Abbildungen der Seite

for the arrival of the train, we had only time allowed us to hurry to it, and had scarcely been on board a minute when we found ourselves adrift, smoking, steaming, and scuffing down that splendid river the Hudson.

On our arrival at New York, I was quite aware that I was not only out of reach of border-excitement, but that I was among a highly-intelligent people, and that I had only to conform to their habits to ensure generous treatment during the week I had to remain among them, until the sailing of the packet. Instead, therefore, of living in any way that might offensively savour of "exclusiveness," I resolved to go to one of the largest hotels in the city, and while there, like everybody else, to dine in public at the table d'hote.

I accordingly drove up to the American hotel; but, thinking it only fair to the landlord that he should have the opportunity of (if he wished it) refusing me admission, I told him who I was, and what I wanted.

Without the smallest alteration of countenance he replied by gravely asking me to follow him. I did so, until he led me into his own little sitting-room; and I was wondering what might be about to happen, when, raising one of his hands, he certainly did astonish me beyond description, by pointing to my own picture, which, among some other framed engravings, was hanging on the wall!

When the dinner hour arrived, my worthy companion and I proceeded at the usual pace to the room; but everybody else, as is the custom, had gone there so very much faster, that we found the chairs appointed for us the only ones vacant.

There was evidently a slight sensation as we sat down; but of mere curiosity. A number of sharp glittering eyes were for some little time fixed upon us; but hunger soon conquered curiosity, and in due time both were satiated.

During the week I remained at New York, I had reason not only to be satisfied, but to be grateful for the liberal reception I met with.

Although as I walked through the street I saw in several shop windows pictures of the 'Caroline' going over the Falls of Niagara, detailing many imaginary, and consequently to my mind, amusing horrors, yet neither at the theatre which I attended, nor elsewhere, did I receive, either by word or gesture, the slightest insult.

Several American citizens of the highest character in the country called upon me; and I certainly was much gratified at observing how thoroughly most of them in their hearts admired British institutions.

On the morning of my departure I was informed that an immense crowd had assembled to see me embark. Mr. Buchanan, the British Consul, also gave me intimation of this circumstance; and as among a large assemblage it is impossible to answer for the conduct of every individual, Mr. Buchanan kindly recommended me, instead of going in a carriage, to walk through the streets to the pier, arm in arm with him. I did so; and though I passed through several thousand people, many of whom pressed towards us with some little eagerness, yet not a word, or a sound, good, bad, or indifferent, was uttered.

I took a seat on the deck of the packet, and when almost immediately afterwards the moorings of the vessel were cast adrift, I felt that the mute silence with which I had been allowed to depart was a suppression of feeling highly creditable, and which, in justice to the American people, it was my duty to appreciate and avow.



During my residence in Canada, I had read so much, had heard so much, and had preached so much about " The OLD Country" that as the New York packet in which I was returning approached its shores, I quite made up my mind to see, in the venerable countenance of "my auld respeckit mither," the ravages of time and the wrinkles of old age. Nevertheless, whatever might prove to be her infirmities, I yearned for the moment in which I might exclaim—

"This is my own, my native land!"

I disembarked at Liverpool on the 22nd of April, and, with as little delay as possible, started for London on the railway, which had been completed during my absence.

Now, if a very short-sighted young man, intending to take one more respectful look at the picture of his grandmother, were to find within the frame, instead of canvass,

"A blooming Eastern bride,

In flower of youth and beauty's pride,"

he could not be more completely—and, as he might possibly irreverently term it agreeably —surprised than I was when, on the wings of a lovely spring morning, I flew over the surface of " Old England."

Everything looked new! The grass in the meadows was new—the leaves on the trees and hedges were new—the flowers were new—the blossoms of the orchards were new—the lambs were new—the young birds were new—the crops were new—the railway was new. As we whisked along it, the sight, per minute, of an erect man, in bottle-green uniform, standing like a direction post, stock still, with an arm extended, was new; the idea, whatever it might be intended to represent, was quite new. All of a sudden, plunging souse into utter darkness, and then again into bright dazzling sunshine, was new. Every station at which we stopped was new. The bells which affectionately greeted our arrival, and which, sometimes almost before we even could stop, bade us depart, were new.

During one of the longest of these intervals, the sudden appearance of a line of young ladies behind a counter, exhibiting to hungry travellers tea, toast, scalding-hot soup, sixpenny pork pies, and everything else that human nature could innocently desire to enjoy — and then, almost before we could get to these delicacies, being summarily ordered to depart ;—the sight of a crowd of sturdy Englishmen, in caps of every shape, hurrying to their respective carriages, with their mouths full,—was new. In short, it was to new and merry England that after a weary absence I had apparently returned; and it was

« ZurückWeiter »