The Project Gutenberg EBook of Rollo in London, by Jacob Abbott This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Rollo in London Author: Jacob Abbott Release Date: January 6, 2008 [EBook #24182] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ROLLO IN LONDON *** Produced by D. Alexander and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)
PUBLISHED BY TAGGARD AND THOMPSON
M DCCC LXIV.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED AT THE
BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY.
PRINTED BY H. O. HOUGHTON
ORDER OF THE VOLUMES.
ROLLO ON THE ATLANTIC.
ROLLO IN PARIS.
ROLLO IN SWITZERLAND.
ROLLO IN LONDON.
ROLLO ON THE RHINE.
ROLLO IN SCOTLAND.
ROLLO IN GENEVA.
ROLLO IN HOLLAND.
ROLLO IN NAPLES.
ROLLO IN ROME.
|Rollo; twelve years of age.|
|Mr. and Mrs. Holiday; Rollo's father and mother, travelling in Europe.|
|Thanny; Rollo's younger brother.|
|Jane; Rollo's cousin, adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Holiday.|
|Mr. George; a young gentleman, Rollo's uncle.|
|I.—||City and Town,||13|
|X.—||The Dome of St. Paul's,||126|
|XVI.—||The Tunnel and the Tower,||214|
|Map of London,||15|
|The First Ragged School,||43|
|Shooting the Bridge,||49|
|Ground Plan of Westminster Abbey,||83|
|The Whispering Gallery,||128|
|The Loss Made Good,||171|
|Shopping in the Tunnel,||220|
"Which London shall we visit first?" said Mr. George to Rollo.
"Why," rejoined Rollo, surprised, "are there two of them?"
"Yes," said Mr. George. "We may almost say there are two of them. Or, at any rate, there are two heads to the monster, though the immense mass forms but one body."
While Mr. George was saying these words Rollo had been standing on the step of the railway car and looking in at the window towards his uncle George, who was inside. Just at this time, however, the conversation was interrupted by the sound of the bell, denoting that the train was about to start. So Rollo jumped down from the step and ran back to his own car, which was a second-class car, two behind the one [Pg 14]where Mr. George was sitting. He had scarcely got to his seat before the whistle of the conductor sounded and the train began to move. As it trundled along out of the station, gradually increasing its speed as it advanced, Rollo sat wondering what his uncle meant by the double-headed character which he had assigned to the monstrous city that they were going to see.
What is commonly called London does in fact consist, as Mr. George had said, of two great cities, entirely diverse from each other, and completely distinct—each being, in its way, the richest, the grandest, and the most powerful capital in the world.
One of these twin capitals is the metropolis of commerce; the other is that of political and military power.
The first is called the City.
The second is called the West End.
Both together—with the immense region of densely-peopled streets and squares which connect and surround them—constitute what is generally called London.
The city was the original London. The West End was at first called Westminster. The relative position of these two centres may be seen by the following map:—
The city—which was the original London—is the most ancient. It was founded long before the days of the Romans; so long, in fact, that its origin is wholly unknown. Nor is any thing known in respect to the derivation or meaning of the name. In regard to Westminster, the name is known to come from the word minster, which means cathedral—a cathedral church having been built there at a very early period, and which, lying west of London as it did, was called the West Minster. This church passed through a great variety of mutations during the lapse of successive centuries, having grown old, [Pg 16]and been rebuilt, and enlarged, and pulled down, and rebuilt again, and altered, times and ways without number. It is represented in the present age by the venerable monumental pile—the burial-place of the ancient kings, and of the most distinguished nobles, generals, and statesmen of the English monarchy—known through all the world as Westminster Abbey.
After a time, when England became at length one kingdom, the king built his palace, and established his parliament, and opened his court in Westminster, not far from the abbey. The place, being about three miles from the city, was very convenient for this purpose. In process of time public edifices were erected, and noblemen's houses and new palaces for the king or for other members of the royal family were built, and shops were set up for the sale of such things as the people of the court might wish to buy, and streets and squares were laid out; and, in fine, Westminster became gradually quite an extended and famous town. It was still, however, entirely distinct from London, being about three miles from it, farther up the river. The principal road from London to Westminster followed the margin of the water, and was called the Strand. Towards Westminster the road diverged from the river so as to leave a space between [Pg 17]wide enough for houses; and along this space the great nobles from time to time built magnificent palaces around great square courts, where they could ride in under an archway. The fronts of these palaces were towards the road; and there were gardens behind them, leading down to the water. At the foot of the garden there was usually a boat house and a landing, where the people who lived in the palace or their friends could embark on board boats for excursions on the Thames.
In the mean time, while Westminster was thus becoming a large and important town, London itself, three miles farther down the river, was also constantly growing too, in its own way, as a town of merchants and artisans. Other villages, too, began to spring up in every direction around these great centres; and London and Westminster, gradually spreading, finally met each other, and then, extending on each side, gradually swallowed up these villages, until now the whole region, for five or six miles in every direction from the original centres, forms one mighty mass of streets, squares, lanes, courts, terraces, all crowded with edifices and thronged with population. In this mass all visible distinction between the several villages which have been swallowed up is entirely lost, [Pg 18]though the two original centres remain as widely separated and as distinct as ever. The primeval London has, however, lost its exclusive right to its name, and is now simply called the city; and in the same manner Westminster is called the West End, and sometimes the town; while the name London is used to denote the whole of the vast conglomeration which envelops and includes the two original capitals.
The city and the West End, though thus swallowed, as it were, in the general metropolis, are still entirely distinct. They are in fact, in some respects, even more widely distinct from each other now than ever. Each is, in its own way, at the head of its class of cities. The city is the greatest and wealthiest mart of commerce in the world; while the West End is the seat and centre of the proudest and most extended political and military power. In fact, the commercial organization which centres in the city, and the military one which has its head quarters around the throne at the West End, are probably the greatest and most powerful organizations, each of its kind, that the world has ever known.
Mr. George explained all this to Rollo as they walked together away from the London [Pg 19]Bridge station, where the train in which they came in from the south stopped when it reached London. But I will give a more detailed account of their conversation in the next chapter.
When the train stopped at what is called the London Bridge station, the passengers all stepped out of their respective cars upon the platform. In the English cars the doors are at the sides, and not, as in America, at the ends; so that the passengers get out nearly all at once, and the platform becomes immediately crowded. Beyond the platform, on the other side, there is usually, when a train comes in, a long row of cabs and carriages drawn up, ready to take the passengers from the several cars; so that the traveller has generally nothing to do but to step across the platform from the car that he came in to the cab that is waiting there to receive him. Nor is there, as is usual in America, any difficulty or delay in regard to the baggage; for each man's trunks are placed on the car that he rides in, directly over his head; so that, while he walks across the platform to the cab, the railway porter takes his trunk across and [Pg 21]places it on the top of the cab; and thus he is off from the station in his cab within two minutes sometimes after he arrived at it in the car.
The railway porters, who attend to the business of transferring the passengers thus from the railway carriages to those of the street, are very numerous all along the platform; and they are very civil and attentive to the passengers, especially to those who come in the first-class cars—and more especially still, according to my observation and experience, if the traveller has an agreeable looking lady under his charge. The porters are dressed in a sort of uniform, by which they are readily distinguished from the crowd. They are strictly forbidden to receive any fee or gratuity from the passengers. This prohibition, however, does not prevent their taking very thankfully the shillings or sixpences[A]that are often offered them, particularly by Americans, who, being strangers in the country, and not understanding the customs very
well, think that they require a little more attention than others, and so are willing to pay a little extra fee. It is, however, contrary to the rules of the station for the porters to receive any thing; and, if they take it at all, they try to do it as secretly as possible. I once knew a traveller who offered a porter a shilling openly on the platform; but the porter, observing a policeman near, turned round with his side to the gentleman, and, holding his hand open behind him, with the back of it against his hip and his fingers moving up and down briskly in a beckoning manner, said,—
"We are not allowed to take it, sir—we are not allowed to take it."
As Mr. George stepped out upon the platform at the London Bridge station his first thought was to find Rollo, who had chosen to come in a second-class car, partly for the purpose of saving the difference in the fare, and partly, as he said, "for the fun of it." Rollo had a regular allowance from his father for his travelling expenses, sufficient to pay his way in the first-class conveyances; and the understanding was, that whatever he should save from this sum by travelling in the cheaper modes was to be his own for pocket money or to add to his reserved funds.
Mr. George and Rollo soon found each other on the platform.
"Well, Rollo," said Mr. George, "and how do you like travelling cheap?"
"Pretty well," said Rollo; "only I could not see out much; but then I have saved six shillings in coming from Dover. That is the same as twelve New York shillings—a dollar and a half. I can buy several pretty things with that to carry home."
"That's very true," said Mr. George.
"Some time I mean to go in the fourth-class car," said Rollo. "'Tis true we have to stand up all the time like sheep in a pen; but I shall not care for that."
"Well, you can try it," said Mr. George; "but now for our luggage."
The English people always call the effects which a traveller takes with him on the journey his luggage.
Very soon a porter took Mr. George's trunk from the top of the car.
"Will you have a cab, sir?" said the porter, touching his cap to Mr. George.
"I want to leave my trunk here for a short time under your charge," said Mr. George. "That is a little out of the line of your duty, I know; but I will remember that when I come for it."
"All right, sir," said the porter, promptly, touching his cap again.
He took up the trunk and threw it on his shoulder; and then, followed by Mr. George and Rollo, he walked away to the luggage room. After it had been properly deposited in its place, Mr. George and Rollo went out of the station into the street.
"Are not you going to ride?" said Rollo to Mr. George.
"No," said Mr. George; "I am going to walk."
"What's that for?" said Rollo.
"There are two reasons," said Mr. George; "one is, I want to show you London Bridge."
"Well," said Rollo; "and what is the other reason?"
"The other is," said Mr. George, "that I do not wish to have the trouble of the luggage while I am looking out lodgings. If I go to a hotel and leave my luggage there and take a room, and then go and look up lodgings, we have the hotel bill to pay, without getting much benefit from it; and, if we take the luggage on a cab, we might go to a dozen different places before we find a room to suit us, and so have a monstrous great cab fare to pay."
"Yes," said Rollo; "I understand. Besides, [Pg 25]I should like to walk through the streets and see the city."
As our two travellers walked along towards London Bridge, Mr. George explained to Rollo what is stated in the first chapter in respect to the double character of London.
"What we are coming to now, first," said he, "is the city—the commercial capital of the country. In fact, it may almost be said to be the commercial capital of the world. Here are the great docks and warehouses, where are accumulated immense stores of merchandise from every quarter of the globe. Here is the bank, with its enormous vaults full of treasures of gold and silver coin, and the immense legers in which are kept accounts with governments, and wealthy merchants, and great capitalists all over the world. Here is the post office, too, the centre of a system of communications, by land and sea, extending to every quarter of the globe.
"The chief magistrate of the city," continued Mr. George, "is called the lord mayor. He lives in a splendid palace called the Mansion House. Then there is the great Cathedral Church of St. Paul's, and a vast number of other churches, and chapels, and hospitals, and schools, all belonging to, and supported by, the [Pg 26]commercial and business interests which concentrate in the city. You will find a very different set of buildings and institutions at the West End."
"What shall we find there?" asked Rollo.
"We shall find there," said Mr. George, "the palace of the queen; and the houses of Parliament, where the lords and commons assemble to make laws for the empire; and the Horse Guards, which is a great edifice that serves as head quarters for the British army; and the Admiralty, which is the head quarters of the navy; and the private palaces of the nobles; and the parks and pleasure grounds that connect and surround them."
About this time Mr. George and Rollo began to come in sight of London Bridge; and very soon afterwards they found themselves entering upon it. Rollo was, for a time, quite bewildered with astonishment at the extraordinary aspect of the scene. They came out upon the bridge, from the midst of a very dense and compact mass of streets and houses, on what is called the Surrey side of the river; and they could see, dimly defined through the murky atmosphere, the outlines of the city on the other side. There were long ranges of warehouses; and innumerable chimneys, pouring forth black [Pg 27]smoke; and the Monument; and spires of churches; and, conspicuous among the rest,—though half obscured by murky clouds of smoke and vapor,—the immense dome of St. Paul's, with the great gilded ball and cross on the top of it.
The bridge was built of stone, on arches, and was of the most massive and ponderous character. There was a roadway in the centre of it, on which two continued streams of vehicles were passing—one on the left, going into the city; and the other on the right, coming out. On each side were broad stone sidewalks, formed of massive blocks of granite, feeling solid and heavy under the tread as if they had been laid upon the firm ground. These sidewalks were crowded with passengers, who were going, some into, and some out of, the city, so as to form on each sidewalk two continuous streams. On each side of the bridge, towards the water, was a solid parapet, or wall. This parapet was about as high as Rollo's shoulders. Here and there, at different places along the bridge, were groups of people that had stopped to look over the parapet to the river. Each group formed a little row, arranged along the parapet, with their faces towards the water.
"Let us stop and look over," said Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George, "not now; we will wait till we get to the middle of the bridge."
So they walked on. When they had proceeded a little way, they came to a place where there was a sort of niche, or recess, in the parapet, perhaps ten or fifteen feet long, and four or five deep, from the sidewalk. There were stone seats extending all around the sides of this recess; and these seats were full of boys and men, some with burdens and some without, who had stopped and sat down there to rest. Rollo wished to propose to Mr. George that they should stop and sit down there too; not because he was tired, but only to see how it would seem to be seated in such a place. He did not propose this plan, however, for he saw at a glance that the seats were all occupied, and that there was no room.
A little distance beyond they came to another niche, and afterwards to another, and another.
"These niches are over the piers of the bridge," said Mr. George, "I suppose. Let us look over and see."
So they stopped a moment and looked over the parapet. They beheld a turbid and whirling stream pouring through the bridge, under the arches, with a very rapid current, and at [Pg 29]the instant that they looked down, they saw the bows of a small steamboat come shooting through. The deck of the steamer was crowded with people—men, women, and children. Some were standing, and others were sitting on benches that were arranged round the side and along the middle of the deck; all, however, in the open air.
"I wonder where that steamer is going," said Rollo.
"Down the river somewhere," said Mr. George; "perhaps to Greenwich or Woolwich."
"Up the river, you mean," said Rollo. "Don't you see she is going against the current? See how swift the water runs under the arches of the bridge!"
"Yes," said Mr. George; "but that current is the tide, coming in from the sea. This way is down towards the mouth of the river. See all this shipping here! It has come up from the sea." Here Mr. George pointed with his hand down the river, waving it from one side to the other, so as to direct Rollo's attention to both shores, where there lay immense forests of shipping, three or four tiers deep on each side, and extending down the river as far as the eye could penetrate into the thick and murky atmosphere. Besides the tiers of shipping which lay thus [Pg 30]along the shores of the river, there were two other ranges, each three or four tiers wide, out in the stream, leaving a broad, open passage between them, in the middle, and two narrower passages, one on each side, between them and the shore.
"It is a city of ships," said Rollo, "with streets of open water."
"Yes," said Mr. George, "it is indeed."
The streets, as Rollo called them, of open water, were full of boats, going and coming, and of lighters and wherries, with a steamer now and then shooting along among them, or a large vessel slowly coming up or going down by means of its sails.
"This is the way down the river," repeated Mr. George. "The ships have come up as far as here; but they cannot go any farther, on account of the bridge. Look above the bridge, and you will see that there are no ships." So Rollo and Mr. George turned round to look up the river. They could only catch an occasional glimpse of the river through casual openings in the stream of carts, carriages, vans, cabs, wagons, and omnibuses that were incessantly rolling on in opposite streams along the roadway of the bridge. Although the view was thus obstructed, they could easily see there were no [Pg 31]ships above the bridge that they were standing on. There were, however, several other bridges farther up, with a great many boats passing to and fro among them; and, here and there, there appeared a long and sharp-built little steamer, gliding swiftly through the water. These steamers were painted black, and they poured forth volumes of smoke so dark and dense from their funnels as quite to fill the air, and make the whole prospect in that direction exceedingly murky and obscure.
"Let us go over to the other side of the bridge," said Rollo.
"Not yet," said Mr. George; "but you see that there is no shipping above the bridge. Vessels could not go up above the bridge, in fact. They could not go up, for the masts are too long to pass under the arches."
"They might have a draw in the middle of the bridge," said Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George. "A draw will not answer, except in cases where there is only a moderate degree of passing over a bridge, so as to allow of an interruption for a little time without any great inconvenience. But this bridge, you see, is perfectly thronged all the time with continued streams of foot passengers and carriages. If a draw were to be opened in this bridge for only ten minutes, to allow a vessel to go through, there [Pg 32]would be such a jam on both sides that it would take all day to disentangle it."
"I don't see how the little steamers get through under the bridges," said Rollo. "The smoke-pipes are higher than the arches."
"Yes," said Mr. George, "they are. But I will show you how they manage that by and by. There is something very curious about that. Now let us look down the river again."
