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to conceal himself. Unless he were impertinent, or haa learned by accident, he would of course be ignorant. Neither is there in Great Britain any apparent prying into a guests history, or after his name, at inns and taverns. The most scrupulous delicacy is observed in this particular. I know not why it should happen in the United States, the moment a traveller arrives at an inn, before he can be assigned to his rooms, that the bar album is uniformly produced, and a pen put into his hand to record his name and residence ! Certainly it is not a police regulation.
The following piece of pleasantry, if all of whom this demand is made were gifted with as ready wit, might serve as a pattern, and perchance answer a good purpose. It is an extract from a tavern album in the north of England, said to have been inserted at request by the second person named therein :
"Two poets, one Wordsworth,
They're both queer codgers." My first day in London was the Sabbath. I had my reasons for asking the waiter to direct my way to the Rev. Edward Irving's Church. This gentleman was not so notorious then, as since, for certain remarkable doings; at least, I was not at the moment aware how far he had advanced in that way. He had indeed acquired a sufficient notoriety before the world to induce me to wish to hear him. The waiter sent me to a small street, running out of Hatton Garden, where Mr. Irving began his career in London, but which, however, he had long before abandoned for the new and fine church, which had been built for him in Regent's Square, in a distant quarter of the town. I was not undeceived, till I had taken my seat in the chapel, to which I had been directed, and the service had commenced. Decency forbade my going out, although I was disappointed. It proved to be a Swedenborgian or New Jerusalem congregation, whose doctrine is not exactly the transcendentalism of Germany; etymologically it is not perhaps inaptly described, as being somewhat hyper-super-transcendental. It is a religion demanding more philosophy in order to be inducted into its mysteries, than ordinary minds can attain to.
Having passed a large church on my left in the ascent of Holborn Hill, in front of Hatton Garden, and doomed as a stranger for that day to take all things at hazard, it being one of the nearest, I turned my feet that way at the ringing of the bells in the afternoon. The congregation was small for so large a church. I have since had occasion to observe, that in London churches and chapels of all denominations
are usually left nearly vacant in the afternoon, it being the opportunity assigned to servants and the lower orders.
I was particularly struck with the appearance of some hundreds of boys and girls in the front galleries, planted as near the organ as they could be placed, plainly but neatly dressed; the girls being distinguished by caps, capes, and aprons of pure white; and the boys by garments of their own kind of equal uniformity. These children were trained to accompany the organ, and were in fact the choir for the occasion. These cherub voices, however, are not ordinarily celestial. But at the Foundling Hospital, Brunswick Square, and Christ Church, Newgate-street, they are drilled incessantly. At the Foundling they are assisted by a corps of professional performers; at Christ's Church, the singing boys and girls are selected from the very large schools belonging to the parish; and being accompanied by a powerful organ, are themselves a most powerful, and sometimes overwhelming choir of the kind. There is a perfect pecuHarity in the music which they make: an immense and overpowering volume of infant voices melted into one, reminds us most impressively of the Scripture declaration“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou perfected praise.” The stranger in London, who can appreciate such performances, and whose feelings are susceptible of their appropriate and elevating influence, ought not to deny himself the pleasure of enjoying them; above all, if he happens to be in the British metropolis at the time of the great assemblage of the charity-school children at St. Paul's in June, when ten or twelve thousand voices of these sweet cherubs mingle together under that vast and lofty dome, supported and borne on high by the peals of the loud organ, drowning all discordancy, if any there be, as if heaven were opened, and the united anthems of its innumerable hosts had burst upon this nether world—let him not fail to be there.
I lingered in the church of St. Andrew-for that is its name-after the congregation had retired, and my attention was attracted to a bustle about the altar, which I now discovered to be the assembling of a number of poor people for the baptizing of their children. Many were going to and fro, and the church was quite a scene of confusion, loud talking, and a want of reverential demeanour being observable, as if it were in the street. This state of things continued during the ceremonies of baptism, no endeavours being made to repress these disorders. The administrator seemed not to observe them; or if so, not to regard them as out of character. I had never seen baptism performed before, but in the midst of the most solemn stillness and attention; and generally in my own country, in the presence of a full congregation. But here it seemed like a matter of business, as if it were in a market-place, and all turned off as fast as possible. I must confess it was to me a novel, and by no means an edifying sight. But what added to the general confusion, and turned it into a complete riot, was the breaking out of an angry and boisterous dispute in the middle of the church, which appeared to me to be carried on between a beadle (for he wore the church livery, and held in his hand the symbol of his office), and the father of a child, which the father assumed had been beaten by the church officer: “You did strike him.”—“I didn't.”—“I say you did.”_“I say I didn't.” And this affirmation and denial were maintained in the most spirited style, and at the top of the lungs of the two parties, for a time, which, in such a place and in such circumstances, seemed very long, till finally they rushed in great fury, and with a continued clamour, past the altar to the vestry, shutting to the door, to settle the matter, as I supposed, before some higher authority, where the excited father seemed to be resolved to prefer his complaint. I speak simply of the facts, as they impressed me at the time.
