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OPAQUE from rain drawn in slant streaks by wind and speed across the pane, the window of the railway carriage lets nothing be seen but stray flashes of red lights-the signals rapidly passed. Wrapped in thick overcoat, collar turned up to his ears, warm gloves on his hands, and a rug across his knees, the traveller may well wonder how those red signals and the points are worked out in the storms of wintry London. Rain blown in gusts through the misty atmosphere, gas and smoke-laden, deepens the darkness; the howl of the blast humming in the telegraph wires, hurtling round the chimney-pots on a level with the line, rushing up from the archways; steam from the engines, roar, and whistle, shrieking brakes, and grinding wheels-how is the traffic worked at night in safety over the inextricable windings of the iron roads into the City?

At London Bridge the door is opened by some one who gets out, and the cold air comes in; there is a rush of people in damp coats, with dripping umbrellas, and time enough to notice the archæologically interesting wooden beams which support the roof of the South-Eastern station. Antique beams they are,

good old Norman oak, such as you may sometimes find in very old country churches that have not been restored, such as yet exist in Westminster Hall, temp. Rufus or Stephen, or so. Genuine old woodwork, worth your while to go and see. Take a sketch-book and make much of the ties and angles and bolts; ask Whistler or Macbeth, or some one to etch them, get the Royal Antiquarian Society to pay a visit and issue a pamphlet; gaze at them reverently and earnestly, for they are not easily to be matched in London. Iron girders and spacious roofs are the modern fashion; here we have the Middle Ages wellpreserved-slam! the door is banged-to, onwards, over the invisible river, more red signals and rain, and finally the terminus. Five hundred well-dressed. and civilized savages, wet, cross, weary, all anxious to get in eager for home and dinner; five hundred stiffened and cramped folk equally eager to get out-mix on a narrow platform, with a train running off one side, and a detached engine gliding gently after it. Push, wriggle, wind in and out, bumps from portmanteaus, and so at last out into the street.

Now, how are you going to get into an omnibus ? The street is "up," the traffic confined to half a narrow thoroughfare, the little space available at the side crowded with newsvendors whose contents bills are spotted and blotted with wet, crowded, too, with young girls, bonnetless, with aprons over their heads, whose object is simply to do nothing-just to stand in the rain and chaff; the newsvendors yell their news in your ears, then, finding you don't purchase, they "Yah!" at you; an aged crone begs you to buy

"lights"; a miserable young crone, with pinched face, offers artificial flowers-oh, Naples! Rush comes the rain, and the gas-lamps are dimmed; whoo-oo comes the wind like a smack; cold drops get in the ears and eyes; clean wristbands are splotched; greasy mud splashed over shining boots; some one knocks the umbrella round, and the blast all but turns it. Wake up!"-"Now then-stop here all night?"-"Gone to sleep?" They shout, they


curse, they put their hands to their mouths trumpetwise and bellow at each other, these cabbies, vanmen, busmen, all angry at the block in the narrow way. The 'bus-driver, with London stout, and plenty of it, polishing his round cheeks like the brasswork of a locomotive, his neck well wound and buttressed with thick comforter and collar, heedeth not, but goes on his round, now fast, now slow, always stolid and rubicund, the rain running harmlessly from him as if he were oiled. The conductor, perched like the showman's monkey behind, hops and twists, and turns now on one foot and now on the other as if the plate were red-hot; now holds on with one hand, and now dexterously shifts his grasp; now shouts to the crowd and waves his hands towards the pavement, and again looks round the edge of the 'bus forwards and curses somebody vehemently. "Near side up! Look alive! Full inside "-curses, curses, curses; rain, rain, rain, and no one can tell which is most plentiful.

The cab-horse's head comes nearly inside the 'bus, the 'bus-pole threatens to poke the hansom in front; the brougham would be careful, for varnish sake, but is wedged and must take its chance; van


wheels catch omnibus hubs; hurry, scurry, whip, and drive; slip, slide, bump, rattle, jar, jostle, an endless stream clattering on, in, out, and round. On, on-" Stanley, on "—the first and last words of cabby's life; on, on, the one law of existence in a London street-drive on, stumble or stand, drive on -strain sinews, crack, splinter-drive on; what a sight to watch as you wait amid the newsvendors and bonnetless girls for the 'bus that will not come! Is it real? It seems like a dream, those nightmare dreams in which you know that you must run, and do run, and yet cannot lift the legs that are heavy as lead, with the demon behind pursuing, the demon of Drive-on. Move, or cease to be-pass out of Time or be stirring quickly; if you stand you must suffer even here on the pavement, splashed with greasy mud, shoved by coarse ruffianism, however good your intentions just dare to stand still! Ideas here for moralizing, but I can't preach with the roar and the din and the wet in my ears, and the flickering street lamps flaring. That's the 'bus-no; the tarpaulin hangs down and obscures the inscription; yes. Hi! No heed; how could you be so confiding as to imagine conductor or driver would deign to see a signalling passenger; the game is to drive on.

A gentleman makes a desperate rush and grabs the handrail; his foot slips on the asphalte or wood, which is like oil, he slides, his hat totters; happily he recovers himself and gets in. In the block the 'bus is stayed a moment, and somehow we follow, and are landed-" somehow" advisedly. For how do we get into a 'bus? After the pavement, even this

hard seat would be nearly an easy-chair, were it not for the damp smell of soaked overcoats, the ceaseless rumble, and the knockings overhead outside. The noise is immensely worse than the shaking or the steamy atmosphere, the noise ground into the ears, and wearying the mind to a state of drowsy narcotism -you become chloroformed through the sense of hearing, a condition of dreary resignation and uncomfortable ease. The illuminated shops seem to pass like an endless window without division of doors; there are groups of people staring in at them in spite of the rain; ill-clad, half-starving people for the most part; the well-dressed hurry onwards; they have homes. A dull feeling of satisfaction creeps over you that you are at least in shelter; the rumble is a little better than the wind and the rain and the puddles. If the Greek sculptors were to come to life again and cut us out in bas-relief for another Parthenon, they would have to represent us shuffling along, heads down and coat-tails flying, splash-splosh-a nation of umbrellas.

Under a broad archway, gaily lighted, the broad and happy way to a theatre, there is a small crowd waiting, and among them two ladies, with their backs to the photographs and bills, looking out into the street. They stand side by side, evidently quite oblivious and indifferent to the motley folk about them, chatting and laughing, taking the wet and windy wretchedness of the night as a joke. They are both plump and rosy-cheeked, dark eyes gleaming and red lips parted; both decidedly good-looking, much too rosy and full-faced, too well fed and

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