PLACES OF RESORT
THE places of resort in this century, and especially in the reign of Charles the Second, reveal the existence of a new class: that of the fashionable class, the people who live for amusement. They have grown up by degrees; they inhabit a new town lying between the Inns of Court and Hyde Park, which they have built for themselves; they have made a society composed entirely of themselves, frequenting the same coffee-houses and taverns, belonging to the same sets, and following the same kind of life. They have invented the fashionable saunter; they have made the theatre their own; they have introduced the salon and the reception. They gamble a great deal; they lounge a great deal; they make love a great deal; they drink; they dress extravagantly; they practise affectations; they lay bets; they run races; they live, in a word, exactly the same careless, useless, mischievous life which their successors have continued ever since.
Among the other things which we owe to them is the Park.
The old maps of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries represent the area which is now the Green Park and Hyde Park as green fields; these fields formed part of the manors known as Neyte and Hyde, which belonged to the Abbey of Westminster until the reign of Henry the Eighth, when they fell to the Crown, being exchanged for the Priory of Hurley in Berkshire. Henry the Eighth either stocked the fields with deer, or found deer there and ran a fence round the fields so as to enclose them. During the sixteenth and part of the seventeenth centuries Hyde Park was a Royal hunting-ground. In the reign of Charles the First it was also a racecourse. In Cromwell's time it was a place for driving and for carriage races; under Charles the Second it became a promenade and a drive, just as it is at the present day.
St. James's Park came into existence later than Hyde Park.
It began with Spring Gardens, named after a spring which here issued from the ground, but was not enough to feed the fountain which ornamented the gardens. They were not public gardens, though many people were admitted; they contained