« AnkstesnisTęsti »
THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE.
READER, in thy passage from the Bank-where thou hast been receiving thy half-yearly dividends (supposing thou art a lean annuitant like myself)—to the Flower Pot, to secure a place for Dalston, or Shacklewell, or some other thy suburban retreat northerly, didst thou never observe a melancholy-looking, handsome, brick and stone edifice, to the left-where Threadneedlestreet abuts upon Bishopsgate? I dare say thou hast often admired its magnificent portals ever gaping wide, and disclosing to view a grave court, with cloisters, and pillars, with few or no traces of goers-in or comers-out-a desolation something like Balclutha's.*
This was once a house of trade,—a centre of busy interests. The throng of merchants was here the quick pulse of gain— and here some forms of business are still kept up, though the soul be long since fled. Here are still to be seen stately porticos; imposing staircases, offices roomy as the state apartments in palaces-deserted, or thinly peopled with a few straggling clerks; the still more sacred interiors of court and committee-rooms, with venerable faces of beadles, door-keepers-directors seated in form on solemn days (to proclaim a dead dividend), at long worm-eaten tables, that have been mahogany, with tarnished gilt-leather coverings, supporting massy silver inkstands long since dry;-the oaken wainscots hung with pictures of deceased governors and sub-governors, of queen Anne, and the two first monarchs of the Brunswick dynasty:-huge charts, which subsequent discoveries
* I passed by the walls of Balclutha, and they were desolate.-OSSIAN.