TRAVELS IN ENGLAND IN 1782: The Prospect of London.
by Sutton Nicholls, 1753
"We first descried it enveloped in a thick smoke or fog.
The road from
|Viewing Platform at the top|
of the Monument
lst all along, at proper distances, the road was lined with lamp-posts. One thing, in particular, struck and surprised me not a little. This was the number of people we met riding and walking with spectacles on, among whom were many who appeared stout, healthy, and young. We were stopped at least three times at barriers or gates, here called turnpikes, to pay a duty or toll which, however small, as being generally paid in their copper coinage, in the end amounted to some shillings.
At length we arrived at the magnificent
We now drove into the city by Charing Cross, and along the Strand, to those very
|Adelphi Buildings, 1772|
Adelphi Buildings which had just afforded us so charming a prospect on
My two travelling companions, both in the ship and the post-chaise, were two young Englishmen, who living in this part of the town, obligingly offered me any assistance and services in their power, and in particular, to procure me a lodging the same day in their neighbourhood.
In the streets through which we passed, I must own the houses in general struck me as if they were dark and gloomy, and yet at the same time they also struck me as prodigiously great and majestic. At that moment, I could not in my own mind compare the external view of
There are everywhere leading from the Strand to the
It might be about ten or eleven o’clock when we arrived here. After the two Englishmen had first given me some breakfast at their lodgings, which consisted of tea and bread and butter, they went about with me themselves, in their own neighbourhood, in search of an apartment, which they at length procured for me for sixteen shillings a week, at the house of a tailor’s widow who lived opposite to them. It was very fortunate, on other accounts, that they went with me, for equipped as I was, having neither brought clean linen nor change of clothes from my trunk, I might perhaps have found it difficult to obtain good lodgings.
It was a very uncommon but pleasing sensation I experienced on being now, for the first time in my life, entirely among Englishmen: among people whose language was foreign, their manners foreign, and in a foreign climate, with whom, notwithstanding, I could converse as familiarly as though we had been educated together from our infancy. It is certainly an inestimable advantage to understand the language of the country through which you travel. I did not at first give the people I was with any reason to suspect I could speak English, but I soon found that the more I spoke, the more attention and regard I met with. I now occupy a large room in front on the ground floor, which has a carpet and mats, and is very neatly furnished; the chairs are covered with leather, and the tables are of mahogany. Adjoining to this I have another large room. I may do just as I please, and keep my own tea, coffee, bread and butter, for which purpose my landlady has given me a cupboard in my room, which locks up."
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