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Highways and Byways in London By Emily Constance Baird Cook Characters: 37269

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

"London: that great sea whose ebb and flow

At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore

Vomits its wrecks, and still howls on for more,

Yet in its depths what treasures!"-Shelley.

"Citizens of no mean city."

The history of London is-as was that of Rome in ancient times-the history of the whole civilised world. For, the comparatively small area of earth on which our city is built has, for the last thousand years at least, been all-important in the story of nations. Its chronicles are already so vast that no ordinary library could hope to contain all of them. And what will the history of London be to the student, say, of the year 3000 A.D., when our present day politics, our feelings, our views, have been "rolled round," once more, in "earth's diurnal force," and assume, at last, their fair and true proportions?

In "this northern island, sundered once from all the human race," has for centuries been lit one of the torches that have illumined humanity. Not even Imperial Rome shone with such a lustre; not even the C?sars in all their purple ruled over such a mighty, such an all-embracing empire.

The history of this mighty empire is bound up with the history of London. For, the history of London is that of England; it was the river, our "Father Thames"-her first and most important highway, a "highway of the nations,"-that brought her from the beginning all her fame and all her glory. Partly by geographical position, partly by ever-increasing political freedom, and partly, no doubt, by the efforts of a dominant race, that glory has, through the centuries, been maintained and aggrandised.

And why, some may ask, is London what it is? Why was this spot specially chosen as the capital? Surrounded by marshes in early Roman times, periodically inundated by its tidal river, densely wooded beyond its marshes, it can hardly have seemed, in the beginning, an ideal site. Why was not Winchester-so important in Roman times, and, later, the capital of Wessex-preferred? Why were not Southampton or Bristol-apparently equally well placed for trade-favoured? We cannot tell. The site may have been chosen by Roman London because it was the most convenient point for passing, and guarding, the ferry or bridge over the Thames, and for keeping up the direct communication between the more northerly cities of Britain, and Rome. Or, the nearer proximity to the large Continent, the better conditions for trade offered by the wide estuary of the Thames, possibly account for London's supremacy.

The early Roman city on this time-honoured site, the poetically named "Augusta,"-that replaced the primitive British village-flourished greatly in the early days of the Christian era, and was large and populous; though the Romans did not consider it their capital, and never-we know not why-created it a "municipium," like Eboracum (York), or Verulamium. It was founded some time after the visit of Julius C?sar to Britain, B.C. 54, and it occupied a good deal of the area of the present City, extending, however, towards the east as far as the Tower, and bounded on the west by the present Newgate. The old Roman fort stood above the Wallbrook. Here in old days ran a stream of that name, long fouled, diverted, forgotten, and, like the Fleet River, only now remembered by the name given to its ancient haunt. The city of Augusta-or Londinium as Tacitus calls it-has left us hardly a trace of its undoubted splendour. In London, ever living, relics of the past are hard to find. The lapse of centuries has deeply covered the old Roman city level, and what Roman remains exist are generally discovered, either in the muddy bed of the Thames, or at a depth of some twelve to nineteen feet below the present street. Of Roman London there is scarce a trace-a few meagre relics in Museums, a few ancient roots of names still existing, an old bath, traces of a crumbling wall, the fragment that we call "London Stone," the locality of Leadenhall Market (undoubtedly an old "Forum"), and a portion of the old Roman Way of "Watling Street"-the ancient highway from London to Dover-running parallel with noisy Cannon Street.

All this seems, perhaps, little when we think of the undoubted wealth and power of the old "Londinium," or "Augusta." But it has always been the city's fate to have its Past overgrown and stifled by the enthralling energy and life of its Present. It is as a hive that has never been emptied of its successive swarms. This is, more or less, the fate of all towns that "live." The Roman town was, of course, strongly walled, and the names of its gates have descended to us in the present "Ludgate," "Moorgate," "Billingsgate," "Aldgate," &c.-names very familiar to us children of a later age-and now mainly associated with the more prosaic stations on the Underground Railway! Nevertheless, prosaic as they are, these stations commemorate the old localities. Roman London was at no time large in circumference, extending only from the Tower to Aldgate on one side, from the Thames to London Wall on the other. And when the Romans left, and the Saxons, after a brief interval, took their place, the city still did not grow much larger, nor did the blue-eyed and fair-haired invaders contribute much to the decaying fortifications; though it is said that King Alfred-he whose "millenary" we have recently commemorated-restored the walls and the city as a defence against the ravages of the Danes. Saxon London, however, which in its time flourished exceedingly, and existed for some 400 years, is, so far as we are concerned, more dead even than Roman London. Successive fire and ravage have obliterated all traces of it. Norman London, which after the Conquest replaced Saxon London, did not, apparently, differ greatly in externals from its predecessor. The churches were now mainly built of stone, but the picturesque houses were, as we know, despite successive destroying fires, still constructed of wood. From Norman London, we retain the "White Tower,"-that picturesque "keep" of London's ancient fortress-the crypt of Bow Church, and that of St. John's, Clerkenwell, with part of the churches of St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, and St. Ethelburga, Bishopsgate. Little escaped the many great fires that in early times devastated the city.

