London's Heart: A Novel

Front Cover
Tinsley, 1874 - Fiction - 332 pages
The scene opens in the locality of Soho--that labyrinth of narrow paths which always wears a depressed and melancholy air, as if it had just gone into mourning. If Soho ever had bright days in the shape of a sunny youth, it must have been very long ago. No trace of them remains; a settled sadness lies upon its queer narrow thoroughfares now and for evermore. The very voices of its residents are more subdued and resigned than other voices are in other places. No locality in London contains so strange a variety of life's phases as may be found in Soho. And yet it is full of mystery, and its ways are dark and secret. Men and women may live there for years, and their antecedents and present modes of life shall be as little known as if they lived in the most remote corner of the earth. Soho is the molehill of the Great City. You may have a thousand pounds a year and spend it in Soho, and your neighbours not only shall not notice it, but shall be as utterly indifferent to you as if you lived on tenpence a day--as hundreds of poor fellows are doing at this present moment. Hard-working mechanics live there; weary-eyed needlewomen; libertines; ballet-girls, whose salary is twenty shillings a week, and who wear furs and false hair and diamond rings; and man-owls, who sleep by day and prey by night.

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