« ПретходнаНастави »
THE WORLD OF LONDON.
While on others devolves the task gorgeousness of golden glitter and to record the physical changes time blaze of precious stones pervading the has wrought in the mighty Babylon, Arabian Tales ; nor could we then to point attention to the monuments dream that hunger, houselessness, or of this most renowned city, to chro- toil, had place in our imagined terresnicle the progressive improvements of trial paradise. On our first crossing ages, be it ours to regard rather the Finchley Common, and gaining the moral features of the metropolis ; to summit of that abrupt declivity upon study the manners of the great family which Highgate archway now stands, whose home London is; and to draw whence the first obscure and smoke. from the depths of the vast and illimit. dimmed prospect of the mighty Babyable mine lying beneath our observa. lon is obtained by those journeying tion, the sterling ore of experience from the north, we well remember and wisdom.
the straining of the eyes, and craning Our task is never to be complete: of the neck, and mounting among the horizon of the vast world of Lon
the luggage upon the roof to catch don, like the horizon of the earth, the the murky volume of the endless further we advance extends the more, town extended wide below. Nor do “ And, like the circle joining earth and we forget the laugh raised at the exskies,
pense of our simplicity, by the wagAllures pursuit, but, as we follow, flies." gish guard demanding a sovereign
toll for our first appearance within Nor will the observation of one man, sight of London, assuring us that his however close, nor the experience of one man, however great, nor the prerogative entitled him to that sum
every new comer, and which, in social intercourse of one man, how
our then verdant condition, we were ever extensive, be able to do more than to break the ground or sink the green enough to believe !
But it is not only the stranger who first shaft; and this is all we propose is full of imaginings of the universal to ourselves for our share of this great splendour and luxury of London : undertaking. There is certainly some credit due to us on the score of ori- speculation is confined to the great
many, unobserving residents, whose ginality, since we are not aware that arteries of communication between any general moral prospect of the
one end of town and another, or the World of London has been yet any realms of fashion at the West End, where presented to the public eye, are of the same opinion, that poverty, although the magnificence and gran- which they do not see, they cannot deur of this prospect is perhaps less believe exists ; and as the contemplawonderful than its extreme novelty. tion of distress is not at any time very
Some of the prevalent errors of pleasing, few will be at the trouble to country folks respecting this mighty make expeditions for the discovery of city, we have already been at the the abiding-places of human misery. pains to confute. We have one other
The truth is, poverty and wretched. common mistake yet to rectify, that,
ness in London are more bashful than namely, of the idea of the universal elsewhere – hiding themselves from splendour and luxury of London. the sight of prosperous abundance, We recollect, in the days of our boy- they nestle in nooks and cornershood, our belief in the golden pavements of London streets was implicit ; “ Where no contiguous palace rears its and any one who questioned that the head, conduits ran wine, and the houses To mock the meanness of their humble were tiled with pancakes, we regard
shed.” ed as a heretic, with whom no faith And as the world of wealth and fawas to be kept. In short, our early sbion boast their neighbourhoods, so impressions of London were of that do the worlds of misery congegrate
in theirs. If there is a court end, It is truly wonderful to see how life there is also a beggar's end of the is sustained by a great amount of our town; there is wretchedness genteel overcrowded population.
Go to and ungenteel, paupers fashionable Strutton Ground in Westminster, to and unfashionable.