So Rollo turned round with Mr. George, and they both looked down the river. They saw on the left hand of the river—that is, on the London side, the side towards which they were going—a great steamboat landing, with several steamboats lying near it.
"That is where the steamboats lie," said Mr. George, "that go down to the mouth of the river, and across the sea to France, Holland, and Germany."
"I should like to go in one of them," said Rollo.
"Do you see that large building just below the steamboat landing, fronting the river?"
"Yes," said Rollo; "what is it?"
"It is the Custom House," said Mr. George. "Every ship that comes into the Thames from foreign countries has to send her manifest there and pay the duties."
"What is a manifest?" said Rollo.
"It is a list, or schedule," said Mr. George, "of every thing there is contained in the cargo. The officers of the Custom House make a calculation, by this manifest, of the amount of duties that are to be paid to the government for the cargo, and the owners of the ship have to pay it before they can land their goods."
"Can we go into the Custom House and see it?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "I am sure it must be open to the public, because all sorts of persons must have occasion to go there continually, to transact business; but I do not suppose there would be much to see inside. There would be a great many tables and desks, and a great many clerks and monstrous big account books, and multitudes of people coming and going continually; but that would be all."
"I should like to go and see them," said Rollo.
"Well," said Mr. George, "perhaps we will look in some time when we are going by on our way to the Tower or to the Tunnel. But now look down just below the Custom House and see the Tower."
Rollo looked in the direction which Mr. George indicated; and there he saw upon the bank of the river, a little below the Custom House, [Pg 34]rising above the other buildings in that quarter of the town, a large, square edifice, with turrets at the corners. This building was surrounded with other edifices of a castellated form, which gave the whole the appearance of an extended fortress.
"That," said Mr. George, "is the famous Tower of London."
"What is it famous for?" said Rollo.
"I can't stop to tell you about it now," said Mr. George. "It was built originally as a sort of fort to defend the city. You see, the place where the Tower stands was formerly the lower corner of the city; and there was a wall, beginning at the Tower, and running back all around the city, and so down to the water again at the upper end of it. Do you see St. Paul's?" added Mr. George, turning half round and pointing.
"Yes," said Rollo; "but it is pretty smoky."
"You can see," said Mr. George, "from the position of St. Paul's, where the old wall went. It passed some distance back from St. Paul's, and came down to the water some distance above it. All within this wall was the old city of London; and the Tower was built at the lower corner of it to defend it.
"Do you see any reason," continued Mr. George, "why they should place the Tower at [Pg 35]the lower end, rather than at the upper end, of the city?"
"No," said Rollo, "I do not see any reason in particular."
"The reason was," said Mr. George, "that what they had reason to guard the city against was the danger of an attack from enemies coming up the river in ships from the sea; and so they placed the Tower below the city, in order to intercept them. But now the city has spread and extended down the river far below the Tower, and back far beyond the old wall; so that the Tower is, at the present time, in the midst of an immense region of streets and warehouses, and it is no longer of any use as a fortification. It is too high up."
"What do they use it for, then?" said Rollo.
"It is used by the government," said Mr. George, "as a sort of strong box, to keep curiosities, treasures, and valuables of all sorts in, and any thing else, in fact, which they wish to have in safe and secure custody. They keep what are called state prisoners there."
"Can we go in the Tower," said Rollo, "and see all these things?"
"Yes," said Mr. George, "we can see the treasures and curiosities; but I believe there are no prisoners there now."
Just then Rollo heard a rapping sound upon the stone of the sidewalk near him. He looked round to see what it was. There was a blind man coming along. He had a stick in his hand, which seemed to be armed at the lower end with a little ferule of iron. With this iron the blind man kept up a continual rapping on the flagstones as he slowly advanced. The iron produced a sharp and ringing sound, which easily made itself heard above the thundering din of the carriages and vans that were rolling incessantly over the bridge, and served as a warning to the foot passengers on the sidewalk that a blind man was coming. Every one hearing this rapping looked up to see what it meant; and, perceiving that it was a blind man, they moved to one side and the other to make way for him. Thus, though the sidewalk was so crowded that a person with eyes could scarcely get along, the blind man, though he moved very slowly, had always vacant space before him, and advanced without any difficulty or danger.[B]
"Think of a blind man in such a crowd as this!" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George.
"And he gets along better than any of the rest of us," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "so it seems."
"The next time I wish to go through a crowd," said Rollo, "I mean to get a cane, and then shut my eyes and rap with it, and every body will make room for me."
"Look round here a minute more," said Mr. George; "there is something else that I wish to explain to you. You see there are no bridges below this, though there are a great many above."
"Yes," said Rollo; "and how do they get across the river below here? Are there ferry boats?"
"I think it likely there are ferry boats down below," said Mr. George. "At any rate, there are plenty of small boats which any body can hire. They are rowed by men called watermen.
"What poetry is that?" said Rollo.
"It is part of some old song," said Mr. George. "Look down the river and you can see these boats cruising about among the shipping."
"Is that the way they get across the river below here?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "and then there is [Pg 38]the Tunnel besides. They can go under the river through the Tunnel if they please, about a mile and a half below here."
"Is that the reason why they made the Tunnel," said Rollo, "because they could not have any bridge?"
"Yes," said Mr. George. "It would have been a great deal cheaper and better to have made a bridge; but a bridge would have interfered with the shipping, and so they made a tunnel underneath."
"I never knew before," said Rollo, "why they made the Tunnel."
"Yes," said Mr. George, "that is the reason. It was a very difficult and expensive work; but I believe it proved a failure. Very few people use it for crossing the river, though a great many go to see it. It is a curious place to see. But now let us go across the bridge and see what is on the other side."
Mr. George and Rollo had to stand several minutes on the curbstone of the sidewalk before they could find openings, in the trains of vehicles which were moving to and fro over the bridge, wide enough to allow them, to pass through to the other side. At length, however, they succeeded in getting across; and, after walking along on the upper side of the bridge for some distance [Pg 39]farther, until they had nearly reached the London end of it, they stopped and looked over the parapet down to the water.
Of course their faces were now turned up the river, and the view which presented itself was entirely different from that which had been seen below. Immediately beneath where they were standing, and close in to the shore of the river, they witnessed a most extraordinary spectacle, which was formed by a group of small and smoky-looking steamers, that were hovering in apparent confusion about a platform landing there. The decks of the steamers were all crowded with passengers. Some of the boats were just coming to the land, some just leaving it, and others were moored to the platform, and streams of passengers were embarking or disembarking from them. The landing consisted of a floating platform, that was built over great flat-bottomed boats, that were moored at a little distance from the bank, so as to rise and fall with the tide. There was a strong railing along the outer edge of the platform, with openings here and there through it for passage ways to the boats. Behind, the platforms were connected with the shore by long bridges, having a little toll house at the outer end of each of them, with the words, "Pay Here," inscribed on a sign over the window. [Pg 40]The passengers, as they came down from the shore, stopped at these toll houses to pay the fare for the places to which they wished to go. The decks of the steamers, the platforms, and all the bridges were thronged with people, going and coming in all directions, and crowding their way to and from the boats; and every two or three minutes a steamer, having received its load, would push off from the platform, and paddle its way swiftly up the river among a multitude of others that were shooting swiftly along, in all directions, over the water.
The volumes of dense, black smoke which rolled up from the funnels of the steamers made the atmosphere very thick and murky; and the whole scene, as Mr. George and Rollo looked down upon it from the parapet above, for a time seemed almost to bewilder them.
"Let us go down and take a sail in one of those steamers," said Mr. George.
"Where do they go to?" said Rollo.
"I don't know," said Mr. George.
"Well," said Rollo, "let us go."
So saying, Mr. George and Rollo walked on towards the end of the bridge. Here they found a broad stone staircase, which turned off from the great thoroughfare, at a place near the corner of a large stone building. The staircase was [Pg 41]very broad and massive, and was covered with people going up and coming down.
"This must be a way down to the landing," said Mr. George.
So our two travellers began to descend; and, after turning several square corners in the staircase, they came out into the street which led along the margin of the river, at a level of twenty or thirty feet below the bridge. This street passed through under one of the dry arches of the bridge, as they are called; that is, one built on the sloping margin of the shore, where no water flows. They passed across this street, and then entered a broad passage way which led down towards the floating platforms. There were a great many people coming and going. They stopped at the toll house on one of the little bridges to pay the fare.
"How much is to pay?" said Mr. George to the tollman, taking out his purse.
"Where do you wish to go?" said the tollman.
"I don't know," said Mr. George, looking at Rollo; "about a mile or two up the river."
"To Hungerford landing?" asked the tollman.
"Yes," said Mr. George.
"Or Westminster?" said the tollman.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "we will go to Westminster."
"Twopence each," said the tollman.
So Mr. George and Rollo each laid down two pennies on the little counter in the window sill, and the man giving them each a little paper ticket, they passed on.
"Now the question is," said Mr. George, "how to find out what boat we are to get into. Here is an orange woman on the platform; I will buy a couple of oranges of her, one for you and one for me, and then she will be glad to tell us which is the boat."
"She will tell us without," said Rollo.
"As a matter of favor?" asked Mr. George.
"Yes," said Rollo.
"I suppose she would," said Mr. George; "but I would rather that the obligation should be the other way."
So Mr. George bought two oranges of the woman, and paid her a halfpenny over and above the price of them. She seemed very grateful for this kindness, and took great interest in showing him which of the boats he and Rollo must take to go to Westminster.
"There's one thing that I particularly wish to go and see," said Rollo, "while we are in London."
"What is that?" asked Mr. George.
"One of the ragged schools," said Rollo.
"What are they?" asked Mr. George.
"Why, they are schools for poor boys," replied Rollo. "I believe the boys that go to the schools are pretty much all ragged. These schools were begun by a cobbler. I read about it in a book. The cobbler used to call the ragged boys [Pg 44]in that lived about his shop, and teach them. Afterwards other people established such schools; and now there are a great many of them, and some of them are very large."
"We'll go and see some of them," said Mr. George. "I should like to go and see them very much."
So saying Mr. George led the way to the boat that the orange woman had pointed out as the one for Westminster; and they stepped on board, together with a little crowd of other passengers who were going up the river like themselves.
Mr. George and Rollo fell into the line of people that were pressing forward over the plank which led to the boat that the orange woman had directed them to embark in; and they soon found themselves on board. The boat was small and quite narrow. There was no saloon or enclosed apartment of any kind for the passengers, nor even an awning to shelter them from the sun or rain. There were, however, substantial settees placed around the deck, some forward and others aft. Some of these settees were on the sides of the steamer, by the railing, and there were others placed back to back in the middle. There were not seats enough for all the passengers; and thus many were obliged to stand.
As the boat glided along swiftly over the water, Rollo gazed with wonder and interest at the various objects and scenes which presented themselves to view around him. The rows of dingy-looking warehouses dimly seen through the [Pg 46]smoke along the shores of the river; the ranges of barges, lighters, and wherries lying at the margin of the water below; the bridges, stretching through the murky atmosphere across the stream, with throngs of people upon them passing incessantly to and fro; the little steamers, long and slender, and blackened by smoke, shooting swiftly in every direction over the surface of the water; and the spires and domes of the city seen on every hand beyond the nearer buildings,—attracted by turns the attention of our travellers, and excited their wonder.
In a very few minutes, however, after the boat had left its first station, she seemed to be approaching another landing-place, and Rollo was very much amused to observe how the steamer was manœuvred in coming up to the landing and making fast there. The pilot who had the command of her stood upon the wheel house on one side, and gave his orders by means of little gestures which he made with his fingers and hand. The helmsman, who stood at the wheel in the stern, watched these gestures, and regulated his steering by such of them as were meant for him. There were other gestures, however, which were meant for the engineer, who had charge of the engine. This engineer, however, could not see the gestures of the pilot, for he was down among [Pg 47]the machinery, beneath the deck; and so there was a boy stationed on the deck, near an opening which led down to where the engineer was standing; and this boy interpreted the gestures as the pilot made them, calling out to the engineer the import of them with a very curious drawling intonation, which amused Rollo very much. Thus, when the steamer approached the land, the boy, watching the fingers of the pilot, called out, with intervals of a few seconds between each order, in a loud voice to the engineer below, as follows:——
Then, after two or three seconds,——
The engineer obeyed all these orders in succession as they were thus announced to him; and the steamer was brought up very safely to the landing, although the person who controlled her motions could not see at all where he was going.
When the steamer was thus, at length, moored to the landing, a number of the passengers stepped off, and a great many others got on; and, immediately afterwards, the cables were cast off, and the boy called out,——
The steamer then began to glide away from the landing again, and was soon swiftly shooting over the water towards one of the arches of the next bridge up the stream.
"Now," said Rollo, "how are they going to get this tall smokepipe through that bridge?"
"You will see," said Mr. George.
Rollo looked up to the top of the smokepipe, which seemed to be considerably higher than the crown of the arch that the steamer was approaching. How it could possibly pass was a mystery. The mystery was, however, soon solved; for, at the instant that the bows of the steamer entered under the arch, two men, taking hold of levers below, turned the whole smokepipe back, by means of a hinge joint that had been made in it, not far from the deck. The hinge was in the back side of the smokepipe, and of course in bending the pipe back there was an opening made in front; and through this opening the smoke, while the steamer was passing through the bridge, came out in dense volumes. As soon, however, as the arch was cleared, the pipe was brought back into its place again by the force of great weights placed at the ends of the levers as a counterpoise. Thus the opening below was closed, and the smoke came out of the top of the pipe as before.
As soon as the boat had passed the bridge, Rollo, looking forward, saw another landing at a short distance in advance of them.
"Here comes another landing," said Rollo. "Is this the Westminster landing, do you think?"
"No," said Mr. George.
"How do you know?" asked Rollo.
"We have not come far enough yet for the Westminster landing," said Mr. George.
"How shall you know when we get there?" asked Rollo.
"I shall inquire," said Mr. George. "Besides, the Westminster landing must be at Westminster Bridge, and Westminster Bridge is above Hungerford Bridge; and I shall know Hungerford Bridge when I see it, for it is an iron suspension bridge, without arches. It is straight and slender, being supported from above by monstrous chains; and it is very narrow, being only intended for foot passengers."
"Well," said Rollo, "I will look out for it."
"I meant to have asked you," said Mr. George, "while we were on London Bridge, whether it would be best for us to take lodgings in the city or at the West End. Which do you think?"
"I don't know," said Rollo. "Which do you think would be best?"
"It is more genteel to be at the West End," said Mr. George.
"I don't care any thing about that," said Rollo.
"Nor do I much," said Mr. George.
"I want to go," said Rollo, "where we can have the best time."
"Yes," said Mr. George.
"And see the most to amuse us," said Rollo.
"I think," said Mr. George, "on the whole, that the West End will be the best for us. There are a few great things in the city to be seen; but the every-day walks, and little excursions, and street sights are altogether more interesting at the West End. So we had better take our lodgings there, and go to the city when we wish to by the omnibuses that go down the Strand."
"Or by these boats on the river," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "or by these boats."
Not long after this, the steamboat came to Hungerford Bridge. Rollo knew the bridge at once, as soon as it came into view, it was of so light and slender a construction. Instead of being supported, like the other bridges, upon arches built up from below, it was suspended from immense chains that were stretched across the river above. The ends of these chains passed over the tops of lofty piers, which were built for the purpose [Pg 53]of supporting them, one on each side, near the shore. The steamer glided swiftly under this bridge, and immediately afterwards the Westminster Bridge came into view.
"Now," said Rollo, "we are coming to our landing."
When the steamer at length made the landing, Rollo and Mr. George got out and went up to the shore. They came out in a street called Bridge Street, which led them up to another street called Whitehall.
"Whitehall," said Mr. George, reading the name on the corner. "This must be the street where King Charles I. was beheaded. Let me stop and see."
So Mr. George stopped on the sidewalk, and, taking a little London guide book out of his pocket, he looked at the index to find Whitehall. Then he turned to the part of the book referred to, and there he found a long statement in respect to King Charles's execution, which ended by saying, "There cannot be a doubt, therefore, that he was executed in front of the building which stands opposite the Horse Guards."
"I'll inquire where the Horse Guards is," said Mr. George.
"Where the horse guards are," said Rollo, correcting what he supposed must be an error in his uncle's grammar.
"No," rejoined Mr. George, "The Horse Guards is the name of a building."
"Then this must be it," said Rollo, pointing to a building not far before them; "for here are two horse guards standing sentry at the doors of it."
Mr. George looked and saw a very splendid edifice, having a fine architectural front that extended for a considerable distance along the street, though a little way back from it. There was a great gateway in the centre; and near the two ends of the building there were two porches on the street, with a splendidly-dressed horseman, completely armed, and mounted on an elegant black charger, in each of them. The horse of each of these sentries was caparisoned with the most magnificent military trappings; and, as the horseman sat silent and motionless in the saddle, with his sword by his side, his pistols at the holster, and his bright steel helmet, surmounted with a white plume, on his head, Rollo thought that he was the finest-looking soldier he had ever seen.
