"In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of
"The gorgeous East with richest hand
"that inward eye
In thinking of how much I missed seeing, I sometimes have said to myself, Oh, if the carpet of the story in the Arabian Nights would only take me up and carry me to London for one week,--just one short week,--setting me down fresh from quiet, wholesome living, in my usual good condition, and bringing me back at the end of it, what a different account I could give of my experiences! But it is just as well as it is. Younger eyes have studied and will study, more instructed travellers have pictured and will picture, the great metropolis from a hundred different points of view. No person can be said to know London. The most that any one can claim is that he knows something of it. I am now just going to leave it for another great capital, but in my concluding pages I shall return to Great Britain, and give some of the general impressions left by what I saw and heard in our mother country.
Beneath the leaves or snows,
The literature of Stonehenge is extensive, and illustrates the weakness of archaeologists almost as well as the "Praetorium" of Scott's "Antiquary." "In 1823," says a local handbook, "H. Browne, of Amesbury, published 'An Illustration of Stonehenge and Abury,' in which he endeavored to show that both of these monuments were antediluvian, and that the latter was formed under the direction of Adam. He ascribes the present dilapidated condition of Stonehenge to the operation of the general deluge; for, he adds, 'to suppose it to be the work of any people since the flood is entirely monstrous.'"
On the other hand, some of the first-class tradesmen and workmen make no show whatever. The tailor to whom I had credentials, and who proved highly satisfactory to me, as he had proved to some of my countrymen and to Englishmen of high estate, had only one small sign, which was placed in one of his windows, and received his customers in a small room that would have made a closet for one of our stylish merchant tailors. The bootmaker to whom I went on good recommendation had hardly anything about his premises to remind one of his calling. He came into his studio, took my measure very carefully, and made me a pair of what we call Congress boots, which fitted well when once on my feet, but which it cost more trouble to get into and to get out of than I could express my feelings about without dangerously enlarging my limited vocabulary.
I can hardly separate the story of the following week from that of the one before we went to Paris. We did a little more shopping and saw a few more sights. I hope that no reader of mine would suppose that I would leave London without seeing Madame Tussaud's exhibition. Our afternoon drives made us familiar with many objects which I always looked upon with pleasure. There was the obelisk, brought from Egypt at the expense of a distinguished and successful medical practitioner, Sir Erasmus Wilson, the eminent dermatologist and author of a manual of anatomy which for many years was my favorite text-book. There was "The Monument," which characterizes itself by having no prefix to its generic name. I enjoyed looking at and driving round it, and thinking over Pepys's lively account of the Great Fire, and speculating as to where Pudding Lane and Pie Corner stood, and recalling Pope's lines which I used to read at school, wondering what was the meaning of the second one:--