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FONTHILL HOUSE, WITH WING OF FONTHILL 81 LITERARY WILTSHIRE. Wilton House and Beckford's Font hill—A Bit of Italy. Bishop's Fonthill. Wilts, September 8. Rvory English shire has its literary traditions and atmosphere. There may not be a name of nnique pre-eminence, as there is in Warwick shire, or the Wordsworth country, or Tenny son's Lincolnshire and Isle of Wight, >or Kings loy's North Devon, or the land of Lorna Doone; yet the serene radiance of a galaxy of minor 1; '!i! will not be lacking. Wiltshire has been for generations the birthplace and refuge of poets, philosophers and men of letters. Sir Philip Sid ney v.-rote a portion of his "Arcadia" In the beautiful grounds of Wilton House, the rplen did home of the Herberts, where Shakespeare nr .1 i company of strolling players were to fol low him In entertaining royalty; and illustra tions for the wort are now shown on the walls, and privileged visitors are allowed to see his favorite tree in the garden and a lock of hair which Queen Elisabeth sent to him. Addison vfar, born near Stonehenge; George Herbert wrote his best hymns In the rectory of Bomer ton Church, near Salisbury; Crabbe's grave was dug at Trcrabridge, where he had enjoyed a jolly old age; Coloridga sought release In the chalk downs from the bondage of opium; Dryden, Thomson and Wordsworth were frequent vis itors in the shire, and Thomas Moore found a mug retreat In a cottage near Bowood, and was buried there. The groat Chatham lived near Old Sarum; Lord Clarendon, born not far away, at Dinton, wrote his history near by at Hatch House be yon ;1 Fonthill; the earlier chronicler, William of Malmesbury, was trained in a Wiltshire mon )-t< •••>•. and Thomas Hobbes was born among • > Marlborough downs. Sir Walter Raleigh had strange adventures on the southern border r^ar Fhorbourne; the judicious Hooker compiled his laborious work in a rectory not far from Salisbury; Izaak Walton fished in the chalk streams; Henry Fielding ran through a small estate and a large pack of hounds near Mere; Arnold of Rugby went to school at Warminster; Dr. Priestley worked out his scientific experi ments at Colne, and Sydney Smith kept the tble in a roar when he stayed at the country houses. Nor should the antiquaries be forgot >n. Wiltshire has bred many of them, Aubrey, i*unnin^ton, Britton and Tanner among them, s,nd General Pitt-Rivers's museum on the Dor set border offers adequate proof that primitive art has not lost its fascinations for thoughtful minds. Not even Wilton House, with 'ts traditions of princely patronage of art and literature, and its ej Undid Van Dycks and Pembroke marbles, could ever have rivalled the Fonthill treasures and expenditures. Two millionaires, father and Bon, had a passion for collecting books, paint ings and sculpture, and each built a palace and Btocked it with works of art The elder Bcck ford, inheriting a vast West Indian fortune, and earning the friendship of Chatham and groat popularity among ihe London merchants, gave the most brilliant fetes which had ever been known In Wiltshire. The younger Beckford. after writing the romance of "Vathek," and wasting a fortune on a castle in Portugal, set tled down at Fonthill and acquired celebrity from his revels of extravagance and Improvi d< nee. He began by rebuilding his father's mansion on an enlarged scale and by selling the expensive art treasures and furniture be queathed to him and replacing thorn with more Fumptuous works, and he ended by condemning the site as too near the large lake, and conse quently damp, and building on higher ground a Hew abbey with a tower 300 feet high. When the lower fell through lack of thoroughness in con etruction he replaced it almost as hastily with another, which toppled over after he had lost the bulk of his fortune. The spacious grounds were laid out and decorated at lavish cost, and f-urrounded with high walls co keep out tres passers and sportsmen; and the art collections wore steadily enriched by purchases from Paris and Italy. A brilliant amateur, who had ex cited the admiration of Byron by his Oriental imagery and opulence of style, he gradually neglected all interests except collecting and be came an eccentric dilettante, living in seclusion like a hermit, toying with costly trifles of vertu and rummaging in erudite lore. The younger Beckford, whose coming of age had been celebrated with bonfires on the hills NEW- YORK DAILY TRIBUNE. SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1905. and fetes with thousands of lamps, saved a remnant of his mismanaged fortune by selling Fonthill to a millionaire; and on the high ground behind Bath he built another tower from which he could look over the Somerset hills and the Wiltshire downs, and Bee with a glass his famous abbey. The treasure house was emptied by a series of auction sales, and the pictures, marbles, bronzes and porcelains were scattered. The high tower fen and destroyed the abbey with the exception of a single wing, so that the learned recluse with his telescope could no longer see his former home, A mill was con structed on the border of the lake, and the es tate, with its hig-h wall seven miles in circuit, was divided into two sections. The greater part of the elder Beckford's Fonthill Splendens had already been burned, with a series of Hogarths and many works of art; and the splendid park, with its outlying terraces of woodland, its state ly gateway, its subterranean labyrinth and its costly driveways, seemed destined to ruinous neglect. The wrecking of the Beckford fortune was fairly complete; but the wilful and luxu rious recluse, who had brought It about by his extravagant tastes and business Incapacity, took his reverses easy and faced old age with serenity of mind. He had saved the Gibbon library, with nearly all his own books and some of the best of his pictures and sculptures; and he did not change his habits, but continued to collect books and vertu as long as he lived, without being embittered by his sense of failure or seeming to know that he had -.vasted his life. To the end he loved his rare, old books, and so long as he could read them he fancied that he had better company than the stateliest society of the great Beckford's splendid estate has suffered less than he