« 0, thou resort and mart of all the earth,

Checkered with all complexions of mankind,
And spotted with all crimes, in whom I see
Much that I love, and more that I admire.”'

After a most fatiguing ride of twenty hours in the railway train from Glasgow, I arrived in London. This city contains twelve thousand streets, two hundred thousand houses, and two millions of people. It occupies an area of eighteen square miles, and is about thirty miles in circumference. The streets are so very crooked, that no two run any distance in the same direction ; 'and many important thoroughfares are so narrow, that one conveyance cannot pass another. London, at first, confuses one. Wordsworth speaks of the " shock of the first presence of the great capital ;” and well he may, for it is almost stunning, and fairly takes away one's breath. It presents to the traveler a spectacle calculated to fill the mind with wonder

-almost with awe—which increases and deepens the longer he contemplates it, and the more familiar he becomes with its mighty presence. It is a

complete microcosm, where you can see specimens and emblems at least of all that the world contains. All nations and races, all customs, all arts, all phases of humanity, all conditions of life, are here represented or exemplified. It is a vast panorama, with ten thousand ever shifting scenes. The interminable wilderness of streets and thoroughfares; the endless stream of curious vehicles and gay equipages, and the living tide of people of all sorts and conditions-nobles and prelates, soldiers and sailors, monks and mendicants—continually pouring through them; the stir and movement, the life of the great city, never intermitting by day or night; the palaces, and churches, and bridges, and piles of old buildings that have long had their places in history and romance, and which one has often strained his childish fancy to picture to himself, and now for the first time actually beholds; the long array of shops, (all brilliantly illuminated at night,) with their rich display of merchandise of every imaginable description, and gathered from the very ends of the earth ; all this, with the never-ceasing din, and whirl, and bustle of this 6 monstrous ant-hill,” combine to bewilder one so effectually that for a long time he gets no definite impression of London as a whole, and utterly despairs (at least I do) of being able to convey any such impression to others.

London is a noble specimen of a commercial mart. Business of every kind is here conducted on the largest scale. You see a mean, narrow, antiquated street—the houses on each side perhaps a century old : there is no outward show—no display—but enter one of them, and within you find all is life and activity. Paternoster Row, for example, the far-famed literary depot, whence flows, as from a fountain-head, the literature of the English language, is precisely like those streets I have mentioned-so narrow that for one vehicle to pass another is out of the question. The houses are old, and ought long since to have been pulled down ; yet here are the publishing establishments of Longman & Co.; Ward ; Hamilton, Adams & Co.; Rivington ; Baynes ; Bagster; the Religious Tract Society ; Sunday School Union, and a great many others. Having a letter of introduction from a bookselling firm in New York to Messrs. Longman & Co., I had the pleasure of going over their establishment, which is one of the largest of the kind in the world, and where prodigious sums have been paid as copyright to native authors. Everything is divided in such a way as to secure accuracy and promptitude. One department is the retail ; another, the wholesale for the city ; a third, the wholesale for the country ; a fourth, for foreign orders, from which all books sent abroad are despatched ; besides counting-rooms and receiving-rooms, where all merchandise is received, and distributed to the other departments. All these are on the first floor, while the stories above are literally crammed with books in sheets. In a busy season, one of the members of this firm told me, it was no unusual thing for them to receive three hundred letters in a day.

Some of the publishing concerns pay enormous sums for advertising. One bookseller showed me · an advertisement in the Times, which, for one

insertion, cost him five hundred dollars--and all this for one book-Scott's Commentary. For advertising this work alone, he informed me, he had paid within a few weeks two thousand five hundred dollars. Being introduced to Mr. Jones, the Secretary of the Religious Tract Society, I was taken through their establishment, where the same division of labor exists. This Society has been instrumental in circulating an immense number of religious books ; such as for instance of Old Humphrey's Walks in London, sixty thousand ; Janeway's Token for Children, eighty-six thousand ; of the Annals of the Poor, one hundred thousand ; of Bogatzky's Golden Treasury, one hundred and ten thousand ; and of James' Anxious Inquirer, three hundred and fifty thousand. Upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand copies of this lat. ter work have been printed from one set of stereotype casts, and they showed me a copy of the last impression, which, they say, has but one letter in it injured.

The omnibusses in London are both numerous and well managed. A driver sits on the box, and a collector stands on a step made for the purpose at the door where the passengers enter. The fare is usually either six cents or twelve, according to the distance. They generally carry thirteen inside, and eight or ten on the top. As there is a tax upon window lights, it is desirable to have as few of them as is consistent with lighting properly the inside. For that reason, many of the panes are filled with neatly painted advertisements, for which the advertisers pay so much annually. In

« 前へ次へ »