"I should like to see a whole troop of such soldiers as that," said he.
"That building must be the Horse Guards," said Mr. George; "but I will be sure. I will ask this policeman."
The policeman was a very well-dressed and gentlemanly-looking personage. He was standing, at the time when Mr. George saw him, on the edge of the sidewalk, looking at some beggar boys, who had brooms in their hands, as if they were going to sweep the crossings. The boys, however, when they saw that the policeman was looking at them, seemed alarmed, and one calling to the other, said, "Joey!" and then they both ran away round a corner.
Mr. George advanced to the policeman, and asked him if that building was the Horse Guards. The policeman listened to and answered his question in a very polite and gentlemanly manner. Mr. George made several additional inquiries in respect to the building, and received in reply to them a great deal of useful information. Rollo stood by all the while, listening to the conversation, and observing with the greatest interest the details of the uniform which the policeman [Pg 56]wore. He was dressed, Rollo saw, in a suit of dark blue, which fitted his form very nicely. The coat had a standing collar, and was buttoned snugly up to the chin with bright buttons. On the collar was worked the letter and number, A 335, in white braid, which denoted the division that this officer belonged to, and his number in the division. The hat was peculiar, too, being glazed at the top and at the brim, and having an appearance as if covered with cloth at the sides. The figure of the policeman was very erect, and his air and bearing very gentlemanly, and he answered all Mr. George's inquiries in the most affable manner.
Every part of London is provided with policemen of this character, whose business it is to preserve order in the streets, to arrest criminals, to take care of lost children, to guide strangers, and to answer any inquiries that any person may wish to make in respect to the streets, squares, public buildings, and other objects of interest in the metropolis. The whole number of these policemen is very great, there being near six thousand of them in all. They are all young and active men; and in order that they may perform their duties in an efficient manner, they are clothed with a great deal of authority; but they exercise their power with so much gentleness and [Pg 57]discretion that they are universal favorites with all the people who traverse the streets, except, perhaps, the beggar boys and vagabonds. They stand in perpetual awe of them.
Each policeman has his own district, which is called his beat; and he walks to and fro in this beat all the time while he is on duty. There is a station near this beat, to which he takes any delinquents or criminals that he may have occasion to arrest, in order that they may be examined, and, if found guilty, sent to prison.
One day Rollo saw a policeman taking a prisoner to the station. It was a boy about thirteen years old. The policeman walked very fast, and the boy ran along by his side. The policeman took hold of the collar of the boy's jacket behind with his hand, and so conducted him along. There was a crowd of young men and boys following, some walking fast and some running, to see what would become of the prisoner.
Rollo was at first inclined to join this party, in order that he might see too; but Mr. George thought it would be better not to do so. Rollo then began to pity the poor prisoner boy very much, in view of the expression of dreadful terror and distress which his countenance had worn when he passed by him, and he was very anxious to know what he had been doing. He accordingly [Pg 58]stopped to ask an orange woman, who stood with a basket of oranges near a post at a corner.
"He has been beating and abusing a little boy," said the woman, "and spilling all his milk."
"Come, Rollo," said Mr. George, "we must go along."
Rollo would have liked very much to have inquired further into this transaction; but he relinquished the idea, in compliance with his uncle's wish. He found, however, that his sympathy for the poor prisoner, as is usual in such cases, was very much diminished by knowing the offence of which he had been guilty.
Rollo had an opportunity to experience the advantages of the London system of police three or four days after this, in an emergency, which, as I am now speaking of the policemen, I will mention here. He had been to see the British Museum with his uncle George, and had undertaken to find his way back to the lodgings in Northumberland Court alone, his uncle having had occasion at that time to go in another direction. The distance from the museum to Northumberland Court was only about a mile; but the intervening streets were very short, narrow, and intricate, and were inclined towards each other at all possible angles, so that Rollo very soon lost his way. In fact, he soon became completely turned round; and, instead of going towards Northumberland Court, he went wandering on in exactly a contrary direction. He turned this way and that, and looked at the names of the streets on all the corners, [Pg 60]in hopes to find some one he had heard of before. Finally he became completely bewildered.
"I shall have to give it up," said he to himself. "If it was a pleasant day, I could go by the sun; for by keeping to the south I should, sooner or later, come to the river."
Unfortunately for Rollo, as is usually the case in London, the sun was not to be seen. The sky was obscured with an impenetrable veil of smoke and vapor.
"I'll take a cab," said Rollo, "at the first stand, and tell the cabman to drive me to Northumberland Court. He must find where it is the best way he can."
Rollo put his hands in his pockets as he said this, and found, to his consternation, that he had no money. He had left his purse in the pocket of another suit of clothes at home. He immediately decided that he must give up the plan of taking a cab, since he had no money to pay for it. This difficulty, however, was, in fact, by no means insuperable, as he might have taken a cab, and paid the fare when he arrived at his lodgings, by asking the man to wait at the door while he went up to get his purse. He did not, however, think of this plan, but decided at once that he must find some other way of getting home than by taking a cab.
"I will ask a policeman," said he.
So he began to look about for a policeman; and as there are so many thousands of them on duty in London, one can almost always be very readily found; and, when found, he is instantly known by his uniform.
Rollo met the policeman walking towards him on the sidewalk.
"I want to find my way to Northumberland Court," said he. "Will you be good enough to tell me which way to go?"
The policeman looked at Rollo a moment with a kind and friendly expression of countenance.
"Why, it is two miles and a half from here," said he, "at least, and a very difficult way to find. I think you had better take a cab."
"But I have not any money," said Rollo.
The policeman looked at Rollo again with as near an approach to an expression of surprise on his countenance as it is possible for a policeman to manifest, since it is a part of his professional duty never to be surprised at anything or thrown off his guard. Rollo was, however, so well dressed, and was so gentlemanly in his air and bearing, that almost any one would have wondered a little to hear him say that he had no money.
"I accidentally left my money all at home," said Rollo, by way of explanation.
"Very well," said the policeman; "come with me."
So Rollo and the policeman walked along together. As they walked they fell into conversation, and Rollo told the policeman who he was, and how he came to lose his way. The policeman was very much interested when he heard that his young friend was an American; and he asked him a great many questions about New York and Boston. He said he had a brother in Boston, and another in Cincinnati.
After walking the distance of two or three blocks, the policeman said,——
"This is the end of my beat. I must now put you in charge of another officer."
So saying, he made a signal to another policeman, who was on the opposite sidewalk, and then going up to him with Rollo, he said,——
"This young gentleman wishes to go to Northumberland Court. Pass him along. He is from America."
So Rollo walked with the second policeman to the end of his beat, talking with him all the way about America and about what he had seen in London. At the end of the second policeman's beat Rollo was placed in the charge of a third policeman; and thus he was conducted all the way, until he came in sight of Charing Cross [Pg 63]by a succession of policemen, without ever making it necessary for any one of them to leave his beat. As soon as Charing Cross came into view, with the tall Nelson monument, in Trafalgar Square, to mark it, Rollo at once knew where he was. So he told the policeman who had him in charge there that he could go the rest of the way alone; and so, thanking him for his kindness and bidding him good by, he ran gayly home.
Thus the policemen are, in many ways, the stranger's friends. They are to be found every where; and they are always ready to render any service which the passenger may require of them. Each one is furnished with a baton, which is his badge of office; a rattle, with which he calls other policemen to his aid when he requires them; a lantern for the night; and an oilskin cape for rainy weather. In winter, too, they have greatcoats, made in a peculiar fashion.
But to return to the Horse Guards. After Mr. George had finished his conversation with the policeman about the Horse Guards, he said to Rollo that he was going over to the other side of the street, in order to get a better view of the building. So he led the way, and Rollo followed him. When they reached the opposite sidewalk, [Pg 64]Mr. George took his station on the margin of it, and began to survey the edifice on the opposite side of the street with great apparent interest.
"I don't see any thing very remarkable about it," said Rollo.
"It is the head quarters of the British army," said Mr. George.
"What elegant black horses those troopers are upon!" said Rollo.
"It is the centre of a power," said Mr. George, talking, apparently, to himself, "that is felt in every quarter of the world."
"I should like to have such a uniform as that," said Rollo, "and to be mounted on such a horse; but then, I should rather ride about the city than to stand still all the time in one of those sentry boxes."
"About the town, you mean," said Mr. George.
Rollo here observed that there was an open gateway in front of the Horse Guards, and beyond it an arched passage, leading directly through the centre of the building to some place in the rear of it. There were a great many people coming and going through this passage way; so many, in fact, as to make it evident that it was a public thoroughfare. Rollo asked his uncle George where that passage way led to.
"It leads to the rear of the Horse Guards," [Pg 65]said Mr. George, "where there is a great parade ground, and through the parade ground to Hyde Park. I have studied it out on the map."
"Let us go through and see the parade ground," said Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George, "not now. We had better go some morning when the troops are parading there. We must go now and look out our lodgings."
So Mr. George and Rollo walked on, and about half an hour afterwards Mr. George engaged lodgings in a place near the junction of the Strand with Charing Cross, called Northumberland Court.
The whole system of providing for travellers at hotels and lodging houses in England is entirely different from the one adopted in America. In America all persons, in respect to the rights and privileges which they enjoy, are, in theory, on a footing of perfect equality; and thus, in all public resorts, such as hotels, boarding houses, public places of amusement, and travelling conveyances, all classes mingle together freely and without reserve. At the hotels and boarding houses, they breakfast, dine, and sup together at the public tables; and even if they have private parlors of their own, they do not, ordinarily, confine themselves to them, but often seek society and amusement in the public drawing rooms. At the places of amusement and in the public conveyances they all pay the same price, and are entitled to the same privileges, and they only get the best seats when they come early to secure them. This, in America, is the general rule; though of course [Pg 67]there are many exceptions, especially in the great cities. In England it is altogether different. There society is divided into a great many different ranks and degrees, the people of each of which keep themselves entirely separate and distinct from all the others. The cars of the railway trains are divided into four or five classes, and travellers take one or the other of them, according to their wealth or their rank, and pay accordingly. In the hotels and lodging houses every arrangement is made to keep each guest or party of guests as separate as possible from all the rest. There are no public tables or public drawing rooms. Each party, on its arrival at the hotel, takes a suit of rooms, consisting, at least, of a sitting room and bed room, and every thing that they require is served to them separately there, just as if there were no other guests in the house. It is the same with the boarding houses, or lodging houses as they are commonly called. Each boarder has his own apartment, and whatever he calls for is sent to him there. He pays so much a day for his room or rooms, and then for his board he is charged for every separate article that he orders; so that, so far as he takes his meals away from his lodgings, either by breakfasting or dining, or taking tea at the houses of friends, or at public coffee rooms, [Pg 68]he has nothing to pay at his lodging house excepting the rent of his rooms.
There are a great many of these lodging houses about London. They are found on all the side streets leading off from all the great thoroughfares. They are known, generally, by a little card in the window, with the words, "Furnished Apartments," written upon it. Mr. George and Rollo found lodgings, as was stated in the last chapter, in a house of this kind, situated in Northumberland Court.
Northumberland Court is so named from its being situated on a part of what were formerly the grounds of the town mansion of the famous dukes of Northumberland. I have already stated, some chapters back, that in former times the English nobles built magnificent houses on the great banks of the Thames, between the road called the Strand, which led from Westminster towards London, and the banks of the river. Since the days when these mansions were erected, the whole space around them, between the Strand and the river, has become completely filled with streets, squares, courts, and lanes, the names of which were often derived from those of the families on whose grounds they were built. The court where Mr. George and Rollo found their lodgings was called Northumberland Court for this reason. [Pg 69]The entrance to it was under an archway a few steps beyond the great Northumberland House itself—a massive and venerable edifice, that is still standing. In fact, the Duke of Northumberland resides in it, when he is in town, to this day.
Mr. George and Rollo noticed the front of Northumberland House as they passed it, on the day when they were looking out for lodgings, as described in the last chapter, and, very soon coming to the archway which led into the court, they stopped to look in. There was a small iron gate across the entrance to the archway, but it was open.
"This is a cunning-looking place," said Mr. George; "let us look in."
So he and Rollo walked in under the archway.
"This is a snug place," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "this is just the place for us. We will look around and find the best house, and then knock at the door and look at the rooms."
So, after walking up and down the court once, Mr. George made his selection, and knocked at the door with a long double rap, such as is usually given by gentlemen.
Very soon a pleasant-looking servant girl opened the door. Mr. George told her that they had come to look at the rooms; whereupon the [Pg 70]girl invited them to walk in, and led the way up stairs.
This conversation took place while they were going up stairs; and just as they reached the head of the stairs, Mr. George asked the girl what her name was. She said it was Margaret.
Mr. George said he wished to have a sitting room and bed room. He did not care, he said, if there were two bed rooms, if they were small. The girl said there was a sitting room and two bed rooms on the first floor, all connected together.
Margaret then led the way into the sitting room. It looked very snug and comfortable; though, compared with the bright and cheerful appearance of New York rooms, it had rather a dark and dingy appearance. The paper was dark, the paint was dark, and the furniture darker still. There was a sofa on one side of the room, and two or three comfortable arm chairs. There was a round table in the middle of the floor, and several other smaller tables in different places about the room. There was a sideboard, also, with a clock and various ornaments upon it. There was a mirror over the mantle shelf, and another between the windows; and various engravings, in frames that had evidently once been gilt, were hanging about the walls.
"Well," said Mr. George, as he looked about the room, "I don't know but that this will do for us, Rollo. What do you think?"
"I like it pretty well," said Rollo.
"Now let us see the bed rooms, Margaret," said Mr. George.
So Margaret led the way across the little entry to one of the bed rooms. The room had the same dingy appearance that had been observed in the sitting room, but it was abundantly furnished with every thing necessary for such an apartment. Margaret led the way through this bed room to a smaller one, which was so situated that it communicated both with the large bed room and the sitting room.
"Ah," said Mr. George, "this is just the place for you, Rollo."
"Yes," said Rollo; "I shall like it very much."
"What is the price of these three rooms?" said Mr. George, turning to Margaret.
"Twenty-seven shillings a week, sir, if you please," said Margaret.
"Twenty-seven shillings a week," said Mr. George, repeating the words to himself in a musing manner. "That must be about a dollar a day, reckoning four shillings to the dollar. Well, Rollo, I think you and I can afford to pay [Pg 72]half a dollar a piece for our rooms, considering that it is London."
"Yes," said Rollo; "I think we can."
"We will take the rooms, then," said Mr. George, turning to Margaret.
"Very well, sir," said Margaret; "as you go down stairs I will speak to my mistress."
So Margaret led the way down stairs, and Mr. George and Rollo followed. At the foot of the stairs they were met by the landlady, who came out from a basement room to see them. Mr. George told the landlady that they would take the rooms; and he handed her his card, in order that she might know his name.
"And perhaps, sir," said she, "you would be willing to make a deposit in advance."
"Certainly," said Mr. George.
"Because sometimes," said the landlady, "a gentleman engages rooms, and then something happens to prevent his coming, and so we lose all our trouble of putting them in order for him, and, perhaps, lose the opportunity of renting them to another lodger besides."
"Certainly," said Mr. George. "It is perfectly right you should have a deposit. How much shall it be?"
"Perhaps you would be willing to leave five [Pg 73]shillings with me," said the landlady; "that would be sufficient."
Mr. George expressed himself entirely satisfied with this arrangement, and, giving the landlady five shillings, he went away, saying that he and Rollo would return in the course of a couple of hours with their luggage. He then went out into the street, called a cab from off the stand in front of Morley's Hotel, drove down the Strand to the city, through the city to London Bridge, and over the bridge to the railway station. The porter brought out his luggage and put it upon the top of the cab; and then Mr. George and Rollo got in, and the cabman drove them back again to the West End. The luggage was carried up to their rooms; and thus our two travellers found themselves regularly installed in their London lodgings.
"Now, Rollo," said Mr. George, "ring the bell, and we will see what Margaret can let us have for breakfast."
It was Sunday morning, a day or two after Mr. George and Rollo arrived in London. Mr. George had been sitting at a small table at one of the windows, writing a letter, and Rollo had been sitting at the other window, amusing himself, sometimes by looking at the pictures in a book, and at others by watching the little scenes and incidents which were continually occurring at the doors of the houses on the opposite side of the court below.
In obedience to his uncle's request, Rollo pulled one of the bellropes which hung by the side of the fire. A minute or two afterwards Margaret's gentle tap was heard at the door.
"Come in," said Mr. George.
Margaret opened the door and came in.
"Well, Margaret," said Mr. George, "what [Pg 75]can you let us have for breakfast this morning?"
"You can have whatever you like," said Margaret.
The English waiters and servant girls always say you can have whatever you like; but it does not always prove in the end that the promise can be realized.
