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[-186-] FOUR P.M.-TATTERSALL'S, AND THE PARK.
WAS there not a time when Hyde Park Corner was the Ultima Thule
of London, and Kensington was in the country ?-when Hammersmith
was far away - a district known only to washerwomen and nursery gardeners - and Turnham Green and Kew were places where citizens
took their wives to enjoy the perfection of ruralisation? Was it not
to the Hercules' Pillars at Hyde Park Corner that Squire Western
sent his chaplain to recover the snuff-box, which the worthy landed-gentleman and justice of the peace had left there when he halted to
bait? Was not Hyde Park Corner a rendezvous for highwaymen,
where they listened with eagerness for "the sound of coaches;" and
parted, some towards Fulham, some towards Hounslow, some towards
the Uxbridge road, where they might meet full-pouched travellers,
and bid them "stand and deliver"? I remember, myself, old Padlock House at
Knightsbride, standing in the midst of the roadway,
like Middle Row in Holborn, or the southern block of Holywell Street [-187-] in the Strand, with the padlock itself fixed in the grimy wall, which,
according to the legendary wishes of a mythical testator, was never to
be pulled down till the lock rotted away from its chain, and the chain
from the brick and mortar in which it was imbedded. The cavalry
barracks at Knightsbride seemed to have been built in the year One,
and we boys whispered that the little iron knobs on the wall of the
line of stables, which are, it is to be presumed, intended for purposes
of ventilation (though I am not at all certain about the matter yet)
were miniature portholes, at which fierce troopers, with carbines
loaded to the muzzle, and ready pointed, kept guard every day, in
order to repel the attacks of the "Radicals." Alack-a-day! but the
"Radicals" seem to be getting somewhat the better of it at this
present time of writing. Kensington High Street seemed to belong
to a hamlet of immense age; the old church was a very cathedral-
built, of course, by William of Wykeham; and as for Holland House,
there could not be any doubt about that. It came in naturally with
the Conqueror, and the first Lord Holland.
Hyde Park Corner before the battle of Waterloo must have been a strange, old-fashioned-looking place. No Apsley House: the site was occupied by the old woman who kept the apple-stall, or the bun- house, or the curds and whey shop, and who wouldn't be bought out, save at enormous prices, by his late Grace, Field-Marshal Arthur Duke of Wellington. No triumphal arch; and, thank good taste, no equestrian statue of the late F. M. Arthur Dux, &c., on the summit thereof. No entablatured colonnade, with nothing to support, towards the Park. No Achilles statue. A mean, unpicturesque, commonplace spot, I take it. What could you expect of an epoch in which the Life Guards wore cocked hats and pig-tails, the police-officers red waistcoats and top boots, when the king de jure was mad, and the king de facto wore a wig and padded himself? A bad time. We have a lady on the throne now who behaves as a sovereign should behave, and London grows handsomer every day.
I declare that it does; and I don't care a fig for the cynics - most of them ignorant cynics, too - who, because they have accomplished a cheap tour to Paris, or have gone half-way up the Rhine, think themselves qualified to under-rate and to decry the finest metropolis in the world. I grant the smoke - in the city - and I confess that the Thames is anything but oderiferous in sultry weather, and is neither so blue nor so clear as the Neva; but I say that London has dozens and scores of splendid streets and mansions, such as I defy Paris, [-188-] Vienna, Berlin, or St; Petersburg - I know their architectural glories by heart-to produce. I say that Pall Mall beats the Grand Canal at Venice ; that Regent Street, with a little more altitude in its buildings, would put the Boulevard des Italiens to shame; and that Cannon Street makes the Nevskoi Perspective hide its diminished head. Some of these days, when I can get that balance at the banker's I have been waiting for so long, I shall sit down and indite a book entitled, "A Defence of London, Architecturally Considered," the which I shall publish at my own expense, as I am certain no publisher would purchase the copyright.
Take Hyde Park Corner. Between the Brandenburg Thor at Berlin and the Puerta del Sol at Madrid, you will not find a gayer, more picturesque, more sparkling scene. Ugly and preposterous as is the man in the cocked hat, who holds the rolling-pin and is wrapped in the counterpane, on the top of the arch, we are not for ever giving ourselves wry necks in the attempt to look up at him; and the arch itself is noble and grandiose. Then, opposite, through the a giorno of Mr. "Anastasius" Hope's colonnade, that supports nothing, you catch a glimpse of the leafy glories of Hyde Park-carriages, horses, horsewomen, Achilles' statue, and all. And again, to the right of the arch, is St. George's Hospital, looking more like a gentleman's mansion than an abode of pails; and to the left the ever-beautiful, ever-fresh, and ever-charming Green Park. And then far away east stretches the hill of Piccadilly, a dry Rialto (only watch it at night, and see the magical effects of its double line of gas-lamps); and westward the new city that the Londoners have built after their city was finished, beyond the Ultima Thule. Magnificent lines of stately mansions, towering park gates, bring us to the two gigantic many-storeyed edifices at Albert Gate, which were for a long time christened " Gibraltar," because they were supposed to be impregnable, no tenant having been found rich or bold enough to "take them." Taken they both were at last, however. The further one, or at least its lower portion, has been for a considerable period occupied by a banking company; while the near one -ah! that near Gibraltar, has had two strange tenants - the representatives of two strange fortunes. There dwelt the Railway King, a gross, common, mean man, who could not spell very well, Rumour said: but to him - being king of iron roads and stuffed with shares even to repletion, such shares being gold in those days, not dross - came the nobles of the land, humbling themselves on their gartered knees, and pressing the earth with their coro-[-189-]neted brows, and calling him King of Men, that he might give them shares, which he gave them. So this gross man was "hail fellow well met" with the nobles, and as drunk at their feasts and they at his, and he sat in the Parliament House, and made laws for us; and when he sent out cards of invitation, the wives and daughters of the nobles rose gladly in the night season, and having painted their faces and bared their necks, and put tresses of dead men's hair on their heads, they drove in swift chariots to Albert Gate, and all went merry as a marriage bell.
"But, hush! hark a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!"
It was indeed the great knell of universal railway smashdom, the St. Sepulchre's boom of found-out humbug. So down went the Railway King, and down into the kennel toppled the iron crown-not so much of Lombardy, this time, as of those Lombards whose arms are three golden spheres. An iron crown to moralise over, that; and of which, as of a red-hot halfpenny, the motto reads appositely- Guai a chi la tocca, " Woe be to him who touches it.
Albert Gate, the near house, yet saw lighted rooms, and great revelry and feasting, and a brave tenant; no other than Master Fialin Persigny, Ambassador of France. Courtly, witty, rosé Persigny Fialin! the nobles and princes were as glad to come to his merry-makings as in the old time, when the now broken-down Railway Stag held high court there. Crafty Fialin I he must have rubbed his hands sometimes, with a sly chuckle, as, from the upper chambers of his splendid house, he tried to descry, far off at Kensington, a now waste spot where once stood GORE HOUSE. And, oh! he must have sung - "What a very fine thing it is to be Ambassador-in-law to a very magnificent three-tailed Bashaw of an Emperor, and to live at Albert Gate." Not so many years since, though, master and man were glad to take tea at Gore House with the beautiful Woman who wrote books, and the handsome Count who painted portraits; when the Bashaw's bills were somewhat a drug in the discount market, and his ambassador did not precisely know how to make both ends meet. All of which proves that the world is full of changes, and that fortune is capricious, and that master and man have made an uncommonly good thing of it.
Don't be afraid of a sudden raid on my part towards the lands that lie beyond Brentford. My present business lies close to Hyde Park Corner, close to St. George's Hospital. We have but to turn down [-190-] Lower Grosvenor Place, and ho and behold, we are at our destination - TATTERSALL'S.
I suppose the British Empire could not progress prosperously without Tattersall's; so, I suppose, we must cry Tattersall's and the Constitution ! Tattersall's and our Ancient Institutions ! Tattersall's and Liberty! And, indeed, of the last there seems in reality to be much liberty, and equality, and fraternity in all connected with horse-racing; and at Tattersall's, though the resort of the most patrician turfites, the democratic element is appreciably strong. So long as both parties pay their bets, dukes and dustmen, Jews and jockeys, seem to meet upon a cheerful footing of "man to man" at this peculiarly national establishment.
The astute prophets who vaticinate in the Sunday newspapers, and u ho never can, by the remotest chance of possibility, be wrong in their calculations, are in the habit of speaking of the sporting transactions at Tattersall's as "Doings at the Corner." I think it would be slightly more appropriate if they were to characterise them as "Doings at the Corners," for of corners, and a multiplicity of them, Tattersall's seems made up. It is easy enough to distinguish the whereabouts of the great temple of horse-racing, for from Hyde Park Corner far down Grosvenor Place, you will find at FOUR O'CLOCK (business has been going on throughout the afternoon), a serried line of vehicles, with the horses' heads towards Pimlico. Equipages there are here of every description and grade. Lordly mail phaetons, the mettlesome steeds impatiently champing at the bit, and shaking their varnished, silver-mounted, crest-decorated harness ; slim, trim, dainty gentlemen's cabriolets (I am sorry to see that those most elegant of private vehicles are becoming, year after year, fewer in number), with high wheels and tall gray horses, and diminutive, topbooted tigers, squaring their little arms over the aprons; open carriages and pairs, with parasolled ladies within (for even rank and beauty do not disdain to wait at Tattersall's while my Lord or Sir John goes inside to bet, and perhaps also to put something on the favourite for Lady Clementina or the Honourable Agnes) gigs and dog-carts, sly little broughams with rose-coloured blinds and terriers peeping from beneath them, and whose demure horses look as though they could tell a good many queer stories if they chose; taxed carts, chaise carts, and plain carts, that are carts and nothing else. I should not be at all surprised indeed to see, some fine afternoon, a costermonger's "shallow", donkey, greenstuff-baskets and [-191-] all, drawn up before Tattersalls, while its red kerchiefed, corduroyed, and ankle-jacked proprietor stepped down the yard to inquire after the state of the odds. There is, you may be sure, a plentiful sprinkling of hansom cabs among the wheeled things drawn up. The Piccadilly cabmen are exceedingly partial to fares whose destination is Tattersall's. Such fares are always pressed for time, and always liberal; and they say that there are few Jehus on the stand between the White Horse Cellar and Hyde Park Corner who do not stand to win or lose large sums by every important racing event.
When you arrive at a building called St. George's School of Medicine, and at the door of which, at most times of the day, you will find lounging a knot of medical students, who should properly, I take it, in this sporting locality, have a racing and "down-the-road" look, but who, on the contrary, have the garb and demeanour of ordinary gentlemen- (What has become of the old medical student whom Mr. Albert Smiths used to caricature for our amusement, with his shaggy overcoat, white hat, lank hair, short thick stick, staring shawl, short pipe, and slangy manners and conversation? Is he extinct as a type, or did he never exist, save in the lively imagination of that popular writer, and whom I hope all good luck will attend?) - When you have passed this edifice, sacred to Galen, Celsus, Hippocrates, and the rest of the Faculty of Antiquity, it will be time for you to turn down a narrow lane, very like one leading to an ordinary livery-stable, and to find yourself suddenly in a conglomeration of corners. At one corner stands a building with a varnished oak door, that does not ill resemble a dissenting chapel with a genteel congregation, and fronting this, screened from the profanum vulgus by a stout railing, sweeps round a gravelled walk, surrounding a shaven grass-plat of circular form. This is the famous "Ring", of which you have heard so much; and the building that resembles a dissenting chapel is none other than Messrs. Tattersall's subscription rooms. Within those to ordinary mortals unapproachable precincts, the privacy of which is kept with as much severity as the interior of the Stock Exchange, the great guns of the turf discharge their broadsides of bets. They do not always confine themselves to the interior, however; but, when the weather is fine and betting hot, particularly on settling days, when there is an immense hubbub and excitement possessing every one connected with the turf, from the smallest stable-boy up to Lords Derby and Zetland, they come forth into the open, and bet round the grass plat. Now cast your eyes to the right (you [-192-] are standing with your back to Grosvenor Place), and you will see a low archway, passing through which a hand points to you the spot where Mr. Rarey, the horse-tamer, had his office ; while on the other side is a counting-house, somewhat dark and mysterious in aspect, where the names and prices of more racers and hunters than you or I ever heard of are entered in Tattersall's bulky ledgers. Beyond the archway stretches a spacious court-yard, the centre occupied by a species of temple, circular in form, with painted wooden pillars and a cupola, surmounted by a bust of George IV. Beneath the cupola is the figure of a fox sedent and regardant, something like the dog of Alcibiades, and looking, in troth, very cunning and foxy indeed. To the right, looking from the archway, are stables, with a covered penthouse in front ; to the left, another archway, with more stables and coach-houses.
Tattersall's is a curious sight at all times, and has something pervading it quite sui generis. Even when the ring is deserted by the gentleman turfites, and when no sales by auction of race-horses, hunters, carriage-horses, carriages, or fox-hounds, are proceeding in the court-yard (the auctioneer's rostrum is close to the king-crowned, fox-decorated temple), there is ample food for observation and amusement in the contemplation of the extraordinary array of hangers-on, who, at all times and seasons, summer and winter, are to be found about the purlieus of the Corner. I do not so much speak of the mere grooms, stable-boys, coachmen, and helpers, who have horses to mind or carriages to look after. You may find their prototypes down every mews, and in every livery-stable. The originals to whom I allude are to be seen only here, and on race-courses, hanging about the grand-stand and the weighing-house. They are entirely different to the nonchalant individuals who, in short coats, and a straw in their mouths, haunt the avenues of Aldridge's Repository, in St. Martin's Lane. They would appertain, seemingly, to a superior class; but from top to toe - laterally, horizontally, vertically, and diagonally - they are unmistakeably horse-flesh loving, and by horse-flesh living, men. It is not but you will find white neckcloths and black broadcloth in their attire, but there is a cut to the coat, a tie to the neckcloth, that prevents the possibility of error as to their vocation. They are sporting men all over. Hard-featured, serious-looking, spare-limbed men mostly, much given to burying their hands in their coat-pockets (never in their trousers), and peaceably addicted to the wearing of broad-brimmed hats. Now, the general acceptation of a [-193-]
FOUR O'CLOCK P.M. : TATTERSALL'S
[-194-] "sporting" man would give him a tall, shiny hat, with a narrow
brim, and considerably cocked on one side; yet I do verily believe
that, were these men attired in buttonless drab, brown beavers,
striped worsted hose, and buckles, that they would preserve the same
sporting identity. They are the wet Quakers of the turf. What the
exact nature of their multifarious functions about horses may be, I
am not rightly informed. I conjecture them to be trainers, country
horse-dealers, licensed victuallers with a turn for sporting, gentlemen
farmers who "breed" a colt occasionally, or, maybe, perfectly private
individuals led by an irresistible penchant to devote themselves to the
study and observation of horses, and led by an uncontrollable destiny
to hang, their lives-long through, about the Corner. Hangers-on of
a lower grade there are in plenty. Striped-sleeved waistcoats,
corduroy or drab cloth smalls and leggings ; nay, even the mighty
plush galligaskins of coachmanhood, top boots, fur and moleskin caps,
sticks with crutches and a thong at the end, to serve, if needful, as
whips; horseshoe scarf pins, and cord trousers made tight at the
knees, and ending in laced.up boots. These-the ordinary paraphernalia of racing attire-are to be met with at every step; while the
bottommost round of the sporting ladder is to be found in a forlorn
creature in a stained ragged jerkin, that once was scarlet, matted hair,
and naked feet. He hangs about the entrance, calls everybody
"captain", and solicits halfpence with a piteous whine. I suppose
he is a chartered beggar, licensed to pursue his harmless mendicancy
here. Perhaps he may have kept hounds and harriers, carriages and horses - may have spent ten thousand a year, gone to the dogs, and
turned up again at Tattersall's. Who knows? You had better give
him the benefit of the doubt, and, commiserating his ragged-robin
appearance, bestow sixpence on him.
Now let us take a peep at the magnates who are jotting down the current state of the odds in betting-books. Look at them well, and wonder. Why, all the world's a ring, and all the men and women in it merely betters. To come more nearly towards exactitude, it seems as though a good portion of at least the male part of the community had sent representatives to Tattersall's, while the genuine sporting element does not seem by any means so strong as you might reasonably expect. The genus "swell", with his long surtout, double-breasted waistcoat, accurately-folded scarf, peg-top trousers, eye-glass, umbrella, and drooping moustache, is perhaps predominant. And our friend the "swell" is indeed a "welcome guest," in the [-195-] "ring," for he has, in the majority of instances, plenty of money, is rather inclined to bet foolishly-not to say with consummate imbecility - so long as his money lasts he pays with alacrity, and it takes a long time to drain him dry even at betting, which is a forcing engine that would empty another Lake of Haarlem of its contents in far less time than was employed to drain the first.
Your anxious sporting man, with lines like mathematical problems in his shrewd face, is not of course wanting in the assemblage. Here, too, you shall see the City dandy, shining with new clothes and jewellery, who has just driven down from the Stock Exchange to see what is going on at "Tat's," and who is a member of the "Ring" as well as of the "house". But those, perhaps, who seem the most ardent in their pursuit of the fickle goddess, as bearing on the Doncaster St. Leger, are certain florid elderly gentlemen, in bright blue body coats, with brass buttons and resplendent shirt-frills, and hats of the antique elegant or orthodox Beau Brummel form and cock.
Such is the outward aspect of the Ring. Into its penetralia, into the mysteries of its combinations, I, rash neophyte, do not presume to inquire. They are too awful for me. I am ignorant of them, nor, if I knew, should I dare to tell them. I should expect the curtain of the temple to fall down and overwhelm me, as befell the rash stranger who ventured to watch from, as he thought, a secure point of espial, the celebration of the mysteries of Isis at Thebes. Besides, I never could make either head or tail of a betting-book. Poeta nascitur non fit, say the Latins. On devient cuisinier mais on nait rotisseur - "One may become a cook, but one is born a roaster," say the French; and I verily believe that the betting-man is to the manner born, and that if he does not feel an innate vocation for the odds, he had much better jump into a cauldron of boiling pitch than touch a betting-book - which theory I offer with confident generosity for the benefit of those young gentlemen who think it a proper thing and a fast thing to make up a book for the Derby or the Oaks, whether they understand anything about the matter or not.
To all appearances, the Ring and the Subscription-room, with the adjacent avenues for the outsiders (you should see the place on the Sunday afternoon before the Derby) are quite sufficient to take up all the accommodation which the "Corner" can afford; but there are many other things done within Messrs. Tattersall's somewhat crowded premises. There is the auctioneering business; the sales, when whole studs are brought to the hammer, and thousands of pounds' worth of [-196-] horseflesh are disposed of in the course of a few minutes. There are the days for the sale of all manner of genteel wheeled vehicles, which have been inspected on the previous day by a committee de haut gout, of which ladies belonging to the elite of fashion are not unfrequently members. For the cream of nobility is, oft-times, not too proud to ride in second-hand carriages.
One more episode of "Corner" life, and I must quit the queer, motley scene. Down below the Subscription-room is another corner occupied by an old-fashioned hostelry, called the "Turf Tap," and here the commonalty of Tattersalls frequenters are to be found at any hour of the day, occupied with the process of sustentation by liquid refreshment. And yet, though the place is almost entirely "used" by sporting men, it has very little the appearance of a "sporting" public-house. No portraits of "coaching incidents," or famous prize- fighters, decorate its walls ; no glass-cases containing the stuffed anatomies of dogs of preternaturally small size, and that have killed unheard-of numbers of rats in a minimum of minutes, ornament its bar-parlour; no loudly-boisterous talk about the last fight, or the next race coming off, echoes through its bar ; and the landlord hasn't a broken nose. The behaviour of the company is grave and decorous, almost melancholy ; and on the bench outside, wary-looking stable-men, and sober grooms, converse in discreet undertone on "parties" and "events," not by them, or by any means, to be communicated to the general public. Tattersall's is a business-like place altogether, and even its conviviality is serious and methodical.
I think I should like to ride a horse and take a turn in Rotten Row, if I only knew how to accomplish the equestrian feat; but I am really afraid to adventure it. There are some people who do things capitally which they have never been taught ; and who ride and drive, as it were, by intuition. Irishmen are remarkable for this faculty, and I do not regard as by any means a specimen of boastfulness, the reply of the young Milesian gentlemen to the person who asked him if he could play the fiddle, that he did not know, but that he dared say he could, if he tried. But I am afraid that the mounting of the easiest-going park hack would be too much for your obedient servant, and that the only way of insuring security, would be to get inside the animal and pull the blinds down ; or, that being zoologically impossible, to have my coat skirts nailed to the saddle; or to be tied to the body of my gallant steed with cords, in the manner practised in the remotest antiquity by the young men of Scythia on their first intro-[-197-]
FOUR O'CLOCK P.M. : THE PARK
[-198-]duction to a live horse, and their commencement of the study of equitation. I passed three days once at the hospitable mansion of a friend
in Staffordshire, who, the morning after my arrival, wanted me to do
something he called "riding to hounds." I said, "Well out of it,"
respectfully declined the invitation, and retired to the library, where I read Roger do
Wendover's "Flowers of History" till dinner time.
I daresay the ladies, who all rode like Amazons, thought me a milk-sop; but I went to bed that night without any broken bones. I
have an acquaintance, too, a fashionable riding-master at Brighton,
a tremendous creature, who wears jack-boots, and has a pair of
whiskers like the phlanges of a screw-propeller. He has been
obliging enough to say that he will "mount" me any time I come
his way, but I would as soon mount the topmost peak of Chimborazo.
I beg to state that this short essay on horsemanship is apropos of Hyde Park and notably of Rotten Row, into which I wander after quitting Tattersall's, and where, leaning over the wooden rails, I contemplate the horsemen and horsewomen caracoling along the spongy road with admiration, not unmixed with a little envy. What a much better, honester world it would be if people would confess a little more frequently to that feeling of envy? For Envy is not always, believe me, grovelling in a cavern, red-eyed and pale-faced, and gnawing a steak sliced off her own liver. Envy can be at times noble, generous, heroic. If I see a gay, gallant, happy, ingenious boy of eighteen, and for a moment envy him his youth, his health, his strength, his innocence, the golden prospect of a sunshiny futurity, that stretches out before him, does it follow that I wish to deprive him of one of those gifts, or that I bear him malice for possessing them? I declare it does not follow. I say to him - I, curve! " Good luck have thou, with thine honour - ride on; and as I go home to my garret, if I envy the bird as he sings, need I shoot him? or the dog as he lies winking and basking in the sun, need I kick him? or the golden beetle trudging along the gravel, need I trample on him? But people cry fie upon the envy that is harmless, and must needs assume a virtue if they have it not; and concerning that latter quality my private belief is, that if Virtue were to die, Hypocrisy would have to go into the deepest mourning immediately.
I am glad to say that I am not by any means alone as I lean over the rails. Whether it is that they can't or won't ride, I know not; but I find myself surrounded by groups of exquisites, who, to judge by [-199-] their outward appearance, must be the greatest dandies in London. For once in a day, I see gentlemen dressed in the exact similitude of the emblazoned cartoons in the "Monthly Magazine of Fashion." I had always, previously, understood those pictorial prodigies to be gross caricatures of, and libels on, at least the male portion of the fashionable world. But I find that I am mistaken. Such peg-top trousers! such astounding waistcoat patterns such lofty heels to the varnished boots! such Brobdignagian moustaches and whiskers! such ponderous watch-chains, bearing masses of coins and trinkets ! such bewildering varieties of starched, choking all-round collars! such breezy neckties and alarming scarves . Ladies, too - real ladies - promenade in an amplitude of crinoline difficult to imagine and impossible to describe; some of them with stalwart footmen following them, whose looks beam forth conscious pride at the superlative toilettes of their distinguished proprietresses; some escorted by their bedizened beaux. Little foot-pages; swells walking three, sometimes four, abreast; gambolling children; severe duennas; wicked old bucks, splendidly attired, leering furtively under the bonnets - what a scene of more than "Arabian Nights" delight and gaiety! And the green trees wave around, around, around; and the birds are on the boughs; and the blessed sun is in the heavens, and rains gold upon the beauteous Danaës, who prance and amble, canter and career, on their graceful steeds throughout the length of Rotten Row.
The Danaës! the Amazons! the lady cavaliers! the horsewomen! can any scene in the world equal Rotten Row at four in the afternoon, and in the full tide of the season? Bois do Boulogne, Course at Calcutta, Cascine at Florence, Prado at Madrid, Atmeidan at Constantinople - I defy ye all. Rotten Row is a very Peri's garden for beautiful women on horseback. The Cliff at Brighton offers, to be sure, just as entrancing a sight towards the end of December; but what is Brighton, after all, but London-super-Mare? The sage Titmarsh has so christened it; and the beauties of Rotten Row are transplanted annually to the vicinity of the Chain Pier and Brill's baths. Watch the sylphides as they fly or float past in their ravishing riding-habits and intoxicatingly delightful hats some with the orthodox cylindrical beaver, with the flowing veil; others with roguish little wide-awakes, or pertly cocked cavaliers' hats and green plumes. And as the joyous cavalcade streams past, (I count the male riders absolutely for nothing, and do not deem them worthy of mention, though there maybe marquises among them) from time to time the naughty wind will flutter the skirt of a habit, [-200-] and display a tiny, coquettish, brilliant little boot, with a military heel, and tightly strapped over it the Amazonian riding trouser.
Only, from time to time, while you gaze upon these fair young daughters of the aristocracy disporting themselves on their fleet coursers, you may chance to have with you a grim town Diogenes, who has left his tub for an airing in the park ; and who, pointing with the finger of a hard buckskin glove towards the graceful écuyeres, will say "Those are not all countesses' or earls' daughters, my son. She on the bay, yonder, is Lais. Yonder goes Aspasia, with Jack Alcibiades on his black mare Timon: see, they have stopped at the end of the ride to talk to Phryne in her brougham. Some of those dashing delightful creatures hare covered themselves with shame, and their mothers with grief, and have brought their fathers' gray hair with sorrow to the grave. All is not gold that glitters, my son."
[nb. grey numbers in brackets indicate page number, (ie. where new page begins), ed.]