Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No. LXXXII.

NOVEMBER, 1323.

Vol. XIV.

THE NIGHT WALKER.

ci Midnight ! yet not a nose, froin Tower Hill to Piccadilly, snored !"

In a crowded and highly cultivated is by night that the great reservoirs state of society, like that of London, which feed London and Westminster, the race of exertion against time is in- repair the vast expenditure which they cessant. Take a distant village, al- make during the day. As the wants though a populous one, (as in Devon. of twelve hundred thousand persons shire or Cornwall,) and even discord, are not ministered to with a wet finduring the hours of darkness, is found ger, this operation of replenishment forgetting herself in rest. The last does not proceed in silence. Its action is alehouse closes before the clock strikes best observable (as regards the season) ten, sending the very scapegraces of towards the end of spring; when, the the hamlet, in summer, to bed by day- town being at the fullest, the markets light; no lady would choose, after are most abundantly supplied. Then, curfew hour, (even by beating her every succeeding hour of the four-andhusband,) to disturb her neighbours; twenty, brings its peculiar business to and, unless some tailor happens to be be performed, and sets its peculiar behindhand with a wedding pair of agents into motion. small clothes; or some housewife pro Between bal, past eleven and twelve longs the washing-day, and gives an o'clock at night, the several theatres extra hour to her lace caps; or unless of the metropolis discharge themselves the village be a Post-stage, where the of their loads; and at that hour it is “ first-turn-boy” must sleep in his (unless the House of Commons hapspurs; or where, the mail changing pens to sit late) that the last flush of horses, some one sits up to give the passengers is seen in the streets of guard his glass of rum, no movable London. The forth-rushing multiprobably like a lighted candle is tudes of Covent-Garden and Druryknown to such a community from Lane pass westward, in divisions, by eleven o'clock on the Saturday night King Street and Leicesterfields--eastto six o'clock on the Monday morning. ward, by Catherine Street, the Strand, In London, however, the course of af- and Temple Bar; they are crossed at fairs is widely different. As the broad the points of Blackfriars, and St Marglare of gas drives darkness even from tin's Lane, by the Middlesex-dwelling our alleys, so multitudinous avocations visitors of Astley's and the Circus, keep rest for ever from our streets. and may be distinguished from the By an arrangement the opposite to chance travellers (pedestrians) of the that of Queen Penelope, it is during same direction, by their quick ster, the night that the work of regenera- hilarious mood, and, still more, by tion in our great capital goes on; it that style of shouldering in which VOL. XIV.

3S

Englishmen, when they walk in a citizens into the kennel. This whoop body, always indulge towards the sine by the way prolonged, which invites gle-handed. About this time, too, the MANKIND, as it were, to clear the way, hackney horses put their best feet is, with us, a pure national, and not a (where there is a choice) foremost; local, characteristic. Both high and knowing of old, that, whence comes low affect the practice ; both “ good one lash, there as easily come two. men" and bullies. We have it at OxThe less public and more peaceful dis- ford and at Cambridge, where the tricts of town are next flattered for some gownsmen, if opposed, strip, and buff twenty minutes by the loud knocks to their work like stout “ forty miof coachmen, occasionally commuted rutes" fellows; and again in London, into “ touches of the bell," for the where your flustered haberdasher, afsake of “ the lodgers,” or “ the chil- ter defying perhaps a whole street, at dren,” or, sometimes, “ the old lady last provokes somebody to thrash him, opposite." And before the stroke of and is beat without a blow in his demidnight, in these comparatively paci- fence.

fic regions, the tom-cats and the watch By two o'clock, however, the riota men reign with undisputed sway. ous get pretty well disposed of; some

