AB'S FIFTH LETTER TO HIS WIFE CONTINUED.
"MISS KITTIES " AND RAPIDS.
I NEVER wur so
loth at leeavin a shop as I wur when we left owd Roslie's. Everythin
wur so nice and quiet, an' dreamy. Somebody said it wur like "lotus
atin," tho' what that is I dunno' know, as I never tasted any. I
think th' house, an' th' londlort must have had summat to do with
it, becose after Niagara there's nowt to be seen outside. No bits o' neezlin country like "Daisy Nook;" nor wild, tumblin mooreland like
"Bill's o' Jack's." Booath Ameriky an' Canady are short o' that, or
they're so far out o'th' road o' one another. O about Niagara for
miles is as flat as owd Thuston's "five acre." But there must be a
ridge or two somewheere—happen thousands o' miles away, for t' bring
as mich wayter t'gether as would drown o England, Scotland, an'
Wales, besides makkin pigs an' potatoes very scarce i' Paddy's-land. Little as there is to be seen after th' Falls, an' th' river, I mun
say ut I strapped my bag wi' a heavy heart that 15th o' May, when
we'rn gettin ready for crossin Lake Ontario, an' on to Quebec; a
passage that would tak us two days an' two neets, if we didno'
break our journey at Montreal. Owd Roslie went with us to th'
station, for t' see us off; an' th' partin wur like a feyther sendin
four of his lads off to some war or other. I noticed that he'd summat under his arm ut wurno' exactly like a pair o' shoon; an'
when he honded it into th' car we fund it wur a bottle o' brandy.
Another an' another shakin o' honds, an' again we'rn rowlin past
miles o' ugliness i'th' shape o' snake fences; an' thousands o'
acres o' lond ut no mon could swing a scythe on for stumps o' trees
an' boother stones. We seeted Lake Ontario about twelve o'clock,
after we'd passed Hamilton; an' I thowt surely we'd gettin to th'
sae-side, it's sich a size; an' yet it's leeast o'th' four lakes ut
are drained into th' St. Lawrence. We could see ships on it wi' ther
white sails, lookin as busy among it as if they'rn floatin about th'
Bell Ship, outside Liverpool. About one o'clock we rowled into
Toronto, wheere we'd another sniff o' that cuss o' any country
wheere folk are born wi' noses, petroleum. Lors a-me, how we'rn
poisent! We didno' think at stoppin at Toronto for moore than a
halt, till we fund it out we couldno' get on as we wanted. Ther no'
boat across th' lake till Monday, an' this wur Setturday. We should
ha' to string up our clooas-line till Sunday wur o'er. We bundled of
to Queen's Hotel, wheere ther one comfort—we hadno' to goo upstairs
to bed, an' th' weather wur gettin above warm.
Queen's Hotel, Toronto (ca. 1856-1927).
Source: City of Toronto Archives.
I rayther liked Toronto. Th' streets are moore like what we seen i'
Manchester than any we'd met wi'; an' th' folk, somehow, wur of a
gradlier pattern than any we'd seen sin we left Paterson. Th' women
wurno' so mich like paesticks as they are i' New York; an' th' owd
fashint sort o' slippers an' white stockins could be seen anywheere. If we hadno' to walk upo' plank "side-walks," an' could ha' yerd a
bit moore English spokken, I should ha' thowt we'd bin i'th' owd
Hardly knowin what to mak our time away with, as we hadno'
calkilated upo' stoppin theere, we thowt we'd do a bit o' sailin on
th' lake. So we'd six cents apiece wo'th on a steeamer, after lunch,
an' sailed to an island ut they co'en th' "West Point." But th' sail
I'd a bit of an exparience afore I geet on board
again ut I didno' expect, an' I'm sure never bargained for. We'rn
watchin th' marlockin of a racoon ut wur cheeaned to a stump, when o
at once Will o' Jimmy's gan a jump, an' off he darted, shoutin—"Yo'n
be bitten to deeath; yo'n be worried." What with? I wondered. Th'
racoon couldno' get to us; an' if it could I should hardly ha' thowt
ther any worryin power about it. I looked for snakes, but could see
no signs o' one o' thoose pleasant companions about an' lions an' tigers wur out o' question.
"What is there?" I shouted, when he'd stopped. Th' tother chaps
could see nowt, noather.
"Miss Kitties," he shouted back.
"Wheer are they?"
"Thou'rt among 'em now."
Whether Miss Kitties crawled or flew I'd never read, nor bin towd;
so at fust I looked about my feet, expectin to see summat about th'
size of a frog. But seein nowt theere I looked up, as ther mit be
summat about th' size of a wasp buzzin about. I could see nowt
nobbut a cloud o' midges theere. But Sammy o' Moses's had his
fingers in his neckhole; an' ther one or two beside him wur doancin
about. He must ha' catcht one, or elze one had catcht him.
"I see nowt nobbut these midges," I shouted to Will.
"Thou'll feel summat e'ennow," he shouted back. "They'n gi'e thee
midges, if thou'll be hard."
An' they did. Ther one geet howd o'th' back o' my ear, an' fairly
twisted me round. I feel sure it sent its gimlet reet to th' booan
fust delve. I slapt my hont upo' th' spot in a crack, but could feel
nowt. It must ha' struck its borin machine so far into my neck
timber that th' little dule's body, wings an' o, must ha' gone with
it. I'd very nee as lief have a hummabee drillin holes int' my husk
as one o' these Miss Kitties. Thou "guesses" reet—I did gie mouth
above a bit, for this one I felt wurno' th' only hand on th' job. Ther two or three coome a-helpin him; an' th lot on 'em wur workin
piecewark. Ther others had kest anchor i' my companions' necks; an'
they'rn talkin blue leetenin as weel as me. We cleared away fro'
that spot i' double quick time; an' we took care it should be th'
A blanket-jumper is a great neet disturber, an' an enemy to dreeams. Sometimes one 'll put th' stopper on a neetmare. Then it's o' some sarvice. But these Miss Kitties are as bad as th' neetmare, for they
carryn a band o' music wi' em, an' never stoppen playin till they'n
buried their instruments in a piece o' fresh beef. Then they're so
fond o' fire they'n ate a lamp leet up before thou could blow it
out. I're towd a tale about two Irishmen i' Newark ut slept t'gether,
when they could sleep, an' they're so bitten they could hardly get
their clooas on. Someb'dy advised them t' go to bed without lamp,
becose wheet a leet wur th' little varmints would come i' clouds. They took th' advice, an' one neet they groped their road upstairs,
an' into their chamber. Before gettin i' bed they oppent th' window,
so ut if there wur any Miss Kitties on that particular huntin-ground
they'd have a chance of gettin away. These chaps had hardly getten
under cover when they yerd th' band comin, hummin away like fifty
peg-tops. This visit they didno come by theirsels. Ther a regiment
o' leetenin-bugs wi' em, flashing about like Billy. One o' th'
Irishmen seeing these, roars out to th' tother, "By jabers, Mick,
but the little divvels are bringing their own lanthruns wid 'em!" As th' Yankees say'n about a spree, they'rn havin a
hee owd time on't.
I'm just thinkin, Sal, ut if a woman had as mich stingin power, i'
proportion to size as a Miss Kitty has, a lot o' chaps would be
peggin off to oather one wo'ld or another, an' no' gi'e theirsels
time to look their clooas up, or calkilate what th' journey would
cost, or whether ther a chance of a sattlement.
Th' Canadians are like th' Yankees, they takken a great pride i'
their buryin greaunds. They never seem to be happy till they'n
getten someb'dy under th' clod. Then dunno' they show off? Nowt no
commoner than white marble. An' if there's a nice spot o' ground anywheere they're dot it o'er wi' moniments
whether any-body dees
or not. An owd bachelor ut's nob'dy to rejoice o'er, and spend moore
dollars than tears on, buys a "lot" for hissel; puts his own
moniment up; an' gets so used to gooin a-lookin at it, an' comparin
his show wi' thoose of his neighbours, that he actily thinks he's
I've bin led to think this by a pleasant droive we had after we'd
londed fro' th' lake. It wur a nice bit o' country just outside th'
city. Th' grass wur actily green; an' ther even green hedges. It wur
as mich different to bein upo' th' island as our house would be if I
showed thee a suvverin after thou'd thowt I'd spent it.
"Thou'd hardly think ther a bit o' country like this outside
Toronto," Sammy o' Moses's said, as we trotted on. "Speshly after
what we'n seen on th' lake."
"Nawe," I said, "it's very nee as nice as some parts o'th' owd
country. I'll be bund t' say we shall see a cemetery afore lung."
"That's just what we shall," Sammy said, "we're at one now," an' he
pointed out o' his side o'th' "buggy" to a place ut wur fairly
snowed o'er wi' marble.
I dunno know how it comes about, but we go'en into these places wi'
a different feelin to what we carryn with us into an owd English
churchyard, when th' bell's towlin; an' there's some owd grey planks
lyin about among grayer stones that are worn wi' feet an' time; an'
shattered urns that han crumbled till their shape is lost. I' one o'
these cities o' polished marble we feel'n as if we're lookin round a
waxwork show, wheere ther nowt nobbut royal families in, an' thoose
o donned i' white. What a blessin it must be to be deead wi' o this
grandery about 'em! I'm no' quite sure that it's th' gradely thing
to be done, spendin th' lot o' brass ut these moniments must cost,
just for th' pleasure o' thinkin "Jake Peabody's owd whiteweshed
chimdy-pot is nowheere at side o' mine." Flowers are th' fittest
companions for thoose we liken ut we con keep no longer; an' moore
likely than stones to be brushed wi' an angel's wing.
Sunday dragged heavily o'er. It wur too dusty to goo out mich, an'
too wet to keep wakken in a church, as thou knows how soon I goo
o'er if thou doesno' keep shakin me, or givin me pinches. So I spent th' afternoon chiefly i' hangin my legs off th' pier, an' lookin at
th' boat ut I thowt I should ha' to ride an' sleep in th' day after,
obbut it wurno' it. When that geet too dull I watched 'em unload
baggage at th' hotel, an' wur curious to see whoa it belonged to. I
seed one name ut's weel known i' Manchester. It wur "Furneaux
Cooke," th' actor. I think it wur checked on to Montreal. When I
could find nowt elze to get time on with I wrote to thee.
Monday mornin we'rn up as soon as th' sparrows, gettin ready for a
bit moore emigration. We'rn for off now to th' tether end o'th'
lake. What bustlin ther wur when th' owd rapid-shooter, "Corsican,"
drew up to th' pier, or, as some co'en it, th' wharf, an' th'
gangway wur flung out. We'd a sort o' companions I'd seen noane on
before, gradely red Indians; noane o' yo'r common black niggers. Fine lads they wur, too. I didno' like havin mich o' nowt to do wi'
'em, as I'd read about 'em whippin th' middle tuft of a chap's
toppin off afore he knew wheere to scrat when th' place itched. Their talk to one another sounded to me summat like French, tho' it
mit ha' bin Welsh for owt I knew. But they could spake English as
weel as I could; becose one on 'em axt me for a match as plainly as
if thou'd bin axin me for a shillin. He talked quite civil, too; an'
I could hardly think he're one o' thoose ut could creep at th' back
of a chap like a cat, an' tommiawk him in a snifter. But he hadno'
his war paint on; an' that happen made th' difference.
Ther one owd squaw among 'em wi' a face about th' size an' shape an'
colour o' that pon thou boils plums in at pursarvin time. Hoo're a
gradely owd blossom, an' spent th' mooest of her time wi' nussin a
"papoose," ut I dar'say hoo're th' gronmother to. An' Indian nussin
is different to any thou sees i' our fowt now-a-days. No wheelin 'em
about while they lookin through shop windows, an' run among folk's
legs, but havin 'em aulus with 'em, as if they didno' want to get
rid on 'em, or wanted 'em to take care o' theirsels.
