A LIST of the amusements and recreations of London, were it only those of a single season, would be a catalogue comprising everything which the talent, the enterprise, and the ingenuity of men have accomplished for the gratification of their fellows' curiosity-their love of the beautiful, their sense of humour, their literary and artistic predilections, and their peculiar tastes, whether refined by cultivation on the one hand, or coarse and demoralising on the other. Fancies and hobbyhorses the oddest, the most grotesque and whimsical, have their enthusiastic patrons and votaries in this allembracing metropolis. We might run down the scale from a morning concert at Hanover Square, admission one guinea, to a midnight dog-show, or a duel of rats at Whitechapel, entrance twopence, including a ticket for beer; and, in the course of the descent, we should light upon whole classes of exhibitions which one half the world would as carefully avoid, as the other half would eagerly seek out. But such a catalogue, comprehensive as it would be, would embrace very few indeed of the gratuitous entertainments with which the masses of London are amused. The number of those who cannot afford to pay for recreation is, probably, quite as large as those who can. To them it matters nothing that the theatres,


the music-halls, the casinos, the gala-gardens, the panoramas, or the free-and-easys, the public-houses, and the gin-shops, stand perpetually open. They have no money to expend for purposes of amusement, and must be recreated gratis, if recreated at all. Confessedly, the amusements provided for the populace are too few-that item appears to have been entirely left out of the calculations of the authorities, who have not condescended to recognise a claim that way for many generations. The old athletic sports have long vanished, from want of space to practise them upon; and the only relic of anything of that kind, are the games of the London street-boys-games played on so puny a scale, and in such feminine sort, as to excite the derision of the country youth, accustomed to "ample room and verge enough" for something like manly exercise. If the city boy contracts, as he frequently does, a sporting taste, he spends his leisure in catching fish, twenty-five to the pound, in the New River; or, borrowing an old gun, in shooting at sparrows in the brick-fields. But, says the bard of Rydal Mount—

"pleasure is spread through the earth

In stray gifts, to be claimed by whoever shall find;"

and amusement is spread through the metropolis in the same way; and so it is that the needy Londoner has a share in recreations and enjoyments of which his brother rustic knows nothing. Let us glance at. a few of these "stray gifts," and note how they are relished.

It is a fine spring morning, the wintry frosts have all vanished, and a dry March wind is blowing into the face of an early April day. There is a review of one or two regiments to come off at ten o'clock in Hyde Park. The music of the various bands, marching from the Horse Guards and the neighbouring barracks, has drawn after them a prodigious tail of idlers and supernumeraries from countless courts and lanes within earshot; and by the time the several regiments

have appeared upon the ground, they are surrounded, at a respectful distance, by forty or fifty thousand spectators, the majority of whom, it may be, will dine on that military spectacle, but who are none the less heroes and patriots for that. The soldiers go through their exercise; they form in close column, and march to the attack, banners flying and trumpets sounding; they break into line, and deploy in separate ranks; they fix bayonets, and rush to the charge; they unite in a solid square, front-rank kneeling, and, amidst the glitter of steel and the whiz and clink of ramrods, pour forth a running-fire, which never ceases for full twenty minutes. Look now, while this is going on, into the faces of the penniless lads who have rushed to this gratuitous entertainment-mark the parted lips, the flashing eye, the clenched hand, and rigidly erect gait of yon tattered vagabond, and ask yourself the question, whether any scene of mimic action before the footlights would yield him half the excitement of this warlike exhibition which he gets for nothing, and in consequence of which, in company with a band of his fellows, he may be found, with a cockade in his rimless hat, in the rear of the recruiting-sergeant before he is a day older.

Again it is mid-day, and the muddy highway of the Thames is chequered with the shadows of a whole forest of masts and yards-shadows perpetually broken into shivers by the rapid passage of innumerable craft up and down the stream. The surface of the river swarms with life, for unemployed London is rushing to-day towards the docks at Woolwich, where a war-steamer is to be launched; she is pierced for 120 guns, and "Won't she give the Rooshins pepper?" is the note of admiration sung in her praise. Everything floating around her is covered with heads, while the shores are lined with a motley multitude, who, paying nothing for the spectacle, as the enormous mass swoops down into the flood, rend the skies with such a shout as neither

Middlesex nor Surrey will hear again till the dockyards of Woolwich add another man-of-war to the fleet.

Or, it is the afternoon of the 1st of August, and now the grand rowing-match of the year comes off, when the "jolly young watermen" compete for the prize of Doggett's coat and silver badge. All the bridges that cross the course are crammed with eager spectators, and every point of vantage on either bank is similarly blocked up with human headsthis being a species of combat in which the river-side. denizens of London especially delight. At regular intervals, cannon-shots re-echo from the shores, while stentorian voices are sounding along the water, warning penny-steamers and trespassing barges to leave the course clear. When at length the racers, surrounded by a swarm of wherries that dart out from every nook to join in the fun, and followed by the ruck of all sorts as long as a comet's tail, make their appearance, and shoot rapidly past, not one in a hundred of the straining eyes above and around can discern which are the competitors, among the shoal of boats that rushes by. That is of no consequence, however; the race is run, and the prize is won-and they have seen the sport-if Charley Jones isn't the winner, then somebody else is, and it will all come out by means of the newspapers to-morrow.

The awkward fact, that a poor fellow has not a penny to spare, does not necessarily prove that he has no dramatic tastes and likings; and it happens, too, that having them, the want of money is not always an absolute bar to their gratification. Penniless Jack contrives to see the great tragedian, when there is one, or the star of the season, in spite of his empty purse. If you condescend to go to the gallery for an hour or two's amusement, and come away when you have had enough of it, or your time is up while yet half the performance is to come, you will find Jack at the door civilly inquiring if you intend to return. If you reply in the negative, he will beg your check; and without

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waiting to split hairs on the morality of such a proceeding, will make use of it himself, and enjoy the after-piece as much as though he had disbursed a day's earnings for the privilege. Sometimes Jack has a penchant for studying great men, and you catch him in the Court of Chancery, conning the horse-hair wigs and the learned faces under them with evident symptoms of satisfaction; or he wanders from court to court, making acquaintance with the judges and the lord-mayor. But his best opportunity is at the entrance to the House of Commons, in Westminster; and there you are pretty sure to meet with him, standing in the rank of lookers-on, whenever the House is sitting, and watching the members as they go in. He knows Disraeli, Bulwer, and Lord John, Cobden and Bright, and all the great guns, as well as they know each other; and before now, at an early break-up, has had the honour of calling a cab for a member of the cabinet. Of course, Jack knows the Queen and the Prince-Consort; he has hoorayed too often at Her Majesty's state-carriage, on her progress to open or close the parliament, to be ignorant on that score. If Penniless Jack does not know all the aristocracy by name, it is not so much from want of observation, as from limited means of information, and the perplexity of the study. Having nothing particular to do, unfortunately, at any particular spot, he is often found leaning pensively over the railings outside the ring in Hyde Park. Here he sees the whole aristocracy of the realm during the hour which fashion sets apart for exercise, defiling grandly before his eyes-the dowagers and duchesses in their handsome equipages-the lords and dukes in barouche and brougham, or mounted on high-mettled steeds-fair ladies and faithful squires cantering and careering along Rotten Row-and the whole imposing assemblage of England's nobility drawn out for his special amusement. What are his cogitations upon the scene we do not pretend to know, though we suspect they

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