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I secured, not just what I wanted, but a regulation demands, you present yourroom and a bath which would serve self and your wife, each armed with a at the Piccadilly.
passport, at the Custom House. StandI had been kept waiting quite a little ing in a long line in a corridor, you eventime in the lobby, and as I looked tually approach a desk at which sits about me there seemed to be a good a man consuming a big black cigar. many foreigners in evidence, a number Spreading out your passport before him of Spaniards and, I suspected, Germans. he looks at it as if he were examining A fine manly young fellow, with only one for the first time; finally, with a one arm (how many such I was to see), blue pencil, he puts a mark on it and who manipulated the lift and to whom says, 'Take it to that gentleman over I confided my suspicions, replied, 'Yes, there,' pointing across the room. You sir, I believe they is, sir; but what are do so; and another man examines it, you going to do? They calls themselves surprised, it may be, to see that it so Swiss!'
closely resembles one that he has just But in my anxiety to get to London, marked with a red pencil. He is just I have forgotten to say a word about about to make another hieroglyph on the Imperator, on which I crossed, or of the passport when he observes that the needless expense and delay to which the background of your photograph is one is subjected in New York, for no dark, whereas the regulations call for reason that I can see, but that some light. He suspends the operation; is it of what Mr. Bryan called 'deserving possible that you will be detained at the Democrats' may be fed at the public last moment? No! with the remark, trough.
'Get a light one next time,' he makes a After being photographed, and get- little mark in red and scornfully directs ting your passport and having it viséd you to another desk. Here sits another by the consul of the country to which these areall able-bodied and preyou are first going, and after assuring sumably well-paid politicians — with the officials of the Treasury Depart- a large rubber stamp; it descends, and ment that the final installment of your you are free to go on board your ship — income tax will be paid, when due, by to-morrow. your bank, — though where the money The Imperator made, I think, only is to come from, you don't in the least one trip in the service of the company know, — you finally start for New that built her; during the war she reYork, in order that you may be there mained tied up to her pier in Hoboken; one day before the steamer sails, so and when she was finally put into pasthat you may again present your pass- senger service, she was taken over, port at the Custom House for final in- pending final allocation, by the Cunard spection. I know no man wise enough Line. She is a wonderful ship — with to tell me what good purpose is served the exception of the Leviathan, the by this last annoyance. With trunks largest boat afloat; magnificent and and suitcases, New York is an expen- convenient in every detail, and as sive place in which to spend a night, steady as a church. The doctor who and one is not in the humor for it; one examines my heart occasionally, lookhas started for Europe and reached – ing for trouble, would have had a busy New York.
time on her. I fancy I can see him, But fearful that some hitch may oc- drawing his stethoscope from his pocket cur, you wire on for rooms and get them, and suspending it in his ears, poking and 'the day previous to sailing, 'as the round, listening in vain for the pulsa
tion of her engines; fearful, no doubt, founded centuries ago by William of that he was going to lose his patient, he Wykeham. After the service, we stood would have prescribed certain drops in silently for a moment by the tomb of water at regular intervals, and, finally, Jane Austen; nor did we forget to lift he would have sent her in a very large reverently the carpet that protects the bill.
tablet let into the tombstone of Izaak I am quite sure that I owe my com- Walton. After tea, that pleasant funcparatively good health to having been tion, we drove out to the Hospital of St. very abstemious in the matter of exer- Cross, beautiful and always dear to me, cise. But it was my habit to take a con- being, as it is, the scene of Trollope's stitutional each day before breakfast; lovely story, The Warden. this duty done, I was able to read and Seated at home in my library, in smoke thereafter with a clear conscience. imagination I love to roam about this Four and a half times around the prom- England, this ‘precious stone set in the enade deck was a mile, the steward told silver sea,' which, however, now that me; and I can quite believe it.
the air has been conquered, no longer Coming back to earth, or rather sea, serves it defensively as a moat; but as after this flight into the empyrean, I am soon as I find myself there, the lure of bound to admit that the Germans knew London becomes irresistible, and almost how to build and run ships. And the before I know it I am at some village beautiful part of the Imperator was railway station demanding my 'two that, though you saw a German sign oc- single thirds' to Waterloo or Victoria, casionally, not a German word was or wherever it may be. heard. How completely, for the time So it was in this case. I did, however, being at any rate, the German nation take advantageof the delightful weather has been erased from the sea! I some- to make a motor pilgrimage to Seltimes doubt the taste of the English borne, some fifteen miles across counsinging 'Rule, Britannia'; it is so very try from Winchester. A tiny copy of true · now.