As for the ancient highways of London, very possibly these did not differ greatly in their course from our modern ones; for the Anglo-Saxon race has always been very conservative in rebuilding its new streets, regardless of symmetry or directness, on the lines of the destroyed ones. At any rate, we know that the original church of St. Paul's-the first of three built on this site, founded by Ethelbert about the year 610-and that of Westminster-altered, rebuilt, and enlarged by successive kings-must have early sanctified these spots, and necessitated thoroughfares between the two. Nay, even in Roman times, temples of Diana and Apollo are believed to have adorned these historic sites. It is strange, indeed, that the old, long-vanished Roman wall, pierced only by a few gates, and the ancient street-plans laid down by the Roman road surveyor, should still keep modern traffic more or less to the old lines. A few new streets have recently been made from north to south, but still the main traffic goes from east to west, owing to the paucity of intersecting thoroughfares. The city of London, as laid out in Roman times, remained, through Saxon and Norman dominion, practically of the same extent and plan as late as the time of Elizabeth, in whose reign there were as many houses within the city walls as without them. Roman influence is still dominant in modern London. The large block of ground without carriage-way about Austin Friars is a consequence of the old Roman wall having afforded no passage. And possibly many of the narrow, jostling City streets have in their day reflected the shade and sun of Roman "insulas," each with its surrounding shops, just as, later, their dimensions may have shrunk between the overhanging, high-gabled houses of Tudor times, to widen again under the tall Stuart palaces of the Restoration.

Sandwich-board Men.

The high antiquity and conservatism of London are shown in nothing more than in these narrow, crooked streets-streets so different from those of any other big metropolis-streets that our American cousins, in all the superiority of their regular "block" system, permit themselves to jeer at! We know, however, little for certain of the actual topography of London streets, until the important publication of Ralph Aggas's map in 1563, soon after Elizabeth had begun to reign. This map of "Civitas Londinium" is strange enough to look at in our own day. Its main arteries are the same as ours: the ancient highway of the Strand is still the Strand; those of "Chepe" and "Fleete" still flourish; Oxford Street, then the "Oxford Road" and "The Waye to Uxbridge," ran between hedgerows and pastures, in which, according to Aggas, grotesque beasts sported; the thoroughfare of the "Hay Market,"-not yet, indeed, "a scene of revelry by night,"-curves between vast meadows, in one of which a woman of gigantic size appears to be engaged in spreading clothes to dry; Piccadilly, at what is now the "Circus," is merely called "The Waye to Redinge," and is innocently bordered by trees. In these infantine beginnings of the now populous "West End," there are, indeed, occasional plots occupied by "Mewes," but St. Martin's Church (then a small chapel) stands literally "in the Fields," and St. Martin's Lane is altogether rural. In a later map-one of the year 1610-the main arteries are still the same; but, though the town had grown rapidly with the growth of commerce in Elizabeth's reign, "London" and "Westminster" are still represented as two small neighbouring towns surrounded by rural meadows; while "Totten-court" is a distant country village, Kensington and "Marybone" are secluded hamlets, Clerkenwell and "St. Gylles" are altogether divided from the parent city by fields, and "Chelsey" is in the wilds.

