A Penny ride on a motor-bus will take you from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square, where we begin our eighth walk, along the Strand and Fleet Street.
The Strand was formerly what its name implies, a "strand" along the riverside. But that was centuries ago. Then came the nobles and other wealthy folk who chose the land whereon to build their mansions, with gardens sloping down to the silvery Thames, on which their painted barges lay. To-day the Strand is given up to theatres and variety halls, palatial hotels, and excellent shops. Within the distance of a hundred yards you may buy anything that mortal man may require, or woman either. The Strand is an emporium of the world's products; and the patrol ground of "the" profession, either "resting" or at work. A theatrical manager whom I know always rides down the Strand, to avoid importunate actors.
As you walk eastward from Trafalgar Square you see Craven Street immediately on your right, where, at No. 7, Benjamin Franklin lived for many years. The Charing Cross terminus of the South-Eastern Railway comes next, and in the station yard stands the replica ot the cross which formerly stood in the ancient village of Charing to commemorate Queen Eleanor, whose body rested there on its way to burial in Westminster Abbey. Across the way is the modern version of the Golden Cross, an excellent hotel, outside which Mr. Pickwick had his famous fight with the cabman. George Street, Villiers Street, Duke Street, Buckingham Street recall the unworthy favorite of Charles II, who had a mansion here, the water-gate of which is still to be seen, showing how far the river has receded from its ancient course. On the left you may notice the new premises of Coutts Bank, and on the right is Adam Street, leading down to the Adelphi so named from four enterprising architects, the brothers Adam, who raised the houses as we see them to-day on arches built over the muddy slopes of the river. In a house in Adelphi Terrace died David Garrick the famous actor. The Marconi Wireless Company have their London head-quarters near York Gate.
Passing the Vaudeville and Adelphi Theatres (with Romano's restaurant), you come to the Strand Palace Hotel, an establishment where the rule of "no tips" is actually in operation. It is the fervent hope of Londoners, and Scotsmen in London, that the system will be extended. The handsome court-yard of the Savoy Hotel, with its gilded statue, demands more than passing notice. Next door is the Hotel Cecil, and between them the Savoy Theatre, sacred to the productions of Gilbert and Sullivan. Simpson's restaurant, near at hand, prides itself on its old English fare, and the '"Cole Hole" perpetuates in its name, though in little else, the wine cellars that were once a great feature of Bohemian lite in London. Savoy Street, on the right, leads to the Savoy Chapel, where the conference met for the revision of the Liturgy at the Restoration. The chapel dates back four centuries, and has many quaint features, including a pulpit hour-glass tor measurino; the length of the sermon.
Returning to the Strand and still moving eastward, you come to Wellington Street, leading south over Waterloo Bridge to Waterloo Station, the terminus of the South Western Railway, where boat trains from Southampton and Plymouth arrive. To the north Wellington Street takes you past the Lyceum Theatre, the scene of living's greatest triumphs, and to Covent Garden. Visit Covent Garden in the early morning and you may see the choicest flowers that money can buy in the metropolis; in the evening Covent Garden Theatre, especially if it be a gala night at the opera, offers a brilliant sight which not even Paris could eclipse; and in the wee small hours the place may be given over to the wild revelry of a fancy dress ball.
Further along the Strand from Wellington Street you see the bold, bald frontage of the Gayety Theatre, and next on the right the gloomy portals of Somerset House, where the Inland Revenue has its offices, where births, deaths, and marriages are recorded, and wills are kept. The wills of Shakespeare, Newton, Van Dyck, and Dr. Johnson may be inspected there on payment of a small fee. The church in the middle of the roadway is St. Mary le Strand, where Dickens's parents were married, and in front of which a Maypole once stood. A narrow lane to the south leads to a Roman bath, which has existed there since the Roman occupation of the city. Passing the Gladstone Statue, in front of the Church of St. Clement Danes (where Dr. Johnson worshipped), you see the opening of Kingsway, which was cut through a slum area, and find yourself at the Royal Courts of justice, built at a cost of three million pounds, for accommodating the officers of the law and yet too small tor its purpose. Close at hand is Temple Bar, the city boundary, where the King has still to ask the Lord Mayor's permission to enter the city precincts.
You are now in Fleet Street, the haunt of journalists without number. Every window bears the name of some well-known publication, many of them with "the greatest circulation in the world"; here the Great Public are enlightened on the billion and one subjects that engage their minds. The street has been famous to literature of the press for centuries. The "Cock" Inn is familiar to readers of Tennyson, and memories of Izaak Walton linger round the end of Chancery Lane, where he had his shop. In the neighboring church of St. Dunstan he is also remembered. The arched gateway opposite, under the half-timbered house, leads to the Temple, now the abode of lawyers, once the home of the Knights Templars, whose round church may still be seen. Goldsmith is buried in the Temple churchyard, and for every reader of Charles Lamb the Temple will be rich in memories. Every court, and there are many in Fleet Street, has its history. In Bolt Court Dr. Johnson lived and died; in Gough Square most of his great dictionary was written, and at the "Cheshire Cheese" he and Goldsmith are said to have foregathered in convivial hours, and their seats may still be used by the ordinary diner there. In Gunpowder Alley, off Shoe Lane, Richard Lovelace, who wrote "stone walls do not a prison make," died miserably poor. Milton once lodged in St. Bride's churchyard, and in the church itself Wynkin de Worde the printer and Richardson the novelist lie buried. But we are brought back to modern times by the raucous cries of the "extry speshul," while the extensive offices of Cook's Travel Bureau in Ludgate Circus remind us that we are far from home.