The Scenery of LondonMitton, G. E.
CHAPTER VI: A Circle of Associations
CHAPTER VI: A Circle of Associations
IT is trite to recommend the top of an omnibus as the best means of seeing London, the point is generally conceded, so let us concede it and get on.
The omnibus route forms the thread on which the pearls of old associations are conveniently strung, and if the route be chosen with care, the pearls be sure will be thickly strung.
Beginning at the Marble Arch we have the Edgware Road stretching away northward; it was part of the old Roman Road called Watling Street, which name may still be found belonging to a small street in the City. Watling Street did not at first run through the City at all; it went down the line of what is now Park Lane to the marshes at , where it struck the river at the ford.
When was first built, pilgrim and trader alike found it preferable to go that way rather than encounter the mists and swamps at , with the certainty of a disagreeable plunge into the river at the end. The course of the main highroad therefore
|was altered, and instead of passing down Tyburn Lane (Park Lane) it followed Tyburn Road (Oxford Street) to the City, and of the whole length of this great highway only the small Watling Street above referred to retains the ancient name.|
Tyburn Lane kept on the high ground above Tyburn stream, which ran to the river. Tyburn is associated with the execution of criminals during many centuries, and though the name must be familiar to all sorts and conditions of people it is doubtful if one Londoner in a hundred has the least idea where the place of execution was.
The gallows were put up across the end of Edgware Road, at its junction with the Bayswater Road, and the executions ranked high in popular favour as delightful entertainments for rich and poor alike, entertainments which the authorities were not niggardly in providing. In Tudor times the sight was richer than mere hanging could ever be, for the custom of the time permitted the barbarity of half-hanging, and then the poor wretch, dimly conscious, was cut down and his still faintly palpitating heart torn from his bosom, or his limbs severed the one from the other. To the agony of death were added its worst horrors. Yet callousness, doubtless springing from familiarity with such sights, made the criminals of less sensitive mould than we are apt to imagine. In the eighteenth century, of which we have full and complete records, though the chopping up and disembowelling had gone out of fashion, the victim had to endure what to any modern youth would
|be the long torture of a slow procession from Newgate to the gallows. Apparently, however, he looked upon it as a triumphal procession, and would have felt himself defrauded of his rights had it been omitted. From the prison to St. Giles's, where he drank his last bowl of ale, from St. Giles's to Tyburn, he was accompanied by a singing, dancing, cheering, jeering mob, largely made up of his fellow-associates in crime, both men and women. What more could any one desire ? For the time being he was paramount, with none to dispute his sovereignty; even those who had slighted him as being a child in evil had to take a second place that day. Down the road he came, a king in his glory, his throne a jolting, springless cart, for his foot-stool his open coffin, beside him as attendant a priest in exhortation. His dying speech, a little premature maybe, but none the worse for that, was being hawked about the crowd, the rival vendors frequently coming to blows. It sold better than even the nuts and oranges and other delicacies retailed in profusion. Incidents there lacked not; the road was miry, totally unmade in fact according to our notions; sometimes one wheel went deep into a mud-hole, the coffin was nearly flung off the cart with the jolt, and the gaolers and attendants had to put their shoulders to the wheel to send it flying outward and onward. Children were held up by their parents to see the victim, young women climbed on carts and stands, and kissed their hands to him; men madly jostled each other to get a better view. We are told that 200,000 persons witnessed the execution of the famous Jack|
|Sheppard, who was only a boy of twenty-two at the time of his death, but this was a mere handful compared with the crowd that attended Jonathan Wild six months later to the same end, and Jonathan Wild, execrated by authorities and mob alike, cannot be supposed to have enjoyed his procession.|
Arrived at Tyburn, the young man who was to " make a public holiday" saw a much more respectable crowd awaiting him. Where the Marble Arch now is stood a grand stand or scaffolding of wood, where seats were let at a price, and in tiers above tiers rose the heads of the gentility. The balconies, close to the gallows, were occupied by the sheriffs and a favoured few.