It is strange that London fires-and London, in the middle ages, was specially prolific in fires-have never altered the course of the city's highways. Sir Christopher Wren wished, indeed, after the Great Fire of 1666, to be allowed to alter the plan of the desolated town and make it more symmetrically regular: with all due admiration of his genius, one cannot, however, help feeling a certain thankfulness that destiny averted his schemes, and that in the prosaic London of our own day we can still trace the splendour, the romance of its past. Thus, even in the grimy city "courts" we can still imagine a Roman "impluvium," or the ancient gardens of Plantagenet palaces; in the blind alleys of "Little Britain," the splendours of the merchants' mansions; in the ugly lines of mews and slums, the limits of the vanished Norman convent closes. The boundaries are still there, though nearly all else has gone. For, though Londoners are generally conservative with regard to their chief sites and the lines of their streets, they have, so far as their great buildings are concerned, always been by nature iconoclastic. Not that we of the present day need give ourselves any airs in this matter. Although, indeed, for the last half-century the spirit of antiquarian veneration has been abroad, yet the great majority of Londoners are hardly affected by it, and the pulling down of ancient buildings continues almost as gaily as ever at the present day. It may be said that we pull down for utilitarian reasons; well, so did our forefathers; Londoners have always been practical. Religious zeal may occasionally have served to whet their destructive powers, but the results are pretty much the same. Perhaps Henry VIII.-that Bluebeard head of the Church and State-has, in his general dissolution of the monasteries and alienation of their property, been the greatest iconoclast in English annals; yet even he must have been nearly equalled by the Lord Protector Cromwell, whose Puritanical train wrought so much havoc among London's monuments of a later age. Reforms and improvements, all through the world's history, have always been cruelly destructive. For, while churches and palaces were destroyed as relics of Popery, while works of art were demolished, and frescoes whitewashed in reforming zeal, fresh life was always sprouting, fresh energy ever filling up gaps, ever obliterating the traces of the past, the relics of the older time. Sir Walter Besant, in his picturesque and vivid sketch of English history, has realised well for us the city's past life:-

"It is (he says of the Reformation) at first hard to understand how there should have been, even among the baser sort, so little reverence for the past, so little regard for art; that these treasure-houses of precious marbles and rare carvings should have been rifled and destroyed without raising so much as a murmur; nay, that the very buildings themselves should have been pulled down without a protest.... It seems to us impossible that the tombs of so many worthies should have been destroyed without the indignation of all who knew the story of the past.... Yet ... it is unfortunately too true that there is not, at any time or with any people, reverence for things venerable, old, and historical, save with a few. The greater part are careless of the past, unable to see or feel anything but the present.... The parish churches were filled with ruins, ... the past was gone.... The people lived among the ruins but regarded them not, any more than the vigorous growth within the court of a roofless Norman castle regards the donjon and the walls. They did not inquire into the history of the ruins; they did not want to preserve them; they took away the stones and sold them for new buildings."

Yet, though in London's history there were, as we have seen, occasional great upheavals, such as the Reformation, the Fires, the Protectorate, it was more the rule of change that went on unceasingly between whiles-change, such as we see it to-day, the incessant beat of the waves on the shore-that has obliterated the former time. "The old order changeth, giving place to new"; and strange indeed it is, when one comes to think of it, that anything at all should be left to show what has been. The monasteries, the priories, the churches, that once occupied the greater portion of the city, and filled it with the clanging of their bells, so that the city was never quiet-these, of course, had mainly to go. The Church had to make way for Commerce; the Monasteries for the Merchants. The London of the early Tudors was still more or less that of Chaucer, and contained the same Friars, Pardoners, and Priests. The paramount importance of the Church is shown by the old nursery legends that circle round Bow bells; and the picturesque figure of Whittington, the future Lord Mayor, listening, in rags and dust, to the cheering church bells that tell him to "turn again," is really the connecting link between the Old and the New Age.

A few of the great monastic foundations of London escaped Henry VIII.'s acquisitive zeal, and have, as modern school-boys have reason to know, been devoted to educational and other charitable aims. It was, indeed, eminently suitable that in the classic precincts of the ruined monastery of the "Grey Friars" should arise a great school-the School of Christ's Hospital (colloquially termed the "Blue-Coat School")-where, till but the other day, the "young barbarians" might be seen at play behind their iron barriers, backed by the fine old whitely-gleaming, buttressed hall that faces Newgate Street. It was fitting, too, that the early dwelling of the English Carthusian monks-the place where Prior Houghton, with all the staunchness of his race, met death rather than cede to the tyrant one jot of his ancient right-should become not only a great educational foundation, but also a shelter for the aged and the poor. We know it as the "Charterhouse"; as a picturesque, rambling building of sobered red-brick, built around many courtyards, its principal entrance under an archway that faces the quiet Charterhouse Square. The place has a monastic atmosphere still; to those, at least, who reverently tread its closes and byways-byways hallowed yet more by inevitable association with the sacred shade of Thomas Newcome; shadow of a shade, indeed! fiction stronger, and more enduring, than reality!

