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Days and Nights in London or, Studies in Black and Gray   By: (1820-1898)

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First Page:

DAYS AND NIGHTS IN LONDON;

OR,

STUDIES IN BLACK AND GRAY .

BY J. EWING RITCHIE,

AUTHOR OF “THE NIGHT SIDE OF LONDON,” “RELIGIOUS LIFE OF LONDON,” “BRITISH SENATORS,” ETC.

LONDON: TINSLEY BROTHERS, 8, CATHERINE ST., STRAND. 1880. [ All rights reserved .]

CHARLES DICKENS AND EVANS, CRYSTAL PALACE PRESS.

PREFACE.

London has vastly altered since the Author, some quarter of a century ago, described some of the scenes which occurred nightly in its midst of which respectable people were ignorant, which corrupted its young men and young women, and which rendered it a scandal and a horror to civilisation itself. The publication of his work, “The Night Side of London”—of which nearly eight thousand copies were sold—did something, by calling the attention of Members of Parliament and philanthropists to the subject, to improve the scenes and to abate the scandal. As a further contribution to the same subject, the present volume is published. Every Englishman must take an interest in London—a city which it has taken nearly two thousand years to build; whose sons, to enrich which, have sailed on every sea and fought or traded on every land; and which apparently, as the original home and centre of English speaking people, must grow with the growth and strengthen with the strength of the world.

WRENTHAM HOUSE, HENDON, February , 1880.

CONTENTS.

PAGE I. THE WORLD OF LONDON 1 II. THE AMUSEMENTS OF THE PEOPLE 24 III. OUR MUSIC HALLS 39 IV. MORE ABOUT MUSIC HALLS 54 V. SUNDAYS WITH THE PEOPLE 90 VI. THE LOW LODGING HOUSE 117 VII. STUDIES AT THE BAR 155 VIII. IN AN OPIUM DEN 170 IX. LONDON’S EXCURSIONISTS 182 X. ON THE RIVER STEAMERS 196 XI. STREET SALESMEN 208 XII. CITY NUISANCES 225 XIII. OUT OF GAOL 261 XIV. IN A GIPSY CAMP 271 XV. THE STREET BOYS OF LONDON 280

I.—THE WORLD OF LONDON.

London, for a “village,” as old Cobbett used to call it, is a pretty large one; and, viewed from the lowest stand point—that of the dull gospel according to Cocker—may well be described as truly wonderful. It eats a great deal of beef, and drinks a great deal of beer. You are staggered as you explore its warehouses. I stood in a granary the other day in which there were some eighty thousand sacks of wheat; and in the Bank of England I held in my hand, for a minute—all too brief—a million of pounds. It is difficult to realise what London is, and what it contains. Figures but little assist the reader.

Perhaps you best realise what the city is as you come up the Thames as far as London Bridge. Perhaps another way is to stand on that same bridge and watch the eager hordes that cross of a morning and return at night, and then, great as that number is, to multiply it a hundredfold. A dozen miles off gardeners tell you that there are plants that suffer from London air and London fog. Indeed it is difficult to say where London begins and where it ends... Continue reading book >>




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