A Few Londonisms
Extract, Miscellaneous, Drollery
Natural History, Sex, Botany, Zoology, Universities, Exploration, Aeronautics
University of London
Repudiates the pleasures of nature in favour of those of Metropolitan life. Observes that no-one 'that has a soul in him' could care about 'the billet-doux which the bee carries from the male ash to the female; the leers and loving looks of a couple of jacks, or gudgeons, or red mullets [...]. Put a hook in the jaws of the rascals; drag them out; bring them to London; send them to school at Bleadon's [possibly an inn or hotel], or to the professor at the proper London University in St. James's-street [possibly a reference to one of the clubs for which that street was celebrated], till they be fit for appearing in genteel-company' (396–97). Advises: 'course over every land; sail over every sea; be frozen with Parry, roasted with Clapperton [...]; be a traveller who has more glory than name; go up in balloons—down in diving-bells; fly over the Alps, or tunnel it under the Atlantic;—why, what do you get by that? Pain—sheer unmingled pain—without an atom of pleasure' (397).
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