PASSAGES FROM THE ENGLISH NOTE-BOOKS
To Francis Bennoch, Esq.,
The dear and valued friend, who, by his generous and genial hospitality and unfailing sympathy, contributed so largely (as is attested by the book itself) to render Mr. Hawthorne's residence in England agreeable and homelike, these ENGLISH NOTES are dedicated, with sincere respect and regard, by The Editor.
It seems justly due to Mr. Hawthorne that the occasion of any portion of his private journals being brought before the Public should be made known, since they were originally designed for his own reference only.
There had been a constant and an urgent demand for a life or memoir of Mr. Hawthorne; yet, from the extreme delicacy and difficulty of the subject, the Editor felt obliged to refuse compliance with this demand. Moreover, Mr. Hawthorne had frequently and emphatically expressed the hope that no one would attempt to write his Biography; and the Editor perceived that it would be impossible for any person, outside of his own domestic circle, to succeed in doing it, on account of his extreme reserve. But it was ungracious to do nothing, and therefore the Editor, believing that Mr. Hawthorne himself was alone capable of satisfactorily answering the affectionate call for some sketch of his life, concluded to publish as much as possible of his private records, and even extracts from his private letters, in order to gratify the desire of his friends and of literary artists to become more intimately acquainted with him. The Editor has been severely blamed and wondered at, in some instances, for allowing many things now published to see the light; but it has been a matter both of conscience and courtesy to withhold nothing that could be given up. Many of the journals were doubtless destroyed; for the earliest date found in his American papers was that of 1835.
The Editor has transcribed the manuscripts just as they were left, without making any new arrangement or altering any sequence,—merely omitting some passages, and being especially careful to preserve whatever could throw any light upon his character. To persons on a quest for characteristics, however, each of his books reveals a great many, and it is believed that with the aid of the Notes (both American and English) the Tales and Romances will make out a very complete and true picture of his individuality; and the Notes are often an open sesame to the artistic works.
Several thickly written pages of observations—fine and accurate etchings—have been omitted, sometimes because too personal with regard to himself or others, and sometimes because they were afterwards absorbed into one or another of the Romances or papers in Our Old Home. It seemed a pity not to give these original cartoons fresh from his mind, because they are so carefully finished at the first stroke. Yet, as Mr. Hawthorne chose his own way of presenting them to the public, it was thought better not to exhibit what he himself withheld. Besides, to any other than a fellow-artist they might seem mere repetitions.
It is very earnestly hoped that these volumes of notes—American, English, and presently Italian—will dispel an often-expressed opinion that Mr. Hawthorne was gloomy and morbid. He had the inevitable pensiveness and gravity of a person who possessed what a friend of his called "the awful power of insight"; but his mood was always cheerful and equal, and his mind peculiarly healthful, and the airy splendor of his wit and humor was the light of his home. He saw too far to be despondent, though his vivid sympathies and shaping imagination often made him sad in behalf of others. He also perceived morbidness, wherever it existed, instantly, as if by the illumination of his own steady cheer; and he had the plastic power of putting himself into each person's situation, and of looking from every point of view, which made his charity most comprehensive. From this cause he necessarily attracted confidences, and became confessor to very many sinning and suffering souls, to whom he gave tender sympathy and help, while resigning judgment to the Omniscient and All-wise.
Throughout his journals it will be seen that Mr. Hawthorne is entertaining, and not asserting, opinions and ideas. He questions, doubts, and reflects with his pen, and, as it were, instructs himself. So that these Note-Books should be read, not as definitive conclusions of his mind, but merely as passing impressions often. Whatever conclusions be arrived at are condensed in the works given to the world by his own hand, in which will never be found a careless word. He was so extremely scrupulous about the value and effect of every expression that the Editor has felt great compunction in allowing a single sentence to be printed. unrevised by himself; but, with the consideration of the above remarks always kept in mind, these volumes are intrusted to the generous interpretation of the reader. If any one must be harshly criticised, it ought certainly to be the Editor.
When a person breaks in, unannounced, upon the morning hours of an artist, and finds him not in full dress, the intruder, and not the surprised artist, is doubtless at fault. S. H.
Dresden, April, 1870.
PASSAGES FROM HAWTHORNE'S ENGLISH NOTE-BOOKS
Liverpool, August 4th, 1853.—A month lacking two days since we left America,—a fortnight and some odd days since we arrived in England. I began my services, such as they are, on Monday last, August 1st, and here I sit in my private room at the Consulate, while the Vice-Consul and clerk are carrying on affairs in the outer office.
The pleasantest incident of the morning is when Mr. Pearce (the Vice-Consul) makes his appearance with the account-books, containing the receipts and expenditures of the preceding day, and deposits on my desk a little rouleau of the Queen's coin, wrapped up in a piece of paper. This morning there were eight sovereigns, four half-crowns, and a shilling,—a pretty fair day's work, though not more than the average ought to be. This forenoon, thus far, I have had two calls, not of business,—one from an American captain and his son, another from Mr. H—— B——, whom I met in America, and who has showed us great attention here. He has arranged for us to go to the theatre with some of his family this evening.
Since I have been in Liverpool we have hardly had a day, until yesterday, without more or less of rain, and so cold and shivery that life was miserable. I am not warm enough even now, but am gradually getting acclimated in that respect.
Just now I have been fooled out of half a crown by a young woman, who represents herself as an American and destitute, having come over to see an uncle whom she found dead, and she has no means of getting back again. Her accent is not that of an American, and her appearance is not particularly prepossessing, though not decidedly otherwise. She is decently dressed and modest in deportment, but I do not quite trust her face. She has been separated from her husband, as I understand her, by course of law, has had two children, both now dead. What she wants is to get back to America, and perhaps arrangements may be made with some shipmaster to take her as stewardess or in some subordinate capacity. My judgment, on the whole, is that she is an English woman, married to and separated from an American husband,—of no very decided virtue. I might as well have kept my half-crown, and yet I might have bestowed it worse. She is very decent in manner, cheerful, at least not despondent.
At two o'clock I went over to the Royal Rock Hotel, about fifteen or twenty minutes' steaming from this side of the river. We are going there on Saturday to reside for a while. Returning, I found that, Mr. B., from the American Chamber of Commerce, had called to arrange the time and place of a visit to the Consul from a delegation of that body. Settled for to-morrow at quarter past one at Mr. Blodgett's.
August 5th.—An invitation this morning from the Mayor to dine at the Town Hall on Friday next. Heaven knows I had rather dine at the humblest inn in the city, inasmuch as a speech will doubtless be expected from me. However, things must be as they may.
At a quarter past one I was duly on hand at Mr. Blodgett's to receive the deputation from the Chamber of Commerce. They arrived pretty seasonably, in two or three carriages, and were ushered into the drawing-room,—seven or eight gentlemen, some of whom I had met before. Hereupon ensued a speech from Mr. B., the Chairman of the delegation, short and sweet, alluding to my literary reputation and other laudatory matters, and occupying only a minute or two. The speaker was rather embarrassed, which encouraged me a little, and yet I felt more diffidence on this occasion than in my effort at Mr. Crittenden's lunch, where, indeed, I was perfectly self-possessed. But here, there being less formality, and more of a conversational character in what was said, my usual diffidence could not so well be kept in abeyance. However, I did not break down to an intolerable extent, and, winding up my eloquence as briefly as possible, we had a social talk. Their whole stay could not have been much more than a quarter of an hour.
A call, this morning, at the Consulate, from Dr. Bowrug, who is British minister, or something of the kind, in China, and now absent on a twelvemonth's leave. The Doctor is a brisk person, with the address of a man of the world,—free, quick to smile, and of agreeable manners. He has a good face, rather American than English in aspect, and does not look much above fifty, though he says he is between sixty and seventy. I should take him rather for an active lawyer or a man of business than for a scholar and a literary man. He talked in a lively way for ten or fifteen minutes, and then took his leave, offering me any service in his power in London,—as, for instance, to introduce me to the Athenaeum Club.
August 8th.—Day before yesterday I escorted my family to Rock Ferry, two miles either up or down the Mersey (and I really don't know which) by steamer, which runs every half-hour. There are steamers going continually to Birkenhead and other landings, and almost always a great many passengers on the transit. At this time the boat was crowded so as to afford scanty standing-room; it being Saturday, and therefore a kind of gala-day. I think I have never seen a populace before coming to England; but this crowd afforded a specimen of one, both male and female. The women were the most remarkable; though they seemed not disreputable, there was in them a coarseness, a freedom, an—I don't know what, that was purely English. In fact, men and women here do things that would at least make them ridiculous in America. They are not afraid to enjoy themselves in their own way, and have no pseudo-gentility to support. Some girls danced upon the crowded deck, to the miserable music of a little fragment of a band which goes up and down the river on each trip of the boat. Just before the termination of the voyage a man goes round with a bugle turned upwards to receive the eleemosynary pence and half-pence of the passengers. I gave one of them, the other day, a silver fourpence, which fell into the vitals of the instrument, and compelled the man to take it to pieces.
