It was a. Wonderfully beautiful panorama through which I rapidly ran. Town, city, and hamlet, village, farm, and cottage, with rustic steeples peeping forth far over the woodlands in the pleasant distances. There were noble mansions too, and stately woods and parks, where bounding deer rushed past in all the enjoyment of their freedom. Corn and pasture land, and broad meadows, all betokening plenty; but, as compared to the plains and forests of the Western world, made no more than the well - laid - out grounds of a wealthy country gentleman would be, as compared to the undulating scenery I passed through. Having engaged a cab, with no small difficulty as to fare, I was safely installed at Long's Hotel.
Before arriving in London, however, I had caught a glimpse of that thick and murky mass which for ever hangs above the city, denoting undeniably its whereabout, and looming like a giant's head was the noble dome of St. Paul's. With a sort of feverish haste I dashed through the parks of the west end, which I greatly admired - with much to find fault with in detail. I was pleased, on the whole, with the gigantic mass of busy life that pervaded every street and alley of the crammed city. I visited the exhibitions and places of amusement, and was certainly gratified with the fine acting at one or two theatres, and with the magnificent music of the opera.
I visited the Abbey and St. Paul's, and felt ashamed for the coot of a beadle, who let me into each of God's temples at less than theatre price. I may say, that they were well worth the money in fact, they were the cheapest exhibitions in London. From the Guildhall, where I saw the giants, and thought how much men are like children in their foibles, I turned towards London Bridge, in order to make my progress up the river. They have fine black-beetles of steamers, which tear along and vanish under the bridges, and which certainly burst now and then, as they do on the Ohio or the Mississippi.
I was immensely struck with the idea of building the House of Lords behind the corner of a vast bridge, which makes the other structure look dwarfish. To my thinking, there is no comparison between it and Somerset House. They ought to have made an elevation of stone, thirty or forty feet high, as a basement, and then have erected their superstructure upon that. It will, doubtless, look better when the bridge is taken down; as, in fact, it has itself threatened to commit suicide, if they do not relieve its old bones. Returning by Whitehall, I saw everything at sixes and sevens, for they were then building a new frontage. I admired the Horse Guards; but Nelson's Column caught my attention, more especially the coil of rope, which has a miraculous resemblance to the devil's tail; but the crowning magnificence of the whole was the classic beauty of the three domes on the top of the National Gallery! It is a question if the world can show anything so unique. I had visited most of these places alone, though I might have had those with me, had I chosen, who would have acted as willing guides.
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