IN LONDON AGAIN.
RETURNING to London, after wandering in the shires, seemed to me like getting home again. A strange feeling this, it may be said, in one who had lived in the great town only a few weeks, and who had never been in England before. And so, indeed, it seemed to me, at first. But, notwithstanding the vastness of London, it impressed me greatly, and I do not know but chiefly, as a collection of homes. It has little beauty; much of it is dull and dingy; more is commonplace, although it may be neither dull nor dingy. There is very little of it that poses itself before you architecturally and asks for admiration. But the whole of it, outside of "the city" proper, from Belgravia to Bethnal Green, has this home-like look. The very shops in Regent Street and New Bond Street and Oxford Street are more expressive of the sense of human habitation than of that of trade and traffic. In part this is due to the comparative lack of display and of staring sign-boards, and the absence of street railways, in which respects the contrast to New York, and to "American" towns which imitate New York, is very marked. But it seemed to me that this home-like homeliness of London (the strange freaks of language make this qualification and distinction possible and apprehensible) was caused by its gradual growth, and by the perma