At Rock Ferry there was a great throng, forming a scene not unlike one of our muster-days or a Fourth of July, and there were bands of music and banners, and small processions after them, and a school of charity children, I believe, enjoying a festival. And there was a club of respectable persons, playing at bowls on the bowling-green of the hotel, and there were children, infants, riding on donkeys at a penny a ride, while their mothers walked alongside to prevent a fall. Yesterday, while we were at dinner, Mr. B. came in his carriage to take us to his residence, Poulton Hall. He had invited us to dine; but I misunderstood him, and thought he only intended to give us a drive. Poulton Hall is about three miles from Rock Ferry, the road passing through some pleasant rural scenery, and one or two villages, with houses standing close together, and old stone or brick cottages, with thatched roofs, and now and then a better mansion, apart among trees. We passed an old church, with a tower and spire, and, half-way up, a patch of ivy, dark green, and some yellow wall-flowers, in full bloom, growing out of the crevices of the stone. Mr. B. told us that the tower was formerly quite clothed with ivy from bottom to top, but that it had fallen away for lack of the nourishment that it used to find in the lime between the stones. This old church answered to my Transatlantic fancies of England better than anything I have yet seen. Not far from it was the Rectory, behind a deep grove of ancient trees; and there lives the Rector, enjoying a thousand pounds a year and his nothing-to-do, while a curate performs the real duty on a stipend of eighty pounds.
We passed through a considerable extent of private road, and finally drove over a lawn, studded with trees and closely shaven, till we reached the door of Poulton Hall. Part of the mansion is three or four hundred years old; another portion is about a hundred and fifty, and still another has been built during the present generation. The house is two stories high, with a sort of beetle-browed roof in front. It is not very striking, and does not look older than many wooden houses which I have seen in America. There is a curious stately staircase, with a twisted balustrade much like that of the old Province House in Boston. The drawing-room is a handsome modern apartment, being beautifully painted and gilded and paper-hung, with a white marble fireplace and rich furniture, so that the impression is that of newness, not of age. It is the same with the dining-room, and all the rest of the interior so far as I saw it.
Mr. B. did not inherit this old hall, nor, indeed, is he the owner, but only the tenant of it. He is a merchant of Liverpool, a bachelor, with two sisters residing with him. In the entrance-hall, there was a stuffed fox with glass eyes, which I never should have doubted to be an actual live fox except for his keeping so quiet; also some grouse and other game. Mr. B. seems to be a sportsman, and is setting out this week on an excursion to Scotland, moor-fowl shooting.
While the family and two or three guests went to dinner, we walked out to see the place. The gardener, an Irishman, showed us through the garden, which is large and well cared for. They certainly get everything from Nature which she can possibly be persuaded to give them, here in England. There were peaches and pears growing against the high brick southern walls,—the trunk and branches of the trees being spread out perfectly flat against the wall, very much like the skin of a dead animal nailed up to dry, and not a single branch protruding. Figs were growing in the same way. The brick wall, very probably, was heated within, by means of pipes, in order to re-enforce the insufficient heat of the sun. It seems as if there must be something unreal and unsatisfactory in fruit that owes its existence to such artificial methods. Squashes were growing under glass, poor things! There were immensely large gooseberries in the garden; and in this particular berry, the English, I believe, have decidedly the advantage over ourselves. The raspberries, too, were large and good. I espied one gigantic hog-weed in the garden; and, really, my heart warmed to it, being strongly reminded of the principal product of my own garden at Concord. After viewing the garden sufficiently, the gardener led us to other parts of the estate, and we had glimpses of a delightful valley, its sides shady with beautiful trees, and a rich, grassy meadow at the bottom. By means of a steam-engine and subterranean pipes and hydrants, the liquid manure from the barn-yard is distributed wherever it is wanted over the estate, being spouted in rich showers from the hydrants. Under this influence, the meadow at the bottom of the valley had already been made to produce three crops of grass during the present season, and would produce another.
The lawn around Poulton Hall, like thousands of other lawns in England, is very beautiful, but requires great care to keep it so, being shorn every three or four days. No other country will ever have this charm, nor the charm of lovely verdure, which almost makes up for the absence of sunshine. Without the constant rain and shadow which strikes us as so dismal, these lawns would be as brown as an autumn leaf. I have not, thus far, found any such magnificent trees as I expected. Mr. B. told me that three oaks, standing in a row on his lawn, were the largest in the county. They were very good trees, to be sure, and perhaps four feet in diameter near the ground, but with no very noble spread of foliage. In Concord there are, if not oaks, yet certainly elms, a great deal more stately and beautiful. But, on the whole, this lawn, and the old Hall in the midst of it, went a good way towards realizing some of my fancies of English life.
By and by a footman, looking very quaint and queer in his livery coat, drab breeches, and white stockings, came to invite me to the table, where I found Mr. B. and his sisters and guests sitting at the fruit and wine. There were port, sherry, madeira, and one bottle of claret, all very good; but they take here much heavier wines than we drink now in America. After a tolerably long session we went to the tea-room, where I drank some coffee, and at about the edge of dusk the carriage drew up to the door to take us home. Mr. B. and his sisters have shown us genuine kindness, and they gave us a hearty invitation to come and ramble over the house whenever we pleased, during their absence in Scotland. They say that there are many legends and ghost-stories connected with the house; and there is an attic chamber, with a skylight, which is called the Martyr's chamber, from the fact of its having, in old times, been tenanted by a lady, who was imprisoned there, and persecuted to death for her religion. There is an old black-letter library, but the room containing it is shut, barred, and padlocked,—the owner of the house refusing to let it be opened, lest some of the books should be stolen. Meanwhile the rats are devouring them, and the damps destroying them.
August 9th.—A pretty comfortable day, as to warmth, and I believe there is sunshine overhead; but a sea-cloud, composed of fog and coal-smoke, envelops Liverpool. At Rock Ferry, when I left it at half past nine, there was promise of a cheerful day. A good many gentlemen (or, rather, respectable business people) came in the boat, and it is not unpleasant, on these fine mornings, to take the breezy atmosphere of the river. The huge steamer Great Britain, bound for Australia, lies right off the Rock Ferry landing; and at a little distance are two old hulks of ships of war, dismantled, roofed over, and anchored in the river, formerly for quarantine purposes, but now used chiefly or solely as homes for old seamen, whose light labor it is to take care of these condemned ships. There are a great many steamers plying up and down the river to various landings in the vicinity; and a good many steam-tugs; also, many boats, most of which have dark-red or tan-colored sails, being oiled to resist the wet; also, here and there, a yacht or pleasure-boat, and a few ships riding stately at their anchors, probably on the point of sailing. The river, however, is by no means crowded; because the immense multitude of ships are ensconced in the docks, where their masts make an intricate forest for miles up and down the Liverpool shore. The small black steamers, whizzing industriously along, many of them crowded with passengers, snake up the chief life of the scene. The Mersey has the color of a mud-puddle, and no atmospheric effect, as far as I have seen, ever gives it a more agreeable tinge.
Visitors to-day, thus far, have been H. A. B., with whom I have arranged to dine with us at Rock Ferry, and then he is to take us on board the Great Britain, of which his father is owner (in great part). Secondly, Monsieur H., the French Consul, who can speak hardly any English, and who was more powerfully scented with cigar-smoke than any man I ever encountered; a polite, gray-haired, red-nosed gentleman, very courteous and formal. Heaven keep him from me! At one o'clock, or thereabouts, I walked into the city, down through Lord Street, Church Street, and back to the Consulate through various untraceable crookednesses. Coming to Chapel Street, I crossed the graveyard of the old Church of St. Nicholas. This is, I suppose, the oldest sacred site in Liverpool, a church having stood here ever since the Conquest, though, probably, there is little or nothing of the old edifice in the present one, either the whole of the edifice or else the steeple, being thereto shaken by a chime of bells,— perhaps both, at different times,—has tumbled down; but the present church is what we Americans should call venerable. When the first church was built, and long afterwards, it must have stood on the grassy verge of the Mersey; but now there are pavements and warehouses, and the thronged Prince's and George's Docks, between it and the river; and all around it is the very busiest bustle of commerce, rumbling wheels, hurrying men, porter-shops, everything that pertains to the grossest and most practical life. And, notwithstanding, there is the broad churchyard extending on three sides of it, just as it used to be a thousand years ago. It is absolutely paved from border to border with flat tombstones, on a level with the soil and with each other, so that it is one floor of stone over the whole space, with grass here and there sprouting between the crevices. All these stones, no doubt, formerly had inscriptions; but as many people continually pass, in various directions, across the churchyard, and as the tombstones are not of a very hard material, the records on many of them are effaced. I saw none very old. A quarter of a century is sufficient to obliterate the letters, and make all smooth, where the direct pathway from gate to gate lies over the stones. The climate and casual footsteps rub out any inscription in less than a hundred years. Some of the monuments are cracked. On many is merely cut "The burial place of" so and so; on others there is a long list of half-readable names; on some few a laudatory epitaph, out of which, however, it were far too tedious to pick the meaning. But it really is interesting and suggestive to think of this old church, first built when Liverpool was a small village, and remaining, with its successive dead of ten centuries around it, now that the greatest commercial city in the world has its busiest centre there. I suppose people still continue to be buried in the cemetery. The greatest upholders of burials in cities are those whose progenitors have been deposited around or within the city churches. If this spacious churchyard stood in a similar position in one of our American cities, I rather suspect that long ere now it would have run the risk of being laid out in building-lots, and covered with warehouses; even if the church itself escaped,—but it would not escape longer than till its disrepair afforded excuse for tearing it down. And why should it, when its purposes might be better served in another spot?
We went on board the Great Britain before dinner, between five and six o'clock,—a great structure, as to convenient arrangement and adaptation, but giving me a strong impression of the tedium and misery of the long voyage to Australia. By way of amusement, she takes over fifty pounds' worth of playing-cards, at two shillings per pack, for the use of passengers; also, a small, well-selected library. After a considerable time spent on board, we returned to the hotel and dined, and Mr. B. took his leave at nine o'clock.
