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you can get an excellent meal at a very reasonable
rate — not the regulation English food, cooked in the
customary brutal British fashion, but a dainty meal
worthy of the Olympian gods — a Chateaubriand or a
filet, a sole Normande, or a turbot au gratin with a


dish of petits pois au beurre, and an artichant a Vhuile.
In the Strand, too, there are a number of excellent
restaurants ; but the best of the estabHshments, take
them all in all, are situated in the Quadrant in
Regent Street Many's the time have I lunched there,
and, in the days of long ago, dined in its upper cham-
bers, in the company of gallant yeomen, brave aquatic
athletes and equally pleasing companions. Much
good music, too, have I heard within its welcome
walls. I may not mention its name, but those who
know it will corroborate me in the estimates I have
formed of its value. May it flourish !


Lunch over, and be ready for a visit to little known
exhibitions and museums. I give a list, and would
like to bet that not a tenth of my readers have been
to one of them, and not a hundredth to all of them.

door to the Royal Academy. Open daily all the year
round. Immensely amusing. All the pictures painted
as gifts to the Academy by recently-elected Academi-
cians and Associates. Some of them will make you
roar with laughter. Pictures by several living artists
intensely funny. In the near neighbourhood the
Gibson collection. A few good Reynoldses and other
British old masters. Altogether the visit will furnish


" instruction combined with amusement," to quote the
phrase associated with the lectures deUvered at the
poor old Polytechnic.

SIR JOHN SOANE's MUSEUM, 1 3, Lincoln's Inn
Fields. — Any number of original Hogarths, worth un-
told gold, and some splendid old Masters. Lots of
curious odds and ends, inclusive of designs for the
National Gallery, with its salt dredger cupola and its
pepper-box towers. Gaining admission will be rather
funny. The public are not allowed to enter on any
Monday, but you can get cards of admission for that
day at the museum from the curator. So, " happy
thought," wake up the curator!

74a, Margaret Street, W. — I daresay a most excellent
collection. I have not the faintest idea what it is

Street, Dean's Yard, Westminster. — Again I daresay
vastly interesting. Never heard of the place until I
found it in Whitaker, which is rather reticent about its
attractions. After giving the name and address, it
adds, with significant brevity, *' Curator, Francis Ford."
The excellent almanack says nothing about the terms
of admission, or gives any further information, so in-
tending Bank Holiday visitors had better look up


the curator. No doubt that presumably excellent
gentleman will be delighted to see them. If after this
suggestion a discovery is made of what on earth is
to be seen in the Royal Architectural Museum in
18, Tufton Street, S.W., this chapter will not have
been written in vain.

When these " monuments " have been done
thoroughly the August reveller might — if he can find
the time — look in at the Royal United Service Insti-
tution in Whitehall, the Museum of Practical Geology
in Jermyn Street, and the Museum of the College of
Surgeons in Lincoln's Inn Fields. All very good
amusement for people who care for plans of battles,
models of coal, skeletons, and similar objects of



By this time lunch will have been forgotten, and
it will be approaching the hour of dinner. Again
discard your club and trust to auxiliary aid. You
can get an excellent meal at the Hotel Metropole at
a reasonable rate ; so you can at the Grand, or the
Victoria. You can dine comfortably at the Cecil or
the Bristol, and there are millions of worse things than
a dinner at the Holborn Restaurant, or at Frascati's,
in Oxford Street. If you like Italian dishes, go to


Privatelli's and Romano's, and if you love fish, visit
Rule's, in Maiden Lane. If you are fond of a quiet
little dinner, try the establishment in Great Portland
Street that Signer Pellegrini (of Vajiity Fair) knew
so well. Or you might look in at Vevey's. There
is also such a hostelrie as the Continental, and the
Carlton, Long's, and the Hummums have all capital
tables d'hote. When one comes to think of it, there
are so many good feeding places in London that the
question is what to give up and what to retain — not
where to dine, but where not to dine. And having
had dinner and spent an hour at the Palace Theatre
afterwards the Londoner tied to town during the
Bank Holiday may contentedly go to bed.




