looked as though it had beholden the people passing by, and would have spoken to them.”
The head of Sir Thomas More is said to have retained in a scarcely less singular manner, and for a still longer period, the appearance of vitality and health. At the time of his death his hair had become gray, but (as in the case of Charles the First, whose remains were discovered in St. George's Chapel at Windsor in 1813) the colour appears to have changed after death to a “reddish or yellow" hue. The head of this great man, it is said, was about to be thrown into the Thames, in order to make room for that of some later victim, when his beloved daughter, Mrs. Roper, contrived to obtain possession of it. As before related, she preserved it in a leaden box till the day of her death, when it was placed in her arms and interred with her in the family vault of the Ropers, in St. Dunstan's Church, Canterbury.
We must not omit to mention that the illustrious painter, Hans Holbein, is said to have resided at one period of his life in one of the houses on London Bridge. According to Horace Walpole, - The father of the Lord Treasurer Oxford, pass
ing over London Bridge, was caught in a shower, when, stepping into a goldsmith's shop for shelter, he found there the picture of Holbein, who had lived in that house, and of his family. He offered the goldsmith a hundred pounds for it, who consented to let him have it, but desired first to show it to some persons. Immediately after happened the fire of London, and the picture was destroyed.” In London Bridge also resided, at later periods, two eminent painters of marine subjects, Peter Monamy, and Dominic de Serres.
THE FIRE OF LONDON.
Where the Fire Originated — Charles II.'s Noble Conduct
Pepys's Account of the Fire – Evelyn's “ Diary” – Farryner's Account of the Origin of the Fire — Attributed to the Roman Catholics — The Monument - Original Inscription – Damage Caused by the Fire — Description of the Monument.
How few are there, who have stood on Fish Street Hill,
Where London's column, pointing at the skies,
who have not lingered to ruminate on that fearful conflagration, which the magnificent column before us was raised to commemorate !
Near this spot was kindled and broke out that raging and memorable flame, which, driven irresistibly forward by a furious wind, fed itself in its fierce course alike with the gilded palaces of the rich and the humble dwellings of the poor, deafening the ear with the sound of falling roofs and crackling timbers, and lighting up the Thames till it gleamed like a lake of fire; destroying out of the twenty-six wards of the city no fewer than fifteen, and leaving the
remainder scorched, ruinous, and uninhabitable; consuming the massive gates of the city, the Guildhall, eighty-nine churches, the magnificent cathedral of St. Paul's, numbers of schools, hospitals, libraries, and other public structures, four hundred streets, and thirteen thousand dwelling-houses; and at last, after having raged during four days and four nights, leaving a tract of ruin and desolation extending over no fewer than 436 acres.
The great fire of London broke out at twelve o'clock on the night of the 2d of September, 1666, at the house of one Farryner, the king's baker, in Pudding Lane, at the distance of 202 feet (the height of the column) to the eastward of the spot where the monument now stands.
The progress of the flames, chiefly in consequence of the high wind which prevailed, was inconceivably rapid. Unfortunately, not only were the thoroughfares in the neighbourhood extremely narrow, but the houses were chiefly composed of wood and plaster, and many of them had thatched roofs. The suddenness, too, of the catastrophe, the furious rapidity with which the fire extended itself, and the awful sublimity of the scene, appear to have rendered the populace utterly helpless. “The conflagration,” writes an eye-witness, “was so universal, and the people so astonished, that from the beginning, I know not by what despondency or fate, they hardly stirred to quench it; so that there was nothing heard or seen but crying out and
lamentation, running about like distracted creatures, without at all attempting to save even their goods, such a strange consternation was there
The lord mayor, moreover, on whose energy and presence of mind so much depended, appears to have been a person totally unqualified to act the part required of him. In singular opposition to the conduct of the affrighted functionary was that of Charles the Second, who, hurrying personally to the scene, acted sensibly, nobly, and energetically; issuing the wisest directions, as well to preserve order, as to ameliorate the miserable condition of the houseless and starving inhabitants; giving orders for pulling down houses in all directions, to prevent the further progress of the flames; and himself passing the four fearful days, sometimes on horseback and sometimes on foot, in visiting the points where the fire raged most fiercely, encouraging the workmen by his presence, and exhorting them to increased exertions by promises, example, or threats. According to a contemporary MS. quoted by Echard, “All own the immediate hand of God, and bless the goodness of the king, who made the round of the fire usually twice every day, and for many hours together, on horseback and on foot, gave orders for pursuing the work by threatenings, desires, example, and good store of money, which he himself distributed to the workers, out of a hundred-pound bag, which