August 10th.—I left Rock Ferry for the city at half past nine. In the boat which arrived thence, there were several men and women with baskets on their heads, for this is a favorite way of carrying burdens; and they trudge onward beneath them, without any apparent fear of an overturn, and seldom putting up a hand to steady them. One woman, this morning, had a heavy load of crockery; another, an immense basket of turnips, freshly gathered, that seemed to me as much as a man could well carry on his back. These must be a stiff-necked people. The women step sturdily and freely, and with not ungraceful strength. The trip over to town was pleasant, it being a fair morning, only with a low-hanging fog. Had it been in America, I should have anticipated a day of burning heat.
Visitors this morning. Mr. Ogden of Chicago, or somewhere in the Western States, who arrived in England a fortnight ago, and who called on me at that time. He has since been in Scotland, and is now going to London and the Continent; secondly, the Captain of the Collins steamer Pacific, which sails to-day; thirdly, an American shipmaster, who complained that he had never, in his heretofore voyages, been able to get sight of the American Consul.
Mr. Pearce's customary matutinal visit was unusually agreeable to-day, inasmuch as he laid on my desk nineteen golden sovereigns and thirteen shillings. It being the day of the steamer's departure, an unusual number of invoice certificates had been required,—my signature to each of which brings me two dollars.
The autograph of a living author has seldom been so much in request at so respectable a price. Colonel Crittenden told me that he had received as much as fifty pounds on a single day. Heaven prosper the trade between America and Liverpool!
August 15th.—Many scenes which I should have liked to record have occurred; but the pressure of business has prevented me from recording them from day to day.
On Thursday I went, on invitation from Mr. B., to the prodigious steamer Great Britain, down the harbor, and some miles into the sea, to escort her off a little way on her voyage to Australia. There is an immense enthusiasm among the English people about this ship, on account of its being the largest in the world. The shores were lined with people to see her sail, and there were innumerable small steamers, crowded with men, all the way out into the ocean. Nothing seems to touch the English nearer than this question of nautical superiority; and if we wish to hit them to the quick, we must hit them there.
On Friday, at 7 P.M., I went to dine with the Mayor. It was a dinner given to the Judges and the Grand Jury. The Judges of England, during the time of holding an Assize, are the persons first in rank in the kingdom. They take precedence of everybody else,—of the highest military officers, of the Lord Lieutenants, of the Archbishops,—of the Prince of Wales,—of all except the Sovereign, whose authority and dignity they represent. In case of a royal dinner, the Judge would lead the Queen to the table.
The dinner was at the Town Hall, and the rooms and the whole affair were all in the most splendid style. Nothing struck me more than the footmen in the city livery. They really looked more magnificent in their gold-lace and breeches and white silk stockings than any officers of state. The rooms were beautiful; gorgeously painted and gilded, gorgeously lighted, gorgeously hung with paintings,—the plate was gorgeous, and the dinner gorgeous in the English fashion.
After the removal of the cloth the Mayor gave various toasts, prefacing each with some remarks,—the first, of course, the Sovereign, after which "God save the Queen" was sung, the company standing up and joining in the chorus, their ample faces glowing with wine, enthusiasm, and loyalty. Afterwards the Bar, and various other dignities and institutions were toasted; and by and by came the toast to the United States, and to me, as their Representative. Hereupon either "Hail Columbia," or "Yankee Doodle," or some other of our national tunes (but Heaven knows which), was played; and at the conclusion, being at bay, and with no alternative, I got upon my legs, and made a response. They received me and listened to my nonsense with a good deal of rapping, and my speech seemed to give great satisfaction; my chief difficulty being in not knowing how to pitch my voice to the size of the room. As for the matter, it is not of the slightest consequence. Anybody may make an after-dinner speech who will be content to talk onward without saying anything. My speech was not more than two or three inches long; and, considering that I did not know a soul there, except the Mayor himself, and that I am wholly unpractised in all sorts of oratory, and that I had nothing to say, it was quite successful. I hardly thought it was in me, but, being once started, I felt no embarrassment, and went through it as coolly as if I were going to be hanged.
Yesterday, after dinner, I took a walk with my family. We went through by-ways and private roads, and saw more of rural England, with its hedge-rows, its grassy fields, and its whitewashed old stone cottages, than we have before seen since our arrival.
August 20th.—This being Saturday, there early commenced a throng of visitants to Rock Ferry. The boat in which I came over brought from the city a multitude of factory-people. They had bands of music, and banners inscribed with the names of the mills they belong to, and other devices: pale-looking people, but not looking exactly as if they were underfed. They are brought on reduced terms by the railways and steamers, and come from great distances in the interior. These, I believe, were from Preston. I have not yet had an opportunity of observing how they amuse themselves during these excursions.
At the dock, the other day, the steamer arrived from Rock Ferry with a countless multitude of little girls, in coarse blue gowns, who, as they landed, formed in procession, and walked up the dock. These girls had been taken from the workhouses and educated at a charity-school, and would by and by be apprenticed as servants. I should not have conceived it possible that so many children could have been collected together, without a single trace of beauty or scarcely of intelligence in so much as one individual; such mean, coarse, vulgar features and figures betraying unmistakably a low origin, and ignorant and brutal parents. They did not appear wicked, but only stupid, animal, and soulless. It must require many generations of better life to wake the soul in them. All America could not show the like.
August 22d.—A Captain Auld, an American, having died here yesterday, I went with my clerk and an American shipmaster to take the inventory of his effects. His boarding-house was in a mean street, an old dingy house, with narrow entrance,—the class of boarding-house frequented by mates of vessels, and inferior to those generally patronized by masters. A fat elderly landlady, of respectable and honest aspect, and her daughter, a pleasing young woman enough, received us, and ushered us into the deceased's bedchamber. It was a dusky back room, plastered and painted yellow; its one window looking into the very narrowest of back-yards or courts, and out on a confused multitude of back buildings, appertaining to other houses, most of them old, with rude chimneys of wash-rooms and kitchens, the bricks of which seemed half loose.
The chattels of the dead man were contained in two trunks, a chest, a sail-cloth bag, and a barrel, and consisted of clothing, suggesting a thickset, middle-sized man; papers relative to ships and business, a spyglass, a loaded iron pistol, some books of navigation, some charts, several great pieces of tobacco, and a few cigars; some little plaster images, that he had probably bought for his children, a cotton umbrella, and other trumpery of no great value. In one of the trunks we found about twenty pounds' worth of English and American gold and silver, and some notes of hand, due in America. Of all these things the clerk made an inventory; after which we took possession of the money and affixed the consular seal to the trunks, bag, and chest.
While this was going on, we heard a great noise of men quarrelling in an adjoining court; and, altogether, it seemed a squalid and ugly place to live in, and a most undesirable one to die in. At the conclusion of our labors, the young woman asked us if we would not go into another chamber, and look at the corpse, and appeared to think that we should be rather glad than otherwise of the privilege. But, never having seen the man during his lifetime, I declined to commence his acquaintance now.
His bills for board and nursing amount to about the sum which we found in his trunk; his funeral expenses will be ten pounds more; the surgeon has sent in a bill of eight pounds, odd shillings; and the account of another medical man is still to be rendered. As his executor, I shall pay his landlady and nurse; and for the rest of the expenses, a subscription must be made (according to the custom in such cases) among the shipmasters, headed by myself. The funeral pomp will consist of a hearse, one coach, four men, with crape hatbands, and a few other items, together with a grave at five pounds, over which his friends will be entitled to place a stone, if they choose to do so, within twelve months.
As we left the house, we looked into the dark and squalid dining-room, where a lunch of cold meat was set out; but having no associations with the house except through this one dead man, it seemed as if his presence and attributes pervaded it wholly. He appears to have been a man of reprehensible habits, though well advanced in years. I ought not to forget a brandy-flask (empty) among his other effects. The landlady and daughter made a good impression on me, as honest and respectable persons.
August 24th.—Yesterday, in the forenoon, I received a note, and shortly afterwards a call at the Consulate from Miss H——, whom I apprehend to be a lady of literary tendencies. She said that Miss L. had promised her an introduction, but that, happening to pass through Liverpool, she had snatched the opportunity to make my acquaintance. She seems to be a mature lady, rather plain, but with an honest and intelligent face. It was rather a singular freedom, methinks, to come down upon a perfect stranger in this way,—to sit with him in his private office an hour or two, and then walk about the streets with him, as she did; for I did the honors of Liverpool, and showed her the public buildings. Her talk was sensible, but not particularly brilliant nor interesting; a good, solid personage, physically and intellectually. She is an English woman.
In the afternoon, at three o'clock, I attended the funeral of Captain Auld. Being ushered into the dining-room of his boarding-house, I found brandy, gin, and wine set out on a tray, together with some little spicecakes. By and by came in a woman, who asked if I were going to the funeral; and then proceeded to put a mourning-band on my hat,—a black-silk band, covering the whole hat, and streaming nearly a yard behind. After waiting the better part of an hour, nobody else appeared, although several shipmasters had promised to attend. Hereupon, the undertaker was anxious to set forth; but the landlady, who was arrayed in shining black silk, thought it a shame that the poor man should be buried with such small attendance. So we waited a little longer, during which interval I heard the landlady's daughter sobbing and wailing in the entry; and but for this tender-heartedness there would have been no tears at all. Finally we set forth,—the undertaker, a friend of his, and a young man, perhaps the landlady's son, and myself, in the black-plumed coach, and the landlady, her daughter, and a female friend, in the coach behind. Previous to this, however, everybody had taken some wine or spirits; for it seemed to be considered disrespectful not to do so.
