Letter from C. S. Peirce to his family
(London, 24.04.1875)

Spanish translation & annotations


We arrived in London on Monday Apr. 19.

We tried to get in at Fenton's but could not and went to the Brunswick House Hotel Hanover Square where we remained a few days till I went to Cambridge on Thursday the 22nd when Zina went to Mr. Burr's American Boarding House 11 Queen Square Bloomsbury, a pleasant & clean place & when I returned on Saturday the 24th we went into lodgings here where I am writing at 3 Bedford Place Bloomsbury Square.

The detailed way in which I write is not to my taste but one must write home and as my letters the last time I was abroad were considered so particularly unsatisfactory I must trudge through descriptions which are commonplace to a degree in my own estimation.

To give one's impressions of London is a particularly futile undertaking. Ideas succeed


one another here with such rapidity that there is hardly time to seize them & to register them would be quite out of the question. Of course the first thing which strikes one in approaching London is the darkening of the light from the smoke. Everywhere in England on the brightest days there seems to be a veil over the sun which is by no means disagreeable but London is decidedly too dark. Very soon another thing strikes one and that is that whenever you have been out for a few hours and take off your hat and look in the glass there is a plain line of demarcation between the clean part of the forehead which the hat has covered and the brown part which has been exposed to London smoke. The next thing which strikes one is the immensity of the city and the enormous throng of vehicles and especially of handsome equipages extending for miles and miles. By the most recent maps I judge that the church of St. Mary Le Bow is still about the centre as it certainly is in the heart of the city. I think Charing Cross is the centre of the Metropolitan district but it is decidedly west of the centre of the paved and closely built parts. Now starting St. Mary Le Bow and going west toward the fashionable dis-


trict, one mile takes you to the middle of High Holborn or to the corner of the Strand and Drury Lane just out of the region of Newspaper offices and the like. Corresponding to Chambers Street New York Only you are to remember that London expands all round the circle and not in one direction only. The second mile carries you through the Strand the region of old shops to Charing Cross and thence half through Pall Mall the region of clubs or up Regent Street to the head of Regent Quadrant or along Piccadilly nearly to the New Burlington house or along Oxford St. not quite to the Bazaar in short to the beginning of the region of the finest shops. Corresponding say to 10th Street New York Only instead of being confined to Broadway they extend all the way from Piccadilly to Oxford Street spread over a surface & not along a line. The third mile would take you a little past the Marble Arch north of Hyde Park or to Sloane Street south of it entirely through Mayfair and Belgravia the very greatest centres of fashion but not beyond the region of great elegance wealth & fashion. Not beyond Earls and Viscounts. Your fourth mile will take you nearly to the end of Hyde park or into the Middle of St. John’s Wood which is not quite different from what it used to be. You are still in the region of large & splendid houses. You have not yet reached the Royal Palace of

Kensington. Your fifth mile take you Landsowne Crescent where I believe Sir James Anderson lives and to Holland House. Still handsome houses but out of the focus of fashion. Your sixth mile takes you to handsome but not pretentious or very costly houses. My banker lives there. No sign of being on the edge of the city and still a good deal of rush in the streets. Had you gone east from St. Mary Le Bow your first mile would have brought you to London docks your fourth mile would not have carried you past them and further than that I don’t know. In the direction of Greenwich I know that it is all built up solid for more than five miles from St. Mary Le Bow and I don’t know how much further probably out to 7 miles. Due North the pavement extends quite as far. But it is not so much the extent of the city as the life and rush of it. In Oxford St. near Regent circus where it is wide enough for five carriages abreast and more than two miles from the heart of the city there is a jam half the time although the rapid driving tends to keep the streets free very much.


We have been to the Zoological Gardens & South Kensington Museum & some galleries. At Cambridge I saw Maxwell & was greatly interested in him and his museum. I also saw Palmer. A gentleman named Gordon a fellow of Caius College gave me an elegant dinner there. I swaped acquaintance with him in McMillan’s book store. I have been to Kew Observatory & have nearly arranged to swing my pendulums there. I have been to Greenwich but did not see Airy. I have been to Casella's & Browning's and that is about all because clothes and such have occupied so much time.

Transcription by Max Fisch (Peirce Edition Project), revised by Sara Barrena
Una de las ventajas de los textos en formato electrónico respecto de los textos impresos es que pueden corregirse con gran facilidad mediante la colaboración activa de los lectores que adviertan erratas, errores o simplemente mejores transcripciones. En este sentido agradeceríamos que se enviaran todas las sugerencias y correcciones a sbarrena@unav.es
Proyecto de investigación "Charles S. Peirce en Europa (1875-76): comunidad científica y correspondencia" (MCI: FFI2011-24340)

Fecha del documento: 8 de mayo 2012
Última actualización: 14 de septiembre 2017
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