"Can you let us have a fried sole?" asked Mr. George.
"Why, no, sir," said Margaret, "not Sunday morning. You see, sir, they don't bring round the soles Sunday morning."
"Muffins, then," said Mr. George.
"Nor muffins either," replied Margaret. "We can't get any muffins Sunday morning."
"Well," said Mr. George, "what can you get us most conveniently?"
"That's just as you like, sir," said Margaret. "You can have whatever you like."
"Why, no," said Mr. George; "for you just said we could not have soles or muffins."
"Well, sir," said Margaret, innocently, "that's because it is Sunday morning, and they don't bring round soles or muffins Sunday morning."
Mr. George began to perceive by this time that his principles of logic and those of Margaret were so entirely different from each other that [Pg 76]there was no possibility of bringing any discussion to a point; and he very wisely gave up the contest, telling Margaret that she might let them have a cup of coffee, and any thing else she pleased.
"You can have a mutton chop, sir," said Margaret, "and rolls."
"Very well," said Mr. George; "that will be just the thing."
So Margaret went down to prepare the breakfast; and Mr. George, taking his seat on the sofa, began to turn over the leaves of his guide book, to see if he could find out what time the service commenced in Westminster Abbey.
"Uncle George!" said Rollo, "look here! See this strange-looking boy coming into the court!"
"How does he look?" asked Mr. George.
"He looks very poor," said Rollo, "and miserable, and his head is as big as a bushel basket! He is going to sing," Rollo added. "Hark!"
Mr. George listened, and heard the voice of a child, beginning to sing a plaintive ballad, in the court below.
"Come and see him," said Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George; "I don't wish to see him. You may throw him out a penny, if you choose."
"Well," said Rollo, "as soon as he has finished his song."
So Rollo waited till the boy had finished singing his song; and then, lifting up the window a little way, he threw a penny to him, shooting it out through the crack. Mr. George heard the chink of the penny as it fell upon the pavement below.
"He sees it!" said Rollo. "He is picking it up. He made me a bow!"
About this time Margaret came in and spread the cloth for breakfast. Soon afterwards she brought the breakfast up. She, however, brought only one cup for the coffee, having taken Mr. George's order, to let them have a cup of coffee, somewhat too literally. The truth is, that inasmuch as, at the English lodging houses, every thing that is called for is charged separately, the servants are, very properly, quite careful not to bring any thing unless it is distinctly ordered, lest they might seem to wish to force upon the traveller more than he desired to pay for.
Margaret was, however, it appears, a little uncertain in this case; for she asked Mr. George, as she put the waiter on the table, whether he meant to have two cups brought, or only one. He told her two; and so she went down and [Pg 78]brought another, taking the coffee pot down with her, too, in order to add to it a fresh supply of coffee. In due time every thing was ready; and Mr. George and Rollo, drawing their chairs up to the table, had an excellent breakfast, all by themselves. Mr. George remained quietly in his [Pg 79]seat at the table all the time while eating his breakfast; but Rollo was continually getting up and going to the window whenever he heard the footsteps of any one coming into the court or going out, or the sound of the knocker or of the bell at any of the opposite doors.
"Now, Rollo," said Mr. George, after they had finished breakfast, "the great church of the city is St. Paul's, and that of the West End is Westminster Abbey. I have an idea of going to church this morning at the Abbey, and this afternoon at St. Paul's."
Rollo was well pleased with this arrangement; and soon afterwards he and his uncle sallied forth, and took their way along Whitehall.
Whitehall is a sort of continuation of the Strand, leading, as it does, along the Thames, at a little distance from the bank of the river. It is bordered on both sides by magnificent public edifices, such as the Horse Guards, the Admiralty, Westminster Hall, the Houses of Parliament, and the Treasury. Conspicuous among these and other similar edifices, and in the midst of paved courts and green gardens, stands the venerable group of buildings famed through all the world as Westminster Abbey.
Mr. George and Rollo, when they approached the abbey, saw a current of people moving towards the building. These people turned off from the sidewalk to a paved alley, which led along a sort of court. This court was bounded by a range of ordinary, but ancient-looking, houses on one side, and a very remarkable mass of richly-carved and ornamented Gothic architecture, which evidently pertained to the abbey, on the other. On the wall of the row of houses was a sign, on which were inscribed the words, "To the Poet's Corner."
"This must be the way," said Mr. George to Rollo.
So Mr. George and Rollo fell into the current, and walked up the alley. They came, at length, to a low-arched door in the wall of a building, which, from the massive stone buttresses that supported it, and the rich carvings and sculptures which were seen about the doors and windows, and the antique and timeworn appearance which was exhibited in every feature of it, was evidently a part of the abbey.
"This is the place," said Mr. George to Rollo, "there is no doubt."
Mr. George entered at the door, followed by Rollo, and they were ushered at once into a scene of the most extraordinary and impressive character. [Pg 82]They found themselves in the midst of a splendid panorama of columns, statues, monuments, galleries, and ranges of arches and colonnades, which seemed to extend interminably in every direction, and to rise to so vast a height that the eye seemed to be lost in attempting to reach the groins and arches in which they terminated above. Here and there, at various places more or less remote, were to be seen windows of stained glass, through which beams of colored light streamed down through groups of columns, and over the carved and sculptured ornaments of screens and stalls, and among innumerable groups and figures of monumental marble.
The place where Mr. George and Rollo entered the church was in the south transept, as it is called; that is, in the southern arm of the cross which is formed by the ground plan of the church.
Almost all the cathedral churches of Europe are built in the general form of a cross, the length of which lies always to the east and west.
The main body of the church is called the nave; the head of the cross is the chancel; the two arms are the north and south transepts; and the space formed by the intersection of the cross is called the choir. It is in the choir, usually, that congregations assemble and the service is performed, the whole church being usually too large for this purpose. The space necessary for the use of the congregations is separated from the rest of the floor by splendidly-carved and ornamented partitions, which rise to a height of twenty or thirty feet above the floor—the whole height of the church being often more than one hundred. These partitions are called screens. But in order that the reader may understand all this more perfectly, and also obtain a more full and correct idea of the interior of the abbey, I give, on the adjoining page, a ground plan of the edifice, which shows very distinctly its general form, and the relative position of the various parts of it above referred to. Near the margin of the drawing, on the right-hand side of it, is seen the passage way leading to the Poet's Corner, where Mr. George and Rollo came in. On the side which was upon their right hand as they came in [Pg 86]you see the ground plan of the great buttresses which stand here against the wall of the church. On their left hand is the octagon-shaped building, called the Chapter House. This building was originally designed for the meetings of the body of ecclesiastics connected with the cathedral.[C]In the corner between the Chapter House and the church you can see the door opening into the church, where Mr. George and Rollo came in. On entering they found themselves at A, which is called the Poet's Corner, from the fact that the monuments of Shakspeare, Dryden, Thomson, Goldsmith, and most of the other poets that are interred or commemorated in the abbey, are placed here.
The part A, as you see from the plan, is separated from the main portion of the south transept by a range of columns. These columns rise to a vast height in reaching the ceiling above. Of course only the places where the columns stand, and the forms of the bases of them, are marked on the plan. In other parts of the floor of the church, as, for example, in the north transept, and along each side of the nave and choir, are other ranges of columns, some square at the base, and others round. You will observe, too, that the rows of [Pg 87]columns which stand on each side of the nave and choir separate the central part of the church from what are called the aisles; for the word aisle, as applied to a European cathedral, does not denote, as in America, a passage way between two rows of seats, or pews, but the spaces outside of the ranges of columns, which extend up and down the body of the church, on each side of the nave and choir.
The aisles, as may be seen by the plan, are not so wide as the nave and choir. There is another thing also to be noted respecting them that is quite important, though it cannot be seen in the plan—and that is, that they are not so high, the roof being carried up to a greater height in the centre of the church—that is, over the nave and choir—than it is at the sides over the aisles. Thus these ranges of columns not only divide different portions of the floor from each other below, but they also separate roofs of different altitudes above.
But let us return to Mr. George and Rollo. We left them in the Poet's Corner, at A. As they looked through the columns near them, they saw the congregation filling the whole central part of the church.
"Let us go up and find a seat," said Mr. George.
So Mr. George led the way between the columns into the south transept. You can see exactly where they went by looking at the plan. This transept was filled with settees, which were placed in two ranges, with a passage way in the middle between them. The front settees were filled with people, and over the heads of them Mr. George could see that there were other ranges of settees in the north transept and the choir. There were various desks, and pulpits, and oratories, and carved stalls, and canopies to be seen in the interior, and many separate compartments of seats, some enclosed by ancient carved oak railings, and others with large worsted ropes, of a dark-brown color, drawn across the entrance to them. Above, clusters of columns and tall pinnacles, rising from canopies and screens, ascended high into the air; and between and beyond them were to be seen gorgeous windows of colored glass, of the most antique and timeworn appearance, and of enormous size. Over the heads, too, of the congregation of living worshippers, and mingled with them in various recesses and corners, were to be seen numberless groups and statues of marble. These statues were, in fact, so mingled with the worshippers, that, in surveying the assemblage, it seemed, in some cases, difficult for a moment to distinguish the [Pg 89]living forms of the real men from cold and lifeless effigies of the dead.
Rollo and Mr. George advanced up the passage way as far as they could; and then, Mr. George making a signal for Rollo to follow him, they sat down on one of the benches where there was a vacancy, and began to listen to the music. This music came from an immense organ which was placed over the screen marked S on the plan, which, as you see, separates the nave from the choir. The tones of the organ were very deep and loud, and the sound reverberated from the arches and columns, and from the vaulted roofs above, in a very sublime and impressive manner.
"Can't we go up a little nearer?" said Rollo.
"We cannot get seats any nearer," said Mr. George.
The seats, in fact, that were in front appeared to be entirely full, and several persons were standing in the passage way. Just then a gentleman and lady came up the passage way to the end of the seat where Mr. George and Rollo were sitting. Mr. George and Rollo moved in to make room. They sat down in the space which was thus made for them, without, however, acknowledging Mr. George's politeness even by a look.
"Cannot we go up a little nearer?" said the lady.
"We cannot get seats any nearer," said the gentleman. "The seats above here seem to be all full."
The lady did not appear, however, to be satisfied, but began to look anxiously about among the benches nearer to the choir in search of some vacant seat. The choir itself appeared to be full, and the entrance to it was closed by one of the worsted ropes above referred to, and was guarded, moreover, by two vergers, dressed in an antique and picturesque costume.
"Edward," said the lady in a moment to the gentleman by her side, who appeared to be her husband, "I see a place where I can get a seat."
So she rose and walked up the passage way, followed by the gentleman. She went to one of the forward settees, where there were some ladies sitting who were not very close together, and asked them to move in, so as to make room for her. She then crowded into the space which was thus made, and looked up to her husband with an expression of great satisfaction on her countenance.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "now she is satisfied. A woman never cares how long her husband stands in aisles and passages, so long as she has a good seat herself."
Mr. George was not a great admirer of the [Pg 91]ladies, and he often expressed his opinion of them in a very ungallant and in quite too summary a manner. What he said in this case is undoubtedly true of some ladies, as every one who has had occasion to witness their demeanor in public places must have observed. But it is by no means true of all.
In this particular instance, however, it must be confessed that Mr. George was in the right. The gentleman looked round, when he found his wife was seated, to see whether the place he had left was still vacant; but it was occupied; and so he remained standing in the passage way, by the side of his wife, during all the service. It was very plain, however, that this circumstance gave his wife no concern whatever. She seemed to consider it a matter of course that, provided the lady in such cases was seated, the gentleman might stand.
In the mean time, Mr. George and Rollo remained in the seat they had taken. The service appeared to them very complicated. The different portions of it were performed by different clergymen, who were dressed in white robes, and adorned with the various other insignia of sacerdotal rank. The places, too, in which they stood, in performing their ministrations, were continually changed, each clergyman being escorted with [Pg 92]great ceremony to the desk or pulpit at which he was to perform his part by a verger, who was clothed in an antique dress, and bore an ornamented rod in his hand—the emblem of his office.
In one place there was a choir of singing boys, all dressed in white, who chanted the responses and anthems. The other parts of the service were cantilated, or intoned, as it is called, in a manner which seemed to Mr. George and Rollo very extraordinary. In fact, the whole scene produced upon the minds of our travellers the effect, not of a religious service for the worship of God, but of a gorgeous, though solemn, dramatic spectacle.
When, at length, the service was ended and the benediction was pronounced, the congregation rose; but Mr. George perceived that those who were in the part of the church near them did not turn and go back towards the Poet's Corner, where they had come in, but stood and looked forward towards the choir, as if they were expecting to advance in that direction.
"Let us wait a minute," said Mr. George, "and see what they will do."
In a few minutes the verger removed the worsted cords by which the passage ways in and through the choirs had been closed, and then [Pg 93]there commenced a general movement of the congregation in that direction. The people, as they walked along, paused to look at the monuments that were built in the walls; at the statues and groups of allegorical figures that were placed here and there in niches and recesses; at the oak carvings in the screens; the canopies and the stalls; at the stained-glass windows, with the gorgeous representations which they contained of apostles and saints; and at all the other architectural and sculptured wonders of the place.
The congregation passed out from the choir into the nave through a sort of gateway in the screen beneath the organ, at the place marked O in the plan; and then, spreading out on each side, they passed between the columns into the aisles, and thus moved slowly down the nave and the aisles, surveying the monuments and sculptures as they proceeded. They did not stop long at any place, but moved on continually, though slowly, as if it were not the custom to walk about much for the purpose of viewing the abbey on Sunday.
All this part of the church was entirely open, there being no pews or seats, nor any fixtures of any kind, except the sepulchral monuments at the sides. The floor was of stone, the pavement being composed, in a great measure, of slabs carved with obituary inscriptions, some of which were [Pg 94]very ancient, while others were quite modern. The whole atmosphere of the church seemed cold and damp, as if it were a tomb.
Rollo's attention was strongly attracted by the monuments that they passed by in their walk. Many of the sculptures were larger than life, and they were represented in various attitudes, and with various accompanying symbols, according to the character or position in life of the men whose exploits were commemorated by them. There were effigies of modern men, studying books, or working with mathematical instruments, or looking attentively at globes. There were rude sculptures of crusaders, lying upon their backs on slabs of stone, their faces and forms blackened by time, their noses and ears broken off, and sometimes with an arm or a foot wanting. Then, as a contrast to these, there were beautiful representations of ships and sea fights, all exquisitely chiselled in the whitest of marble. There were angels and cherubs in every imaginable form and position, and countless other varieties of statues, bas reliefs, and inscriptions, which excited in Rollo, as he walked among them, a perpetual sentiment of wonder.
"Cannot we walk about here a little while," said Rollo, "and look at these images more?"
"No," said Mr. George, "not to-day. It seems not to be the usage."
"I do not see any harm in it," said Rollo. "It is just like walking in a burying ground."
"True," said Mr. George; "but it seems not to be the usage. We will come some other day."
Rollo and Mr. George did come another day, and then they walked about entirely at their ease, and examined as many of the monuments, and deciphered as many of the ancient inscriptions, as they pleased. They also walked about to visit what are called the chapels. The chapels in a European cathedral are small recesses, opening from the main church, and separated from it by an iron railing, or a screen, or something of that sort. They are ornamented in various ways, and contain various monuments, and in Catholic cathedrals are used often for special services of religious worship. You will see the places of the chapels in Westminster Abbey by referring again to the plan on page 82. Most of them are built around the head of the cross. There are six small ones,—three on each side,—marked B, C, D, F, G, I, and another at the head—the largest and most splendid of all. This last is called Henry VII.'s Chapel. The tombs of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth are in this chapel, one on each side of it, as marked in the plan. The names of the other chapels are as follows: [Pg 96]B, St. Benedict's; C, St. Edmond's; D, St. Nicholas's; F, St. Paul's; G, St. John the Baptist's.
There is also another chapel in the centre, which is, in some respects, the most interesting of all. It is marked H on the plan. Here the bodies of a great number of the ancient kings of England are interred.
As Rollo and Mr. George walked about among these monuments and tombstones, now that there was no congregation of worshippers present to give a living character to the scene, the whole aspect and feeling of the chapels and aisles through which they wandered seemed cold, and damp, and subterranean, so as to impress them continually with the idea that they were in chambers consecrated, not to the living, but to the dead. In fact, Westminster Abbey, whatever may have been its original design, is now little else than a tomb—a grand and imposing, but damp and gloomy, tomb. It is so completely filled in every part with funeral monuments that the whole aspect and character of it are entirely changed; so that, from being a temple consecrated to the service of God, it has become a vast sepulchre, devoted almost wholly to commemorating the glory of man.