Sailin on Lake Ontario wur just like bein on th' sae an' I sometimes
thowt I're gooin whoam to thee, ut made me feel melancholy. We'rn out
o' seet o' lond directly, but we kept puttin in at places, looadin
an' unlooadin, ut kept us fro' being deead alive. When we geet among
th' "Thousand Islands" things began to be a bit moore lively, for
they aulus a bit o' nice lond to look at. Beside, it wur like playin
at "hide an' seech," speckilatin which o'th' gaps th' boat would go
through. Then we'rn aulus shootin through bits o' rapids, till we
geet Lachine; then everybody wur towd to look out. Th' captain had
getten his spy-glass to his e'e, an' wur lookin o'er th' wayter for
"It'll be a job for us if th' owd Indian doesno' turn up," a chap
said to me, ut I'm sure wur fro' th' owd spot.
"What Indian?" I axt him.
"Indian John, the pilot," he said.
"Why, what is there to pilot for?"
"Th' Rapids. If he doesno' come an' steer us we're lost. Nowt could
save us. We shall be dashed on th rocks. He's noane i'th' seet yet."
Then someb'dy shouted out—
"Thoose ut care about their clooas strip."
Well, whether I're lost mysel or not I didno' want my clooas to be
spoilt; so I'd prepared for th' wo'st. I'd just getten my jacket
off, an' wur mutterin a word or two about thee, when ther a shout
set up. Ther a little boat i'th' seet; an' it wur comin to'ard us. Th' captain's face breetened up; an' ther a bit o' a stir gooin on. Th' owd Indian pilot wur rowin to our salvation. "Here th' owd lad
is," an' not a minit too soon. He's on board, an' up aloft i'th'
steerin box. Four strong chaps han howd o'th' wheel; an' th' owd
Indian's een are pointed at summat; an' when I looked i'th' same
direction I could see th' wayter boilin up like an egg pon when th'
egg's brokken. Everybody wur as quiet as if ther some leetenin flyin
about, an' they didno' know which it would strike. Then th' engine
stopped, ut made things moore fearful. What, are we goin to be boilt
i' that hole? Th' owd Indian's een are fixed theere yet, pointin
to'ard that boilin wayter like th' muzzles of a double-barrel gun. We're sinkin. Th' nose o'th' boat's gooin down, an' th' heel's gooin
up. "If ever yo' prayed i' yo'r lives pray now," someb'dy shouts. I
took his advice, an' said summat about thee. It's o'er wi' us. We're goin like leetenin,—cleean on a rock; an' th' next minit we shall
be—Nob'dy taks their wynt. Crash!—Nawe, we'n just missed it; an'
Sammy o' Moses's said—
"Ab, thou'll live to plague that best friend o' thine a bit longer. We'n shot th' Rapids."
Return thanks for th' safety o'—Thy lucky yorney. AB.
AN OLD BATTLEFIELD.
LET me give our
friend Ab a brief holiday,—lay him comfortably on the lounge in the
grand hall of the Ottawa Hotel, while he gets over the almost
tropical heat, and the effects of climbing over too many "stone
fences," when nothing but the stars ought to have been shining.
"I'm done up," says the philosopher of Walmsley Fowt, as he rakes a
debris of broken ice from among his hair gradely done up. "Sammy,
here, says it's stone fences ut han done it. But I know a good deeal
better;—it's th' weather. I'm sure I conno' stood it mich longer.
I'm gooin as fast now as a candle on a fender. If it keeps this road
another day there'll be nowt left on me but a parchment bag full o'
booans. Wheere's Sammy?"
"Getting ready for a drive over Mount Royal."
"What; that hill wi' o that brushwood on it?"
"That hill that appears to be covered with trees."
"An' how con yo' get up it? Yo' mit as weel talk about droivin o'er
Pots an' Pon's, i' Saddlewo'th."
"There is a road winds round to the top, about six miles in length. We can reach it that way."
"Well, goo an' wind round it; an' have yo'r yure brunt off yo'r
yeads; I'm for stoppin wheere I am. Is there any moore ice about? I
could do wi' tuppin my yead again a whul berg."
"Go into the barber's shop, and be shampooed. That will cool your
"Ay, an' goo whoam wi' a toppin as clear as if a red Indian had bin
tamperin with it. Nawe, not me. I tried a dose o' that i' New York,
an' I thowt he wouldno' ha' left as mich yure on my yead as would
ha' done for tuftin a shuttle. Another skeawer like that, an' our
Sal wouldno' know me when I geet whoam. Nawe, I'll be as I am, an'
weather it out. Oh, for a Niagara, an' another owd Roslie!"
Taking up the pen at the point where our friend has laid it down, I
must take the reader along the St. Lawrence, and on to Montreal. Here two of our party left us to proceed by rail to New York, the
rest having resolved upon a few days' tour through lower Canada. We
had on setting out purposed "striking" Montreal for a couple of
days' stay; but finding there was a steamer going down to Quebec,
and ready to depart, we boarded her at once, and were immediately
under way. After sailing three hundred and fifty miles, and spending
two days and a night on board, we had now before us a night voyage
of an additional hundred and eighty miles. Rather taxing one's power
of endurance after nine days' ocean sailing, a night on the Hudson,
and a memorable journey on the Erie Railroad. But, with all its
perils and inconveniences, river travelling, both in America and
Canada, is by far the pleasantest and cheapest way of seeing the
country. We have neither the dust nor the draughts to give as a most
trying discomfort; and we can walk about at will, and refresh when
The sun was preparing for its seeming rest as we steamed away from
the wharf at Montreal; and a sunset in these regions of water is
something to behold. It is far more imposing than when seen on land;
and the twilight appears to hold out longer. The changing colours of
the sky were remarkable in their transition from orange to amber;
and then to a bright light green that darkened into a sombre grey,
ushering in the night, and the stars. The lights from the fishing
boats, and the numerous lumber rafts that brightened up the shore
line, were pleasant company after other objects had disappeared; and
they caused us to linger on the deck till those of the passengers
who had not engaged "state rooms," were laid and posed in all kinds
of postures among the freight; reminding us of a similar experience
on our way from Albany to Rochester.
When we turned in upstairs we found we had the saloon to ourselves,
with the exception of a steward, and a couple of stewardesses; all
of whom I took to be quadroons. The latter were the most ladylike,
and pleasantly spoken, of any we had met; no matter what colour. Their appearance and demeanour struck our friend Ab; and quite
reconciled that worthy to their claim of brother and sisterhood with
the stuck-up whites. He would have a word of observation before we
retired to our berths.
"I consider, Sammy," I heard him saying to his other friend, "ut
these two women are quite as good as thoose we makken wives on
i' our country."
"An' why not?"
"Ay, that's what I'm gooin to say. I'm sure they'r a deeal better lookin than some I know; I meean i' sich like looks as belong to
their behaviour. What their Maker has gan 'em they conno' help. An'
how nicely spokken these are! I wonder how they'd goo on if their husbants went whoam about hauve past eleven at neet, wi' one cooat
lap torn off, an' his hat like an owd pair o' ballis."
"They'd happen no' talk so nicely then."
"Well, it's likely that would raspen up their tongues if owt would. I wonder sometimes, Sammy, if we dunno' do a bit wrong to our wives;
an' it's that ut causes th' bit o' roughness ut polishes our ears up
when we should be asleep. Thoose women happen never sitten ov a neet
grinnin at four or five cinders i'th' bars o'th' firegrate while
their husbants han bin singin i' some alehouse nook, an' shakin honds about every two minits, as if they hadno' seen one another for
years. I'm feart we'n a good deeal to onswer for, Sammy." These
remarks by our friend Ab sent us to bed thinking.
Although the state rooms on these river boats are exceedingly small,
the berths are ample and commodious; and the bedding, in this
instance, as well as in most others, could not be surpassed for
cleanness and comfort. I never rested better than I did on these
boats; not even at that time of life when we have no anxieties about
the morrow; and did not live in fear of what the next post might
It was calm and peaceful rest that brought a streak of sunshine
through the window ere it could possibly be past midnight. Another
wink or two, and there was a hurrying to and fro of noisy feet; the
engine was motionless; and then came a knock to our stateroom door.
"We want your tickets, gentlemen."
How is that, so early? Hallo! Why, we are moored along the wharf at
Quebec; and the famed "Heights of Abraham" are—no, not frowning
down upon us, for the sun is throwing too much light on the face of
that sky-kissing fortress to say otherwise than that it smiles. I
may have taken that impression from the circumstance that there are
to be great doings there in a few days; and that the old French city
is now putting on its holiday attire. How is it that there is such
bustle in the streets? Why are the military galloping about from
place to place? Why so many flags flying? And why such a buzz of
Canadian-French in our ears? Don't we know; and Englishmen too? Don't we know that on the 24th of May, 1819, Princess Victoria, now
queen, was born? We did not happen to remember it at the time. Are
we not aware that on the anniversary of that day the people
throughout the Dominion hold holiday? Certainly not. Astonishing! We Britishers, countrymen of our Sovereign, not only do not celebrate a
national event, but actually do not remember when that event takes
place; whilst here, an alien race, speaking a language that to us is
"downright Greek," make general holiday on the occasion of an
English monarch's birthday. Verily we "aire" a strange people! I did
not hear this said, but the words passed through my mind.
Having run the gauntlet of a crowd of clamouring porters that make
prey of disembarking passengers, and nearly devour them by their
importunities, we made straight for the St. Louis Hotel, where we
put ourselves up for the day. But no rest was there to be for the
soles of our feet. We had barely housed our baggage, and refreshed
our bodies, when we were climbing the Heights, and entering the
square of the Citadel. Over these all but impregnable defences we
were conducted by a private of the garrison, who very civilly and
instructively pointed out to us the principal objects, historical
and military, to be seen there. From the battery we had a bird's-eye
view of the opposite shore of the St. Lawrence, which is one of the
most picturesque and magnificent sights in the world. I speak
advisedly when I make this assertion, as the statement is backed up
by authority that it would be rash to challenge. For miles in front
of us, and on each hand, on the sloping bank of the river, rise
terrace above terrace of glittering white villas, sleeping among low
clumps of forest growth, like eggs dropped in nests of bright and
leafy green. Stretching our gaze on that peaceful and lovely
prospect, it was not difficult to forget that we were in the
vicinity of military turmoil, with my hand resting on a cannon's
mouth, and in view of the field where the bloodiest and most
decisive battle of the frontier wars was fought. There Wolfe and Montcalm staked empire on the fight, which the former won, but at
the price of his life.
Having feasted the eye, though not to satiety, on a scene that can
never be forgotten, we had a drive about the city. It could not be
with feelings otherwise than patriotic that we approached the
monument erected on the "Plains of Abraham," to the memory of
General Wolfe, and which marks the spot where the gallant soldier
fell. It is a plain unpretending column, on the base of which is
inscribed the following—
"HERE DIED WOLFE, VICTORIOUS, SEPTEMBER 13, 1759."
After dinner we drove to the "Falls of Montmorenci," about nine
miles from Quebec. This is one of the sights of a country that
appears to be richer in tumbling waters than America; for, after
sharing Niagara with the States, Canada has of its own the famous
cataract we were now visiting, as well as the "Falls of Lorette,"
which we intended seeing on the morrow; and the Falls and Rapids of
the "Chaudiere," on the Ottawa. On the road we saw that which we
might look for in vain in the eastern States of Yankeeland. We had
to pass through several small villages scattered here and there by
the wayside; the habitations of the dwellers therein, with fewer
exceptions than are worth naming, being picturesquely constructed,
and to appearances, very neatly kept. All of them had gardens either
at the front, or behind, with what struck me as being potato "patches" in the farther rear. In nearly all these, women with broad
backs, and faces that bespoke their Indian origin, were hard at
work; delving and hoeing, with strong limbed and strong minded
purpose. Only fancy a Yankee "gal" doing that! "Yaas, and one of
your tarnation Britishers," brother Jonathan might retort. Young and
old, it mattered not, their hands found work to do; and they were
doing it with a right good will. They just raised their heads as we
passed, their dark piercing eyes peering from beneath their hats or
sunshades, with mingled looks of curiosity and good humour. We
supposed their husbands, or brothers, or fathers, were employed on
the farms; and had left to these amazons the work of providing for
the necessities of the kitchen.