Before us went the plumed hearse, a stately affair, with a bas-relief of funereal figures upon its sides. We proceeded quite across the city to the Necropolis, where the coffin was carried into a chapel, in which we found already another coffin, and another set of mourners, awaiting the clergyman. Anon he appeared,—a stern, broad-framed, large, and bald-headed man, in a black-silk gown. He mounted his desk, and read the service in quite a feeble and unimpressive way, though with no lack of solemnity. This done, our four bearers took up the coffin, and carried it out of the chapel; but, descending the steps, and, perhaps, having taken a little too much brandy, one of them stumbled, and down came the coffin,—not quite to the ground, however; for they grappled with it, and contrived, with a great struggle, to prevent the misadventure. But I really expected to see poor Captain Auld burst forth among us in his grave-clothes.
The Necropolis is quite a handsome burial-place, shut in by high walls, so overrun with shrubbery that no part of the brick or stone is visible. Part of the space within is an ornamental garden, with flowers and green turf; the rest is strewn with flat gravestones, and a few raised monuments; and straight avenues run to and fro between. Captain Auld's grave was dug nine feet deep. It is his own for twelve months; but, if his friends do not choose to give him a stone, it will become a common grave at the end of that time; and four or five more bodies may then be piled upon his. Every one seemed greatly to admire the grave; the undertaker praised it, and also the dryness of its site, which he took credit to himself for having chosen. The grave-digger, too, was very proud of its depth, and the neatness of his handiwork. The clergyman, who had marched in advance of us from the chapel, now took his stand at the head of the grave, and, lifting his hat, proceeded with what remained of the service, while we stood bareheaded around. When he came to a particular part, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust," the undertaker lifted a handful of earth, and threw it rattling on the coffin,—so did the landlady's son, and so did I. After the funeral the undertaker's friend, an elderly, coarse-looking man, looked round him, and remarked that "the grass had never grown on the parties who died in the cholera year"; but at this the undertaker laughed in scorn.
As we returned to the gate of the cemetery, the sexton met us, and pointed to a small office, on entering which we found the clergyman, who was waiting for his burial-fees. There was now a dispute between the clergyman and the undertaker; the former wishing to receive the whole amount for the gravestone, which the undertaker, of course, refused to pay. I explained how the matter stood; on which the clergyman acquiesced, civilly enough; but it was very strange to see the worldly, business-like way in which he entered into this squabble, so soon after burying poor Captain Auld.
During our drive back in the mourning-coach, the undertaker, his friend, and the landlady's son still kept descanting on the excellence of the grave,—"Such a fine grave,"—"Such a nice grave,"—"Such a splendid grave,"—and, really, they seemed almost to think it worth while to die, for the sake of being buried there. They deemed it an especial pity that such a grave should ever become a common grave. "Why," said they to me, "by paying the extra price you may have it for your own grave, or for your family!" meaning that we should have a right to pile ourselves over the defunct Captain. I wonder how the English ever attain to any conception of a future existence, since they so overburden themselves with earth and mortality in their ideas of funerals. A drive with an undertaker, in a sable-plumed coach!—talking about graves!—and yet he was a jolly old fellow, wonderfully corpulent, with a smile breaking out easily all over his face,—although, once in a while, he looked professionally lugubrious.
All the time the scent of that horrible mourning-coach is in my nostrils, and I breathe nothing but a funeral atmosphere.
Saturday, August 27th.—This being the gala-day of the manufacturing people about Liverpool, the steamboats to Rock Ferry were seasonably crowded with large parties of both sexes. They were accompanied with two bands of music, in uniform; and these bands, before I left the hotel, were playing, in competition and rivalry with each other in the coach-yard, loud martial strains from shining brass instruments. A prize is to be assigned to one or to the other of these bands, and I suppose this was a part of the competition. Meanwhile the merry-making people who thronged the courtyard were quaffing coffee from blue earthen mugs, which they brought with them,—as likewise they brought the coffee, and had it made in the hotel.
It had poured with rain about the time of their arrival, notwithstanding which they did not seem disheartened; for, of course, in this climate, it enters into all their calculations to be drenched through and through. By and by the sun shone out, and it has continued to shine and shade every ten minutes ever since. All these people were decently dressed; the men generally in dark clothes, not so smartly as Americans on a festal day, but so as not to be greatly different as regards dress. They were paler, smaller, less wholesome-looking and less intelligent, and, I think, less noisy, than so many Yankees would have been. The women and girls differed much more from what American girls and women would be on a pleasure-excursion, being so shabbily dressed, with no kind of smartness, no silks, nothing but cotton gowns, I believe, and ill-looking bonnets,— which, however, was the only part of their attire that they seemed to care about guarding from the rain. As to their persons, they generally looked better developed and healthier than the men; but there was a woful lack of beauty and grace, not a pretty girl among them, all coarse and vulgar. Their bodies, it seems to me, are apt to be very long in proportion to their limbs,—in truth, this kind of make is rather characteristic of both sexes in England. The speech of these folks, in some instances, was so broad Lancashire that I could not well understand it.
A WALK TO BEBBINGTON.
Rock Ferry, August 29th.—Yesterday we all took a walk into the country. It was a fine afternoon, with clouds, of course, in different parts of the sky, but a clear atmosphere, bright sunshine, and altogether a Septembrish feeling. The ramble was very pleasant, along the hedge-lined roads in which there were flowers blooming, and the varnished holly, certainly one of the most beautiful shrubs in the world, so far as foliage goes. We saw one cottage which I suppose was several hundred years old. It was of stone, filled into a wooden frame, the black-oak of which was visible like an external skeleton; it had a thatched roof, and was whitewashed. We passed through a village,—higher Bebbington, I believe,—with narrow streets and mean houses all of brick or stone, and not standing wide apart from each other as in American country villages, but conjoined. There was an immense almshouse in the midst; at least, I took it to be so. In the centre of the village, too, we saw a moderate-sized brick house, built in imitation of a castle with a tower and turret, in which an upper and an under row of small cannon were mounted,—now green with moss. There were also battlements along the roof of the house, which looked as if it might have been built eighty or a hundred years ago. In the centre of it there was the dial of a clock, but the inner machinery had been removed, and the hands, hanging listlessly, moved to and fro in the wind. It was quite a novel symbol of decay and neglect. On the wall, close to the street, there were certain eccentric inscriptions cut into slabs of stone, but I could make no sense of them. At the end of the house opposite the turret, we peeped through the bars of an iron gate and beheld a little paved court-yard, and at the farther side of it a small piazza, beneath which seemed to stand the figure of a man. He appeared well advanced in years, and was dressed in a blue coat and buff breeches, with a white or straw hat on his head. Behold, too, in a kennel beside the porch, a large dog sitting on his hind legs, chained! Also, close beside the gateway, another man, seated in a kind of arbor! All these were wooden images; and the whole castellated, small, village-dwelling, with the inscriptions and the queer statuary, was probably the whim of some half-crazy person, who has now, no doubt, been long asleep in Bebbington churchyard.
The bell of the old church was ringing as we went along, and many respectable-looking people and cleanly dressed children were moving towards the sound. Soon we reached the church, and I have seen nothing yet in England that so completely answered my idea of what such a thing was, as this old village church of Bebbington.
It is quite a large edifice, built in the form of a cross, a low peaked porch in the side, over which, rudely cut in stone, is the date 1300 and something. The steeple has ivy on it, and looks old, old, old; so does the whole church, though portions of it have been renewed, but not so as to impair the aspect of heavy, substantial endurance, and long, long decay, which may go on hundreds of years longer before the church is a ruin. There it stands, among the surrounding graves, looking just the same as it did in Bloody Mary's days; just as it did in Cromwell's time. A bird (and perhaps many birds) had its nest in the steeple, and flew in and out of the loopholes that were opened into it. The stone framework of the windows looked particularly old.
There were monuments about the church, some lying flat on the ground, others elevated on low pillars, or on cross slabs of stone, and almost all looking dark, moss-grown, and very antique. But on reading some of the inscriptions, I was surprised to find them very recent; for, in fact, twenty years of this climate suffices to give as much or more antiquity of aspect, whether to gravestone or edifice, than a hundred years of our own,—so soon do lichens creep over the surface, so soon does it blacken, so soon do the edges lose their sharpness, so soon does Time gnaw away the records. The only really old monuments (and those not very old) were two, standing close together, and raised on low rude arches, the dates on which were 1684 and 1686. On one a cross was rudely cut into the stone. But there may have been hundreds older than this, the records on which had been quite obliterated, and the stones removed, and the graves dug over anew. None of the monuments commemorate people of rank; on only one the buried person was recorded as "Gent."
While we sat on the flat slabs resting ourselves, several little girls, healthy-looking and prettily dressed enough, came into the churchyard, and began to talk and laugh, and to skip merrily from one tombstone to another. They stared very broadly at us, and one of them, by and by, ran up to U. and J., and gave each of them a green apple, then they skipped upon the tombstones again, while, within the church, we heard them singing, sounding pretty much as I have heard it in our pine-built New England meeting-houses. Meantime the rector had detected the voices of these naughty little girls, and perhaps had caught glimpses of them through the windows; for, anon, out came the sexton, and, addressing himself to us, asked whether there had been any noise or disturbance in the churchyard. I should not have borne testimony against these little villagers, but S. was so anxious to exonerate our own children that she pointed out these poor little sinners to the sexton, who forthwith turned them out. He would have done the same to us, no doubt, had my coat been worse than it was; but, as the matter stood, his demeanor was rather apologetic than menacing, when he informed us that the rector had sent him.
We stayed a little longer, looking at the graves, some of which were between the buttresses of the church and quite close to the wall, as if the sleepers anticipated greater comfort and security the nearer they could get to the sacred edifice.
