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borhood of Stoke Newington; and at each descent by the company's lift, we left the dark above ground, and found the light fifty feet below. While this sort of transit is novel, it is delightful; the air is good, or seems so, and there is a faint earthy smell, somewhat like that of stale incense in Italian churches, which I found agreeable from association at least; besides, I liked to think of passing so far beneath all the superincumbent death and all the superambulant life of the immense immemorial town.
We found St. Mary Woolnoth closed, being too early for the Sunday service, and had to content ourselves with the extremely ugly outside of the church which is reputed the masterpiece of Wren's pupil Hawksmoor; while we took for granted the tablet or monument of Sir William Phipps, the governor of Massachusetts, who went back to be buried there after the failure of his premature expedition against Quebec. My friend had provided me something as remote from Massachusetts as South Carolina in colonial interest, and we were presently speeding to New River, which Sir Hugh Myddleton taught to flow through the meadows of Stoke Newington to all the streets of London, and so originated her modern water-supply. This knight, or baronet, he declared, upon the faith of a genealogist, to be of the ancestry of that family of Middletons who were of the first South Carolinians then and since. It is at least certain that he was a Welshman, and that the gift of his engineering genius to London was so ungratefully received that he was left wellnigh ruined by his enterprise. The king claimed a half-interest in the profits, but the losses remained undivided to Myddleton. The fact, such as it is, proves perhaps the weakest link in a chain of patriotic associations which, I am afraid the reader
must agree with me, has no great strength anywhere. The New River itself, when you come to it, is a plain straightforward, canal - like water-course through a grassy and shady level, but it is interesting for the garden of Charles Lamb's first house backing upon it, and for the incident of some of his friends walking into it one night when they left him after an evening that might have been rather unusually "smoky and drinky.” Apart from this I cared for it less than for the neighborhoods through which I got to it, and which were looking their best in the blur of the fog. This was softest and richest among the low trees of Highbury Fields, where, when we ascended to them from our tubular station, the lawns were of an electric green in their vividness. In fact, when it is not blindingly thick, a London fog lends itself to the most charming effects. It caresses the prevailing commonness and ugliness, and coaxes it into a semblance of beauty in spite of itself. The rows upon rows of humble brick dwellings in the streets we passed through were flattered into cottage homes where one would have liked to live in one's quieter moods, and some rather stately eighteenth-century mansions in Stoke Newington housed one's pride the more fittingly, because of the mystery which the fog added to their antiquity. It hung tenderly and reverently about that old, old parish church of Stoke Newington where, it is story or fable, they that bore the body of the dead King Harold from the field of Hastings made one of their stations on the way to Waltham Abbey; and it was much in the maundering mind of the kindly spectator who could not leave off pitying us because we could not get into the church, the sexton having just before gone down the street to the baker's. It followed us more and more vaguely into the business quarter where we
took our omnibus, and where we noted that business London, like business New York, was always of the same complexion and temperament in its shops and saloons, from centre to circumference. Amid the commonplaceness of Islington where we changed omnibuses, the fog abandoned us in despair, and rising aloof, dissolved into the bitterness of a small cold rain.
ASPECTS AND INTIMATIONS
HE fog, through that golden month of September (September is so silvern in America), was more or less a fact of the daily weather. The morning began in a mellow mistiness, which the sun burned through by noon; or if sometimes there was positive rain, it would clear for a warm sunset, which had moments of a very pretty pensiveness in the hollows of Green Park, or by the lakes of St. James's. There were always the bright beds of autumn flowers, and in Hyde Park something of the season's flush came back in the driving. The town began to be visibly fuller, and I was aware of many Americans, in carriages and on foot, whom I fancied alighting after a continental summer, and poising for another flight to their respective steamers. The sentiment of London was quite different at the end of September from the sentiment of London at the beginning, and one could imagine the sort of secondary season which it revisits in the winter. There was indeed no hint of the great primary season in the sacred paddock of beauty and fashion in Hyde Park, where the inverted penny chairs lay with their foreheads in the earth; and the shrivelled leaves, loosened from their boughs in the windless air, dropped listlessly round them.
At night our little Mayfair Street was the haunt of
much voluntary minstrelsy. Bands of cockney darkeys came down it, tuning their voices to our native ragtime. Or a balladist, man or woman, took the centre, and sang towards our compassionate windows. Or a musical husband and wife placed their portable melodeon on the opposite sidewalk, and trained their vocal and instrumental attack upon the same weak defences.
It was all in keeping with the simple kindliness of the great town whose homelikeness arises from its immense habitability. This always strikes the New-Yorker, whether native or adoptive, if he be a thoughtful NewYorker, and goes about the different regions of the ampler metropolis with an abiding sense of the restricted spaces where man may peacefully dwell, or quietly lodge over-night, in his own city. In assimilating each of the smaller towns or villages, which it has made itself up of, London has left them so much of their original character that though merged, they are not lost; and in cases where they have been so long merged as to have experienced a severance of consciousness, or where they are only nominally different sections of the vast whole, they have each its own temperament. It would be quite impossible for one finding one's self in Bloomsbury to suppose one's self in Belgravia, or in any of the Kensingtons to fancy one's self in Mayfair. Chelsea is as temperamentally different from Pimlico as the City from Southwark, and Islington, again, though it speaks the same language as Whitechapel, might well be of another tongue, so differently does it think and feel. The names, and a hundred others, call to the stranger from the sides and fronts and backs of omnibuses, until he has a weird sense that they personally knew him. long before he knew them. But when once domesticated in any quarter he is so quickly at home in it that