I am afraid the further we go away from the confines of savage life,
the less we become fitted for duties that are quite as essential to
domestic comfort, or a nation's well-being, as the strumming of a
piano; but are regarded as only suitable for a very low order of
beings to perform. I am not quite sure that we can all be ladies and
gentlemen in the way the terms are popularly understood, and the
world go jogging on, as if the fields would cultivate themselves,
and the harvests be gathered in by means of lessons in Greek, or
afternoons spent in games of lawn tennis. Somebody will have to
plough and harrow and cook and bake, irrespective of the size of
gloves they take, or whether their tailoring is supplied by Regent
Street or Shudehill. Otherwise to the "demnition bow-wows" we must
go; and before long.
We came upon the Falls of Montmorenci as we did upon those of
Niagara, without any very remote indication of their whereabouts. We
were inclined to ask our driver if he was not going wrong; or was
quite sure of the way. He at last pulled up at the door of an
hostelry situated in a picturesque glen, from which we could hear a
faint brawling sound wafted by the wind in musical cadences through
a fringe of forest. Our hostess pointed out the way we had to go;
and, after a few minutes' walk, we were at our destination.
The Montmorency Falls, Quebec.
There is more of the pretty than the stupendous in these falls—well,
we think so after Niagara; but when we consider that the water leaps
in an unbroken sheet into a depth of 250 feet, scattering clouds of
spray about till it is rendered dangerous to descend the wooden
stairway that leads to the bottom, it would be accounted a grand
sight if it was washing some ledge of rock in the old country. We
were told that, during one severe winter, this magnificent cascade
was fixed by the frost as if the whole sheet was of solid glass. Steps were cut in the frozen shell; and people ascended by them,
whilst the great body of the cataract tumbled and roared beneath. Our friend Ab considered that the whole continent was being washed
away; and that England would exist as an island long after the
Alleghanies had hidden their backs in the Atlantic ocean.
Our next day's excursion, as I have intimated, was to the Indian
village of Lorette. This, in one respect, was exceedingly
disappointing. I was in hopes of seeing redskins in their native
costume, and wigwams hung around with scalps. Instead of that we
found a village composed of as neatly built cottage dwellings as any
we had seen. The place and the inhabitants were quite of an English
type; and it was only by the depth of the eyes, and the prominence
of the cheek bones, that we could distinguish these children of the
prairie from the fairest of Europeans. Their house furnishings, as
we could see through open doors, were similar to those we meet with
in our Lancashire cottage homes. The housewives dressed after the
fashion of our own, and the male descendant of perhaps "Chingagook"
drove his cart and handled his spade like any other man. The
philosopher of Walmsley Fowt said he would not be surprised if he
heard the rattle of a loom, and saw the motion of the "twelve
apostles;" by which term he meant the bobbin wheel. We were not to
be scalped after all, nor compelled to take to each of ourselves a
squaw of royal blood. And when we came upon an hotel much after the
English fashion of such places, with a jolly Indian landlord, and a
jollier Indian landlady, we voted the whole thing a sell: we were
not in a savage land. And the farms, and the country round!—no:
civilisation has planted its foot in this at one time a wilderness,
and the varied types of the human race are becoming less distinct.
AN INDIAN VILLAGE.
MINE host of the
hotel where we had called at Lorette was just opening a box of
cigars, which was made up in a curious, and, I should say, primitive
fashion. The box was formed out of a reedy shell, that had
apparently enclosed a nut of some kind, and was petalled like a
tulip; but in several folds. This shell was packed with the
"weeds;" and on the outside the maker's name was branded in quite as
official a manner as if it had been issued from Cope's.
But the Lorette Falls! Well; they are a succession of
cascades, that leap, step by step, in clouds of spray, till, taking
a final bound, the roaring mass plunges beneath a cavernous cleft,
and is lost to immediate view.
These falls have more of the awful in their character than
even those of Niagara; and the faint reproduction of them in my
memory will at any time make me shudder. I had forgotten to
say that, though the day was hot, we frequently met with drifts of
snow several feet in thickness. In fact, it was only just a
week since the good people of Quebec had enjoyed their last
sleighing. We saw more than one of these machines, the slides
of which were not yet rusted.
Leaving Lorette, the objects of curious squaws and screaming
"papooses," we returned to Quebec, intending to take the night boat
to Montreal. We were within a near shave of being detained
another night in the city of Jacques Cartier; but our horse, like
most others of its species, knew his way home; and the road was more
kindly to his feet than it was on our journey out. The result
of this superior animal instinct was, that we were put down on the
quay so near to the time of starting that I found my washing there,
waiting to be taken on board.
Going up this river was somewhat like the coming down, with
this difference, the little daylight spared to us we had where in
our voyage down we passed in darkness and in sleep. It gave us
an opportunity of seeing how vast is this lumbering region; and how
different from our own must be the habits of people who almost live
on naked rafts, and are constantly encountering the perils of the
numerous rapids. We arrived at our destination about half-past
six of a glorious morning; and, not before we were in want of it, we
were doing "ample justice," as the penny-a-liners say, to the "good
things" that, in the shape of breakfast, were set before us.
There is nothing beats a morning appetite. Heap it well up,
and you require no additional fuel till the evening brings
So comfortably were we quartered at the Ottawa Hotel that our
friend Ab declared his disposition to be blanked if he stirred from
there to see anything till he had rested himself, and fetched up
considerably his arrears in feeding. He would be double
blanked if we were not the uneasiest lot that he had ever the
misfortune to go out with.
"Yo'r wurr," he said, "than owd Donty Etches when he went a-fishin
i'th' Cryme. Him an' young Donty had sit watchin for a bite
above four hours, without as mich as havin a nibble. Th' owd
un couldno' sit long i' one place, but kept tryin about, an'
grumblin savagely. But th' yung un kept sittin theere, as
still as if he'd been i'th' stocks, watchin his flatter (float), an'
chewin baitin dough, fort' keep th' hunger worm fro' botherin him.
At last his patience broke down; no' becose he'd catcht nowt, but
becose his fayther was so unsatisfied, an' kept breakin out wi' his
fits o' grumblin. Turnin to th' owd chap, he said,—'Dam thee,
dad, thou'rt never yezzy.' Yo chaps are th' same. Yo
never putten yor heels down i' one place, but yo wanton to be turnin
yo'r toes to'ard another. As for Sammy theere, carryin' th'
weight he does,—I'm surprised he doesno break down. I'm
terribly bent now."
Montreal, like Quebec, was preparing itself for the 24th; but
after a different fashion. Here the Queen's birthday fétes
were at one time held, and the Catholic procession festival of "St.
Jean de Baptiste," which even outstripped the review in the
splendour of its "get up." But now the Mount Royal was not to
echo the boom of artillery; nor were the streets to be bedizened
with pious pageantry. The whole paraphernalia, if the word is
appropriate, was to be transferred to Quebec. We cared not for
sights such as human vanity, or caprice, or ambition, had created.
These could be seen at home. We were there to see what Nature
had done in her mighty works, and commune in a humble spirit with
what we beheld. But Montreal was preparing to go out of town,
and the announcements of "cheap trips" and "special trains" covered
the walls. This old French city is much like Toronto; and
beyond Mount Royal and the waterworks the sights are little varied.
There is a splendid Roman Catholic Cathedral there; so are there at
many places in Europe, but that need not be particularised. We
spent the day in lounging about, refreshing our energies for the
coming morrow, when we were to proceed to the capital of the
Dominion, Ottawa; another run by rail and water of one hundred and
The morning following we had to "hurry up;" the train to
Lachine being tabled to start early. We were obliged to go
this distance by rail on account of the impossibility of going up
the rapids by boat. There had been rain somewhere—heavy
rain—perhaps many hundreds of miles away; and the Ottawa, which
joins the St. Lawrence at Lachine, was much swollen. We could
see the difference in the colour of the two rivers. Arrived at
Lachine, we took the boat; and notwithstanding the weather being
inclined to be wet, the voyage between the woody and fair banks of
the chief of lumbering rivers was a most delightful and interesting
one. On arriving at St. Ann's a cottage was pointed out to me,
but which I failed to distinguish from the rest, in which Tom Moore
wrote his celebrated "Canadian Boat Song." The genial Irish
poet could not, however, have been very well acquainted with river
navigation, as is evident by the song. But as we approached
the rapids I could not help humming to myself—
Faintly as tolls the evening chime,
Our voices keep tune, and our oars keep time,
Soon as the woods on shore look dim,
We'll sing at St. Ann's our parting hymn.
brothers, row; the stream runs fast;
are near, and the daylight's past.
Why should we yet our sails unfurl?
There is not a breath the blue wave to curl;
But when the wind blows off the shore,
Oh, sweetly we'll rest our weary oar.
breezes, blow, &c.
Utaway's (Ottawa) tide, this trembling moon,
Shall see us float over thy surges soon.
Saint of this green isle, hear our prayer;
Grant us cool heavens, and fav'ring air.
breezes, blow, &c.
Whatever may be its poetic or lyric standard, the above song
does not indicate that Tom Moore was very proficient in his
knowledge of river navigation. If the "rapids were near, and
the daylight past," it is not likely that Canadian boatmen would
wait on the river till the "woods on shore looked dim" before
landing. I feel persuaded they would have moored their boat
before the daylight had passed, if they did not wish to be engulfed
in the fearful rush of water which is immediately opposite St.
The scenery on the banks of the Ottawa may not be as romantic
as that of the Hudson; but it is quite as pleasing, or, we thought,
must be, when the weather was propitious, and the river had not
encroached too far on the farming lands, and the trees were not up
to the waist in newly-formed lakes. After leaving the lock at
St. Ann's, it became quite evident to us that the channel of the
stream had been very much extended in width. Farmers do not
usually build outhouses, or "heneries" in the midst of large pools
and the fowls would very soon be tired of trying to "peck" up a
living among branches of larch. But the king of the roost was
quite as jubilant on his foliage-hidden perch as he would have been
on the more familiar dunghill. Possibly he knew that his exile
was only temporary.
It was interesting, and sometimes alarming, to see the
varieties of debris that floated past us; sometimes in the
form of lumber, as if a yard had been swept out; and in successive
instances something suggestive of raids upon household
effects;—tubs, boxes, and turned materials, that led us to fear we
might see a cradle, if not a baby, dancing among the eddies.
One of the strangest sights that could greet an untravelled
eye is a lumber raft, such as may be seen on rivers like the Ottawa.
They are like floating villages. You may see women at their
tubs washing; others cooking; and lines of drying clothes that are
flapping in the breeze would almost suggest that the raft was being
driven by them. One of these so amused our friend Ab that he
waxed quite enthusiastic on the subject of the life it was possible
to lead on board such novel craft. He expanded their
"I consider," he said, "that livin in a palace wouldno' be
hauve as grand as livin on one o' thoose; no bad smells comin fro'
neglected sinks; no beggars; no poor relations comin a-ownin yo'; no
box organs; no gooin round wi' th' hat for chapels i' debt; no rent
chaps; no gooin to th' owd Bell; no drunken folk knockin yo' up, an'
wantin to know what day o'th' month it'll be at twelve o'clock; no
looms, no bobbinwheels; no dogs smellin at yo'r stockins w' their
teeth; no cats takkin lessons i' music when they should ha' bin
mousin; nob'dy wantin to know if it would mak no difference paying
for th' stuff afore it wur sent; no fife an' drum bands; no bazaars;
no drunken pick-nickers yelin past yo'r dur; no elections, nor
collections; no gooin wi' th' wife to a shop, an' stondin at th'
window till hoo comes out; no feelloss-o'-speeds; no gooin into th'
church last, so ut they con be better seen, when they'n had a pound
or two spent on their yead; no wantin to read a chapter for yo', as
if yo' couldno' read it yo'rsel. It would be like a week o'
Sundays, sailing down a hundert an' odd miles, aulus livin in a
fresh place, an' havin no lodgins to pay, seein fresh neighbours and
fresh faces, an' no bother o'er gettin fresh tickets, an' no fear o'
gettin into th' wrong train, or bein left at a station if yo' happen
to get out for summat."