In the greater thoroughfares of Lon- snug and flea-bitten, in their own don, however, and especially about personal garrets; more (and still fleaFleet Street and the Strand, the tu- bitten) in the compters of the police. mult of evening does not subside so The wickets of the night-houses, after easily. From twelve, by Paul's clock, this, open only to known customers; until after two in the morning, the and the flying pieman ceases his call. Gates of the Temple, and the nooks The pick pockets, linked with the reunder St Dunstan's Church ; the cor- fuse of another pestilence of the town, ners of Bell Yard, Star Court, and are seeu sauntering lazily towards their Chancery Lane; the doors of the lurking places, in gangs of five and Rainbow, the Cock, and the other six together. And when these last minor coffee-houses of Fleet Street, stragglers of darkness have swept over are beset by habitual idlers, or late the pavé, the debris of the evening stirring “professional people,"-meme may be considered as cleared off; and, bers of spouting-clubs, and second except an occasional crash of oysterrate actors, barristers without law, shells cast (maugre Angelo Taylor) and medical students guiltless of phy- from some lobster-shop, or the sbarp sic; besides these, there flourish a set rattle of a late billiard ball echoing of City “choice spirits,” who can't get from the rooms over Mrs Salmon's, so far westas“Pedley's Oyster-rooms," silence, or something like it, obtains or “ The Saloon,” in Piccadilly, but for some brief minutes, while the must take their “lark" (moving home idlers of night give place to the darkwards) between the Adelphi Theatre working men of business. and Whitechapel; and now-and-then, The earliest disturbers of London, perhaps, some grocer of Farringdon until within these few years, were the falls (vino gravatus) into the irregu- market gardeners; who rolled lazily larity of a “ set-to," and pays thirty through the suburbs, about three, with shillings, “making-up” money, to his their filled-up carts and waggons ;Jew-antagonist at St Bride's Watch some “ well to do,” and pompous, bouse, to save a jobation, at Guildhall, parading their four high-fed horses from the sitting Alderman, next day. apiece ; others, poor (and modest,)

This is the very “ witching time," drawing with a single quadruped, par excellence, of night,

and he, God wot, looking as though “ When graves yield up their dead !” stray cabbage leaves were his holiday(because resurrection-men will have fare,—that is, supposing (what is not it so), when lamps are “rified at," supposable) that such a thing as a hoand sots pushed out of public-houses; liday ever happened to him ;-all the and when the sober wayfarer starts, spring vehicles, however, top-heavy ever and anon, at that prolonged Hilly- with baskets of raspberries, strawberoh-ho-ho!- that bellow, as it were, ries, and currants; and followed by crescendo,-peculiar, I think, to the heavier machines bearing gooseberthroats of the English, which frightens ries, or frame potatoes; the cauliwatchmen into their hutches, and quiet flowers, pease, and such more ponderous and plebeian esculents, having all confused, and the stghts all anocreaked into town (as they might) in inalous ;-where the wild laugh of the course of the preceding evening.' revelry, and the low moan of suffer

But two or three mild winters, of ing; the subdued whisper of entreaty, late, in succession, have brought a and the hoarse bark of execration, new article of foreign trade into Eng- mingle, and mix, and blend, and half land. Ice, for the use of the confec- neutralize each other ;-upon this tioners, comes now to us all the way spot, Covent Garden,-jovial Covent from Norway ; where a gentleman, Garden,-the darling haunt alike of we understand, is making arrange folly and of wit,--the great mart of ments to send over even snow, at a all London for oranges, outcasts, and far cheaper rate than it can afford to old clothes, where the jokes are mostfall in this country ;-so that frost, ly good, where the cookery is always in fact, (as regards Great Britain and excellent, where the claret is comIreland) may consider itself dischar- monly the best in England ; and the ged from further attendance ; and, morality never failingly the worst; with the help of a few more devices on this spot, one continued uproar, of in the way of commercial arrange- labour or dissipation, has endured, ment, and perhaps a new improve- without intermission, for nearly a cenment or two as to the application of tury gone by; and here, so long as steam, it shall go hard but we will, London shall keep her holding as a shortly, turn the seasons out of doors city, silence, probably, by night or altogether. And this imported ice, day, shall never find a resting place. (jealous of sunshine) is foremost in But we will tear ourselves from Coour streets now of mornings, moving vent Garden, even in “ the sweet” (as along, in huge cart-loads, from the Falstaff calls it)“ of the night;" for below-bridge wharfs; and looking, as we must take a peep at the other it lies in bulk, like so much conglu- points of provisional concentration tinated Epsom salts.

about town. We must look towards Meantime, the river, above bridge, Cockspur Street, where the hay colis not suffered to lie idle ; but the lects itself, in such quantities, that fruits of Putney and Fulham walk nothing but the stomach of a horse upon the shoulders of porters, from could ever hope to make away with Hungerford and the Adelphi stairs, it. And we must cross, too, into

to the great mart of vegetable matter, Smithfield, where herds of cattle keep · Covent Garden. And upon this spot coming in all night; and where it is

