AB'S EIGHTH LETTER CONTINUED.
IN THE ADIRONDACK REGION.
IT wur about
baggin-time when we geet to Albany, wheere we'd th' satisfaction o'
feelin th' air wur a deeal cooler, an' that we should have a chance
of a comfortable stretch-out at neet. We had till th' neet-boat
coome in; an' then th' wharf wur alive an' noisy, an' folk like
picnickers wur grinning through th' sharp mornin' air, an' strowlin
about th' streets as if they didno' know wheere to goo.
We had to be up wi' th' sparrows; for th' train ut had to tak
us on started soon an' we'd a long distance to travel; but ther one
comfort, we'd nobbut our hond bags with us. Th' tother lot
we'd left at Brooklyn. We'd about as pleasant a ride on th'
railroad as any we'd had. Th' country wur nice ut we had to go
through, an' wurno' so dusty as we'd had it i' some journeys.
We'd another glent at th' Mohawk Falls as we passed through Troy,
an' that factory a quarter of a mile long we seed again. Then
we passed through Saratoga, th' Leamington of Ameriky, wheere th'
hotels are some o'th' wonders o' this lond o' wonders, for they're
as big as some o'th' biggest o'
factories. There are moore beds in 'em than con be found i' o th'
It wur about noon when we geet to "Glens Falls," wheere we had to
leave th railroad, an' have a gradely owd-fashint ride on an
owd-fashint coach. Noane o' yo'r omblibusses, ut looken like bein
made for flittin house goods, but one like th owd "Red Rover," wheere folk could see summat when they're peearched on th' top. This
had to tak us nine miles on an owd plank road; an' a nice spin we
had. If we'd ridden so far on a road like th' Broadway, i' New York,
we should ha' had every button jowted off our clooas. So how would
our insides ha fared? As it wur we'd a nice chatty company, an'
could yer what one another said. It wur a bit like droivin through
sich a country as there is about Mottram, so thou may be sure we
liked it. I nobbut wanted t' see a face ut wur summat like thine
an' yer someb'dy shout "Come to thy porritch," an' then I should
ha' felt happy.
Our journey's end for that day wur to be "Lake George," wheere we
are now, wi' hardly a soul i'th' hotel beside us, if I dunno' reckon
about a score o' darkie waiters, an' as mony young women gettin' th'
house ready for crowdin time, ut they expected would begin in about
a week. Ther a lot o' darkies shakin carpets in a meadow—carpets ut
anyone on 'em would cover our fowt—an' dust rose i' clouds. I
should think a darkie's face, when it's covered wi' dust, is abeaut
as comikil a seet as con be seen. It's next to bein whitewesht. On th' foot-road leeadin through this meadow we could hardly put afoot
down for treadin on ant hills. We could see hunderts on 'em, wi'
their little holes at th' top ut they used for durs, lyin as thick
as wormholes on a bowlin green. On our road, just before we coome to
th' hotel, we passed th' "Bloody Pond." Here, it's said, that at th'
time o'th' border wars a party o' French soldiers wur camped one
neet, havin their supper, when th' English surprised 'em, an' killed
so mony ut their blood turned th' wayter red. Th Indians about towd
us that, an' I reckon they'd had it fro' their gronfeythers.
This is a grand place, so very different to some parts of Ameriky. It's like bein i' Cumberland, obbut th' lakes are so much bigger,
an' th' hills are green i'stead o' bein grey. We'd a strowl by th'
edge o'th lake for t' watch th' sun set; an' what wi' now an' then
th' chirpin of a whistling frog, an' th' croakin of a water hen, ut
th' Indians co'en th' "Dumplin bird," an' ut maks a noise like th'
workin of a pump, I felt sich a loneliness creep o'er me ut I're
fairly chilled. Beside, ther some Indian farms about, an' I wurno
quite sure ut they're gradely civilized. But they couldno' ha'
getten a scalp off my toppin, chus how.
I'd ha' bowt thee an Indian bonnet if I could ha' carried it safe,
but bein made o' chips it would ha bin smashed int' toothpicks afore
I'd getten it to New York. Thou would ha' looked a bit of a blossom wi' one on thy yead, marchin through Hazlewo'th. Th' childer would
ha' thowt thou'd brokken out of a show wheere ther some penny play-actin
done. It's wonderful how they mak em; an' so is mony a thing they
I fund we'd nobbut come'n to this hotel for lodgins; for this mornin, as I're writin this letter, Sammy o' Moses's comes to me,
"Ab, thou mun cut off."*
"What for? " I said,
"Th' boat 'll be off in a two-thri minits; an' it's Sunday t' morn.
We conno' cross th' lake then, an' we ha' not a day to' spare. So
Chasm Hotel, Birmingham, New York State, June 7.
Thou sees I did cut off, an' dry up, too, as Sammy towd me, an' now
I'm gooin in for a finish. I scrambled my papper up at once an' i'
five minits after we'rn on board th' little steamer "Horican," bund
for Ticonderoga, or "Old Ti," as they co'en it. This would be a
grand sail on a fine day, but it wur black an' weet when we set
out; an' a little bit chilly. Our "circus's" wur o' some use then
an' it wur th' fust time they had bin.
A dark weet day in a strange country, an' i'th' wildest part o' that
country, isno' so very comfortin; an' what made it wur, ther no
comfort to be getten on th' boat. But we made th' best we could o'th'
circumstances, an' hutched t'gether under th' awnin', like two
chickens wi' outside berths under th' owd hen's wing, an' spekilated
on it bein' fine th' day after. But as things wur it wur like lookin'
at a grand pictur wi' curtains drawn o'er it; an' we'rn missin one
o'th seets we'd come'n so far to see. Th' mountains, an' th' islands
kept rowlin past us, till when we'd sailed about twenty mile, or a
little above th' hauve road, th' owd sun drew his apporn fro' o'er
his face, an' wi' one of his breetest smiles axt us how we wur.
Then we could see summat—green hills rowlin o'er one another as if
they're playin at rowly-powly, streaks o' sunshoine braidin' 'em wi'
gowd, an' bringin into our seet little white neests o' cottages petcht here and there, as if they'd bin built by some sorts o' brids,
or beavers had larned bow to build their houses wi' green windows to
'em, and had tiny boats for t' goo a-fishin with moored by th' lake
side. A place co'ed "Sabbath Day Point" is so pratty that one mit
forget what day o'th' week it wur, and co every day Sunday. An' everywheere's full o' tales o' wars, an' brushes wi' Indians. As we
passed th' "Hermit Island" I're shown a bit o poetry ut's so good I
know even thou'll like it. It wur th' fust time it had bin i' print, an's co'ed—
"THE JESUIT PRIEST; A LEGEND OF LAKE GEORGE."
BY MISS H. M. AMEDEN.
If you ask a story teller
Of this old and ancient legend;
Of this story of the Jesuit;
He would tell you that in old-time,
When the mountains on the lake shore,
And the woods between the mountains,
Were the abode of Indian hunters,
And the wild game of the forest;
When no white man yet had entered
On its waters, blue and tranquil,
That a band of holy Fathers,
In a far-off country eastward,
Had established mission stations,
That the red man of the forest
Might receive the Jesuit customs;
Worship at the Jesuit altars.
He would tell you there was treachery
On the part of many red men;
There was suffering with the Fathers,
There were ugly wars and fightings
'Twixt the different tribes and clansmen.
And the prisoners that were taken
Suffered tortures; suffered torment
Till the life that once burned brightly
Slowly flickered out and perished;
And the Jesuit Fathers suffered
With the suffering like the others.
At the burning stake they perished,
Asking mercy they received not.
Down among the eastern missions
Came a wandering tribe, and hostile;
Waited, till by shrewd and cunning,
They could get a pale-faced captive.
Then with prisoner strings they bound him,
Till his flesh was torn and bleeding,
Set their faces towards the forest,
With their prisoner in among them.
Down beside the Hermit Island,
On Lake George, the eastern shoreway,
Where its mountains yet had never
Echoed to the human voices,
Save the cry of savage warriors,
With their women, and their children.
Out beside a birchen tree-top,
From the shoreway, lone and silent,
Shot a light canoe, and veering,
Landed safe on Hermit Island.
Carefully the boatman landed
Pulled the light canoe to inland
Underneath the brakes and bushes.
But his mien is not a savage,
And his robes are priestly garments.
Now he rises—lifts his bony
Fingers towards the light of heaven;
Then he makes the sign of crosses,
And his lips move as if praying.
After these devotions over,
Down he sinks as if exhausted,
Borne to earth as if to rise not.
Underneath his soiled garments
Forth he draws a much-worn missal;
Looks it over; waits, like doubting;
Turns back to the whitened fly-leaf,
And with pencil writes upon it—
"Pere St. Bernard of the Missions
Of the East has been a prisoner."
Then he writes a brief narration
Of his sufferings and his hardships,
So that if he, wandering, perish,
Some one in the years that follow
May perchance receive the message.
In a hollow stone behind him
Places he that written leaflet;
With a larger stone he covers
Up the message, thinking, hardly,
Will a human hand ere get it?
Half exhausted, half discouraged,
Down he sat alone in silence,
Hardly knowing where to turn him,
Which was safest route to follow.
Then he heard a steady plashing
Of oars upon the water;
Looking towards the western shoreland
Saw a lithe canoe and master
Making towards him in the distance.
Passive sat he in his covert,
Knowing that retreat was useless—
Then as if a new thought gave him
Greater strength and greater courage,
Drew the birch canoe to cover
More concealed than first he placed it.
Then advancing in the sunshine
With a friendly gesture, greeted
Him who landed on the island.
Now the wondering savage listens
Till his greeting was well over.
Then began the painted chieftain;
"Pere St. Bernard, can you tell me
What red man is speaking to you,
How I know the holy Father?
How I know the hungry pale face?
Me forget? The Indian chieftain
Writes not with the pale face's pencil,
But his heart is great, and holds much;
Does not say much, but remembers,
And gives back as he is given.
"Pere St. Bernard! at the eastward
When the red man, not a chieftain,
Quarrelled with your pale face's brother,
It was you who saved my life then.
You have been a prisoner yonder
In another tribe than mine is;
You are faint, and you are hungry,
But the redman not forget you;
You shall come across the water,
Travel with me and my people
Till you come among your brothers
At the eastward where you left them."
So the Hermit Isle, deserted
By the priest and by the chieftain,
Kept its little secret hidden
And if ever you may linger
On the shore of Hermit Island,
At the southward, towards the Lake Head,
You may weave into your fancies
Jesuit Father, Indian chieftain;
They upon the shore then, standing
Just where you stand in the sunlight.
And before you leave the island
Search the hollow rock behind you,
See where lay the hidden message,
Secret of the Hermit Island.
After londin we'rn takken by train to Ticonderoga, wheer we'rn
shipped again for t' cross "Lake Champlain," another run of 130
miles. This lake lies in a flatter country than Lake George,—well,
just about th' wayter; but th' mountain i' th' distance looken
Then there's th' "Queen City of the Lake," Vermont, wi' its tin
towers glitterin i'th' sun like newly polished ale-warmers, on our
reet, ut shows ther someb'dy beside Indians i' this wilderness. We londed at Port Kent; an' felt a little bit done up wi' our day's
sailin; an' ther an owd shandry waitin for passengers to th' next
city. We scrambled into th' owd leather box, an' gan orders for t'
be dropt at th' "Lake View House," about three mile on th' road. Th'
droiver towd us that hotel wurno' oppent for th' season yet, so we
couldno' get in. Ther th' Chasm Hotel across th' river we could
happen bunk theere. Any port in a storm but if th' hotels wur owt
like the country we'rn gooin through there'd be thin pastur, for th'
fields about had hardly a tuft o' grass to th' square yard.
When we began a-gooin down th' broo th' lond looked better, an' when
we geet to th' bottom we could see an' yer ut we hadno' come'n for
nowt. Birmingham lies here in a little neest, wi' a nail factory for
t' keep everybody ut lives theere. We'd a glent at th' Falls as we
crossed th' river, an' as neet wur closin in th' chasm looked a
fearful hole. Our hearse pood up at an owd house ut favvort havin th'
windows nailed up, an' we'rn towd ut that wur th' Chasm Hotel. It
made my flesh creep for t' look at it; an' Sammy's face wur as
blank as if ther a boggart at th' door.
"I'm no' gooin i' that shop till I know sommat about it," he said,
lookin th' picture o' disappointment. "Ab, get out an' punce th'
dur, for t' see if there's owt wick about beside ettercrops. If not we'n goo on."