We arrived at Ottawa, the capital of the Dominion, before the
night fell, and found the streets of this new city exceedingly muddy
in consequence of the rain, and the ankle-depth of dust. We in
England know nothing of muddy streets, as much as we grumble about
them in newspapers. We had not many yards to go to the Porter
House Hotel; but we were obliged to take a street car, although we
had only our hand baggage with us. It is not to be wondered at
that the roads are bad, the city has grown so rapidly since the seat
of government was removed to there. We found things very much
similar to what we find them in second-rate cities in the States,
and which must be highly prejudicial to the eyes of foreigners;
especially Englishmen. We had to pay very dearly for our
whistles. I could live hotel life in that old worn-out country
called England for two-thirds the cost of similar living in the New
World. Everything, to use a homely phrase, is "brass savvort."
We hired a carriage the following day, which cost us three dollars,
or twelve and sixpence of our money, for a sort of sauntering drive
of two hours, during which we did not cover more than twice as many
miles. But it was Sunday; and possibly the price might have
been "put on" in consideration of its being the Sabbath.
The wonders of Ottawa are its Falls and its lumber yards.
The latter extend for miles; and the piles of sawn timber that meet
the eye everywhere suggest the thought, that a number of new cities
have to be built and furnished and otherwise completed at the rate
of one per day. The saw-mills are on a par with the lumber yards;
and are all driven by water power. We were informed that the
whole of the material we could see, and as much as could be sawn up
to September, was already bespoke.
The Falls of the Chaudiére, which area good second to
Niagara, only of quite a different character, are spanned by a
suspension bridge, which is the principal connection between Upper
and Lower Canada. From this bridge we had a splendid view of
the cataract; which, though not so majestic as Niagara, is equally
awe inspiring. Like Lorette, it is more a succession of rapids
than a clear-falling cascade; and the terrible jumps and furious
rushing of angry water make you feel that, secure as is the footing
on which you stand, the flood in its wrath may yet reach higher with
its mighty arms, and drag you into its fearful depths to be seen no
more. Some passengers over the bridge had a horrible sight
presented to them only a few days before we were there. A man
in a boat was seen struggling in the upper rapids; and it was a
struggle, as, no doubt, he felt, for life. Once get among
those huge "lumps" of tossing water, and you may lay down your oars,
and resign yourself to the care and keeping of the Almighty; for
probably your end is near. The stricken crowd saw the speck of
a boat and the arms flung wildly about as if in supplication for aid
that it was impossible to give; and there was a few moments—only a
very few—of suspense, as one by one, each larger than its
predecessor, of those whirling and lashing fiends grip and toss the
frail craft and its doomed occupant on their rapid and plunging
course. Not a breath is drawn; but eyes are strained, and
un-uttered prayers go forth that—he has shot the Falls, and—Great
God!—there are a few splinters of wood whirling about below; a
something is being ground in a mill of water for just while one
could think, and all is over. He is sucked into the vortex and
seen no more.
AB'S SIXTH LETTER TO HIS WIFE.―LOST AND LEFT.
Parker House Hotel, Boston, Mass., May 28th.
never bin i' greater need i' my life o' havin thee wi' me than I
have bin this last three or four days. When a mon trusts to
hissel he's very little to trust to. That I've fund out above
once. A wife's guidance is th' next dur to everythin to him;
an' saves him mony a time fro' gooin blunderin about like a wall-eed
dog; an' gettin into scrapes ut are no credit to his bringin up.
I hardly know how to begin o' tellin thee what I've gone through
sin' I wrote to thee last time—how to soften things down ut I know
are sure to goo hard again me, an' mak thee think I'm noane fit to
be trusted above th' length of a bull-rope fro' our rain-tub.
Happen it'll be th' best to let out gradely; an' leeave thee to
deeal wi' me as thou thinks fit when I get within raich o' thy
For a start, I've bin lost! lost, as I may say, i' my own
house; for it wur i'th' hotel I're stoppin at; an' that I consider's
my whoam as long as I'm theere. It coome about this road.
While we'rn stoppin at th' Ottawa Hotel, i' Montreal, an'
it's very nee as big as some factories, whenever we went to bed
we'rn wun up by what they co'en th' "elevator." I'th' owd
conntry they'd co it a "hoist." After bein londed at our level
I could find my road to our sleepin shop when I'd bin shown it a
time or two tho' ther mony a twinin an' turnin, an' durs an' corners
ut looked like ours, but wurno'. One afternoon I wanted summat
out o' my bag,—I may as weel tell thee what,—it wur thy likeness, ut
I made a practice o' lookin at as oft as I thowt nob'dy wur watchin
th' effect it had on me. This time I thowt I'd go by th'
stairs, as I'd botheret th' young chap ut looked after th' elevator
so oft that, whenever I happened to go past th' cage dur, he oppent
it an' bounced into th' cage, as if he expected me to follow.
I'd bauk him for once; so upstairs I went,—two storeys—an' began a-ramblin
about. Wur ever anybody sent o' sich a gawmless arrand?
I'd forgotten th' number o' our dur; an' tho' it wur on th' key I
never once thowt at lookin at it. Eh, lorgus a-me, Sal; what a
trapes I had fro' lobby to lobby as wide as our lone; an' o'er
carpets ut are padded under, till it's like walkin o'er so mony
fither-beds. "Tummas" seechin "Nip" wur a foo of a job to what
I had i' hond. It wur as bad as tryin to slip thee at a wakes
time. I kept moanderin about fro' dur to dur, peepin through
keyholes for t' see if ther owt I could tell th' chamber by; an'
sometimes tryin if my key would fit. It wur no use; so after
huntin about twenty minits, without ever gettin on th' scent, I gan
it up, an' would go down th' stairs again.
Ay, would go down stairs; but I mun find 'em th' fust.
I co'ed mysel to ha' planted a lond-mark or two, so ut when I had to
retrace I could do so without blunderin. But I couldno' tell
these lond-marks again, so wur as fast as ever. I're gettin
into new roads, an' new places. As for meetin anybody for t'
sper 'em, I mit as weel ha' bin i' some wilderness between Dan and
Beersheba, if t' knows wheere that is. I're as cleean lost as
thou wur once when thou're seechin th' "Sorrow's Arms,"
* i' Manchester. I'th' depth o' my solitude
I sit mysel down on a step for t' rest a bit, an' consider what I
should do i'th' case of a fire breakin out. A thowt struck me,
an' it coome buzzin into my yead like a hummabee—I'd go to th'
elevator, an' start fro' theere. But I couldno' find th'
elevator. I mit as weel look for th' stairs as that; so I gan
things up. At last I yerd what I took to be th' craikin of a
boot sole, an' I hearkened till I dar' say my ears grew an inch
longer. Crusoe never looked at a speck upo' th' sae wi'
greater lippenment than I hearkened for that sound ut kept comin
narr. "Ship-a-hoy!" I're saved, I calkilated; when a
summat broke on my seet i' th' shape of a young woman wi' a cleeanin
rag in her hont. I felt then as if I'd a had her if thou'd bin
out o'th' road.
"Con yo' tell me wheere I con find th'—th'—a—hoist?" I said
to her. I couldno' think o'th' word "elevator" then.
Hoo grinned at th' fust, as if hoo thowt I're havin her on th'
stick a bit; but at last hoo said—
"I guess I'm a Yank, an' don't know French."
"That thing ut they wind up by," I said; an' I began a-playin
wi' a five cent piece ut I'd poo'd out o' my pocket.
Hoo hung her yead down a bit; then looked round, an' wiped
her lips wi' her appron. Then hoo cocked up her jib, as if hoo
expected me takkin out five cents wo'th of a—of a—smack.
"It's noane o' that I want," I said; but at th' same time
feelin desperately tempted—as thou'll believe; "it's that;"
an' I began actin as if I're pooin at a rope, and windin up.
"Elevator? around the corner there;" an' hoo pointed about a
dozen roads in a jiffy; then off hoo skipped, but—not without th'
five cent piece.
I fund th' elevator "around the corner there," an' had
another fair start. I're o reet now, I thowt; so set out on my
wandering again. I did what I considered my share o' turnins,
on' coome to a corner ut wur rayther darkish, wheere I co'ed mysel
sure o' findin our dur. Strange th' dur wur part oppen, an'
then a key i'th' hole. Sammy o' Moses's hadno' come in, I're
sure, unless he'd made his way theere while I're blunderin about th'
hotel on my vowage o' discovery. I pushed th' dur oppen, an'
marched in; but wur turned on wi' a chap ut stood at th' lookin-glass.
"If you think you've as much right to this room as I have,
come in," th' mon said rather sharply, as I thowt.
"Wheay, it's my shop," I said but believe me, Sal, I'd my
deauts about it at th' time.
"I guess it aint," th' mon said; an' I didno' like his looks
a bit. "Hav'nt got so much baggage that I can spare any; so
yer needn't prowl around here; for by Jimminy you won't git it."
I're never takken for a thief afore; an' if it had no' bin ut
I could see things about that I hadno' seen afore, ut made me think
I're i'th' wrong shop; I'd ha' had howd of a hontful o' pants in a
hauve a minit. As it wur I slunk out as if I'd stown summat,
an' went in for a bit moore explorin.
When I geet back to my startin point, I fund then two
women,—I reckon they'rn ladies, gettin out o'th' cage o'th'
elevator. Then I seed Sammy o' Moses's at th' back on em; but
he never offered to get out.
"What art' dooin theere, Ab?" he said; as if he're gloppent
at seein me.
"I've bin about three quarters of an hour tryin t' find our
snoozin shop," I towd him.
"Ay, thou mit try a week, an' no' find it upo' this floor,"
Sammy said. "Thou'rt a storey too low. Get in here, an'
I'll put thee to reets. Thou'rt no' fit to be trusted by
I geet into th' cage without twice tellin, as thou may be
sure; an' I're some fain at seein a sign o' deliverance. It
never coome into my yead ut I could get on th' wrong storey. I
reckon thou'll think it's just like me.
"It's lucky I lit on thee," Sammy said, when we'd londed upo'
th' reet floor. "I're gooin on th' spec o' findin thee i'th'
chamber, dooin a snooze, becose they towd me thou'd takken th' key
about an hour sin."
"Well, I're never i' such a funk i' my life," I said.
"I've walked mony a mile as sure as a yard. I're very nee
makkin a mistake once ut mit ha' ended i' blood."
"How did that happen?"
"I geet into th' wrong hoose, an' wur very nee turnin a mon
"That is if he'd ha' letten thee, I reckon."
"Well, if his pants had bin strong enough to ha' held his
weight he'd had to ha' gone."
"It's a wonder he didno' shoot thee as it wur."
"I didno' think o' that. By goss, Sammy, he mit oather
ha' killed or winged me."
