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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 522 pages of information about David Elginbrod.

BOOK III.

LONDON.

Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers? 
   Oh, sweet content! 
Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed? 
   Oh, punishment! 
Dost thou laugh to see how fools are vexed
To add to golden numbers, golden numbers? 
   Oh, sweet content!

Work apace, apace, apace, apace;
Honest labour bears a lovely face.

     Probably Thomas Dekker. —­ Comedy of Patient Grissell.

CHAPTER I.

Lodgings.

Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly: 
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: 
     Then, heigh ho! the holly! 
     This life is most jolly.

Song in As You Like It.

Hugh felt rather dreary as, through Bermondsey, he drew nigh to the London Bridge Station.  Fog, and drizzle, and smoke, and stench composed the atmosphere.  He got out in a drift of human atoms.  Leaving his luggage at the office, he set out on foot to explore —­ in fact, to go and look for his future, which, even when he met it, he would not be able to recognise with any certainty.  The first form in which he was interested to find it embodied, was that of lodgings; but where even to look, he did not know.  He had been in London for a few days in the spring on his way to Arnstead, so he was not utterly ignorant of the anatomy of the monster city; but his little knowledge could not be of much service to him now.  And how different it was from the London of spring, which had lingered in his memory and imagination; when, transformed by the “heavenly alchemy” of the piercing sunbeams that slanted across the streets from chimney-tops to opposite basements, the dust and smoke showed great inclined planes of light, up whose steep slopes one longed to climb to the fountain glory whence they flowed!  Now the streets, from garret to cellar, seemed like huge kennels of muddy, moist, filthy air, down through which settled the heavier particles of smoke and rain upon the miserable human beings who crawled below in the deposit, like shrimps in the tide, or whitebait at the bottom of the muddy Thames.  He had to wade through deep thin mud even on the pavements.  Everybody looked depressed, and hurried by with a cowed look; as if conscious that the rain and general misery were a plague drawn down on the city by his own individual crime.  Nobody seemed to care for anybody or anything.  “Good heavens!” thought Hugh; “what a place this must be for one without money!” It looked like a chaos of human nomads.  And yet, in reality, the whole mass was so bound together, interwoven, and matted, by the crossing and inter-twisting threads of interest, mutual help, and relationship of every kind, that Hugh soon found how hard it was to get within the mass at all, so as to be in any degree partaker of the benefits it shared within itself.

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