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tance, it was necessary that we should leave London at half-past three; so that a little more than three hours were all we had. Our charioteer, my friend's tutor, was summoned away from us on business, until that hour; and we were left, therefore, entirely to ourselves and to our own discretion in turning the time to the best account, for contriving (if such a thing were possible) to do something or other which, by any fiction of courtesy, or constructively, so as to satisfy a lawyer, or in a sense sufficient to win a wager, might be taken and received for having seen London.'
What could be done? We sat down, I remember, in a mood of despondency, to consider. Not that there was any want of alluring and promising spectacles: on the contrary there were too many; inopes nos copia fecit; and the choice was distracted. But which of them all could be thought general or representative enough to stand for the universe of London? We could not traverse the whole circumference of this mighty orb ; that was clear; and, therefore, the next best thing was to place ourselves as much as possible in some relation to the spectacles of London, which might answer to the centre. Yet how? That sounded well and metaphysical; but what did it mean if acted upon? Apparently that we should stay at our inn for in that way we seemed best to distribute our presence equally amongst all, viz. by going to none in particular.
Three, times in my life I have had my taste, that is, my sense of proportions, memorably outraged. Once was, by a painting of Cape Horn, which seemed almost treasonably below its rank and office in the world, the terminal abutment of our mightiest continent, and also the hinge or point, as it were, of our greatest circumnavigations, of all, in fact, which can be called
our classical circumnavigations. To have doubled Cape Horn' at one time, what a sound it had! — Yet how ashamed we should be, if that Cape were ever to be seen from the moon! A party of Englishmen, I have heard, went up Mount Etna, during the night, to be ready for sunrise, a common practice with tourists, both in Switzerland, Wales, Cumberland, &c.; but as all who take the trouble to reflect, not likely to repay the trouble; and so thought, in the sequel, the Etna party. The sun, indeed, rose visibly, and not more apparelled in clouds than was desirable: yet so disappointed were they with the whole effect, and so disgusted with the sun in particular, that they unanimously hissed him; though of course it was useless to cryoff! off!' Here, however, the fault was in their own erroneous expectations, and not in the sun, who, doubtless, did his best. For, generally, a sunrise and a sunset, ought to be seen from the valley or horizontally,*-not, as the man of Kentuck expressed it, slantindicularly. But as to Cape Horn, that (by comparison with its position and its functions) seems really a disgrace to the planet; for, consider, it is not only the specular mount,' keeping watch and ward over a sort of trinity of oceans, and, by all tradition, the gate of entrance to the Pacific, but also it is the temple of the god Terminus, for all the Americas. So that, in rela
* Hence it may be said, that nature regulates our position for such spectacles, without any intermeddling of ours. When, indeed, a mountain stands like Snowdon or Great Gavel, in Cumberland, in the centre of a mountainous region, it is not denied that, at some seasons when the early beams strike through great vistas in the hills, splendid effects of light and shade are sometimes produced; strange, however, rather than beautiful. But from an insulated mountain, or one upon the outer ring of the hilly tract, such as Skiddaw, in Cumberland, the first effect is to translate the landscape from a picture into a map; and the final result, as a celebrated author once said, is the infinity of littleness.
