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Water Companies, from a host of pamphlets
pro and con, and from the reports of the
Board of Health, that of the 300,000 houses
of which London is said to consist, 70,000
are without the great element of suction
and cleanliness; I find also that the supply,
such as it is, is derived from nine water
companies all linked together to form a giant
monopoly; and that, in consequence, the
charge for water is in some instances excessive;
that six of these companies draw their
water from the filthy Thames;—and the same
number, including those which use the Lea
and New River water, have no system of
filtrationhence it is unwholesome: that in
short, the public of the metropolis are the
victims of dear, insufficient and dirty water.
Like Tantalus of old they are denied much
of the great element of life, although it flows
within reach of their parched and thirsty lips.
And by whom? By that many-headed
Cerberusthat nine gentlemen in onethe great
monopolist Water Company combination of
London! Unless, therefore, we bestir
ourselves in the great cause for which this
numerous, enlightened, and respectable meeting
have assembled here this day'

' You forget; you have only two listeners at
presentmyself and my spaniel. I can
suggest a more profitable morning's amusement
than a rehearsal of your speech.'


'Your theoretical knowledge is, I doubt
not, very comprehensive and varied. But
second-hand information is not to be trusted
too implicitly. Every statement of fact, like
every story, gains something in exaggeration,
or loses something in accuracy by
repetition from book to book, or from book to

' Granted; but what do you suggest?'

'Ocular demonstration. Let us at once
visit and minutely inspect the works of one of
the Companies. I am sure they will let us in
at the Grand Junction, for I have already
been over their premises.'

' A capital notion! Agreed.'

The preliminariesconsisting of the hasty
bundling up of Mr. Lyttleton's notes for the
morrow's oration, and the hire of a Hansom
cabwere adjusted in a few minutes.

The order to drive to Kew Bridge, was
obeyed in capital style; for in three-quarters
of an hour we were deposited on the towing
path on the Surrey side of the Thames, opposite
the Kong of Hanover's house, and a quarter
of a mile west of Kew Bridge.

'Here,' I explained 'is the spot whence
the Grand Junction Company derive their
water. In the bed of the river is an enormous
culvert pipe laid parallel to this path. Its
mouthopen towards Richmondis barred
across with a grating, to intercept stray fish,
murdered kittens, or vegetable impurities, and
except now and then the intrusion edgeways
of a small flounder, or the occasional slip of
an erratic eelit admits nothing into the pipe
but what is more or less fluid. The culvert
then takes a bend round the edge of the islet
opposite to us; burrows beneath the Brentford
road, and delivers its contents into a well
under that tall chimney and taller iron "stand-
pipe " which you see on the other side of the

' And is this the stuff I have to pay four
pounds ten a year for? ' exclaimed Mr.
Lyttleton, contemplating the opaque fluid; part
of which was then making its way into the
cisterns of Her Majesty's lieges.

' Certainly; but it is purified first. We
will now cross the bridge to the Works.'

Those of my readers who make prandial
expeditions to Richmond, must have noticed
at the beginning of Old Brentford, a little
beyond where they turn over Kew Bridge,
an immensely tall thin column that shoots
up into the air like an iron mast unable
to support itself, and seems to require
four smaller, thinner, and not much shorter
props to keep it upright. This, with the
engine and engine-houses, is all they can see of
the Grand Junction Waterworks from the
road. It is only when one gets inside, that
the whole extent of the aquatic apparatus is

Determined to follow the water from the
Thames till it began its travels to London,
we entered the edifice, went straight to the
well, and called for a glass of water. Our
hostswho had received our visit without
hesitationsupplied us. ' That,' remarked
one of them, as he held the half-filled tumbler
up to the light, ' is precisely the state of the
water as emptied from the Thames into the

It looked like a dose of weak magnesia,
or that peculiar London liquid known as
'skim-sky-blue,' but deceitfully sold under
the name of milk.

'The analysis of Professor Brande,' said
Lyttleton, ' gives to every gallon of Thames
water taken from Kew Bridge, 19.2 parts of
solid matter; but the water, I apprehend, in
which he experimented must have been taken
from the river on a serener occasion than this.
To-day's rain appears to have drained away
the chalkso as to give in this specimen a
much larger proportion of solids to fluids than
his estimate.'

' In this impure state,' one of the engineers
told us, ' the water is pumped by steam power
into the reservoirs to which you will please
to follow me.'

Passing out of the building and climbing a
sloping bank, we now saw before us an
expanse of water covering 3 ½ acres; but
divided into two sections. Info the larger,
the pump first delivers the water, that so
much of the impurity as will form sediment
may be precipitated. It then slowly glides
through a small opening into the lesser
section, which is a huge filter.

' The impurities of water,' said the
barrister, assuming an oratorical attitude, to give