No. 981: St. Martin’s Place, WC2
St. Martin’s Place, London, WC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2013
The Great Metropolis, Vol. II. – James Grant, 1837:
THE STOCK EXCHANGE
Not long ago, a friend of my own, ignorant of the rule so rigidly enforced for the expulsion of strangers, chanced to “drop in,” as he himself phrased it, to the Stock Exchange. He walked about for nearly a minute without being discovered to be an intruder, indulging in surprise at finding that the greatest uproar and frolic prevailed in the place in which he expected there would be nothing but the strictest order and decorum. All at once a person who had just concluded a hasty but severe scrutiny of his features, sung out at the full stretch of his voice, “Fourteen Hundred!” Then a bevy of the gentlemen of the house surrounded him. “Will you purchase any new navy five per cents,* (*It is hardly necessary to say that there is no such stock) sir?” said one, looking him eagerly in the face. “I am not –” The stranger was about to say he was not going to purchase stock of any kind, but was prevented finishing his sentence by his hat being, through a powerful application of some one’s hand to its crown, not only forced down over his eyes, but over his mouth also. Before he had time to recover from the stupefaction into which the suddenness and violence of the “eclipse” threw him, he was seized by the shoulders and wheeled about as if he had been a revolving machine. He was then pushed about from one person to another, as if he had only been the efigy of some human being, instead of a human being himself. He his was all this while down over his face, he having neither presence of mind nor time to restore it to its usual position on his head; but even had it been otherwise, all concern for the hat must have merged in deep anxiety for himself. After tossing and hustling him about in the roughest possible manner, denuding his coat of one of its tails, and tearing into fragments other parts of his wardrobe, they carried him to the door, where, after depositing him on his feet, they left him to recover his lost sense at his leisure. His first feeling on coming to himself again, was one of thankfulness that he had not realised the fate of the frog in the fable which was stoned to death by the boys on the banks of the pond, for no other reason in the world than that of a resolution to gratify their own propensities for pastime. He says he would as soon enter a lion’s den, as again cross the threshold of the Stock Exchange.