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Entrance

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Steps into The Yard

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and trimmed the spot for the bowling-green, where it is still known; so that such a space for wholesome exercise was even then a matter of prime consideration. Indeed, a good bowling-green was a constant accompaniment to an old English country seat, until the billiard-room supplanted it : but whether the exchange was a beneficial one admits of a doubt; nor does it appear that there was any reason, save fashion, why the two sports should not co-exist.

The form of the mansion is parallelogrammatic; and it is built of the best stone, timber, and other materials, with hewn work and carpentry of the first order. Its extent, from the eastern porch to the west extreme of the inner offices, is one hundred and ninety feet, with a breadth of one hundred and ten at the two ends; but the actual body of the building is one hundred and sixty feet by seventy (See Plate VI.); and the height, to the parapet on which the “hip-and-valley” roof stands, is forty-five feet. From these figures it will be inferred that Hartwell House is not of a commanding altitude, and it must be admitted that docking the ornamental gables, when Sir William Lee's alterations were made, was hardly admissible: but, approaching by the north, the building derives, from extent of front, a dignity which compensates for the disproportionate lowness of the elevation. The mansion has its four faces placed to the cardinal points of the compass, being directed as exactly as could be expected where no magnetic variation was allowed for in laying out the foundations: the west end of the house is flanked by a semi-circular court-yard, the wall of which bounds the outer offices. There is much variety in these faces; for, while the south and east fronts are light, airy, and recent, the north side presents large windows with appropriate mullions and transoms, and other peculiarities typifying the Elizabethan era; and the western end, with its roughish ashlar work, looks still older. From the dimensions just given, it will be seen that Hartwell House is an extensive one, but not to an enormous degree; whilst, from the convenient disposition of its apartments, it constitutes an excellent dwelling, being a well-designed mean between those vast piles raised for pompous magnificence, and the smaller ones in which convenience is alone considered. In a word, it consults comfort without destroying grandeur, and the Duke of

thereby avoids the moral of Pope's spiteful invective on
Chandos :--

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This is broad enough, but the poet proceeds to other details with scurrilous personality: yet had he taken salt with Timon !

To conclude the shell of Hartwell House, I may repeat, that the whole edifice is substantially built of white free-stone; and an examination proves that neither expense nor pains have been spared in ensuring durability: it is, indeed, as stout as a fortress, the cellars are like garrison bomb-proofs, and as to the walls, I well remember the difficulty we experienced in cutting through the basement under one of the library windows, in order to make a doorway into the observatory; in doing which we encountered a stout iron bar of connection, which had become so thoroughly case-hardened as to resist our attempts for some time.

§ 2. THE APARTMENTS.

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The cast and south façades of Hartwell Ilouse have each a columned portico; but the usual entrance is by a low porch on the north, which is, as of old, furnished with two sediles, or stout bench fixtures. Having passed this vestibulum--so to speak—a fine manorial hall is entered, answering in a modified degree to the inclosed portico, cavædium, or atrium of Roman villas; and from thence, of course, the whole mansion is open and accessible. The older division

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of it is laid out in halls and offices on the ground-floor, with the muniment room and a gallery or museum above: the modernized portion contains the general apartments, the library, study, and chapel below (see Plate VI.), with a range of capacious sleeping-rooms over them; and the whole is surmounted with a story of attics, most of which are commodious, without pretensions to architectural elegance. The manner in which the upper rooms were inhabited by the French refugees, companions and suite of Louis XVIII., will be mentioned in the Appendix to this volume.

The great hall, into which the aforesaid northern porch conducts us, is forty-seven feet in length by twenty in breadth, and eighteen in height: the sides of it are adorned with stucco cornices dividing the walls into suitable panels, each surmounted by a bird supporting a festoon of flowers with his beak. On the eastern side is a bust of the celebrated John Hampden on an appropriate bracket; which was placed there by Dr. Lee on the occasion of a monument being erected in Chalfont field to his memory, on the spot where he fell, on the 18th of June, 1813. The ceiling of this hall is elaborately decorated, having in the centre a large and well-executed alto-relievo representing an ox-headed river-deity, reclined as usual on an urn, and holding a rudder : in front of him is a draped female, who—seated amidst architectural remains, with a trumpet by her side—is using a stylus upon her tablet. The whole of this is accurately represented in the head-piece to the quarto edition of Addison's Works (vol. ii. page 1, Edition 1721), drawn by Sir James Thornhill and engraved by George Gucht. It is believed to be an allegorical representation of Genius writing history among the ruins of Italy—“ Tauriformis volvitur Aufidus."*

An enormous bay-window gives ample light to this excellent specimen of transition architecture, and shews to great advantage the large dimensions of a black marble mantelpiece, about seven feet square, supported

Being at a cheerful audit-dinner in this hall in 1830, and seated next to an old college chum of the Doctor's, the late Rev. Frederick Pawsey, I asked him whether the river-god over our heads represented Achelous? To this he jocosely replied—“ Perhaps so; but he's a calf-headed fellow, at any rate.” While laughing at the answer, one of the farmers, Mr. Seaman, said—“No, sir, his horns are too long for that." Something to learn everywhere!

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