The last execution at Tyburn was in November , and then the scene was transferred to Newgate, but it was not until 868 that executions took place in private.
As for , Pennant, writing circ. , calls it a " deep hollow road and full of Sloughs, with here and there a ragged House the lurking-place of Cutthroats."
To the north of in the open ground the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City " did hunt a hare and killed her," and after dinner,-a mayoral banquet at the Banqueting House in Stratford Place-they went forth and killed a fox with much holloaing and blowing of horns. This was on the occasion of their visit to their conduits in the year , and as mayoral dinners were not reputed to be in that year any less magnificent than they have always been, all that one can say is that it was a remarkable feat.
If we go down Park Lane and, changing omnibuses at Hyde Park Corner, pass along , we encompass on two sides the aristocratic district of Mayfair, which came into prominence about the end of the seventeenth century, when Berkeley Square was built, while Hyde Park Corner was still the end of the world so far as Londoners were concerned. Mayfair bears a very apparent significance; the fair in which it had its origin was granted in James II.'s reign, and was held during the first fifteen days of May, and, though fallen into disrepute, was not abolished until the end of the eighteenth century. , long simply " the road to Reding," is now lined by palatial clubs. The old tale that the depression in which causes the bus horses so much effort is due to the selfishness of a magnate, who had the ground hollowed out in order to improve the view from his house windows, is absurd. The depression is somewhere about the place where ran the Tyburn stream above referred to, and is a natural conformation of the ground. Beyond it we rise on to a line of heights whose steep slopes may be marked down the Haymarket and lower part of . Few indeed are the lovers of London who can pass down without admiration. In the springtime, from the great open spaces at Hyde Park Corner one looks along a vista of tree-bordered park, and the line of grey, irregular buildings; no slavish conformity here as in Nash's ideal, . Or at night, coming westward, when the lights, topaz and white and ruby, flash from the other side of the Park like a brilliant necklet
|of jewels of intricate pattern, when the roadway before us, seen to perfection by that onerous dip, is covered with flitting lights, and over all the great white arc lights shed a soft radiance, one feels that that indescribable fascination, never to be put into words, is about us and around us in its full force. In imitation of the joyous country girl, who, getting a whiff of the Underground, exclaimed with enthusiasm, "Oh, how lovely! Now I really feel the Season," we cry, "Oh, how lovely! Now we really feel London ! "|
Near Circus stood the Gaming House in which so many persons lost not only their own fortunes but those entrusted to them. We have preserved for us a pitiful picture of the two Miss Sucklings, who came crying to the place for fear their brother Sir John, who was an inveterate gambler, should lose "all their portions," and therewith, no doubt, poor damsels, their chance of a suitable settlement in life.
But before reaching the Circus, by glancing down St. James's Street we get one of the prettiest street vistas in London; framed at the foot of the hill is the Tudor gateway of St. James's Palace, one of the very few remnants of that style of architecture that we have left, and for that reason, rambling and inconvenient as the palace is, highly cherished. By its means we may picture the more readily the ancient Palace of Whitehall. From the time of Henry VIII. who rebuilt the old leper hospital, up to the reign of the Fourth George, who preferred Buckingham Palace and doubtless admired it more also, St. James's was one of the principal
|London residences of our sovereigns; indeed after the burning of Whitehall in the reign of William III. the only one.|
St. James's Street and Pall Mall are the heart and centre of Clubland; it is true now vies with them, but without the same traditions behind it.
