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enough to live in London, you may see a characteristic fog almost any year. It is another case in which the metropolis of the New World must yield to the metropolis of the whole world. Fog for fog, I do not say the fog in which we left New York, on March 3, 1904, was as perfect as our great London fog. But the New York fog was only blindingly white and the London fog blindingly black, and that is a main difference.
The tender and hesitating mist with which each day of our final September in London began, must not be confused in the reader's mind with a true London fog. The mist grew a little heavier, day by day, perhaps; but only once the sun failed to burn through it before noon, and that was one of the first days of October, as if in September it had not yet lost the last of its summer force. Even then, though it rained all the forenoon, and well into the afternoon, the weather cleared for a mild, warm sunset, and we could take the last of our pleasant walks from Half-Moon Street into St. James's Park.
When the last day of our London sojourn came, it was fitly tearful, and we had our misgivings of the Channel crossing. The crossing of the day before had been so bad that Pretty Polly, who had won the St. Leger, held all England in approving suspense, while her owners decided that she should not venture to the defeat that awaited her in France, till the sea was smoother. But in the morning the papers prophesied fair weather, and it was promised that Pretty Polly should cross. Her courage confirmed our own, and we took our initial departure in the London fashion which is so different from the New York fashion. Not with the struggle, personally and telephonically, in an
exchange of bitter sarcasms prolonged with the haughty agents of the express monopoly, did we get our baggage expensively before us to the station and follow in a costly coupé, but with all our trunks piled upon two reasonable four-wheelers, we set out contemporaneously with them. In New York we paid six dollars for our entire transportation to the steamer; in London we paid six shillings to reach the Victoria station with our belongings. The right fare would have been five; the imagination of our cabman rose to three and six each, and feebly fluttered there, but sank to three, and did not rise again. At our admirable lodging the landlady, the butler and the chambermaid had descended with us to the outer door in a smiling convention of regret, the kindly Swiss boots allowed the street porter to help him up with our trunks, and we drove away in the tradition of personal acceptability which bathes the stranger in a gentle self-satisfaction, and which prolonged itself through all the formalities of registering our baggage for the continent at the station, of bribing the guard in the hope of an entire first-class compartment to ourselves and then sharing it with four others similarly promised its sole use, and of telegraphing to secure seats in the rapide from Calais to Paris.
Then we were off in a fine chill, small English rain through a landscape in which all the forms showed like figures in blotting-paper, as Taine has said, once for all. After we had run out of the wet ranks of yellowishblack city houses, and passed the sullen suburbs,
"All in a death-dumb autumn-dripping gloom,"
we found ourselves in a world which was the dim ghost of the English country we had so loved in the summer. On some of the trees and hedgerows the leaves hung
dull yellow or dull red, but on most they were a blackening green. The raw green of the cold flat meadows, the purplish green of the interminable ranks of cabbages, and the harsh green of the turnip-fields, blurred with the reeking yellow of mustard bloom, together with the gleaming brown of ploughed fields, formed a prospect from which the eye turned with the heart, in a rapturous vision of the South towards which we were now swiftly pulsing.