The sailor on our inland seas - Superior, Michigan, and Huron - is probably as brave and hardy as the ocean mariner. He has met tempests quite as fierce as any known to the Atlantic, and his instinctive courage has been forged to a finer temper by knowing that the narrow limits of the lakes continually threaten him with what the deep-sea sailor dreads even more than fog, - a treacherous lee shore. But if, in a moment of unconsciousness, he could be suddenly lifted with his ship and launched upon the ocean, he would on waking, even though in darkness, feel that some startling change had taken place in his surroundings. He would perceive it in the saline breeze and the long roll of the Atlantic, and would divine that, somehow, there had come between him and the solid bed-rock of the globe a greater depth, as well as a wider offing between ship and shore. So, when a stranger enters London, even though he has been accustomed to life in a large city, he recognizes at once that here is something superior to anything he has ever known. He feels the life-surge of humanity uplifting him, as the transported mariner of the lakes perceives beneath his ship the undulating swell that has swept half way round the world. The rattle of wheels, the beat of horses' feet, and the great city's ceaseless roar are in detail not unlike what he has heard elsewhere; yet underneath it all, he feels there is a difference, and as he makes his way amid the throng along the Strand, watches the endless tide of human life ebbing and flowing across London Bridge, drifts down the crowded Thames, from Hammersmith to Greenwich, or hears the ponderous peal of "Big Ben" in the tower of St. Paul's, half smothered by the tumult of the streets, he realizes with a sentiment akin to awe that he is standing in the world's metropolis.
Fleet Street And St. Paul's.
In truth, of all great cities, London is the greatest. It is . the most powerful magnet of mental, moral, and material forces man has ever made. Hither are drawn the most ambitious, active, and ingenious of Old England's offspring; and here are formed the literary, naval, military, and commercial plans that make of London a colossal concentration of vitality, the influences of which extend around the globe. Even its antiquity is impressive; for London is more than two thousand years old. It was a British settlement when Julius Caesar landed near the Dover cliffs; it, subsequently, heard the trumpets of the Roman legions, and the Emperor Claudius tried to rob it of its name; yet, only seven hundred years ago, although already thirteen centuries old, it contained less than fifty thousand inhabitants; and five more centuries of growth were needed to raise its population to two hundred thousand. It had not reached a million, even, at the opening of this century; but now, in the amazing hive of human existence, included within the Metropolitan Police District of London, more than five and a half million men, women, and children feast or starve, achieve or fail, amuse themselves or suffer, till, having played their several parts upon this murky stage, they are replaced by others. There are more people here than in all the New England States combined, or than in the whole of Switzerland, and more than twice as many as in Norway.
Tottenham Court Road.
London contains more Irishmen than Dublin, more Scotchmen than Edinburgh, and more Jews than all Palestine. Every four minutes a human soul is added to its population, and at a little longer interval one disappears. London has been described as a province covered with houses; and, in fact, its buildings, looked on from the cupola of St. Paul's, appear to be a limitless expanse of swarming ant-hills, separated by innumerable sluices, through which at every hour of the day and night the stream of life, now clear and pure, now thick and slimy, pours on, or curdles on, God alone knows whither. In evading pursuit, the savage of the forest breaks his trail; the savage of London changes his abode. Nor is the latter feat especially difficult; for this metropolitan world has about seven thousand miles of streets, to go through all of which would be equivalent to walking across the American continent and back. Moreover, London is still growing! Every year about seventy miles of new streets are added to the bewildering network of its thoroughfares, and, on the average, every twenty minutes a new building is joined to its gigantic frame. It is not strange, therefore, that such a city's stock of names should soon become exhausted. There are said to be at present within the limits of London ninety-five King Streets, ninety-nine Queen Streets, seventy-eight Prince Streets, one hundred and twenty-seven York Streets, and eighty-seven James Streets, so that some other distinguishing title has in each case to be affixed.