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tain by all possible means the pingpong intended to inspect. Each day, after the championship of the world: values in the fashion of every tourist, I wrote for City collapsed at once.
myself a little list of things to do, Dispatches from Bombay say that the
and I always put the Tower of LonShah of Persia yesterday handed a golden
don on it. No doubt the reader knows slipper to the Grand Vizier Feebli Pasha as a
the kind of little list that I mean. It sign that he might go and chase himself: the news was at once followed by a drop in oil, and a rapid attempt to liquidate everything
1. Go to bank. that is fluid. ...
2. Buy a shirt.
3. National Picture Gallery. But these mysteries of the City I do 4. Razor blades. not pretend to explain. I have passed
5. Tower of London. through the place dozens of times and 6. Soap. never noticed anything particular in the The itinerary, I regret to say, was way of depression or buoyancy, or falling never carried out in full. I was able at oil, or rising rails. But no doubt it is times both to go to the bank and to buy there.
a shirt in a single morning; at other times A little beyond the City and farther I was able to buy razor blades and aldown the river the visitor finds this dis most to find the National Picture Galtrict of London terminating in the lery. Meantime I was urged on all gloomy and forbidding Tower, the prin- sides by my London acquaintances not cipal penitentiary of the metropolis. to fail to see the Tower. “There's a Here Queen Victoria was imprisoned for grim fascination about the place,” they many years.
said; "you mustn't miss it.” Excellent gasoline can be had at the quite certain that in due course of time American garage immediately north of I should have made my way to the the Tower, where motor repairs of all Tower but for the fact that I made a kinds are also carried on.
fatal discovery. I found out that the These, however, are but superficial London people who urged me to go and pictures of London, gathered by the see the Tower had never seen it themeye of the tourist. A far deeper meaning selves. It appears they never go near is found in the examination of the great it. One night at a dinner a man next historic monuments of the city. The to me said: principal ones of these are the Tower of “Have you seen the Tower? You London (just mentioned), the British really ought to. There's a grim fasMuseum, and Westminster Abbey. No cination about it." visitor to London should fail to see I looked him in the face. “Have you these. Indeed, he ought to feel that his seen it yourself?" I asked. visit to England is wasted unless he has “Oh yes," he answered, “I've seen seen them. I speak strongly on the it.” point because I feel strongly on it. To “When?" I asked. my mind there is something about the The man hesitated. “When I was grim fascination of the historic Tower, just a boy,” he said. “My father took the cloistered quiet of the Museum, and
me there." the majesty of the ancient Abbey, which “How long ago is that?" I inquired. will make it the regret of my life that I "About forty years ago," he answered. didn't see any one of the three. I fully “I always mean to go again, but I don't meant to, but I failed; and I can only somehow seem to get the time.” hope that the circumstances of my After this I got to understand that failure may be
be helpful to other when a Londoner says, “Have you seen visitors.
the Tower of London?" the answer is, The Tower of London I most certainly “No, and neither have you.”
Take the parallel case of the British have, that I wanted to enter it in the Museum. Here is a place that is a proper frame of mind. I never got into veritable treasure house, a repository the frame of mind; at least not when of some of the most priceless historical near the Abbey itself. I have been in relics to be found upon the earth. It exactly that frame of mind when on contains, for instance, the famous Papy- State Street, Chicago, or on King Street, rus Manuscript of Thotmes II of the Toronto, or anywhere three thousand first Egyptian dynasty-a thing known miles away from the Abbey. But by to scholars all over the world as the old bad luck I never struck both the frame est extant specimen of what can be of mind and the Abbey at the same called writing; indeed, one can here see time. the actual evolution (I am quoting from But the Londoners, after all, in not a work of reference) from the ideographic seeing their own wonders, are only like cuneiform to the phonetic syllabic script. the rest of the world. The people who Every time I have read about that live in Buffalo never go to see Niagara manuscript and have happened to be in Falls; people in Cleveland don't know Orillia (Ontario) or Schenectady (New which is Mr. Rockefeller's house, and York), or any such place, I have felt people live and even die in New York that I would be willing to take a whole without going up to the top of the trip to England to have five minutes at Woolworth Building. And, anyway, the the British Museum, just five, to look at past is remote and the present is near. that papyrus.
Yet as soon as I got to I know a cab driver in the city of London this changed. The railway sta Quebec whose business in life it is to tions of London have been so arranged drive people up to see the Plains of that to get to any train for the north Abraham, but unless they bother him to or west the traveler must pass the Brit do it he doesn't show them the spot ish Museum. The first time I went by where Wolfe fell; what he does point it in a taxi I felt quite a thrill. “In out with real zest is the place where side those walls," I thought to my the mayor and the city council sat on self, "is the Manuscript of Thotmes the wooden platform that they put II.” The next time I actually stopped up for the municipal celebration last the taxi.