All clubs, as Addison somewhere remarked, "are founded upon eating and drinking," but this does not prevent their variety being considerable, from the highly respectable to the fast, and the almost domestic to the risky. Fortunately in the present day, though the clubs have reached a height of luxury in appointments which leaves little to be attained, they do not exactly take the place in the lives of the adult male population that they used to do. In the palmy days of the eighteenth century, when men lost their whole fortune at a sitting, when £2000 or £3000 was no uncommon evening's loss, the lives of the womenkind connected with these men must have been somewhat precarious. "At Almack's," Walpole writes in , "the young men of the age lose ten, fifteen, twenty thousand pounds an evening." At the Cocoa Tree he speaks of a cast at hazard of £180,000, and at Almack's, " Mr. Thynne having won only 12,000 guineas in two months, retired in disgust." But whatever the faults of those times in Clubland, they are toned down by that beautiful perspective, which, like the atmosphere of London itself, enriches the details and hides the unsightliness; and looking back to the pictures which most of us have gained from reading the novels dealing with Clubland
|in the eighteenth century, we seem to see a procession of infinitely attractive young men, gay and gallant, if a little wild, clad in blue satin with exquisite lace ruffles, and yet not dandies, but ready to flash out with the sword on all possible provocation; and to match them girls brought up in the utmost delicacy, with bewitching eyes and fair skins, the fairer for the provoking little patches; who combined the daintiness of a princess with the spirit of a modern girl; who got themselves into all sorts of impossible situations but issued therefrom in the last chapter with virtue unsmirched, to be married to the man of their heart, who had - appearances being notoriously deceitful-loved none other than his one dear lady all the time. Who would lose such a setting for such figures ?|
But among these figures there are others, darkly outlined, those of the sneak and the bully and the real gamester, who made a fortune out of other men not so cunning or so sharp witted, and these are not so pleasant. Clubland seems to enter less and less into the life of the middle-class householder; he has no time for his club; his work in these strenuous days, and his home, absorb all his energies, and there are many London men who belong to no club, though well able to afford it, and yet never feel the want of one.
As for Pall Mall, who that has read it can ever forget the picture given by Evelyn of "pretty Nelly" leaning out of the window of her house to discuss the time of day with Charles II. out for an airing in the
|Green Park below. Kings were unsophisticated in their manners two hundred and fifty years ago.|
Right across the foot of , now called Waterloo Place, where at present steps give access to the Park, stood Carlton House, in the time of the Regency the scene of the maddest orgies, under the presidency of the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV. Here his daughter Charlotte was born, and here her marriage took place. Turning eastward with the omnibus we pass through part of Pall Mall, seeing the magnificent Carlton Hotel, where suppers take place at which every table has its titled persons or celebrities; and also His Majesty's Theatre, on the site of the Opera House for which nearly all Handel's operas were composed, and through which the names of Grisi, Rubini, Mario, and Jenny Lind first became familiar to Londoners.
Then we come to , of which a small boy from a provincial town, on paying his first visit to London, asked with great solemnity, "Is this the marketplace of London ?"
and its associations we have already dealt with, but the modern Whitehall, now one of the finest streets in the Metropolis, is well worth a longer look than we can give in passing. On the west are the stern Government Offices, and on the east is the new War Office, while the towers and spires of the Houses of Parliament rise over the buildings at the far end and over the trees of Montagu House.
