Esoteric London

No. 685: St. Alphage Highwalk, EC2

Posted in Lettering, Transport by esotericlondon on October 12, 2012

St. Alphage Highwalk, London, EC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

The Little World of London; or, Pictures in Little of London Life – Charles Manby Smith, 1857:

[…] the stout dame with the bundle, stops the omnibus, and stumbling hastily into the muddy road drops some halfpence into the conductor’s hand.

“What’s this, marm?”

“Why, the fare – threepence to be sure.”

“Threepence ain’t the fare, and this ain’t threepence. D’ye call that a penny? ’tis only a half-penny as ha’ been run over.”

“O dear me! are you sure it’s not a penny? it’s big enough. I thought your fare was threepence.”

Conductor opens the door and shows the printed table of fares. “You see, marm, it’s fourpence. I want three-half-pence more.”

“O dear, I wonder if I’ve got any more.”

Niobe lays her bundle on the step, and dives into her pocket. First dive, fishes up an enormous pincushion, red on one side and green on the other; dive the second, a pocket handkerchief and a ball of worsted; dive the third, a nutmeg-grater, a nutmeg half consumed, a piece of ginger, and an end of wax-candle, which shows signs of having been on terms of the closest intimacy with a skein of thread; dive the fourth, half of a crumpled newspaper and a lump of gingerbread.

“Come, be alive, marm,” says the conductor; “we can’t be waiting here all day.”

“O dear me, how it does rain! Don’t be in a hurry, my good man – I feel the money now;” and, sure enough, dive the fifth produces, together with a handful of ends of string, reels of coloured cotton, and a tin snuff-box, a couple of penny-pieces. The fare is paid – bang goes the door, and we roll towards the Bank.






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