I tumbled down an' mounted th' step, then geet howd of a knocker ut
favvort bein made out of an owd reawsty quoit, an' leet it bang
again th' dur. It made sich a strange sound ut I jumpt back, an'
would ha' run away if there'd bin nob'dy wi' me. But th' dur oppent,
an' a face showed itsel ut put me i' mind o' owd "silver-yead." Th'
body it wur fixed on wur tall an' lank, an' it nobbut wanted a
candle inside, I thowt, for t' ha' made it int' a lantern. I axt him
if he could tak two travellers in, an' he said he could, tho' they
hadno' oppent yet. Seein ut I looked a bit down about th' place, he
axt me to took through an' satisfy mysel about it. I towd Sammy an'
th' coachman for t' keep their ears oppen, an' if they yerd a shout
owt like "murder" they'd know what to do; then wi' a sinkin pluck
I ventured into th' owd castle.
Ther just enoogh o' leet when th' windows wur unbooarded for t' let
me see what th' place wur like. Strange, it wur as cozy a shop as
any we'd bin into, booath upstairs and down; an' when I seed two as
bonny wenches as any we'd met, I said to mysel, "I'm gooin t' let
my anchor down here whether Sammy does or not." I took my report to
Sammy, an' he didno' want mich coaxin for t' turn in, as we'rn
booath on us quite fagged out. We'rn as comfortable as two
sondknockers directly; an' when th' supper wur ready, an' th'
wenches wur cotterin about us wi' cleean apporns on, then no two
Yankees could ha' made theirsels feel moore awhoam than we did. We'rn a little bit dropt on, too, when we axt for a lager apiece,
an' wur towd it wur a teetotal shop. Ther nowt nobbut bed for us,
after supper; so we turned in i' good time, an' slummert soundly
till mornin. Noather boggarts nor robbers disturbed us.
I'th' mornin we emptied th' hencote of o th' eggs they had, an'
flung some good sweet ham after 'em, an' then we felt quite ready
for what th' day mit bring us. Th' landlort towd us visitors wurno'
allowed into the Chasm o Sundays; an' that wur a bit of a damper
for us: we should ha' to stop another day. But we could see a part on't fro' th' bridge; so we'd go down that road. When we geet back
we fund th' londlort had bin out, too, an' he gan us th' welcome
news ut he'd getten leeave for us to go through th' Chasm that day,
an' a guide would goo wi' us. He said it wur becose we'rn Britishers. Th' owd chap looked quite another mon i' our een then; for he
favvort he'd ha' done owt for us.
We set off at once to the Chasm House, wheere we met th' guide. A
young woman leet us in, an' oppent a dur ut led to a "stairway." We'rn towd to look at nowt nobbut th' steps as we went down, as a
slip o'th foot would be th' last we should ever mak i' our lives. That advice wur so comfortin ut I said I'd wait at th' top till they
coome back; but as Sammy said if I didno follow he'd turn back and
throw me down, I thowt I mit as weel mak use of a chance; so I
Lorgus o me, Sarah! when we geet to th' bottom o'th' stairs, an'
looked up an down, I felt o of a tremble. We'rn like between two
walls o' rock 200 feet hee, an' lookin so close t'gether ut they
could whisper to one another. Between these two walls a river rushes
at th' rate of about 15 miles an hour; an' th' guide towd us that i'
some places it wur 70 feet deep. This Chasm conno be a rift. There's
nowhere for th' rocks to set back to. It must ha' bin worn an' weshed out wi' th' river; un it must ha' takken ages upo' ages to
do it. At one place there's a bend, an' here it's made a big
chamber, ut reminds one o'th' Whirlpool Rapids at Niagara. Close to
this there's a big cave they co'en th' "Devil's oven" an' it looks
as if Owd Nick had baked his dinner in it some time. Then there's a nattural stairway made o' ledges o' rock; and this is coed "Jacob's ladder." I shouldno' like to try t' mount it. It would be
odds again thee seein' me again if I did. We had to walk by ledges
o' rock, like shelves; an' every time we stirred a foot we'rn towd
not to look down. At some places wooden galleries are fixed,
wheere if a nail slipped it would be wo-up!
The Ausable Chasm – A deep gorge carved by the Ausable
When we'd walked, or rayther crept, about a quarter of a mile—it mit
be a hauve a one—we'rn led down some stairs to th' edge o'th river. Here they a little boat fastened up, an' we'rn towd to get into it. As I couldno' be i' greater danger than I'd bin in, I tottered into
th' boat, an' tried to balance mysel'. Then Sammy followed, an' it wur same as teemin a looad o' coals in it. I felt like as if I'd
fast howd o' mysel, an' doestno' leeave lose. Then we shot off down th' river at a rate ut made me mazy—shot some rapids neck-or-nowt,
till we geet to a hole ut I thowt would be my last restin-place, for
it seemed to be throwin out its arms for t' get howd on us.
"Surely we're no' gooin i' that hole," I bawked out.
"No," th' guide said. An' he turned his boat into a bit of a creek,
an' I took my wynt again.
"Is there no plan o' getting back nobbut gooin th' same road as we'n
come'n?" I said to th' guide.
"You can't go the same way back," he said. "It's as much as I can
do to pull myself back by that rope." An' he pointed to a rope ut
wur laid by th' rock side, like a taligraft wire. "You can go by a
footpath along here."
"Thank thee," I said. "I've no doubt but thou'rt a dacent lad o'
someb'dy's. If I had thee at th' owd Bell, thou should have a sope
o'th' best there is."
We left him, an' wi' mich ado climbed th' rocks, an' londed safely
out o'th Chasm after gooin through about a mile on't, an' feelin i'
sich a pickle as I never meean bein in again.
This is th' last ventur' upo' th' list. Th' next move 'll be for whoam. So, by-bye, till thou sees th' face o' thy prodigal husbant,
* Cutting off among weavers means they must take in as much cloth as
they have woven, when such cloth is urgently wanted.—B. B.
CHAPTER XVII. AND CONCLUSION.
A GREAT EVENT—HOMEWARD BOUND—HOME AGAIN.
'Tis sweet to hear the watch-dog's honest bark
Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home;
'Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark
Our coming, and look brighter when we come.
WE are again in
the city of Paterson, New Jersey; and our friend "Ab" is relating
some of his adventures with, I am afraid, a little tendency towards
drawing the long bow. "Sammy o' Moses's" is enjoying over again most
of these adventures, giving now and again a shrug of the shoulders,
as much as to say—"Abram, thou'rt ridin thy big hoss." Pipe-breaking
"Frank" is again with us, colouring a new meerschaum, and
regretting that he did not "do" the whole tour, instead of
"lotus-eating" on the Passaic Falls. "Will o' Jimmy's" and his wife—a
very dear cousin of mine—are manifesting their delight in real
Lancashire fashion; and other members of a once closely knit family
are listening with the air of mixed doubt and credulity with which
the recital of strange adventures is sometimes received. And there
are present several gentlemen of high standing in the city,—aldermen
and councilmen and officials of the corporation, come to welcome the
"Britishers" on the completion of their 4,000 miles tour.
There are to be "high jinks" in the city: I am to have a grand
"reception" at the Opera House; and every preparation for the event
has been made. Whilst we have been travelling east and west,
Anglo-American citizens have been busy to give the occasion a
national importance, as may be gathered from the following paragraph
which appeared in the Evening Press of June 1st: "Anglo-Americans
interested in the Lancashire poet and dialectician, Ben Brierley,
will meet at the City Hall this evening to arrange for a fitting
reception on his return from his western trip, about the 7th." Large
posters are on the walls; and my name, along with the line,
"Memories of Old Lancashire," is conspicuously blazoned forth. The
English element is actively astir, for the event is to come off on
the morrow. There have been doubts as to whether we should turn up
in time, as nothing had been heard of us during the past fortnight. Newspapers have been busy with gossip; but the
Daily Guardian sets
the public at rest by announcing in its issue of June 9th:—"Mr.
Brierley returned last evening, after a pleasant tour through the
eastern States, Niagra Falls, and other places of attraction in that
direction." But rumour had gone before, and that occasioned this
gathering. A merry one it is, and full of enthusiasm about the
proceedings so soon to be inaugurated. There is singing and reciting
and Will o' Jimmy's is again on the platform at the "old school"
in his native Failsworth, telling the audience assembled there that
his "name is Norval," and that, "on the Grampian Hills,
feeds his flocks."
The morn hath come, and with it unusual bustle. The time of our
departure for England is drawing near, and we have many friends,
some of them new ones, to see and take leave of. It is now the ninth
of June, and we leave New York on the twelfth. On the evening of
this day, and that of to-morrow, I have to give "Readings" in the
Opera House: that is the form the reception is to take. I am
exceedingly nervous as to the success, but am assured that it will
be most flattering.
The day is drawing to a close, and there is a carriage at the door. Nervousness is on the increase. The event not having been looked
forward to when I left home, I have no "dress" suit to appear
in—nothing but my "navy blue," which will look much out of place on
a platform. No matter; the ordeal has to be passed through, and I
must gird up my loins to face it.
I am at the "wing" of the Opera House stage, waiting for my "cue,"
and there is a cheering hum of voices in front. It is an anxious
moment when the chairman, ex-Mayor Buckley, rises to announce me. And now I must write in the past tense, as the affair has become
I had on my appearance a reception that at first appalled me. There
was a perfect hurricane of voices, and the hand applause came with a
crashing sound. My whole system was shaken as if by electricity; and
the fear that after all I might be a disappointment made my heart
sink within me.
But when the choir burst forth with—"Shall auld acquaintance be
forgot?"—in which the audience joined, another feeling came over me,
and confidence followed. Surely I could not be in America, was the
dominant impression; this must be a Lancashire Theatre, and all
these people before me sons and daughters of old "John of Gaunt." There were many faces that I had seen before—ay, "three thousand
miles away;" and the gap of time and distance had been bridged over
by a very pleasing structure. At the very first utterance I found I
"had them," as professionals say; and I kept my grip of them the
rest of the evening. It was the night of all nights during the whole
of my career. The audience were not only excited by hearing the old
familiar talk, but they looked on me as having brought in my person
a gleam from the bright firesides of their native land; and tears
and laughter sprang from their fountains at the same moment. It was
worth going to America for to have seen, and been the object of,
The night following I had the pleasure of standing before the same
faces again, and on the same platform. The enthusiasm of the former
occasion repeated itself; and a never-to-be-forgotten experience
came to an end. I had some difficulty in getting away when all was
over. The hand-shaking I had to go through, and the many farewells
that had to be uttered, was an entertainment of quite another kind.
I had the satisfaction of hearing, before I left the city, that a
handsome sum would be handed over to the funds of the Paterson
Orphan Asylum, as the result of the second night's entertainment.
I have awakened out of a bright dream and we are treading at
midnight the silent streets of New York, on the way to our
temporary ocean home, the "City of Berlin," which sails on the
morrow. There is not the silence of the streets on that crowded
wharf, for the good ship is lading. Wherever all the cargo lying
about is to be stowed is a marvel to us; but it is rapidly
disappearing. "We sleep on board, to-night, captain." "All right!" We climb the gangway, and are again among familiar scenes. We must
have lived there for years, every corner and every face is so mixed
up in our memories. Our baggage is bundled into our stateroom;
and little Johnny Hughes is proud to be our berth-steward. Why, we
must belong to the ship's company, we are so heartily greeted. We
meet the doctor, and the two Bridges, and "Walter," and that dry
"auld" North Briton, "Cam'll," the chief engineer—hands all round. Were it not that we were tired we would have a "high old time of
it." But our wanderings are over; and we are "homeward bound." A
nine days' rest we feel will be welcome; and the first stretch in
our berths is quite refreshing. Notwithstanding there is a noise
going on as if the enemy was boarding us, it cannot keep off sleep,
nor the dreams that attend it.
"Away; nor let me loiter in my song!"
It is a bright Saturday morning; and there is a large crowd on the
wharf. Our Brooklyn friends are there, and we hail them; and somehow
a box of cigars is passed to us. Many anxious eyes are strained
towards the vessel to catch glimpses of friends, most of whom are
leaving home for a tour through Europe.
