FATHER THAMES e HIS LIGHTERMEN 305
The whole story is vividly told by Capt. Marryat in his King's Own.
No one can pretend that the Thames below London ls picturesque. Its scenery consists for the most part *f dreary flats and monotonous marshes. But the animated traffic of massive liner and gazelle-like yacht, Af swift Continental steamer and clumsy barge, never 'ails to interest. And to Englishmen it must always be King of Rivers, for
All the proud and dreadful sea And all his tributary streams, A constant tribute pay to thee ; And all the liquid world Is one extended Thames.
I wonder whether it was these lines of Cowley, the City Af London-born poet, which suggested the neat J^tort of Mr. John Burns to an American who had een deriding our Thames by comparison with the great rivers of America. " Sir," he replied, " the St. awrence is water, the Mississippi is dirty water, but ^e Thames is liquid history!" And it was jsl Lord ayor of London who proudly answered his sovereign who had threatened to deprive the city of his royal Presence: "But your Majesty cannot remove the Thames."
Many good stories of the lightermen are told. They are Aften in the path of vessels going up or down the riyer, and are ever ready with a repartee which is good, tf'it is expressed in language which is not. " riVer pilot' are yer?" defiantly asks one, I'm not going to move, even if y'ere the