Yet the Charterhouse is, so to speak, an "insula" by itself in London, a world of its own; possessing an ancient sanctity undisturbed by the neighbouring din of busy Smithfield, the unending bustle of the great city. More essentially of London is the curious unexpectedness of buildings, places, and associations. What is so strange to the inexperienced wanderer among London byways is the manner in which bits of ancient garden, fragments of old, forgotten churchyards, isolated towers of destroyed churches, deserted closes, courts and slums of wild dirt and no less wild picturesqueness, suddenly confront the pedestrian, recalling incongruous ideas, and historical associations puzzling in their very wealth of entangled detail. The "layers" left by succeeding eras are thinly divided; and the study of London's history is as difficult to the neophyte as that of the successive "layers" of the Roman Forum.

The Shoeblack.

It is sometimes refreshing to note that, even in the City and in our own utilitarian day, present beauty has not been altogether lost sight of. There is in modern London, as a French writer lately remarked, "no street without a church and a tree"; this is especially true of the City, where, even in crowded Cheapside, the big plane-tree of Wood Street still towers over its surrounding houses, hardly more than a stone's throw from the shadow cast by the white steeple of St. Mary-le-Bow, glimmering in ghostly grace above the busy street. So busy indeed is the street, that hardly a pedestrian stays to notice either church or tree; yet is there a more beautiful highway than this in all London? It is satisfactory to reflect-when one thinks of the accusation brought against us that we are "a nation of shopkeepers"-on what this one big plane-tree costs a year in mere lodging! Wandering northward from Cheapside down any of the crowded City lanes with their romantic names, through the mazes of drays and waggons-where porters shout over heavy bales, and pulleys hang from upper "shoots"-you may find, in a sudden turn, small oases of quiet green churchyard gardens-for some unexplained reason spared from the preva

iling strenuosity of bricks and mortar-where wayfarers rest on comfortable seats, provided by metropolitan forethought, from daily toil. In these secluded haunts are many spots that will amply reward the sketcher. Specially charming in point of colour are the gardens of St. Giles, Cripplegate; these, though closed to the general public, are overlooked and traversed by quiet alleys, affording most welcome relief from the surrounding din of traffic. Here sunflowers and variegated creepers show out bravely in autumn against the blackened mass of the tall adjoining warehouses, whence a picturesque bastion of the old "London Wall" projects into the greenery, and the church of St. Giles, with its dignified square tower, dominates the whole. The author of The Hand of Ethelberta has, in that novel, paid graceful homage to the church and its surroundings. The little bit of vivid colour in the sunny churchyard (it is part rectory garden, and is divided by a public path since 1878), affords a standing rebuke to the unbelievers who say gaily that "nothing will grow" in London. A delightful byway, indeed, is this parish church of Cripplegate! Its near neighbourhood shows, by the way, hardly a trace of the disastrous fire it so lately experienced. From the corner of the picturesque "Aerated Bread Shop"-of all places-that abuts on to the church, a delightful view of all this may be had. This ancient lath-and-plaster building will, no doubt, in time be compelled to give way to some abnormally hideous new construction, but at the present day it is all that could be wished; and, though so close to the hum of the great city, so quiet withal, that the visitor may, for the nonce, almost imagine himself in some sleepy country village. And thus it is in many unvisited nooks in the busy City. "The world forgetting, by the world forgot," is truer of these byways than of many more rural places. For the eddies of a big river are always quieter than the main stream of a small canal. In the world, yet not of it, are, too, these strangely old-fashioned rectories, sandwiched in between tall, overhanging city warehouses.

