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The Revolution in Tanner's Lane   By: (1831-1913)

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THE REVOLUTION IN TANNER'S LANE

"Per various casus, per tot discrimina rerum, Tendimus in Latium; sedes ubi fata quietas Ostendunt. Illic fas regna resurgere Trojae. Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis." Virgil.

"By diuers casis, sere parrellis and sufferance Unto Itaill we ettill (aim) quhare destanye Has schap (shaped) for vs ane rest and quiet harbrye Predestinatis thare Troye sall ryse agane. Be stout on prosper fortoun to remane." Gwain Douglas's translation.

CHAPTER I THE WORLD OUTSIDE

The 20th April 1814, an almost cloudless, perfectly sunny day, saw all London astir. On that day Lewis the Eighteenth was to come from Hartwell in triumph, summoned by France to the throne of his ancestors. London had not enjoyed too much gaiety that year. It was the year of the great frost. Nothing like it had been known in the memory of man. In the West of England, where snow is rare, roads were impassable and mails could not be delivered. Four dead men were dug out of a deep drift about ten miles west of Exeter. Even at Plymouth, close to the soft south western ocean, the average depth of the fall was twenty inches, and there was no other way of getting eastwards than by pack horses. The Great North Road was completely blocked, and there was a barricade over it near Godmanchester of from six to ten feet high. The Oxford coach was buried. Some passengers inside were rescued with great difficulty, and their lives were barely saved. The Solway Firth at Workington resembled the Arctic Sea, and the Thames was so completely frozen over between Blackfriars and London Bridges that people were able, not only to walk across, but to erect booths on the ice. Coals, of course, rose to famine prices in London, as it was then dependent solely upon water carriage for its supply. The Father of his people, the Prince Regent, was much moved by the general distress of "a large and meritorious class of industrious persons," as he called them, and issued a circular to all Lords Lieutenant ordering them to provide all practicable means of removing obstructions from the highways.

However, on this 20th April the London mob forgot the frost, forgot the quartern loaf and the national debt, and prepared for a holiday, inspired thereto, not so much by Lewis the Eighteenth as by the warmth and brilliant sky. There are two factors in all human bliss an object and the subject. The object may be a trifle, but the condition of the subject is most important. Turn a man out with his digestion in perfect order, with the spring in the air and in his veins, and he will cheer anything, any Lewis, Lord Liverpool, dog, cat, or rat who may cross his path. Not that this is intended as a sufficient explanation of the Bourbon reception. Far from it; but it does mitigate it a trifle. At eleven o'clock in the forenoon two troops of the Oxford Blues drew up at Kilburn turnpike to await the sacred arrival. The Prince Regent himself went as far as Stanmore to meet his August Brother. When the August Brother reached the village, the excited inhabitants thereof took the horses out of the carriage and drew him through the street. The Prince, standing at the door of the principal inn, was in readiness to salute him, and this he did by embracing him! There have been some remarkable embraces in history. Joseph fell on Israel's neck, and Israel said unto Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen thy face:" Paul, after preaching at Ephesus, calling the elders of the Church to witness that, for the space of three years, he ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears, kneeled down and prayed, so that they all wept sore and fell on his neck: Romeo took a last embrace of Juliet in the vault, and sealed the doors of breath with a righteous kiss: Penelope embraced Ulysses, who was welcome to her as land is welcome to shipwrecked swimmers escaping from the grey seawater there have, we say, been some remarkable embraces on this earth since time began, but none more remarkable than that on the steps of the Abercorn Arms... Continue reading book >>




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