LETTER XXI

THE PARKS OF LONDON - THE POLICE

 

London, June 24, 1845

Nothing can be more striking to one who is accustomed to the little inclosures called public parks in our American cities, than the spacious, open grounds of London. I doubt, in fact, whether any person fuly comprehends their extent, from any of the ordinary descriptions of them, until he has seen them or tried to walk over them...

If we go out of the parks into the streets we find the causes of a corrupt atmosphere much more carefully removed than with us. The streets of London are always clean. Every day, early in the morning, they are swept; and some of them, I believe, at other hours also, by a machine drawn by one of the powerful dray-horses of this country...

I was going through Oxford-street lately, when I saw an elderly man of small stature, poorly dressed, with a mahogany complexion, walking slowly before me. As I passed him he said in my ear, with a hollow voice, "I am starving to death with hunger," and these words and that hollow voice sounded in my ear all day.

I hear it often remarked here, that the difference of condition between the poorer and the richer classes becomes greater every day, and what the end will be the wisest pretend not to foresee.