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Monday, August 28

An American in Regency England: From Richmond to Hyde Park Corner

From 1809 to 1811, Louis Simond, a French emigre who lived in America, spent 21 months in England. He chronicled his trip in journals, which he published as The Journal of a Tour and Residence in Great Britain.

I have in my possession a copy of his book, which has been retitled "An American in Regency England." Occasionally, I will post Simond's observations, as they seem as fresh now as the day he recorded them.

"January 11.--We arrived yesterday at Richmond. This morning I set out by myself for town, as London is called par excellence, in the stage-coach, crammed inside, and herisse outside with passengers, of all sexes, ages, and conditions. We stopped more than twenty times on the road--the debates about the fare of way-passengers--the settling themselves--the getting up, and the getting down, and damsels shewing their legs in the operation, and tearing and muddying their petticoats--complaining and swearing--took an immense time. I never saw any thing so ill managed. In about two hours we reached Hyde Park corner; I liked the appearance of it; but we were soon lost in a maze of busy, smoky, dirty streets, more and more so as we advanced."

Click here to find the Royal Parks, including Hyde Park and Richmond Park.

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