As I stood on the Tower Bridge and gazed across the River Thames at this Tower of London, I lost myself in the sight. Was I still, I wondered, anchored in my own present age, or had I journeyed back to antiquity. It was early winter, and the day was remarkably still. The sky, ashen colored like well-stirred lye, hung low over the Tower. The River Thames, like a dull mass of wall plaster, inched imperceptibly seaward with neither ripple nor sound. A single lighter passed beneath the Tower. Its irregular three-cornered sail, hung out in the still air of the river, was like a white wing suspended in space. Two sculling boats moved upstream. Each had a lone oarsman at its stern, and these boats too seemed loath to advance. A white form flitted about the Tower Bridge balustrade, likely a gull. All before me was still. All was listless, dormant, bearing the weight of the past. Within this scene, projecting its cold disdain for the twentieth century, stood the Tower of London. "Run your steam trains, drive your electric trams. History knows that I alone belong here," it seemed to all but assert. I was impressed anew by its grandeur.
The word "tower" is merely common convention. The construction, in fact, is that of a stronghold with multiple turrets. Its rising turrets are of various shapes, some round and others angular. All elements, though, are of the same cheerless ashen hue, and all seem avowed to perpetuate forever a remembrance of centuries past. If Kudan's Yūshūkan were built of stone, and if one lined up twenty or thirty such structures together, then viewing the collective assembly through a scope, I imagine, would impart a similar impression. I continued to gaze at the Tower. I gazed vacantly through the heavy air, saturated with sepia-colored mists. As twentieth-century London gradually receded from my consciousness, the contours of the Tower rose before, me like an apparition, filling my mind with thoughts of ages past. I was back in a sleepy morning, where vapors rising from tea clip tailing ends off lingering dreams. After a while, a long arm seemed to stretch forth from the far bank and seize me. Stirred from my misty contemplations, I felt compelled to hurry over the river and on toward the Tower. The long arm strengthened its grip. I immediately set my feet into motion and crossed the Tower Bridge. The long arm pulled me forward. Quitting the bridge, I rushed to the Tower gate. I imagined myself a small scrap of iron, adrift in the modern age, drawn down by an ancient magnet, vast in size at twenty five acres. I stepped through the gate and glanced back.