The Imperial Institute, South Kensington.
ST. Paul's Cathedral.
The Entrance To St. Fail's.
"On every height there lies repose".
Another singular fact in the history of this church is that the first stone which the architect ordered the masons to bring from the rubbish of the former cathedral, destroyed by fire, was part of a sarcophagus, on which had been inscribed the single word, "Resurgam" - "I shall rise again." The prophecy was fulfilled, and for its resurrection in its present form the world is indebted to Sir Christopher Wren, who sleeps, within the temple that he reared, under the epitaph, "If you seek his monument, look around you".
It must be said of the interior of St. Paul's that it is bare and cheerless. Although gigantic, it awakens no enthusiasm, especially if one is familiar with cathedrals on the Continent, whose walls and columns gleam with polished marble, whose pavements are of beautiful mosaic, and whose stained glass portrays the lives of saints in glowing colors. But here the walls are bare, the windows colorless, the arches empty as a hollow skull; the columns show the plain stone blocks, and even the cement that holds them; while the vast dome, which might be rendered glorious with mosaics, looks like a huge receptacle for fog and dust. Most of the statues in St. Paul's are, also, in deplorably bad taste, and some of them are positively ludicrous. Old Doctor Johnson, for example, is represented by a half-nude figure, suggestive of an athlete catching cold. We all know that the author of the Dictionary was negligent in dress, but why he should have been portrayed almost entirely deprived of clothing is a mystery. Still more objectionable is the statue of a Captain Burgess, who stands entirely nude, as he receives a sword from the Goddess of Victory. Two admirals have, also, unclothed statues, which strikes one as absurd, since nudity has never been the uniform of British officers, even in India.
The Interior Of St. Paul's.
I have tried to speak with absolute impartiality of London. It is in some respects the most interesting, and in others the most uninteresting, city of the modern world. The tourist should cherish no illusions in regard to some of its material features. Its fog, which Hawthorne calls "the spiritual medium of departed mud," its usually unattractive architecture, its hideous coverlet of soot, its indescribably dismal Sundays, its endless gin-shops, from which gray-haired women often reel intoxicated, its conservative hotel methods and unappetizing cuisine, often cause London to appear, at first, a place from which to flee as soon as possible. But, presently, the other side reveals itself, and we begin to admire its perfectly paved streets, its low-priced cabs, its admirable municipal government, its wonderful museums, its priceless literary and historic memories, its exhibitions of everything artistic and remarkable that human genius can produce, and, above all, its spacious parks. It gives one an idea not only of the immensity of London as a whole, but, also, of the vastness of its "breathing places," to learn that, almost in the centre of the city, he can start at the northwest corner of Kensington Gardens and walk over green grass for four and a half miles. Moreover, a very practical source of pleasure in London is the prompt and intelligent service rendered by subordinates. Grant that a "tip " is universally expected for the favor; it is a pleasure to reward good service, and London is not the only city in the world where fees make life run smoothly.
The Nave Of St. Paul's.
ST. Paul's, From The River.
But though the greater part of London's architecture be commonplace or positively ugly, the influence of history awakens interest where art has failed, and many a locality, which would be otherwise merely dingy and prosaic, attracts us irresistibly as the abode of some imaginary character of fiction, and holds us spellbound by the subtile power of the master's thought. The catalogue of literary stars that have blazed forth upon the London firmament, even in the present century, is well-nigh endless: Carlyle, the rugged cynic; Bulwer, the polished man of society; Disraeli, that curious blending of the romancer and statesman; George Eliot, the most gifted of modern women; Dickens, the unsurpassed interpreter of humble life; Thackeray, the keen but kindly satirist, - all these have breathed a spirit of hu-manity into these old walls and set the stamp of genius upon its stones; and, as the men illustrious in Greek letters were indissolubly linked with Athens, so in the list of English authors there is scarcely a name that is not interwoven with the history of London.