But the sprinkling of old churches, with their odd, abbreviated churchyards, that are still to be found amid the busy life of the City of London, hardly does more than faintly recall that picturesque and poetic time when the church and the convent were pre-eminent. The great temporal power of the Church in London, that held sway during long centuries, is vanished, forgotten, supplanted as if it had never been. Do the very names of Blackfriars and Whitefriars suggest, for instance, to us, "the latest seed of time," anything more than the shrieking of railway terminuses, or the incessant din of printing machines? For, while the memory of the "Grey Friars" and that of the Carthusians is still honoured and kept green in the dignified "foundations" of Christ's Hospital and of the Charterhouse,-the orders of the "White" and "Black" Friars, of the Carmelites, and the stern Dominicans, have descended to baser and more worldly uses. Destroyed at the Reformation, its riches alienated, its glory departed, the splendid Abbey Church of the Dominicans came to be used as a storehouse for the "properties" of pageants; "strange fate," says Sir Walter Besant, "for the house of the Dominicans, those austere 'upholders of doctrine.'" For the dwelling of the "Carmelites," or "White Friars," an Order of "Mendicants" these,-another destiny waited-a destiny for long lying unfolded in the bosom of our "wondrous mother-age." Mysterious irony of Fate! that where the Carmelite monks, in their Norman apse, prayed and laboured; where the Mendicant Friars wandered to and fro in the echoing cloister, the thunder of the printing-press should have made its home:

"There rolls the deep where grew the tree,

O earth, what changes hast thou seen!

There, where the long street roars, hath been

The stillness--"

-The "Daily Mail Young Man"-that smart product of a later age-has now his home in Carmelite Street; the "Whitefriars' Club" is a press club; the gigantic machines that print the world's news shake the foundations of St. Bride's; and the shabby hangers-on of Fleet Street-though of a truth, poor fellows, often near allied to mendicants-are yet, it is to be feared, only involuntarily of an ascetic turn. The contrast-or likeness-has served to awaken one of Carlyle's most thunderous passages: "A Preaching Friar,"-(he says),-"builds a pulpit, which he calls a newspaper:

"Look well" (he continues),-"thou seest everywhere a new Clergy of the Mendicant Orders, some bare-footed, some almost bare-backed, fashion itself into shape, and teach and preach, zealously enough, for copper alms and the love of God."

Carlyle, apparently, nursed an old grudge against the press,-for this is not the only occasion when he fulminates against the new order of Mendicants. The theatres, also, that succeeded the monasteries of Blackfriars were, here too, supplanted by the Press; under Printing-House-Square only lately, an extension of the Times Office brought to light substantial remains.

But the Church was not the only medi?val beautifier of London; as her temporal power and splendour waned,-the splendour of the merchants grew and flourished. For the great supplanter of the power of the Church was, as already hinted, the power of the City Companies. These immense trades-unions began to rise in the fourteenth century, when the old feudal system gave way to the civic community;-and they increased greatly in strength after the dissolution of the Monasteries. These companies incorporated each trade, and had supreme powers over wages, hours of labour, output, &c. In the beginning they were, like everything else, partly religious, each company or "guild" having its patron saint and its special place of worship;-the Merchant Taylors, for instance, being called the "Guild of St. John";-the Grocers, the "Guild of St. Anthony"; while St. Martin protected the saddlers, and so on. These guilds in time receiving Royal charters, became very rich and powerful, till the year 1363 there were already thirty-two companies whose laws and regulations had been approved by the king. If any transgressed these laws, they were brought before the Mayor and Aldermen. We have still the Mayor and Aldermen, but the city companies (whose principal function was the apprenticing of youths to trades), have merely the shadow of their former authority, and their business is now mainly charitable, ceremonial, and culinary. Yet though their powers are diminished, their splendid "halls" are still among the most interesting "sights" of the City. Visits to these massive and solid palaces, some of them of great splendour, and rising like pearls among their often (it must be confessed) unsavoury surroundings, give a good idea of the immense wealth of those medi?val merchant princes, and help the stranger to realize the strength of that power that was able to resist the attempts of kings to break its charter. Such sturdy independence, such insistence on her civic rights, has always been a main element of London's greatness.

When the Strand is up.

I have only touched at the mere abstract of London's voluminous history,-only enumerated a poor few of her Highways and Byways; the subject, in truth, is too great to exhaust even in a whole library of books. It is, indeed, the principal drawback to the study of London that she is too vast-that the student is ever in danger of "not seeing the forest for the trees." Her byways are as the sands of the sea in multitude; her history is the history of the world. It is, perhaps, better that the stranger to the metropolis should take in hand a small portion at a time,-and try to grasp that thoroughly,-than lose himself in an intricate maze of buildings and associations. To read the history of London aright,-to see and feel in London stones all that can be seen and felt, requires not only untiring energy, but also knowledge, sympathy, intuition, patriotism, one and all combined. To know London really well, one should gain an intimate acquaintance with her from day to day, not being contented with the common and well-known ways, but ever penetrating into fresh haunts. From all the great highways of London, from the Strand, Fleet Street, Piccadilly, Holborn, Oxford Street, convenient excursions may be made into the surrounding neighbourhood; which often, in different parts of London, is, so far as inhabitants, appearance, manners and customs go, really a complete and distinct city by itself. Does not "Little Britain" differ widely from its neighbouring Clerkenwell? Soho as widely from its adjacent Bloomsbury? and the immaculate Mayfair from the more doubtful Bayswater? Who does not recall what Disraeli-that born aristocrat in his tastes-said of the people who frequent the plebeian, though charming, Regent's Park?