Mr. George did not go to St. Paul's that afternoon [Pg 97]to church, as he had at first intended. He said that one such display as he had witnessed at Westminster Abbey was spectacle enough for one Sunday. He accordingly determined to postpone his visit to the great cathedral of the city till the next day; and on that afternoon he took Rollo to a small dissenting chapel in the vicinity of their lodgings, where the service consisted of simple prayers offered by the pastor as the organ of the assembled worshippers, of hymns sung in concert by all the congregation, and of a plain and practical sermon, urging upon the hearers the duty of penitence for sin, and of seeking pardon and salvation through a spiritual union with Jesus the Redeemer.
"Well," said Mr. George to Rollo, as he came out of the chapel when the congregation was dismissed, "the service at the abbey, with all those chantings and intonations of the performers, and all the ceremonies, and dresses, and solemn paradings, makes a more imposing spectacle, I grant; but it seems to me that the service that we have heard this afternoon is modelled much more closely after the pattern of the meeting which Jesus held with his disciples the night before he was betrayed. At any rate, it satisfies much more fully, as it seems to me, the spiritual hungerings and thirstings of the human soul."
"Now, Rollo," said Mr. George, after breakfast Monday morning, "we will go into the city and see St. Paul's this morning. I suppose it is nearly two miles from here," he continued. "We can go down in one of the steamers on the river for sixpence, or we can go in an omnibus for eightpence, or in a cab for a shilling. Which do you vote for?"
"I vote for going on the river," said Rollo.
"Now I think of it," said Mr. George, "I must stop on the way, just below Temple Bar; so we shall have to take a cab."
Temple Bar is an old gateway which stands at the entrance of the city. It was originally a part of the wall that surrounded the city. The rest of the wall has long since been removed; but this gateway was left standing, as an ancient and venerable relic. The principal street leading from the West End to the city passes through it under an archway; and the sidewalks, through smaller [Pg 99]arches, are at the sides. The great gates are still there, and are sometimes shut. The whole building is very much in the way, and it will probably, before long, be pulled down. In America it would be down in a week; but in England there is so much reverence felt for such remains of antiquity that the inconvenience which they produce must become very great before they can be removed.
Mr. George and Rollo took a cab and rode towards the city. Just after passing Temple Bar, Mr. George got out of the cab and went into an office. Rollo got out too, and amused himself walking up and down the sidewalk, looking in at the shop windows, while Mr. George was doing his business.
When Mr. George came out Rollo had got into the cab again, and was just at that moment giving a woman a penny, who stood at the window of the cab on the street side. The woman had a child in her arms.
When Rollo first saw the woman, she came up to the window of the cab—where he had taken his seat after he had looked at the shop windows as much as he pleased—and held up a bunch of violets towards him, as if she wished him to buy them. Rollo shook his head. The woman did not offer the violets again, but looked down [Pg 100]towards her babe with an expression of great sadness in her face, and then looked imploringly again towards Rollo, without, however, speaking a word.
Rollo put his hand in his pocket and took out a penny and gave it to her. The woman said "Thank you," in a faint tone of voice, and went away.
It was just at this moment that Mr. George came out to the cab.
"Rollo," said Mr. George, "did not you know it was wrong to give money to beggars in the streets?"
"Yes," said Rollo; "but this time I could not resist the temptation, she looked so piteously at her poor little baby."
Mr. George said no more, but took his seat, and the cab drove on.
"Uncle George," said Rollo, after a little pause, "I saw some very pretty gold chains in a window near here; there was one just long enough for my watch. Do you think I had better buy it?"
"What was the price of it?" asked Mr. George.
"It was marked one pound fifteen shillings," said Rollo; "that is about eight dollars and a half."
"It must be a very small chain," said Mr. George.
"It was small," said Rollo; "just right for my watch and me."
"Well, I don't know," said Mr. George, in a hesitating tone, as if he were considering whether the purchase would be wise or not. "You have got money enough."
"Yes," said Rollo; "besides my credit on your book, I have got in my pocket two sovereigns and two pennies, and, besides that, your due bill for four shillings."
"Yes," said Mr. George, "I must pay that due bill."
What Rollo meant by a due bill was this: Mr. George was accustomed to keep his general account with Rollo in a book which he carried with him for this purpose, and from time to time he would pay Rollo such sums as he required in sovereigns, charging the amount in the book. It often happened, however, in the course of their travels, that Mr. George would have occasion to borrow some of this money of Rollo for the purpose of making change, or Rollo would borrow small sums of Mr. George. In such cases the borrower would give to the lender what he called a due bill, which was simply a small piece of paper with the sum of money borrowed written upon [Pg 102]it, and the name of the borrower, or his initials, underneath. When Mr. George gave Rollo such a due bill for change which he had borrowed of him, Rollo would keep the due bill in his purse with his money until Mr. George, having received a supply of change, found it convenient to pay it.
The due bill which Rollo referred to in the above conversation was as follows:—
Mr. George adopted the plan of giving or receiving a due bill in all cases where he borrowed money of Rollo or lent money to him, in order to accustom Rollo to transact all his business in a regular and methodical manner, and to avoid the possibility of any mistake or any difference of opinion between them in respect to the question whether the money was actually borrowed, or whether it had not been repaid. I strongly recommend to all the readers of this book to adopt some such plan as this in all their pecuniary transactions with others, whether they are great or small, and to adhere to it very rigidly. This rule is especially important when the parties having pecuniary transactions with each other are friends; and the [Pg 103]more intimate their friendship is, the more important is this rule.
It is true, it would not be polite and proper for you to ask for such a memorandum of a friend to whom you casually lend some small sum, but you can always offer it when you borrow; and in all cases, where you have frequent dealings of this kind with any person, you can agree upon this plan beforehand, as a general rule.
But let us return to Rollo and the watch chain.
"Well," said Mr. George, after some hesitation, "I am by no means sure that it would not be a good plan for you to buy the watch chain. A gold chain is an article of permanent and intrinsic value. It will last a very long time. Perhaps you would get as much enjoyment from it as from any thing you could buy with that money. At any rate, the money is your own; you have saved it from your travelling expenses by your prudence and economy; and it is right for you to expend it as you take a fancy. If you take a fancy to the chain, I do not know why it would not be a good purchase."
"I think I should like the chain very much," said Rollo.
"Let us see," said Mr. George, in a musing sort of tone; "there is another way to look at these questions. What is the interest of eight dollars and a half?"
"I don't know," said Rollo. "How much is it?"
"Let me see," said Mr. George; "seven times six are forty-two—say fifty; and then we must add something for wear, and tear, and depreciation. I should think," he added, after a moment's reflection, "that the chain would cost you about sixty cents a year, as long as you keep it."
"How so?" said Rollo.
"Why, the money that you will pay for it will produce about fifty cents a year, if you keep it at interest; and of course, if you buy a chain with the money, you stop all that income."
"Yes," said Rollo, "I understand that for the fifty cents: and now for the other ten. You said sixty cents."
"Why, the chain will be gradually wearing out all the time, while you use it," said Mr. George, "and I estimated that it would lose about ten cents a year. That makes up the sixty."
"Yes," said Rollo, "I suppose it would."
"You see," continued Mr. George, "that the little links and rings, where the chief wear comes, will gradually become thinner and thinner, and at last the time would come when you could not use it for a chain any longer. You would then have to sell it for old gold; and for that purpose it would not be worth, probably, more than half what you now give for it.
"So you see," continued Mr. George, "you would lose the interest on the money you pay for the chain every year; and besides that, you would lose a portion of the chain itself. When you have money safely invested at interest, you have the interest every year, and at the end of the term you have your capital restored to you entire. But in such a purchase as this, you are sure, in the end, to sink a portion of it by wear, and tear, and depreciation; and this circumstance ought always to be taken into account."
"Yes," said Rollo; "that is very true."
"Making such a calculation as this," continued Mr. George, "will often help us determine whether it is wise or not to make a purchase. The question is, whether you would get as much pleasure from the possession and use of this chain as sixty cents a year would come to."
"Yes," said Rollo; "I think I should."
"That would be five cents a month," said Mr. George.
"Yes," repeated Rollo; "I think I should."
"And one cent and a quarter a week," added Mr. George. "Do you think you would get pleasure enough out of your chain to come to a cent and a quarter a week?"
"Yes," said Rollo, confidently; "I am sure I should."
"I think it very likely you would," said Mr. George; "and if so, it would be a wise purchase."
It was not necessary absolutely that Rollo should obtain his uncle George's approval of any plan which he might form for the expenditure of his surplus funds, since it was Mr. Holiday's plan that Rollo should spend his money as he chose, provided only that he did not buy any thing that would either be injurious or dangerous to himself, or a source of annoyance to others. Now, in respect to the chain, Rollo knew very well himself that it was not liable to either of these objections, and that he was consequently at liberty to purchase it if he thought best. In the conversation, therefore, described above, his object was not so much to obtain his uncle's consent that he should make the purchase as to avail himself of his uncle's opinion and judgment in the case, in order to enable him to judge wisely himself.
"I think," said he, at length, in announcing to his uncle his decision, "that it will be a good plan for me to buy the chain; but I will not be in haste about it. I will wait a day or two. I may possibly see something else that I shall like better."
Mr. George and Rollo, just before they reached St. Paul's, had a very unexpected addition made to their party. The person was no other than Rollo's mother.
Rollo's father and mother had come from Paris to London the day before, though Rollo had not expected them so soon as this. It might have been supposed that in making the tour they would keep in company with Mr. George and Rollo all the time; but this was not the plan which they adopted. Mr. Holiday's health was still quite feeble, and he wished to travel in a very quiet and easy manner. Mr. George and Rollo, on the other hand, were full of life and spirits. They wished to go every where, and to see every thing, and had very little fear of either fatigue or exposure.
"It will be better, therefore," said Mr. Holiday, "that we should act independently of each other. You may go your way, and we will go [Pg 108]ours. We shall meet occasionally, and then you can relate us your adventures."
In accordance with this plan, Rollo's father and mother remained in Paris a few days after Mr. George and Rollo had left that city; and now they had just arrived in London. Jane came with them. And now it happened, by a very remarkable coincidence, that Mr. George and Rollo met them in St. Paul's Churchyard when they were going to visit the cathedral.
St. Paul's Churchyard is a street. It surrounds the yard in which St. Paul's stands, and is bordered on the outer side by ranges of magnificent shops and houses. Thus the street has buildings on one side, and the monstrous iron palisade which forms the enclosure of St. Paul's on the other, all around it.
The yard in which St. Paul's stands is in general of an oval form, though not regularly so. One side curves a great deal, while the other side is nearly straight. The street, of course, corresponds with the outline of the yard, being nearly straight on one side of the church, and quite of a crescent form on the other—being shaped thus somewhat like a bow. They call the curved side of the street the Bow, and the straight side the String. The Bow is on the south side of the church, and the String is on the north side.
Some of the most splendid shops in London are situated in this street, particularly in the part of it called the String. There are shops for the sale of books and engravings, of millinery of all kinds, of laces and embroideries of every sort, of caps and bonnets, and of silver plate and jewelry. It seems a little strange to the visitor to see so great a display of such vanities as these in a street called a Churchyard; but there are a great many such apparent inconsistencies between the names and uses of the streets in London.
It was in St. Paul's Churchyard that Rollo met his mother. The cab which he and his uncle were in had stopped opposite the great gate which led to the church. Rollo stepped out first; and while he was waiting for his uncle George, he saw his mother just coming out of one of the shops on the other side.
"Why, uncle George!" said he; "there's mother!"
So saying, he ran across the street to meet his mother.
Mrs. Holiday was overjoyed to see Rollo coming; so was Jennie, who was sitting all the time in the carriage with Mr. Holiday. After some conversation on other subjects, Rollo told his mother that he and Mr. George were going to see St. Paul's.
"I might go too," said his mother.
"Yes, mother!" said Rollo, eagerly. "Do, mother!"
"I would go," said Mr. Holiday. "It will be a very good opportunity for you—the best you will have, in fact; for I shall not be able to go up so many stairs myself. Jennie can go home with me."
Jennie did not like this part of the proposal, but seemed very desirous to go with her mother.
"Why, Jennie!" said her mother. "I do not think you could climb so high. I don't think you know how high it is."
"Ah, yes, mother," said Rollo, "she can climb very well; besides, I can help her if she gets tired."
It was finally agreed that Jennie should go too; and so the whole party, excepting Mr. Holiday, walked across the street and began to ascend the great flight of circular steps which led to the door in the north transept of the church, that being the door at which strangers and visitors are usually admitted.
On entering the church, they found themselves ushered into an interior so vast in extent, and so lofty in height, as to overwhelm them with wonder. They walked along over the smooth stone pavement towards the centre of the cross, and there stood and looked up into the dome, which [Pg 111]swelled in a vast concave far up over their heads, like a sky of stone. The ceiling of the dome was divided into compartments, which were covered with paintings. These paintings had become a good deal faded and decayed; and on one side of the dome, nearly two hundred feet above where the party was standing, there was a platform hanging in the air, with workmen and artists upon it repainting the figures. From the place where he now stood, however, Rollo could only see the under side of this platform and some of the ropes by which it was suspended.
"Do you see that gallery," said Mr. George to Rollo, pointing upwards, "which runs all around just under the dome?"
"I see a small railing, or balustrade," said Mrs. Holiday.
"There is a gallery there," said Mr. George, "eight or ten feet wide, though we do not see the width of it very distinctly here. And the railing, or balustrade, which looks so small here, we shall find is not very small when we come to get up to it."
"Can we get up there?" said Mrs. Holiday.
"Yes," replied Mr. George. "That must be the celebrated whispering gallery."
"How do you know?" asked Rollo.
"I have read descriptions of it in books," said [Pg 112]Mr. George. "They said that the whispering gallery was a gallery passing entirely around the centre of the church, over the choir, and just under the dome; and so that must be it. All that is the dome that rises above it."
"Let us go up there, then," said Rollo.
The party walked about the floor of the church a few minutes longer, though they found but little to interest them in what they saw except the vastness of the enclosed interior and the loftiness of the columns and walls. There were several colossal monuments standing here and there; but in general the church had a somewhat empty and naked appearance. The immense magnitude, however, of the spaces which the party traversed, and the lofty heights of the columns, and arches, and ceilings which they looked up to above, filled them with wonder.
At length, near the foot of a staircase, in a sort of corner, they found a man in a little office, whose business it was to sell to visitors tickets of admission, to enable them to view such parts of the church, especially those situated in the upper regions of it, as it would not be proper to leave entirely open to the public. For these places attendants are required, to guard the premises from injury, as well as to show the visitors the way they are to go and to explain to them [Pg 113]what they see; and for this a fee is charged, according in tariff, which is set down in the guide books thus:——
COST OF ADMISSION.
|Whispering, Stone, and Golden Galleries,||0 6|
|Library, Great Bell, Geometrical Staircase, and Model Room,||0 6|
|Crypt and Nelson's Monument,||0 6|
Mr. George knew in general that this was the arrangement for showing the church to visitors; but he had not examined the tariff particularly to know what the prices were which were charged for the several parts of the show. He did not care particularly about this, however, for he meant to see all.
Accordingly, when the party came up to the little office where the man sold the tickets, and the man asked them how much they wished to see, Mr. George turned to Mrs. Holiday, saying,—
"We wish to see all, I suppose, do we not?"
"Yes," said Mrs. Holiday; "let us see all there is to be seen."
"Then it will be nine shillings and sixpence," said the ticket man; "three shillings and twopence each for the three. I shall not charge for [Pg 114]the young lady. I presume, moreover," he added, with a smile, "that she will not wish to go up into the ball."
So Mr. George took out his purse, and Mrs. Holiday took out hers at the same time.
"I will pay," said Mr. George.
"We will all pay," said Mrs. Holiday. "The easiest way to keep our accounts is for each to pay as we go."
So Mrs. Holiday, Mr. George, and Rollo paid each three shillings and twopence, and the man gave them a variety of tickets in return.
"Those," said he, "are for the gallery," pointing out the tickets at the same time as he presented them; "and those are for the ball. These are for the crypt. You keep these till you get down stairs."
Rollo wondered what the crypt could be; but, as he considered the whole party as now under Mr. George's guidance, he thought he would not inquire, but wait until he should see.
There are several different staircases in St. Paul's by which one can ascend to the upper portions of the edifice. Our party began immediately to mount by one which commenced very near to the place where they had bought their tickets. The stairs were circular, being built in a sort of round tower which stood in the angle of the cross.
Rollo took Jane by the hand and went before, while Mr. George and Mrs. Holiday followed.
"Round and round, round and round, higher and higher above the ground," said Rollo to Jennie.
"Go slowly," said Mr. George, "or else you will get very tired before you get to the top."
"The stairs are very easy," said Mrs. Holiday.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "they are very easy indeed."
The stairs were, indeed, very easy—the steps being very broad, and the "rise," as it is called, of each one being very small. Rollo and Jennie went on very gayly; and, as they kept about half a turn, of the staircase in advance, they were generally just out of sight of Mr. George and Mrs. Holiday, who followed somewhat more slowly behind. Jennie would have been afraid to have gone thus out of sight of her mother and uncle were it not that she could hear their voices all the time close at hand, and their footsteps, also, on the stairs.