Tottenham Court Road, or along Nothing of this do you meet with in Whitechapel, places where a prethe leading arteries of the metropolis. scriptive right seems to exist of exYou may walk from the Bank to posing, in the open air, the wares of Hyde Park Corner, with money in bumble traffickers, on a Saturday your hand, and not encounter a soli- night in winter when the snow is on tary object of charity; all exhibits the ground, or falling about your the pride of successful industry, and ears, and see the crowds of shivering the ostentation of superfluous wealth. creatures standing by their little stock In such a city, you would hardly be- in trade, to be converted, if they are lieve that human beings should be fortunate, into the means of staving off compelled to pick from dunghills the starvation for the morrow. There, refuse vegetables of the markets, to for example, stands a poor woman, wash and offer them for sale ; and yet her tray of oranges and apples supthe obscure court wherein we reside, ported against her limbs by a strap of resounds from morning till night with leather passing over her shoulders ; the cries of those who have obtained a rushlight flickers in the midst of her their baskets of vegetables in this way fruity store ; at either side, sucking at second hand; nay, we have our their little fingers to beguile the cold, selves seen the poor creatures culling are two half-clad children, bending their vegetables in this fashion ! eager eyes on the passing crowd, as
It would scarcely be credited that, if imploring them to buy; the aspect in splendid London, women are sub- of mother and children is that of creajected to various kinds of severe and tures habituated to hunger, hardship, repulsive toil, that if such things were and grief. Near to these stands a related of Turks or Hottentots, we blind old man, a framework hung should set them down as so many before his breast, whence depend stayproofs of inherent barbarism among laces, braces, pencil-cases, and such the people where such usages bad trifling articles ; his sightless orbs, as place. For example, the porterage they roll to and fro in their sockets, of meat at the wholesale markets, as are his advocates; be trusts implicitly Newgate and Leadenhall, is performed to the honour and good feeling of his by women, many of them old. You customers in his little transactions, for will see these wretched creatures who would rob the blind ? Further stagger under the weight of a side of on, is a poor widow, whose means of beef, or, having an entire sheep upon livelihood is an inverted umbrella their heads, conveying their burdens filled with penny prints; one glance to the butchers' carts, drawn up in the will tell you she has seen better days, vicinity of the market. Surely this and her little merchandize, tastefully is man's work ; and surely, if women assorted, indicates no vulgar mind. are driven by hard necessity to such On the step of a door sits a poor masculine toil, it must argue some. woman crying, a baby at her breast; thing rotten in the state of that so when you enquire her grief, she exciety where such extreme necessity is tends in her hand a few boxes of lucisuffered to exist. Another melan- fer matches, and informs you she has choly and revolting spectacle is, that been striving all day, and has sold of women and children of all ages, up nothing. to the middle in the vast laystalls, The sallow-faced manufacturer from wherein are collected the removed the country, who came up to London filth of the metropolis, riddling and in the vain attempt to procure work, sifting the materials of which these with his wife and children, are drawn mountains of dust, as it is technically up in the kennel, silently imploring called, are composed, begrimed with alms; a ragged soldier of the late irremovable skins of dirt, and looking Spanish legion, with a wooden leg, more like damned souls toiling in and pewter crosses of San Fernando, some infernal prison-house, than crea offers forty songs for a halfpenny; a tures who are heirs to an eternal heri. little boy, hardly able to crawl, screams tage of heaven!
fifty radishes a penny; here are stalls
covered with pieces of stale flat fish; heart's core of the vast mass-here is there, murdered grimalkins are of- neither time nor inclination, space nor fered for sale, under the savoury incog- opportunity, for exhibition or show of nito of mutton.pies ; in another place, wealth_here, as in the breast of the the skin of the animal, stripped from royal Dane, is “ that within that its back while yet alive, and made into passeth show;" and the wayfarer a cap, is hawked about by the wife or would, without a guide, puzzle himdaughter of the pieman. Meat, fish, self in vain to discover the dusky den flesh, and fowl, condemned by the whence a Rothschild stretches forth a proper authorities of the several mar saving hand to tottering monarchs, or kets, are here exposed in every state reassures the extinguished credit of of putridity, and, what is more extra- bankrupt governments. It is truly ordinary, find abundance of consu astounding to us of the vulgar, who mers. Truly, if the spectator of are in the habit of associating great these, the obverse sides of life, does business with great bustle, to contem. not feel a lively sense of thankfulness plate the whereabouts of the city firms, to the Great Being who has vouch. whose credit and whose influences af. safed to him abundance, we earnestly fect, one way or another, the commerrecommend him to turn Turk in de cial interests of the universal world. fault of a better religion! Can any Here, indeed, may you behold comone, with a heart the size of a nutmeg, merce in all the immensity and glory, contemplate without pain the pitiable without any of the tinsel or gingercondition of those poor wretches who bread of empire: here confidence and make out life from hand to mouth, credit sit upon thrones of adamantine exposed to the inclemencies of the rock, smiling upon trickster statesmen weather, and perpetually baited by and penniless Chancellors of Exchethe myrmidons of the law, whose re quers: here, as from a fountain, the creation seems to lie in hunting these stream of enterprize inundates all children of misfortune from humble lands, fertilizing as it flows, and reindustry to crime.