As we went out of the churchyard, we passed the aforesaid little girls, who were sitting behind the mound of a tomb, and busily babbling together. They called after us, expressing their discontent that we had betrayed them to the sexton, and saying that it was not they who made the noise. Going homeward, we went astray in a green lane, that terminated in the midst of a field, without outlet, so that we had to retrace a good many of our footsteps.
Close to the wall of the church, beside the door, there was an ancient baptismal font of stone. In fact, it was a pile of roughly hewn stone steps, five or six feet high, with a block of stone at the summit, in which was a hollow about as big as a wash-bowl. It was full of rainwater.
The church seems to be St. Andrew's Church, Lower Bebbington, built in 1100.
September 1st.—To-day we leave the Rock Ferry Hotel, where we have spent nearly four weeks. It is a comfortable place, and we have had a good table and have been kindly treated. We occupied a large parlor, extending through the whole breadth of the house, with a bow-window, looking towards Liverpool, and adown the intervening river, and to Birkenhead, on the hither side. The river would be a pleasanter object, if it were blue and transparent, instead of such a mud-puddly hue; also, if it were always full to its brine; whereas it generally presents a margin, and sometimes a very broad one, of glistening mud, with here and there a small vessel aground on it.
Nevertheless, the parlor-window has given us a pretty good idea of the nautical business of Liverpool; the constant objects being the little black steamers puffing unquietly along, sometimes to our own ferry, sometimes beyond it to Eastham, and sometimes towing a long string of boats from Runcorn or otherwhere up the river, laden with goods, and sometimes gallanting a tall ship in or out. Some of these ships lie for days together in the river, very majestic and stately objects, often with the flag of the stars and stripes waving over them. Now and then, after a gale at sea, a vessel comes in with her masts broken short off in the midst, and with marks of rough handling about the hull. Once a week comes a Cunard steamer, with its red funnel pipe whitened by the salt spray; and, firing off cannon to announce her arrival, she moors to a large iron buoy in the middle of the river, and a few hundred yards from the stone pier of our ferry. Immediately comes poring towards her a little mail-steamer, to take away her mail-bags and such of the passengers as choose to land; and for several hours afterwards the Cunard lies with the smoke and steam coming out of her, as if she were smoking her pipe after her toilsome passage across the Atlantic. Once a fortnight comes an American steamer of the Collins line; and then the Cunard salutes her with cannon, to which the Collins responds, and moors herself to another iron buoy, not far from the Cunard. When they go to sea, it is with similar salutes; the two vessels paying each other the more ceremonious respect, because they are inimical and jealous of each other.
Besides these, there are other steamers of all sorts and sizes, for pleasure-excursions, for regular trips to Dublin, the Isle of Man, and elsewhither; and vessels which are stationary, as floating lights, but which seem to relieve one another at intervals; and small vessels, with sails looking as if made of tanned leather; and schooners, and yachts, and all manner of odd-looking craft, but none so odd as the Chinese junk. This junk lies by our own pier, and looks as if it were copied from some picture on an old teacup. Beyond all these objects we see the other side of the Mersey, with the delectably green fields opposite to us, while the shore becomes more and more thickly populated, until about two miles off we see the dense centre of the city, with the dome of the Custom House, and steeples and towers; and, close to the water, the spire of St. Nicholas; and above, and intermingled with the whole city scene, the duskiness of the coal-smoke gushing upward. Along the bank we perceive the warehouses of the Albert dock, and the Queen's tobacco warehouses, and other docks, and, nigher, to us, a shipyard or two. In the evening all this sombre picture gradually darkens out of sight, and in its place appear only the lights of the city, kindling into a galaxy of earthly stars, for a long distance, up and down the shore; and, in one or two spots, the bright red gleam of a furnace, like the "red planet Mars"; and once in a while a bright, wandering beam gliding along the river, as a steamer cones or goes between us and Liverpool.
September 2d.—We got into our new house in Rock Park yesterday. It is quite a good house, with three apartments, beside kitchen and pantry on the lower floor; and it is three stories high, with four good chambers in each story. It is a stone edifice, like almost all the English houses, and handsome in its design. The rent, without furniture, would probably have been one hundred pounds; furnished, it is one hundred and sixty pounds. Rock Park, as the locality is called, is private property, and is now nearly covered with residences for professional people, merchants, and others of the upper middling class; the houses being mostly built, I suppose, on speculation, and let to those who occupy them. It is the quietest place imaginable, there being a police station at the entrance, and the officer on duty allows no ragged or ill-looking person to pass. There being a toll, it precludes all unnecessary passage of carriages; and never were there more noiseless streets than those that give access to these pretty residences. On either side there is thick shrubbery, with glimpses through it of the ornamented portals, or into the trim gardens with smooth-shaven lawns, of no large extent, but still affording reasonable breathing-space. They are really an improvement on anything, save what the very rich can enjoy, in America. The former occupants of our house (Mrs. Campbell and family) having been fond of flowers, there are many rare varieties in the garden, and we are told that there is scarcely a month in the year when a flower will not be found there.
The house is respectably, though not very elegantly, furnished. It was a dismal, rainy day yesterday, and we had a coal-fire in the sitting-room, beside which I sat last evening as twilight came on, and thought, rather sadly, how many times we have changed our home since we were married. In the first place, our three years at the Old Manse; then a brief residence at Salem, then at Boston, then two or three years at Salem again; then at Lenox, then at West Newton, and then again at Concord, where we imagined that we were fixed for life, but spent only a year. Then this farther flight to England, where we expect to spend four years, and afterwards another year or two in Italy, during all which time we shall have no real home. For, as I sat in this English house, with the chill, rainy English twilight brooding over the lawn, and a coal-fire to keep me comfortable on the first evening of September, and the picture of a stranger—the dead husband of Mrs. Campbell—gazing down at me from above the mantel-piece,—I felt that I never should be quite at home here. Nevertheless, the fire was very comfortable to look at, and the shape of the fireplace—an arch, with a deep cavity—was an improvement on the square, shallow opening of an American coal-grate.
September 7th.—It appears by the annals of Liverpool, contained in Gore's Directory, that in 1076 there was a baronial castle built by Roger de Poictiers on the site of the present St. George's Church. It was taken down in 1721. The church now stands at one of the busiest points of the principal street of the city. The old Church of St. Nicholas, founded about the time of the Conquest, and more recently rebuilt, stood within a quarter of a mile of the castle.
In 1150, Birkenhead Priory was founded on the Cheshire side of the Mersey. The monks used to ferry passengers across to Liverpool until 1282, when Woodside Ferry was established,—twopence for a horseman, and a farthing for a foot-passenger. Steam ferry-boats now cross to Birkenhead, Monk's Ferry, and Woodside every ten minutes; and I believe there are large hotels at all these places, and many of the business men of Liverpool have residences in them.
In 1252 a tower was built by Sir John Stanley, which continued to be a castle of defence to the Stanley family for many hundred years, and was not finally taken down till 1820, when its site had become the present Water Street, in the densest commercial centre of the city.
There appear to have been other baronial castles and residences in different parts of the city, as a hall in old Hall Street, built by Sir John de la More, on the site of which a counting-house now stands. This knightly family of De la More sometimes supplied mayors to the city, as did the family of the Earls of Derby.
About 1582, Edward, Earl of Derby, maintained two hundred and fifty citizens of Liverpool, fed sixty aged persons twice a day, and provided twenty-seven hundred persons with meat, drink, and money every Good Friday.
In 1644, Prince Rupert besieged the town for twenty-four days, and finally took it by storm. This was June 26th, and the Parliamentarians, under Sir John Meldrum, repossessed it the following October.
In 1669 the Mayor of Liverpool kept an inn.
In 1730 there was only one carriage in town, and no stage-coach came nearer than Warrington, the roads being impassable.
In 1734 the Earl of Derby gave a great entertainment in the tower.
In 1737 the Mayor was George Norton, a saddler, who frequently took, the chair with his leather apron on. His immediate predecessor seems to have been the Earl of Derby, who gave the above-mentioned entertainment during his mayoralty. Where George's Dock now is, there used to be a battery of fourteen eighteen-pounders for the defence of the town, and the old sport of bull-baiting was carried on in that vicinity, close to the Church of St. Nicholas.
September 12th.—On Saturday a young man was found wandering about in West Derby, a suburb of Liverpool, in a state of insanity, and, being taken before a magistrate, he proved to be an American. As he seemed to be in a respectable station of life, the magistrate sent the master of the workhouse to me, in order to find out whether I would take the responsibility of his expenses, rather than have him put in the workhouse. My clerk went to investigate the matter, and brought me his papers. His name proves to be —— ———, belonging to ———, twenty-five years of age. One of the papers was a passport from our legation in Naples; likewise there was a power of attorney from his mother (who seems to have been married a second time) to dispose of some property of hers abroad; a hotel bill, also, of some length, in which were various charges for wine; and, among other evidences of low funds, a pawnbroker's receipt for a watch, which he had pledged at five pounds. There was also a ticket for his passage to America, by the screw steamer Andes, which sailed on Wednesday last. The clerk found him to the last degree incommunicative; and nothing could be discovered from him but what the papers disclosed. There were about a dozen utterly unintelligible notes among the papers, written by himself since his derangement.
I decided to put him into the insane hospital, where he now accordingly is, and to-morrow (by which time he may be in a more conversable mood) I mean to pay him a visit.
The clerk tells me that there is now, and has been for three years, an American lady in the Liverpool almshouse, in a state of insanity. She is very accomplished, especially in music; but in all this time it has been impossible to find out who she is, or anything about her connections or previous life. She calls herself Jenny Lind, and as for any other name or identity she keeps her own secret.