From time to time, as our party ascended, they met other parties coming down. When there were children in these descending parties, they tripped along very lightly in coming down; but Rollo and Jennie soon found themselves growing quite tired. [Pg 116]So they stopped to rest. After stopping a moment, Rollo's mind seemed to swing, like a pendulum, to the opposite extreme.
"Let us run, Jennie," said he, "and then we shall get up quicker."
"No, it will tire us more to run," replied Jennie.
"But then we shall get up all the quicker," said Rollo, "and so it will not make any difference. We may as well work hard and have it over quick as to work not so hard and have it last a great while."
"Well," said Jennie, "then let us run."
This reasoning of Rollo's was very specious and plausible, but it was very erroneous notwithstanding; for it is found by experience that the whole amount of fatigue which results from doing any given piece of work is by no means the same when it is done quickly as when it is done slowly. A horse, for example, if you allow him to jog along slowly, at the rate of three or four miles an hour, can travel forty miles a day, for months at a time, without growing thin; but if you drive him at the rate of eight miles an hour, he cannot stand more than ten miles a day for any long period. That is, he can do four times as much in amount, with the same degree of fatigue, if you allow him to do it slowly.
It is curious that the case is precisely the same with a steam engine. A steamer can cross the Atlantic with a very much smaller supply of coal, if she goes slowly, than if she goes fast. One might imagine that it would take just twice as much coal to go ten miles an hour as would be required to go five; but in reality it takes more than four times as much—the higher rate of speed requiring a very disproportionate expenditure of power.
If, therefore, you have a long way to walk, or a high ascent to climb, and are afraid that your strength may not hold out;—
Or if you have a horse to drive a long journey, and are afraid that he will tire out before he gets to the end of it;—
Or if you have a steamer to propel, and are not sure that you have coal enough to last to the end of the voyage;—
In these, and in all similar cases, the more slowly you go, the farther the force you have will carry you before it becomes exhausted.
Rollo and Jennie went on running for a few minutes, as they ascended the staircase, round and round; but their strength was soon spent by this violent exertion, and they sat down on the stairs entirely exhausted. And yet they had not come up very high. The whole height of this first [Pg 118]staircase, which the party were now ascending, was only about as much as a house four stories high; whereas the whole height of the church, to the very top, is equal to that of a house—if such a house there could be—forty stories high. So that thus far they had come not one tenth part of the way to the top.
While Rollo and Jennie were sitting on the stairs, resting from their fatigue, they began to hear, after a time, the voices of Mr. George and Mrs. Holiday, ascending.
"Are we nearly at the top?" said Rollo.
"I don't know," said Mr. George. "Stay till you get rested, and then follow on."
So saying, Mr. George and Mrs. Holiday passed by, ascending the stairs very slowly, step by step, as they had begun.
Rollo and Jennie were not willing to be left behind; so they followed immediately; and after a few more turns they found themselves, to their great joy, at the top of the staircase. They came out in a large garret-like looking room, which was over the south transept of the church. You can see the end of the south transept in the engraving. It is the part which you see projecting from the main body of the church on the right, with a circular portico leading to it. There is a similar circular portico, with circular steps outside, [Pg 119]at the entrance to the north transept, on the other side of the church, which, however, is not shown in the engraving.
The party passed under a great archway which led towards the centre of the church, and presently they came to another long and garret-like looking hall, or corridor, with great arches of masonry passing over it from one side to the other at regular intervals along its whole length, like the beams and rafters of wood in an ordinary garret. This great vacant space was directly over one of the side aisles of the church.[D]
"What a monstrous long garret!" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "and there is something very curious about this garret, as you call it, which I will explain to you some other time."
Rollo was very willing to have this explanation postponed; for his attention was just now attracted [Pg 121]by some curious-looking tools, consisting of axes, hammers, and saws, which were arranged in a very symmetrical manner, in a sort of circle, on the wall near him. There were two or three men in this part of the building, and one of them came forward to show this party which way they were to go. Rollo asked this man what these tools were for. He said they were to be used in case of fire.
The tools were very antique and venerable in their form, and looked as if they might have been hanging where they were untouched for centuries.
"Yes," said Rollo; "and there are some buckets, too, for the same purpose."
So saying, he pointed to a row of buckets which he saw hanging along the wall on the other side.
"Yes," said Jennie; "and there is a little fire engine."
The man who had undertaken to guide them now led the way, and the party followed him, till they came to the clock tower, which is the one that is seen in the engraving in the front of the building, towards the right. Then he conducted them, after passing through various galleries and chambers, to a large and handsome room, with a table and some chairs in the middle of it, and carved bookcases filled with very ancient-looking [Pg 122]books all round the sides. As soon as the party had all entered the room the guide turned round towards them, and, in a very formal and monotonous manner, like a schoolboy reciting a speech which he had committed to memory for a declamation, made the following statement:—
"This room is the library room of the dean and chapter. It is fifty feet long and forty feet wide. The floor is of oak. It is made of two thousand three hundred and seventy-six square pieces, curiously inlaid, without a nail or a peg to fasten them together."
After looking about for a little time in this room, in which, after all, there was nothing very remarkable or interesting except the idea that it was situated in one of the towers of St. Paul's, the party were conducted across the end of the church towards the other tower seen in the engraving; that is, the tower on the left, which is used as a belfry. In passing through from one of these towers to the other, the party traversed a sort of gallery which was built here across the end of the church, and which afforded a very commanding view of the whole interior of the edifice. The whole party stopped a moment in this gallery to look down into the church below. They could [Pg 123]see through the whole length of it, five hundred feet; and Rollo and Jennie were very much amused at the groups of people that were walking about here and there, like mites, on the marble floor. They could see, at a great distance, the place where the transepts crossed the main building; but of course they could not see far into the transepts. In the same manner they could see the beginning of the dome; but they could not see very far up into it, the view being cut off by the vaulted roof of the nave, which was nearer.
After this our party went to see various other curious places in and near these two great towers. One of these places was called the model room, where there is a very large model of a plan for a church which Sir Christopher Wren, the architect who built St. Paul's, first designed. By most good judges, it is thought to be a better design than the one which was finally adopted. There were, besides this, various other curious models and old relics in this room.
The party also went up into the clock tower, by means of a very narrow, steep, and winding staircase, where there was only room for one to go at a time. The steps were of stone, but they were greatly worn away by the footsteps of the thousands of visitors that had ascended them.
There was a woman at the top of the stairs [Pg 124]who had the charge of the clock room. This woman showed the party the wheels of the clock, which were of prodigious magnitude.[E]There were three bells—two that were called the small bells, though they were really very large, and one which was called the large bell. This last, Rollo said, was a monster.
"The small bells," said the woman, pointing up to the bells, which Rollo and Jennie saw far above their heads, in the midst of a maze of beams and rafters, "chime the quarter hours. The great bell strikes the hours, and tolls in case of the death of any member of the royal family."
"I don't see any thing very remarkable about them," said Rollo to his mother. "They are only three common bells."
"No," replied Mrs. Holiday, "the things themselves that are to be seen are nothing. It is only the curious places that we climb up to to see them, and the thought that we are in the veritable old St. Paul's."
After having talked some little time with the woman about the clock and the bells, and about the visitors that come from day to day to see [Pg 125]them, the party descended again, by the dark and narrow stairway, to the great corridor by which they came to this part of the church, in order to visit the parts of the edifice connected with the dome and cupola, which are, in some respects, more interesting than all the rest.
The dome of St. Paul's rises above the centre of the church, over the intersection of the arms of the cross. There are, in fact, two domes—an interior and an exterior one; and there are three galleries connected with them which strangers visit. The first of these galleries is an interior one. It passes round the church on the inside, just at the base of the interior dome. Our party were going first to visit this gallery.
They accordingly walked back through the whole length of the long corridor described at the close of the last chapter, and then turned in towards the centre of the building through a sort of passage way leading to a door which was pointed out to them by the guide. On entering this door, they found themselves ushered at once into the whispering gallery. This they found was a vast circular gallery, extending all round the interior of the church, directly under the dome.
"Ah," said Mr. George, "here we are in the whispering gallery!"
There was a man standing just inside the door. He accosted the party as soon as they came in.
"Ladies and gentlemen," said he, "this is the whispering gallery. If you will pass round to the other side of it, and put your ears against the wall, I will show you the effect."
So, Mr. George leading the way, and the others following, they all passed round the gallery towards the other side. The gallery was not very wide, the space being only sufficient for two or three persons to walk abreast. There was a high balustrade on the edge of it, and on the other side a continuous seat against the wall. First Rollo and Jennie, running forward a little way, sat down on the seat to try it. Then, going forward again a little in advance of Mr. George and Mrs. Holiday, they stopped to look over the balustrade. Rollo could look over it down upon the floor of the church far below. Jennie was not tall enough to look over the balustrade, and so she looked through.
"There!" said Rollo to Jennie, pointing down; "there's the place where we stood when we looked up to this whispering gallery at the time we first came in."
The party went on until they had walked half [Pg 128]round the gallery and were exactly opposite the man who was standing at the door where they had entered. Here Mr. George stopped and sat down upon the seat.
"Come," said he, "we must all sit down on this seat and put our ears against the wall."
Mrs. Holiday and the children did as Mr. George had directed, and listened. The man at [Pg 129]the door, then putting his mouth to the wall, began to speak in a low tone,—almost in a whisper, in fact,—saying something about the building of the church; and though he was at a great distance from them,—so far, that if he had been in the open air it would have been necessary for him to have called out in a very loud voice to make them hear,—yet every word and syllable of his whisper was distinctly audible, the sound being brought round in some mysterious manner along the smooth surface of the wall.
"It is very extraordinary!" said Mrs. Holiday.
"It is, indeed!" said Mr. George.
Rollo himself, however, did not seem to be so much interested in this acoustic phenomenon as his uncle had been. His attention was attracted to the spectacle of the workmen, who were employed in repainting the inner surface of the dome, and whom he could now see at their work on the staging which he had looked up to from below. One side of the staging—the side towards the wall—was supported by a cornice, which it rested upon there. The other side—the side that was towards the centre of the dome—was suspended by ropes and pulleys, which came down through the lantern from a vast height above.
There was a ladder, the foot of which rested [Pg 130]on this staging, the top of it being placed against the surface of the dome above. There was a man upon this ladder, near the top of it, at work on the ceiling, and two or three assistants on the staging at the foot of it.
Rollo and Jennie gazed some time with great wonder and awe at this spectacle, picturing to their imaginations the scene which would ensue if the ropes from the lantern above, by which the staging was suspended, were to break and let the staging, the ladders, and the men all down to the pavement below.
Presently Rollo and Jane, on looking up, found that Mr. George and Mrs. Holiday were going back; so they made haste to follow them. On their way towards the door they met other parties coming in to see the whispering gallery. They themselves went out; and, following the directions of the guide, they began to ascend again, by various intricate and winding staircases, to higher parts of the building still. After ascending to the height of four or five stories more, the party came to another gallery, which was, however, outside of the church instead of within it. This outer gallery is called the stone gallery; it is so called to distinguish it from another outer gallery, still higher up, called the golden gallery. You can see the places of both these galleries by [Pg 131]looking at the engraving, as they are both outside of the building. The stone gallery is below the dome. You can see the balustrade surrounding it, just above the head of the statue which stands on the pediment in the centre of the building. There is a row of columns above this gallery which supports an entablature above them, that forms the base of the dome.
As soon as the party came out into the open air they began to realize how high they had ascended; for they found, on looking down into the neighboring streets, that the tops of the chimneys of the six-story houses there were far below them. And yet, as you will see by looking at the engraving, they had not, thus far, ascended more than half way to the top of the building.
The party walked round the stone gallery, looking off over the roofs of the houses in the city on every side. They could see the river, the bridges, vast ranges of warehouses, and long streets, with tiny omnibuses and carts creeping slowly along them, and men, like mites, moving to and fro along the sidewalks. They could see tall chimneys, too, pouring forth columns of smoke, and steeples and spires of churches, far below them.
"How high we are!" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mrs. Holiday; "I am high enough. I do not wish to go any higher."
In fact, it was somewhat frightful to be so high. It even made Mr. George dizzy to look down from so vast an elevation.
"Are we above, or below, the dome?" said Mrs. Holiday.
"We are above the inner dome," said Mr. George, "but below the outer one."
"I thought they were both the same," said Mrs. Holiday. "I thought the inner dome was the under side of the outer one."
"It ought to be," said Mr. George; "but it is not so in St. Paul's. There is a great space between, filled with masonry and carpentry."
Here Mr. George led the way up a flight of stone steps that ascended from the gallery to a door leading into the interior of the church again. When they had all entered they looked up and saw above and around them the commencement of a perfect maze of beams, piers, walls, buttresses, and braces, all blackened by the smoky London atmosphere, and worn and corroded by time. What was near of this immense complication was dimly seen by the faint light which made its way through the narrow openings which were left here and there in nooks and corners; [Pg 133]but the rest was lost in regions of darkness and gloom, into which the eye strove in vain to penetrate.
This was the space between the inner and the outer dome. The walls which were seen were part of an immense cone of masonry which was built in the centre to sustain the whole structure. The lantern above, with the ball and cross surmounting it, rests on the top of this cone. The outer dome is formed around the sides of it without. This outer dome is made of wood; and the immense system of beams and braces which our party saw in the darkness around them were parts of the framework by which it is supported.
As our party came into this frightful-looking den of darkness and terror, they found themselves at the foot of a steep, but pretty broad and straight, flight of steps, that seemed to lead up into the midst of the obscure and gloomy maze, though the eye could follow it only for a short distance.
Mrs. Holiday hung back. She was evidently disinclined to go any farther.
"It is not worth while for us to go any farther is it?" said she, timidly.
"That is just as you please," said Mr. George. "It is rather frightful, I admit."
"Ah, yes, mother," said Rollo; "let us go up a little higher."
"No," said Jennie; "I don't want to go up any more. It frightens me."
Mrs. Holiday would have made great efforts to overcome her fears, out of regard to Rollo's wishes, if he had been there alone; but balanced between his desires to proceed and Jennie's fears, she seemed to be at a loss. She stood at the foot of the stairs, looking anxious and undecided.
Rollo began to go up the staircase.
"Take care, Rollo!" said his mother.
"There is no danger," said Rollo. "There is an excellent railing. I am only going up a little way to see how far these straight stairs go.
"I can see the top!" said he again, presently. "It is only a little way, and there is a good broad landing here. Come, Jennie! come up!"
"Would you go?" said Mrs. Holiday, looking to Mr. George.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "if you feel inclined. My rule always is, to allow the lady to do just as she pleases in going into places where she is afraid."
"I wish other gentlemen would always adopt that rule," said Mrs. Holiday.
"Do you think there is any danger?" asked Mrs. Holiday.
"No," said Mr. George; "I am sure there cannot be any danger. The way up here is as public as almost any part of London; and people are going up and coming down continually, and no accidents are ever heard of. In fact, we know that the authorities would not admit the public to such a place until they had first guarded it at every point, so as to make it perfectly safe."
"Then," said Rollo, who had stood all this time listening on the stairs, "why don't you advise mother to come right up?"
"Because," said Mr. George, "she might suffer a great deal from fear, though she might not meet with any actual harm, or even fall into any real danger. I don't wish to have her suffer, even from fear."
"We might go up to the top of this first flight," said Mrs. Holiday. "I believe I can see the top of it."
Mr. George found, on looking up, that he could distinctly see the landing at the top of this first flight of steps, his eyes having now become somewhat accustomed to the dim light of the place. He fully approved of the plan of going up this flight, and he offered Mrs. Holiday his arm to assist her in the ascent.
"No," said she; "I would rather that you [Pg 136]would help Jennie. I will take hold of the baluster, if you will lead Jennie."
This arrangement was adopted, and the whole party soon reached the first landing in safety.
In making this ascent, Mrs. Holiday found her fears diminishing rather than increasing, which was owing partly to the fact that, as her eyes became accustomed to the place, she began to discern the objects around her; so she went timidly on, Mr. George preceding her, and encouraging her from time to time by cheering words, up a series of staircases, which twisted and turned by the most devious windings and zigzags, wherever there appeared to be the most convenient openings for them among the timbers and the masonry. The party stopped from time to time to rest. At every such halt Mrs. Holiday seemed half discouraged, and paused to consider anew the question, whether she should go on any farther, or return. Mr. George left her entirely at liberty every time to decide the question just as she pleased; and she always finally concluded to go on.
Thus they continued to ascend for more than a hundred feet above the stone gallery; and at length they came out upon another outside gallery, which is formed around the top of the dome, at the foot of what is called the lantern. You [Pg 137]can see the place of this gallery in the engraving; though it is so high that the gallery itself, though surrounded by a massive balustrade, can scarcely be discerned. A person standing there would be wholly invisible. This is called the golden gallery. It receives that name from the fact that it is surrounded by a gilded balustrade.