When one of the statutory Bank Holidays of the
year comes round, all the employes of the " money
garneries " take full advantage of their legalised
leisure. But not only these gentlemen are at
liberty, but the thousands, and I may almost say
millions of people whose occupation goes with the
compulsory closing of the pass-books. All the shops
have their shutters up, and were it not that all the
churches remain closed, while all the public-houses
are open, it would be difficult to distinguish Monday
from Sunday. Sir John Lubbock when he obtained
his beatification by acclamation, no doubt little antici-
pated the wide extension of his plan of recreation.
It would be interesting to learn whether the philan-
thropic baronet expected the closing of the banks
to be followed by the suspension of business on the
part of the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick



maker. No doubt, when his Bill became an Act, Sir
John had in his mind's eye the relief of that highly
respectable individual, the " paying-in-clerk." It
would be difficult to imagine a more staid person
than this calm official. Until lately there was a law
in one of the great banking establishments that no
employk of the firm should be permitted to wear
moustaches, and it is not easy to imagine a bank
clerk of any standing wearing knickerbockers and a
pot-hat. No doubt Sir John imagined that the
released toilers of the four statutory holidays would
be of the highly respectable type I have suggested.
As a matter of fact — as all the world knows — the
Bank Holiday has been given over in great part to
that most objectionable individual, the ubiquitous
and unextinguishable " 'Arry." And the presence of
this person renders the enjoyment of a Bank Holiday
almost impossible to ordinary Londoners. And this
being so, it may not be out of place to consider the
means of making the most of the festival 7ninus


And now before considering how a holiday may
be enjoyed without the company of the ubiquitous
one, it may be as well to examine 'Arry as he lives
at the end of the nineteenth century. He is not
altogether a modern creature, in spite of the portrait


that has been painted of him by Mr. Vnnch. " The
Sage of Fleet Street " (to ^\n^ the licensed jester of
the Press one of his favourite titles) has drawn him as
a slangy, pretentious fellow, well up in the politics of
the day, and, in fact, a person of considerable
general information. It is interesting to note that
'Arry is the survival of the snob that Albert Smith
imagined in the pages of The London Charivari long
before Thackeray had seized upon the term and
completely altered its significance. The snob of the
early forties was a quieter specimen of the genus cad
than his descendant 'Arry. He was given to wearing
" loud " costumes, but was dignified rather than noisy.
His one idea was to copy his betters, and as the swell
of the period was celebrated for his gravity, the snob
was sedate, not to say solemn. In the hands of the
explorer of Mont Blanc the little Cockney became
quite a creation. He was, so to speak, too large for
Punchy and expanded into the pages of a supple-
mentary publication. If I am not mistaken, the snob
was the subject of one of those sixpenny books that
Albert Smith brought out shortly after seceding from
the company of 85, Fleet Street, or rather Wellington
Street, Strand. Perhaps my friend Mr. Ashby
Sterry, who is a great authority upon these remark-
able little works, will say his say upon the subject.
Did the author of " The Adventures of Mr. Ledbury "
ever write of " the snob ? " That is the question I



put to the erudite author of " The Bystander.'*
Whether he did or not does not alter the fact that
the snob of the forties was the 'Arry of the nineties
— with a difference. That difference may be aptly
termed a time allowance. Things change and with
them 'Arrys.


It would be a mistake to regard all Bank Holiday
makers as specimens of Mr. Punch's well-known
type. As a rule the " h " less stumpy lad of the
Fleet Street creation is not to be found in excursions
where the British artisan is much in evidence. He is
not particularly fond of the railway, and unless a
local is seldom seen at the sea-side. He appears to
thrive in the London air, and is never so happy as
when treading his native pavements. Occasionally
he takes a trip on board some river steamboat to
Margate, and more recently Boulogne-sur-Mer ; but
for choice he patronises " 'Ampstead 'Eath " or
" 'Appy 'Ampton." He is never so much at ease as
when he is shouting or singing " Down 'Endon Way,"
or doing the forest glades of Easterly Chingford.
He may be found at the music halls and the al fresco
exhibitions. He does not care much for the drama,
and even at " the temples of varieties " prefers the
blandishments of the young lady at the bar to the
vocal charms of the most fascinating of " serio-