Sarah, I believe ut if I hadno' somb'dy to look after me, an'
keep me straight, thou'd never see me no moore. I should
oather be kilt, or drownt, or lost. As it wur, Sammy put me to
reets without makkin a wrong turn, an' I'd th' happiness o' lookin
at thy portergraft once again. What a blessin! This
happened after th' pilgrimage to Ottawa an' Quebec. But it wur
nowt to what happened a day or two after that. We'rn booath on
us i'th' mess this time; but thou conno' say 'at we'rn oather on
us i'th' faut, if thou thinks so. We went through a cooarse o'
roastin, an' clemmin, an' dryin up, an' powlerin about, ut wur even
wurr than what we'rn dosed with on th' road fro' Albany to th' Falls
We'd left Montreal for t' "rail " it, as they sayn, to Boston
intendin to break our journey at Lowell an' see th' factories theere.
Five "pieces" of our baggage we'd checked on to th' fur end; an'
took a bag apiece, wi' just a change o' skin coverin, for t' carry
with us. These we had i'th' car we travelled in. We'd
calkilated o' havin a grand out, th' mornin wur so fine; an' th' day
bein very young it wurno' so wot as it turned out to be later on.
Th' train crept slowly o'er th' wooden bridge ut crosses a narrow
part o'th' St. Lawrence—nobbut about a sprint race length short o'
two miles; an' then we spun an' jowted through a country ut wur made
for a railroad, becose there'd be no cuttin to be done; wi' thickly
wooded slopes o' booath sides, ut made it look a bit like England.
Wheere it wurno' like th' owd country wur when wer'n crossin narrow
points o' Lake Champlain; an' by rivers sich as we'n noane awhoam.
Th' beginnin o' our misery wur when gooin through a valley ut wur
filled wi' flowerin willows. If th' windows wur shut we'rn
roasted, becose we'rn gettin into a warmer country; an' if we had 'em
oppen we mit as weel ha' bin ridin through a scutch-hole in a cotton
factory. This willow blossom flew about like a shower o'
riddled snow; an' covered us o'er till we hardly knew one another.
But we should stop at St. Albans, an' ha' twenty minits allowed for
packin our insides, ut wur gettin wofully slamp; an' a brushin an' a
weshin would mak us feel like new uns.
Well, we did stop at St. Albans, an' twenty minutes, too; but
we'd better never ha' stopt at o, for as we'd left Canady, an'
getten int' Ameriky, we had to have our baggage examined, what
little bit we had. Then we had to get fresh tickets; an' by th' time
we'd done that we had to run for t' get into th' train. Ther noather
bitin, nor suppin, nor weshin, nor brushin to be done. We had to be
fain we hadno' bin left on th' "dippo," as, they co'en th' stations
i' Yankeeland. What sort o' language passed between Sammy an' me
would ha' getten us into a hobble if anybody else had yerd it. If th' owd brass bird, ut wur peearcht up at th' end o'th' car, wi' its
wings spread out, could ha' had just a minit's life put into it, it
would ha' pecked our een out. It wur one blaze o' temper after that,
becose we'd nowt to cool it with nobbut about two hauve noggins o'
iced wayter, ut wur sarved out like doses o' brimstone an' traycle
i'th' warkhouse. Didno' we carry on? Thou'd ha' thowt so if thou'd
yerd us. But th' wo'st had to come yet. When we'd bin peppered wi'
dust an' willow blossom for above ten hours, wi' insides as empty as
a red herrin on a gridiron, we poo'd up at a place co'ed Manchester.
It wur like havin a swig i' champagne pop to us yerrin that name.
"Come on, Ab," Sammy said; "there's a sign o' summat now." An' we
scrawled out o' our seeats, as wambly as two roosters ut han fowten
till they con hardly stond, an' crept to th' dur. We could see a bar
window oppen, ut had biskets, an' other things i' glass cases.
"Is there time to have a drink here?" Sammy said to th' conductor.
"Plenty of time."
We didno' stop for t' yer owt any moore, but dropt on th' flags,
like two dried mops ut hadno' had th' sond wesht eaut, an' wriggled
oursels to th' bar window. A sleepy sort of a young woman, ut
couldno' find th' corkscrew when hoo wanted it, an' ut favvort hoo'd
rayther no sarve us than do it, kept us longin till we'rn ready t'
drop. Then when hoo did teem summat out, an' we thowt our troubles
wur comin to an end, ther new uns startin. Before we could get howd
o' our glasses an' have a swig th' train wur off, wi' unchecked
baggage at anybody's mercy. If our faces had bin portergraft, then
they'd ha' made a fine picture o' disappointment, gloppentness,
bewilderment, vexation, revenge, seediness, an' hauve fried
beefsteaks. There's a mixture for thee. Then, when we could unglue
our tongues, we let out—reet fro' th' shooter—till th' bar window wur
banged down, an' th' shutters put up, for fear o' summat takkin
fire. When we'd blown th' steeam off, we went to th' talegraft box,
wheere ther a young woman, rather wakkener-lookin than that at th'
bar, axt us what we wanted.
"Talegraft to th' station agent at Nashua (th' next dippo), for t'
tak two bags out o'th' second car, an' send 'em by th' next train
back." That wur our order.
Hoo did so an' when we'd waited for t' yer back, th' station agent
"wired" ut he hadno' time to look for 'em. Then we wired in wi' our
tongues, till th' telegraft box wur filled wi' reech.
Then we telegraft to Boston for t' keep th' bags theere, if they
could find 'em, an' put 'em to our checked baggage, as it would be
too late for t' send 'em back. What made things wurr, thou sees,
ther no' train fro' Manchester that neet; an' we'rn londed theere, dusty
an' raw, wi' nowt for t' change on, up to th' ankles i' blazin wot
sond, an' wi' tempers three times as wot. We towd that young woman
ut if our baggage wur lost we should send for t' British Lion an'
he'd chew up that owd ragged-winged sparrow-hawk o' theirs afore it
could croak. That feart her so ut hoo wouldno' be paid for th' last
o'th' telegrafts. I darsay hoo'd never yerd two Englishmen give a
Fort' make th' best o' things we went an' tried to cool oursels by
th' side o'th' River Merrimac, ut turns about four factories theere. An' we geet a bit soothed wi' watchin th' factory wenches loce,—not
as they dun i' England, wi' shawls o' their arms, an' cloggin it
whoam four abreast. Waggonettes wur waitin for 'em, thoose ut lived
at a distance; an' what surprised us when they drove past, wur to
see 'em dressed up as if for a pic-nic, an' yer 'em jabberin French.
What happened after I'll tell thee sometime else. I ha' no time now, becose th' chamber wench 'll be comin a-makkin th' bed directly, an'
I've nowt on nobbut my stockins an' shirt; an' bein roasted even i'
that state. So good day, owd crayther—an' believe I'm still.
Thy whoam-sick rambler,
* The old "Sawyer's Arms," now the Wellington Hotel, Nicholas Croft,
was at one time a favourite calling place for handloom weavers. Its
name got corrupted into "Sorrow's Arms;" and I never in those days
heard it called by any other.—B.B.
AB'S SEVENTH LETTER TO HIS WIFE.—
YANKEE LADS AND LASSES.
Continental Hotel, Philadelphia, Penn., June 3.
i'th' Quaker city; but how I've getter here would bother me to tell.
I've plashed through some wayter, an' dashed o'er some lond since th'
last letter I wrote to thee. At one time I thowt that if ever I're
shifted out Y Boston I should ha' to be carried in a seek; an' then
there'd be nowt nobbut booans, an' thoose part brunt, as if they'rn
bein made int' charcoal. It's noane so cool here when one gets into
th' sun; an' there's no keepin out on't, unless we're inside
I' my last letter I towd thee about bein left at Manchester, i' New
Hampshire; an' what a fix we'rn in, wi' shirts glued to our skins,
an' our faces like beef steaks Bonded o'er i'stead o' bein sauted.
How we'd nowt to change on, nobbut fresh cooats o' dust; an' th'
yeat wur 127 degrees i'th' sun. After we'd welly set fire to th'
station—dippo, I mean; by th' way we carried on o'er losin our
baggage, we Grappled into th' city; an' looked out for a place
wheere they'd tak us in, an' put us under th' pump. Th' fust place
we "struck" wur Manchester Hotel; an' we Battled on trying theere.
I never seed a londlort look so puzzled as ours did when we stood
afore him, as if waitin for our lowance after gettin coals in, an'
sweepin a factory out. He seemed to be sayin to hissel,—"What,
travellers, fro' England, an' no baggage with 'em! They must be a
queer lot. However, if they payn their bill before they toucher a
bite, or han a swig, it's nowt to me." This we did; an' we'rn looked
on as gentlemen, but of a strange breed, when we'd stumped down our
green rags. After suckin a "schooner" o' lager, like suckin a egg, I
went out for t' see wheere I could find a barber's shop; for my chin
felt like a burr, or an urchant's back. I fund one close by, an' in
"How mich dun yo' charge for shavin?" I axt.
"Ten cents," I're towd.
"Ten cents! Wheay, I could ha' my yead shaved i' England for that,"
I said, quite gloppent at th' price.
"I guess yew kin here," th' barber said.
"How mich would yo' charge for th' loan of a razzor?" I axt, thinkin
I'd get it at hauve price.
"Let's be havin howd o' one. I'll show yo' how its Britishers con
scrape a chin."
He did so; but he turned white when he'd done it, an' seen my wild
looks. I dar'say he thowt I're gooin t' do summat elze than shave.
But I rubbed some sooap o'er my chewin power, an' my nose flap; an'
i' just one minit by a cuckoo clock I' cleared my lond o' every bit
o' stubble there wur. I'd dun that while he're gettin howd of
another chap's nose.
"I've five friends at th' Manchester Hotel, an' they wanten shavin,"
I said. "I con just net a hauve a dollar while yo'r dooin ten cents
wo'th." But he'd th' dur baricaded up afore I could make a move.
I set up a crack o' laafin; an' he did th' same, for he could see
I're nobbut havin him on th' stick. Then he gan me five cents back;
an' offered to shave my friends at th' same price; but I towd him
they'rn i' England; an' it would be rayther too far for 'em to come
o' purpose o' bein shaved. He stared to some pattern when I towd him
a mon i'th' owd country could have shave, an' yer o th' news o'th'
day, an' be towd as mony lies as would fill a Yankee newspaper, for
a penny, or two cents. If it wurno' for fear o' clemmin other
barbers to death, I'd stop in Ameriky, an' run a shavin shop. I
thowt I'd do a bit of a stroke for owd Jack Bull.
When neet set in, an' we could get a window oppen to sit at, we
began to feel a bit cooler. Th' temper worked off a bit; an' as we
knew ther nowt getten by frettin, we agreed not for t' care a cent
for our baggage chus whoo'ad getten it. We'd tak things as they
coome; but still it wur "tarnationly" provokin. I dunno' think it
lost us a minit's sleep, we'rn so tired; an' when mornin coome we'rn
up, an' had our collars turned inside out afore ther mony Yankees
stirrin. It wur a grand mornin afore th' owd sun had blown his fire
up gradely; so we sauntered out, an' looked about us, an' counted th'
number o' druggists' shops there wur, an' agreed among us at ther
summat beside physic swallowed inside 'em.
If we'd seen Manchester under different circumstances than havin
lost our baggage, as we thowt, I believe we should ha' liked it.
Like what con be seen i' every Yankee city that we went to, there's
reaum for folk to tak their wynt, an' that's moore than con be said
about towns i'th' owd country. Just fancy, owd craythcr, there bein
a park i'th' middle o' Manchester, England. Fancy childer lookin
healthy, an' cleean, an' weel donned. Fancy it lookin like a haliday
o th' week round, yet everybody workin,—no singin beggars i'th'
streets; no auvish lads stondin at corners; nob'dy followin thee,
an' wantin just a pint; no signs o' clemmin, nor that sort o'
idleness ut conno' be helped! "Ah, but," thou may say, " th'
country's young yet; wait till someb'dy wants to ha' moore power
than another; gets into th' President's cheear, and says nob'dy
shall shift him. Let him parcel th' lond out to a lot o' folk like
him, ut wanten power too. Let these gether round 'em a two-thri
thousants o' fool ut'll shout, an' feight, an' give up their liberty
for a bit o' glitter. Let 'em swap "Yankee Doodle " for "God save
the King;" an' thoose parks i'th' middle o' their cities 'll goo out
o'th' seet. Someb'dy's rent audit mun be made bigger; never mind
noather health, nor comfort; build back-to-back houses; let th'
streets be swarmin wi' ragged an' dirty childer; pauperise one hauve
o' folk, an' let th' tother hauve live o' one another, an' then,
like us, th' Yankees 'll ha' summat to swagger about. No country's
gradely civilised till every town's made into a human middin.
