Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gin Lane, London.


They have come from Covent Garden, walking along Henrietta Street and turning into Gin Lane, making for The Strand.  Gin Lane is filthy, dirty gutters, wretched houses with broken windows, ("Beware the slops, Master," says Forlan), windows patched with rags and paper and, out behind, hideous stinking drains and latrines and, behind them, the dark hulk of Newgate Prison. The only building in good repair is the pawnbroker's shop, its windows heavily barred.
A drunken woman sprawls on the pavement while her child picks about in the gutter.  A man fights with a dog for a bone. Old men, drunken, besotted, stagger by.  Wretched, broken-down, miserable women shuffle along.  A group of young men standing on a corner look at Grotius and Forlan, with feral eyes, move forward, but then hesitate.  Grotius and Forlan step round a drunken fight between labourers in the gutter. A man dressed like a parson stands in the middle of an ill-coloured puddle reading loudly from a tattered  bible. 
In a doorway is a group of young women.  
(Extracted from 'the Search for Gabriella.')

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