turning only to flow forth to fertilize Of positive and decided impressions, again. the first and strongest the stranger Mighty city! thy warehouses groan wandering through London feels, is beneath the weight of the accumulated the idea of illimitability. It is to him products of the ends of earth; thy pot only a world, but it is a world mercantile navy, numberless as the without an end, spreading its gigantic birds of ocean, flies on errands of arms on every side. It seizes upon peace from pole to pole; thy capitalsurrounding villages, expels the rural ists weild at will the destinies of disdeities from their ancient seats, and tant nations; and thy merchant princes aims at an universal empire of bricks grasp with the right hand and the left and mortar. It is an eternity of town, the extremities of either Ind. without beginning and without end There is no place for trumpery osan ocean filling the mind of the be. tentation, or the vain display of dissi. wildered wanderer with the idea of pated wealth. The governor of the amplitude infinitesimally extended. Bank of England and a junior clerk Let the adventurous traveller take his carry with them a chop to an humble station in the heart of the city, and tavern, and partake of the mid-day thence set out on a voyage of disco. meal with equal humility ; a director very to the end, if there is such a of the East India House and a drathing, of this great American sea-ser per's assistant eat their biscuit and pent of a town. Miles upon miles of take their glass of sherry at the bar ; narrow dingy streets, crammed to re the owner of a hundred ships and the pletion with waggons, threatening to mate of a trader exchange the news crush him between their ponderous of the day over the table of a dingy wheels and the contiguous wall, indi- coffeehouse in a dusky alley off Corn. cate the city, whose enormous wealth hill. and splendour are to the ignorant eye Taking his way down one of the but poorly evidenced by dingy ware main arteries of the metropolis, the houses, dark alleys, and retired count. great aorta, for example, that pours the ing-houses, where the office lamp for full tide of human existence through ever burns an eternal fire before the Fleet Street and the Strand, the splenshrine of Mammon. Yet here is the dour, less real than that he has left
bebind, but more apparent, breaks ostentatious wealth, and non-producupon his astonished view. The shops tive industry, rule the destinies of this of the goldsmith, piled from floor to extremity of our world. Anon, in the roof with the richest treasures of their heart of a mighty thoroughfare, where art; the shawl-shops, through whose every foot of ground is worth its weight crystal fronts you catch the gorgeous- in gold, we skirt a dead wall, a peniness of the commodities within; the tentiary doubtless, or a prison. No; emporiums of works of art and vertu, the massive gate falls back upon its where lessons of taste may be had for ponderous hinges, and, while a gorlooking ; the vast repositories of learn- geous equipage rolls forth, reveals for ing, appealing eloquently to the eye of an instant a spacious court. yard, orthe mind; these, and a thousand other namented with statues and vases, a evidences of diffusive wealth, oppress sumptuous palace occupying the back. for a while and bewilder the mind by ground. We would look at the retheir immensity, and almost lead us vealed splendours for a moment, but to the belief that all the wealth and the portly Cerberus forbids : darting splendour of the world must be ga an indignant glance at the inquisithered here for show. How much tive stranger, he hastens to close the more would our astonishment increase, massive portal in our teeth. if we knew the history of any one of
Talk of the Grand Turk, forsooth, those shops disputing our attention and his seraglio ! talk of the seclusion . The fortunes that have been amassed of a convent, or the impenetrability of within for a succession of generations the Faubourg St Germain ! an assault -the fortunes that are being amassed upon the privacy of any one of them, in them now by some, and the band is child's play compared with the forsome competence they afford to all lorn hope of penetrating the exclusive the taxes they pay to the municipality seclusion of the magnates of Lonand to the revenue, the incomes they don fashionable life. afford in ground-rents, profit-rents, The space occupied by some of the beneficial interests, and partrerships town palaces of our great nobility to numbers—the livelihoods derived would, if let as building ground, affrom them by tradesmen, clerks, as ford more than the revenue of a Gersistants, down to the porters who take man potentate; a slip of wharfage, off the shutters, and the man who cut off from the foot of the garden of sweeps the crossing-not to speak of one of these, produces at this mothe myriads who, all over the world, ment upwards of eight thousand earn their bread and support their fa- pounds a-year, and the garden alone milies by manufacturing the thousand would let for sixteen or eighteen and-one works of art and industry thousand more. Perhaps nothing can that are there, within the limits of an convey a better idea of the illimitable hour's walk, exhibited to every pass
revenues of some of the great aristo. ing stranger, who can, or who cannot cracy, than the fact that they can af. buy. Truly we are not to blame in ford, at this immense sacrifice, the speaking of this city as a orld, when indulgence of city parks around the we consider that those shops, spitted city palaces. together in rows like so many larks, The trapeller is now leaving the and edging each other off the pave neighbourhoods of commerce: as he ment, are estates each to its owner, goes on for a little while, the rivalry of and may be compared, for the pur shops and private dwellings continues ; poses of illustration, with a vast ex but soon the former give up the untent of territory giving subsistence equal contest, and our stranger finds and employment to numbers of our himself in what is conventionally unfellow.creatures.