If we'd had it as wot i' Manchester, England, as it wur i'
Manchester, New Hampshire, nob'dy could ha' lived. They'd ha' bin
sweltered to deeath, becose they couldno' ha' fund room for t' get
up a bit of a cool breeze. Here, wi' th' sun reet o'er our yeads,
an' sendin down a yeat like comin out o' our oon ov a bakin-day,
when thou looks how th' mouffins are risin, there's a bit o'
comfort, becose we are no' choked wi' soot, an' Huss, an' reech, an'
bad smells, an' a general thickness o' air ut owt to be thin. For o
ut I had turned my collar, an' had a shirt on ut wouldno' pass
muster even i'th' owd country, I felt quite leet. That bit o'th'
park wheere th' war moniment stonds wur like rowlin i' new cut hay
to me. There's summat good, I feel sure, i' trees; an' wheeze
they're deein out, as they are i' England, th' country winno' long
be fit to live in.
After leeavin Manchester we geet to Lowell about th' middle o'th'
afternoon, an' fund th' place very mich like other cities—white
houses, sond, and trees. We'd a droive i'th' country, as us'al, for
goo wheere we choose, Sammy o' Moses's would be at th' back of a
tit's tail wi' three sticks howdin a cover up at his elbow. This
time Sammy drove Kissel. We'd th' cheek for t' goo an' ax a •chap
for t' lend us a Koss an' buggy, as if he'd known us
fro' bein childer; but as soon as he yerd us talk, an' knew we'rn
Englishmen, he'd ha' trusted us wi' owt -an' when an owd Irishman ut
hostled for him towd him wer'n Lanky, I believe he'd ha' -an us his
clooas an' never felt if they owt in his pockets. I shawm sometimes
when I think how forrin folk are o'erseen in us.
An' now for Lowell factory wenches, ut we'n yerd so mich about. We'd
gone theere o' purpose o' seein 'em. I know what thou'll think when
thou reads that. An' thou'll say to thysel'—"Dear-a-me! travelled I
know not how moray thousant mile, an' their yorneyishness no' rubbed
out on 'em yet!" But we planked oursels under a tree—we couldno' ha'
done that i' Owdham—an' waited till th' factories loced. In a while
a procession began a-windin down th' street. We took it to be some
ladies' skoo wi' their sweethearts followin 'em for t' know wheeze
they must meet 'em at neet. On they coome; some on 'em marchin two
un' two, but never takkin o th' flags to theirsels. Th' modest on 'em
had blue veils o'er their face, ut prevented us fro' seein what
they'rn like; an' they'd printed frocks on, made o'th' same shape,
an' nearly o'th' same pattern o' print. I wish they'd begin a-wearin
th' same sort i' our country, an' could look as cleean. Th' faces we
seed bare wurno' exactly o' my sort. Ther no apple cheeks; no
dimpled chins; no e'en rowlin about wi' that sort o' wickedness ut
makes a lad feel like a dampt foo, an' act like one; no clogs, wi'
summat just above th' insteps neaw an' then peepin fro' under th'
region o' frills like a pair o' white mice. Nawe, nowt o' that sort.
They look like machine-made uns, so mich a dozen, an' two an' a
hauve per cent off when th' bill's paid. Believe me, or believe me
not, Sal; but I could look at a crowd o' these Lowell "gals,"
without my arm bein drawn to'ard any on em an' thou'll think that's
summat for me.
They tell me these wenches con write books, play th' payano like
angels, an' talk like saints. But I wonder what they'd do wi' a
stockin ut's too much dayleet letten in at one window; if they know
which side of a dumplin is th' reet un; if they could tell when a
loaf wur baked enoogh by feelin at it wi' th' end o' their nose; if
they could mak a new senglet for a youngster out of an owd pair o'
pants; if they could get to know everybody's bizness without gooin
out o'th' house; if they could "skelp" a three-year-owd till he
couldno' sit, an' then give him a buttercake for t' give o'er cryin;
if they could fotch a husbant fro' a " saloon " without leeadin him
by one ear, an' poo a dish out o'th' oon wi' yesterday's porritch in
it for his supper; if they conno' do these things, what's their
larnin an' their music wo'th? Nowt. Lanky lasses for my brass, if
they are a bit noisy-mouthed, an' conno' write books; they con turn
a mon out so ut he'll no' forget whoa he is, an' put him i'th' way
o' knowin he isno' someb'dy elze if he goes whoam late o' neets.
After we'd looked through Lowell, an' seen their blocks o' smookless
factories, we set out for Boston, an' ' long afore we geet theere.
"Now for it," we said to one another; "ruin or dick; baggage or no
baggage." Wi' tremblin clooas, an' insides givin way, we made our
way to th' baggage-reaum as soon as we londed. Hurray! Th' fust
thing ut I clapt my een on wur th' bag ut had slipped me at
Manchester, wi' th' talegraft papper stuck i'th' hondle. I felt like
a lad ut had just escaped a good hoidin when I seed that; an' when
we fund o th' tother things wur reet anybody mit ha' swum i' lager.
Yankeelond wur a grander country by th' hauve then; an' even th'
women wur nicer—bless 'ern!
Wi' hearts as leet as my pockets wur th' day we'rn wed, we drove to
th' Parker House Hotel, wheere thou'd my last letter fro'; an' drank
one another's healths i' lager till we'rn like balloons. Thou may be
sure we geet inside some cleean calico as soon as we could get at
it; an' what wi' that, an' th' swillin we had inside an' out we felt
new made o'er again; and looked so, too. I'd a notion ut we owt to
ha' had a brass knocker a-piece fixed to our waistcoats, we felt,
and looked so grand. We began o' explorin th' city at once. Surely
that wur noane Ameriky; we'rn i' Liverpool. We could see th' ships'
pows, an' "Dicky Sam " marchin down Lime Street, tellin everybody
he's a gentleman afore they con find it out. Th' folk we met, too,
wur summat like what they are awhoam; an' if th' owd red cross had
bin flyin i'stead o'th' stars an' stripes, I should ha' bin axin
what time ther a train to Walmsley Fowt. Here again ther a park i'th'
middle o'th' city. They co'en it a "common;" but I'll leeave thee to
gex how mich of a common it is when we con walk about under trees ut
th' sun conno' get through.
Th' day after wur another blazer, an' we felt it wurr than we did i'
Manchester and Lowell. Ther must ha' bin some thunner about, I thowt,
for th' yeat fairly geet us down. But we'd th' courage to ride as
far as "Bunker's Hill," wheere th' fust Independence battle wur fowt;
but how we geet to th' top I dunno' know, though it's no heer than
th' buildins. However, we geet paid for our wark. Sittin i'th'
shadow o'th' monniment theere, ther a nice breeze coome sweepin fro'
th' sae, an' wafted us better than a Chinese fan. But we had to be
paid back th' tether road afore th' day wur o'er; it happened this
It wur bedtime; an' we'rn i' my sleepin shop, wi' th' windows wide
oppen, tryin to cool oursels wi' lumps o' ice put into a glass, ut
had a "hinder" brown liquor in, for t' melt th' ice so mich sooner.
While we sit theere, gettin a little bit nary freezin point, but
still a mile or two off, we yerd some singin, an' shoutin, an'
thumpin o' tables. We'd seen waiters go past our dur, carryin summat
like glass skittles, wi' white tops; an' we judged by that, an' th'
singin, ut someday wur havin what "Uncle George," at Fall River,
would co "a high old time" on't. We didno' care to doff us while
that wur gooin on; not that we cared for havin anybody's ice beside
our own, but there'd be no chance on us sleepin. We geet on our
feet, an' stretched oursels; then sauntered into th' lobby, an' went
so far as t' peep into th' reaum wheere th' singin wur gooin on. "
Come in!"— an' we didno' need twice axin. Th' two " Britishers " wur
made as welcome as if we'd bin two Presidents; an' we'd our knees
bent under th' table as soon as they used to be at our porritch
time. We soon fund it out what Choose glass skittles, wi' white tops
wur, by feelin at 'em, an' puttin th' smo end downart.
We'rn among a jolly lot. They'rn young chaps fro' th' Harvard
College, havin their yearly dinner, an' they'rnjust i' that state a
men's in when he doesno' care whether he goes whoam or not. They
sung i'th' honour o' owd England; an' we had to get on our hinder
legs. an' thank 'em i' our own way,—makkin use of a decal o' thick
words, ut wouldno' come out o at once.
Ther a young Chinee chap among the lot—" Mon Chain Chung," he're
coed, an' th' son o'th' Governor o' Canton. He sung a Chinee song ut
I didno' quite understood, an' Sammy said it wur a bit out o' his
line. But we clapt, an' thumpt, an' shouted as if we knew every
word, an' had never yerd it better sung. Th' company, o' somehow,
kept gettin less till we'rn left by oursels, an' strange, someb'dy
had browt a wesh-stand an' dress in -table into th' reaum, an' a bed
had bin put up at back on me. What I took to be Sammy wur a
towel-rail, an' I'd bin axin th'towels, I dunno' know how oft, if
ther any moore ice knockin about. Mornin wur just oppenin one e'e,
an' wur blinkin o'er th' house tops. It wur no use o' me tryin t'
find my own chamber, I thowt, so I'd turn in wheere I wur, an'
chance it. When I wakkent I fund mysel i' my own bed, though how I'd
getten theere wur a puzzle to me; happen one o'th' darkies carried
me while Pre asleep.
I du'stno' goo out ov o day for fear o' having sunstroke, my yead
wur so queer; so I stopt i'th' hotel, an' wrote that letter to thee.
We went out at neet; but it wur like walkin about in a eon; an'
we'rn so done up we wobbled about like two owd wheelbarrows ready
fort' tumble i' pieces. We lit o' " Mon Chain Chung " again, an' it
wur a good job for me; for, when we could howd up no longer, we
tumbled—but it wur down some steps, an' into a place wheere ther
moore ice. For two hours my Chinee chum wur fannin me as we sit at a
table, an' we'd so mich ice that my inside felt like a frozen pump,
while th' outside wur summat like fried tripe; but it geet me round,
an' I slept like a top that neet. Th' mornin after ther what I
expected—a thunner storm, ut made th' air so cool I could ha' done
wi' extry fithers on. We cleared out o' Boston that day, an' took th'
train for Fall River, a-seein "Uncle George."
AB'S SEVENTH LETTER CONTINUED.
"UNCLE GEORGE."—DECORATION DAY.
IT wur the
pleasantest ride on a railroad we'd ever had i' this country, wur th'
journey fro' Boston to Fall River. We wurno' smoort wi' yeat an'
sond; an' th' distance wur just far enoogh for one go. It wur a
shade i'th' afternoon when we pood up at Bowenville dippo, just on
th' jacket-laps o'th' city, wheere th' factories are, an' factory
folk. As ther signs o' moore rain we made th' best of our way to
"Uncle George's." Sammy had bin before; so knew his road about. We
knew folk would be on th' look out for us, becose it had bin i'th'
papper ut we'rn comin , an' th' fire-engine had bin gotten ready.
"Here we are," Sammy said, pointin up at a sign ut said, "Forester's
Arms, George Salisbury." * It didno' look like a
newspaper shop to me.
