I Say No HTML version

Book II. In London
Chapter 12. Mrs. Ellmother
The metropolis of Great Britain is, in certain respects, like no other metropolis on
the face of the earth. In the population that throngs the st reets, the extremes of
Wealth and the extremes of Poverty meet, as they meet nowhere else. In the
streets themselves, the glory and the shame of architecture--the mansion and the
hovel--are neighbors in situation, as they are neighbors nowhere else. London, in
its social aspect, is the city of contrasts.
Toward the close of evening Emily left the railway terminus for the place of
residence in which loss of fortune had compelled her aunt to take refuge. As she
approached her destination, the cab passed--by merely crossing a road--from a
spacious and beautiful Park, with its surrounding houses topped by statues and
cupolas, to a row of cottages, hard by a stinking ditch miscalled a canal. The city
of contrasts: north and south, east and west, the city of social contrasts.
Emily stopped the cab before the garden gate of a cottage, at the further end of
the row. The bell was answered by the one servant now in her aunt's employ--
Miss Letitia's maid.
Personally, this good creature was one of the ill-fated women whose appearance
suggests that Nature intended to make men of them and altered her mind at the
last moment. Miss Letitia's maid was tall and gaunt and awkward. The first
impression produced by her face was an impression of bones. They rose high on
her forehead; they projected on her cheeks; and they reached their boldest
development in her jaws. In the cavernous eyes of this unfortunate person rigid
obstinacy and rigid goodness looked out together, with equal severity, on all her
fellow-creatures alike. Her mistress (whom she had served for a quarter of a