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TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OF LONDON. morning appears in the clear and starry arch above

our heads. There is a long feathery ridge of light We are standing at the central point of one of the clouds in the north-eastern horizon ; beneath which bridges which span the Thames, when the first a pale clear streak of reddish white show's where iadication of the coming dawn of a Midsummer the day will break, while above them a cool white

No. 97, 1853.


light shoots and flutters up towards the zenith. The city now doth like a garment war The stars grow pale and twinkle feebly in that The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,

Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie spreading light, and at length die out and disap

Open unto the fields and to the sky; pear. Now the light rises higher and higher, and

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. its broad image is reflected in the river below; Never did sun more beautifully steep, the dusky bosom of Father Thames puts on a light In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill ; grey mantle, and the red, glimmering pendants of

Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will : reflected fire-light which hung like jewels on his

The very houses seem asleep; vest, die out in their turn as the stars died out

And all that mighty heart is lying still !" above. The slow day-dawn creeps onwards and upwards in beautiful gradations; and every pulse Yes, the mighty heart of London is lying still ; of morn, as she throbs into being, reveals to us the hearts of her mightiest and meanest partake of afresh the old and well-known shapes, and trans- a common rest. With one half the London world, forms once more into familiar things the grotesque the day is far spent before the other half is awake and shadowy images which the gloom of night to its duties and its pleasures. While the rich and invests with mystery and awe. First against that prosperous court repose on beds of down, houseless broad and quivering curtain, which seems to vibrate poverty sleeps at ease, during the warm summer fitfully above the couch of the awakening day, nights, in any sheltering nook, dry arch, or covered rises, like a vision of supernatural strength and door way, where, lapped in golden dreams, the majesty, the magnificent outline of St. Paul's penniless being may, for aught we know, be far Cathedral, which now, in the absence of positive happier in his sleep than the fat millionaire, who light, shows like a monster profile, black and flat, is too wide-awake to sleep soundly at all. If we its edges sharply defined upon the shimmering had but a true knowledge of the theory of combackground. Then the towers and spires and pensations, we might chance to find that the poor projecting columns of a thousand churches and man's sleep is worth all my lord's waking hours, factories come gradually into view; as though, in and that the difference between the fortune of the answer to some magical summons, they now for two, all things considered, is not so great as we the first time stepped forth into being, charged imagine. This reflection comes in our way, and with the mission to " stand and wait," in the dim we can hardly escape recording it, because the very chambers of obscurity, around that one lofty and first human subject that presents himself for conshadowy potentate. But the day is rushing on sideration on a summer's morning in London, to wards, and now his herald, twilight, comes trip- any early bird who happens to be astir in time to ping over that low-lying line of clouds—the red, catch such an unfortunate worm, is that social glittering lamps on the bridges fade into viewless phenomenon, the houseless, homeless vagrant. sparks at his approach, and after a few ineffectual Summer is the time of carnival, during which blinks are no more visible. He enwraps the whole these gentry pay no rent. We have passed two scene in a wondrous shadowless semi-radiance, this morning on the bridge, curled up on the seat, soft, soothing, and transparent, in which all things on the leeward side of the parapet, and snoring appear in startling clearness and nearness, and in audibly to the response of the river below; and as which the minutest features of objects which lie we leave the bridge, and pursue our way northbeyond our ken in the full glare of day are dis- ward to the city, we see one or two more fast tinctly discerned. This marvellous effect of the locked in slumber, in here and there an out-of-themorning twilight, which few take the trouble to way recess, whose infringement of the law the witness, endures but for a few moments: it is over policeman, if he sees them at all, compassionately already; the rays of the risen sun now flash ignores, leaving them to recruit exhausted nature warmly upon the gilded cross of the cathedral, by a few brief hours of rest. But the time of and, gradually stealing down upon the dome, awakening is close at hand; the wretchedness that crown the noble pile with a halo of glory.

snores upon the flint" must start from the com. As we look around upon the river, we become fortless lair at the first summons of authority, and awave, for the first time, that old Father Thames forth again upon its weary pilgrimage. is uttering his voices, which, drowned all day long First pioneer of the daily traffic in the everin the war and din of the traffic carried on upon trafficking world of London, on this fair summer his waters, are now, in this still hour of sunrise, morning, as indeed on every morning of the year, distinctly audible. We hear the floods, as the is the salopian" whom we encounter not far from morning breeze blows freshly against the turning the foot of the bridge. Lest any of our provincial tide, clapping their hands; we hear, too, the hoarse readers or lie-abed fellow-citizens should be ignoswirl of the surge against the piers of the bridge, rant of the physiology, or even of the existence, of the moored barges and the floating gangways, and this hospitable worthy, we will panse for a mothe rafts of timber alongside the wharves. There ment to recount his derivation and witness his is no sign of life upon the broad bosom of the deeds. Like many a knight who has never mountstream, save a navigator's cat stalking stealthily cd war-steed or drawn a sword, he bears a name along the edge of a coal-barge; and no voice of which no longer expresses his calling. In times living thing breaks the solemn and touching silence comparatively ancient, when tea was ten shillings amid which the dawning day looks down upon the a pound, and coffee proportionately dear, the very metropolis of the world, fast bound in the bands poor were debarred from their use ; but, knowing of slumber.

