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you required a proprietorial right as little. Somehow, my eye and ear always disappointed themselves in the absence of rooks from such places. My senses ought to have been better instructed than to expect rooks in London, but they had been so educated to the sight and sound of rooks everywhere else in England that they mechanically demanded them in town. I do not even know what birds they were that sang in the spaces: but I was aware of a fringe of sparrow-chirpings sharply edging their song next the street; and where the squares were reduced to crescents, or narrow parallelograms, or mere strips or parings of groves, I suspect that this edging was all there was of the mesh of bird-notes so densely interwoven in the squares.
I have spoken hitherto of that passion for dress to which all the womanhood of England has so bewitchingly abandoned itself, and which seemed to have reached an undue excess in the housemaid in a bolero hat and a trained skirt, putting that white on the front steps which is so universal in England that if the sun missed it after rising he might instantly go down again in the supposition that it was still night. It must always be a woman who whitens the steps; if a man-servant were to do it any such dreadful thing might happen as would follow his blacking the boots, which is so entirely a female function. Under the circumstances one hears much of the general decay of excellence in woman-servants in London. They are far less amiable, patient, respectful, and faithful than when their mistresses were young. This may be from the fact that so many more employments besides domestic service seem to be open to girls. Apparently very young girls are preferred in the innumerable postal-stations, if one may judge from the children of tender years who sell you stamps, and take your
telegrams and register your letters. I used at first to tremble for a defective experience, if not a defective intelligence in them, but I did not find them inadequate to their duties through either. Still their employment was so phenomenal that I could not help remarking upon it. None of my English friends seemed to have noticed it, till at last one, who had noticed it, said he believed it was because the government found them cheap, and was in that way helping repay itself for the enormous expenses of the Boer War.
In the London shops I did not think women were so generally employed as in our own, or those of the Continent. But this may have been a conclusion from careless observation. In the book-stores to which I most resorted, and which I did not think so good as ours, I remember to have seen but one saleswoman. Of course saleswomen prevail in all the large stores where women's goods, personal and household, are sold, and which I again did not think comparable to ours. Seldom in any small shop, or even book-stall or newspaper-stand, did women seem to be in charge. But at the street - markets, especially those for the poorer customers, market - women were the rule. I should say, in fine, that woman was a far more domestic animal in London than in Paris, and never quite the beast of burden that she is in Berlin, or other German cities great or small; but I am not going to sentimentalize her lot in England. Probably it is only comparatively ideal in the highest classes. In the lower and lowest its hardship is attested by the stunted stature, and the stunted figure of the ordinary English lowerclass woman. Even among the elect of the afternoon parade in the Park, I do not think there was so great an average of tall young girls as in any fashionable show
with us, where they form the patriciate which our plutocracy has already flowered into. But there was a far greater average of tall young men than with us; which may mean that, with the English, nobility is a masculine distinction.
As for those great department stores with which the question of women relates itself inevitably, I have cursorily assumed our priority in them, and the more I think of them, the more I am inclined to believe myself right. But that is a matter in which women only may be decisive; the nice psychology involved cannot be convincingly studied by the other sex. I will venture, again, however, so far into this strange realm as to say that the subordinate shops did not seem so many or so good in London as in New York, though when one remembers the two Bond Streets, and Oxford, and lower Piccadilly, one might feel the absurdity of claiming superiority for Broadway, or Fourteenth and Twentythird streets, or Union and Madison squares, or the parts of Third and Sixth avenues to which ladies' shopping has spread. After all, perhaps there is but one London, in this as in some other things.
Among the other things are hardly the restaurants which abound with us, good, bad, and indifferent. In the affair of public feeding, of the costliest, as well as the cheapest sorts, we may, with our polyglot menus, safely challenge the competition of any metropolis in the world, not to say the universe. It is not only that we make the openest show of this feeding, and parade it at windows, whereas the English retire it to curtained depths within, but that, in reality, we transact it ubiquitously, perpetually. In both London and New York it is exotic for the most part, or, at least, on the higher levels, and the administration is in the hands of those
foreigners who take our money for learning English of us. But there is no such range of Italian and French and German restaurants in London as in New York, and of what there are none are at once so cheap and so good as ours. The cheaper restaurants are apt to be English, sincere in material, but heavy and unattractive in expression; in everything culinary the island touch seems hopelessly inartistic. One Sunday morning, far from home, when lunch-time came prematurely, we found all the English eating-houses devoutly shut, and our wicked hope was in a little Italian trattoria which opened its doors to the alien air with some such artificial effect as an orange-tree in a tub might expand its blossoms. There was a strictly English company within, and the lunch was to the English taste, but the touch was as Latin as it could have been by the Arno or the Tiber or on the Riva degli Schiavoni.
At the great restaurants, where one may see fashion lunching, the kitchen seemed of an equal inspiration with Sherry's or Delmonico's, but the entourage was less oppressively glaring, and the service had more moments of effacing itself, and allowing one to feel oneself a principal part of the drama. That is often the case with us in the simpler sort of eating-houses, where it is the neat hand of Phyllis that serves rather than that of the white-aproned or dress-coated Strephon of either color or any nationality. My profoundest and distinctest impression of Phyllidian service is from a delightful lunch which I had one golden noonday in that famous and beautiful house, Crosby Place, Bishopsgate, which remains of much the perpendicular Gothic state in which Sir John Crosby proudly built it from his grocer's and woolman's gains in 1466. It had afterwards added to it the glory of lodging Richard III., who, both as
protector and as sovereign-prince made appointments there, in Shakespeare's tragedy of him, for the Lady Anne, for Catesby, and for the "First Murderer," whom he praises for his thoughtfulness in coming for the warrant," that he might be admitted to their victim.
"Well thought upon; I have it here about me.
Probably the First Murderer lunched there, four hundred years ago, "when he had done as I did now"; but, in the mean time, Henry VIII. had given Crosby Place to a rich Italian merchant, one Anthony Bonvice; later, ambassadors had been received in it; the first Earl of Northampton had enlarged it, and dwelt in it as lord mayor; in 1638 the East India Company had owned it, and later yet, in 1673, it was used for a Presbyterian meeting-house; but in 1836 it was restored to its ancient form and function. I do not know how long it has been an eating-house, but I hope it may long remain so, for the sensation and refreshment of Americans who love a simple and good refection in a mediæval setting, at a cost so moderate that they must ever afterwards blush for it. You penetrate to its innermost perpendicularity through a passage that encloses a "quick-lunch" counter, and climb from a most noble banquet-hall crammed with hundreds of mercantile gentlemen "feeding like one" at innumerable little tables, to a gallery where the musicians must have sat of old. There it was that Phyllis found and neathandedly served my friend and me, gently experiencing a certain difficulty in our combined addition, but mastering the arithmetical problem presently, and taking our tip with an air of surprise which it never created in