White's Natural History of Selborne
came into my possession some forty II
years ago, by purchase, at a cost of fifAs we entered Southampton Water teen cents, at Leary's famous bookafter a pleasant and quite uneventful shop in Philadelphia; and while I now voyage, we saw almost the only sign of display, somewhat ostentatiously perthe war we were destined to see. A long haps, Horace Walpole's own copy of the line, miles long, of what we should call first edition, I keep my little volume for torpedo-boat destroyers, anchored in reading and had it with me on the midstream, still wearing their camou- steamer. flage coloring, slowly rusting themselves The Wakes, the house in which Gilaway.
bert White was born and in which he We landed on a clear, warm Septem- died, is still standing on what is by courber afternoon, and, Southampton pos- tesy called the main street of the little sessing no charm whatever, we at once village, which is, in its way, I suppose, took train for Winchester, which we as famous as any settlement of its size reached in time to attend service in the anywhere. The church of which he was austere old cathedral. The service was rector, and in which he preached, when impressive, and the singing better than he was not wandering about observing in most cathedrals, for the choir is with unexampled fidelity the flora and largely recruited from the great school fauna of his native parish, stands near
the upper end of a tiny public square resemblances. At the end of a busy day, called the Plestor, or play-place, which when one is tired, one wants peace, dates only from yesterday, that is to quiet, and simplicity at least, this say, from 1271! Originally an immense one does; and so, when our attention oak tree stood in the centre; but it was was called to a small apartment in Aluprooted in a great storm some two bemarle Street, from the balcony of centuries ago, and a sycamore now
which I could throw a stone into the stands in its place. Encircling it is a windows of Quaritch's bookshop, in the bench upon which the rude forefathers event that such an act would afford any of the hamlet may sit and watch the solution to the problem of securing the children at play, and on which we books I wanted, I closed the bargain inshould have sat but that we were more stantly and was soon by way of being interested in the great yew which stands a householder on a very small scale. in the near-by churchyard. It is one of We had been told that 'service' in the most famous trees in England, - a England was a thing of the past, that it thousand years old, they say, - and
- has disappeared with the war; but this looking old for its age; but it is so sym- was only one of the many discouraging metrical in its proportions that its im- statements which were to be entirely mense size is not fully realized until one refuted in the experience. No one could slowly paces round it and discovers have been better cared for than we, by a that its trunk is almost thirty feet in valet and maid who brushed our clothes circumference.
and brought us our breakfast; and The church, which has luckily es- shortly after ten each morning we caped the restorations so many parish started out upon our wanderings in churches have been compelled to under- whatever direction we would, alert for go, is in no wise remarkable. Many any adventure that the streets of LonWhites are buried therein; but our par- don might afford. This is an inexpenticular White, the one who made Sel- sive and harmless occupation, interborne notable among the villages of esting in the event and delightful in England, lies outside in the churchyard, retrospect. Is it Liszt who conjures near the north wall of the chancel, the us to store up recollections for consumpgrave being marked by a half-sunken tion in old age? Well, I am doing so. headstone on which one reads with dif- I know not which I enjoy most, beatficulty two simple letters, 'G. W.,'anda ing the pavements of the well-known date, 26th June, 1793'; but a tablet streets, which afford at every turn within the church records at greater scenes that recall some well-known hislength his virtues and distinctions. toric or literary incident, or journeying
into some unexplored region, which
opens up districts of hitherto unsusIII
pected interest. Years ago, when slumThere is nothing more exhausting ming first became fashionable, one than the elegance of a big hotel; and to never used to overlook Pettycoat Lane move from a fashionable caravansary in far-off Whitechapel: of late years it in Philadelphia to another in London or has been cleaned up and made respectParis is to subject one's self to the in- able and uninteresting. But how many convenience of travel, without enjoying people are there who know that there is any of its compensations. One wants to a very pretty slum right in the heart enjoy the difference of foreign countries of things, only a short distance back rather than their somewhat artificial of Liberty's famous shop in Regent
Street? If interested in seeing how the ‘And how long have you lived here?' other half lives, look it up when you are I inquired. next in London, and you will be aston- ‘Oh, sir, I've always lived about ished at the way in which the pursuit of 'ere in this court, or close to; I like livlife, liberty, and happiness unfolds it- ing in courts, it's so quiet; it's most like self in a maze of little streets and courts living in the country.' all jumbled together. London has al- All the houses look out upon ample, ways been a city in which extremes if now sadly neglected, gardens, through meet; where wealth impinges upon the centre of which flower-bordered poverty. Nowhere can greater con- paths lead to the front doors. Push trasts be obtained than in that terra in- open one of the several gates, cognita which lies just to the south of certain to be unlocked, - or peer Soho. The world lives, if not in the through the cracks of an old oaken open, at least in the streets; and food, fence which still affords some measure fruit, fish, and furbelows are exposed of the privacy dear to the heart of every for sale on barrows and trestles in what Englishman, and you will see a bit of appears to be unspeakable confusion. vanishing London which certainly can I had discovered this curious slum last but a short time longer. The roar of years before my friend Lucas, that sym- the city is quite unheard; one has simpathetic wanderer in London, called at- ply passed out of the twentieth century tention to it in his delightful volume, into the seventeenth. Adventures and Enthusiasms.