comiques." Of one thing Bank Holiday travellers
may be tolerably certain. That nowadays the many
excellent excursions organised by the various railway
companies will be free from the intrusion of this
personal pest. 'Arry has no friends nor relatives out
of London. He is not troubled to go to the north,
south, east, or west in search of kith and kin. So
those who intend to travel to their country places
need have no fear of molestation from " the loud
brigade." The excursionists of to-day may in some
instances be sufficiently homely folk, but they will
be kindly and obliging, and in every sense the
antithesis of 'Arry. So all the Bank Holiday maker
has to do is to avoid the suburbs. To be extra par-
ticular, places whose names are initialled with an
aspirate should be barred. As a matter of fact,
towns commencing with an " H " have a fascination
for 'Arry. Although not loving the sea, he is still
occasionally found at " 'Astings " and " 'Erne Bay."


Strange to say, so far, " 'Arry " has avoided the
stage, or rather, has proved unattractive to the
dramatists. On a first night he is occasionally found
in the front rows of the pit, and joins heartily in the
guffaws which follow a successful attempt to " guy "
some novel production. I do not think he has the


wit to invent those satirical remarks that now and
again serve as an accompaniment to the dialogue of
a play " going badly," but he can always take part
in the merriment with which those comical conceits
are greeted. But, as a character on the boards, he is
distinctly a novelty. Mr. Weedon Grossmith gave
a very amusing sketch of a Jewish 'Arry in one of
Mr. Pinero's clever farces, and Mr. Penley has also
approached within measurable distance of the great
original in another play. But 'Arry pur et simple
(or rather neither) has yet to be introduced to the
patrons of the playhouse. We have had something
very like 'Arriet in various types of female unloveli-
ness, but 'Arry has yet to be painted. It is a pity
that Ibsen knows so little of England. Many of
the characters in his extraordinary plays are not
altogether unsuggestive of the typical Cockney cad.
Of course, the Master Builder is altogether a superior
person, and yet in his selfishness and conceit, his
treatment of his wife, his type-writer, and apprentice
there is some resemblance in his character to the
London pest. Not that 'Arry would have ascended
a steeple with a view to waving a flag. 'Arry, to put
it in his own favourite " lingo," would have " known
a trick worth two of that." Besides, Ibsen's Master
Builder was a man almost past the prime of life. No
doubt he was more accustomed to slippers, dressing-
gowns, and spectacles than steeple-climbing. The


Master Builder was a rather melancholy gentleman
of about fifty-five or sixty. 'Arry never grows a
day older than twenty-five or thirty. When he
marries — ^which he does fairly early — he ceases to
be himself, and becomes unobjectionable. Whether
he marries 'Arriet I know not, but if he does, both he
and she cease to be nuisances and " tone down " into
something quite presentable. So 'Arryism may be
regarded as the attribute of youth if not of beauty.


Still, 'Arry does exist, and is unfortunately en
evidence on a Bank Holiday. He is particularly
fond of the river, and, if the weather be fairly good,
will be found in hundreds and thousands on the
Thames. He is rather amusing — from a distance.
At Kingston there is a charming club on the banks
of the Thames, with pleasant grounds and a well-
appointed house. Before now I have, on a Bank
HoHday, journeyed down to this favourite spot, and
from the terrace have watched 'Arry at my leisure.
I have been amused at his high spirits as displayed
in " larks " on a boat, and have even appreciated his
indistinctly heard harmony. 'Arry is better far
away ; in his case distance certainly lends enchant-
ment to the view. The club to which I refer is
within half-an-hour of town. You can train it or cab


it or coach it. Arrived at your happy retreat, you
can lunch for a florin or dine at three-and-sixpence. .
The wine is good and cheap, and altogether the place
is worthy of patronage. On Bank HoUdays it is
simply delightful. There are very few members
present, so that you can easily escape " the madding
crowd." And here I may express my surprise that so
far ' Arry has been clubless. Why does he not start
a joint-stock palace on the lines set down in Picca-
dilly? It would be a good thing, for 'Arry, once
subject to committee rules, would readily abandon
his most objectionable attributes. Just now new
clubs are rather at a discount, otherwise my sugges-
tion might be valuable. It will be necessary to find
a good name for the ccrcle. How about " The
Imperial " .'* 'Arry is nothing if not patriotic.