feared it would when a millionaire with out sympathy for art or landscape gardening purchased It The cloth mill has disappeared from the lake; the grandiose gateway of Inlgo Jones has been restored; a new Fonthill abbey, In the form of a Scotch castle, has been built on high ground for Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart, and surrounded with beautiful lawns and sump tuous gardens; and the remnant of Fonthill Splendens has been converted Into an Italian mansion with a high tower and filled with art treasures by Mrs. Morrison. Many of the Beckford drives have been retained and im proved, and the landscape setting of both houses is most beautiful, one being approached by glades with silver firs and the other having an outlook upon a picturesque lake with a back ground of wooded hills. Of Beckford's own abbey a single wing remains, with a small tower and a fine hall furnished Jn oak, and his hermit cave lighted by openings In the wood land can still be entered. The two estates have been steadily Improved by their wealthy own ers and can hardly be rivalled In Wiltshire tor variety of scenery, magnificent cedars, firs, oaks and beeches, broad prospects and picturesque terraces. The spirit of virtuoso collecting: to which Beckford sacrificed his Immense West Indian fortune, still dominates the park, tor Fonthill House is renowned for the Morrison collections of armor, enamels, porcelains, mar bles, paintings and laces. Many of Beckford's own treasures are In his father's reconstructed mansion, and so rich, varied and interesting are the collections that Hazlitt's description ol the original Fonthill Abbey seems cold and preju diced: "A desert of magnificence, a glittering waste of laborious idlonri-s, a cathedral turned into a toy shop, an immense museum of all that is curious and costly, and at the same time mosl worthless, in the production of art and nature." The Wiltshire downs, like the chalks and clays of Dorsetshire, are included in Mr. Hardy's Wessex. and both Salisbury and Stonehenge have b<»en described by him in detail He is sel dom seen outside of Dorchester, except when he makes his annual pilgrimage to London to en joy the season in a grim, old fashioned way. Mr. Rudyard Kipling is a frequent visitor, for his father lives two miles from the Fonthill es tates in a comfortable gabled house on the road to Tisbury. A retired official of the Indian Ed ucational Service, he amusts himself by paint ing in water colors, making architectural draw ings and modelling in clay, and is remarkably vigorous for a man of sixty-eight More dis tinctively a Wiltshire man of letters than either Mr. Hardy or so casual visitor as Mr. Rudyard Kiplinp is Mr. Maurice Hewlett. B->rn in Kent, and a Londoner while he was in the civil ser vice, he bought a few years ago an old rectory in Broad Chalk, about eight miles from Salis bury and as many from Fonthill. It was in a dilapidated condition and had been converted LENDENS. into a farmhouse; but it has been a labor of love for him to restore and to beautify it, and Mrs. Hewlett has filled it with antique furni ture collected up and down the English shires. The little chalk stream which flows behind the house has been walled in and bridged, and a scries of Italian gardens have been laid out with original taste and fine feeling. It is ono of the most characteristic of the literary homes of England. His face always brightens when he speaks of it, and, with a taste for garden ing as strong as Dean Hole's love of roses, he is always happiest when he is strolling from one corner to another and planning changes which will make the gardens a little less like prosaic England and a little more like a sunny bit of Italy. L N. F. AN ECLIPSE OF LUCK. Professor G. A. Hill, of the United States Na val Observatory, said, before sailing to study the sun's eclipse: "I have high hopes of this expedition, but a cloud may ruin all. I desire to come baok over loaded with priceless solar photographs, but everything depends on chance, and perhaps I will return as empty handed as a farm boy from my native town who went to New-York THE TERRACE, WILTON HOUSE. THS NEW FON THILL ABBEY. to seek his fortune. For «rtx months not a wot* was heard from him. Then, one wintor after noon his father got this note: " 'Dear Pa— Meet me under the old bridge to morrow night after dark. Bring with yotl a blanket or a suit of clothe I have a. I WENT ABOUT IT THE WRONG WAT. Campbell, the chauffeur w"ho won the Sl/**> Cape May trophy, was talking at the Windsor, where he stopred, about his success as a racer. He declared that he had not -jumped unprepared Into racing, as the Valne skipper jump"! into sign painting. This .skipr<"r and his rr.'n were putting the finishing touches on a new schooner. When it came to painting thct mmi on the beat's stern the men hesitated, fearing to maka a botch of so difficult a Job. But the skipper reproached them for their cowardice, and threw himself on his stomach upon the deck with a pot of paint and a brush, arcl, reaching down over the side, in due course he finished the name— 3l MX I SUDDEN CHANGE OF VIEW. District Attorney Jerome was diSCUK ! I absurd defences that criminal la induce their clients to set up. "Th mind me." he said, "at an eW was walking along the street i Ith her f of twelve. Suddenly she halted, enraged. " 'Look at that intoxicated brute across the way,' she exclaimed. "Did you ever sa thing so disgusting? Where are the r°- ; course, never at hand wh< n ih y'r- « That drunken beast ought to be locked a year.' "The boy. who had been looking b I through the dusk at the reeling man, r.ow : In a low voice: " 'Why. mother, that's brother BIDL" "At this the woman threw up her hands gesture of horror and despair. " "Oh,' she cried, 'the saloonkeepers have ! druggin' that poor child apain.' " TOOK HONEYMOON SEPARATELY. Charles Felton Pidgin, the statistician of Massachusetts, is studying the question of race suicide. The other day he said: "I knew in Roxbury, when I live there, ■ Scotch tobacconist who got married. V him a few days after the wedding, I said: " 'Why. Donald, I thought you were away on your honeymoon? - 'Will, so we are.' the Pimple young fellow answered. "Mary Is down at Cousin Tan far a week, and I'm goin' to take a week when sh« comes hack.' "