Journals 13.2 – Reminiscences of an Idler (Part 2)

Windows into History

This is the continuation of my article on Henry Wikoff’s journal. For the previous part, please see the entry posted on 7th March 2016.

Derby Day Derby Day, as painted by William Powell Frith in 1858.

Wikoff’s first exploration of London was an eye-opener for him, with everything on such a grand scale. He described the city as ‘Broobdignagian’, an adjective referring to the land of giants in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

More bewildering still was the steady oceanic flow of its vast population — the pavements covered with pedestrians, and the roadways filled with ceaseless traffic the livelong day. In this prodigious conflux, this swarming mass of humanity, I dwindled down to the merest pigmy. Let no local magnate, with an immense sense of his self-importance, come to London. The discovery of his insignificance might be fatal…

Comfort, not show — repugnant to English taste — was a leading…

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