We fund th' owd lad at th' back of his bar counter, weshin glasses;
an' th' table i'th' front wur covered o'er wi' pappers. He eyed us
o'er rayther keenly, becose he could see ut we hadno' bin browt up
o' wooden nutmegs an' then no loce skin about our jaws.
We could see by his looks ut he're wonderin whoa we wur, an'
if we'rn th' two Britishers they'rn expectin. But he didno'
wonder long after we'd axt for a lager a-piece, an' he'd guaged th'
size of our humbrells, ut wur like giants at th' side o' theirs.
"Guess you're Lanky," he said, when his een an' his ears had
"It's like as we are," I said.
"Guess one is Ab-o'th'-Yate; which?"
Sammy geet howd o' one o' my ears, an' I made a bow.
Then Uncle George doffed his Yankee, an' put on his Lanky.
"Well, how arta, owd swell?" he said; an' he gripped me by th'
hont, an' gan it a hearty shake.
"I guess I'm kinder good," I said; thinking I'd just try a
bit o' Brother Jonty's way o' talkin.
He laaffed; as mich as to say, "thou's bin about ten minits
i'th' States, I yer." Then he gan o'er weshin glasses, an'
shouted of his wife for t' come to th' show. After that he put
his mouth to a pipe, an' shouted, "are you there?" I reckoned
someb'dy wur at th' tother end an' made it known ut he wur; for
George coed out after, "They're here." I wondered if he're
shoutin to someb'dy upstairs, an' said so.
"Our mon at th' office," George said. "He wanted me to
let hin know when owd Ab arrove. He says he'll get a cab, an'
"What, come downstairs in a cab?" I said.
"Downstairs, eh?" George said, wi' a chuckle. "He's a
mile an' a quarter t' come. Our office is i'th' city.
There'll be a swarm about here afore long; mind if there isno'.
It's boomin around now ut yo're hitched up here."
He towd true; it wurno' mony minits afore ther a chap wi' his
honds in his pockets, just as thou'll see 'em about th' owd Bell,
coome peepin in. He set our humbrells like a dog settin a brid;
then he looked round at us.
"Guess there two Britishers here," he said at last.
"What d'yo' go by?" Uncle George wanted to know. "Them
circus's," th' new-comer said. An' he pointed to th' humbrells,
ut wur reared up again th' counter. Nobody carries them only
"Th' owd spot," Uncle George said.
"Then, by Josh, one's Ab-o'th'-Yate; aint it, George?"
"You bet," George said.
"Well; how aire you?" th' mon said; an' he began a-overhaulin
Sammy o' Moses's, till Sammy said he'd enough to onswer for of his
own without havin my charikter pinned on his back. Then he
rounded on me, an' said how fain he wur to see someb'dy fro' th' owd
country, speshly owd Ab.
Afore th' mon could sit down others dropt in, till i' less
than an hour, th' place wur as throng as a hive when th' hummabee
parlyment is bein elected. I soon forgeet wheere I wur, an'
fancied I're i' England, an' wur th' only Yankee i' th' company.
I towd 'em I wouldno' forget 'em when I geet back to Ameriky.
While th' men wur collectin i'th' bar, women wur collectin i'th'
palour, till it looked like a wakes neet when th' rush-cart had gone
past. What wi' nussin lager, an' "stone-fences," singin geet
up to ninety i' no time, an' afore th' gas wur lit th' place wur one
blaze o' music. I had to tell 'em a tale or two; an' they
looked as if they'd ha' jumped out o' their skins.
Word wur sent fro' th' fire-engine house, ut wur close by, ut
they'rn gooin t' get a fire up fort' let us see how soon they could
put it out; an' they wanted us to come afore dark. We went,—th'
whul gang, an' seed a fire-engine ut we seen nowt like i' England.
It favvort bein made o' silver, wi' here an' there a bit o' gowd,
for t' set it off. We'rn towd by th' boss ut they could ha' th'
hosses yoked, an' out i' fifteen seconds after th' alarm had
sounded; an' fort' prove that, he had th' alarm sounded. In a
crack two big durs flew oppen; two hosses dashed out, an' backed
into th' shafts o'th' engine. They'd ha' bin off, too, but
they could smell no reech; so they went back to their stable, seemin
to do a cuss apiece for bein made foos on.
"Guess you Britishers can't do that," th' boss said; lookin
quite proud. "Fifteen seconds."
"We conno' get ready so soon by five seconds," I said "but
I'll tell yo' what we con do; we'n a dog ut con tell when a fire's
gooin to happen, an' he barks a bark ut th' hosses know, an'
they're off out, wi' th' firemen mounted, afore there's bin a spark
seen. Lick that if yo' con."
Th' boss stared at me, an' shaked his noddle. Then he
said, as if he didno' like confessin' it--
"I guess you lick us thar."
I wurno' gooin to be o'ermatched wi' a Yankee.
We'd a "high old time of it " that neet, thou may be sure.
Uncle George wur i' grand form, an' rowled out his chaff by sheets;
showin whoa wur th' boss o' that show. Mony a thing he yerd
through th' telephone about folk ut wur round him, when ther nob'dy
at th' tother end for t' shout. This caused a lot o' fun,
speshly when th' hittin wur hard. We'rn short o' owd Juddie;
he'd ha' bin a good mark if he wouldno' ha' rooghened wi' th'
hondlin. George, like owd Mally-at-th'-rain-tub, seemed to
know everythin ut wur gooin on i'th' neighbourhood; an' if ther a
bit of a scent o' owt nice an' peppery he're sure to have howd on't,
an' let other folk taste it.
Thou knows how time goes o'er if we areno' waitin o' summat.
It went o'er that neet as if th' wheels wur new oilt, an' new
springs had bin put to. It hadno' looked above an hour afore
we'en bangin at our hotel dur, wheere a sleepy barman wur waitin for
us. We'd a big day before us th' day after, as it wur th'
"Decoration Day;" an' we had to ride wi' two o' their big nobs i'th'
procession; then have another neet on't at th' finish. When I
wakkent th' mornin after, an' looked what time it wur, I fund th'
glass o' my owd ticker, ut Jack o' Flunter's coes a turmit, wur
brokken. How had that bin done? I wondered. I
couldno' remember runnin again nowt, nor nowt runnin again me.
I axt Sammy if he could recollect any sort of a performance out o'th'
"Ay, steeplechasin," Sammy said.
"We coome by th' road, didno' we?" I axt him.
"Ay, but that didno' prevent thee gettin o'er a lot o'
stone-fences,' or elze th' stone-fences gettin o'er thee. I
expected there bein a smash o' some sort."
Sammy will have his joke at me if he's a chance. He
knows I'd do th' same.
We wur to be at th' City Hall at nine o'clock that mornin,
for t' tak our place i'th' muster for th' procession. It wur
hauve-past eight, an' we had to dress an' get th' steeam up for th'
"We shall be left this do," Sammy said, as we shelled oursels
out o'th' bed clooas. "This is o through thy stone-fences,
Abram; nice uns we shall look, runnin after th' procession. I
shouldno' care if Uncle George wouldno' get to know about it; he'll
Advance us, mind if he doesno'."
We scuttered into our clooas as if we'rn havin a donnin
match; an' down th' stairs we went, wheere we fund we'd th'
breakfast table to oursels.
"Coffee, couple o' eggs, sharp." That wur th' order.
"Yer thee, how they're rowlin past," Sammy said, as folk
clattered down th' street. "They'll be up at cemetery before
we're out o' this shop."
We hadno' a darkie for a waiter, but a fair sample o' Yankee
muslin, an' hoo stared to see us i' sich a hurry, knowin ut we'rn
Britishers. But when th' breakfast wur browt in we swallowed
it express fashion, one chew an' a guttle an' then "scooted" for th'
procession. We'rn just i'th' nick o' time, as we thowt, but
what a poor muster! We'd th' City Hall steps to oursels; an'
there wurno' a carriage to be seen. How wur that?
"They're not as punctual as they are i'th owd country," Sammy
said to a mon ut coome up to us, an' ut we knew. "If this wur
i' Manchester they'd start to th' minit; an there's nob'dy here
"Plenty of time," th' mon said.
"Ay, they towd us so when th' train left us at the dippo th'
tother day," Sammy said. "Yo' Yankees are too sharp i' some
things, an' too slow i' others. I dunno' think we shall get
away fro' here i' less than an hour at this speed."
"I guess we shan't," th' mon said.
"Guess we shan't, behanged! We'rn ordered to be here
not later than nine, as they should start on th' minit. It's
now ten minits past, an' no signs o' startin. It's like makkin
foos on us."
"Wal, I guess it wants fifty minits to nine."
Sammy looked at his watch; an' then at me. It wur no
use lookin at mine, becose it wur stopt.
"Another case o' stone-fences, Sammy?" I said, seein how
gloppent he looked.
"Stone-fences again, Ab. If George gets to know about
this it'll be wurr than if we'd bin late. Ten minits past
eight! Lets get out o' this."
So we'd a walk round th' city. We should never ha' seen
Fall River gradely if it had no' bin for that mistake. Summat
like a consolation for swallowin breakfast whul.
We geet back to the City Hall a minit or two afore nine; an'
fund th' street full o' bustle. Hoss so'diers wur caperin
about; foot so'diers wur formed in a line, an' th' band wur ready
for marchin. Th' carriages wur laid out in a side street an'
we'rn very politely shown to ours.
"Just in time," one o'th' aldermen ut we had to ride with
said, as we took our seats. "We were afraid you would be
"Oh," I said, "its Britishers known how to hit th' time to a
minit. We never mak any mistakes."
I felt an elbow i' my ribs, so I said nowt no moore. It
wur a gentle hint that I're lyin.
Well, th' procession started for th' cemetery, an' every yard
o' "side-walk" i'th' city wur lined wi' folk, speshly women.
Their husbants and brothers wur marchin. When we raiched th'
cemetery we formed in a body i'th' front of a platform wheere they
wur some talkin to be done, and some music played an' sung.
After this th' ceremony o' hangin an' sprinklin graves wi' flowers
wur gone through—th' graves o' thoose ut fell i' that war ut wur
very nee th' ruin o' Lancashire. I're surprised wheere o th'
flowers coome fro', becose flower growin i' cottage gardens isno'
carried on here as it is i'th' owd country. But when I're towd
ther hunderts o' acres o' flower farms down West, I wurno' surprised
then. It wur a touchin seet, an' for th' time I stood theere I
felt as if I're one o'th' mourners. Th' talkin I didno' mich
matter. It wur too hee up for sich as me to get at it.
But there's a general understondin that it must be of a tall sort
for t' goo down. For o that, there's nob'dy knows better than
th' Yankees theirsels how mich it's wo'th. An' they con laaf
at it as heartily as we con, after they'n swallowed it. Owd
England couldno' tak a lesson fro' Ameriky i' these things, for its
heroes lien i' other londs.
Well, ta-ta, owd crayther! Thou's nobbut about another
time for t' yer fro' me ere thou sees my owd jib again; an' I've
begun o' no' carin how soon that'll be; no' becose I'm tired o' this
country, an' th' folk ut are in it. I've bin too weel done to
for that. But I feel as if it wur a long while sin' I yerd one
o' thy neetcap sarmons; an' my ears are gettin meault for th' want
o' bein tickled wi' one. Another three week, an' then thou'll
ha' me i' thy power again. Till then keep believin ut I'm—Thy
* "Uncle George" is a kind of pet nome de plume by which Mr.
Salisbury is known in connection with the Fall River Advance. He is
an Englishman, and was at one time on the staff of the Blackburn
AB'S EIGHTH AND LAST LETTER TO HIS WIFE.
THE QUAKER CITY.
