Views a-foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 434 pages of information about Views a-foot.
Following the windings of the narrow river, we passed Sunderland and Tynemouth, where it expands into the German Ocean.  The water was barely stirred by a gentle wind, and little resembled the stormy sea I expected to find it.  We glided over the smooth surface, watching the blue line of the distant shore till dark, when I went below expecting to enjoy a few hours’ oblivion.  But the faithless steward had given up the promised berth to another, and it was only with difficulty that I secured a seat by the cabin table, where I dozed half the night with my head on my arms.  It grew at last too close and wearisome; I went up on deck and lay down on the windlass, taking care to balance myself well before going to sleep.  The earliest light of dawn awoke me to a consciousness of damp clothes and bruised limbs.  We were in sight of the low shore the whole day, sometimes seeing the dim outline of a church, or group of trees over the downs or flat beds of sand, which border the eastern coast of England.  About dark, the red light of the Nore was seen, and we hoped before many hours to be in London.  The lights of Gravesend were passed, but about ten o’clock, as we entered the narrow channel of the Thames, we struck another steamboat in the darkness, and were obliged to cast anchor for some time.  When I went on deck in the gray light of morning again, we were gliding up a narrow, muddy river, between rows of gloomy buildings, with many vessels lying at anchor.  It grew lighter, till, as we turned a point, right before, me lay a vast crowd of vessels, and in the distance, above the wilderness of buildings, stood a dim, gigantic dome in the sky; what a bound my heart gave at the sight!  And the tall pillar that stood near it—­I did not need a second glance to recognize the Monument.  I knew the majestic bridge that spanned the river above; but on the right bank stood a cluster of massive buildings, crowned with many a turret, that attracted my eye.  A crowd of old associations pressed bewilderingly upon the mind, to see standing there, grim and dark with many a bloody page of England’s history—­the Tower of London!  The morning sky was as yet but faintly obscured by the coal-smoke, and in the misty light of coming sunrise, all objects seemed grander than their wont.  In spite of the thrilling interest of the scene, I could not help thinking of Byron’s ludicrous but most expressive description: 

    “A mighty mass of brick and smoke and shipping,
    Dirty and dusky, but as wide as eye
    Can reach; with here and there a sail just skipping
    In sight, then lost amidst the forestry
    Of masts; a wilderness of steeples peeping
    On tiptoe through their sea-coal canopy;
    A huge dun cupola, like a fool’s-cap crown
    On a fool’s head,—­and there is London town.”

CHAPTER VI.

SOME OF THE “SIGHTS” OF LONDON.

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Views a-foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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