(Covent Garden) which circumstan- amazing how anybody can get a wink ces seem to have erected into a sort of of sleep, for the barking of the dogs, museum for all the varied staple of a and the bellowing of the bulls, and, crowded capital city ; to which all louder than all, the swearing of the the patron friends of all the ills that drovers,-against whom, Heaven, Riscourge mankind, seem to have rush- chard Martin, strengthen thine arm ! ed, with one consent, day and night, Smithfield, however, to be seen to adto hold divan;-where Luxury roams vantage, should be taken, from its gorgeous through her long range of eastern bearing, through the fogs of a lighted taverns, and brims the bowl November morning ; when the lights, with wine, which Discord waits to dash in the west quadrangle, at « The with blood ;-where hunger, squalor, Ram," “ The Goat,” and “The Bull's nakedness, and disease, dance, antic, Head," shew like beacons (though round our NATIONAL MONUMENTS they shine but dimly) amid the total of national wealth and superfluity; darkness on all sides of them; and

where vices, too hideous to be when, looking at the hubbub of trafcontemplated in detail, assert their fic which roars through the outward royalty over us, alike, in every class, street, against the deep, unheeding and every condition ;-blazing, in silence that reigns within the houses, transient lustre, amid the splendid a man might fancy he witnessed the hotels of the Piazza ; starving, in rags, rush of an invading army,or division, (yet scarce more abject) amongst the into a town which the inhabitants had, horrid fastnesses of Bedford Court! the night before, abandoned. Then -Upon this spot, where all things pick your way round (for there is no monstrous are crowded and jumbled venturing to cross,) and peep through together ;-where the sounds seem the steaming window-panes into the parlour of an inn, where graziers and sation; old women make to their resalesmen, in their fantastic, “ auld spective standings with hot saloop and world” dresses-flop-hatted, and top- bread and butter; and presently the coated-booted, and waist-be-girt-- light hung caravans of the fishmongers knee-capped, twenty handkerchiefed, -built at first in imitation of the mud-be-splashed, and spurred-snore, hearses, and now re-imitated into Pador smoke, in arm-chairs; and, between dington stage-coaches-begin to jingle whiles, drive bargains for thousands. along at a trot, by Thames Street, toMark the huge bulk of these men ; wards Billingsgate. their bluff-bearing, and English coun. As the last stars fade in the horizon, tenances. Hark to their deep voices, and the sun coquets with the church strange dialects, and uncouth expres- spires, new actors, in sundry shapes, sion. Then take their attendant des appear upon the scene. Milkwomen, mons—the badged drovers—each his in droves, clank along with their (to goad and cord in hand ; and with garb be filled) pails. The poorer fish deal$0 pieced together, patched, and tat. ers, on their own heads, undertake the tered, that it might pass for the cos. " care of soals.Chimney sweepers tume of any age ; being like the cos- shufile on, straining out a feeble cry. tume of none. Catch the style of the And parties walk home (rather chilly) old-fashioned building before you from Vauxhall, flaunting in satin shoes, with its latticed windows and pent- silk stockings, and ostrich feathers; house roof. Take the low ceiling of stared at now and then by some gapthe sitting apartment, and the huge ing, slip-shod baker, who fetches spring sea-coal fire that glows in it. Take water from the pump to cool his sponge, the figures of the farmers within and looks like the statue in Don Juan, doors, and of the drovers hovering or a sack of flour truant from the without of the gaitered, smockkneading trough ; or hooted by some frocked hostlers, carriers, and car- lost thing, all mad, and pale, and men, of the ragged, patient, wait- ghastly—some creation of gin, and ing ponies--and the still more ragged carmine, and soiled muslin—which and patient sheep-dogs—the most shews by day-light, as a being of other faithful, intelligent, and ill-used be- time and place,--an apparition-a proings of their species ;-take these ob- digy-a denizen of some forbidden jects amid the darkness of the hour, sphere,-a foul lamp, thickly glimand the exaggeration of the fog ; and mering out its dregs, which the sun's then, with a little natural romance, light, by some accident, has omitted and a lively recollection of Shake to extinguish. speare, you may (almost) fancy your Five o'clock, and the world looks as self thrown back into the glorious if stretching itself to awake. Coalrudeness of the thirteenth century, waggons and drays start forth upon arriving from a recent robbery, (ahlo long turns ;" their country intent those indeed were days) rich with the denoted by the truss of hay placed spoils of “whoreson caterpillars ;" and above the load. Butchers step sturdicalling for a light to walk between ta- ly towards Islington or Smithfield. vern and tavern!

