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The Suburbs of London

The Suburbs of LondonTHE term “suburban” has always seemed to me to have a peculiarly English meaning. It suggests images that are not apt to present themselves in America. American cities have suburbs; but they have to a very limited extent what may be called suburban scenery. The essence of suburban scenery in the western world is to be straggling, shabby, inexpensive; to consist of rail fences and loose planks, vacant, dusty lots in which carpet-beating goes forward, Irish cabins, lumber yards, and rudely bedaubed advertisements of quack medicines. The peculiar function of the neighbourhood of most foreign towns, on the other hand, is to be verdant and residential, thickly inhabited, and replete with devices for making habitation agreeable. Some of the prettiest things in England and France are to be found in the immediate vicinity of the capitals of those countries. This link for educational purpose only. Please remove file from your computer after familiarization.

The Suburbs of LondonTHE term “suburban” has always seemed to me to have a peculiarly English meaning. It suggests images that are not apt to present themselves in America. American cities have suburbs; but they have to a very limited extent what may be called suburban scenery. The essence of suburban scenery in the western world is to be straggling, shabby, inexpensive; to consist of rail fences and loose planks, vacant, dusty lots in which carpet-beating goes forward, Irish cabins, lumber yards, and rudely bedaubed advertisements of quack medicines. The peculiar function of the neighbourhood of most foreign towns, on the other hand, is to be verdant and residential, thickly inhabited, and replete with devices for making habitation agreeable. Some of the prettiest things in England and France are to be found in the immediate vicinity of the capitals of those countries. There is nothing more charming in Europe than the great terrace at Saint Germain; there are few things so picturesque as Richmond bridge and the view thence along either bank of the Thames. There are certainly ugly things enough in the neighbourhood of London, and there is much agreeable detail to be found within an hour's drive of several American towns; but the suburban quality, the mingling of density and rurality, the ivy-covered brick walls, the riverside holiday-making, the old royal seats at an easy drive, the little open-windowed inns, where the charm of rural seclusion seems to merge itself in that of proximity to the city market—-these things must be caught in neighbourhoods that have been longer a-growing.Murray (of the Hand-Books) has lately put forward a work which I have found very full of entertaining reading: a couple of well-sized volumes treating of every place of the smallest individuality within a circuit of twenty miles round London. The number of such places is surprising; so large an amount of English history has gone on almost within sight of the tower of the Abbey. From time to time, as the days grow long, the contemplative stranger finds a charm in the idea of letting himself loose in this interesting circle. Even to a tolerably inveterate walker London itself will not appear in the long run a very delightful field for pedestrian exercise. London is too monotonous and, in plain English, too ugly to supply that wayside entertainment which the observant pedestrian demands. The shabby quarters are too dusky, too depressing, English low life is too unrelieved by out-of-door picturesqueness, to be treated as a daily spectacle. There are too many gin-shops, and too many miserable women at their doors; too many, far too many dirty-faced children sprawling between one's legs; the young ladies of the neighbourhood are too much addicted to violent forms of coquetry. On the other hand, the Squares and Crescents, the Roads and Gardens, are too rigidly, too blankly genteel. They are enlivened by groups of charming children, coming out to walk with their governesses or nursemaids, and by the figures of superior flunkies, lingering, in the consciousness of elegant leisure, on the doorstep. But, although these groups—-the children and the flunkies—-are the most beautiful specimens in the world of their respective classes, they hardly avail to impart a lively interest to miles of smoke-darkened stucco, subdivided into porticoes and windows. The most entertaining walk, therefore, is a suburban walk, which will introduce you to fewer butlers and footmen, but to children as numerous and as rosy, and to something more unexpected in the way of architecture.

Book year:

Book pages: 40

ISBN: 1530524164

Book language: en

File size: 1,009.64 KB

File type: epub

Published: 31 July 2020 - 13:00