Oxford Street is to me one of the But there is to my mind an even least interesting streets in London. It choicer little backwater, just off Fleet is a great modern thoroughfare, always Street - Nevill's Court, which I first crowded with people going east in the visited many years ago, during a mem- morning, and west in the evening when orable midnight ramble in company their day's work is done. I was walking with David Wallerstein, a Philadelphia along this street late one afternoon, lawyer and an old friend, who, by rea- when my eye caught a sign, 'Hanway son of his wide reading, retentive mem- Street,' which instantly brought to ory, and power of observation, seemed mind the publishing business conducted able to better my knowledge of London in it more than a century ago by my even in a district where I had thought lamented friend, William Godwin. I myself peculiarly at home.
hoped to learn that it was named after Nevill's Court runs east from Fetter the discoverer of the umbrella, but it is Lane. One enters it by an archway, not. Hanway Street is a mean, narrow which may easily be passed unnoticed; passage running north out of Oxford and to one's great surprise one comes Street, as if intent upon going straightsuddenly upon a row of old mansions, way to Hampstead; but it almost imone of which was pointed out to me as mediately begins to wobble and, finally once having been the town residence of changing its mind, turns east and stops the Earl of Warwick. 'It was a grand at the Horse-Shoe Tavern in the Tothouse in its day, sir,' said a young tenham Court Road. woman in an interesting condition, who My hour of refreshment having come, was taking the air late one afternoon I stopped there, too, and over a mug when I first saw it; 'but it's let out ale I thought of Godwin, and as a result as lodgings now. Keir Hardie, M.P., of my meditations, decided to follow up lodges there when he's in London; he the Godwin trail. And so, the inner says he likes it here, it's so quiet.' man refreshed, I continued east through
of Holborn until I came to Snowhill, to
those whose graves can no longer which street Godwin subsequently re- be identified. moved his business and his interesting On the day of my visit it was much family. Turning off to the left, and too damp to sit on the ground and tell doubling somewhat on my tracks, I de sad stories of anything; but I had no scended Snowhill, and found myself difficulty in coming upon the tomb of facing a substantial modern building, Defoe, or that of Bunyan, a large altarwhich challenged attention by reason like affair, with his recumbent figure of the rather unusual decoration of its upon it. An old man whom I met loiterfaçade. It needed but a glance to see ing about called my attention to the that this building had been erected fact that the nose had recently been on the site of the Saracen's Head Inn, broken off, and told me that it had been immortalized by Charles Dickens in shot off by some soldier who had been Nicholas Nickleby. Let into the wall quartered during the war in the near-by were two large panels, one being a barracks of the Honorable Artillery school-scene bearing the legend 'Dothe Company. It appears that some misboys Hall'; the other, a "Mail Coach creant had, to beguile the time, amused leaving Saracen's Head.' Over the himself by taking pot shots at the statuarched doorway was a fine bust of ary, and that much damage had been Dickens, while to the left was a full- done before he was discovered. I think length figure of the immortal Mr. I shall accuse the Canadians of this act Squeers, and on the right a similar figure of vandalism. It is always well to be of Nicholas Nickleby.
specific in making charges of this kind; In the pleasure of my discovery I al- moreover, it will grieve my talented most forgot all about Godwin, whose friend, Tait McKenzie, the sculptor, shop was once near-by; proving again, who comes to us from Scotland by way what needs no proof, that many charac- of Toronto, and who thinks it a more ters in fiction are just as sure of immor- grievous crime to mutilate a statue than tality as persons who once moved to damage a man. among us in the flesh. Then I remem- It will have been seen from the forebered that John Bunyan had lived and going that I am the gentlest of explorers.
I died in this street, when Snowhill was Give me the choice of roaming the described as being very narrow, very streets of London in search of a scarce steep, and very dangerous. This led first edition of, say, The Beggar's Opera, me to decide that I would make a pil- so delightfully performed month grimage to Bunyan's tomb in Bunhill after month at the Lyric Theatre in Fields, which I had not visited for many Hammersmith, but which lasted scarceyears.
ly a week in New York,
and a chance And so, a few days later, I found to explore some out-of-the-way country myself wandering about in that most with an unpronounceable name, and depressing graveyard, in which thou- my mind is made up in a moment. I sands of men and women, famous in have found the race with the sheriff their time, found sepulture-in some sufficiently stimulating, and, on a holicases merely temporary, for the records day, give me the simple, or at least the show that, after the passing of fifteen contemplative, life. years or so, their graves were violated Just before leaving home, I had to make room for later generations, all lunched with my friend Fullerton Waltraces of earlier interments having been do; his face positively beamed with haperased. Poor Blake and his wife are piness and his eye sparkled. Why? Be