September 14th.—It appears that Mr. ——— (the insane young gentleman) being unable to pay his bill at the inn where he was latterly staying, the landlord had taken possession of his luggage, and satisfied himself in that way. My clerk, at my request, has taken his watch out of pawn. It proves to be not a very good one, though doubtless worth more than five pounds, for which it was pledged. The Governor of the Lunatic Asylum wrote me yesterday, stating that the patient was in want of a change of clothes, and that, according to his own account, he had left his luggage at the American Hotel. After office-hours, I took a cab, and set out with my clerk, to pay a visit to the Asylum, taking the American Hotel in our way.
The American Hotel is a small house, not at all such a one as American travellers of any pretension would think of stopping at, but still very respectable, cleanly, and with a neat sitting-room, where the guests might assemble, after the American fashion. We asked for the landlady, and anon down she came, a round, rosy, comfortable-looking English dame of fifty or thereabouts. On being asked whether she knew a Mr. ———, she readily responded that he had been there, but, had left no luggage, having taken it away before paying his bill; and that she had suspected him of meaning to take his departure without paying her at all. Hereupon she had traced him to the hotel before mentioned, where she had found that he had stayed two nights,—but was then, I think, gone from thence. Afterwards she encountered him again, and, demanding her due, went with him to a pawnbroker's, where he pledged his watch and paid her. This was about the extent of the landlady's knowledge of the matter. I liked the woman very well, with her shrewd, good-humored, worldly, kindly disposition.
Then we proceeded to the Lunatic Asylum, to which we were admitted by a porter at the gate. Within doors we found some neat and comely servant-women, one of whom showed us into a handsome parlor, and took my card to the Governor. There was a large bookcase, with a glass front, containing handsomely bound books, many of which, I observed, were of a religious character. In a few minutes the Governor came in, a middle-aged man, tall, and thin for an Englishman, kindly and agreeable enough in aspect, but not with the marked look of a man of force and ability. I should not judge from his conversation that he was an educated man, or that he had any scientific acquaintance with the subject of insanity.
He said that Mr. ——— was still quite incommunicative, and not in a very promising state; that I had perhaps better defer seeing him for a few days; that it would not be safe, at present, to send him home to America without an attendant, and this was about all. But on returning home I learned from my wife, who had had a call from Mrs. Blodgett, that Mrs. Blodgett knew Mr. ——— and his mother, who has recently been remarried to a young husband, and is now somewhere in Italy. They seemed to have boarded at Mrs. Blodgett's house on their way to the Continent, and within a week or two, an acquaintance and pastor of Mr. ———, the Rev. Dr. ———, has sailed for America. If I could only have caught him, I could have transferred the care, expense, and responsibility of the patient to him. The Governor of the Asylum mentioned, by the way, that Mr. ——— describes himself as having been formerly a midshipman in the navy.
I walked through the St. James's cemetery yesterday. It is a very pretty place, dug out of the rock, having formerly, I believe, been a stone-quarry. It is now a deep and spacious valley, with graves and monuments on its level and grassy floor, through which run gravel-paths, and where grows luxuriant shrubbery. On one of the steep sides of the valley, hewn out of the rock, are tombs, rising in tiers, to the height of fifty feet or more; some of them cut directly into the rock with arched portals, and others built with stone. On the other side the bank is of earth, and rises abruptly, quite covered with trees, and looking very pleasant with their green shades. It was a warm and sunny day, and the cemetery really had a most agreeable aspect. I saw several gravestones of Americans; but what struck me most was one line of an epitaph on an English woman, "Here rests in peace a virtuous wife." The statue of Huskisson stands in the midst of the valley, in a kind of mausoleum, with a door of plate-glass, through which you look at the dead statesman's effigy.
September 22d.—. . . . Some days ago an American captain came to the office, and said he had shot one of his men, shortly after sailing from New Orleans, and while the ship was still in the river. As he described the event, he was in peril of his life from this man, who was an Irishman; and he fired his pistol only when the man was coming upon him, with a knife in one hand, and some other weapon of offence in the other, while he himself was struggling with one or two more of the crew. He was weak at the time, having just recovered from the yellow fever. The shots struck the man in the pit of the stomach, and he lived only about a quarter of an hour. No magistrate in England has a right to arrest or examine the captain, unless by a warrant from the Secretary of State, on the charge of murder. After his statement to me, the mother of the slain man went to the police officer, and accused him of killing her son. Two or three days since, moreover, two of the sailors came before me, and gave their account of the matter; and it looked very differently from that of the captain. According to them, the man had no idea of attacking the captain, and was so drunk that he could not keep himself upright without assistance. One of these two men was actually holding him up when the captain fired two barrels of his pistol, one immediately after the other, and lodged two balls in the pit of his stomach. The man sank down at once, saying, "Jack, I am killed,"—and died very shortly. Meanwhile the captain drove this man away, under threats of shooting him likewise. Both the seamen described the captain's conduct, both then and during the whole voyage, as outrageous, and I do not much doubt that it was so. They gave their evidence like men who wished to tell the truth, and were moved by no more than a natural indignation at the captain's wrong.
I did not much like the captain from the first,—a hard, rough man, with little education, and nothing of the gentleman about him, a red face and a loud voice. He seemed a good deal excited, and talked fast and much about the event, but yet not as if it had sunk deeply into him. He observed that he "would not have had it happen for a thousand dollars," that being the amount of detriment which he conceives himself to suffer by the ineffaceable blood-stain on his hand. In my opinion it is little short of murder, if at all; but what would be murder on shore is almost a natural occurrence when done in such a hell on earth as one of these ships, in the first hours of the voyage. The men are then all drunk,— some of them often in delirium tremens; and the captain feels no safety for his life except in making himself as terrible as a fiend. It is the universal testimony that there is a worse set of sailors in these short voyages between Liverpool and America than in any other trade whatever.
There is no probability that the captain will ever be called to account for this deed. He gave, at the time, his own version of the affair in his log-book; and this was signed by the entire crew, with the exception of one man, who had hidden himself in the hold in terror of the captain. His mates will sustain his side of the question; and none of the sailors would be within reach of the American courts, even should they be sought for.
October 1st.—On Thursday I went with Mr. Ticknor to Chester by railway. It is quite an indescribable old town, and I feel at last as if I had had a glimpse of old England. The wall encloses a large space within the town, but there are numerous houses and streets not included within its precincts. Some of the principal streets pass under the ancient gateways; and at the side there are flights of steps, giving access to the summit. Around the top of the whole wall, a circuit of about two miles, there runs a walk, well paved with flagstones, and broad enough for three persons to walk abreast. On one side—that towards the country—there is a parapet of red freestone three or four feet high. On the other side there are houses, rising up immediately from the wall, so that they seem a part of it. The height of it, I suppose, may be thirty or forty feet, and, in some parts, you look down from the parapet into orchards, where there are tall apple-trees, and men on the branches, gathering fruit, and women and children among the grass, filling bags or baskets. There are prospects of the surrounding country among the buildings outside the wall; at one point, a view of the river Dee, with an old bridge of arches. It is all very strange, very quaint, very curious to see how the town has overflowed its barrier, and how, like many institutions here, the ancient wall still exists, but is turned to quite another purpose than what it was meant for,—so far as it serves any purpose at all. There are three or four towers in the course of the circuit; the most interesting being one from the top of which King Charles the First is said to have seen the rout of his army by the Parliamentarians. We ascended the short flight of steps that led up into the tower, where an old man pointed out the site of the battle-field, now thickly studded with buildings, and told us what we had already learned from the guide-book. After this we went into the cathedral, which I will perhaps describe on some other occasion, when I shall have seen more of it, and to better advantage. The cloisters gave us the strongest impression of antiquity; the stone arches being so worn and blackened by time. Still an American must always have imagined a better cathedral than this. There were some immense windows of painted glass, but all modern. In the chapter-house we found a coal-fire burning in a grate, and a large heap of old books—the library of the cathedral—in a discreditable state of decay,—mildewed, rotten, neglected for years. The sexton told us that they were to be arranged and better ordered. Over the door, inside, hung two failed and tattered banners, being those of the Cheshire regiment.
The most utterly indescribable feature of Chester is the Rows, which every traveller has attempted to describe. At the height of several feet above some of the oldest streets, a walk runs through the front of the houses, which project over it. Back of the walk there are shops; on the outer side is a space of two or three yards, where the shopmen place their tables, and stands, and show-cases; overhead, just high enough for persons to stand erect, a ceiling. At frequent intervals little narrow passages go winding in among the houses, which all along are closely conjoined, and seem to have no access or exit, except through the shops, or into these narrow passages, where you can touch each side with your elbows, and the top with your hand. We penetrated into one or two of them, and they smelt anciently and disagreeably. At one of the doors stood a pale-looking, but cheerful and good-natured woman, who told us that she had come to that house when first married, twenty-one years before, and had lived there ever since; and that she felt as if she had been buried through the best years of her life. She allowed us to peep into her kitchen and parlor,—small, dingy, dismal, but yet not wholly destitute of a home look. She said that she had seen two or three coffins in a day, during cholera times, carried out of that narrow passage into which her door opened. These avenues put me in mind of those which run through ant-hills, or those which a mole makes underground. This fashion of Rows does not appear to be going out; and, for aught I can see, it may last hundreds of years longer. When a house becomes so old as to be uutenantable, it is rebuilt, and the new one is fashioned like the old, so far as regards the walk running through its front. Many of the shops are very good, and even elegant, and these Rows are the favorite places of business in Chester. Indeed, they have many advantages, the passengers being sheltered from the rain, and there being within the shops that dimmer light by which tradesmen like to exhibit their wares.
