« AnteriorContinuar »
It is possible that in the present work I may, with some readers, run the risk of forfeiting a portion of that good opinion which has been so kindly and so liberally ^extended to me. There may be those who will think that London sight-seeing is an occupation too light-hearted to be indulged in by an old man, and that I might have employed myself better in attending to things more profitable, and better adapted to my years.
Different people, however, take different views on most subjects. Believing, as I do, that habitual cheerfulness is no unfit attendant on healthy piety; and having, also, a strong impression that a grateful participation of lawful enjoyment is a better expression of thankfulness to the Father of mercies, than a voluntary endurance of unmeaning penances, and useless and unprofitable self-denials; I have thought it not inconsistent with my years and my hopes, to give some account of such places of public interest in London as may be visited by Christian people in their hours of relaxation, without hampering them in their earthly duties, or hindering them on their way to heaven.
Though the grey hair is on my head, and the furrows of time on my brow, yet have I to be thankful for a light foot, a ready hand, a quick eye, and a cheerful heart; and the possession of these blessings, naturally enough, leads me to partake of sunshine, rather than to go in quest of shadows. Most people think that their trials are at least equal to those of their neighbours; and I, too, have thought before now that I have had my share. If, however, my mourning has been great, my mercies have been greater; and seldom do I pass an hour of any day without a halleluia on my lip or in my heart. No marvel, then, that with these buoyant emotions, I should love to go abroad when animate and inanimate creation rejoices; when mankind, in a proper and grateful spirit, keep holiday; and when "the mountains break forth into singing, and the trees of the field clap their hands."
In collecting into one volume my scattered papers on the sights of London, and in adding to them such further information as they appeared to require, I hope not to dissipate the minds of my readers, but, on the contrary, to interest and instruct them. There are some who know less of the things on which I have treated than myself, though many may know more: at any rate, I have persuaded myself that the cheerful gossip and graver remarks of a friendly old man, on subjects interesting in themselves, will not be altogether unwelcome.
To such of my readers as estimate books only in the proportion in which they are likely to do good, I trust it will appear that I have not sought to give pleasure unaccompanied with profit, but