“Is that the British Museum?” I But for the ordinary visitor to London asked the driver.
the greatest interest of all attaches to "I think it is something of the sort, the spacious and magnificent Parliasir," he said.
ment Buildings. The House of Commons I hesitated. “Drive me," I said, "to is commodiously situated beside the where I can buy safety-razor blades." river Thames. The principal features of
After that I was able to drive past the House are the large lunch room on the Museum with the quiet assurance of the western side and the tea room on the a Londoner, and to take part in dinner terrace on the eastern. A series of table discussions as to whether the Brit smaller luncheon rooms extends (apparish Museum or the Louvre contains the ently) all round about the premises, greater treasures. It is quite easy, any while a commodious bar offers a ready way. All you have to do is to remember access to the members at all hours of that the “Winged Victory” of Samo the day. While any members are in the thrace is in the Louvre and the Papyrus bar a light is kept burning in the tall of Thotmes II (or some such document) Clock Tower at one corner of the buildis in the Museum.
ing, but when the bar is closed the light The Abbey, I admit, is indeed ma is turned off by whichever of the Scotch jestic. I did not intend to miss going members leaves last. There is a handinto it. But I felt, as so many tourists some legislative chamber attached to the
premises from which-so the antiquari- way corrupted
way corrupted the London public. ans tell us—the House of Commons took Before they were corrupted they would its name. But it is not usual now for the do anything for sixpence. members to sit in the legislative cham No description of London would be ber, as the legislation is now all done complete without a reference, however outside, either at the home of Mr. brief, to the singular salubrity and Lloyd George or at the National Liberal charm of the London climate. This is Club, or at one or the other of the news seen at its best during the autumn and paper offices. The House, however, is winter months. The climate of London, called together at very frequent inter and indeed of England generally, is due vals to give it an opportunity of hearing to the influence of the Gulf Stream. the latest legislation and allowing the The way it works is this: The Gulf members to indulge in cheers, groans, Stream, as it nears the shores of the sighs, votes, and other expressions of British Isles and feels the propinquity vitality. After having cheered as much of Ireland, rises into the air, turns into as is good for them they go back again to soup, and comes down on London. At the lunch rooms and go on eating till times this soup is thin and is in fact they are needed again.
little more than a mist; at other times The Parliament Buildings are it has the consistency of a thick potage vast that it is not possible to state St.-Germain. London people flatter with certainty what they do, or do not, their atmosphere by calling it a fog; contain. But it is generally said that but it is not; it is soup. somewhere in the building is the House But the notion that no sunlight ever of Lords. When they meet they are gets through and that in the London said to come together very quietly winter people never see the sun, is a shortly before the dinner hour, take ridiculous error, circulated, no doubt, a glass of dry sherry and a biscuit by the jealousy of foreign nations. I (they are all abstemious men), re have myself seen the sun plainly visible ject whatever bills may be before in London, without the aid of glasses, them at the moment, take another on a November day in broad daylight; dry sherry, and then adjourn for two and again one night about four o'clock years.
in the afternoon, I saw the sun distinctly The public are no longer allowed
appear through the clouds. The whole unrestricted access to the Houses of subject of daylight in the London winter Parliament; its approaches are now is, however, one which belongs rather strictly guarded by policemen. In order to the technic of astronomy than to a to obtain admission it is necessary now paper of description. In practice dayeither to (A) communicate in writing light is but little used. Electric lights with the Speaker of the House, inclos. are burned all the time in all private ing certificates of naturalization and houses, buildings, railway stations, and proof of identity, or, (B) give the police- clubs. This practice, which is now men five shillings. Method B is the universally observed, is called daylight one usually adopted. On great nights, saving. however, when the House of Commons But the distinction between day and is sitting and is about to do something night during the London winter is still important, such as ratifying a Home quite obvious to anyone of an observant Rule bill, or cheering, or welcoming a mind. It is indicated by various signs new lady member, it is not possible to such as the striking of clocks, the tolling enter by merely bribing a policeman of bells, the closing of the saloons, and with five shillings; it takes a pound. the raising of the taxi rates. Expert The English people complain bitterly Londoners are able to tell the difference of the rich Americans who have in this between day and night almost as easily
as we do, and speak of “this evening." tellectual, of London and live in a conand “to-morrow morning” with the tinuous gloom. In such places as the greatest accuracy.
great manufacturing cities of BugginIt is, however, much less easy to dis- ham-under-Smoke or Gloomsburg-ontinguish the technical approach of night Ooze night may be said to be perpetual. in the other cities of England that lie But of these places I propose to speak outside the confines, physical and in- 'in a later paper.