"The Duke of St. James's," (he says),-"took his way to the Regent's Park, a wild sequestered spot, whither he invariably repaired when he did not wish to be noticed; for the inhabitants of this pretty suburb are a distinct race, and although their eyes are not unobserving, from their inability to speak the language of London they are unable to communicate their observations."

So far from being merely one town, London is really a hundred townlets amalgamated. The visitor can there find everything that he wants; he must, however, know exactly what it is that he wants to find. Does he desire to see pictures? many galleries of priceless works of art are within a stone's throw, free, ready, waiting only to be seen; does he prefer realism and life? the "street markets" of Leather Lane and of Goodge Street are instinct with all possible types of humanity; does he yearn for peaceful solitude, historic association? the quiet nooks of the Temple invite him; is it solitary study that his soul craves? the immense library of the British Museum offers him all its treasures; does he merely wish to perambulate vaguely? even the prosaic Oxford Street presents a very kaleidoscope of human life. Nevertheless, in his perambulations, the wanderer should receive a word of warning: let him beware of asking for local information (save indeed, it be of a policeman), for two reasons. Firstly, because no born Londoner of the great middle class ever knows, except by the merest accident, anything whatever about his near neighbourhood; and, secondly, because if he do get an answer, he is morally certain to be misdirected. The wanderer should always start on his expeditions with a distinct plan in his own mind of the special itinerary he wishes to adopt,-be that itinerary Mr. Hare's, or any other man's,-and he should never allow himself to be drawn off from it to another tangent. Even this crowded highway of Oxford Street, "stony-hearted stepmother," old gallows-road, passing from Newgate Street to Tyburn Tree, and bearing so many different names in its course,-beginning, as "Holborn," in City stress and turmoil, intersecting the very centre of fashion at the Marble Arch, and continuing as the "Uxbridge Road," to High Street, Notting Hill,-passes through all sorts and conditions of men and things. Tottenham Court Road, that glaring, fatiguing thoroughfare, which through all its phases ever "remains sordid, sunlight serving to reveal no fresh beauties in it, nor gaslight to glorify it," begins in comparative honour in New Oxford Street, to descend through bustle and racket to the noisy taverns and purlieus of the Euston Road. That sylvan village and manor of "Toten Court," where city folk repaired in old days for "cakes and creame," seems far enough away now! Fenchurch Street,-or rather its continuation Aldgate Street,-as it merges into the long "Whitechapel Road," becomes more and more dreary; not even its soft-gliding, cushioned tram-cars lending enchantment to the depressing scene. Waterloo Road and Blackfriars Road, "over the water," as they trend southwards pass through strange and often unsavoury purlieus. Every district has its special idiosyncrasies. Piccadilly and St. James's are always aristocratic. Pall Mall has a severe and solid dignity; while the Strand and its continuation, the narrow and tortuous Fleet Street, are instinct with ancient honour and literary association. Yet, even here, if the visitor have not the "seeing eye" that discerns the past through the present, he may "walk from Dan to Beersheba and find all barren."