Passing we enter the Strand, and here
|it is difficult to speak of the bygone associations, so thickly do they crowd upon us. From a winding country road to a strand whereon the nobles built their palaces, and again in the whirligig of time to a street of shops, and it must be confessed mean buildings, the Strand has touched the wheel of life at every point. Even now, in spite of its mean buildings, it has views to show, as we shall presently see. replaces Hungerford Market, which stood on part of the ground occupied by the great house of the proud favourite Buckingham. His water-gate is left, and can be seen at the foot of Buckingham Street, where it is literally stranded, high and dry, and far from the water. Before Buckingham House stood here York House, the property of the Archbishop of York. In this house Bacon was born; before that again the house belonged to the Duke of Suffolk, and originally was the town residence of the bishops of Norwich. This grand pedigree of owners may be taken as typical of the Strand houses; to mention them all would become a tedious catalogue, therefore only those salient facts that make the dry bones live will be here entered. On the site of the Adelphi was the town house of the lordly prince-bishops of Durham, who exchanged it with Henry VIII. for Cold Harbour and other City houses. The King himself did not disdain to make merry in Durham House, and held here great festivities on his marriage with the poor plain Anne of Cleves. Within its walls Lady Jane Grey was married. When it belonged to Queen , she bestowed it on Sir|
|Walter Ralegh, who lived in it, and had a study looking out upon the water. Near it was afterwards built the New Exchange, a fashionable place for shops and flirtations.|
The huge Cecil Hotel has a right to its name, for it stands where once stood a mansion of Sir Robert Cecil, second son of Lord Burghley. Next to it was Worcester House, in which Anne Hyde was married to the Duke of York, afterwards James II. Opposite was Exeter House, built by Lord Burghley. Down Savoy Street we have one of those peeps which are the charm of London; here are a quiet churchyard, waving green trees, and a small church, shut in and surrounded by high business premises, forming an oasis. This is royal property, belonging to the Duchy of ; and the title to it goes very far back, even to , from whom the Lancastrian sovereigns descended, and who, through Henry VII., is the ancestor of our present king. The Savoy, as we see it represented in old prints, was a great fortress-like building with its foundations reaching down to the water. It was in turn Palace, Prison, and Hospital. of , whom the Black Prince treated with so much civility, was a prisoner here. extravagance so incensed the mob that in the great riots of Wat Tyler's time his palace was one of the first to be sacked. A hospital for one hundred poor people was afterwards founded here by Henry VII.; and later still the place was partly a military prison.
From the part of the Strand near the Savoy we see in
|their full beauty the two churches, St. Mary-le-Strand and St. Clement Danes, standing in a line, and backed up by the Law Courts. The late Strand improvements, by opening out the streets around, have set St. Mary's in a much better position, and the effect of a mysterious duplication is seen in the storied tower of St. Clement's rising behind it.|
On the north is the huge building of the new Gaiety Theatre in a classical style, and beyond it acres of brick and dust lying in heaps on the desolate ground. Somerset House, formerly Somerset Palace, owes its name to the Protector Somerset, who used enough stones from other buildings, religious and secular, to have made his house a veritable cry of "Shame," if stones had tongues. In pursuance of his selfish policy he did not scruple to pull down buildings not actually decayed, including the beautiful cloister on the north side of St. Paul's, where was the famous painting called the Dance of Death. The Protector himself had to go the way of death while still a comparatively young man, about forty-six, and his great new building, which had involved so much disregard of property, was unfinished. Later it was the assigned dwelling of Queen Henrietta Maria and her French attendants, who seem to have been rather too much for the Court at Whitehall. Inigo Jones, the architect, died in Somerset House. The present building, put up in , houses several great Government departments, and in the courtyard volunteers assemble on half holidays.
Beyond Somerset House and King's College, which is in a wing of it, though apparently it will not long remain there, is Strand Lane with one of the oldest relics London possesses, a Roman bath, computed to be about two thousand years old, and shaming into insignificance such mushroom growths as even the oldest Somerset House. When London was still encompassed by the City wall, some of the better-class Romans saw the advantage of houses on the river-side. There was then no egress by Ludgate, which had not been opened, nor was there a bridge over the Fleet river; but they had access to the Thames from Holborn along a slight ridge, which ran from north to south, and ended at the foot of what is now Essex Street and Milford Lane. Here they formed a community or small village. Many remnants of their occupation have been discovered, and this ancient bath probably marks the site of the house of some magnate, who in luxury and understanding of detail was more superfine than we are now. Arundel House gardens possibly once enclosed this relic, for Arundel House came next to Somerset House, and the fine gardens stretched between, reaching down to the water. Of Arundel House we have a charming illustration in an old print, of groups of old buildings standing around a courtyard. The gable ends are decorated, the sloping roofs are tiled, and timber framework supports the houses. The stable and the chapel are both to be seen, and the view is dated . Milford Lane is specially noted by Gay :- -
We come next to the group of streets once covered by Essex House and its gardens. The unfortunate and foolish Earl of Essex shut himself up in this mansion, and defied the Queen. The salient point in the attack seems to have been the mounting of artillery on the tower of St. Clement's Church in order to drive him out. How the street-gazers would revel in such a sight at the present time ! We now employ more peaceful methods to bring people to order, methods exemplified in the near neighbourhood of the Law Courts and the Temple.
