It was one of those mornings when the smoke and the Thames Valley mist decide to work a few miracles for their London, and especially for the oldest part of it, the City, where Edward went to find Uncle Alfred. The City, on these mornings is an enchantment. There is a faintly luminous haze, now silver, now old gold, over everything. The buildings have shape and solidity but no weight; they hang in the air, like palaces out of the Arabian Nights; you could topple the dome of St. Paul's with a forefinger, push back the Mansion House, send the Monument floating into space. On these mornings, the old churches cannot be counted; there are more of them than ever; ecclesiastical wizards are busy multiplying the fantastic steeples. There is no less traffic than usual; the scarlet stream of buses still flows through the ancient narrow streets; the pavements are still thronged with bank managers, office boys, policemen, clerks, typists, caretakers, commissionaires, directors, secretaries, crooks, busy-bodies, idlers; but on these mornings all the buses, taxicabs, vans, lorries and all the pedestrians lose something of their ordinary solidity; they move behind gauze; they are muted; their movement is in slow motion. Whatever is new and vulgar and foolish contrives to lose itself in the denser patches of mist. But all the glimpses of ancient loveliness are there, perfectly framed and lighted; round every corner somebody is whispering a line or two of Chaucer. And on these mornings the river is simply not true; there is no geography, nothing but pure poetry, down there; the water has gone; and shapes out of an adventurous dream drift by on a tide of gilded and silvered air. Such is the City on one of these mornings, a place in a Gothic fairy tale, a mirage, a vision, Cockaigne made out of faint sunlight and vapour and smoke.
(from "They Walk in the City" by J.B.Priestley)