In considering the Cockney as a class I have
almost forgotten to suggest a mode of avoiding him
as an individual. I have hinted that clubland is for-
bidden ground (at present) to the successor of
Smith's snob. But there are other places that are
equally sacred. 'Arry avoids a ccrcle because he is
refused admittance ; he does not appear at any of
the museums because he has no inclination. The
young man is nothing if not light-hearted. He likes


the open air, where there is plenty of room for his
pipe, his stick, and his laugh. So if you want to
avoid him on a Bank Holiday you cannot do better
than visit the South Kensington Museum, or the
National Gallery, or St. Paul's, or Westminster
Abbey. Now that 'Arry can no longer inscribe his
initials on the tombs of kings, or the funeral cars of
emperors, he cares not for cathedrals. Now that he
is expected to be silent in a public library, he no
longer haunts the great reading-room of Bloomsbury.
It is quite safe to go to any place of instruction open
gratuitously to the public. The young man will not
be found at the Diploma Gallery, nor the School of
Mines in Jermyn Street, nor even at the Sir Hans
Sloane's Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields, so the
general public may go to those haunts of the learned
in their thousands. If they do, they will no doubt
rather surprise the custodians, inured, as they must
be, to solitude in its simplest form ; but that is a
matter of detail. As for the typical Cockney, he can
go where he will, and no doubt will take full advan-
tage of the privilege. A day devoted to the Diploma
Gallery is not suggestive of the wildest delight, but
it is better than 'Ampstead and 'Arry. At least, such
is the opinion of those who have tried both, and have
no desire to retry either.




No work on London would be complete without some
reference to the manner in which Londoners spend
their holidays. The annual outing is nowadays a
part of town life. The grand tour of the last cen-
tury has become an institution to be repeated more
or less completely every year.


I am not sure that a book devoted exclusively to
the careful consideration of the comfort of travellers
would not be a success. It may be that such a volume
exists. I have certainly one in my mind that ap-
peared some five and twenty years ago (when I had
scarcely parted company with my teens), and which
no doubt is even now obtainable. I refer to " Tracts
for Tourists," by my old and valued friend, Mr. F. C.



Burnand. In this excellent brochure (which, by the
way, was originally illustrated by the late Charles
Keene), the author showed how voyaging in peace
and quietness could be accomplished. In an early
chapter a list of necessaries was given. The traveller
was recommended never to leave London without
putting some panes of glass in his portmanteau, so
that in the event of finding a broken window he
might have the wherewithal to mend it ! From this
it will be seen that Mr. Burnand had thoughtfully
considered even the remotest contingencies. It is
scarcely necessary to add after this reference to its
contents that " Tracts for Tourists," before republica-
tion in volume form, originally appeared in the pages
of Tunch. The author had only recently joined " the
table " under the genial editorship of the late Mark
Lemon. In those distant days he had for colleagues
Thackeray, Shirley Brooks, Tom Taylor, Percival
Leigh, Charles Keene, W. C. Bennett, George Du
Maurier, and John Tenniel. Of all the cheery com-
pany only one remains— the last-named. The original
editor and his couple of successors have passed away,
and Mr. Burnand occupies the chair. He has one
comrade, " good Sir John," the Emperor of cartoonists.
" Tracts for Tourists," in spite of the light strain in
which it is written, contains many a useful hint.



I have mentioned Thackeray, and the name con-
jures up visions of family coaches and postboys.
When the greatest noveHst of the century wrote his
" Irish Sketch Books" his " From Cornhill to Cairo,"
and his " Kickleburys on the Rhine," the thing to
do was to take your landau with you and to trust to
posting horses for traction. Of course, in these days
of railways, when a diligence is almost a curiosity, the
old-fashioned mode of progression to which I refer is
obsolete. Still, there are worse " ways of going " than
coming to town in your own carriage. Some little
while since I was driven from Dover to town in a
landau. The journey took a couple of days, as we
preferred to take it easily. We stopped for the night
at Canterbury. We got over some twenty or thirty
miles in the early morning, and gave the horses a rest
for what remained of the twenty-four hours. This
was a good arrangement for bipeds and quadrupeds.
The first had plenty of time for " doing " the adjacent
country, and the last kept in good condition and en-
joyed the trip as much as their owners. It was neces-
sary to choose the main road as some of the country
lanes were too narrow to admit of the passage of so
large an order as a landau and pair. But granted
this, and the choice of a route was unlimited.