Of course the view from this upper gallery was far more extended than the one below; but our party did not enjoy it much, it made them so giddy to look down; and although the gilded balustrade was extremely massive, and was built into the stonework in the firmest and most solid manner, Mrs. Holiday, and even Mr. George, were afraid to go near it; and the idea of leaning upon it, to look over, seemed perfectly frightful.
There were some young men in the gallery when our party came up. They were just preparing to continue their ascent, under the charge of a guide, up to the cupola. The guide seemed desirous of taking all who were going in one party. So he turned to Mr. George and said,—
"Do your party wish to go up into the ball?"
Mr. George looked towards Mrs. Holiday.
Mrs. Holiday was very unwilling to prevent Mr. George from ascending as high as he desired, but she was afraid to go up any farther herself, and she was unwilling to stay where she was with [Pg 138]the children while he should be gone. It seemed as if the whole of the lofty mass on which she was standing was toppling, ready to fall, and that the first breath of wind that should come would blow it down, cupola, dome, and galleries, all together.
"How much farther is it to the top?" said she, timidly.
"A hundred feet," said the guide.
Mrs. Holiday looked more alarmed than ever.
"A hundred feet!" exclaimed Mr. George. "Why, I thought we were nearly at the top; and yet there are a hundred feet more! A hundred feet is equal to a house ten or twelve stories high!
"I don't know that it is worth while for us to go up any higher," continued Mr. George, speaking to Mrs. Holiday, "unless you wish it."
"No," said Mrs. Holiday; "I am sure I don't wish to go any higher."
"Very well," said Mr. George to the guide; "we will not go."
So the guide set out with the young men alone.
"There cannot be any pleasure in it, I am sure," said Mr. George.
"No," said Mrs. Holiday; "there is more pain than pleasure in coming up here!"
"Nor any advantage, that I can see," added Mr. George.
"Except to be able to say," continued Mrs. Holiday, "when we get back to America, that we have been up into the ball."
"Yes," said Mr. George; "and that, I think, is rather a doubtful advantage for a lady. The class of ladies that like to boast of having gone where other ladies seldom go are generally of rather a masculine character; and I don't think they gain a very desirable kind of reputation by performing such exploits."
Whether Mr. George was correct or not in this reasoning, it had the effect of relieving Mrs. Holiday very considerably of any feeling of disappointment she might have experienced in not having ascended to the highest accessible point in the building; and so, after pausing a few minutes in the golden gallery to take hurried glances at the surrounding views and to recover breath, the party went back to the inside of the building and commenced the descent. They stopped occasionally to sit down and rest on the benches which they found placed at convenient distances, in various nooks and corners, in the course of the descent. They encountered several other parties coming up; and sometimes they were passed by parties who were going down, and who went faster than they. [Pg 140]One of these parties consisted of two young men. Mr. George asked them if they went up into the ball. They said they did. He asked them if the ascent was very steep and difficult.
"Yes," said one of the young men; "it made my limbs quake, I can assure you."
"Did you actually go into the ball?" said Mr. George.
"Yes," said the young man.
"How large is the space inside?" asked Rollo.
"Large enough to hold eight men," said he. "There were six in it when we were there, and there was room for two more."
If you turn to the engraving, and look at the ball under the cross as it is represented there, you will be surprised to think that it is large enough to contain eight men; but such is the fact. It is its immense height from the ground that makes it appear so small.
Rollo and Jennie began to count the steps as they came down, and they went on very patiently in this work until they got to between one hundred and sixty and one hundred and seventy; and here, in some way or other, they lost their reckoning, and so gave up the attempt. Rollo, however, afterwards found from his guide book that the whole number of steps from the ground to the ball was six hundred and sixteen.
The party at length reached the floor of the church again in safety. They then went down to see what was called the crypt, which they found to be nothing more nor less than a range of subterranean chambers, precisely like the cellars of a great house, only they were filled with tombs, and monuments, and old effigies of dead crusaders, some standing up and some lying down, some new and some old, some whole and others broken to pieces. The whole place was damp, chilly, and disagreeable; and the party were very glad to escape from it and to get back to the light of day.
"What do you suppose that man is doing upon that ladder?" said Rollo to Mr. George.
Rollo and Mr. George were walking together in one of the streets at the West End, near St. James's Palace, when Rollo asked this question, on the morning of the day after they paid their visit to St. Paul's. The man on the ladder was placing some lamps on a frame over the door of a large and beautiful mansion, as if for an illumination. The lamps were disposed in such a manner as to form a great star, with the letters "V. R." on a very large scale, one on each side of it.
"The V. R. stands for Victoria Regina," said Mr. George; "that is, Victoria Queen."
"Then it must be that they are going to have an illumination in honor of the queen," rejoined Rollo. "I have seen two more of such frames putting up before this."
On going along a little farther, Rollo pointed out another house to Mr. George where lamps [Pg 143]were arranged for an illumination; and then, presently, another. Mr. George accordingly stopped to ask a policeman what it meant.
"It is the queen's birthday," said the policeman; "and this evening they illuminate the houses."
"I'm glad of that," said Rollo. "We will come out and see; won't we, uncle George?"
The part of the town where Mr. George and Rollo were walking at this time—the vicinity of St. James's Square—is the region occupied by the palaces and mansions of some of the higher nobility of England. These residences are built in a very open manner, standing, many of them, apart from each other, and being in the midst of parks, gardens, terraces, and pleasure grounds, which give to the views that are presented to the eye of the stranger in walking among them a most enchanting variety. As Mr. George and Rollo passed along the streets among these residences, they soon began to observe other marks of excitement besides the illuminations. They saw unusual numbers of well-dressed people walking along the sidewalks; and at length, on turning a corner, they came suddenly into a street where the margin of the sidewalk, for a long distance, was lined with crowds of people,—men, women, and children,—who seemed to be waiting for [Pg 144]something to pass by. They were, in fact, waiting to see the queen.
As has already been said, it was the queen's birthday; and it is the custom for the queen, on her birthday, to hold what is called "a drawing room," in which she receives the calls and congratulations of the nobility of England, the foreign ministers resident in London, and of such strangers as are of sufficient distinction, in respect to their wealth, their rank, or their fame, to entitle them to the honor of being presented to her majesty. The queen does not receive these visits in Buckingham Palace, which is the principal place of her residence in London, but in St. James's Palace, which is an older edifice, formerly the residence of the royal family, but now, since Buckingham Palace was built, reserved for official and state purposes and occasions. St. James's Palace is a large and irregularly-shaped building, of brick. It has nothing special to distinguish it from the other buildings that surround it, and which, in fact, some of them, seem to be so connected with it, by courts, and passages, and wings, and arcades, that it is difficult to tell where the palace begins or ends. In fact, no one would suppose that it was a palace at all were it not for the soldiers, in red uniforms, [Pg 145]which are to be seen at all times walking to and fro, or standing sentry, before their little boxes, at every door and gateway.
Buckingham Palace, on the other hand, is farther out of town. It stands by itself, on the margin of one of the immense parks for which London is so famous—or, rather, on the margin of two of them. Before it is St. James's Park, with its green fields and its winding walks, its groves and copses of trees and shrubbery, its beds and borders of flowers, and above all its beautiful little lake, with gayly-painted boats to sail upon it, and flocks of ducks, and geese, and swans, of every form and color, swimming in all directions over the surface of the water. On the side of it is the Green Park—a broad expanse of the smoothest and richest green, intersected with drives and walks, all crowded with promenaders. Behind the palace is a large enclosure, which contains the private gardens of the palace itself. These gardens are planted and adorned in the most magnificent manner; but they are guarded on every side by a very high wall, and by a continuous line of trees, which bear a very dense and lofty mass of foliage, so that the public can never see what is in them.
Here the queen resides when she is in town, going only to the ancient palace of St. James to [Pg 146]attend meetings of her cabinet council, to hold drawing rooms and levees, and to be present at other great ceremonies of state. Whenever occasions occur on which her majesty is expected to proceed from Buckingham Palace to St. James's, great numbers of people usually assemble in the streets between to see the royal procession pass by.
Mr. George, having learned by inquiry what it was that the people were waiting to see, determined that he and Rollo would wait too. So they took their places in a convenient position, near a lamppost, and waited for her majesty's coming.
They had not been there long before a great movement among the crowd indicated that the royal retinue was in sight; and a moment afterwards some horsemen, elegantly dressed and caparisoned, came rapidly on, followed by a train of two or three carriages very elegantly decorated, and with servants in splendid liveries before and behind, and finally by other horsemen, who brought up the rear. The whole cortége went by so rapidly that Rollo could scarcely distinguish any thing in detail. It passed before his eyes like a gorgeous vision, leaving on his mind only confused images of nodding plumes, beautiful horses, gay footmen and coachmen clothed in [Pg 147]the gayest colors, and carriages plain and simple in style, but inexpressibly elegant and graceful in their forms and in their motions.
There was a moment's pause after the cortége went by, which was, however, broken at length by an exclamation of wonder and delight from Rollo.
"Hi—yi!" said he. "I should like to be the queen, uncle George!"
"Should you?" said Mr. George.
"Yes," said Rollo; "or else one of the queen's soldiers, to ride on such elegant horses as those."
As soon as the cortége had passed, the crowd began immediately to disperse; and yet they did not go away at once, but seemed to linger along the sidewalks to gaze at the various single carriages which from time to time were passing by. These carriages were all very elegant in form and equipment, and had servants in gay liveries mounted upon them before and behind, and they were often preceded and followed by outriders. These equipages, as they passed to and fro along the street, seemed strongly to attract the attention of the bystanders. The children, particularly, stopped to gaze upon each one of them, as it came by, with countenances full of wonder and admiration.
"There are a great many carriages out to-day," said Mr. George.
"And splendid carriages they are, too," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "the carriages and horses of the English aristocracy are the finest in the world."
Not very long after this, Mr. George and Rollo, in the course of their walk, happened to come to a place in the street that was opposite to the entrance to St. James's Palace, where the carriages set down the company that were going to attend the drawing room. There were a great many people assembled on the sidewalks all around to see the company as they descended from their carriages. The scene, in fact, presented quite an extraordinary spectacle.
The carriages, which were of every form and size, arrived in very rapid succession, and drove into a sort of court yard to the door where the company entered. There were soldiers and policemen on duty, to prevent the public from going into the yard. The carriages, however, as they drove up to the door, and the company, as they descended from them, could all be seen very distinctly from the street. There were footmen behind most of the carriages, who, as soon as the horses drew up, stepped down from their places [Pg 149]and opened the carriage door. The gentlemen and ladies were all dressed very gorgeously,—the gentlemen being clothed in military uniforms, or robes of office, or in embroidered and gilded court dresses,—each dress being different, apparently, from all the rest. The liveries, too, of the coachmen and of the footmen, and the harnesses and trappings of the horses, were all exceedingly splendid and gay.
Mr. George and Rollo, with some hundreds of other spectators who had assembled to witness the scene, stood gazing upon it with great interest for nearly an hour. When, at length, their curiosity had become in some measure satisfied, they found that they were beginning to be very tired of standing so long; and so they left the place, and walked away slowly towards home.
"What do you mean by aristocracy?" said Rollo to Mr. George, as they walked along. "Does it mean the rich people?"
"No," replied Mr. George, "not exactly that. It means rich people who govern. In the United States there are a great many very rich people; but they are not called an aristocracy, because they do not govern. Every thing there is decided by voting, and every person that is a man has an equal right with all the rest to his vote; at least this is the case in the Northern States. [Pg 150]The rich have no more power than the rest; so they do not constitute an aristocracy in the correct and proper meaning of the term. An aristocracy in any country, strictly speaking, is a class of wealthy people who govern it, or who are at least possessed of exclusive privileges and power."
"Suppose the class of people who govern the country should be poor," asked Rollo; "would that be an aristocracy?"
"Such a thing is impossible in the nature of things," said Mr. George; "for if any one class gets the control of the government of a country, they will of course manage it in such a way as to get the wealth and the honors mainly to themselves. I should do so. You would do so. Every body would do so. It is human nature. Beings that would not do so would not be human."
"And do the English aristocracy manage in that way?" asked Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "The state of the case, as I understand it, is just this: A number of centuries ago, a certain prince from France—or rather from Normandy, which is a part of France—came over to England with an army and conquered the country. His name was William; and on account of his conquest of England, he received the name of William the Conqueror. He [Pg 151]parcelled out a great portion of the land, and all the offices and powers of government, among the nobles and generals that came with him; and they and their descendants have held the property and the power to the present day. Thus England, so far as the great mass of the people are concerned, is to be considered as a conquered country, and now in the possession of the conquerors. It is governed mainly by an aristocracy which descended from, and represents, the generals that conquered it. In fact, the highest honor which any man can claim for himself or his family in England is to say that his ancestors came in with the Conqueror. It is a sort of phrase."
"Yes," said Rollo; "I have heard it."
"You must understand, however," continued Mr. George, "that not all of the present aristocracy have descended from the old generals and nobles that came in with William. Many of those old families have become extinct, and their places have been supplied by new nobles that have been created from time to time by selection from the men that have most distinguished themselves as generals or statesmen. Still these men, however great they may be, never rise really to the same level of rank and consideration with the others. They are called the new nobility, and are always looked down upon, more or less, [Pg 152]by the old families whose ancestors 'came in with the Conqueror.' Now, these nobles and their families, with persons connected with and dependent upon them, govern the land. They control nearly all the elections to Parliament, both in the Lords and in the Commons. They make peace and they make war. They officer the army and the navy. They, or persons whom they appoint, administer the affairs of the church and of the state, and expend the revenues, and they make the laws. In a word, they govern the country."
"And do they govern it well?" asked Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "admirably well—at least so far as preserving order and protecting life and property are concerned. I don't believe that there are any where else in the world, or ever were in any age, thirty millions of people together, who for a hundred years at a time enjoyed so much order, and peace, and general safety as has prevailed in England for the last century. Every thing is admirably regulated throughout all the ranks and departments of society, so far as these things are concerned."
"Then it succeeds very well," said Rollo.
"Yes," replied Mr. George, "so far as efficiency in the government, and order, safety, and peace in the community, are concerned, the plan certainly succeeds admirably well. But there is another [Pg 153]very important point in which it seems to me it does not succeed at all."
"What is that?" asked Rollo.
"Why, in the division of the fruits of the labor," replied Mr. George.
"I don't know what you mean by that," said Rollo.
"Well, I will explain it," said Mr. George. "If we suppose that there are thirty millions of people in Great Britain——"
"Are there thirty millions?" said Rollo.
"Not quite, perhaps," said Mr. George; "but I will take thirty millions for my calculation. Now, out of thirty millions of people, including men, women, and children, of all ages, there will be, according to the usual proportion, about ten millions of men and women able to work, or to superintend work. There are undoubtedly that number now engaged in various industrial and useful occupations in England. Some are cultivating the land, raising wheat, or other kinds of food; some are rearing sheep or cattle; some are digging ore in the mines of Cornwall or Wales; some are raising coal and iron ore from the immense coal and iron mines in the northern part of the island; some are tending the mills and machine shops and manufactories where such vast quantities of goods are made; and some are planning [Pg 154]or superintending these operations, or are performing professional services of various kinds. Now, if we suppose that the average earnings of all these people would be a dollar a day, that would make the amount ten millions a day in all, or three thousand millions of dollars a year, to be divided, in some way or other, among the English people."
"But the workmen in England don't earn a dollar a day, do they?" said Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George; "the laborers and the operatives do not earn so much as that, or at least they are not paid so much; but I have no doubt but that the whole amount produced would average that. In fact, I presume it would average more than that a great deal, and that the whole amount produced by the annual industry of England is a great deal more than three thousand millions of dollars."
"Well," said Rollo, "go on."
"I was going to explain to you, you remember, how government, by an aristocracy in England, operates in respect to the division of the fruits of labor among those who produce them. And the fact is, that it operates in such a manner as to give an immensely large proportion of the value to the aristocratic classes themselves, and an exceedingly small portion to the people who actually do the work.
"The difference is very great," continued Mr. George, "between England and the United States in this respect. Go out into the country in England, or into the manufacturing districts, and follow the people who do the work, when at night they go to their homes, and see what sort of houses they go to. They look picturesque and pretty, perhaps, outside, sometimes; but within they are mere hovels. The man receives only enough for his labor to feed and clothe him for his work. He becomes, therefore, a mere beast of burden, and his home is only a hut to feed and lodge him in.
