Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

becoming less prevalent in England; but a visiter from the United States is yet often as much astonished as amused, at the notions of the people there about us. A traveller is always sure to fall in with conversible companions ; and it is gratifying to find on the way many agree. able and intelligent persons, who, with but partial advances on your part, will enter into your plans, and without im. pertinent curiosity, will readily impart information, or render assistance. At Warwick, a few days after I first landed at Liverpool, I met with a couple of gentlemen of this stamp; and, in the course of conversation, I mentioned that I was an American. They both seemed surprised, and remarked that I spoke English very well; they should never have taken me for an American ;* and gravely inquired if the English language was usually spoken in the United States.' These were evidently men of substance,' and they had just been complaining of the wretched state of public education in England! I seldom confessed that I was any other than a native born and bred, but whenever I did plead guilty of being an American, I always observed an expression of wonder, if not of absolute

* I certainly never laid claim to purity of pronunciation, yet I might have travelled from Land's End to Johnny Groats', without a suspicion of being any other than a native of England. And there is probably not a country in the world, great or small, in which there is so much uniformity in dialect and accent, as in the United States. In the best society of England, the language may be spoken more correctly than it is on an average with us; but in the mass of the people, (the Yankee's 'I guess and calculate,' the Virginian's 'I reckon,' and a few other sectional oddities excepted) the Americans unquestionably excel on this point.

Ignorance respecting America.

175

incredulity. It will scarcely be believed, but it is not more strange than true, that many in this land of learning expect to see in an · American’a person of different color, habits, and language, from themselves. They seem to apply the word American only to the aborigines ; and the descend. ants of those who have come from England, Scotland, or other European countries, they consider as still belonging to his father-land ;' and the mass of people in England have the most vague and crude notions about matters and things in this distant republic. Ten to one you may be asked what State Virginia is in, or if there are many

In. dians in New York,' meaning the city. One good lady had an idea that the Indians were black, and that they were the same as our present slaves ! When the Ameri. cans, in Paris, joined the English residents in congratulating the king on his escape from assassination, one of the English committee proposed, that the republicans should appear in their own court dress!' One would think, that with the present facility of intercourse between the two coun. tries, they might be better informed; but it is certainly the fact that, in the present 1836, you will hear blunders, such as these specimens, from five persons out of eight, in England, who have any thing to say concerning the United States.

XIII.

JOURNEY TO PARIS.

Ride to Dover— The Channel-Boulogne-Diligence to the Capital

- First impressions of Paris'-— Tuilleries-Champs Elysées Arc de Triomphe--Gallery of the Louvre--Le Mudeleine, etc.

Paris, August, 1836.- After due deliberation respecting the various routes, I chose the oldest and most fre. quented, by Dover and Boulogne; and in order to be in Paris before Saturday evening, (that was Wednesday,) took an outside seat in the night coach to Dover. It was a fine evening, and as we rode out of London through

the main artery of the right hand of the world, CharingCross, down Whitehall and Parliament-street, over Westminster bridge, and through the villages of Deptford and Greenwich, I had a beautiful sunset view of the 'great metropolis.' A glorious full-moon rose soon after we took leave of the more dazzling luminary, and of course the ride in such an evening was most agreeable. We passed through Gravesend, a bustling and noted town on the Thames, and our course lay for some distance along the margin of the river. At eleven, we stopped for supper at Rochester. The night which looked so promising, was not to be very delightful; a change came over the face of it, in the shape of a cold, thick fog; moreover, that use. less and annoying animal, y'clept the guard,' kept us awake by his fearful blasts on a large tin-horn; and alto

[ocr errors]

Tour on the Continent.

177

gether, I was abundantly satisfied with my first experiment in riding all night. Day-light came at last, just as we were entering the ancient and honorable town of Canterbury, as weary pilgrims as ever went there in the days of worthy old Chaucer. The cathedral is entirely surrounded by ordinary dwelling-houses, and the massive entrance was at this hour of course closed. We could only get a glimpse of its fine towers. At six A. M., we were set down at the 'Ship Hotel,' at Dover, and only had to pay five shillings more than the regular fare, beside three shil. lings to the guard, etc., for keeping us awake, and two shillings more for porters, ladders, etc., to the boat, a pigmy affair, y'clept the Britannia, on board of which we de. scended, after a poor breakfast at the hotel ; and in a few minutes we were rapidly receding from the white cliffs of England.' The hills along this coast appear to be entirely of chalk, and from a short distance, the shore looks as if partly covered with snow. The castle and heights tower above the town, and the latter give it the appearance of our Brooklyn. The morning was brilliant and cloudless, and the sea scarcely ruffled. So we glided over this farfamed and much dreaded channel as gently as we should cross from New York to Jersey City, only taking some. what longer time to do it. Before we had lost sight of Dover, the coast of · La Belle France' was very distinct ; indeed the two coasts may always be seen from each other in clear weather. We had three or four baskets of car. rier-pigeons on board, which were liberated at intervals, to announce our progress. They are used to communicate

important intelligence, and never fail of arriving on either side in about ten minutes. *

The distance from Dover to Boulogne is forty miles, which we achieved in three hours and a hall. Boulogne is prettily situated on the open sea-coast, at the head of a small bay. On an eminence near the town, is a conspicu. ous monument, commenced by Napoleon to commemorate his intended) conquest of England, (!) and completed by Louis XVIII., to commemorate Napoleon's downfall !

We sailed up between two long and excellent wood piers, filled with expecting friends, porters, police, soldiers, custom-house officers, etc., and stepping for the first time on the soil of Europe, at least of the continent, I was escorted by a companion through the eager crowd, amid the clamorous calls of the commissioners, Hotel du Nord ? Hotel D'Angleterre? Hotel D'Orleans ? Portmanteau, monsieur ? At a little bureau on the quay our passports were received, and we were permitted to proceed without any personal examination, the commissioner of our hotel (D'Orleans,) taking charge of our luggage, which he

passed' in an hour, without giving us a word of trouble ; but we soon found we were not to escape vexations, for the seats in the diligences had been engaged for four days to come! This is especially provoking, in such a place as Boulogne. But repining avails not.

This is the second of · Le Trois Jours,' and the tri. colored flags are displayed from every house in town, giv

* The death of Rothschild the banker, was thus announced a few days since, with the simple words, " il est mort."

« PoprzedniaDalej »