The changes in this part of London have been enormous, and were to sally forth in order to occupy his old pew in St. Clement Danes he would speedily lose himself. The great crescent of Aldwych sweeps down to the church; gone is Booksellers' Row or Holywell Street, with its secondhand-book shops and quaint houses; gone is Lyons Inn, and many another house. All that can be said is that the alteration is an improvement, and therefore the price paid is not too heavy. The building of the Law Courts, in 868, made the first inroads into the antiquity and the unsavouriness of a neighbourhood that had seen better
|days; and many a foul rookery and noisome tenement was cleared away. Among the lanes thus demolished was Shear or Shire Lane, where was a famous tavern in which met the Kit-Kat Club, and from which Addison dated many of his essays.|
Butcher Row, running on the north side of the church, was at one time a very fashionable place of residence; here lodged the French Ambassador De Rosny, when he came to England. Of the house he occupied we have a print in its old days, with its overhanging storey falling forward and its lines sadly out of the perpendicular; it was a picturesque, dilapidated, -tumble-down old mansion. In place of these fearful joys there are now the much-discussed Law Courts, with the trimly kept green grass, the fat pigeons, and the row of cabs beside the church.
Temple Bar, one of those famous obstructions to traffic in which our ancestors delighted, was removed in , and the Griffin, familiarly known as the " Dragon," put up in its place; the griffin himself is not a "bad beast," but his "too too solid" pedestal is hardly to be classed among things artistic, yet the whole monument performs the very useful function of marking the extreme westerly limits of the City, and as a symbol cannot be overlooked. Temple Bar, familiar to every one from prints, and still standing in the park at Cheshunt, was the work of the great Sir Christopher. Not that its predecessor was burnt, for the Fire was stayed before it reached so far, but because the old gate was considered dilapidated and unsightly. This earlier gate was a very
|solid edifice, with three rounded gateways, the central one large and the two side ones smaller; it had four engaged pilasters running up the frontage, and a somewhat flattened penthouse roof, higher than many of the houses near it. These, with their gables and dormer windows, with their broad beams and diamond panes, must have made a good setting for the cumbrous old gateway. One of the uses of Temple Bar was to carry on spikes the heads of traitors, and it is said that in a high wind these heads occasionally, especially if they had been there for some time, broke away from their supports and fell down upon the passers-by!|
The narrow attractive entries of Middle and Inner Temple invite an excursion, and the precincts within are well in keeping. Brick is the distinctive material of the Temple, and has been so from the first. It is said that the brick buildings of the Temple stopped the Fire, which had before reaching them grown lusty on a diet of wooden houses. Brick, toned by the smut and dust and age of generations, attains that indescribably russet hue of a gentle old age that is still hale; and this is seen to perfection in the Temple. The same colour may be seen in the dwelling of the canons of St. Paul's in Amen Court, but here the hue is of one age and generation only, in the Temple there is every variety of brick, brick new and still unchastened, brick worn and wrinkled, brick richly glowing, brick brown with time, and all enhanced by being seen through trees or across wide spaces of smooth green. The quaint names of the old courts are still the same as in the sixteenth century,
|Figtree Court, Pump Court, Hare Court, and Paper Buildings; and the quaintness is in keeping with the spirit of the place. The Temple, as the name confesses, was first held by the Knights Templars, and their church still remains one of the few old relics of Norman London. When the property came into the hands of they let it to the Law Students, on whom it was conferred in perpetuity by James I. The Outer Temple meantime had been granted to Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter, who was beheaded in , and on this site was afterwards built Essex House, already referred to; hence it comes that there is no Outer Temple, a fact which has puzzled many persons.|
On the days of the Temple Flower Show, when the wide green lawns are covered with women in the most beautiful colours and fabrics that art can produce, when great marquees are piled high with gorgeous blossoms, and the air is filled with gay voices, the Temple wakes up from its philosophic calm; in the dusty chambers barristers entertain their friends, and windows thrown wide show many an unexpected bit of colour in a floating scarf or a brilliant sunshade; law books are hurried away, the accumulated dust of months is displaced, and surge from the outer world sweeps up over the Temple.
