Nearing The Sea.
The Bank Of England.
Statue Of General Gordon, Trafalgar Square.
If the Place de la Concorde may be called the nucleus of Paris, that of London is Trafalgar Square. It will not do, however, to make too close a comparison between them, for in the neighborhood of the London square there is nothing approaching in impressiveness either the Garden of the Tuileries or the Champs Elysees. If the external charm of Paris may be likened to that of a beautiful, fascinating woman, that of London suggests a plain-featured and ill-dressed, but serious and intellectual, man. Nevertheless Trafalgar Square is not without attractions. The fluted granite column in the centre, flanked by the grand bronze lions of Sir Edwin Landseer, uplifts the colossal statue of the idol of the English, Admiral Nelson, who, in the glorious victory at Trafalgar, in 1805, destroyed the navy of the French and rendered futile Napoleon's audacious scheme of invading England. It is appropriate that on the bronze reliefs of the pedestal, cast from the metal of French cannon, Nelson should be represented as declining, although fatally wounded, to be assisted by the surgeon before his turn; while one, also, reads there with moistened eyes the admiral's last command, immortalized by its simplicity and noble sentiment, " England expects every man to do his duty".
The Nelson Column.
Whoever comes to London expecting to find beautiful architecture will be woefully disappointed. Its parks are delightful, its pavements are probably the best in the world, and the display of luxury on such great thoroughfares as Regent and Oxford streets is most attractive; but, as a rule, the architecture of London is heavy and devoid of taste, while even the best of it is shrouded in an atmospheric drapery of diluted smut. Nor is this merely the impression of foreigners. No one could speak more severely of the ugliness of many of London's buildings than Englishmen themselves have done. Dickens has satirized them mercilessly, comparing some of them to tanks for holding fog; while of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square an English writer has said: "This unhappy structure may be said to have everything it ought not to have, and nothing which it ought to have. It possesses windows without glass, a cupola without size, a portico without height, pepper boxes without pepper, and the finest site in Europe without anything to show upon it." Under such circumstances, a foreigner who first sees London on a raw November day is usually horribly depressed and thoroughly disenchanted, and might be tempted to imitate the German poet, Heine, who, on being taken to Westminster Abbey, the burial-place of famous Englishmen, handed the sexton a shilling, and said he would have given him more if the collection had been complete.
Base Of The Nelson Column.
The Duke Of Wellington.
Even St. Paul's Cathedral usually disappoints the visitor. The exterior is, indeed, imposing, and the great dome is like a temple in the air, three hundred and sixty-five feet above the street, and one hundred and eighty in diameter. It is, however, so black with the grimy incense that innumerable chimneys have been offering up to it for two hundred years, that a Frenchman suggested that it must have been built by chimneysweeps! It is a curious fact that the total cost of this cathedral was defrayed by a tax on every ton of coal brought to the port of London; so that, after all, no building in the world is better entitled to a sooty exterior. What has impressed me most in St. Paul's is its comparative isolation, even though standing in the great throbbing heart of London. It is, in fact, so lofty that it seems wholly unaffected by its environment. Despite the roar and tumult nothing disturbs its grand serenity. We are reminded of the words of Goethe: