“The old rat-man” and his pets find Brighton too dull in the winter, and come up to London for the season, to mix once more in its streets, where all kinds of horses are driven by as great a variety of men, from the pedler to the powdered-wigged coachman. Cable-cars and trolleys would be sadly out of place in London, and horseless carriages would be a calamity. There should be no need to go faster than a horse can trot, and the best way of all is to walk.
3 men raising their glasses to toast the Queen
English-speaking people have been introduced to each other by a long line of clever draughtsmen. They have laughed together about the same people in the truest and sweetest-natured way in all the world. Above all others, one hand awakened the interest resulting in people knowing themselves and others better. The beautiful was safe in that gentle hand. Although the heart that guided it no longer beats, the human interest and kindly feeling that it awakened will live forever, and all the world has placed among the foremost men of his day the affectionately remembered name of George Du Maurier.
The fact that Phil May is a prophet in his own country should alone clear Englishmen of the suspicion that they are slow to see fun. On an Englishman’s love of fair play and good sport no suspicion has ever rested. It is the most attractive thing about him, and it is only natural that the greatest assortment of good-natured people are to be found at the Derby. I had already met them in May’s drawings, and I was prepared to find the good-nature contagious. Last year a party on a coach opposite the Royal box and a policeman, who looked after that particular part of the course, drank champagne out of the same bottle.
At the Savoy
Profile of lady
The “season” begins about the time Parliament opens, and Parliament’s opening and closing depends more or less on fox-hunting and grouse-shooting. As the “season” approaches, town-houses are opened and “green” servants are broken in; secretaries busy themselves with lists and stationery, and the winter campaign begins immediately upon the family’s return to town. As a London house is seldom needed for more than the formal entertainments of a season, it is in most cases hired; consequently, it is seldom attractive. Acquaintances are entertained in the city, and friends are taken into the country to spend the week’s end on the family estate, surrounded by the household gods and the most attractive side of all England.
Man in Top hat
A Drawing-room Tea
A Gentleman at Arms
The bustle and waiting was transferred to the grand hall below, where little olive-skinned Indian ladies of high birth, and famous English beauties whose photographs could be bought on Piccadilly, stood side by side until their carriages stopped the way. Mothers and daughters passed between rows of Yeomen of the Guard to the door, daylight, and the photographers; finally home, where tea is arranged, and friends are gathered to hear about it.
After Presentation at a drawing-room
These rooms are divided by barriers, guarded by gentlemen of the household, which prevents over-crowding. It is an extraordinary sight to see room after room filled with nervous young girls and their more composed mothers sitting in the unbecoming light of an afternoon sun, with white plumes in their hair and the family jewels on their necks. With the exception of a now and then whispered conversation, everything is quiet until the barriers leading into the next room are opened; then a rush follows and small pieces of lace, spangles, flowers, and ostrich feathers are left on the floor. Mothers and daughters are separated. After the confusion of finding each other, all is quiet for another thirty minutes, when a rush for a better place in the next room begins.
At two o’clock the palace gates are open, and the waiting continues in the different rooms above stairs.
On March 11, 1896, the first Drawing-room of that year was held at Buckingham Palace. Through the courtesy of the Lord Chamberlain I was given the entree to the palace on that day. As a Drawing-room is strictly a feminine affair, it matters very little what a man may think about it, for the line points of social advantages and the costly costumes he seldom understands. Apart from the foreign ambassadors, members of the Cabinet and attendants, men are not wanted and are seldom seen. Women go in hundreds, and sit for hours in carriages, extending in long rows down the Mall, while a crowd of curious idlers stare in at the carriage windows, making audible personal remarks. At two o’clock the palace gates are open, and the waiting continues in the different rooms above stairs.
By long odds the best-looking exhibit is to be seen during church-parade. It extends from Hyde Park Corner to Stanhope Gate, and consists of the well-to-do.
Separated from these people by another social gulf, and toward Marble Arch, are the unemployed listening to the park actors and park orators. If you are tall enough to look over the heads of an English crowd you will see in some of these groups strolling players at work. In the centre of one group a short, red-faced park orator declares that a Prime Minister has robbed him.
The old gentleman in the Row undoubtedly first appeared there on Shetland ponies under the watchful eye of the groom. It is not a thing to tire of, and Sunday after Sunday these well-dressed people attend church-parade as seriously as they attend church.
A Constitutional in the Park
An actor in the park
Sunday is Hyde Park’s day “At Home,” and in the shape of a blue sky she sends her invitation to all London, and her popularity is easily shown by the number and variety of her friends. By long odds the best-looking exhibit is to be seen during church-parade. It extends from Hyde Park Corner to Stanhope Gate, and consists of the well-to-do, most of whom probably first came to the park with their nurses and a little later with their tutors, and they now come grown up and with white hair to pay their respects to the good doctor of their childhood. They form what is distinctly a Sunday gathering, and one as serious as a wedding. Seldom a loud voice is heard. There is a feeling of rest throughout the whole scene, and it is impossible to be there without entering into the spirit of it.
In the early part of the day the parks are occupied by very young people; the visitors become older with the day. The nurses and their charges leave, and evening finds an old lady leaning on her husband’s arm, walking slowly along their favorite path, while their carriage follows at a little distance. And as night comes on they roll back into the great city among the never-ceasing tread of feet, past the side-walk artist sitting by his pictures on the pavement, looking anxiously at the passers-by—and the park’s day is done—a curtain of darkness falls on the great stage
A Music Hall audience is the most demonstrative and amusing. It will applaud the longest, hiss the loudest, and sometimes join in the chorus. From the moment the numbers are posted announcing the next turn, it is easy to tell what the performer’s reception will be. On both sides of the orchestra are bars, and when a London barmaid stops work to listen and laugh you may be sure that the turn is a good one. Last winter they paid Dan Leno this compliment. The air is filled with tobacco-smoke, and the calcium-light, on its way from the gallery to the stage, looks like a sunbeam in a dusty hayloft.
The most interesting place of amusement for men is the National Sporting Club. Every Monday night during the winter the sports of London meet there in the same building that Colonel Newcome and his son once left because they objected to Captain Costigan’s song. The Colonel would be more amused there now, well-trained and scientific boxers from all the world meet in a roped-in square, surrounded by an orderly crowd of stock-brokers, bankers, and miscellaneous sporting characters, who wait for the best man to win.
In the 'Whispering Gallery'—A Small Loan
Two men talking
The greatest variety of expressions are to be seen in the audiences that come together at the law courts. There is the never-changing face of the judge, and the ever-changing face of the witness rocking from side to side in his box, and there are the black-robed barristers with small wigs and big fees, and pale law students crowding in at the doors and filling the passage-ways; and in front of the long table that is covered with papers and high hats sit those most interested in what is going on—care-worn parents and women thickly veiled.
A London audience is brilliant. Everyone is in evening dress, and the audience is often more entertaining than the play. This is especially true on a first night.
Nowhere is caste more noticeable than in a London audience. A little board fence divides the ground-floor of a theatre into orchestra stalls and a pit. It would cost you ten shillings less and your social position to sit on the wrong side of this fence. It does not follow that sitting on the right side of it assures your position. But it does give you an uninterrupted view of the stage. No hats are worn, and that alone makes it worth extra charge. There is, in most of the theatres, room for your knees, and in some, additional room for the man who goes out between the acts, and people who arrive after the curtain is up. A London audience is brilliant. Everyone is in evening dress, and the audience is often more entertaining than the play. This is especially true on a first night. At such times the pit is watched most anxiously by the management, as the success of the piece generally depends on their verdict. It has often occurred to me, when I have seen them on a stormy night forming a line on the pavement outside the pit entrance, taking it all seriously enough to stand there for hours before the doors were opened, that by letting them inside the management might improve their spirits, and they in their turn might be more gentle.
Hyde Park Corner
...also the recruiting sergeants, among them Sergeant Charley, the best known of all. He has stood at the corner of the National Gallery for many years, and has probably talked more country boys into Her Majesty’s service, consoled more weeping mothers, and cheered more disappointed maidens than any other man in the British army. There is no better place in which Sergeant Charley can operate than Trafalgar Square—or from which the stranger can begin London