On Monday, having breakfasted, I went into the street, and took a cab (cabriolet), a one-horse and two-wheel chaise, or gig, or calash, and ordered the man to drive me to the Exchange, for which he had the conscience to take one shilling and sixpence. He was entitled to eightpence. The system of the licensed public vehicles of London is worthy of a passing notice. They are a necessary convenience, and in that sense a necessary evil; for that they are an evil, in being most admirably contrived to injure the good temper of all who have to do with them, I think will not be contested. They are far more profitable to the government, than pleasant to those who have occasion to use them, the licenses of which for the metropolis bring in the no trifling annual revenue of £52,000; or about $249,600. Besides supporting the wear and tear of the vehicles and horses, paying the drivers, and rendering a satisfactory profit to the owners of these establishments, the aggregate of the fares paid by the public for the use of these run-about town conveyances, must of course produce this revenue. It were curious to know the whole account: but I have not the requisite data.
The first evil to the public is, that the vehicles themselves are the most wretched and offensive imaginable, leaving out of view the omnibuses, the latter of which, indeed, are generally excellent, and of the kind as convenient and pleasant as could be. Of course, those who ride in omnibuses must expect to meet with omnibus company-all sorts. The other classes are almost exclusively hackney-coaches and cabriolets, vulgarly called cabs. The former, without exception, I believe, are the worn-out and cast-by carriages
of gentlemen, some of which, indeed, when first brought upon the stands, are decent to look at; and but for the disgust excited by imagining what creatures may possibly have been in them last, they would be decent to use. Generally, however, they have been in this particular service apparently for generations, and are kept running just so long as they do not fall down from the rottenness of age; and as much longer, as the addition of some other old wheel, or of any extra parts that have failed, drawn out from a hopeless wreck, can support them. The cabs cannot last long, because they are forced into a severer service, and are the Jehu-drivers of the town. They are a sort of vehicle constructed originally for this purpose, with low and strong wheels, a calash top, and an outside seat on the right for the driver, being licensed to carry two passengers within. Their rapid driving, however, soon defaces and cripples them, as they are liable to come in frequent contact with other street furniture, in consequence of the fury with which they are driven. The hackneys are slow, snail-like creepers, on account of the poor, pitiable, and often blind horses, by which they are drawn. A horse that is completely done for every other imaginable use, is brought to Smithfield, or to some other horse-market, and sold for hackney-coach service. A large portion of the cabs are drawn by the same miserable brutes, and most cruelly forced into the extraordinary momentum, under which they rush through the streets, by the goad and the whip. I have often got into a cab with a limited time to arrive at a certain place, requiring speed, having been assured by the driver that his horse was fleet, but every application of the whip failing to fulfil the promise, I have been obliged to discharge him at the next stand, and after obtaining a like solemn assurance from another of the class, have found myself worse off than before.
I once employed a hackney-coach to take myself and some friends from Fleet-street, by the nearest route, to the Zoological Gardens. We went round Regent's Park, called at the Colosseum, and returned by Regent-street, Pall Mall, and the Strand. The coachman had his prerogative by law to charge by the hour or by the distance; he chose the latter, and brought in a bill of twelve shillings. Knowing well that the demand was exorbitant, I told him, if he took one sixpence more than what was due to him, I would treat him with the utmost rigour of the law. He took eight shillings.
In London and the world over, for this and other matters of the kind, wherever imposition can be practised, the cheapest and most comfortable way is to make up one's mind always to pay a tax of 25 per cent. over and above all lawful demands, for the sake of preserving an unruffled temper. The watermen on the Thames are no less vicious, and in
many respects are even more accomplished in their tricks at imposition, as it is more easy for them to evade the laws enacted to control them. Scarcely a daily paper issues from the press, without a report of offences of these two classes, and yet not a thousandth part of them is brought under the cognizance of law.
The truth is, the laws themselves are in a great measure responsible for these offences. The imposts on licenses are so grievously ruinous, that decent men will not engage in the business; and they can no more afford to be honest, than to furnish good carriages and good horses. A cab with one horse is required to pay £5 a year for a license, and in addition to this £2 for every month, all in advance, or in all 139 dollars a year; and coaches with two horses, as I suppose, in proportion. This tax is paid by the owner of the vehicle. But the driver is not commonly the owner. He engages 10 pay his master so much per day, whether he finds employment or not; and if he is not employed, he is ruined. His temptation to exorbitancy, therefore, is great. The same is the case with watermen on the river. Both classes are poor, ignorant, and depraved. To increase the revenue the authorities multiply licenses; and this in turn aggravates the evil.
Livery stables are of another class, and horses and carriages hired from them are always good. But if for a ride of pleasure, and to take a little airing in the country, a man chooses to expend a guinea, half of it, more or less, is a tax to government; and this is the reason why pleasures of this kind are so dear. All pleasures and luxuries in England are taxed most enormously to answer the necessities of government. Forty-six millions sterling, or 220,800,000 dollars, must be raised annually, from one source and another, to
est of the national debt, to support the Army and Navy, to defray expenses of the civil list, &c. &c.
pay the int