derstood as a genteel neighbourhood. We are at Charing. Cross: we have A mile or two further on, grass left behind the regions of the great plots and holly bushes, growing from merchants, and of the shopocrats; tubs, come into fashion ; bow.pots, and we now timidly adventure upon well stored with mignionette, musk, the courtly regions of the consumers stone-crop, geraniums, and polyanand customers. What a change! thuses, decorate the windows, and the Here, pride seems to reign trium- self-deluded voyageur fondly believes phant : coroneted carriages abound: that he must now, at least, approxithe butterflies of fashion are abroad: mate to the end of the town.
Alas! the end of his journey is far under the attractive title of “ fresh ther than the journey he has already air.” made ; the vast wilderness of London All shopkeepers, tradesmen, and out of town is before him; and as the others in these regions, are insuffershades of evening fall, and the subur. ably bad and dear ; every body is ban butchers “ let on" their gas, he supplied with the staple of their confinds himself somewhere about the sumables from town, and it is only end of Kensington and the beginning on an emergency that the suburban of Turnham Green, where, foot-sore dealers are applied to. Knowing that and weary, he gives it up as a bad their articles are not required for the job, and returns to the city, satisfied regular consumption, they take good that this vast metropolis is really and care to make those pay well whose truly a world without end!
necessities compel them occasionally The vastness of suburban London to have dealings with them. We find distinguishes that city eminently from by experience that meat rises in price, the continental cities. A mile beyond as we travel westward, at the rate of Paris you are in a wilderness of sand
a penny per pound per mile, and hills, gypsum quarries, sterile rocks, every thing else (except taxes) in the and windmills ; beyond the walls of like ratio. We must, however, leave Rome there is literally an immense ex the suburbs for the present. panse of desert; whereas London, if
“ Peace to each swain who rural rapture we may borrow a bull, surrounds itself,
owns, suburb clinging to suburb, like onions, As soon as past a toll, or off the stones ; fifty on a rope. The suburbs, which Whose joy, if buildings solid bliss bestow, George Colman described emphati- Cannot, for miles, an interruption know, cally as “ regions of preparatory Save when a gap of some half dozen feet schools,” have a character peculiarly Just breaks the continuity of street; their own; once seen, they cannot be Where the prig architect, with style in mistaken. They are marvellously view, attached to gardening, and rejoice Has doled his houses forth in two by two, above all things in a tree in a tub. And rear'd a row upon the plan, no They delight in a uniformity of ugli doubt, ness, staring you out of countenance Of old men's jaws, with every third tooth with five windows in front, and a
out." little green hall-door at one side, Not less strong upon the mind of giving to each house the appearance the reflective stranger in London, is of having had a paralytic stroke; they his impression of its endless variety, stand upon their dignity at a distance its inexhaustibility, not merely of from the road, and are carefully de streets and squares, lanes and alleys, fended from intrusion by a body- courts and passages, but of human guard of spikes bristling on a low character, occupation, and condition. wall. They delight in outlandish and Other places have usually a distinctive ridiculous names: a lot of tenements character, peculiarly their own: towns looking out upon a dead wall in front, are maritime, as Liverpool and Brisand a madhouse in the rear, club tol: manufacturing, as Leeds and together, and introduce themselves to Manchester; or both, as Glasgow: liteyour notice as Optic Terrace: rary and educational, as Edinburgh, another regiment is baptized by the Cambridge, and Oxford : military, as christian and surnames of ParaDISE Chatham and Woolwich : naval, as Prospect ; while a third lot, standing Portsmouth, Plymouth, and the like: together two and two, after the man health and pleasure seeking, as Chelner of the Siamese Twins, are called tenham, Leamington, Brighton, ·HarMogg's Villas, Bogsby's Cottages, rowgate, Bath. London, on the conor GEMINI PLACE. The natives of trary, is at once one and all-a mer. these outlandish regions are less cantile, manufacturing, literary, miliwealthy than genteel ; like Beau tary, pleasure-seeking, busy, idl Tibbs, they live here for the benefit place; and hence the endless diversity of their health and fortune. When of character that abounds along its you visit them, they are eloquent upon overcrowded streets. The duke and the merits of an atmosphere sur the dustman, the private soldier and charged with dust, which they earnests the prince, the seaman and the so. ly recommend for your inhalation, vereign, all look upon London as