the virtues of a hot beverage, they sought and “Earth has not anything to show more fair :

found a substitute in a decoction of sassafras wood, Dull would he be of soul who could pass by

which, sweetened with sugar and softened with A sight so touching in its majesty :

milk, was very largely consumed and much relished

by those accustomed to its flavour. This liquid, himself, as he eyes the hungry lad from top to toe, for what reason we do not know, but probably from such phrases as, “ reg'lar poor crow"-"not a bad some whimsical allusion to the slopping sound sort"-"hard up, no doubt,” orders him an ademitted by those who imbibed it standing in the ditional slice, and hands him his own unfinished street, obtained the designation of " saloop," and third cup of coffee, with a recommendation" to the sellers of it became salopians, a title which walk into it.” The third customer is a sweep, but they still retain, though they no longer dispense whether a man or a boy it is not easy to say. He the beverage which originated the term. The lugs a lump of sooty bread from his pocket, and salopians of the last generation were the bosom moistens it with hot coffee, talking as he eats, and friends and comforters of the by-gone race of indulging in divers figures of speech too profound Charlies, to each and all of whom they were well for our comprehension. We gather enough, howknown, and who were perhaps their best customers. ever, to know

that he is complaining of the conduct Many a time, in our boyish days, have we seen of Betty at No. 5 over the way, who ordered him those venerable mountains of overcoats, armed with to come as soon as it was light to sweep the kitchen a rattle on one side and a lantern about the size of “chimby," and who won't get up to let him in to a two-gallon cask on the other, congregated in the do it. * Here 'av I a bin," says he," hever since dim light of a raw winter's morning around the afore three o'clock, a pullin' an' a pullin' at that ere banner of the salopian, and quaffing his invigorat- bell till I'm sick o' the soun' of it-an' the more ing draughts. The salopian of the present day I pulls the more she won't git up: I don't think sells tea and coffee instead of saloop, and, in addi- she knows what time it's light of a mornin'; after tion to bread-and-butter, supplies his patrons with all, she likely meant six or seven o'clock, 'stead o' whelks, periwinkles, and pickled eels and shrimps three.” The fourth guest is a quiet fellow, with of yesterday. He pitches his rude table at the an old basket on his arm, who is probably on his corner of a street or the foot of a bridge, as the way to one of the early markets in search of a job, likeliest place to catch his customers, who consist or perhaps off into the fields to cut a stock of turfs, of a class among whom breakfast is not always a for sale to the owners of pet thrushes and larks, meal honoured in the observance, and who if they The stoker now moves off towards the river, and do not get it with him are very likely to go with his place is taken by an Irish labourer, and yonder out it. He had need rise early enough from his come those two identical vagrants whom we passed bed, for even in summer his hospitable table is set asleep on the bridge. There will be no lack of before daybreak, though that happen within three customers : the salopian supplies a recognised hours of midnight. In winter he manages to erect want; he is a sort of general housekeeper to the a sort of tent by means of a screen and an old houseless and to the struggling poor whom necesumbrella, beneath which a low bench accommo- sity sends early afield in search of employment, dates his uncomplaining guests.

But being, like many of his customers, himself a We find him this morning at the corner of a squatter, and paying no rent, he must clear off so court branching off from the main approach to the soon as his room is worth more to the public than bridge. His tea and coffee are simmering in portly his company. He is the monarch of the dead time tin cans steaming over charcoal fires; he has of the dawn, when all other industries are asleep; mounted a clean apron, and turned his ragged, but he must fly from their jealous eyes before they brown-spotted table-cloth, to show to the best ad awake, or he will have to answer for his trespass vantage, and is cutting bread-and-butter in half- to the law. penny slices of liberal thickness, and handing them What a Sunday-morning aspect there is at this to the expectant mouths grouped picturesquely hour of sunrise upon all these haunts of commerce around him. This matutinal "levée consists at through which we pass ! One might almost imagine present but of four persons, One is a hearty, that, instead of being fast asleep in their beds, the hungry fellow, in a buff jacket and blue cloth cap; population was all attending church- an idea, howhis broad horny palms, ample shoulders, grimy ever, which cannot be long entertained; for, as face, with half a week's beard on it, and stooping the morning draws on, and we approach the cengait, suggest that he is stoker to some steam- tral channels of business, the sounds all unmistakvessel ; he seems to have an appetite like his own able of the work-a-day world rise gradually upon furnace--putting the provender out of sight more the ear. The creaking of wains heavily grinding as if he were lodging it in some receptacle for along, and the distant rumble of more rapid wheels, future use, than as though he were actually con- invade the solemn stillness of the morning; but as suming it on the spot. He holds his cracked saucer yet there are quiet pauses between these audible in the hollow of his palm, and, never heeding that indications of life : there is no confusion of sounds, the liquid is almost at the boiling point, drains it but the distinct echoes of horses' hoofs and grindempty at a single inspiration, helping it on its way ing wheels, with the sharp crack of the driver's by a blow on his chest with his fist, enough to whip, are separately heard; and as the great bell knock a west-end exquisite into a swoon. He will of the cathedral rings out the hour of five, a score be off

' to get up his steam as soon as his hurried of surrounding steeples unanimously echo the verrepast is ended. By his side is an unfortunate dict, which all who are awake may plainly hear, specimen of the one-pennied vagabond, who has and which is the signal for many a deep sleeper to just been roused up by the policeman from his arouse from his slumber, and to be up and doing forbidden bed, and who, gnawed by hunger, ex- and driving his business, unless he would be drichanges his one penny, which the luxury of a lodg- ven by it at a later hour. Anon, light threads of ing could not extort from him, for the scanty meal smoke are seen streaming forth from chimney tops ; which, for that sum, the salopian alone will sup- here and there an attic window is thrown up to ply him. Our friend the stoker, muttering to admit the morning breeze, and a night-capped

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