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officer, in taking a thief through this locality, took him out of certain bounds, the thief went free. Thieving Lane no longer exists, but Broad Sanctuary does, and may be seen by any visitor to St. James Park.
Old London, now outgrown and overgrown, was a wretched place, unpaved and unlighted, infested at night by robbers and ruffians of all sorts. In fact, it is not so long ago that highwaymen stopped travelers in what is now London. Messrs. Turpin and others, who ended their days at “Newgit,” did a flourishing business in its immediate neighborhood.
This huge monster of London must have breathing-places; and they exist in the great parks in the west, and in the numberless squares and crescents all over town. These little squares are not, strictly speaking, public property, but are used by the people living around them: it is a penal offense to unlock them without a key issued by authority. These squares are, however, a thing of beauty and a joy forever- to those who have keys.
To get about London you have the choice between the underground railway, usually called the “Metropolitan;" several “daylight” railways; the street railroads, called “tramways," and very slowly coming into favor; the omnibuses; and a countless number of vehicles, including that English institution, the “Hansom,” in · which the driver rides behind the top in a trap that resembles one of Faries' smoke-stacks. The London cabman, once a miracle of extortion and impudence, is now pretty well subjugated; a table of distances is posted at all the cab stands, and there is no absolute necessity for being bullied or cheated. Of course, a small gratuity is allowable, and the cabman usually grins when you alight, and observes that he "wouldn't mind 'avin' a glahss o beer.” The quickest way to travel is the “underground," but you must stand the gas and smoke. In the matter of cheapness, the cars and 'buses rank about alike; the easiest and most stylish mode is to take a carriage; but the best style of traveling for a stranger is on top of an omnibus, if possible, with the driver. These drivers "know the country.” I rode once with a red-faced old horse-pelter who was as original as Mr. Weller, the father of “Samivel.” The “basic" theory of this old gent was, that we are creatures of circumstances, and are good or bad, “accordin'.” All men, he reasoned, were possible “raskills, and as to women - but, I won't give his theory about them, for I don't believe it. An omnibus driver, as far as he drives, is worth a dozen guidebooks.
There is another great thoroughfare in London, which I have not mentioned: it is the Thames. To one who has seen the Missouri, the Mississippi, the Hudson, and several other American rivers I could name, it is rather fatiguing to hear an Englishman speaking of the Thames as “a noble river,” and even “an enormous stream.” It is a very nice little river, is the Thames; but it looks very small at first sight, and the bridges across it, though very handsome as a rule, are nothing in the matter of engineering to the Mississippi river bridge at St. Louis, or, in fact, any of the great railroad bridges in America. I was disappointed in the Thames and its shores. I had formed my ideas of it from Doré's pictures, as published in Harper's Weekly some years ago. I imagined it a swift stream, black as ink, crowded with boats jostling each other; and that it was overshadowed by enormously high, black warehouses. Instead, on a trip to Greenwich and back, I saw a very cleanly, decent stream, not at all crowded with water craft of any sort; and instead of the black castles of Doré's pictures, there were rows of more or less rusty three-story buildings, like those one sees along the levee of a Mississippi river town. The Houses of Parliament, Somerset House, the Tower, and a few others, break the monotony; but London from the Thames looks commonplace, grimy and seedy. The river, however, forms a pleasant thoroughfare, and the ugly little steamers are always filled with people. Something is always happening on or about the river to attract a crowd on the bridges. One day a crowd lined the parapet of Westminster bridge. The “sight” appeared to be a company of New York merchants and their wives and daughters on a boat, with a carpet and some gilded chairs forward, and another boat lying alongside on which was a band of music. It turned out that the first boat was the “royal” boat. I looked over the bridge, and pushed and pulled and hauled for a place with the rest — not, of course, because a republican American ever cares to look at queens and noblemen and such small deer, .but merely to hear the music, you know. I don't suppose my American readers will take any interest in the “outcome” of this affair, but I may remark, casually, that none of the royal family were on board the “royal” boat.
According to Sir William Jones - I believe it is—it is not "high-raised battlements" and the like that “constitute a State," and so, after all, it is the people that make a city. London is a very populous city; by which I mean that, in spite of the immense number of houses, there seem to be too many people for the residences. It certainly appears in London as if half the people must walk about in the daytime while the other half slept. It is not only on a few streets, as in New York, that one sees the crowd, but on all the streets there is a moving swarm of people. There seems to be no “business center” in London—it is business everywhere. Streets miles from the Bank of England, are as crowded as Threadneedle or Lombard streets. The first exclamation of every visitor must be, "What swarms of people!”—and this by night as well as day. Work on a morning paper has made me, from force of habit, a discarder of the ancient maxim, “Early to bed and early to rise,” but I never walked the streets of London late enough to find them empty. Ceaseless as the flood of a mighty river is the everlasting flow of human life in the streets of wondrous London.
In this mass of humanity that lives and moves and has its being in London, every variety of human condition may be found. The peer and the wretched old woman who sells matches, jostle each other on the street. Sit on a chair in Hyde Park, and in an hour's time will roll by in carriages the representatives of wealth enough to buy Kansas — personal property, improved real estate and all. A five-minutes walk will bring you into the midst of wretchedness enough to chill the heart to look upon it, and vice enough to sicken the “oldest inhabitant” of Sodom. Between these are infinite grades. There are whole streets filled with people who seem to be poor, but not beggars; rough, but not wicked. These streets swarm with babies. I have looked down the vista of such a street, and it seemed as if one could not walk through the middle without stepping on a baby. The street baby is usually in charge of a little girl, but little bigger than a baby herself, who carries her charge at all sorts of angles, as if it were a bag of old clothes. The lighting of the gas - an excellent article in London - is the signal for a general gathering in these streets of
all the babies — enough in three or four blocks to furnish half a dozen baby shows. “On such a night,” as Shakspeare remarks, I wandered into Ossulston street, a long, narrow thoroughfare branching out of Euston Road, not far from the great St. Pancras depot, and there came that way an Italian gentleman with the national instrument of his country, a hand-organ. That organ was, as Geo. W. Martin would say, a "rattler.” It was a Wild Bill, a “Rowdy Jo.” of an organ - it played none of Artemus Ward's "slow moosic;" it took no note of “Hear me, Norma," but indulged only in the most exhilarating jigs, the most maddening reels. A company of stout, fresh-faced girls, whose social position it was hard to guess - only that they did not seem badsubsidized the organ with half-pence and commenced to dance on the sidewalk. Round and round they went; up the center and “hands across." The hand-organ got excited and could hardly wait for the crank to come around; the girls went faster, balancing with their hands upon their hips, and smiling from ear to ear; then the young nurses caught the contagion; the babies were gathered up anywhere— by the arm, by the leg, by the neck, by the heels - and joined, perforce, in the dance. The street was full of music and motion; the few dogs that the poverty of the neighborhood supported in ease and idleness, assisted, by barking, in the amusement; it was a whirlpool of tangled hair, little bare legs, glittering eyes, white teeth, and rags. It was literally "fun alive" — hearty and innocent. It was one of the sights not described in the guide-books. And so we we will stop here, and leave other sights, palaces and cathedrals, parks and pleasuregrounds, galleries and gardens, to another chapter.