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Rules of riding and walking in London-Rapidity of walking
Denseness of population in the streets Numbers of deformed and infirm-Anecdote-Excursion by water to Richmond-lgnorance of the English of their own history and antiquities, Objects on the river's banks—Rural dinner in the fields—Singular vehicle-Royal equipage-Richmond Hill—Thomson's description of the scenery around it-Comparison of American and English scenery-Dinner in the country with an English bachelor---An awkward New-England custom unknown in England-Comparison of manners.
RULES OF WALKING AND RIDING.
Augnst 7.- The crowds that are almost constantly moving through the principal streets in London, are so great, that if a very exact etiquette were not observed, it would be impossible to move either with expedition or safety. The coaches, carts, and vehicles of all descriptions, are arranged in two rows, (whenever the street is crowded, one on the right, and the other on the left, passing in opposite directions, like a revolving rope, or the return of an eddy. In Cheapside, for example, I have sometimes seen a double row of this kind, extending towards Cornhill, as far as the eye could distinguish, and occasionally carriages passing upon the cross streets, or foot passengers wishing to pass over, have been compelled to wait a considerable time. The principal streets of London are furnished with side-walks, both wide and well flagged, and upon these a similar etiquette is observed with great precision, and that even at night; for, in general, the great streets are so well lighted, both by the lamps and by the shops, that one may in many instances recognize his acquaintance. The rule is, keep to the right, and, of course, give those whom you are passing, your left hand. This, of course, divides the passengers into two opposite, but not interfering currents; one half are moving one way, and the other half the opposite. In the great thorough-fares, such as Oxford road, Holborn, Cheapside, Cornhill, Ludgate Hill, and the Strand, it is quite indispensable to observe the rule; and if one, either through accident or ignorance, happens to get into the opposite current, he is elbowed and jostled, and his toes are trodden upon, till he is again in his proper place. You will not understand that every street in London exhibits this order, or that it is necessary in every one. But, in such streets as are named above, and other similar ones, it is often amusing to survey from a shop door, these vast currents of busy moving mortals. To an American, dropped in London, in the busiest periods of the day, and busiest parts of the town, it would seem as if some great solemnity, or alarm, had called all the population into the streets, and congregated them from the neighbouring country. On the contrary, it is said, that, to a person familiarized to London, the first view of our cities suggests the idea that some peculiar occasion has drawn the population from the streets, to the churches, or to the country. It is easy to see, however, that our city population must have vastly the advantage in point of accommodation, because they have much more room to live in.
It is not the denseness of the population alone, and its exact order of moving, that strikes one in London. The motion is also very rapid. There can be no doubt that the people of cities generally move more rapidly than the people of the country, and in general the motion is more
rapid as the city is larger. It is scarcely necessary to concede, that our physical powers limit this rapidity : but then all our powers, and that of walking among are capable of great improvement, and it may without hesitation be asserted, that the Londoners walk more rapidly than any other description of people in Britain or in America. This necessarily arises from the hurry of business and other engagements, and the great surface over which it is necessary to pass. I frequently find it necessary to walk eight and ten miles, and sometimes twelve or fifteen in the course of a day. It is true, the means of conveyance are generally at hand, and I sometimes make use of them ; but, besides being somewhat expensive, if constantly resorted to, it is very unpleasant to be caged in a coach, on the pavements, when one wants every moment to watch with all his senses unincumbered, every object and every occurrence. I trust you will pardon me for saying that, accustomed at home, to walk with more than common rapidity, I found the habit eminently useful on arriving in London. Having here much to occupy me,
I have learned to move even more rapidly than the common current, and in general one can by activity and attention, slip along through the crowd, in the same direction with it, and leave competitors behind. Occasionally however, the practice (a bad one it must be acknowledged, but, like many others, pleading necessity in its behalf,) is attended with inconvenience. Sometimes you are jostled in the opposite current, you encounter a heavy laden porter, his shoulders bending under a trunk or bale of merchandize, and he cries out : “by your leave, sir,” meaning that you should let him go quietly on; sometimes the halt, the maimed, the blind and the indolent, are in your way, and
sometimes you are so completely waged in the crowd, that it is impossible to gain an inch upon them.
London abounds with mutilated people; with the painful deformity called knock kneed; and that to such a degree, that the knees bow inwards, and one is constantly getting before the other; with ricketty people ; deformed and stinted in their growth; and more than all, with that enobled class of sufferers, the gouty. As it is in point, allow me to mention a trivial incident among the adventures which rapid walking has caused me to meet with. As I was the other day passing in this manner, along the Strand, I accidentally trod on the toes of a true John Bull, who was hobbling along on his cane, sorely afflicted with the gout, and bearing in his countenance honourable testimony in favour of the roast beef and porter of Old England. I begged his pardon, as I darted rapidly by him; but he was not to be pacified with apologies for the torture which I had occasioned. Beg pardon! cried he, (meaning, without doubt, that it was unpardonable, for he corrugated his features, most hideously, and raising his cane as if to strike one who was already out of his ach, he poured out such a flood of execrations, as followed me like the blessings of successful beggars, till they died away in the hum of the crowd.
EXCURSION TO RICHMOND.
August 8.-I was invited yesterday to join a small party in an excursion by water to Richmond. The party consisted of three ladies, and five gentlemen, and we were indebted for the excursion to Mr. B-, the owner of the barge, and of all the refreshments and conveniences with which it was freighted. This gentleman is an English
bachelor, and being fond of water parties, has built a very elegant barge, with an awning, stuffed seats, carpet, curtains and gilded railing, and furnished with complete equipage to spread an elegant table, independently of any other aid; the very table itself, the seats and the tent are a part of the equipment of the boat. In such a vehicle, on as fine a day as I have ever seen in England, we proceeded
the Thames. Its banks are flatter and lower than is perfectly consistent with great variety of scenery; still they are very beautiful, being every where verdant, and bordered with frequent villages, groves, seats, and lodges. The river, in its course from Richmond, winds very much, so that our passage was not less than eighteen miles, when by land, the distance is not more than eight or ten. On that side of the Thames where London stands, we passed the villages of Chelsea, Fulham, Hammersmith, Chiswick, Brentford, Strand on the Green, and Isleworth, and on the opposite side, Lambeth, Battersea, Wandsworth, Putney, Barnes, Mortlake, and Kew. In and about these villages we saw elegant lodges and villas, belonging to the nobility and others. The most remarkable buildings were Chelsea Hospital, the seat of the Margrave of Anspach, Sion House the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, the new palace of George III. at Kew, and the seat of the Duke of Queensbury.
There are a number of interesting objects in this tour, which I shall not notice now, because I hope to make an excursion this way by land. To-day I was obliged to be regulated by the convenience of the party.
They were intelligent and polished people, but had very little taste for those objects which interest me most in my rambles. To an American, “England is all classical