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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/610

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

what ought in justice to be expected from a force of 400 men, with no extra appropriation, working on 1,415 acres of street in New York, after a snow-fall of eighteen inches?

In London, such snow-storms never occur; but, that the authorities find it difficult there also to keep the streets in that condition of perennial neatness demanded by the press and the public, the following extracts will show:

"There is a natural dowdiness about the streets of London, especially in autumn, which is perhaps incurable. . . . The pavements begin to be deeply smeared with that peculiarly nasty London slime, which can only here be produced in its glutinous and slippery perfection."—("Saturday Review," November 1, 1879, p. 531.)

"The streets of London are being much improved by wood pavement" (they will find this a mistake), "but they are still allowed to remain in a condition of dirt which can not be otherwise than very injurious to the public health. London smells are as objectionable as London noises, and in removing the latter some attempts might with advantage be made at least to diminish the former. This end would in great measure be attained by a proper system of street-cleaning. Under existing arrangements there is no provision for a thorough and periodical cleaning of the roads. They are not even swept, the result being that in dry weather they are littered with refuse and abominations of various sorts, which pollute the atmosphere and fully account for the unpleasant odors which have during the present summer prevailed in the metropolis and been the cause of general complaint. Water-carts are of very little service in washing the streets; they may lay the dust for the time, but they merely transform it into mud without removing it. Heavy thunder-showers exercise a more beneficial effect, but their visitations are uncertain, and the manure they wash into the drains often stagnates in the sewer, and might be turned to profitable account if collected and disposed of. The attention of the vestries has lately been called to the whole question of street-cleaning by the National Health Society, and the sooner some steps are taken to purify out-door as well as in-door London the better."—("St. James's Gazette," quoted in "New York Sun," September 5, 1880. The italics are mine).

The bad odors above mentioned are also referred to in the following extract from the "Lancet" of May 29, 1880: "Attention has at length been drawn in the daily press to the disgusting smells pervading many of the principal London streets at the present moment. A correspondent likens the smell in Victoria Street, Westminster, to that of a charnel-house; and the smell in the Quadrant, Regent Street, on Friday and Saturday last, was so like that of carrion, that we heard the question debated whether it did not come from some open windows in the houses near the spot where it was felt" (sic!), "and might not arise from some, perhaps unknown, can-ion there. But this is not the