The gangway is withdrawn and the first throb of a pulsation that
seems as if it would never cease lifts us on our uncertain way. What
handkerchiefs are waved from wharf and boats, and cheers grow faint
as the shore recedes! Our friend Ab was in one of his moods; and as
a familiar object disappeared from view he unburdened himself in
"Thou'rt a big country, an' thou's some big folk. Some would be thowt big ut are no' becose talk conno' mak 'em so. If it could it
would have to do. Ther's a good deeal o' things about thee ut I
like; an' some I dunno' care for. If we'd thy wayter—but that
couldno' be, becose one o' thy lakes would swamp us, an' put us
cleean out o' seet. But if we'd thy Niagara it ud ha' to do moore
wark than it does. We wouldno' have as mony long chimdies as we han;
nor as mich reech flyin about. It ud give us a chance o' havin trees
as green as thine; an' buildins as cleean outside. If we'd as mony
blessins i' wayter, an' lond, an' sun, an' sweet air, as thou con
give, we wouldno' be feart o' other folk threshin us i' noather wark
nor nowt elze. We wouldno' ax nob'dy to pay duty to us, for t' keep
up prices, an' help to carry th' gover'ment on. We'd mak it so ut
nob'dy could lick us, without protection. Thou'rt a fair lond,
Ameriky; grand for a trip like ours; but I deaut if ever thou're
intended for white folk to live in. They gotten too mich loce skin
about their jaws when they'n bin here a year or two for to mak me
think thou suits 'em. If it wurno' for
so mich new blood bein poured in fro' England, an' Garmany, an'
Paddy's land, it wouldno' be mony hundert year afore th' Red Skins
wur th' mesthers o'th' job again. But tak thee as thou art, thou'rt
a pattern of a new wo'ld; an' some owd uns mit tak lessons fro'
thee. Farewell, Yankee Doodle; we're gooin a-seem th' owd pot-lion
Our voyage home partook very much of the character of our voyage
out, so far as the sailing and the incidents on board may be taken
into account. There was, however, this difference in our
fellow-voyagers—we had a greater number of saloon passengers, and
considerably fewer in the steerage. But although we were going home
the time did not pass over half so pleasantly as when we were going
away. Most of our companions were Yankees, of that insufferable type
only to be met with in their true character on board ship. Selfish
and unsocial, their society was not to be courted; and the manner in
which they appropriated the deck for their spoiled partners, to the
exclusion and annoyance of everybody beside, was a mean and
disgusting exhibition of assumed privilege. There, on deck chairs,
lay strong women from morn till night, swathed in shawls and
wrappers; their husbands dancing about them always, so as not to be
one step behind in their attentions, and by the slightest neglect
draw down petticoat wrath. Their meals had to be brought to them;
and the manner in which the eatables were disposed of would not have
been one of the most welcome sights to a person inclined to
sea-sickness. Had these people been unwell they would have had our
sympathy. But they were as well as we; and the sea never was rough. We had none such a company going out. We made up quite a happy
family—mixed freely and sociably with each other; and created
friendships that will not readily be forgotten. Our friend Ab and a
jolly Scotch-Yorkshire farmer from the neighbourhood of Rotherham
conspired to overthrow these deck-squatters by accidentally tumbling
among them; but they did not carry their design into effect.
Our friend the grower of corn was the life of our party going out,
and it was with unfeigned delight that we hailed his presence on
board on our return. He was rich in jest and story, and Ab and he "foregathered" oft. He knew how to use an "eish plant" effectively
to protect his growing corn, and the anecdotes he told of his
prowess in that capacity made the Yankees envy us our fun.
"We wanten oather an ask plant or a pair o' clogs here," remarked Ab,
as he took a survey of the crowded deck, from their joint seat on
the chain guard. "Nowt like a bit o' timber for makkin folk stond
furr. If my owd smoothin iron wur here, hoo'd mak a clearance i'
yond cote smartly. There'd be a cat among th' pigeons afore they
could shake a wing, an' if they didno' offer to get out o'th' road,
feathers would begin a flyin. Nowt like some women for settin others
Late one evening—I am not sure whether we had then cleared the
"banks" of Newfoundland or not—I was sitting upon the upper deck
alone, contemplating the sky, which was a marvel of stellar display. The captain was pacing to and fro a few yards from me, evidently on
the look-out for some special object, as he knew from information he
had received in New York that the sea was not yet clear of icebergs. Seeing me alone he crept under the rope to join me for a short time. We had a pleasant chat together, and the captain, being a Scotchman, recited "Tam o' Shanter," giving all the pith of the racy
Lowland dialect in a manner that I had never heard before. Almost as
suddenly as if a door had been opened the temperature fell. The air
was quite winterly.
"I shall have to stay on deck to-night," the captain said, and he
got up from his seat and left me. Were we to have a storm, I
Not feeling over comfortable about the matter, I retired to my
birth, where I lay awake for some time; but not noticing any
perceptible increase in the motion of the vessel, I suppose
confidence asserted her sway, and I dozed over. In the morning I was
awakened by a loud knocking at our stateroom door, followed by a
vigorous salute from the steward.
"Mr. Brierley, icebergs in sight!" That was all.
I sprang out of my berth with unwonted alacrity, for I occupied the
top shelf, and managed this time without the assistance of my "elevator," which was my portmanteau set on one end. My "bunk mate" I
found was already abroad. Half dressed I rushed on deck, and from
thence saw the floating mountains—four of them—a few miles distant
on our larboard bow. We had sailed eighty miles out of our course to
avoid them. In the farther distance they had the dark blue tint of
our own land mountains, but as we neared them they changed one by
one into huge rocks of quartz, that threw back the rays of the sun
as if from a focussed glass; shifting and brightening up where had
been shadow, as the mighty agents of destruction moved over the
deep. As we parted company they again wrapped themselves in their
mountain blue, and we were, not sorry that they had taken their
departure so peaceably.
We had yet another sight in store for us ere the day was spent; a
pair of whales came frolicking through the "briny," and spouting
jets of water from their "blow-holes" to an immense height. Ab
could not see of what use they could be, because he was sure they'd
never have any fires to put out.
Inman Line's "City of Berlin" in her final role.
Source: Library of Congress.
We made a splendid passage; and although the sea was not exactly
what we often hear described as being like a "mill-pond," the steady
purpose of the "City of Berlin" made up for the difference, by taking
each wave as a bull would take a dog, and tossing it out of the way. It was our second Sunday as we sailed along the shores of "ould
Ireland," the sight of which made our voices rise in thankfulness
when at service, which on this occasion was led by the dean of
Chester. Another night on board, and then "Thy shores, fair Albion,"
would greet our gladdened eyes, and the welcoming hands of dear ones
would be clasped about us.
"It is the morn;" but we are yet far from port, though the "Skerries" are past, and the blue mountains on the Welsh coast are
in sight. And what is that speck on our bow? Nearer it comes, and
larger it grows. It is the tender coming to meet us. The tide is
out, and our vessel cannot pass the bar. What hearts are beating;
and how strained eyes are peering in the distance, as if to discover
some face that was the light of home! Suddenly our friend Ab
"Theere hoo is! I knew hoo'd come. Dunno' tak any notice o' my
pranks now, for I'm not mysel'. Her face isno' a bit autured. Now hoo's seen me; an' th' sun's shoinin as it never shoined before. Mind out, I'm gooin t' have a jump if they dunno' shape better at
comin close. Bang!"
It were fit I draw the curtain here; for there are moments in the
lives of men and women that should be consecrated to the sight of
the Almighty alone; and these moments were of them. Farewell all of
you, fellow-voyagers! If a touch of nature has not made us kin,
dangers shared in common have made us of one family.
A LIVELY TIME ON THE ATLANTIC.
TO undertake a
journey of many thousands of miles, and start on the first of May,
which the poets of old were wont to laud so much, but which is now
no more genial than the first of January, is not a circumstance
calculated to put a man in the best of spirits, especially when he
has to perform that journey alone, and cannot boast the youthful
blood of thirty. With the cold and the rain, and the gloom of the
day of village queens, garlands, and "bell horses," the day on
which I sailed for New York, heralded by forecasts of immediate
storms, inspired me with a doubt as to whether I had acted wisely in
selecting that date upon which to commence my journey. But it had
been chosen a month before, when fruit trees were white with
blossoms, and lanes were bright with the favourite flower of the
late Lord Beaconsfield, and everything in nature betokened the early
summer. Why, I might have reasoned, after such a promise of a
splendid time, should we fall back upon the cold and bluster of
March? As well might we have expected the temperature of the
dog-days. But we did return to it.
As I paced the streets of Liverpool, with my wife on my arm, and in
company with others, amongst whom was a true and genial friend, once
a fellow voyager to the land for which I was now bound, then looked
on the bleak ruffled surface of the Mersey, I would not have
objected being taken into custody, and subjected to a period of
"false imprisonment," if I could have obtained damages to the amount
of thirty-five guineas, and costs. I could not have blamed myself if
my trip had been compulsorily deferred. But I had set my
fortune—aye, my life upon the cast, and must stand the hazard of the
die. There was no backing out of the situation, even if cowardice
had prompted such a proceeding: I must go.
Cold blew the wind, and colder beat the rain, as
we stepped upon the tender that was to bear us to the Inman
Company's steamer, the City
of Berlin, then lying out about four miles down the river. Inhospitable looked the black sides of the huge ship, with rain
pouring down them like tears, and the windows glaring at me with a
watery glare, as if they were so many eyes of a monster waiting to
get me into its clutches. But when I had inspected my berth, which
was the one I occupied four years ago, and renewed my acquaintance
with the comfort-suggesting and splendidly furnished saloon, my
spirits went up a few degrees; but my heart did not bound. The
bustle on deck, where luggage was being knocked about as if to try
the strength of the various cases that contained it, and the
satisfaction that I had not to part with my wife and friends until
we reached Queenstown, instilled a little bravado into my breast,
and I defied both wind and rain, and even challenged mal de mer
to come at once and attack me.
It was a curious if not a saddening sight to see, outside all this
lively turmoil, faces peering from behind the "ropes" with
something like the interest expressed in them that we occasionally
notice in the straining eyes of cattle packed like ripe peas in
their husk, in a railway truck, and watching proceedings they cannot
comprehend the import of, yet feel a curiosity to know. These faces
belonged to emigrants from the north-east—Norwegians, Danes and
Swedes; the fair hair of the Scandinavian girls flowing freely when
not covered with a shawl. Bonnets there were none; and hats were
few. I felt concerned as to what their feelings were in a strange
land, the people speaking a strange tongue, and yet three thousand
miles from their destination in another strange land—and what would
they do when they got there. Some of these foreigners were handsome,
and many would compare favourably with the average of our English
girls; whilst for health and strength, and fitness to be sent out to
colonize a wilderness, I have not seen any to come up with them.
The appearance of these people caused me to reason with myself. Here
was I, fitted out with the means of every physical comfort that
could be desired, with a palace for my home, and fare as good as any
hotel could provide, and with friends to greet me when I land; and
yet, what a miserable dog I feel. I am afraid I should make a poor
traveller for the sake of travelling.
None of these emigrants appeared to be in the least downcast in even
that trying weather; but their faces were bright, as it seemed, with
hope; and there was a vein of jollity running through the group that
was not apparent among their better-to-do fellow voyagers. There was
not much time for my friends to look through the ship; but when my
wife saw the cosy berth that had been assigned to her use, she
wished, for the first time, that she was going with me the whole of
the voyage. Could she have fore-known what I and others had to pass
through before we landed at New York, she would have wished she had
accepted the invitation to visit Killarney, in preference to running
the risk of ever seeing Niagara.
I had a spell of sea-sickness before we reached Queenstown, but a
few hours on land, and a drive out into the country, made me believe
I was all right again; and in the evening I faced the dinner table,
in a way, too, that might have led other diners to think I was going
to eat the tablecloth. This was Friday; and it was twenty-four
hours, or more, ere I could face that table again. We had a dreadful
night. The wind we encountered at Queenstown had on its way lashed
the sea into a rebellion of water and I felt that an early
retirement from the deck was safer than remaining, as "breakwaters"
were being placed at the doors and "Richard" looked troubled. It
was an almost sleepless night with most of us. I was afraid, not of
the ship's safety, but of being pitched out of my berth. My window
was as if being washed by a two-inch hosepipe. In the darkness my
hat flew across the room like a bird of ill omen, and this incident
did not add to my equanimity.
The whole of Saturday the sea continued in its rebellious state, and
the deck was clear of human life, save of a few emigrants who
preferred to huddle in a corner to being downstairs, where the
experience must have been of the most sickening kind. Before the
effects of the gale were fully developed, although the wind was
intensely cold, these hardy sons and daughters of the Fjords were
dancing merrily to the music of the concertina, if dancing it could
be called that was nothing more than a bobbing up and down and a
shaking of dishevelled hair. Possibly they had been used to cold and
kindred sorts of weather in their "ain countrie."
In the steerage (1891).
Source: New York Public Library.
The cock of the deck, who could stand anything, and would like to
plant a flag at the top of the North Pole, succumbed at last, and it
was sometime before we heard of him again; when he did make his
appearance the starch had been washed out of him, and his body and
spirits were limp. He no longer strutted majestically about the deck
and sighed for the North Pole.
My sickness returned to me with ten-fold virulence, and I had to
keep to my room the whole of the day, stretched upon the couch, and
declining with a shudder every invitation to meals. Most of the
following night the sea kept on its mad career, and I was afraid it
would never be induced to listen to good counsels. When the morrow
came there was a perceptible moderating of the offended Atlantic's
fury, but the deck was still deserted, and so were the tables. I had
a cup of tea and a bit of dry toast in my room, but it took me all
day to get myself into anything like "form." By degrees the
drowsiness that brings not sleep left me, and I returned to my
stateroom, feeling like one who had been suffering from delirium and
was wakening out of it. I was ready again to face the table. From my
miserable setting out I began to have a flow of good spirits, and
the sea now behaving itself, I felt as if land was made for only
women and carriages and pug dogs. The elements seemed to know that
it was the Sabbath, so put on their Sunday clothes. But we seemed to
have forgotten, as we had no service that morning. The
should-have-been worshippers preferred bodily comfort to spiritual
duty, and were still in their wraps and overcoats, the latter with
the "sideboards" up, as if intended for "breakwaters." Still they
lay in a listless state wherever a seat could be made into a couch. The waves, however, had howled and kicked themselves to sleep, like
big, naughty children. Our vessel seemed to rest too, and it
deserved its repose after receiving the charges and cutting through
the ranks of King Neptune's merciless battalions.
It now became a pleasure to look out upon the deep, watching the
slabs of green and white marble float past, displaying such patterns
as no artificer in real stone could ever hope to imitate, and all so
varied that not one could be reproduced in millions of years, and
possibly never. These slabs were fringed with sprays of white coral,
fitting tablets for such a grave.
We had been three days out before my fellow passengers had had an
opportunity of becoming acquainted with each other, and it was
amusing to see with what an owlish stare they met and spoke. They
had had too much to do in looking after themselves, immured in their
little prison homes, to devote any time to social intercourse. But
now they came out like butterflies in summer, flitting around with
friendly greetings that were no less hearty from their having been
compulsory reserved. Everybody wanted to know everybody; and
although several spoke a foreign language it did not seem to matter;
somehow they got at each other. Children danced and rolicked in the
sun—when there was any—but even dullness was sunshine compared to
what we had been accustomed to, and was welcome, too, so that no one
provoked the ire of the autocrat of the deep. Some found new
fathers, and for a time preferred them to the old ones; and flirting
behind the wheel-house came all at once into season. But the season
was a short one, as will be seen a little further on.
The comparative calm was succeeded by a dense fog on the Monday. It
was dangerous for the vessel to go at full speed. So it went on its
hands and knees while the curtains were down, and crawled along. As
a matter of course, little progress was made during the fall of this
semi-night. An old lady who had not yet got over the terror of the
gale, on hearing that there was more danger in a fog than in a
storm, accosted me with, "Do you think we shall ever land? " "Well,"
I replied, "if we don't come into collision with another vessel, or
an iceberg, the probability is we shall land sometime. At this speed
it would be about the end of July. This fog is a sign that there are
no more gales ahead, and if it will lift we may have a good time." I
am afraid that in my prediction the wish was father to the thought.
"Thank you," said the old lady, and she looked thankful, "I'm
getting tired of this kind of work. I was told that this was the
best time to cross the Atlantic. Whatever must the worst be like?"
and the old girl subsided with a gleam of satisfaction in her face.
It somehow happened that my prediction came true. Tuesday morning
was bright and calm. Again the moths that fly about the saloon
fluttered up to the deck and we had "society" until lunch time.
"But pleasures are like poppies spread;
We seize the flower—the bloom is shed.
Or like the Borealis race,
That flit ere we can name the place."
A bright morning, even in England, the sunniest (?) clime in the
world, is not to be trusted, especially if it be very bright, for
then the sun is shining through a thin vapour, like a bright eye
glancing through a tear. About mid-day the sun left the watch, and
the cold took its place. The saloon moths fluttered on deck until
wraps were of little use, then were seen no more in the upper
world—poor things! But the hardy bees behind the "ropes" hummed and
buzzed as merrily as if they were in a field of flowering clover on
a warm sunny day; and this difference confirmed an opinion I have
long held that luxuries stand in the way of real pleasures.
Rain followed, and kept company with the cold. Our newspapers had
been read and re-read until their appearance was such that they
might have done a year or two's service round a copper kettle, and
as every subject for debate had been exhausted it was either saloon
or bed we chose the former. But the sea was getting up again, and no
one could stand to sing. We abandoned the idea of a concert when we
saw that it was impossible to hold one, and dribbled off to bed,
with sore forebodings for the night. Our worst fears were realized. The gale rapidly gathered in strength, and the waves began to play
leapfrog in the most defiant and demon-like fashion. I retired to
bed early, preferring to be "rocked in the cradle of the deep" under
blankets to being knocked about from pillar to pillar in the saloon,
notwithstanding its electric lights, its brilliant bouquets of many
coloured glasses that were swinging to and fro in an airy dance, and
the chairs pirouetting like the automaton figures we sometimes see
on the top of a musical box. I slept soundly until a little after
six, when my sleep was broken by a strange, and certainly unearthly
noise. It came with a bang—went on with a swis-s-s-sh-sh-sh—and was
followed by a gurgle, as though the ship had been scuttled. I sprang
out of bed,—or rather, I allowed myself to be tumbled out—flung open
my stateroom door, when I had a sort of pleasure in seeing the
passage converted into a brook that would have delighted my
childhood's days. We had shipped an enormous sea. Poor barber! two
hours after he had not finished lading and mopping his little shop. "This reminds me," said my next door cabin neighbour,
"of what I
once heard my father say, a man who goes to sea for pleasure ought
to go to h—l for pastime." Notwithstanding all this I was ready for
breakfast as soon as it was ready for me—quite an unusual thing. But
I could not fall to without Daddy Neptune having a "marlock" with
me. He tumbled my eggs upon the tablecloth and smashed them, a
portion of the yolk flying up my sleeve, nearly reaching my elbow. My tea-cup was turned topsy-turvy (so were others), and my tea-pot
was rolling about like a billiard ball, and "cannoning" against my
But to me, then, there was fun in all this, as I had got over my
constant trouble, my liver doing its work properly, and could have
enjoyed anything short of wreck. But the best fun I had of this kind
was chasing a shirt stud in my state-room, when the ship was rolling
its worst. This incident reminds me of a chase after a cockroach my
wife and the servant once engaged in. This insect belonged to a
breed of racers, and defied pursuit. It was in vain they crashed
among fire irons, chair legs, table legs, making raids upon boots,
and demolishing cinders, the pest continued to elude the vengeful
slipper; so the pursuing party gave up the chase. "Missis," observed
the girl, as they were getting back their breath, "I think yo'
didn't cop it." It was the same with my stud, I "didn't cop it "
until two days after, when it rolled out of its hiding place, and
allowed me to pick it up without further chasing. It is provoking
enough when a stud rolls under your dressing-table at home; but when
you have to go on your knees, and peep under your berth,—the vessel
rolling at the time—and see the little fugitive winking at you as
far in the distance as it can get, and you wrench a lath from your
bed to use as a rake just in time to see something bright roll past
you, and take refuge under the couch, it then becomes a question of
either fun or profanity. I chose the former, and had a good laugh at
the incident. A fellow voyager, to whom I related the circumstance,
observed, "Well, you can boast of something that perhaps no other
man can: it isn't everybody who can wear an Atlantic roller in his
shirt front." I dropped my "nose-pincers" in the same manner, and
they must have instantly slipped out of sight. But the following
morning I saw something glitter on the carpet, and that seemed to be
slowly working its way across with a pair of oval arms. The thing
turned out to be my glasses.
The gale continued the whole of Wednesday, and there was no getting
about from one place to another without great difficulty, and a
little risk. I did manage to scramble upstairs to the smoke-room by
holding on from pillar to pillar, as a child learns to walk by going
from chair to chair. But when I got upstairs I found that things
there were no better than they were below. The water was playing at
"Johnny Lingo," rushing from one side to the other as the ship
rolled; and defying all the efforts of "Richard" and his assistants
to get clear of it. An elderly gentleman whom I took to be a
Russian, but spoke tolerable English, I had noticed could pace the
deck with the ease of one accustomed to the sea. This gentleman came
splashing into the room to light his cigarette; but he had no sooner
stepped on the wet boards than their slipperiness betrayed him. All
on a sudden his feet shot out, and he was laid as flat on his back
as if he had been tossed for a pancake. The fall gave me a good
splashing. It was as good a "back fall" as any wrestler could
desire, but the performer was in no way anxious to repeat it.
On wading round the vessel I found that the sea had carried away the
iron door of one of the "quarter ports," and portions of both chain
boxes. It had also whitewashed the funnel right up to the white band
with varied and picturesque tracery. As the dreary day was drawing
to a welcome close, and the leaden haze fell upon the turbid waters,
I overheard an observant Welshman saying in reference to the gale—"It was getting no better very fast. I should wonder if it would get
no better all night. Yes."
object of my visit to the United States was to treat of Americans
and American Society, it would have been a pity to bid good-bye to
my fellow voyagers without saying a word about them, or how the
voyage was finished. I may say for the latter that the rest of the
passage was in remarkable contrast with the commencement. After the
third gale the weather was delightfully fine; but it did not prepare
us for the temperature we had to encounter in New York. At the grey
dawn it was bitterly cold—we were then passing Sandy Hook, and being
afraid that I might miss seeing something of the land we had been
looking out for all the previous afternoon, I shelled out of my husk
ere the sun had lighted up Staten Island, the fine landscape lying
in dreamy shadow that gradually lighted up with a morning smile. And
now, while we are waiting to cross the bar let me say
something of the family of our temporary home.
The "Saloonists" represented ten nationalities beside "Owdham,"—English,
Irish, Scotch, Welsh, German, Russian, Norwegian, American, French,
and Canadian, and it might be a wonder to many how we got on
together. Well, we did get on together, and very well too. All
could speak English except the one Frenchman, and he picked up so
much of our language that he was able to say "good morning," and
"good night," which effort appeared to be a source of amusement to
him. The Russian was the most demonstrative fellow on board.
He talked with his hands and his arms; and when he was fast for a
word to sufficiently express his meaning, he somehow rolled it out
of his eyes in a way that was quite as good as if his tongue had
articulated it. The German would have it that he was Bismarck
in disguise, at which name the Frenchman shrugged his shoulders and
shook his head. The face was not unlike the portraits I have
seen of the German Prince, but the latter does not wear a beard, and
our Russian friend did.
He was a strange character was this subject of the Czar; and
we were a long time in making out what his profession was. But
we tumbled to it at last, and were not long after the discovery in
drawing him out in his true colours. He was a mesmerist or
something of the kind; and he gave us a séance which excited our
wonder and surprise. Getting one of the table guards, a board
about four feet long, and something like three inches broad, he
charged it with animal magnetism by rubbing his hands over the
surface; then set the board on end, although the ship was rolling at
the time, and made it stand erect. Then by a motion of his
chest, his arms being spread out, he caused the board to lean, like
the Tower of Pisa, for a moment, then it fell into his chest.
This we thought a marvellous performance, but the next was more
wonderful still. After re-charging the board with electricity,
he placed it flat upon the floor, then raised one end several
inches, in which position it remained five or six seconds. Had
I not witnessed that phenomenon and seen for myself that there could
have been no trick, or deception in it, I should have placed the
thing among the category of sea serpents, frogs in coal, and
pin-finding. How is it to be accounted for? Are there
more things in earth and heaven than are dreamt of in our
philosophy? Verily, there must be.
Dismissing the Russian I come to another character—the
Irishman. This fellow was "of infinite jest," the life and
soul of the smoking cabin. Full to the brim with anecdotes,
which he had a racy manner of giving. He had travelled over
the whole or greatest portions of the southern and western world;
and his "yarns" were of his travels. He could sing and dance
like a professional "comique," and I suspect, even yet, that he
belongs to that fraternity—either the music hall or the theatre.
His connection with the American gentleman, in whose company he
appears to have done most of his travelling, gave strength to my
suspicions; the other being a theatrical manager and part owner of a
theatre in New York.
The German was a Norwegian by adoption. He was a very
fine fellow, and spoke remarkably good English, having lived in
London several years, and married a London lady. He had a fund
of traditional stories of Norway, mostly of a superstitious
character. One for illustration of what the rest were like.
Said he, by way of preface, "we have been told of a certain
personage whom we all fear, but do not venerate; who is known by a
greater number of names than any other being: I mean the devil.
I find that in Norway we give him, for the sake of politeness, a
similar name to what I have heard you give him in your
Lancashire—you call him the 'Old Lad,' and he is known to us as the
'Old Gentleman.' We give him credit for having a much more
respectable appearance than you give him. We dispense with the
horns, the tail, and the cloven hoof and invest him with the
appearance of a real Norwegian gentleman, wearing broadcloth, and
bearing all other outward signs of a man to manners born. In
the dense Norwegian forests, of which there are many, he is held in
constant terror; and at nightfall, if the wayfarer happens to meet
anyone well dressed, especially if his figure be small, he is
believed to be the Old Gentleman, and a certain amount of respect is
paid to him to get into his good graces."
"One evening a boy, rather a plucky little fellow, was
rambling in the wood, when he picked up a nut that had fallen from
one of the trees, but he found it was no good; a grub had eaten the
kernel, and left a small hole in the shell. Just as the boy
had finished his examination of the nut and was about to throw it
away, he became aware of the presence of a little old gentleman
answering the description of the anti-divine. He became much
interested in this new acquaintance, eyed him over, scrutinized his
appearance and dress. At length, venturing to address the
little old gentleman, the boy said—
"Who are you?"
"I am the—" was the reply.
"Well," said the boy, neither frightened nor abashed, "if you
are the old gentleman you could get through this hole into this
Instantly there was nothing seen of the old gentleman but the
broad brim of a hat, and that at last disappeared through the hole
in the nut. To secure His Majesty in the prison-house the boy
plugged up the hole, and went on his way rejoicing that he had got
into his possession the source of all mischief. But the old
gentleman did not like his confinement, and begged to be set at
liberty. The boy engaged to let him go free on certain
conditions to the advantage of the jailor.
"But how must I get you out?" the boy asked to know. "I
can't get the plug out of the hole."
"Crack the nut," said the ――
The boy placed the nut between his jaws; but sound as were
his teeth, he could make no impression on the shell. He tried
hammering it with a stone; but, no, the nut would not yield.
"What shall I do?" said the boy. "I can't break the
shell; it is too hard."
"Take it to the blacksmith," said the ―― "he and I are old
friends, and shall be better acquainted by and bye."
The boy did so, and the smith examined the nut with a
"You say you can't crack it," he said.
"No," said the boy, "I've tried it with a stone, but the
shell is too hard."
"Well, I'll try what I can do," said the smith; and he placed
the nut upon the anvil. But in vain he hammered at it with his
small hammer; the shell would not give way. "The devil must be
in it," he exclaimed, after he had worked upon the nut until he
sweat; "but if he is I'll find him." So he took hold of his
sledge-hammer, and giving it a swing, let it fall upon the nut with
a crushing blow. The effect was startling. A figure shot
out of the broken shell—passed through the roof of the smithy,—and,
after assuming the length of the tallest pine, disappeared in a
blaze of light. "I thought," said he, when the effect of the
blow he had given had passed away, "The devil must be in it."
Other stories were told night after night; and I can assure
the reader that Lancashire was fairly represented. We had a
good time of it when we could sit without being pitched into each
other's stomachs. And in the saloon the piano was pretty well
For the greater part of the voyage our Oldham friend lay
coiled up like a hedge-hog, and refused to partake of any kind of
nourishment except a cup of tea, and a little biscuit. He
sighed for "Tommy Field;" and when he was told we were not yet
half-way across, he rolled himself up in his armourless coil, and
either slept or tried to sleep. But when he got over his
mal-de-mer, and had begun to find additional employment for his
teeth, he entertained the company on an evening with merry
discourses on a flute, of which he appeared to be a master. He
and I, and a Manchester Yorkshireman, were companions the
rest of the voyage. In the latter I found a friend after we
had landed, and that is something to say of a man who, up to that
time, had been comparatively a stranger to me. The rest of my
fellow voyagers were dispersed to the winds, and much as we had
suffered on our way, it was a matter of regret that we had to part.
But the landing,—and then I have done with matters exclusively
From the intense cold of the early morning the barometer
began to rise until it got well up the stairs; we could dispense
with our overcoats, and about noon we could have felt much more
comfortable without our body coats. My Yorkshire friend asked
me if it was always so hot, to which question I replied—
"This is scarcely average English summer heat; we shall have
it about thirty degrees hotter yet."
He seemed to collapse at this information, and to the
amusement of the crowd in Broadway, hoisted his umbrella. But
what was his astonishment on going to inspect his room at the
Metropolitan Hotel to see in one of the private rooms,—the
drawing-room of an itinerating family, a class of people who appear
to have no settled home—a large fire, almost stacked up into the
chimney. He was staggered.
"If this is winter," he said, "I shall never summer in
America; not good enough."
But the coldness of the night, in a measure, reconciled him
to the variableness of the climate, and he thought for the time that
he could stand it. When we had got our "baggage" safely
housed, and had secured our rooms, we went to see a little of "the
wickedest city in the world."
And now a word of advice given to me by an English gentleman
long resident in New York. It is well to give it here, as it
may be of use to some other "greenhorn" visiting the States.
"My young friend," said he (I am about ten years his senior),
"you don't appear to know much about New York; you don't appear to
have sufficient caution; like you have seen country people in
Manchester, you look about you too much. You don't see a New
Yorker doing that. He's always thinking about his business,
and fixes his eyes on the side walks, kinder thinking a patch of it
was there. A New Yorker aint like the Yanks. He don't
wear a goatee, nor hair on his collar. He just has his head
and chin as bare as a pumpkin, and brings out all his hair force on
his moustache. Now I guess that plug o' yourn aint the New
York fashion; too much Johnny about it. Git a squar' felt, and
boots to match,—toes as broad as a toomstone; shave off yer not-mach
of beard; git a false moustache, more like a broom the better; try
to look as though your experience of the world had soured your
existence; and you'll pass for a New Yorker."
"But I don't wish to pass for a New Yorker," I observed; at
which he smiled, and covered the floor with a streak of brown juice.
"That ain't bad of you, stranger," he replied, with another
squirt; "but you hitch yourself too much on to British pride.
I'm a Britisher myself, but I've learnt to sink the old country into
the Atlantic when I'm on the jaw. It aint well to buck agin
the stars and stripes, nor the saasy bird on the top of the flag
pole. Sw'ar by the hatchet of Washington, and yo'll get along;
but don't go too far. If you hope it may cut off the old
lion's tail, the'll git you. They've a kinder respect for the
British menagerie at the bottom; and they won't stand to tease the
animal. Buck agin him, and you strike lightning out of the
buttons of the genuine sons o' the west."
"Thank you for your caution," I said.
"Very good, stranger, but I ain't done yet. If you've
got a friend along with you don't go out alone. If you do the
chances are you'll get your pool scooped out. You haven't to
look for sharks; they'll follow you like a ship; and if they hail
you, and ask you how you're getting along, and how did you enjoy
your trip, they're fishing with their best bait. If you show
yourself flattered, and get to think you are somebody, you've got to
find out you are a darned fool, if you don't act up to my advice.
The sharks have watched you in and out of your hotel. They've
got your number when you've given up your key. Then they refer
to the book, and find your name to the number; that's the way they
git at you; and if you don't give them just the whole of Broadway
for their recreation ground, you're a gone foo; it's just a dollar
to a hickory nut you git cleared out."
"But I've a pair of eyes," I observed.
"What's the good o' them eyes if you don't know how to use
them. When a coon sees the open jaws of a snake, it's bound to
jump into its throat; can't help itself no more than being sucked
into a whirlpool when you get into the rapids. If you aint got
any business in New York, clear out of it smart, and you're safe;
git across the ferry; it don't matter where to, so long as there's a
splash of water betwixt you and this h—ll; for by ―― there aint no
brimstone hotter. But don't think the Americans have made New
York what it is. The sweepings and scourings of all countries
under the light of our glorious sun have been dumped here.
That is New York's misfortune. I kinder guess the old eagle
would give a feather out of its wing if the scamps could be got
together and shot, like old chaff beds, into the sea about a couple
of leagues east of Sandy Hook. There'd' be just about as much
rejoicing as there is on the fourth o' July: that would, stranger."
I took our friend's advice, and cleared out of New York as
soon as I could see my way; and took the Pavonia Ferry to Jersey
city; thence by rail to Paterson where I let go my anchor.
Here I found an agreeable change. From the iron edged bustle
of the metropolis I had dropped into a green and cozy nest, where
the shark could inspire no dread. Beneath its shady trees
hands held out to me; and their friendly grasp was reassuring.
Had my native Failsworth been the Failsworth I have known it to be,
with its roads overhung with trees, I might have imagined I was
there, only the green, shuttered white houses would have had to be
taken out of the picture, and brick ones put in their places.
Here I could listen to my native dialect in its almost pure state,
and stumble upon faces that I had missed without knowing to what "bourne"
they had gone. I had nightly receptions, of which I was
getting tired, and it was a relief to me when the Sabbath came.
Sabbath I thou art my Ararat of life,
Smiling above the deluge of my cares.
I went to church in the morning, and was highly edified.
It is what they call the Reformed Church, much like our
congregational. The service was beautiful and the congregation
of a character that we do not find too many of in Manchester.
All were in their places before service commenced. There was
no staring round at late comers nor any comments on that "fright of
a bonnet." Fussiness would have been as much out of place as
spittoons, and would have brought down pity, or contempt upon anyone
indulging in it. The vocal music and organ accompaniments were
light and sweet, as if the difference betwixt the breathing of soft
harmonies and the bellowing of spasmodic thunder was properly
recognised. The congregation joined in the first, and closing
hymns; the rest were sung by the choir only. When I heard the
strains of the "Old Hundredth," they touched a chord that brought
the space of three thousand miles to within a span; and I heard in
it the echo of
A voice that has long been hushed,
the sweetest music my ear could have listened to. The ruffled
spirit which danger and turmoil had harassed, I felt to calm down,
and at last peace fell upon my soul.
The morning was gloriously bright, such as we see none in
England and as the sun sent its streams of gold through windows
which were not constructed to keep out the light, the trees outside,
with their full leaf ornaments, reflected scintillations of a still
brighter effulgence. I felt that we had something to learn
from our cousins, if it was only the building of churches.
What a contrast, I thought, was this place to the gloom, and the
dingy surroundings of St. John's, Miles Platting.
FOUR years have
wrought a change in American tastes, and made an impression on its
institutions. These changes may have not been perceptible to
frequent visitors, but they are not the less striking to those whose
visits, like angels', are "few and far between." When General
Grant "struck" Manchester (England) and saw the magnificent pavement
in front of the Town Hall, he had not an eye for anything besides.
The splendid monument of the late Prince Consort—
A piece of marble was to him,
And nothing more;
but the square sets upon which he stood, so neatly fitted to each
other, and which made such an even surface, were more to him than
the chiselled stone which seemed to breathe the breath of noble
life. No doubt his mind was running over things beyond the
"silver streak:" New York, the centre of everything American, with
its grand Broadway, the pride and scandal of its civilization: the
well-dressed lady with the ugly boots; for to such I compared it on
my visit four years ago.
The pavement of this noble street is one of the changes I
have noticed. Square "sets" have taken the place of
the round cobbles of something like half-a-hundred weight; and no
man can now lock his foot in crossing, or need be alarmed about the
safety of his ankle. Can this change be attributed to the visit of
Gen. Grant to England? In the buildings on each hand there has
been a transformation as though the Harlequin's wand had exercised
its magic power in the pantomime of real life. The "jerry" of
a new country is being swept away and piles of elegant buildings are
rising on their foundations. Another eyesore is being removed.
The improved class of warehouses and offices have banished the
associations of the older tenements. We no longer encounter an
array of plaster Indians, "hooking-in" at tobacconists' doors.
No longer is Punch looking out for his countrymen, to put
them on their guard against people who make a living out of sucking
the blood of strangers. I claim the hunchbacked humorist to be
the English nationality notwithstanding whatever may be said to the
contrary. "Depots" on railroads (America has no railways) are
disappearing, and the English term "station" is being substituted.
America is evidently following in the footsteps of the mother
But more striking still is the change that is being felt in
the tone of American politics and politicians. By the latter I
do not mean the people who "run" governments; but outsiders, whose
opinions, as well as their votes, are a power in the
Commonwealth—the operative classes. Four years ago these were
strong on protection, and even now some of the Republican party,—the
Liberals, or Radicals of the States, hold on like grim death to the
privilege that enables the labour tinker to compete with, or hold
his own against, the more practical and finished worker. I
could have understood the situation a little better had the
Democrats, who in England would march under the blue banner, been
the Protectionists instead of the Republicans. But the
position being reversed has considerably bothered me. These
people have believed that the good trade they were four years ago
enjoying was the result of the action of prohibitive duties.
In vain did the advocates of free trade endeavour to point out the
fallacy of the arguments with which their opponents used to back up
their theory. Men who gloried in the names of Bright and
Gladstone, clamoured for the principles that in England find their
advocates in the leaders of the parliamentary opposition. But
business among American manufacturers began to fall off,
notwithstanding that the foreign merchant was held back, or was
supposed to be, by the high duties imposed on his goods. The
American industries have been gradually sinking ever since that
time. Wages have fallen, and are still falling; and those of
the operative classes who were earning wages that in England would
be dignified by the name of salaries, now find it a difficulty to
make both ends meet. Strikes have been rife, but with the
result they almost invariably have; and what is, or has been, the
cause of these changes? The political weathercock, moving
gratingly on its work-worn centre, is beginning to point to a
quarter hitherto indicated by its tail, and while this change is
going on working people continue to drop out of employment. In
one of the mills I have visited two-thirds of the looms are at rest,
not in consequence of a strike, but through the depression of trade.
A large iron works employs only about a fourth of its usual
complement of hands. Is protection the cause of all this? is
being asked. The people—I mean the working people—are
beginning to think so. A little more grating of the
weather-cock, and we may hope to see it pointing towards the horizon
of Free Trade. Will other countries follow the lead of
In a discussion I heard last evening betwixt a Free Trader
and a Protectionist, the former a Tory, and the latter a
Radical—most incongruous to me—this was the way in which one of the
disputants put his case:—"I have got something to sell; so has Mr.
Brierley. I am an American citizen, on my own sod. Mr.
Brierley is a Britisher, coming all the way from a small patch of
country, and having to pay his freight. He offers for sale a
piece of cloth that would shame mine into fits. But I've got
to beat him. You come between us, and say, 'Here, Britisher,
it's all very well for you to take our corn free, because you want
it, but we aint going to take your manufactures free, because we can
manufacture for ourselves.'" "Just my argument," said the
other. "It is, is it?" said the Free Trader. "What I
have always stood by." "Oh, and the tax is to pay off the war
debt, is it?" "Put on for the very purpose." "Glad to
hear you say so. Then how was it you went to England last
fall, to buy three suits of clothes, and said it paid you to do it,
you patriotic old cuss? You merchants can buy goods from the
foreigners, and have them invoiced at half the price, that you can
evade the payment of half the duty. It is the working man who
has to suffer. He has to pay a big price for a pair of pants
that a monkey would be ashamed to wear. We've got to pay
through the nose for most everything. Only such as you get the
benefit of protection."
If this be true it is no wonder that people are beginning to
clamour for Free Trade. I enclose a circular I received this
morning, which in a measure endorsed what I have stated. The
matter will speak for itself. Until to-day I had no idea that
such society as the circular represents had an existence:—
ADDRESS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS TARIFF REFORM LEAGUE.
To the People of Massachusetts:—
More than twenty years ago, to meet the exigencies of the
great civil war, Congress imposed a tariff of duties on imports
higher than this country had ever before known, and higher than any
civilized nation now maintains. The protective features of the
war tariff have been kept in force without essential changes up to
the present time. The act of last year, framed by the
representatives of protected industries, and enacted by Congress for
the purpose of evading the demand for tariff reform, has given no
relief. So far from materially reducing duties, it has in some
cases increased them.
The tariff has diverted labor and capital from those
industries in which they produce the greatest results. In many
branches of manufacture we lead the world; in agriculture we have an
incomparably rich field. The industries which can be carried
on to the best advantage in this country are checked and are in many
cases shut out from foreign markets in order that others less
profitable may be artificially stimulated.
The war tariff, no longer required for purposes of revenue,
has laid heavy burdens on the consumers by raising the prices not
only of the important articles taxed, but also of a great mass of
similar articles which are made at home. The higher prices of
the latter give no revenue to the Government. They simply add
permanently or temporarily to the profits of the producers.
Where these profits have been permanent, as they have been in many
cases of monopoly, they merely represent a contribution taken by the
Government out of the pockets of one class and put into the pockets
of another class. More often the high profits are only
temporary. They give an unhealthy stimulus to the industries
assisted and finally result in over-production, stagnation of trade,
failures among employers, distress among the employed. They
burden consumers, and eventually benefit nobody.
The defenders of our present extravagant system of protection
assert that it brings about the general high rate of wages in this
country. But it is absurd to suppose that taxes on the
necessaries of life and on the instruments of production cause high
wages. As a fact, wages are higher in this country in the
industries not affected by protection, in agriculture, the mechanic
trades, and in the self-supporting manufactures. They are
lowest in the protected industries, and wretchedly low in many of
these. As consumers, the laboring classes are the chief
sufferers from the existing taxes. It is they who bear the
heavy burdens on articles of universal consumption.
The high tariff has kept down the international commerce of
the country. It is avowedly intended to check imports and
obstruct foreign trade. Exports and imports being dependent on
each other, in checking the later we necessarily cut down the
former. We cannot sell unless we buy. The result of our
present policy is seen in the fact that our international commerce
cannot now compare with that of other nations. For the ten
years ending in 1880, the combined imports and exports of England
were annually for each inhabitant, 95 dollars; of France, 39
dollars; of Germany, 34 dollars 40c.; of the United States, 22
dollars 80c. The commerce of Germany, with a smaller
population than the United States, was, during this decade, almost
fifty per cent greater than our own. That of France, also with
a smaller population, was nearly forty per cent. greater.
Although unable to prevent entirely the growth of our commerce, the
tariff has clearly deprived us of the great expansion which more
liberal laws would have secured.
Not content with giving protection to the finished products
of manufacture, the tariff raises the prices of most of the raw
materials upon which manufactures depend. In order to maintain
our artificial policy, its supporters are obliged to bring all
classes of producers within its scope. Wool-growers and the
owners of iron mines are brought within the protective system.
Every other industrial nation, whatever its general policy may be,
recognizes the expediency of allowing free trade in raw materials.
We, however, tax iron ore, pig-iron, lead, copper, wool, coal,
lumber, hemp, flax, jute, dye-stuffs, and many other raw materials.
Besides raw materials, we tax many finished products which are
essential to any success in domestic industry. These taxes
fetter the very industries which the protective policy is chiefly
intended to benefit. Growing whenever a profit is made at any
stage of manufacture, they finally fall on the consumer with
increased force. They serve no possible useful purpose, and
should be entirely abolished at the earliest practicable moment.
Our duties on imports, arranged not for the purpose of
raising revenue, but solely with reference to protection, pour
annually into the treasury at least $100,000,000 more than is needed
for any legitimate public purpose. This immense surplus is a
temptation to a wasteful and extravagant spending of the public
money. It is demoralizing alike to legislators and to those
who believe themselves to have any title to Government aid. It
should be cut down shortly and sharply. It has been proposed
in the interests of protection to reduce the revenue by abolishing
the internal taxes on spirits, beer, and tobacco. These taxes
are recognized and imposed as fit and proper by every civilized
Government. They have the advantage of taking nothing from tax
payers over and above what they yield to the public treasury.
It would be monstrous to abolish or reduce any of these while
retaining the protective taxes which affect the necessaries of life,
impose a useless burden on consumers, and fetter the trade and
industry of the country.
The League is not formed for the purpose of abolishing at
once all protective duties without giving time for industries which
have been artificially stimulated to adjust themselves to new and
better conditions. But protection should no longer be
maintained at the extravagant point where it now stands. The
present extreme tariff, with duties ranging from forty to one
hundred per cent. and more, is indefensible, and the sooner it is
reduced to a reasonable basis the better. A great reduction of
duties, if wisely made, can be borne by the industries which are now
protected. The League believes that it is time that the great
abuses of our tariff system should be put an end to; the war taxes,
after twenty years of profound peace, should be reduced; that the
revenue should be brought down to the sum required for the
legitimate expenses of the Government; that the profits of
individuals at the expenses of the public should be cut off; and
that this country should be enabled to take its proper share of the
trade and commerce of the world.
The special interests which have combined together for the
purpose of resisting any substantial changes in the tariff have
succeeded, by perfect organization and constant pressure, in
creating a false impression at Washington as to the opinions of the
people upon this question. This impression can only be
corrected by organized and well-directed action on the part of those
who believe that the present policy is unsound, and are willing to
enforce their opinions, if need be, at the polls. The League
invites all persons who sympathize with its objects to become
members, and to aid actively in the work of local organization.
The secretary can be seen at his office, 40, State Street, Room 52,
Boston, and letters addressed to him will receive prompt attention.—
By order of the Executive Committee.
Putting tariffs away as old fashioned things only fit to
gather dust in a political lumber-room, let us look at the fresher
life of America. "You have grown powerful under tariffs," says
my Yankee friend. "We have grown more powerful without them,"
I reply. "We were bound to be a powerful nation under any
circumstances; and so are you. But it is much more pleasant to
work with your limbs free than it is when shackled. We have
thrown away the irons; and you will follow the example. Then
won't the stupid worn-out old country knock the stuffing out of
you?" This bit of bunkum so tickled my friend that I believe
he was in a mind just then to "club" all protective duties on the
head; and clear for a fair race with other Countries. The idea
that a young man, with energies unimpaired, should seek an advantage
over his father and handicap the old man so as to keep him in the
rear, was not flattering to his abilities; and he "squirmed" under
the infliction. "You are right, stranger," he admitted, when
he had swallowed the pill. "And it reminds me of a young
feller who could make holes into the best man of his own age and
weight. But he got on to a wiry old gineral old enough to be
his dad, and he was bound to lick him. He didn't want to, but
the ancient piece of hickory wouldn't have his nay; so they
fought—not much. The man that was handicapped with years just
got his swing, and young America had to take a mouthful of dust.
It git out that the old one was the young one's father; and he was
just proud that no one could take him out of his boots only the man
that married his mother. If ever America loses the belt and
cups, the old country's bound to git them. Let us wash our
necks, stranger. If you're not going home with the tourists
you'll think better of this country before you leave. But I
know you think well of the people,—just some of them, the gold.
You'll find the nickel in all countries."
This ended controversial matters, and we got upon pleasanter things,
in which I knew I would have no chance of being foremost, and could
draw out the Yankee "right through his pants."
"I read so much about American storms that I would like to see one,"
"Yaas, through a fifteen inch telescope, I guess, one that you could
shove yer head into," he replied. "You wouldn't like to be within
fishing distance of it. Why, siree, I have known a cyclone one pass
over a town of some five hundred inhabitants, and just take every
building under the stoop, and cut it like a paper-knife, then carry
the shingles right out for miles, and fix 'em thar, like a deserted
city, with nothing left in it only an old parrot in its cage; and
when the bird got settled, and looked around, it shouted—'Oh, Nurse
of Moses, aint this a big move!'"
"What became of the inhabitants!"
"Not one left alive to make a newspaper paragraph."
"How did you escape?"
"By a near shave. The wind just swept in front of me and took away a
button from my vest. I haven't got another fixed in its place, you
see. If I'd been another inch to the fore, I guess the tripe
business would have flourished."
I had got my friend "on his ear," and I justly expected quite a
length of extravagant bounce. To plant the spurs in his flanks I
hinted that I would like to see an American blizzard.
"You take a blizzard to be a kinder animal, I guess," he said, with
a smile that said he had got me. "You git crocodiles, and 'gators
down in Florida; but they aint got any blizzards thar. The blizzard, yer see, is a winged bird; and you just get to feel the flap of them
wings, and if you don't lose every ounce of your flesh, and leave
your bones for antiquarians to speculate on, I'm a coon of rare
"I was not aware that it was a bird," I confessed.
"Just what it is, siree. It don't crawl nor swim; but it sweeps
around for miles; and by the tree that choked Absolom, nothing's
bound to live. It's just a snow that's got to the depth of a corn
stack; and a cyclone comes, tosses the whole mass within half a mile
of where it came from, till it's like a sea of frozen milk. Then the
stars have to look out. If they were to be caught in one of them
blizzards, the firmament would be swept as clean of light as
Barnum's show would be by the howl of a nor' wester. It would,
stranger. For three or four days after the country is dangerous from
the showers of cart-wheels, ploughs, and the skeletons of cattle. You aint anything like that in the old country I guess."
AMERICAN FEELING TOWARDS ENGLAND.
"Once more upon the waters, yet once more"
(Methinks I have quoted that line before),
The golden sun is glowing,—
A gentle breeze is blowing;
And as the vessel dips her prow
In the brine she's destined ere morn to plough,
We feel like jolly sailors all.
Very much anon.
I AM in New York
again, because I cannot avoid it, if I mean to get along anywhere.
At 4-30 I board the coasting boat, and take my ticket for Fall
River, Mass. What a crowd of people are there, bound for the
same port!—and are booking state-rooms and beds as though they had
to voyage to Liverpool, so eagerly were they jostling and pushing.
I am too late for the former, and must make up my mind to rough it.