tion to such dignities, it seemed to me, in the drawing, a make-shift, put up by a carpenter, until the true Cape Horn should be ready, or perhaps a drop scene from the Opera House. This was one case of disproportion: the others were, the final and ceremonial valediction of Garrick, on retiring from his profession; and the Pall Mall inauguration of George IV. on the day of his accession to the throne. The utter irrelation, in both cases, of the audience to the scene, (audience, I say, as say we must, for the sum of the spectators in the second instance, as well as of the auditors in the first,) threw upon each a ridicule not to be effaced. It is in any case impossible for an actor to say words of farewell to those for whom he really designs his farewell. He cannot bring his true object before himself. To whom is it that he would offer his last adieus? We are told by one, who, if he loved Garrick, certainly did not love Garrick's profession, nor would even, through him, have paid it any undue compliment, that the retirement of this great artist had eclipsed the gaiety of nations.' To nations then, to his own generation, it was that he owed his farewell: but of a generation, what organ is there which can sue or be sued, that can thank or be thanked? Neither by fiction,
* Accession was it, or his proclamation? The case was this: -About the middle of the day, (whether in plain clothes, or wearing any official costume, I do not recollect,) the King came out into the portico of Carlton House, and addressing himself (addressing his gestures I mean) to the assemblage of people in Pall Mall, he bowed repeatedly to the right and to the left, and then retired. I mean no disrespect to that prince in recalling those circumstances: no doubt, he acted upon the suggestion of others, and perhaps also under a sincere emotion on witnessing the enthusiasm of those outside: but that could not cure the original absurdity of recognising as a representative audience, clothed with the national functions of recognising himself, a chance gathering in a single street, between whom and the mob, from his own stables and kitchens, there was no essential difference.
nor by delegation, can you bring their bodies into court. A king's audience, on the other hand, might be had as an authorized representative body. But, when we consider the composition of a casual and chance auditory, whether in a street or a theatre; secondly, the small size of a modern audience, even in Drury Lane, (3000 at the most,) not by one eightieth part the complement of the Circus Maximus; most of all, when we consider the want of symmetry, to any extended duration of time, in the acts of such an audience, which acts lie in the vanishing expressions of its vanishing emotions, — acts so essentially fugitive, even when organized into an art and a tactical system of imbrices and bombi, (as they were at Alexandria, and afterwards at the Neapolitan theatres and those of Rome,) they could not, by any art, protect themselves from dying in the very moment of their birth; — laying together all these considerations, we see the incongruity of any audience, so constituted, to any purpose less evanescent than their own tenure of existence.
Just such in disproportion as these cases had severally been, was our present problem in relation to our time or other means for accomplishing it. We were to see London, which, under what approximation were we to execute, unless, (like the student in Hierocles,) by bringing off a brick in our pockets?
In debating the matter we lost half an hour; but at length we reduced the question to a choice between Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral. I know not that we could have chosen better. The rival edifices, as we understood from the waiter, were about equidistant from our own station; but being too remote from each other to allow of our seeing both, we tossed up' to settle the question between the elder lady and the younger. 'Heads' came up, which stood for the Abbey. But, as
neither of us was quite satisfied with this decision, we agreed to make another appeal to the wisdom of chance, second thoughts being best. This time the Cathedral turned up; and so it happened that with us, the having seen London, meant having seen St. Paul's.
The first view of St. Paul's, it may well be supposed, overwhelmed us with awe; and I did not at that time imagine that the sense of magnitude could be more deeply impressed. One thing, however, though apparently a trifle, and really a trifle if otherwise managed, interrupted our pleasure a good deal. The superb objects of curiosity within the Cathedral were shown for separate fees. There were seven, I think; and any one could be seen independently of the rest for a few pence. The whole amount was a trifle; but we were followed by a sort of persecution Would we not see the bell?".
'Would we not see the model? 'Surely we would not go away without visiting the Whispering Gallery?' which troubled the silence and sanctity of the place, and must teaze others as it then teazed us, who wished to contemplate in quiet a great monument of the national grandeur, and which was at that very time* beginning to take a station also in the land, as a depository for the dust of her heroes. What struck us most in the whole interior of the pile, was the view taken from the spot immediately under the dome, being, in fact, the very same which, five years afterwards, received the remains of Lord Nelson. In one of the aisles going off from this centre, we saw the flags of France, Spain, and Holland, the whole trophies of the war, in short, expanding their massy draperies, slowly and heavily, in the upper gloom, as they
Already monuments had been voted by the House of Commons in this cathedral, and were nearly completed, I think, to two captains who had fallen at the Nile.