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dignity may be seen being served at table by pontiffs of a sort.
In a little house which once stood here Ben Jonson wrote "Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes." which some people hold to be one of the finest ballads in the English language, though deprecating the sentiment. Heine and Ben Franklin and Charles Dickens have roomed close by.
THE MALL RECALLS TRAGEDY AND BIT
From Trafalgar, too, the visitor can peer through the fine Admiralty Arch down the Mall, at the farther end of which stands Buckingham Palace. Eventually he will discover this to be a large and almost violently ugly stonefronted building behind a tall wroughtiron fence, and that time is wasted on it except during those stirring moments when the soldier
guard is changed (see page 576).
He may recall that it was down the Mall that Charles I walked to the headsman's block, and that it was named after the French game of paille maille that Charles II played upon it. But more interesting, to my mind, is the story of the colloquy between Queen Caroline and the elder Walpole. She wished to close St. James's Park, through which the Mall
"How much would it cost," she asked, "to keep the public out?"
He replied with the most excellent courtesy,
"Only three crowns, Madame." Almost in front of St. Martin's-it was
truly in the fields when Nelly Gwyn was buried there-stands the hopelessly uninspired statue of Nurse Edith Cavell.
Across the Square is that of Charles I, perhaps the finest equestrian figure in London. One bridges centuries of English history by a glance at it. Queen Eleanor's Cross first stood upon this site-the twelfth, or was it the thirteenth? cross erected by the sorrowing King Edward I to mark the places where her casket was set down for the night on the long route from Lincoln to her tomb in Westminster. That was in the thirteenth century.
The Puritans tore it down during the Commonwealth. After the execution of
THE CHAMPION BASKET-CARRIER AT
It is a gift rather than a trick to balance twenty bushel baskets on one's head and walk gayly through the crowd.
Charles I, his statue was sold by Parliament to a brazier to be melted down or broken up. The owner hid it in his back garden, however, and made a fortune by selling as souvenirs bits of old metal which were presumably fragments of the statue. Then royalty came again and it was placed upon its present site, which had first been prepared by the execution there of several regicides.
In the courtyard of Charing Cross Station that place of heartbreaks, from which so many English soldiers left for France during the World War-stands a doubtful replica of Queen Eleanor's Cross. It is not much to look at, but it does at least recall a royal love story.
COVENT GARDEN HAS BEEN FAMOUS FOR FOUR CENTURIES
Much is to be seen hereabouts in the compass of a short walk before definitely embarking on a cruise through London's streets. A turn to the left leads to Maiden Lane, where Voltaire and Turner once lived. One may pause at Rule's oyster house for a snack, not because of hunger, but because this has been the resort of English actors since 1750. Fielding and Pope and Goldsmith used to frequent it when it was "The Bedford Head" and the home of the Reunion Club. A vast white painted door, set with brass like the quarter-deck of a yacht, a populous bar behind which two lively maids are busy, a great fire under a marble mantelpiece.
Just around the corner is Covent Garden, once the convent garden of the Abbey of Westminster. It has been the great market for fruits and vegetables ever since 1634. A lively, sad, industrious place, in which the costers' donkeys furnish the comic relief. Under the great Piazza, which was a century ago London's most fashionable walk, old women sit all summer long shelling peas. Something of a comedown from the patches and ruffles, the smallswords and the snuff.
IN THE HAUNT OF FAMOUS AUTHORS
It is to be feared the Covent Garden Opera has somewhat declined. At all events, when we visited the fine old house two jazz bands were offering interminable tom-tomming for a horde of dancers.
Here is Bow Street and its police sta
LONDON COSTERS IN FULL REGALIA The coster has an entirely original style of dress, which is worn only on important occasions, such as upon attendance at the Derby or on bank holidays, at Hampstead Heath.
tion, where the scarlet waistcoats of the "Bow Street runners" gave the world its first idea of a uniformed police force-or so Bow Street says.
On the Russell Street corner is Will's Coffee House, where Dryden sat in judgment on plays, and which is just as it used to be, above the street level. Charles Lamb lodged at No. 20 Russell Street and the National Sporting Club, most aristocratic of boxing clubs, is at 43 King Street. At No. 4 York Street De Quincey wrote his "Confessions." I do not apolo
gize for this guidebook-like catalogue. Half the charm of London is in its history:
Pass the Savoy and the Cecil hotels and dive down Carter's Lane to the Victoria Embankment, of which every writer on modern London has had something to say. All historic ground here. Here is the York Water Gate, far in on dry land, through which boats once landed wigged and furbelowed freight for York House. The Adelphi Terrace, built by the four brothers Adam on the Adelphi Arches, whose
DECORATING THE PAVEMENT ON VICTORIA EMBANKMENT The men who make pastel drawings on paving stones are known as "screevers." Some of them do really excellent work and make a very decent living from the pennies and sixpences that admiring passers-by throw to them. Victoria Embankment, where this man is at work, extends about a mile and a quarter along the west bank of the Thames, from Westminster Bridge to Blackfriars Bridge.
gloomy recesses may be here and there sighted. Once they were the haunt of London's most desperate characters.
WHERE THE BLACK PRINCE HELD A KING
Samuel Pepys once lived at the foot of Buckingham Street, and just across the way Tsar Peter of Russia had his lodgings as a ship carpenter. A very rough lot was Peter. London tradition still tells of
the mess he made of the house, what with beef bones and broken bread on the floor and drunken Muscovites under foot everywhere.
Time has almost come to take the bus, but on the way back to the roaring Strand one must stop at the Savoy Chapel, rebuilt in 1505, sunk in a valley between great buildings and shaded by old trees. All that is left of what was once "the fayrest manor in England." The Black
THE CONQUEROR'S NORMAN KEEP NO LONGER AWES LONDON CITIZENS: TOWER OF LONDON
The White Tower, built in 1078, is the central and oldest portion of the fortress; its walls are 15 feet thick at the base. This time-honored building of history and gloom has served as fortress, palace, and prison, its most pathetic memory probably being the murder of the Little Princes. It covers 13 acres.
Prince held King John of France a prisoner here until his death, for no one paid his ransom. Since Henry IV's time it has always belonged to the reigning house. Geoffrey Chaucer was one of John of Gaunt's retinue here.
To Americans on the watch for survivals from the olden days, however, the gemlike little chapel is not of so much interest, perhaps, as the fact that here sits
annually the Court Leet, dating back to Saxon times. Once a year the jury of the court, headed by the beadle with his silvertopped staff, makes the rounds of the boundary of the manor. One mark is on the stage of the Lyceum, another in Child's Bank, one by Cleopatra's Needle, on the Embankment (see page 573), and a fourth on the lawn of the Middle Temple. On the Strand we take Bus 15 A for