In The City

In The City.

Those who are nervous when driving in a cab through crowds, should mount the London omnibuses, which always carry fully as many passengers without as within; for there, serene in their security from mishaps, they can watch complacently their ponderous battleship plow its way among the lighter craft of London's troubled waters. In fact, long omnibus drives in London (and they can be taken for great distances) are to be strongly recommended, as giving one a better idea of certain portions of the city than can be obtained by any other mode of conveyance. Nor is the acquaintance of a London omnibus driver to be despised; for never will you thoroughly appreciate Sam Weller and his father until you chat with the driver of a London coach. These Jehus, as a rule, are of enormous size, with cheeks so red and oleaginous that, at the slightest puncture with a needle, one might expect a stream of ale or bitter beer to flow; yet they are usually loquacious (when induced to be) and if you slip a shilling into their hands and ask them to point out the notable sights, you will soon roar with laughter, and have a fund of amusement to look back on for a month to come.

A London Omnibus

A London Omnibus.

A far more rapid mode of transportation here is London's underground railway, but few metropolitan means of conveyance are so disagreeable. The smell of smoke, the oily, humid atmosphere of coal gas, the single jet of fog-dimmed light in the roof of the railway carriage, which causes the half-illumined passengers to look like wax figures in a "Chamber of Horrors," and, finally, the intricate system of changes necessary at junctions, which one must sometimes make with the agility of an acrobat, do not impart a very cheerful tone to recollections of such subterranean transit. Still, as a colossal scheme of engineering, it commands admiration; and the herculean task can be appreciated only by estimating what it meant to cut these winding thoroughfares through endless labyrinths of pipes and sewers, and under the foundations of enormous buildings. Thus, when we remember the care that must be exercised in giving to sewer pipes a proper inclination toward their termini, we can faintly imagine the difficulties involved in carrying the tunnels for this double-tracked railway five times across one conduit which conveys the sewage of fifty thousand houses from Highgate to the Thames. Some of the buildings, too, beneath which trains now run, on an average, every three minutes during the twenty-four hours, were built on piles; a fact which, as the edifices had to be left intact, necessitated not only excellent engineering skill, but, also, a great expenditure of money. Thus, on each of its first twenty-two miles the Metropolitan Underground Railway Company spent two and a half million dollars!

Omnibus Riding

Omnibus Riding.

ST. James' Palace

ST. James' Palace.

An Underground Station

An Underground Station.

No part of the world that I have ever seen can equal London's underground stations in their display of advertisements.

From the black throat of one tunnel to the cavernous maw of another, the intervening walls are lined with placards of all shapes and sizes and every color of the rainbow; some representing hair "restored," in undulating waves which look like dusky waterfalls; others portraying "works of art," which call attention to the wonderful advantages of plasters, soaps, or spectacles; while all of them furnish loiterers abundant reading facilities, by means of letters visible at a hundred yards to even the most myopic traveler. That this display lights up the Rembrandt shadows of the subterranean stations cheerfully, must be admitted. Its only drawback is the fact that the bewildering variety sometimes causes inexperienced travelers to hunt for the station's name as frantically as passengers in American drawing-room cars look for the chair numbers; which, as we all well know, are usually hidden with an ingenuity that has spoiled many a naturally gentle disposition, and caused the impatient tourist to recall the Arab proverb, "The word that escapes you is your master".