Another excellent mode of travelling by road is on
the saddle of a bicycle or trkycle. Nowadays there
is scarcely a country mn that does not belong to the
ereat wheel union, otherwise the Cycling Tounst
Club " They w.U do you well" wherever you go ;
and here :s a tip. If you do not want to be
cumbered with the small but necessary kit, why not
send it beforehand by parcel post ? At the cost of
a few pence you could despatch your handbag from
.tation to station. No doubt this hint will not be
thrown away upon the knights of the road. This is

a distinct improvement upon the custom of the man

who walked himself and carried his umbrella m a

following hansom.


Perhaps the success of the cycle has made walking
tours completely out of date. A few years ago .
was no uncommon thing for two friends to decide
upon " tripping it on foot" Nowadays they will
arrange to " cruise upon wheels." And here a very
important element m travelling and comfort comes m.
The choice of a companion is a matter of vital im-
portance. Of course, if you are married you can have
no possible pleasanter traveller than your better seven-
eighths This is manifest for many reasons-perhaps
the principal being that any other choice would be


contested by the important fraction referred to. But
say that you are a bachelor, and, consequently, fancy
free, why, then you have to choose a friend. And here
I suggest an a fropos conundrum. When is a friend
not a friend? When he is a fellow traveller. This
is, in five cases out of six, the correct answer. There
is nothing so trying to friendship as the hardships of
a tour. In my time, I have made many a trip with
an intimate friend, and it is my pride and my pleasure
to know that he and I are still, in spite of this com-
panionship, on terms of intimate friendship. But that
our relations are so satisfactory, is, I believe, entirely
due to my tact and good humour. En voyage, I make
tact and good humour the specialites de la maison.

" We will go to Paris," my friend used to say, " by
Dieppe. Capital route, see Rouen, and get to a sta-
tion close to the Boulevards. Cheap too."

" Certainly," I would reply, hating the sea like
poison, and fearful of that possibly dreadful passage
from Newhaven.

A few hours later I would get a telegram, saying
that my friend had decided that we should go via
Dover and Calais. I would joyfully respond, " Why,

" We will put up at Meurice's," my fellow traveller
would suggest when we had got to Amiens. " Old-
fashioned house, capital food, and I like the Rue de
Rivoli better than the Boulevards."


" Quite so," I would respond meekly.

Then when we arrived at the terminus I would hnd
that our luggage had been deposited in one of the
omnibuses belonging to the Grand Hotel.

" You see I think after all it is better than Meu-
rice's," my friend would explain ; " it is nearer the
theatres, you know, and the tahU d^hote breakfast is


I used to acquiesce. Then my companion would
draw up a route. We were to go to Bale, Lausanne,
Berne, Interlaken, Lucerne, and come back express
from Geneva. I would be delighted. However, m
spite of the expression of satisfaction I was not m the
least surprised when, at the end of our trip, I found
that we had avoided Switzerland, and had travelled
exclusively on the Rhine and in Holland.

The golden rule for getting on with a travelling
companion is to submit your will to his. Let him
have his own way. There cannot be two people " per-
sonally conducting a tour," so retire in his favour.

Nowadays it is rather fashionable to be poor, so
there is no disgrace in travelUng " third " in prefer-
ence to "first." I fancy that the French have a
proverb that the premiere classe is only patronised
by millionaires, English, and fools. That occasionally
it is necessary to take the highest-priced ticket goes
without saying. For instance, the administration at
times have a custom of only having first class car-


riages travelling grande vitesse. If you go second
or third you must be satisfied with petite vitesse. The
second choice is tantamount to doubling, or even

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Online LibraryArthur William À BeckettLondon at the end of the century : a book of gossip → online text (page 14 of 19)