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The Tragedy of the Chain Pier Everyday Life Library No. 3   By: (1836-1884)

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Most visitors to Brighton prefer the new pier; it is altogether a more magnificent affair. It is in the fashionable town, for fashion will go westward; it is larger, more commodious, more frequented. Go to the West Pier when you will, there is always something to see; beautiful women, pretty girls, fashionable belles promenade incessantly. There are times when it is crowded, and there is even a difficulty in making room for all who come. No wonder the elite of Brighton like the West Pier; it is one of the most enjoyable spots in England; every luxury and comfort is there; a good library, plenty of newspapers, elegant little shops, excellent refreshment rooms, fine music; and then the lovely blue, dimpling sea, the little boats with their white sails, like white winged birds on the water, the grand stretch of the waves, the blue sky overhead, and the town, with its fine, tall houses shining in the sunlight, the line of white cliff and the beach where the children are at play. You go down to the wonderful jetty, which, to me, was one of the most mysterious and romantic of places. There the water is of the deepest, choicest emerald green, and it washes the wonderful net work of poles with a soft, lapping sound beautiful to hear. You can stand there with only a rail between you and the green, deep water, watching the fisher boats out on the deep; watching, perhaps, the steamer with its load of passengers, or looking over the wide sunlit waves, dreaming dreams born of the sea out of the world; alone in the kingdom of fancy; there is always something weird in the presence of deep, silent, moving waters.

There is always plenty of life, gayety and fashion on the West Pier. It is a famous place, not for love making but for flirtation; a famous place for studying human nature; a famous place for passing a pleasant hour. You may often meet great celebrities on the West Pier; faces familiar at the House of Lords, familiar at Court, familiar at the opera, are to be seen there during the season; beautiful faces that have grown pale and worn with the excitement of a London campaign, and here, as they are bent thoughtfully over the green waters, the bracing air brings sweet roses, the lines fade, the eyes brighten; there is no such beautifier as a sea breeze, no bloom so radiant and charming as that brought by the wind from the sea.

On the West Pier you will find all the beauty, rank and fashion of Brighton; you will see costumes a ravir, dresses that are artistic and elegant; you will see faces beautiful and well known; you will hear a charming ripple of conversation; you will witness many pleasant and piquant adventures; but if you want to dream; if you want to give up your whole heart and soul to the poetry of the sea; if you want to listen to its voice and hear no other; if you want to shut yourself away from the world; if you want to hear the music of the winds, their whispers, their lullabies, their mad dashes, their frantic rages, you must go to the Old Chain Pier. As a rule you will find few there, but you may know they are a special few; you will see the grave, quiet face of the thinker, who has chosen that spot because he does not want to be disturbed by the frou frou of ladies' dresses, or the music of their happy voices; he wants to be alone with the sea and the wind.

It often happens that you find a pair of very happy lovers there they go to the side and lean over the railing as though their sole object in life was to watch the rippling sea. Do not believe them, for you will hear the murmur of two voices, and the theme is always "love." If you go near them they look shyly at you, and in a few minutes move gently away. Ah, happy lovers, make hay while the sun shines; it does not shine always, even over the Chain Pier... Continue reading book >>

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