Rowlandson-Miseries-of-London1807-w

More Miseries of Modern Life

So many of the world weary observations in James Beresford's brilliant best-seller of 1806 (The Miseries of Human Life, or The last Groans of Timothy Testy and Samuel Sensitive), are applicable today. Take some of his London miseries:

In your walk to the city, with a morning full of pressing business on your hands—to be blockaded by endless files of Charity children ( 3 or 4 schools in the lump), or Volunteers---a fresh-caught thief attended by his Posse Comitatus—the Bank Guard—a body of Fireman in their new dresses --&c &c, who either pin you up to the wall, if you keep the pavement , or compel you to escape them by grovelling through the mud.

Reminds me of the behaviour of tourists on Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon. Plenty of Charity Muggers there too, and also Posses, who might do a lot worse than pin you to a wall…And talking of Oxford Street..

To be persecuted by the whimpering whine of an able-bodied beggar, close at your heels through the whole length of Oxford Street

Then there’s Bonfire Night, aka:

The 5th of November, or the Anniversary of squalling petitions to “ remember Guy Fawx, alias “ Poor Guy”---whom you would most willingly forget for ever , and whose “Plot” you now consider  as by much the most venial part of his misconduct

Regency gigs could be exasperating too:

At a concert, between the acts—after quitting an excellent place on an expedition to the Refreshment Room—finding on your arrival, every table besieged—and on your return the first song, together with all chance of another seat, completely over. [RRR]