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PREFACE.

This book is the product of a good memory, a collection of interesting letters from well-known persons, partly inherited, partly formed by myself, and a few diaries, kept in a vague and desultory fashion.

Whether it was or was not worth writing will soon be known: I thought it was, and I knew that no one could write it so well as myself. Neither, as it seems to me, is there any reason why its publication should be deferred until after my death. I have said in it nothing which I am ashamed of, and I do not think I have said anything absolutely harsh of any person, alive or dead.

It seems to me that it comes fittingly from me now, when I am giving up my London habitation and my London habits. When Dr. Johnson said that a man who was tired of London must be tired of life, because London contained all that made life agreeable, he uttered a sentence more epigrammatic than truthful. Thirty years' experience has taught me what London can and cannot give; and there comes a time of life when fresh air, sunshine, early hours, and a minimum of convivial temptation are important elements as regards happiness and health. To “keep touch” of London is always necessary; to keep house in it after one has lost youth, and what youth brings, is, to my thinking, unadvisable.

Brighton in the winter and the Upper Thames in the summer are good enough for, at all events, one

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1836-1847.

My First Teacher.—My Grandmother.-An Unprofitable Engagement.-

Struggle for Novelty.— Sam Warren.— Buckstone's Dramas.— Buck-
stone's Prices.-Fees Paid Nowadays.—My Preparatory School.-Preju-
dice against Actors.— The Church and the Stage.—Boys' Thirst.—My
Grandfather: Happy Days with him. — Low Tastes.- Newspapers of
those Days.—Spring-heeled Jack.-Noble Escapades. —Notorious Mur-
derers.— Story-telling.— Snuffers, Rush-lights, and Tinder-boxes.— Uni-
forms of Police, Private Soldiers, and Postmen.-Fashionable Costume
of the Period.—Vanished !—Cabs, Omnibuses, and Stage-coaches.—Why
Shave ?—Chimney-sweeps.—Changes in London Streets.—The Farring-
don Range and Mountain-pass.-Ichabod.—I go to Highgate School.—

CHAPTER IV.

THE AMUSEMENTS OF MY YOUTH.

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1847-1852.

In the Alpha Road.-Mr. Edmund Byng: His Liking for Me; his Din-

-"Jim" Macdonald.—John Cooper.— The Cabman's Triumph.-
The Baron.--Almack’s.—Dancing Diversions.—The Adelaide Gallery.
—The Polytechnic.—Laurent's Casino.—The Holborn Casino.—Mott's
and Weippert's.—Vauxhall Gardens: Amusements there; too dear.-
Cremorne.—The Coliseum.-A Small Audience.—The Cyclorama.—The
Diorama.—"The Overland Route."-Burford's Panoramas.—The Chi.
nese Junk. — Celebrities in the Park : Lady Blessington; D'Orsay;

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Louis Napoleon ; Beauties and Beaux.–Park Riders.--Park Whips.-
Social and Political Celebrities.-Eating-houses.—Foreign Restaurants.
- Berthollini's. —“Slap-bangs.” — City Taverns.—West End Restau-
rants. — A Revelation. — “Simpson's.”— Imitations.— Fish Dinners.-
Greenwich Dinners. — Richmond Dinners. — Supper-houses. — Oyster-
houses.- Night-houses.— The Blue Posts.— Bob Croft's.- Gambling-
houses.— French Hazard.— Song-and-Supper Taverns.— The Coal-hole.

-The Cider Cellars.—The “Back Kitchen."— Ross : His Song of “Sam

Hall.”—Evans's.—“Paddy” Green.-A Change for the Better.— The

Annexe.—The Garrick's Head.—The Judge and Jury.—Equestrianism.

-Rowing.-Sparring .

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1851-1863.

My Mother's Disappointment.—Government Service not Incompatible with

Literary Career.—Desultory Reading.–What “the Dear Bishop" would
have said to it.—I Study Macaulay.-And Household Words.—The “Man
in the Moon.”—The Theatrical Critics.—Longings for Fame and Money.
-I read “Pendennis.”—My Fate is Sealed.-Mere Business Aptitude
not Enough.-Composition in Church.—“My Dear Braithren.”—Poem

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