Anglers, children of hope! stride fieldBut the sober clearness of a sum- wards with baskets on their backs. mer's morning is no nurse for these And Holborn and Snow Hill are wild fancies. It shews all objects too crowded with pony-carts—(since the plainly and distinctly for picturesque Chancellor of the Exchequer rides noeffect; the true secret of which, lies in thing under fourteen hands)-bearing never exhibiting anything fully, but butter, cheese, poultry, sucking-pork, in shewing just enough to excite the and eggs, from Newgate market to the imagination, and in then leaving it distant parishes of Mary-le-bone and room enough to act. So we will turn Pancras. back from Smithfield, just in the cold Six! and 'prentices begin to rub grey light of daybreak, and cross Hol- their eyes and curse their indentures. born to Chancery-Lane, where the ken- Maid-servants at “the Piccadilly end" nels by this time are overflowing; and of the town, are not bound to stir just rogues, with scoops, are watering the yet; but Russell Square and its de roads ; that is, “ making the dust one pendencies set their spider killers in mud !Now watchmen congregate motion betimes ; for courts of law round posts for a little sober ponver- and counting-houses both sit at nine o'clock; and an advocate in practice tied all, and polished, and returnishof ten thousand a-year, must step into ed, before breakfast. his carriage at five-and-thirty minutes The clock strikes eight; and the past eight in the morning.

night-walker must be seen no more. And now the different shops begin Hurry, and bustle, and breakfast, are to open themselves for action. Our on foot. The milkman cries in haste, friend the baker is first, for he has and yet can scarce make his rounds been up all night, and he is to cool fast enough. Maids with clean aprons his loaves at the open windows as he (and sometimes with clean plates) step draws them froin the oven, Next forth, key in hand, for the morning's comes the pastry cook,-lotting his modicum of fresh butter; and hot remnant of cheese-cake,-selling yes, rolls (walk as you will) run over you terday's dainties at half-price to-day; at every corner. By nine, the clerks and still making money (as it is said) have got down to their offices—the atby the dealing. Then coaches, splash- torneys have opened their bags; and ed and dirty, come labouring into the judges are on their benches,town; and coaches, fresh and clean, and the business of the day in London drive out; and, by this time, the may now be said to have begun; mercers and jewellers set their portals which varies, from hour to hour, as wide, in favour of sweeping, sprink- strangely as the business of the night; ling, and window cleaning ; for the and to the curious observer) presents show glasses (and here again sigh our even a more ample field for speculafriends the apprentices) inust be emp- tion.

Titus.

LETTERS OF TIMOTHY TICKLER, ESQ. TO EMINENT LITERARY CHARACTERS.

No. XI.
To Christopher North, Esq.

THE GENTLEMEN OF THE Press. Dear North,—You have, I sup- Abraham Moore, or the Treasurer, or pose, read over the proceedings of the Ivers from Carlow, or Ings the but. "Times—the bloody Old Times, as Cob- cher. But I own I saw the whole hisbett calls it-against Dowling, com- tory with ineffable delight. It is a monly known among his compeers by glorious light and shadow of pressthe name of Spectacle Dowling, at gang life. After this transaction, the present reporter on the Morning Chrótitle of gentleman is more beautifully nicle. The Gazette of Printing-house applicable to the members of the amiSquare on this occasion obviously de- able and enlightened body. O flesh ! served the sanguinary appellation con- flesh ! how art thou fishified ! Once on ferred on it by the great ci-devant hal- a time we used to be told-I believe it berdier above quoted, for, by the way in was Louis Quatorze himself who first which the business was brought for. said it—that though the King could ward, Dowling's life was aimed at, make a lord, it passed his power to and the “ dirty-faced editors" of the make a gentleman; whereas, now-aTimes evidently looked forward to the days, this being the nineteenth cengratifying sight of a gentleman of the tury, the era of civilization, the epoch press dangling at the end of a rope for of Orator Hunt, Princess Caraboo, the gratification of the plebs of Car Prince Hohenlohe, Princess Olive, Jolisle.

anna Southcote, Ned Irving, Dr Eady, I honestly confess that I know no- the Edinburgh Review, and other great thing of Dowling, whether he is an characters, the existence and success honest man or a rogue, nor do I care, of whom stamp a value on the age, except that, for the sake of general mo- there is not a proprietor of that amalrality, I hope he is the former. If he gam of filth, called a Cockney newswere hanged anywhere in my neigh- paper, who cannot create his gentlebourhood, I should go to his exhibi- men ad libitum, by the simple protion, having a fancy for such specta- cess of paying a few dozen shillings cles. He is nothing to me more than per week, as wages, for retailing the Haggart, or Mother M‘Kinnon, or Parliamentary wisdom of Peter Moore,

« ZurückWeiter »