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April 27, 1677

Wandering the Dark Streets of London

I awoke this morning having with my humors in a most depressing state. Mostly consisting of black bile, I found myself longing for a trip away from the city, to environs that would help me find a proper balance.

Sentimentality, the most grievous result of bile, had me turn Ajax towards the countryside. Years ago, one could escape the city at a fast gallop in a matter of minutes. Now, I find London sprawling before me, endless and unyielding. Since the Fire, buildings have sprouted up at every angle, with no rhyme nor reason, the exception being Wren’s plan to subjugate all Catholics in the City with the building of his monstrous Cathedral.

It has been whispered that there were better plans for London. More refined company has spoken of wide avenues and graceful laid out in an orderly and agreeable fashion. They speak enviously of Paris, whose beauty surpasses all other cities of the civilized world.  If London is to be remembered in 500 years, it would do well to learn the lessons of its cousin. Every step one takes in that city is a reminder of its past and present magnificence, and that reminder brings with it a calming balm to its citizenry who sleep contentedly in the knowledge that their ideas and dreams are reflected around them.

London, however, remains what it is. While my erstwhile friends might refer to me as a uncouth Irishman who knowledge of cities and their workings could be written on the head of pin, I think if they were to be true to themselves they would admit that their City was little more than a pompous ruffian playing dress up – worse yet – one who is willfully ignoring the chance to better himself.


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