Nobody strips for this class of berth, they may take off their coat
and boots and cram them on a small shelf at the foot,—a shelf
something like what I have seen servant girls put blacking brushes
on; but trousers are retained for emergencies. A drunken
passenger may dispute possession, because he has not booked; and
you've got to "best" him, which requires a little pluck. I had
no trouble of this kind; but a neighbour had, and the bully got the
worst of it. When the morning was fairly awake we found this
bravo morning in his boots, laid flat on the baggage deck floor,
with his slouched hat drawn over him for a coverlet, and muttering
joint blessings on rats. I took out about four hours' sleep;
then drew aside my curtains for a look-out. The darkies were
laying the cloths for breakfast, and the barber was airing himself
in his white morning gown, with as much self-assertion as if the
vessel was his own. He was on the look-out for customers, and
was impertinent to those who did not want shaving. Twenty-five
cents a shave is much better remuneration than newspaper
paragraphers get. The wash I had was a delicious one, and very
much a surprise for me; and this refreshing ablution, supplemented
by a cooling drink, prepared me to face a drizzly morning, the boat
being two hours late in consequence of a fog that set in at sunset,
and prevailed all night. I saw my friend Salisbury of the
Advance waiting for me, like a rooster under a shed, where for
two hours he had been anathematising old tubs and things in general.
I saw his jolly face, a little writhen by disappointment, long
before he saw mine, which was not jolly.
Some kinds of details are apt to tire people; and I do not
mean to put upon patience. I was welcomed right royally, and
made to feel at home whether I would or not. After breakfast,
which I had been waiting for some time, we sallied into the city.
The road was not strewn with flowers, nor did people dance in front
of us, waving garlands, and clanging cymbals. But many an open
hand gripped mine, and as often was I asked to take "suthin."
These kindly meant invitations had to be declined, otherwise
"George" and I would have found ourselves in the hands of the city
marshall before the day was properly on its legs. Nothing like
self denial and a reasonable respect for ourselves. The day
was spent in visiting, and ended as family parties used to end at
wakes times. The hands left one of the mills in swarms to meet
me; and one enthusiastic Lancashire Irishman made the observation, "Misther
Irving had a great reception in New York, but he couldn't shut down
a mill." Shut down in the Yankee sense, means shut
up, as we understand it.
After the first night I was the guest of the Mayor, the Hon.
Milton Reed, whom I met in Manchester three years ago. At his
residence on the hill, overlooking Bowenville, we spent several
quiet evenings, looking out on the Narragansett Bay, and fading with
the brief twilight, like flowers, to an early closing. From
the elder Reed I gleaned "quite" an amount of information concerning
the history of the States, and the characteristics of the people who
inhabit them. We were mostly downstairs before the house was
astir; and old "Christopher North," for Mr. Reed might sit for his
portrait, could declaim an hour uninterrupted by anyone who might
dispute his word. But I had to leave to be present at one of
the institutions of Fall River,—that was a "clambake," a description
of which will be found in "Ab-o'th'-Yate in Yankeeland," written
four years ago. These outings partake of the character of "Owdham
pic-nics," and are enjoyed in a manner that none other than
Lancashire people can enjoy them. Twenty-six miles of a drive
would tire some people quite out; but our company kept on to the
last with surprising freshness. It would be a libel on this
happy forum to say their freshness was in consequence of the Sunday
Closing Act being in force in America. I don't believe in
anything of the kind. They were never tired with talking about
the "old country," and some would say they are better off, and
happier in the new. But if a song of home was sung, either the
singer would break down, or some of the listeners turn their faces
towards a corner, as if something interesting was to be seen there.
They cannot forget the green lanes of old England.
Those of my countrymen who still conceive of America that its
principal features are prairies and forests, with wild men in the
background, and striped pants encasing overgrown legs, and blue
coats made of fents, with the wearer thereof all juice and goatee
occupying the front, had better step over to Massachusetts, and take
a look round. I venture to think that before they had been in
the city of Fall River long enough to get themselves known to the
police, they would have some of their ancient notions knocked out of
If it were possible for them to be dropped at once into South
Main-street, when the gas is lit, and the electric lights give a
yellowish tinge to the moon, and the stores are all aglare, like so
many brightly illumined grottoes, festooned over with such things as
ladies love to gaze upon and cause their husbands to shake all over
with the anticipation of "fair round" bills, they would imagine our
Manchester Market Street had been transported thither in a thousand
sections,---jointed, puttied, painted and gilded afresh, to make a
business street that is not dreary in its aspect, nor too stiff to
be on familiar terms with. The shops, or "stores," as they are
called, are not the "shanties" we sometimes see in pictures as
belonging to infant communities in the far west. Their windows
do not partake of the character of old-fashioned butchers' shops,
unglazed and airy, but would cause even our Lewis to invent
something more attractive than saleless ships, and balloons under
tether. All the retail business places are central, so placed
that would-be customers need not ramble far to find the articles
they want. They have not to try Ancoats, Oldham Street,
Piccadilly, Market Street, and Deansgate, to be tired into making no
purchases, and going home with the resolve that they will try again
some other day. I have been in several of these stores, they
are not like some we meet with in London, all "dicky." They
have good long shirts attached. The first I visited was a
repository for everything a house requires in the hardware line,
from a tin-tack to a bed-room suite. The newly married need
not go to any other place for their furnishing,—to Oldham Street for
their mahogany; to the Siberia of Knot Mill for their crockery; and
to Tom Hudson's for their ironmongery. They can obtain a great
deal more than they are perhaps able to pay for without risking a
fight with the shower, or being laid under the necessity of
chartering a cab. A short distance will bring them to another
store, where "daises" of lace curtains give the entrance a
bazaar-like appearance; and the chances are that however well-lined
the pocket, there is a prospect of their coming out centless.
Oh, the seductive influences of these charming places! Silks
are placed before you as though the wand of the magician had been at
work, and these can be bought at prices quite as low as they can in
England, because of their being home manufacture. Rolls of
carpeting are sent spinning about in such profusion that you tread
on beds of flower garden till you begin to imagine you are some
prince upon whom the populace are lavishing their tokens of loyal
respect and admiration. These goods are of home production.
Then the clouds of skirtings that float about you in fine texture,
and snowy whiteness! These lead you to exclaim, "Ah, here are
the products of Lancashire, not to be beaten anywhere." Then
your heart drops into your boots when you are told they were woven
in Manchester, New Hampshire. This was my feeling on being
shown through one of these establishments, and I could not help
putting to myself the question, "Is the mother of this great country
to take a back seat?"
But there is a set-off in our favour against all this.
The American "helps" have not been taught, or have not learned, the
most economic principles. They know not the value of waste.
There would be an exodus out of Garden Street, and Mark Lane,
Manchester, if our dealers in "droppings" knew what a "bonanza"
could be picked up here. A manufacturer from East Lancashire
who was once on a visit here, remarked, on going through a cotton
mill, "I would not care to have any profits on goods manufactured if
I might have the waste for my share." But can this condition
of things be reckoned upon to last for ever? Surely not.
It is, therefore, a characteristic failing on our part to be still
content with living in a fool's paradise. We ought to look at
things with sober earnestness if we mean to keep our industrial
supremacy. Bar-parlour bounce will not serve us in our growing
needs. I had forgotten to note what beautiful prints are
turned out in New Hampshire. They remind me of the "Calico
Garden Party" held some time ago at our Botanical Gardens. The
printers here are rapidly approaching the heels of Sunnyside, and I
am afraid that in a time their running will be such that we cannot
afford to take the "sponge" in the race.
But with all America's progress there is one thing she has yet to
learn. England has not been built up on extravagance. If her
nobility in past years measured their civilization by their
expensive habits, the people generally held to thrift and economy. The British taxpayer groaned at every penny added to the burden he
had to bear; and the hustings cry of "Economy with Efficiency," was
the out-come of much objurgation on his part. But he does not
complain of expenditure that he is willing to allow may be
necessary; but by hitching the Board School system on to other state
institutions he was given cause for a little soreness that has
gradually been healed. After having fought and struggled, and paid
for an imperfect education for himself, he did not feel bound to pay
for the better training of others quite as able to pay for their own
as he in his day was. He has not yet so far overcome this feeling as
not to wince when the usual precept for the modest sum of £5,000 is
handed into the City Council Chamber, and ordered to be paid. But he
has the satisfaction of knowing that this money is not extravagantly
spent. Our Board School teachers are not overburdened with salaries. A young girl has to cost her parents, perhaps, more than they can
afford to pay to get qualified for a position in which she cannot
earn as much as can an educated weaver. But in America the "school marm" is a bird of another plumage. After being primarily educated
at the public expense, even though her parents may be well-to-do,
she is "finished" by the latter, and influence has to do the rest. She is foisted upon the school authorities, and placed in a position
that the English "governess" would be afraid could not be
maintained. Only fancy a young "marm" who has just laid aside her
skipping rope, pocketing annually as much as one thousand dollars
for thirty-nine weeks' work, the rest of the year being taken out in
holidays. Yet such is the case; and the general expenses of the City
of Fall River are on a par. I have before me the city treasurer's
report for the year 1882, which gives the total expenditure on a
city of fifty-two thousand inhabitants at 1,075,059 dollars, which
sum has to be raised by direct taxation.
The annual trip to Europe, to spend three months on the continent
purely for pleasure, is another item of what the English would
regard as extravagance. A tradesman of the retail type thinks
nothing of taking his family the "round trip"—Germany, the Rhine, Switerzland, France, and lastly England, and I have been a witness of
the way in which they spend their money. An Englishman in a
position would satisfy himself with Blackpool, or Southport and
fancy he had done the thing grandly. The Americans have to guard
against this kind of going ahead, or it may be worse for them than
another internecine war. Their resources maybe inexhaustible, but a
pampered appetite may prove to be another "slave" to be emancipated.
On Monday, the 26th, I had the opportunity of noting what the Yankee
proper, not the mixed metal, thinks about the "old country." I had
the honour of an invitation to the annual dinner of the "Boston
Charitable Society," an institution supported exclusively by British
and Americans. About 140 gentlemen were present, and the affair was
of a character that I could not have dreamt of as being connected
with the American "socials." The occasion was the celebration of Her
Majesty Queen Victoria's birthday,—our Victoria, not the "darkie"
potentate of some island in the South Pacific, but our own good
Queen. After grace we had our National Anthem sung so heartily that
I began to wonder where I was. The speech of the Governor of the
State of Massachusetts was another surprise to me; and in a few
words I had to say upon being "trumpeted," I remarked, that instead
of being 3,000 miles from home, I had an idea that I ought to order
a cab to take me to 94, Saint Oswald's Grove, Queen's Park; the
illusion being so complete. But it took another and more
demonstrative form. After the singing of "Auld Lang Syne," a number
of us adjourned to the offices of the Boston Herald to see one of
the most perfect printing plants in America. The night was still the
same day, but the streets were quiet, and the electric lights gave a
bright moonlight to the city. As we sallied out from the Quincy
Hotel I was reminded of the bands of midnight roysterers that were
wont to close the revels of the olden time. But were we in Market
Street Lane, or the older Deansgate, that the echoes should be
assailed with the loud singing of "The Union Jack of Old England?" No, we were in Boston, where we are told the English are hated. The
proceedings of that evening did not confirm such an opinion. Early
on in the programme the following poem composed for the occasion
"THE HOPE OF THE FATHERS,
THE PRIDE OF THE SONS."
Delivered at a Soiree on Her Majesty's
That sober freedom, out of which there springs,
Our loyal passion for our temperate kings.
"The Queen! Our Queen! Long may she reign!"
Let heart and voice the toast repeat,
Who lingers o'er the loyal strain
But seems some old-time friend to greet?
"Long live the Queen?" From their gray sires
Our fathers heard the loyal toast,
Which we, the children, now repeat,—
Our fathers' loyalty our boast.
As one who scales at sun-lit height,
Which holds the gloaming on its breast,
And lingers in the reddening light
Awhile for retrospect and rest;
So, from the vantage-ground of years,
We may recall the scenes long past,
And see how old-time loyal hopes
To full fruition grew at last.
Our fathers in the Maiden Queen
Saw promise of the nation's youth;
The herald of a nobler age
Which strives for righteousness and truth;
O'er the wide earth Peace reigned serene,
The cruel scars of war had healed,
And Science, Commerce, Art and Law,
Unhampered, saw a glorious field.
And whose the pen can fitly trace
The record of these fifty years?
The triumphs liberty achieved,
Beyond our fathers' hopes and fears.
Mercy and Justice met with Law,
And shaped its course towards the light;
Our fathers saw the dawning, we
Are nearing to the noontide bright.
Fair Science took the field, and made
Steam captive of her potent will;
She spanned the ocean's farthest bound
With triumphs of her subtle skill.
She linked each nation's pulsing life,
And penned each throb of grief or mirth,
And gave her sister Commerce power
To gather tribute from all earth.
Who names our Queen the title gives
To Art and Letters' brightest age,
Transcending all in wealth of lore
Of singer, savant, saint or sage.
Brightest of all, this age has seized
The storied wealth of ages past,
The wisdom of the centuries fled
Is our rich heritage at last.
Yet he who marks the flying years
Rich in its victories of Peace,
Might fear the sturdier manhood gone,
Were war's rude discipline to cease.
'Mid Crimean snows, on Indian plains,
The sons their fathers' deeds repeat,
And steel-clad ships bear tars as bold
As hearts of oak of Nelson's fleet.