Having arrived at the City, our limit in this direction is reached, for the City is described elsewhere. Leaving Fleet Street with its busy newspaper life, which reaches its full tide of activity at midnight, we turn northward
|up Chancery Lane, narrower than is common even in a London street, but until the completion of Kingsway still the only direct connection between the two great highways running east and west. At the low end of the Lane near Fleet Street once lived Izaak Walton. To the east rises the fair fabric of the new Record Office, a building worthy of this age, though too much hemmed in to be seen to advantage. The best view is from Clifford's Inn Gardens. The fine Tudor gateway of Lincoln's Inn is one of the few remaining specimens of this style, with the gateway of St. James's, already mentioned, and that of Clerkenwell and Lambeth Palace.|
|Lincoln's Inn, with its air of seclusion, its worn red brick and new stone, with its smooth green lawns and leafy trees, is one of those oases so much appreciated by the lover of London, where the charm of the great City seems concentrated. Here in the fourteenth century stood the house and garden of the Earl of Lincoln; the garden was of twenty acres, and yielded bushels of roses, besides other flowers and many vegetables. Lincoln's Inn Fields was once part of Ficketts Fields, a place of jousting. Amid the wide cobble-stone spaces where cabs stand aimlessly about, where errand boys pause to play with the well-to-do pigeons, where a few of the waifs and strays of humanity forget for a while their woes on the seats in the centre garden, there is the same air of aloofness, of detachment, as in the Temple; it is a real eddy or backwater in the great rushing stream of strenuous life. Yet even this quiet|
|spot is stained with blood. The execution of William, Lord Russell was carried out here in , for it was feared that the mob, who held him a high-souled patriot, might rise to the rescue were it to take place on the better-known Tower Hill. After the Babington conspiracy no less than fourteen men were "hanged, bowelled, and quartered " here. Seven of them, including Babington, were drawn on hurdles from Tower Hill " unto a fielde at the upper end of Holborne, hard by the high-way side to St. Giles's, where was erected a scaffold convenient for the execution." It is said that Babington himself was still alive when the last tortures were being inflicted, and that he exclaimed aloud in his agony, "Jesu, Mercy ! " so that , hearing of it, directed that the rest, who were to be hanged the following day, should be hanged until they were dead. The effect of these doings on the natures of those who performed them, it is not difficult to conceive. The Viaduct has now done away with the "heavy hill" up from the valley of the Fleet, and Holborn runs a level course. New was made in , and before that time the highway curved through Broad Street and High Street. To the north of New Oxford Street, beyond the spot where now stand the stern walls of the British Museum, were fields, which, like all these large open spaces once surrounding London, spaces now completely enclosed or built over, were a resort for the citizens and a theatre for fights and rowdyism. Even duels of a sort took place here, and one gave rise to the legend of the Forty Footsteps, for it was said|
|that two brothers had slain each other while the lady they both desired to win looked on, and that thereafter no grass grew on the places where their feet had trodden.|
There is nothing beautiful about this part of London: the houses in some of the great squares are well and comfortably built; from an inside point of view they are desirable enough, but externally the huge squares and wide streets, equally with the poor and narrow ones, are dreary in the extreme. It may perhaps be taken as typical of the English character that, to use a common but expressive phrase, we do not "put all our goods in the shop window." Go where you will in London, in the west-central district about Bloomsbury, in the south-western district around Cromwell Road, in the western district about Paddington, in all those districts which may, according to a recent satirical writer, be termed " stuccovia," and you find the