A large proportion of the edifices in the Rows must be comparatively modern; but there are some very ancient ones, with oaken frames visible on the exterior. The Row, passing through these houses, is railed with oak, so old that it has turned black, and grown to be as hard as stone, which it might be mistaken for, if one did not see where names and initials have been cut into it with knives at some bygone period. Overhead, cross-beams project through the ceiling so low as almost to hit the head. On the front of one of these buildings was the inscription, "GOD'S PROVIDENCE IS MINE INHERITANCE," said to have been put there by the occupant of the house two hundred years ago, when the plague spared this one house only in the whole city. Not improbably the inscription has operated as a safeguard to prevent the demolition of the house hitherto; but a shopman of an adjacent dwelling told us that it was soon to be taken down.
Here and there, about some of the streets through which the Rows do not run, we saw houses of very aged aspect, with steep, peaked gables. The front gable-end was supported on stone pillars, and the sidewalk passed beneath. Most of these old houses seemed to be taverns,—the Black Bear, the Green Dragon, and such names. We thought of dining at one of them, but, on inspection, they looked rather too dingy and close, and of questionable neatness. So we went to the Royal Hotel, where we probably fared just as badly at much more expense, and where there was a particularly gruff and crabbed old waiter, who, I suppose, thought himself free to display his surliness because we arrived at the hotel on foot. For my part, I love to see John Bull show himself. I must go again and again and again to Chester, for I suppose there is not a more curious place in the world.
Mr. Ticknor, who has been staying at Rock Park with us since Tuesday, has steamed away in the Canada this morning. His departure seems to make me feel more abroad, more dissevered from my native country, than before.
October 3d.—Saturday evening, at six, I went to dine with Mr. Aiken, a wealthy merchant here, to meet two of the sons of Burns. There was a party of ten or twelve, Mr. Aiken and his two daughters included. The two sons of Burns have both been in the Indian army, and have attained the ranks of Colonel and Major; one having spent thirty, and the other twenty-seven years in India. They are now old gentlemen of sixty and upwards, the elder with a gray head, the younger with a perfectly white one,—rather under than above the middle stature, and with a British roundness of figure,—plain, respectable, intelligent-looking persons, with quiet manners. I saw no resemblance in either of them to any portrait of their father. After the ladies left the table, I sat next to the Major, the younger of the two, and had a good deal of talk with him. He seemed a very kindly and social man, and was quite ready to speak about his father, nor was he at all reluctant to let it be seen how much he valued the glory of being descended from the poet. By and by, at Mr. Aiken's instance, he sang one of Burns's songs,—the one about "Annie" and the "rigs of barley." He sings in a perfectly simple style, so that it is little more than a recitative, and yet the effect is very good as to humor, sense, and pathos. After rejoining the ladies, he sang another, "A posie for my ain dear May," and likewise "A man's a man for a' that." My admiration of his father, and partly, perhaps, my being an American, gained me some favor with him, and he promised to give me what he considered the best engraving of Burns, and some other remembrance of him. The Major is that son of Burns who spent an evening at Abbotsford with Sir Walter Scott, when, as Lockhart writes, "the children sang the ballads of their sires." He spoke with vast indignation of a recent edition of his father's works by Robert Chambers, in which the latter appears to have wronged the poet by some misstatements.—I liked them both and they liked me, and asked me to go and see there at Cheltenham, where they reside. We broke up at about midnight.
The members of this dinner-party were of the more liberal tone of thinking here in Liverpool. The Colonel and Major seemed to be of similar principles; and the eyes of the latter glowed, when he sang his father's noble verse, "The rank is but the guinea's stamp," etc. It would have been too pitiable if Burns had left a son who could not feel the spirit of that verse.
October 8th.—Coning to my office, two or three mornings ago, I found Mrs. ———, the mother of Mr. ———, the insane young man of whom I had taken charge. She is a lady of fifty or thereabouts, and not very remarkable anyway, nor particularly lady-like. However, she was just come off a rapid journey, having travelled from Naples, with three small children, without taking rest, since my letter reached her. A son (this proved to be her new husband) of about twenty had come with her to the Consulate. She was, of course, infinitely grieved about the young man's insanity, and had two or three bursts of tears while we talked the matter over. She said he was the hope of her life,—the best, purest, most innocent child that ever was, and wholly free from every kind of vice. But it appears that he had a previous attack of insanity, lasting three months, about three years ago.
After I had told her all I knew about him, including my personal observations at a visit a week or two since, we drove in a cab to the Asylum. It must have been a dismal moment to the poor lady, as we entered the gateway through a tall, prison-like wall. Being ushered into the parlor, the Governor soon appeared, and informed us that Mr. ——— had had a relapse within a few days, and was not now so well as when I saw him. He complains of unjust confinement, and seems to consider himself, if I rightly understand, under persecution for political reasons. The Governor, however, proposed to call him down, and I took my leave, feeling that it would be indelicate to be present at his first interview with his mother. So here ended my guardianship of the poor young fellow.
In the afternoon I called at the Waterloo Hotel, where Mrs. ——— was staying, and found her in the coffee-room with the children. She had determined to take a lodging in the vicinity of the Asylum, and was going to remove thither as soon as the children had had something to eat. They seemed to be pleasant and well-behaved children, and impressed me more favorably than the mother, whom I suspect to be rather a foolish woman, although her present grief makes her appear in a more respectable light than at other times. She seemed anxious to impress me with the respectability and distinction of her connections in America, and I had observed the same tendency in the insane patient, at my interview with him. However, she has undoubtedly a mother's love for this poor shatterbrain, and this may weigh against the folly of her marrying an incongruously youthful second husband, and many other follies.
This was day before yesterday, and I have heard nothing of her since. The same day I had applications for assistance in two other domestic affairs; one from an Irishman, naturalized in America, who wished me to get him a passage thither, and to take charge of his wife and family here, at my own private expense, until he could remit funds to carry them across. Another was from an Irishman, who had a power of attorney from a countrywoman of his in America, to find and take charge of an infant whom she had left in the Liverpool work-house, two years ago. I have a great mind to keep a list of all the business I am consulted about and employed in. It would be very curious. Among other things, all penniless Americans, or pretenders to Americanism, look upon me as their banker; and I could ruin myself any week, if I had not laid down a rule to consider every applicant for assistance an impostor until he prove himself a true and responsible man,—which it is very difficult to do. Yesterday there limped in a very respectable-looking old man, who described himself as a citizen of Baltimore, who had been on a trip to England and elsewhere, and, being detained longer than he expected, and having had an attack of rheumatism, was now short of funds to pay his passage home, and hoped that I would supply the deficiency. He had quite a plain, homely, though respectable manner, and, for aught I know, was the very honestest man alive; but as he could produce no kind of proof of his character and responsibility, I very quietly explained the impossibility of my helping him. I advised him to try to obtain a passage on board of some Baltimore ship, the master of which might be acquainted with him, or, at all events, take his word for payment, after arrival. This he seemed inclined to do, and took his leave. There was a decided aspect of simplicity about this old man, and yet I rather judge him to be an impostor.
It is easy enough to refuse money to strangers and unknown people, or whenever there may be any question about identity; but it will not be so easy when I am asked for money by persons whom I know, but do not like to trust. They shall meet the eternal "No," however.
October 13th.—In Ormerod's history of Chester it is mentioned that Randal, Earl of Chester, having made an inroad into Wales about 1225, the Welshmen gathered in mass against him, and drove him into the castle of Nothelert in Flintshire. The Earl sent for succor to the Constable of Chester, Roger Lacy, surnamed "Hell," on account of his fierceness. It was then fair-time at Chester, and the constable collected a miscellaneous rabble of fiddlers, players, cobblers, tailors, and all manner of debauched people, and led them to the relief of the Earl. At sight of this strange army the Welshmen fled; and forever after the Earl assigned to the constable of Chester power over all fiddlers, shoemakers, etc., within the bounds of Cheshire. The constable retained for himself and his heirs the control of the shoemakers; and made over to his own steward, Dutton, that of the fiddlers and players, and for many hundreds of years afterwards the Duttons of Dutton retained the power. On midsummer-day, they used to ride through Chester, attended by all the minstrels playing on their several instruments, to the Church of St. John, and there renew their licenses. It is a good theme for a legend. Sir Peter Leycester, writing in Charles the Second's time, copies the Latin deed from the constable to Dutton; rightly translated, it seems to mean "the magisterial power over all the lewd people . . . . in the whole of Cheshire," but the custom grew into what is above stated. In the time of Henry VII., the Duttons claimed, by prescriptive right, that the Cheshire minstrels should deliver them, at the feast of St. John, four bottles of wine and a lance, and that each separate minstrel should pay fourpence halfpenny. . . . .
Another account says Ralph Dutton was the constable's son-in-law, and "a lusty youth."
