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Faces and Places

Sir Henry W. Lucy

Book Overview: 

Faces and Places is a collection of articles on nineteenth century travel, events and personalities by the British journalist Henry Lucy, who wrote for the Daily News, a London newspaper. His open letter To Those About to Become Journalists rings as true today as when it was written.

The first article, “Fred” Burnaby, includes a lively account of a balloon trip, while Night and Day on the Cars in Canada and Easter on Les Avants relate Lucy’s experiences of rail travel at that time. Other travel tales (A Night on a Mountain, Mosquitoes and Monaco, and Oysters and Arcachon) provide an insight into the Victorian Englishman’s attitude to Europe.

Three of the pieces, With Peggotty and Ham, A Cinque Port and Christmas Eve at Watts’s, concern the county of Kent, where Lucy had a country house. Christmas Eve at Watts’s contains an interesting exposé of Dickens’ short story The Seven Poor Travelers.

Other articles are of historical interest: A Wreck in the North Sea is an account of the wreck of the ship “Deutschland” in 1875; A Historic Crowd describes the massive popular interest in the 1871 trial of the Tichborne Claimant; The Battle of Merthyr contains an eye-witness account of the Merthyr Riots of 1831; The Prince of Wales paints a portrait of the future King Edward VII.

Lucy, who also wrote as “Toby, M.P.” for the satirical magazine Punch, loved to poke gentle fun, particularly at the establishment, and this is especially evident in A Peep at an Old House of Commons.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The Prince is a Peer of Parliament, sits as Duke of Cornwall, and
under that name figures in the division lists on the rare occasions
when he votes. When any important debate is taking place in the
House, he is sure to be found in his corner seat on the front Cross
Bench, an attentive listener. Nor does he confine his attention to
proceedings in the House of Lords. In the Commons there is no more
familiar figure than his seated in the Peers' Gallery over the
clock, with folded hands irreproachably gloved, resting on the
rail before him as he leans forward and watches with keen interest
the sometimes tumultuous scene.

Thus he sat one afternoon in the spring of the session of 1875. He
had come down to hear a speech with which his friend, Mr. Chaplin,
was known to be primed. The House was crowded in every part, a. . . Read More

Community Reviews

An informative and (at times) entertaining variety of essays and articles by the acclaimed British political journalist Henry W. Lucy. A skilled wordsmith, the author combines sensitive descriptive passages with humorous anecdotes and poignant observations. Topics range from international travel to