The great charm, however, of London lies in its unsuspected courts and byways. From most of these big thoroughfares you may be transported, with hardly more than a step, into picturesque nooks of sudden and almost startling silence, or, rather, cessation from din. All who know and love London will recall this. From busy Holborn to the aloofness of quiet Staple Inn, with its still, collegiate air, what a change from the turmoil of Fleet Street to the closes of little Clifford Inn, with its old-world, forgotten air. From High Street, Kensington, too, that town with all the air of a smart suburb, how many charming excursions may not be made on Campden Hill and in Holland Park-a neighbourhood full of artistic and literary charm. In Westminster, what quiet, secluded nooks, and green closes, abound for the sketcher, and how lovely are the gardens of the Green Park and St. James's Park, bordered by the stately palaces of St. James's, and the picturesque houses of Queen Anne's Gate. And all along the river embankment, from Westminster to the Tower, are interesting streets and nooks full of historic and literary association. The embankment, running, at first, parallel with the noisy Strand; reaching classic ground in the quiet Temple, by that garden where the "red and white rose" first started their bloody rivalry, becomes then muddy and uncared for before the newspaper land of Whitefriars; beyond, again, are blackened wharves, which gradually degenerate into the terrible and utterly indescribable fishiness of Billingsgate, and unpoetic Thames Street! Then, the "Surrey side" of the river,-Southwark and Chaucer's Inns, or what yet remains of them,-would form several delightful excursions; to say nothing of the Tower, with its innumerable historic associations,-and, perhaps, a visit to Greenwich in summer time. The old churches of the City would, as I have hinted, take many days to explore thoroughly; the Holborn and Strand Inns of Court and of Chancery, especially the Temple and Staple Inn, should be known and studied well; nothing can exceed the charm of these quiet and secluded "haunts of ancient peace."

Space, however, is limited; I have now said enough to give some idea, even to the uninitiated, of London's many highways and byways, with their suggestions and associations. Yet one word of caution I would add: London must be approached with reverence; her cult is a growth of years, rather than a sudden acquisition. And the love of London stones, once acquired, never leaves the devotee. Whether he walk blissfully through Fleet Street with Johnson and Goldsmith, linger by the Temple fountain with Charles Lamb or Dickens, or traverse the glades of Kensington Gardens with Addison and Steele, "where'er he tread is haunted, holy ground." Here, on Tower Hill, once stood spikes supporting ghastly heads of so-called "traitors"; there, at Smithfield, were burned numberless martyrs. Even the London mud has its poetic associations. We may all tread the same road as that once trodden by Rossetti and Keats; strange road:

"Miring his outward steps who inly trode

The bright Castalian brink and Latmos' steep."

Yes, the love of London grows on the constant Londoner. He will not be long happy away from the comforting hum of the busy streets, from the mighty pulse of the machine. In absence his heart will ever fondly turn to "streaming London's central roar," to the spot where, more than anywhere else, he may be at once the inheritor of all the ages.

How interesting would it be if one could only-by the aid of some Mr. Wells's "Time Machine"-take a series of flying leaps backward into the abysm of time! Strange to imagine the experience! Beauty, one reflects, might be gained at nearly every step, at the expense, alas! of sanitary conditions, knowledge, and utility. Let us, for a moment, imagine how the thing would be.... First, in a few rapid revolutions of the wheel, would disappear the hideous criss-cross of electric wires overhead, the ugly tangle of suburban tram-lines, and the greater part of the hideous modern growth of suburbs.... Another whirl of the machine, and every sign of a railway station would disappear, every repulsive engine shed and siding vanish ... while the dull present-day rumble of the metropolis would give place to a more indescribably acute and agonising medley of sound.... Again a little while, and the hideous early Victorian buildings would disappear, making way for white Stuart fa?ades, or sober red-brick Dutch palaces.... With yet a few more revolutions, the metropolis will shrink into inconceivably small dimensions, and the atmosphere of the city, losing its peculiar blue-grey mist, will gradually brighten and clear-a radiance, unknown to us children of a later day-diffusing itself over the glistening towers and domes, no longer blackened, but gleaming, Venetian-like, in the Tudor sunlight.... The aspect of the river too has changed; no more ugly steamers, but an array of princely barges deck its waters, gay with the bright dresses of ladies and gallants.... Its solid embankments have crumbled to picturesque overgrown mud banks, its many bridges shrunk to one; the little separate towns of "London" and "Westminster" presenting now more the appearance of rambling villages, adorned by some palaces and churches.... Another turn of the machine, and lo! the imposing fa?ades that adorned the Strand have in their turn given way to picturesque rows and streets of overhanging gabled houses with blackened cross-beams, their quaint projecting windows almost meeting over the narrow streets ... stony streets with their crowds of noisy, jostling, foot-passengers.... Again a long pause ... and now the scene changes to Roman London, the ancient "Augusta," with its powerful walls, its slave ships and pinnaces, its mailed warriors, ever in arms against the blue-eyed Saxon marauders. Then-a final interval-and we see the primitive British village, its mud huts erected by the kindly shores of our "Father Thames," their smoke peacefully rising heavenwards above the surrounding marshes and forests.

Waterloo Bridge.

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