October 19th.—Coming to the ferry this morning a few minutes before the boat arrived from town, I went into the ferry-house, a small stone edifice, and found there an Irishman, his wife and three children, the oldest eight or nine years old, and all girls. There was a good fire burning in the room, and the family was clustered round it, apparently enjoying the warmth very much; but when I went in both husband and wife very hospitably asked me to come to the fire, although there was not more than room at it for their own party. I declined on the plea that I was warm enough, and then the woman said that they were very cold, having been long on the road. The man was gray-haired and gray-bearded, clad in an old drab overcoat, and laden with a huge bag, which seemed to contain bedclothing or something of the kind. The woman was pale, with a thin, anxious, wrinkled face, but with a good and kind expression. The children were quite pretty, with delicate faces, and a look of patience and endurance in them, but yet as if they had suffered as little as they possibly could. The two elder were cuddled up close to the father, the youngest, about four years old, sat in its mother's lap, and she had taken off its small shoes and stockings, and was warming its feet at the fire. Their little voices had a sweet and kindly sound as they talked in low tones to their parents and one another. They all looked very shabby, and yet had a decency about them; and it was touching to see how they made themselves at home at this casual fireside, and got all the comfort they could out of the circumstances. By and by two or three market-women came in and looked pleasantly at them, and said a word or two to the children.
They did not beg of me, as I supposed they would; but after looking at them awhile, I pulled out a piece of silver, and handed it to one of the little girls. She took it very readily, as if she partly expected it, and then the father and mother thanked me, and said they had been travelling a long distance, and had nothing to subsist upon, except what they picked up on the road. They found it impossible to live in England, and were now on their way to Liverpool, hoping to get a passage back to Ireland, where, I suppose, extreme poverty is rather better off than here. I heard the little girl say that she should buy bread with the money. There is not much that can be caught in the description of this scene; but it made me understand, better than before, how poor people feel, wandering about in such destitute circumstances, and how they suffer; and yet how they have a life not quite miserable, after all, and how family love goes along with them. Soon the boat arrived at the pier, and we all went on board; and as I sat in the cabin, looking up through a broken pane in the skylight, I saw the woman's thin face, with its anxious, motherly aspect; and the youngest child in her arms, shrinking from the chill wind, but yet not impatiently; and the eldest of the girls standing close by with her expression of childish endurance, but yet so bright and intelligent that it would evidently take but a few days to make a happy and playful child of her. I got into the interior of this poor family, and understand, through sympathy, more of them than I can tell. I am getting to possess some of the English indifference as to beggars and poor people; but still, whenever I come face to face with them, and have any intercourse, it seems as if they ought to be the better for me. I wish, instead of sixpence, I had given the poor family ten shillings, and denied it to a begging subscriptionist, who has just fleeced me to that amount. How silly a man feels in this latter predicament!
I have had a good many visitors at the Consulate from the United States within a short time,—among others, Mr. D. D. Barnard, our late minister to Berlin, returning homeward to-day by the Arctic; and Mr. Sickles, Secretary of Legation to London, a fine-looking, intelligent, gentlemanly young man. . . . . With him came Judge Douglas, the chosen man of Young America. He is very short, extremely short, but has an uncommonly good head, and uncommon dignity without seeming to aim at it, being free and simple in manners. I judge him to be a very able man, with the Western sociability and free-fellowship. Generally I see no reason to be ashamed of my countrymen who come out here in public position, or otherwise assuming the rank of gentlemen.
October 20th.—One sees incidents in the streets here, occasionally, which could not be seen in an American city. For instance, a week or two since, I was passing a quiet-looking, elderly gentleman, when, all of a sudden, without any apparent provocation, he uplifted his stick, and struck a black-gowned boy a smart blow on the shoulders. The boy looked at him wofully and resentfully, but said nothing, nor can I imagine why the thing was done. In Tythebarne Street to-day I saw a woman suddenly assault a man, clutch at his hair, and cuff him about the ears. The man, who was of decent aspect enough, immediately took to his heels, full speed, and the woman ran after him, and, as far as I could discern the pair, the chase continued.
October 22d.—At a dinner-party at Mr. Holland's last evening, a gentleman, in instance of Charles Dickens's unweariability, said that during some theatrical performances in Liverpool he acted in play and farce, spent the rest of the night making speeches, feasting, and drinking at table, and ended at seven o'clock in the morning by jumping leap-frog over the backs of the whole company.
In Moore's diary he mentions a beautiful Guernsey lily having been given to his wife, and says that the flower was originally from Guernsey. A ship from there had been wrecked on the coast of Japan, having many of the lilies on board, and the next year the flowers appeared,—springing up, I suppose, on the wave-beaten strand.
Wishing to send a letter to a dead man, who may be supposed to have gone to Tophet,—throw it into the fire.
Sir Arthur Aston had his brains beaten out with his own wooden leg, at the storming of Tredagh in Ireland by Cromwell.
In the county of Cheshire, many centuries ago, there lived a half-idiot, named Nixon, who had the gift of prophecy, and made many predictions about places, families, and important public events, since fulfilled. He seems to have fallen into fits of insensibility previous to uttering his prophecies.
The family of Mainwaring (pronounced Mannering), of Bromborough, had an ass's head for a crest.
"Richard Dawson, being sick of the plague, and perceiving he must die, rose out of his bed and made his grave, and caused his nephew to cast straw into the grave, which was not far from the house, and went and laid him down in the said grave, and caused clothes to be laid upon him, and so departed out of this world. This he did because he was a strong man, and heavier than his said nephew and a serving-wench were able to bury. He died about the 24th of August. Thus was I credibly told he did, 1625." This was in the township of Malpas, recorded in the parish register.
At Bickley Hall, taken down a few years ago, used to be shown the room where the body of the Earl of Leicester was laid for a whole twelvemonth,—1659 to 1660,—he having been kept unburied all that time, owing to a dispute which of his heirs should pay his funeral expenses.
November 5th.—We all, together with Mr. Squarey, went to Chester last Sunday, and attended the cathedral service. A great deal of ceremony, and not unimposing, but rather tedious before it was finished,—occupying two hours or more. The Bishop was present, but did nothing except to pronounce the benediction. In America the sermon is the principal thing; but here all this magnificent ceremonial of prayer and chanted responses and psalms and anthems was the setting to a short, meagre discourse, which would not have been considered of any account among the elaborate intellectual efforts of New England ministers. While this was going on, the light came through the stained glass windows and fell upon the congregation, tingeing them with crimson. After service we wandered about the aisles, and looked at the tombs and monuments,—the oldest of which was that of some nameless abbot, with a staff and mitre half obliterated from his tomb, which was under a shallow arch on one side of the cathedral. There were also marbles on the walls, and lettered stones in the pavement under our feet; but chiefly, if not entirely, of modern date. We lunched at the Royal Hotel, and then walked round the city walls, also crossing the bridge of one great arch over the Dee, and penetrating as far into Wales as the entrance of the Marquis of Westminster's Park at Eaton. It was, I think, the most lovely day as regards weather that I have seen in England.
I passed, to-day, a man chanting a ballad in the street about a recent murder, in a voice that had innumerable cracks in it, and was most lugubrious. The other day I saw a man who was reading in a loud voice what seemed to be an account of the late riots and loss of life in Wigan. He walked slowly along the street as he read, surrounded by a small crowd of men, women, and children; and close by his elbow stalked a policeman, as if guarding against a disturbance.
November 14th.—There is a heavy dun fog on the river and over the city to-day, the very gloomiest atmosphere that ever I was acquainted with. On the river the steamboats strike gongs or ring bells to give warning of their approach. There are lamps burning in the counting-rooms and lobbies of the warehouses, and they gleam distinctly through the windows.
The other day, at the entrance of the market-house, I saw a woman sitting in a small hand-wagon, apparently for the purpose of receiving alms. There was no attendant at hand; but I noticed that one or two persons who passed by seemed to inquire whether she wished her wagon to be moved. Perhaps this is her mode of making progress about the city, by the voluntary aid of boys and other people who help to drag her. There is something in this—I don't yet well know what—that has impressed me, as if I could make a romance out of the idea of a woman living in this manner a public life, and moving about by such means.
November 29th.—Mr. H. A. B. told me of his friend Mr. ——— (who was formerly attache to the British Legation at Washington, and whom I saw at Concord), that his father, a clergyman, married a second wife. After the marriage, the noise of a coffin being nightly carried down the stairs was heard in the parsonage. It could be distinguished when the coffin reached a certain broad lauding and rested on it. Finally, his father had to remove to another residence. Besides this, Mr. ——— had had another ghostly experience,—having seen a dim apparition of an uncle at the precise instant when the latter died in a distant place. The attache is a credible and honorable fellow, and talks of these matters as if he positively believed them. But Ghostland lies beyond the jurisdiction of veracity.
In a garden near Chester, in taking down a summer-house, a tomb was discovered beneath it, with a Latin inscription to the memory of an old doctor of medicine, William Bentley, who had owned the place long ago, and died in 1680. And his dust and bones had lain beneath all the merry times in the summer-house.
December 1st.—It is curious to observe how many methods people put in practice here to pick up a halfpenny. Yesterday I saw a man standing bareheaded and barelegged in the mud and misty weather, playing on a fife, in hopes to get a circle of auditors. Nobody, however, seemed to take any notice. Very often a whole band of musicians will strike up,— passing a hat round after playing a tune or two. On board the ferry, until the coldest weather began, there were always some wretched musicians, with an old fiddle, an old clarinet, and an old verdigrised brass bugle, performing during the passage, and, as the boat neared the shore, sending round one of their number to gather contributions in the hollow of the brass bugle. They were a very shabby set, and must have made a very scanty living at best. Sometimes it was a boy with an accordion, and his sister, a smart little girl, with a timbrel,—which, being so shattered that she could not play on it, she used only to collect halfpence in. Ballad-singers, or rather chanters or croakers, are often to be met with in the streets, but hand-organ players are not more frequent than in our cities.
I still observe little girls and other children barelegged and barefooted on the wet sidewalks. There certainly never was anything so dismal as the November weather has been; never any real sunshine; almost always a mist; sometimes a dense fog, like slightly rarefied wool, pervading the atmosphere.