IX
CERTAIN TRAITS OF THE LONDON SPRINGTIME

THE painting - up which the apartments, as they always call themselves, undergo inside and out, in preparation for the season, is a rite to which all London bows during April as far as it can afford it. The lodging-house may restrict itself to picking out in fresh green its front door and window - frames, or perhaps reddening its area railing; but private houses pretending to be smart clothe themselves from eave to basement in coats of creamy white, or other blond tints susceptible of the soonest harm from the natural and artificial climates of London. While the paint is fresh, or "wet," the word by which you are warned from its contact everywhere, it is undeniably pleasing; it gives the gray town an air of girlish innocence, and, with the boxes of brilliant flowers at every window-sill, promises a gayety which the season realizes in rather unusual measure. It is said that the flowers at the windows must be renewed every month, against the blight of the London smoke and damp, and, if the paint cannot be renewed so often, it is of perhaps a little more durable beauty. For a month of preparation, while the house- fronts in the fashionable streets are escaladed by painters emulous of the perils of the samphire-gatherer's dreadful trade, the air is filled with the clean, turpentiny odor, and the eye is pleased with the soft colors in which the

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