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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

We will go on to Charing Cross


'Leave

him out!' said Mrs. Dallas, with a sort of groan of impatience.

'What shall I do with the next following, mamma? That is Charles II.'

'He had a right there at least.'

'He abused it.'

'At least he was a king, and a gentleman.'

'If I could show you Whitehall as it was in his day, mother, I think you would not want to look long. But I shall not try. We will go on to Charing Cross. The old palace extended once nearly so far. Here is the place.' He pointed to a certain spot on the map.

'What is there now?' asked Betty.

'Not the old Cross. That is gone; but, of course, I cannot stand there without in thought going back to Edward I. and his queen. In its place is a brazen statue of Charles I. And in fact, when I stand there the winds seem to sweep down upon me from many a mountain peak of history. Edward and his rugged greatness, and Charles and his weak folly; and the Protectorate, and the Restoration. For here, where the statue stands, stood once the gallows where Harrison and his companions were executed, when "the king had his own again." Sometimes I can hardly see the present, when I am there, for looking at the past.'

'You are enthusiastic,' said Miss Frere. 'But I understand it. Yes, that is not like New

York; not much!'

'What became of the Cross, Pitt?'

'Pulled down, mother--like everything else in its day.'

'Who pulled it down?'

'The Republicans.'

'The Republicans! Yes, it was like them!' said Mrs. Dallas. 'Rebellion, dissent, and a want of feeling for whatever is noble and refined, all go together. That was the Puritans!'

'Pretty strong!' said Pitt. 'And not quite fair either, is it? How much feeling for what is noble and refined was there in the court of the second Charles?--and how much of either, if you look below the surface, was in the policy or the character of the first Charles?'

'He did not destroy pictures and pull down statues,' said Mrs. Dallas. 'He was at least a gentleman. But the Puritans were a low set, always. I cannot forgive them for the work they did in England.'

'You may thank heaven for some of the work they did. But for them, you would not be here to-day in a land of freedom.'

'Too much freedom,' said Mrs. Dallas. 'I believe it is good to have a king over a country.'

'Well, go on from Charing Cross, won't you,' said Miss Frere. 'I am interested. I never studied a map of London before. I am not sure I ever saw one.'

'I do not know which way to go,' said Pitt. 'Every step brings us to new associations; every street opens up a chapter of history. Here is Northumberland House; a grand old building, full of its records. Howards and Percys and Seymours have owned it and built it; and there General Monk planned the bringing back of the Stuarts. Going along the Strand, every step is full of interest. Just _here_ used to be the palace of Sir Nicholas Baron and his son; then James the First's favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, lived in it; and the beautiful water-gate is yet standing which Inigo Jones built for him. All the Strand was full of palaces which have passed away, leaving behind the names of their owners in the streets which remain or have been built since. Here Sir Walter Raleigh lived; _here_ the Dudleys had their abode, and Lady Jane Grey was married; here was the house of Lord Burleigh. But let us go on to the church of St. Mary-le-Strand. Here once stood a great Maypole, round which there used to be merry doings. The Puritans took that down too, mother.'


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