AVictorian

The races at Goodwood mark the end of the Season. Thither go the "Quality" whose residence for a few brief but busy weeks of summer in the capital served to denote that joyous period of the year. Goodwood is Ascot over again, with fewer "citizens," and "alarms and excursions" of the London betting gang, as in the Shakespearian stage directions. There are generally the same horses, the same jockeys, the same sets of "swells," the same smart frocks and bonnets, the same grand array of delicacies and drinks. When Goodwood is over, comes the season of seaside places.

  Praed sings: —
"Good-night to the Season! — the dances,
The fillings of hot little rooms.
The glancings of rapturous glances,
The fancyings of fancy costumes;
The pleasures which fashion makes duties.
The praisings of fiddles and flutes,
The luxury of looking at Beauties,
The tedium of talking to mutes;
The female diplomatists, planners
Of matches for Laura and Jane;
The ice of her Ladyship's manners,
The ice of his Lordship's champagne."

To the majority of mankind, the end of the Season is a matter of complete indifference. If one is obliged to stay in London (as a large number of persons not of the "Quality" are compelled to do), he finds that the streets are quieter, there are not so many men in the club; he can pass Marlborough House, and so into Pall-Mall without being arrested by a crowd of tag-rag and bobtail waiting to see the Prince and Princess of Wales. The nights are not so noisy, the days are less crowded, "our hustling tomorrows," do not hustle each other so rudely, and there is an end of the matter. So writes a philosopher in that admirable journal of social and political philosophy, the Daily News. But to many persons as much outside the pleasures of the Season as any philosopher (and much more so than philosophers who have made their fame, and are "taking their fling"; to many persons the end of the Season means the end of their harvest. The people with the money have gone away. "The cab-tout feels their absence. He leaves the theatre-doors, and prowls about in search of cabs covered with luggage. The hansom cabman will soon abate his pride. For months he has put intending fares through a catechism — 'Where are they going? ' 'Brixton;' Oh, that won't suit', 'and the lordly cabman drives on in a neat new pair of gloves. With the close of the Season he descends from the perish of pride. Instead of superciliously staring at persons who hail him, he hails them. He is anxious to be employed, and no longer picks and chooses. Waiters at the restaurants and hotels are less haughty and more attentive. One may doff his "stove-pipe" or "chimney-pot" hat, and take to mouse-coloured felt without incurring the reproach of the select. It is even permitted to like a bite of a pear in Piccadilly without fearing the "cut direct"of the man one would least desire to meet while in the act of sucking the luscious juice of a "Marie Louise" in the aforesaid aristocratic thoroughfare. In short, the end of the Season brings its delights, its festivities, and pastimes; and perhaps the most delightful of all three is the knowledge that the "greatest swell" may now dress as he likes, walk where he likes (even within the sacred boundaries of the " Row"), eat and drink what, and at the time, and how he likes, and even be seen in the pit of the theatre, or on the "knifeboard" of an omnibus, without loss of caste, or danger of being outlawed.

There is much to be said for late Autumn in London also, when good Dickensy fogs draw a cosy curtain round the windows and make the lights and the fires all the brighter within. There is even more, perhaps, to be said for those evenings of clear-shining after rain when London becomes a place of kaleidoscopic colours and reflections.

Now in the twilight, after rain
The wet black street shines out again ...
And paved with fragments of the skies
Our sooty town like Venice lies ...

Buses (with coloured panes that spill
A splash of cherry or daffodil)
And lighted faces, row on row,
From darkness into darkness go.

O Love, what need have you and I
Of vine and palm and azure sky,
And who would sail for Greece or Rome
When such a highway leads him home?
    ——Alfred Noyes