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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Observing afresh

Tuesday, October 6th., Victoria Grove, Chelsea. 

At times, and in some fortunate aspects, London will look as quaint, picturesque and mediaeval, as any old-world continental city. But it must be regarded with a "fresh" eye, an eye unprejudiced by custom and associations. When I catch the town in such an aspect, I understand how the inhabitants of these old-world continental cities can be oblivious to the attractions which surround them, as they certainly are, and I suddenly see eye to eye with the appreciative foreigner in London.

Sheep in Green Park
This morning, as I walked through the Green Park in an October mist, it occurred to me that the sheep grazing there, and the soldiers practising flag-signals, would, if seen by me in an unfamiliar city, have constituted for me a memorable picture of pure quaintness. Then, walking in the Strand as the sun overpowered the fog, what mellow picturesque was there in the vista of churches, backed by the roofs of the Law Courts and further away a tower for all the world like the Beffroi at Bruges. Observed five hundred miles away, a scene less striking than this would be one to talk about and grow enthusiastic over, one to buy photographs of ... But it happens to be in London.

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