O sceptred Isle, set in the silver sea,
An empire's throne, between whose jewelled feet
The current of the teeming world divides,
And the tumultuous seas in triumph meet
Mother of empires! whose brave children bear
The regal marks that test their stately birth
Reaching out stalwart arms to either pole,
To cultivate, subdue, or win the earth!
The centre to the empire's utmost bound
Repeats our loyal benison today;
"Long may she reign," our Britain's Mother Queen,
Ruling o'er subject hearts with gentle sway.
Who with white flowers of purity and peace,
And stainless life, has garlanded the throne;
Linking the grace and pomp of stately courts
With loftier, purer virtues of the home.
"Long may she reign," and in the tide of years,
When comes the time to change the earthly crown,
When, at the summons of the King of kings,
The wearied hand shall lay the sceptre down,
May God wipe from her eyes the mist of tears
A husband, son and daughter hides from sight,
And lead her gently through the gate of life,
To wear a fadeless crown in realms of light.
GEORGE B. PERRY.
A HUMAN CATTLE MARKET.—A WHIT-MONDAY ON HUDSON RIVER.
TO make the best use of a leisure Saturday afternoon in New York, to
which city I returned on the 31st, after ten days' absence in
Massachusetts—for the city is the footer from which we spring to all
points of the compass. I took the tram-car to Castle Garden, to see
what kind of life was going on there. Some emigrant vessel was
discharging her human freight at the time, most of which was of
Scandinavian shipment. There was no mistaking the brand. The
brick-coloured-pants, the long-sleeved boots upon whose surface
Berry's best polish never shone, and the fur cap, which affords no
protection from the sun's rays, were to these people what the
shining patent leathers, the gossamer hat, and the smart tweed
"continuations" are to an Englishman. The crowd was swelled by a
number of emigrants who must have landed some days before, as these,
mostly Germans, were trimmed, as we trim horses for sale; the only
difference they were not being trotted "around" to show their
action. I noticed two young women in particular, both likely looking
girls, with pleasing faces that were round as the full moon, and
plump as peaches. Their light auburn hair done up in neatly
plaited bands, had nothing to cover it. They were attired
alike,—chocolate dresses, and white aprons with ample strings. They
formed such a contrast to others of a different nationality that I
thought it a wonder they had not been snapped up at once, and
introduced to the kitchen, or the dairy of some western farmer. But
perhaps they were engaged, and had come to meet friends. Not far
from these stood a middle-aged woman, wearing bellows-like
jackboots, with heels that had been of the fashionable shape, but
were now getting much of the angle described by a cart with one
wheel in the ditch. Decency forbids me to say what little regard she
had for the delicacies of ordinary life in a civilised country. Whether she had been employed in driving a boat horse, or following
a tinker, my limited knowledge of Dutch would not permit me to
enquire. The authorities ought to insist upon decency being observed
in public places, but they might look to their sanitary arrangements
at the same time, for a more repulsive hole than exists in one
corner of Castle Garden could not be found in the country of the
Hottentots. English eyes would be shocked at the sight, even if they
had been on familiar terms with our worst slums, or remembered Edinbro' in the days of the "forty-twa."
Immigrants at Castle Garden.
Source: New York Public Library.
A study in Castle Garden is not a cheering occupation, unless the
student cares more about his own comfort than that of his fellow
creatures; for to me it was a most depressing experience. My heart
swelled within me when I noticed a little girl, with light wavy
hair, and a face that seemed to indicate the thought of maturer
years, looking up with enquiring glances to a woman with a child in
her arms, and who was in conversation with a man whose countenance
did not bear the aspect of my ideal of gentleness. I then pictured
to myself my own wife, with her darling child now sleeping in her
grave, but whom I brought to life in my imagination, being cast
here, and I sleeping in the latter's place in the cemetery at Harpurhey; but the picture was too overwhelming for more than a
moment's inward contemplation, and I had to turn away.
God, what will become of these? was the question uppermost in my
mind. Are they doomed to be the victims of some brute on the
constant look-out for prey? or are they to be drafted to a country
yet in the first stage of civilisation, to satisfy the hunger of "Yellow Jack," or some other form of death-dealing malaria? I shut
them out of sight, and went on with my study of the general crowd.
There is more than one phase of even such an
assembly as gathers together in Castle Garden. There is the
humorous side, and this afforded me no small amusement as I watched
its ways. The policemen employed to keep open the way for the
emigrants to pass, if they had no fun themselves they were the cause
of fun in others. These important officials made use of a
common language which they addressed to all nations and peoples, and
they seemed to have faith in the possibility that they had collected
together all the variety of tongues that had radiated from Babel,
and focussed them into one intelligible to everybody. A gaunt
young Russian, whose anatomy would require at least seven feet of a
coffin, turned down a
good-humoured face on being told by one of the boys in blue to "Come
out of that, an' git." What to him was the meaning of the jargon
that assailed him? was "come outothatangit" American? If it was, why
did the English speaking race complain of having their jaws
dislocated by trying to get a Russian word from among their teeth? "Didn't I tell yez to git!" angrily exclaimed the officer, seeing
that the youth looked stolidly on, and did not offer to budge. A
push at the shoulder was better understood by the stranger than the
mixed English addressed to him, and directly his fur cap was seen
moving above the crowd, like the head of the giraffe in Barnum's
What would this young fellow stoop to do? He could not make a
living by being employed as a bootblack. One of the urchins who
"ring" the business would polish a pair of boots before he could get
down to his work. The cleaning of street lamps would be more in his
way and his services would be worth more on account of his being
able to dispense with a ladder. Possibly he may get on in the city
force, have a staff strapped to his wrist, and sometime may have the
opportunity of returning the courtesy addressed to him by telling
some ignorant fellow countryman to "come out o' that, an' git."
On the following day (Sunday) there was quite a scene in the Garden. A little boy, about six years of age, with nothing on his person but
his shirt and a pair of clogs, was dancing to the music of a fiddle,
which an old man scraped after the manner of a practitioner whose
shoulders had blackened many an alehouse corner at a wakes or fair
time. It was said the party had newly landed from Mayo, in Ireland,
but the boy's dancing and the way the collection was managed threw
a doubt upon the genuineness of the story, and caused others besides
myself to think the performance had been got up by some local
Whit-Monday!—the day of righteous carnival in Lancashire! I am under
way for Albany on one of the loveliest mornings we have yet had even
in this sunny clime. There is a slight haze overhead, which acts as
a gauze veil to moderate the heat of the sun, and there is just as
much breeze on the river as would fly a kite if it was not too
heavily weighted. The thermometer has been rapidly rising since
Friday, when it was at 50º after being at 90º on the Tuesday. On the
former day it felt like a taste of winter, and Anglo-Americans
walked through the streets with their hands in their pockets, and
their shoulders just below their ears. They call the change a "cold
snap." It snapped me no little. On the 30th May we had half-an-inch
thick of ice on the pools. There is no appearance of it freezing
We are passing through a varied landscape. On one hand we have the
"palisades," a deposit of strata something of the form of the
Giant's Causeway in Ireland. On the other is a lovely wooded slope,
with villas hiding among the trees until they are assured of the
good character of the passengers the steamer has on board. Then
they peep out with one eye at a time, till at length we behold their
smiling faces bright with the tints of morning. But whoever
submitted to the planting of an iron foundry in their midst? Vandals
everywhere! Here is a fleet of twelve ice-boats,—not such as we have
in England to break up the ice on canals, but boats' conveying ice
from the upper reaches of the Hudson, to cool the drinks, and
preserve the fish in New York.
They are towed by a couple of steam tugs, and the fleet has the
appearance of being on a war equipment. Ice enters into everything
in this country. Nothing can be had or done without it. In winter it
is used for travelling over, and in summer it is used for travelling
under, as all persons have got so much to carry about with them. In
eatables, or drinkables, it is all the same. We have it on our
bread, on our butter, in our lemon, yes, whisky, if you like. On one
of the days of the "cold snap," a friend of mine would have hot
water to his whisky, as he felt himself "chilled all through." Even
in that mixture the inevitable ice had to take its place. One
morning at the hotel I was staying at I had a couple of eggs for
breakfast. They had not been boiled to my liking. The white was in a
liquid state. I complained and the next morning the eggs were served
on a bed of ice. "What is the meaning of this?" I enquired. "We
put them on ice to set them," was the reply. And they were set and
no mistake. They were as hard as the kernel of a nut. The first time
I tasted iced eggs.
I now see in the distance a fleet of another kind. This consists of
twenty-four barges laden with what the natives call "lumber." We
would call it "timber." They are formed in a procession of three
abreast, and towed by a large tug named the "Belle." Not the only
things a belle can draw, I thought, when a gentlemen's attentions
are at the other end of the rope. And what a time the lumber men are
having! They appear to be quite alive to its being a holiday, and
are enjoying it in their own way. It requires little effort amidst
scenery such as surrounds us. A Whit-Monday like this in the old
country would send the "old folks at home" into transports of
delight. They would have fits, and our friend Burton's C. P. mixture
would have to be in requisition to steady their nerves. Children
would walk in the procession with nothing but a covering of muslin. Parsons, instead of
quarrelling about the colour of gown they should
wear, would dispense with clerical millinery altogether. They would
be more likely to strip both coat and vest, and use their "mortar-board" caps for drinking out of when they came to a street
fountain. Bandsmen would look lovingly at the White Bear, or the
Royal, and banner carriers would go on strike. Belle Vue pop would
have to be served warm, unless they had a floe of ice to cool it. Even the fireworks would look thirsty and I fancy if the elephants
could get to the Beaver pond, the trowel-tailed animals would have
to be "beached."
The morning hath lifted its thin gauze, and we see the bare blue
face of heaven, with "Ab's" old brass button, now turned into gold,
blistering its own cheeks in the meridian. The breeze we had with us
at the start hath taken to the woods to cool itself, and we have
nothing left us but the heat, with no one having the courage to hide
the poker. An old darkie predicts that we are going to have it "dammot." I suppose by that he means "very hot," and is too pious to use the
term. But the Catskill mountains are yet in their morning gowns of
bluish grey, that reminds me of the frieze coat of an Irishman,
newly put on for church or fair. The scenery grows lovelier apace,
and we seem to be bound for some fairyland, in which to spend the
night in elfin revels.
Here sleeps the world for evermore,
Save when the fire-flies trim their lights,
To dance along the line of shore,
And make earth starlit with their flights.
Sweet Ariel swings beneath a bough,
'Round which a wreath of blossom creeps;
Her lyre forgot, and silent now,
Hangs by the leaflet where she sleeps.
But what sound was that? Oh, the weird men of the mountains at their
game of bowls which so fascinated "Rip Van Winkle" that they
caused him to sleep the slumber of twenty years, and no wonder he
was so charmed. It is a sleepy clime. I feel a drowsiness stealing
upon me now. But the sound again! The game must be going briskly. Yet methought I saw a flash. Do these weird men strike fire with
their bowling? No, it is something else. In the East a few bales of
wool have been let loose, and they are drifting about the sky. Someone is setting fire to them, and the heavens are shaken with the
concussion it has caused. There are a few white-chokered gentry on
board going "to" holiday. They have treated the rest of the
passengers, I thought, rather superciliously, but now that there is
another power at work than a church organ they look "kinder" small. Perhaps in their pious sentimentalism, for I cannot make out
American religion to mean anything more, they have forgotten the
Being they are supposed to worship; and now that He is manifesting
Himself in a voice unmistakeable, they are moved to look at their
lessons. If their small souls could only appreciate the grandeur of
a thunderstorm, they would not slink into corners, as if to hide
themselves. Now "Heaven's artillery" is at work in real earnest. The flashes come
―――"Not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain now hath found a tongue."
We have not a drop of rain with it , and I am informed that "dry
thunder" is more dangerous than wet. It may be so. It has cooled the
atmosphere, and that is
all I care for just now.
While listening to a conversation that was going on among these
learned men, I elicited the fact that in some parts of England the
people did not talk—they barked. The temperature of the weather must
have been getting up again, as I felt on a boiling heat, and very
much inclined to "bark." I could not get the thermometer down until
I had barked; and I yelped out the observation that I knew of no
part of England where the people blew their words through a
fog-horn. If some Yankees took snuff they could not speak at all. Perhaps that was the reason why they chewed it. The thunder never
changed its method of speaking. It always spoke with full
articulation, and never used words that were not in the lexicon of
mighty elements. It never glided off with "I ain't," when it ought
to say "I am not." Nor do the uneductated people in the
country where they bark. "I am much obliged to you for your
courtesy, and put a certain value upon your information; but if I am
anything besides a Christian, I am an Englishman."
They pulled their goatees on hearing this, shrugged their square
shoulders, and put on the air of a couple of pious unspread eagles.