Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

the silence of a starry night, bearing up bravely agaiust the tide with every inch of her canvass spread to the breeze, and seeming to reproach us with our ingratitude. Passing a fleet of vessels and a host of light houses, (one of which, a revolving many-colored luminary, guided us into the Mersey) we were landed at 11 P. M. at St. George's dock. By the way, what docks are those, my countrymen ! Substantial, spacious, well covered, and well paved : what a contrast to those in New York. But hush! I will not abuse home on my first day in Europe. Coachman drove us to the Adelphi — quite full’-very sorry, recommended the Waterloo'--and so thither we posted, the Spaniard, the German, and I, the rest of us being scattered to the King's Arms,'Star and Garter,' etc. And here I am, comfortably quartered in Liver.

pool !

5th. Rained all day of course-I expected no other introduction to “merry England. The city looks much as I expected—buildings high, and of a smoky, sombre color. Store houses on the docks, immense piles, seven or eight stories high, gloomy as prisons. Town Hall, a handsome Corinthian edifice in a large square ; cicerone as portly and dignified as an alderman ; hardly dared to offer the shilling to so stately a personage, but he took it nevertheless, with a gracious bow. The halls are magnifi. cent;—the mayor's receiving room' alone, is as large as our Masonic Hall.' Statue of Canning by Chantrey ; paintings by Sir Thomas Lawrence : and thus ends my first lesson in European lions.

There are no public tables at hotels in England, as you are aware. Each guest orders whatever he pleases, and dines by himself at whatever time he pleases : a custom convenient, though rather unsociable. And how nice every thing is,no gaudy show, but every thing appropriate and good. Some of the servants look more like a French dancing master in a ball dress, than like subor. dinates ordered here and there at your pleasure. And how respectful and obliging they are.

6th. So far as I have seen, Liverpool is less to be liked than New-York, the docks only excepted. The streets have a dark, dingy appearance, which makes one melancholy. But a glance under an umbrella is scarcely a fair test.

Ride to Birmingham.

81

II.

Ride to Birmingham, Warwick Castle-Kenilworth-Stratford

on-Avon.

BIRMINGHAM, April 7. At seven yesterday morning, I stepped into one of the cars of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Near the depot we passed through a tunnel several hundred feet long, cut through a solid rock, and dark as Egypt. The speed varied from fifteen to twenty-five miles per hour. We passed eight or ten trains, some with passengers, others with coal or cotton goods. From the American packets at Liverpool they obtain the raw mate. rial, take it to Manchester, and return it in the shape of cases of calicoes, etc. Having travelled thirty miles in an hour and a half, before breakfast, we were at the · Palace' hotel in Manchester, the busy city of factories and warehouses. 1 lacked curiosity enough to stay there more

ew hours, and therefore perched myself for the first time on the outside' of an English stage coach for the place of hardware.' Passed through Stockport, an ancient town,' noted for makers of hats. Some of the streets there, cross under the stage road, so that we rode over the houses and people below. Amusing notices along the road — This land to lease for 999 years.' Vagrants and beggars beware!' • Richard Shakspeare, licensed retailer of beer, porter, etc. to be drunk on the premises.' In a shabby little country village there was a Druggist to the Queen' in flaming letters ; (query, does her Majes.

than a

ty send there for her medicines ?) The country generally level, and the roads excellent; some high hills in the dis. tance. Passed several 'gentlemen's seats' just observable from the road—with verdant lawns, neat porter's lodges' and beautiful ponds, clear as crystal, and occupied by the graceful white swans. Coachee, strange to say, gave us time to discuss a tolerable dinner at Stafford, and then, driving through Buxton, famed for its mineral springs, Wolverhampton, and two or three more places, I was set down at the Albion in Birmingham, the best town I have seen yet in Albion’s isle, and we have a fine day to see it in. The market building is immense ; imagine three of the Boston market houses put together side by side, and open in the interior up to the roof of skylights, and you will have a pretty correct notion of this. The town-hall has an elegant Corinthian colonnade on all sides.

WARWICK, 8th, 4 P. M. I have just returned from a visit to the castles of Warwick and Kenilworth-excite. ment enough to make one speechless for the rest of the day. Need I describe what a host of learned authors have already made familiar to you? However, you wished me to tell my own story in my own way, and now you may bear the infliction.* Warwick Castle is on a rock over. hanging the Avon, but a few minutes' walk from the town, and is not to be seen as you come near the grounds, till you arrive at the

very

walls. A well-dressed elderly man with a cockade like our seventy sixes,' answered my

* We say a few words more of Warwick as being a republi. can's first lesson in such matters, and a fair sample of other' noble' residences.

Birmingham-Warwick Castle.

83

Bummons at the porter's lodge, and with a glance at his watch (strangers are not admitted after 11 A. M., while the family are here) took me into the • lodge' to see the porridge pot of Guy Earl of Warwick ! (an iron bowl which would contain half a barrel) and the walking stick (eight feet long) and spear and helmet of this same Guy, and then sent me up to the castle itself, through a long cir. cular pathway cut out of a solid rock, the walls on each side

green with the creeping ivy. Novice as I am in these matters, you may well suppose me awe-struck by the im. posing grandeur with which the lordly towers first burst upon the view. I passed under the battlements into the area, and found myself surrounded by massive structures of stone, forming a quadrangle, and covering three or four

Bewildered by the number of entrances on all sides, and not venturing to storm the castle by the princi. pal portico, I finally found myself in the beautiful chapel, where a person was standing before the altar whom I char. itably concluded was the Earl at his devotions. Presently entered the cicerone, a lady-like and intelligent person, * and I commenced exploring. Expecting to see nothing but dreary, antique halls, how was I delighted, when ushered into that magnificent range of apartments, extending three hundred and thirty-three feet in a line, on one side, only, of the castle, overlooking the river, and furnished in a style of which the epithet superb scarcely gives you an

acres.

* I was told that the cicerones at some of these show places, pay several thousand pounds per annum for their situations, so profitable are the fees!

« PoprzedniaDalej »