same thing, long dreary lines of houses plastered with stucco in smooth drab, or stucco that apes stone without enough verisimilitude to deceive a child, and the effect is not beautiful. To a country man it would seem impossible to occupy one of these houses, so monotonously alike, so square and solid and unrelenting they seem, but go into one of them that is already occupied, and in a moment the exterior aspect is forgotten. As likely as not a fair garden stretches away at the back, the sun shines into the living-rooms, which are large, airy, of a good shape, and prettily furnished; and a Londoner soon learns that a dull wall of blank stucco may conceal
|many treasures, and that very few of the houses lack gardens or are shut off from sunlight.|
But this is a digression. Near St. Giles's Church, as we have seen, the condemned criminal on his journey Tyburnwards consumed his last bowl of ale; but St. Giles's had another enviable distinction that brought custom to its ale-houses and filled its landlords' pockets. That was the fact that in the beginning of the fifteenth century it had a gallows of its own, and a place of execution at the end of the High Street. At this spot, now covered by perpetually recurring waves of traffic, was hung in chains, and slowly roasted to death.
We have a map showing us this district as it was in . Open fields lie between Drury Lane and St. Martin's Lane, which were then real lanes with hedges. The fields are crossed by footpaths, one of which is now Long Acre, and, according to the map, tenanted by monstrous cows, which in proportion to the size of the houses are veritably big enough to have been dieted on the "food of the gods." Along the north side of Broad Street there is a row of small houses, and the precinct of St. Giles's, enclosed by a wall, is lozenge-shaped, and has several trees within it, besides the buildings of the ancient hospital and the church, not the same church as at present. It must have been a pleasant country walk to go to St. Giles's-in-the-Fields from London. Another Brobdingnagian bull disports himself behind the hedge that lines the north side of the High Street, his pasture runs right up to the "Way to Tottenhall,"
|while beyond him there is nothing but fields so far as eye can see. Southampton House stands by itself to the east in an enclosure with a gate. Altogether it is a pastoral scene. Hog Lane, as was formerly called, ran-up to within forty years of Stow's time-between "fair hedgerows of elms with pleasant bridges and easy stiles to pass over into the pleasant fields, very commodious for citizens therein to walk, shoot, or otherwise recreate and refresh their dull spirits in the sweet and wholesome air."|
Passing on westward we get a glimpse of Soho, one of the prettiest squares in London, with exceptionally fine trees. The Duke of Monmouth brought this district into fashion by building a mansion for himself on the south side of the square; and here in the eighteenth century Mrs. Cornelys's parties "by subscription" attained enormous dimensions, attracting crowds to the neighbourhood. Now this is largely the French and Italian quarter; if you pass down the street and hear two men talking eagerly with many gesticulations, it is three to one they are Frenchmen, or if you go into a small shop for fruit or a newspaper, the man who serves you will have difficulty in understanding your English. See that mite of a child, whose head is hardly level with the counter, lay a halfpenny down in a milk shop, and the woman give her a " ha'porth " of milk, explaining " she can't speak a word of English, poor mite."
Of proper there is nothing particular to say until we arrive at the Circus, whence we may admire the dimensions of Nash's pet ,
|and notice the angle at which the church tower and spire of All Souls is advanced to be in a line with the street vista. Nash certainly had ideas, and did not slavishly run in the rut, but whether his ideas were admirable is another matter. Of , between this and the Marble Arch, we spoke at the time of starting, so our circle of associations is complete.|
- This object is in collection:
- Edwin C. Bolles papers
- London (England)--Pictorial Works --London (England)--Description and Travel
- Permanent URL