V
THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF THE STREETS

THE specialization of those fatuous Orientals, transient as it was, was of far greater duration than that of most individual impressions from the London crowd. London is a flood of life, from which in a powerful light you may catch the shimmering facet of a specific wavelet; but these fleeting glimpses leave only a blurred record with the most instantaneous apparatus. What remains of the vision of that long succession of streets called by successive names from Knightsbridge to Ludgate Hill is the rush of a human torrent, in which you are scarcely more aware of the single life than of any given ripple in a river. Men, women, children form the torrent, but each has been lost to himself in order to give it the collective immensity which abides in your mind's eye.

To the American city-dweller the London omnibus is archaic. Except for the few slow stages that lumber up and down Fifth Avenue, we have hardly anything of the omnibus kind in the whole length and breadth of our continent, and it is with perpetual astonishment and amusement that one finds it still prevailing in London, quite as if it were not as gross an anachronism as the war-chariot or the sedan-chair. It is ugly, and bewilderingly painted over with the names of its destinations, and clad with signs of patent medicines and new plays and breakfast foods in every color but the

-47-

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