Tuesday 15 November 2011

Soot and Shelter

The "Mall" and "Bird Cage Walk" although much altered are still in their general effect, such as you must remember them, with their long rows of elsm which are now in the first freshness of their young green leaves, and which look particularly beautiful contrasted with the stems and branches, that town smoke has made completely black. The leaves, I grieve to say, will soon feel the same influence, and then woe to the inexperienced wight who takes refuge from a pelting shower beneath their branches, for each leaf, as it is struck by a heavy drop, flings out a little sprinke of soot in its rebound, and this descending with the drop that had disturbed it, daubs, with most inhospitable smuts, the shelteree beneath. But even six weeks of London atmosphere, though it does much to spoil the daylight freshness of those trees, does not prevent them from being very beautiful on a moonlight night.

Familiar Epistles from London, Dublin University Magazine, June 1833

1 comment:

  1. Interesting how pollution has changed- the smoke-blackened leaves (and the elms) are a thing of the past, but you'll never see moonlight in a big city now, due to the light pollution. J. Atkinson Grimshaw did some great moonlit paintings of London and Leeds- he showed the moonlight as a kind of eerie green. I suppose that is no more inaccurate than using blue, which is the cliche in cinema.