Fort William Henry Hotel, Lake George, June 5, 1880.
nobbut two days sin' I wrote to thee before; an' we'n travelled
about six hundert mile i'th' time. Fro' th' owd Quaker city
we'n getten very nee th' borders o' Canady again, for t' see a show
ut wurno' oppent when we'rn this road on before. But I've towd
thee nowt about what I seed i' Philadelphia yet; so here goes.
I'stead o' co'in it th' Quaker city I should co it th' city
o' blacks, becose there's no stirrin for 'em. They're welly as
thick upo' th' sod as th' whites. Sammy o' Moses's says ut if
it wurno' for havin white marble steps to their houses th' place
would aulus be i' darkness. I hadno' bin on my feet above
hauve an hour before I'd run into about a dozen on 'em, becose th'
side walks are as bad to navigate as th' deck of a ship when there's
a bit of a sae on. Wheerever there's trees th' side walks han
to be paved wi' breek; an' i' some places it's like as if they'd
temd a barrowful o'er, an' left 'em theere. No matter how
level they laid'em, tree roots groon so fast they'd have 'em lifted
up in a day or two, as if moudewarps had bin about.
Talk about bein' lost in a hotel!
That at Montreal wur a ready shop at side o'th'
"Continental." We'rn lost booath inside an' out theere.
How we geet in I didno' know; but gettin out wur a puzzler.
One time we fund oursels in a draper's shop, wonderin how we'd
"How's this?" I said to Sammy, as we'rn gawpin about i'th'
shop. "We'n ne'er bin out, han we?"
"How could we be here if we hadno' bin out?" Sammy said.
"An' now we are here, what are we here for? What is it thou
wants t' buy?"
"I want t' buy nowt," I said.
"What didt' bring me in for, then?" Sammy said. "I
thowt thou happen wanted to buy a dicky, or summat."
"What can I serve you with?" a mon said, seein me starin
"I want nowt," I said.
"Beg pardon; what is your wish?" th' mon said seemin hardly
satisfied wi' my onswer.
"My wish is for t' get out as soon as I con," I said.
"Why did yo' come in?"
"We didno' come in; we fund oursels here, an' wanten to get
"Into the street, or the hotel?"
"Into th' street, or anywheere."
"That way, please," an' he showed us th' road out.
"It'll no' do for thee t' leead," Sammy said, when we'd
getten i'th' street. "Thou'll oather have us lost, or locked
up. Wheere are we gooin now?"
"I dunno' know," I said; "thee leead."
"Well, I believe there's a theaytre round th' corner, here.
Let's goo an' spend an hour i' that."
"Come on, then; I'm gam for owt short o' manslowter an'
So we turned down a side street, an' in at a dur, wheere ther
a lobby as wide as our fowt.
"This looks like a place ut I've seen afore," I said when
we'd getten inside.
"Ay, summat like Niblo's; but we'r noane at New York now, so
it conno' be that."
"There must be a new company come'n in, as there's so mich
baggage lyin about," I said; "an' look, there's an elevator theere."
"Why, we're i'th' hotel again," Sammy said; "Theere's that
skip I sit on while I're waitin on thee comin down stairs.
Well, we're a pair o' nice uns."
"It'll no' do for thee t' leead, Sammy," I said; "Thou'll
oather have us lost or locked up. Let's see if we con find th'
So I tried; an' this time I walked straight into th' barber's
shop, wheere ther two chaps bein shaved, an' a cheear empty.
If I hadno' darted back i' two seconds I should ha' had a cloth
under my chin, an' my nose between a finger an' thumb.
"Let's give it up Sammy," I said, "an' go to bed, if we con
find th' elevator. If we con find a road out, we shall ne'er
be able t' find a road in again, unless we tryen to find another
So we agreed, that, sooner than risk bein lost, we'd stop
wheere we wur, an' go to bed if we could find nowt elze to do.
We fund th' elevator, an' mounted. Afore we geet i' bed we
made an agreement ut we'd never tell nob'dy when we geet back to owd
England. So thou munno' let owd Juddie know.
Th' mornin after we managed to get out without any bother; so
we'd goo an' see th' State House, an' look through it, if they'd let
us. But wheere wur it? We'd ax th' conductor o'th' next
car ut coome past.
"Put you down next block to it," th' conductor said so we'rn
o reet for that job.
When we'd bin gooin about a hauve an hour, an' had turned
down a lot o' streets, th' conductor said he wanted an extry six
cents apiece, as it wur a double stage journey. We did a bit
o' grumblin about that, as we'd never bin charged twice before, chus
what distance we'd gone. But grumblin geet to summat elze
afore we'd done. It took close on an hour for t' lond us; but
we'd no difficulty i' findin th' State House when we'rn set down;
an' we could walk in straight forrad, as ther no sittin that day.
I could ha' spent a day i' that place, tho' there's nowt
grand about it; but Time seemed to be talkin to me about what it wur
once, when an owd bell ut hung theere rung in a great day; an'
Independence wur declared. This they co'en "Liberty Bell."
Th' owd frame an' yoke ut it hung in wur in another place; an' I
read on it "Wherein hung the old Liberty Bell, when on Monday the
8th of July, 1776, 12 o'clock, it was rung obedient to its
motto—'Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land, unto all the
inhabitants thereof. Lev. xx., v. x.'" Th' owd ding-dong's
cracked now, an' hangs i'th' dome as we go'en into th' hall.
It's a good while sin' thoose ut rung it had th' yead-wartch.
But I're like as if I could yer it clang out its joyful prattle.
The Liberty Bell.
Th' cheears wur theere ut Adams an' Ben Franklin had sit on,
an' an owd cane-bottomer ut belonged to th' fust President.
Nob'dy i' Walmsley Fowt would ha' borrowed it for a buryin.
An' ther a dur ut wur battered to pieces at th' battle o'
Germantown, October 4th, 1777. For t' show us how things wur
done two hundert year sin', ther a "brewin jar," ut Billy Penn took
with him th' fust time he went to Ameriky i' 1682. They must
ha' had queer notions o' brewin i' thoose days, an' it seems Quakers
liked their nut-brown as weel as sinners. What pleased me th'
best wur th' picture of his owd stockinmender; th' second ut pledged
her neetcap to his; an', if th' pictur's owt like her, a rare sort
hoo must ha' bin. It made me wish I're a lad again, an' I'd
sich a one as her for a gronny. I'm sure hoo'd ha' gan me many
a spoonful o' traycle, an' forgetten to put th' brimstone in it.
Women didno' walk o' their toes when hoo're in her yard-wide days,
but timed theirsels wi' th' sun, an' seemed to set with it every
neet. Bless her owd face! I'm like as if I think thine 'll
be like it when thou'rt a bit mellower. Ther th' part of a pew
i' some owd church at Franklin an' General Washington, General
Lafayette, an' Bishop White used to ha' their Sunday nods in.
Some owd spinnin wheels wur theere ut I reckon wur worked at one
time by ladies ut wouldno' look at one now.
"Boggart-wood, Ab," Sammy said, as he looked at th' owd worm-etten
bits o' timber.
"I reckon it would be to some folk," I said.
"If there'd bin a loom in, thou wouldno' ha' stopt i' this
place two minits," Sammy said; an' I think here about reet.
When we'd done lookin through we'd goo an' have a peep at th'
City Hall ut has bin i' buildin ever sin' owd Columbus teed his boat
up to th' shore, if we mun believe some Yankees, an' it's noane
finished yet, nor isno' gooin to be. It'll be a grand buildin
i' three or four hundert year fro' now. O th' outside's built
o' white marble. It's so nee th' State House, or Independence
Hall, as some co'en it, that we'd no difficulty i' findin th' shop.
It struck me ut we'd seen it th' day before; an' I very soon made
mysel sure about that.
As it would be dinner-time when we geet back to our hotel, if
we had to have another hour's ride, we'd better be shapin. So
we geet in a car ut th' conductor said wur gooin past. We
hadno' bin i'th' car two minits afore we'rn towd to get out; we're
at th' hotel. Then didno' we carry on? We'd bin done out
o' eighteen cents apiece, beside losin an hour, when we could ha'
walked fro' th' hotel to th' State House i' five minits. We'd
travelled very nee o round th' city. It wur like gooin out at
our back dur, an' gooin round owd Thuston's pit fielt, for t' get in
at th' front. It wur a warm day; but we made it warmer.
If we could ha' getten howd o' that fust conductor he'd ha' had to
smell summat beside his dinner, that he would.
As we'd an hour to wait for dinner-time we'd have a strowl,
an' mind th' turns we made. Then we seed a seet ut made my
jaws wartch wi' laafin. Ther ten mules, yoked like rush-cart
hosses, one abreast, drawin some railroad waggins down th' middle
o'th' street. I never seed nowt like it; an' happen never
shall again. Eh, what ears!
I're towd ut they darno' let one o' these mules look through
a lookinglass. Th' minit he seed his ears he'd begin a-pinin
away, an' would never be fit for owt any moore. So lung as
they dunno' know ut they could scrat th' top o' their stable wi'
their ears they thinken they're hosses, an' worken like 'em.
But no sooner dun they find out ut they're a bit connected wi' th'
history o' Jerusalem than they takken th' sulk, an' winno' work
While we'rn watchin th' mules, ther another strange seet
coome i' view; it wur a darkie band. Ther nowt strange i'th'
music, but i'th' way th' players marched. They wurno' huddled
t'gether, like a lot o' skittles i'th' middle of a crowd o' childer.
I should think they'rn twenty yard off one another, as sure as an
inch; so ut their music took up eighty yard of a busy street; an'
how they kept fro' under th' cars I dunno' know, nobbut by dodgin 'em,
View from Lemon Hill Observatory, Fairmount Park (ca.
Source: New York Public Library.
After dinner we'd a droive through Fairmount Park. It
is a park, too, for we did about nine miles in it. There's a
grand look-out fro' th' top o'th' hill, for th' whul city o'
Philadelphia, wi' its grand buildins, seemed to be lyin at our feet.
There's a part o'th' exhibition buildins still left stondin; an' one
could see by that what a great concarn it had bin. Before we
left th' park we'd a sail up th' Schuylkill in a little steamer
about th' size o' one o' owd Calip clogs; an' a pleasant sail it wur.
We could see miles an' miles o' carriages droivin round th' park.
I thowt Hyde Park i' Lunnon wur a seet, but it's nobbut a buryin
procession at side o' what con be seen at Fairmount.
No' feelin satisfied wi' th' day's wark we'd put in another
hour or two by sailin up th' Deleware; so we geet on to a market
boat ut wur gooin about twenty miles, an' then comin back. We
calkilated we should just get back i' nice time for baggin, accordin
to th' speed ut thoose boats con goo at when they're put to it.
But it wur a sort of a Pilgrim's Progress. It wur like comin
back fro' bearin whoam when ther no 'busses. We'd as mony
co'in shops as ever owd Senty had, 'liverin market stuff fust o' one
side o'th' river, an' then o'th' tother till we'rn doing a zig-zag o
th' road up. It wur gettin close on dark afore we geet to th'
fur end; an' then ther th' comin back to be done. What made it
wurr ther nowt solider than lager on board; an' ther isno' mich for
th' teeth to do i' that. But we should goo down th' river a
deeal sharper than we did th' up voyage, becose th' boat would be so
mich leeter, an' there'd be no co'in shops. However, we fund
that we'd miscalkilated th' chances; for i' gooin down th' river we
had to co at th' same places for t' tak on market stuff, forth' day
after's market. For t' mak th' trip moore lively we'd a
thunnerstorm an' moore darkness than we could see through wi' an owd
shippon lantern. We londed i' time for t' see everywheere
shuttin up: an' we'rn i' doubts as to whether we shouldno' ha' to go
to bed without supper, sayin nowt about bein bagginless. Then
we had to chance findin our hotel, an' gettin into it when we had
fund it. But strange, for our general run o' luck, we walked
straight to th' hotel, an' had our legs under a table in a minit or