"But now go to the United States and follow almost any man whom you see at work in the fields in Vermont or New Hampshire, when he goes to his home, and see what you will find. There will be a comfortable house, with several rooms. There will be a little parlor, with a carpet on the floor and books on the table. There will be children coming home from school, and a young woman, dressed like a lady, who has just finished her day's work, and is, perhaps, going in the evening into the village to attend a lecture. The reason of this difference is, as I suppose, that in England the laws and institutions, as the aristocracy have shaped them, are such as to give the men who do the hard work only their food and [Pg 156]clothing and to reserve the rest, under the name of rent, or tithes, or taxes, to themselves and their relatives; whereas, in America, the laws and institutions, as the masses have shaped them, are such as to give the men who do the work a very much larger share of the proceeds of it, so that they can themselves enjoy the comforts and luxuries of life, and can cultivate their minds and educate their children. Thus, in England, you have, on every considerable tract of farming country, villages of laborers, which consist of mere huts, where men live all their lives, without change, almost as beasts of burden; and then, in some beautiful park in the centre, you have a nobleman, who lives in the highest degree of luxury and splendor, monopolizing as it were, in his one castle or hall, the comforts and enjoyments which have been earned by the hundreds of laborers. In America, on the other hand, there is no castle or hall—there is no nobleman; but the profits of the labor are retained by those who perform it, and they are expended in making hundreds of comfortable and well-provided homes."
While Mr. George and Rollo had been holding this conversation, they had been walking along through St. James's Park; and, considering the abstract and unentertaining character of the subject, Rollo had listened quite attentively to [Pg 157]what his uncle had said, only his attention had been somewhat distracted once or twice by the gambols of the beautifully irised ducks that he had seen from time to time on the water as he walked along the margin of it. The conversation was now, however, interrupted by the sound of a trumpet which Rollo heard at a distance, and which he saw, on looking up, proceeded from a troop of horsemen coming out from the Horse Guards. Rollo immediately wished to go that way and see them, and Mr. George consented. As they went along, Mr. George closed his conversation on the English aristocracy by saying,—
"England is a delightful country for noblemen, no doubt, and an aristocratic government will always work very well indeed for the interests of the aristocracy themselves who exercise it, and for the good order and safety, perhaps, of the rest of the community. A great many weak and empty-headed women who come out to England from the great cities in America, and see these grand equipages in London, think what a fine thing it is to have a royal government, and wish that we had one in America; but this is always on the understanding that they themselves are to be the duchesses."
Mr. George was doubtless substantially correct [Pg 158]in his explanation of the opinion which many fashionable ladies in America are led to form in favor of our aristocratic form of government from what they see of the pomp and parade of the English nobility; though, in characterizing such ladies as weak and empty headed women, he was, to say the least, rather severe. In respect to the other question,—that is, how far the immense inequality of the division of the annual production of the Island of Great Britain among the people who produce it, and the consequent extreme poverty of so large a portion of the working classes, is owing to the laws and institutions which the aristocracy themselves have formed,—that is a very grave one. Mr. George thought that it was owing to those laws and institutions, and not to any thing in the natural or physical condition of the country itself, that there was so much abject poverty in Great Britain.
"The soil is as fertile," said he to himself, "the mines are as rich, the machinery is as effective, and there is as much profitable work to be done in England as in America, and I see no reason why the whole amount of value produced in proportion to the producers should not be as great in one country as in the other. Consequently, if some classes obtain more than their share, and others less, the inequality must be the effect of the institutions and laws."
The queen's birthday proved to be an unfortunate day for Rollo, for he met with quite a serious misfortune in the evening while he and Mr. George were out looking at the illuminations. The case was this:—
Rollo had formed a plan for going with Mr. George in the evening to the hotel where his father and mother were lodging, to get Jennie to go out with them to see the illuminations. They had learned from their landlady that the best place to see them was along a certain street called Pall Mall, where there were a great many club houses and other public buildings, which were usually illuminated in a very brilliant manner.[F]
It was after eight o'clock when Mr. George and Rollo went out; and as soon as they came into the street at Trafalgar Square, they saw all around them the indications of an extraordinary and general excitement. The streets were full of people; and in every direction, and at different distances from them, they could see lights gleaming in the air, over the roofs of the houses, or shining brightly upon the heads of the crowd in the street below, in some open space, or at some prominent and conspicuous corner. The current seemed to be setting to the west, towards the region of the club houses and palaces. The lights were more brilliant, too, in that direction. So Rollo, taking hold of his uncle's hand and hurrying him along, said,—
"Come, uncle George! This is the way! They are all lighted up! See!"
For a moment Rollo forgot his cousin Jennie; though the direction in which he was going led, in fact, towards the hotel where she was.
The sidewalk soon became so full that it was impossible to go on any faster than the crowd itself was advancing; and at length, when Mr. George and Rollo got fairly into Pall Mall, and were in the midst of a great blaze of illuminations, which were shining with intense splendor all around them, they were for a moment, in passing [Pg 161]round a corner, completely wedged up by the crowd, so that they could scarcely move hand or foot. In this jam Rollo felt a pressure upon his side near the region of his pocket, which reminded him of his purse; and it immediately occurred to him that it was not quite safe to have money about his person in such a crowd, and that it would be better to give it to his uncle George to keep for him until he should get home.
So he put his hand into his pantaloons pocket to take out his purse; but, to his great dismay, he found that it was gone.
"Uncle George!" said he, in a tone of great consternation, "I have lost my wallet!"
"Are you sure?" said Mr. George, quietly.
Mr. George knew very well that four times out of five, when people think they have lost a purse, or a ring, or a pin, or any other valuable, it proves to be a false alarm.
Rollo, without answering his uncle's question, immediately began to feel in all his other pockets as well as he could in the crowd which surrounded him and pressed upon him so closely. His wallet was nowhere to be found.
"How much was there in it?" asked Mr. George.
"Two pounds and two pennies," said Rollo, "and your due bill for four shillings."
"Are you sure you did not leave it at home?" asked Mr. George.
"Yes," said Rollo. "I have not taken it out since this morning. I looked it over this morning and saw all the money, and I have not had it out since."
"Some people think they are sure when they are not," said Mr. George. "I think you will find it when you go home."
Rollo was then anxious to go home at once and ascertain if his purse was there. All his interest in seeing the illumination was entirely gone. Mr. George made no objection to this; and so, turning off into a side street in order to escape from the crowd, they directed their steps, somewhat hurriedly, towards their lodgings.
"I know we shall not find it there," said Rollo, "for I am sure I had it in my pocket."
"It is possible that we may find it," said Mr. George. "Boys deceive themselves very often about being sure of things. It is one of the most difficult things in the world to know when we are sure. You may have left it in your other pocket, or put it in your trunk, or in some drawer."
"No," said Rollo; "I am sure I put it in this pocket. Besides, I think I felt the robber's hand when he took it. I felt something there, at any [Pg 163]rate; and that reminded me of my purse; and I thought it would be best for me to give it to you. But when I went to feel for it, it was gone."
Mr. George had strong hopes, notwithstanding what Rollo said, that the purse would be found at home; but these hopes were destined to be disappointed. They searched every where when they got home; but the purse was nowhere to be found. They looked in the drawers, in the pockets of other clothes, in the trunk, and all about the rooms. Mr. George was at length obliged to give it up, and to admit that the money was really gone.
Mr. George and Rollo held a long conversation on the subject of the lost money while they were at breakfast the morning after the robbery occurred, in the course of which Mr. George taught our hero a good deal of philosophy in respect to the proper mode of bearing such losses.
Before this conversation, however, Rollo's mind had been somewhat exercised, while he was dressing himself in his own room, with the question, whether or not his father would make up this loss to him, as one occasioned by an accident. You will recollect that the arrangement which Mr. Holiday had made with Mr. George was, that he was to pay Rollo a certain sum for travelling expenses, and that Rollo was to have all that he could save of this amount for spending money. Rollo was to pay all his expenses of every kind out of his allowance, except that, in case of any accident, the extra expense which the occurrence of the [Pg 165]accident should occasion was to be reimbursed to him by his father—or rather by Mr. George, on his father's account.
Now, while Rollo was dressing himself on the morning after his loss, the question arose to his mind, whether this was to be considered as an accident in the sense referred to in the above-named arrangement. He concluded that Mr. George thought it was not.
"Because," said he to himself, "if he had thought that this was a loss which was to come upon father, and not upon me, he would have told me so last night."
When the breakfast had been brought up, and our two travellers were seated at the table eating it, Rollo introduced the conversation by expressing his regret that he had not bought the gold watch chain that he had seen in the Strand.
"How unlucky it was," said he, "that I did not buy that chain, instead of saving the money to have it stolen away from me! I am so sorry that I did not buy it!"
"No," replied Mr. George, "you ought not to be sorry at all. You decided to postpone buying it for good and sufficient reasons of a prudential character. It was very wise for you to decide as you did; and now you ought not to regret it. To wish that you had been guilty of an act of folly, [Pg 166]in order to have saved a sovereign by it, is to put gold before wisdom. But Solomon says, you know, that wisdom is better than gold; yea, than much fine gold."
"Well," said Rollo, "at any rate, I have learned one lesson from it."
"What lesson is that?" said Mr. George.
"Why, to be more careful after this about my money."
"No," replied Mr. George, "I don't think that you have that lesson to learn. I think you are careful enough now, not only of your money, but of all your other property. Indeed, I think you are a very careful boy; and any greater degree of care and concern than you usually exercise about your things would be excessive. The fact is, that in all the pursuits and occupations of life we are exposed to accidents, misfortunes, and losses. The most extreme and constant solicitude and care will never prevent such losses, but will only prevent our enjoying what we do not lose. It is as foolish, therefore, to be too careful as it is not to be careful enough.
"Indeed," continued Mr. George, "I think the best way is for travellers to do as merchants do. They know that it is inevitable that they should meet with some losses in their business; and so [Pg 167]they make a regular allowance for losses in all their calculations."
"How much do they allow?" said Rollo.
"I believe it is usually about five per cent.," said Mr. George. "They calculate that, for every one hundred dollars that they trust out in business, they must lose five. Sometimes small losses come along quite frequently. At other times there will be a long period without any loss, and then some great one will occur; so that, in one way or the other, they are pretty sure in the long run to lose about their regular average. So they make their calculations accordingly; and when the losses come they consider them matters of course, like any of their ordinary expenses."
"That is a good plan," said Rollo.
"I think it is eminently a good plan," said Mr. George, "for travellers. In planning a journey, we ought always to include this item in our calculations. We ought to allow so much for conveyance, so much for hotel bills, and so much for losses, and then calculate on the losses just as much as we do on the payment of the railroad fares and hotel bills. That is the philosophy of it.
"However," continued Mr. George, "though we ought not to allow any loss that we may meet with to make us anxious or over-careful afterwards, still we may sometimes learn something by it. [Pg 168]For instance, I think it is generally not best to take a watch, or money, or any thing else of special value in our pockets when we go out among a crowd."
"Yes," said Rollo; "if I had only thought to have put my purse in my trunk when I went out, it would have been safe."
"No," replied Mr. George; "it would not have been safe—that is, not perfectly safe—even then; for a thief might have crept into the house, and gone into your room, and opened the lock, and got out the money while you were away."
"But the front door is kept locked," said Rollo.
"True," said Mr. George; "that is a general rule, I know; but it might have been left open a few minutes by accident, so that the thief could get in—such things do happen very frequently; or one of the servants of the house might have got the trunk open. So that the money is not absolutely safe if you leave it in the trunk. In fact, I think that in all ordinary cases it is safer for me to carry my money in my pocket than to leave it in my trunk in my room. It is only when we are going among crowds that it is safer to leave it in our rooms; but there is no absolute and perfect safety for it any where."
"I don't see," said Rollo, "how they can possibly [Pg 169]get the money out so from a deep pocket without our knowing it."
"It is very strange," said Mr. George; "but I believe the London pickpockets are the most skilful in the world. Sometimes they go in gangs, and they contrive to make a special pressure in the crowd, in a narrow passage, or at a corner, and then some of them jam against the gentleman they are going to rob, pretending that they are jammed by others behind them, and thus push and squeeze him so hard on every side that he does not feel any little touch about his pocket; or, by the time he does feel and notice it, the purse is gone."
"Yes," said Rollo, "that is exactly the way it was with me.
"But there is one thing I could have done," said Rollo. "If I had put my purse in my inside jacket pocket, and buttoned up the jacket tight, then they could not possibly have got it."
"Yes," said Mr. George, "they have a way of cutting through the cloth with the little sharp point of the knife which they have in a ring on one of their fingers. With this they can cut through the cloth any where if they feel a purse underneath, and take it out without your knowing any thing about it till you get home."
"I declare!" said Rollo. "Then I don't see what I could do."
"No," replied Mr. George, "there is nothing that we can do to guard absolutely against the possibility of losing our property when we are travelling—or in any other case, in fact. There is a certain degree of risk that we must incur, and various losses in one way or another will come. All we have to do is to exercise the right degree of precaution, neither too much nor too little, and then submit good naturedly to whatever comes."
This is the end of the story of Rollo's being robbed, except that, the next morning after the conversation above described was held, Rollo found on his table, when he got up and began to dress himself, a small package folded up in paper, with a little note by the side of it. He opened the note and read as follows:—
Dear Rollo: From the moment that your loss was ascertained, I determined that I would refund the amount to you, under the authority which I received from your father to pay all expenses which you might incur through unexpected casualties. This robbery I consider as coming under [Pg 171]that head; and so I refund you the amount, and have charged it to your father.
I did not tell you what my design was in this respect at once, because I thought I would see how you would bear the loss on the supposition that it was to be your own. I also wished to avail myself of the opportunity to teach you a little of the philosophy of the subject. And now, [Pg 172]inasmuch as, in learning the lesson, you have shown yourself an excellent pupil, and as you also evince a disposition to bear the loss like a man, there is no longer any reason for postponement; and so I replace the amount that was taken from you by a little package which accompanies this note.
On opening the package, which was lying on the table by the side of his note, Rollo found within a new wallet very much like the one which he had lost; and in this wallet were two sovereigns, two pennies, and a new due bill from his uncle George for four shillings.
One day Mr. George told Rollo that before leaving London he wished very much to go and see the London docks and the shipping in them.
"Well," said Rollo, "I'll go. But what are the docks?"
It may seem surprising that Rollo should be so ready to go and see the docks before he knew at all what they were. The truth is, what attracted him was the word shipping. Like other boys of his age, he was always ready to go, no matter where, to see ships, or any thing connected with shipping.
So he first said he was ready to go and see the docks, and then he asked what they were.
"They are immense basins," said Mr. George, "excavated in the heart of the city, for ships to go into when they are loading or unloading."
"I thought the ships staid in the river," said Rollo.
"Part of them," said Mr. George; "but not all. There is not room for all of them in the river; at least there is not room for them at the wharves, along the banks of the river, to load and reload. Accordingly, about fifty years ago, the merchants of London began to form companies for the purpose of excavating docks for them. The place that they chose for the docks was at a little distance from the river, below the city. Their plan was to build sheds and warehouses around the docks, so as to have conveniences for loading and unloading their ships close at hand.
"And I want to go and see some of these docks," added he, in conclusion.
"So do I," said Rollo. "Let us go this very day."
Although Rollo was thus ready, and even eager, to go with his uncle to see the docks, the interest which he felt in them was entirely different from that which his uncle experienced. Mr. George knew something about the construction of the works and the history of them, and he had a far more distinct idea of the immense commerce which centred in them, and of the influence of this commerce on the general welfare of mankind and on the wealth and prosperity of London, than Rollo could be expected to have. He accordingly wished to see them, in order to enjoy the emotions [Pg 175]of grandeur and sublimity which would be awakened in his mind by the thought of their prodigious magnitude as works of artificial construction, and of the widely-extended relation they sustained to the human race, by continually sending out ships to the remote regions of the globe, and receiving cargoes in return from every nation and every clime.
Rollo, on the other hand, thought little of these grand ideas. All that he was interested in was the expectation of seeing the ships and the sailors, and of amusing himself with the scenes and incidents which he hoped to witness in walking along the platforms, and watching the processes of loading and unloading the ships, or of moving them from one place to another in the crowded basins.
Rollo was not disappointed, when he came to visit the docks, in respect to the interesting and amusing incidents that he expected to see there. He saw a great many such incidents, and one which occurred was quite an uncommon one. A little girl fell from the pier head into the water. The people all ran to the spot, expecting that she would be drowned; but, fortunately, the place where she fell in was near a flight of stone steps, which led down to the water. The people crowded down in great numbers to the steps, to help the child out. The occurrence took place just as the [Pg 176]men from the docks were going home to dinner; and so it happened that there was an unusually large number of people near at the time of the accident.
The place from which the child fell was the corner of the pier head, in the foreground of the picture, where you see the post, just beyond the stone steps.
There is a boat pulling off from the vessel to the rescue of the little girl in the foreground, to the left; but its assistance will not be required.
Now, Rollo's chief interest in going to see the docks was the anticipation of witnessing scenes and incidents of this and other kinds; but Mr. George expected to be most interested in the docks themselves.
The construction of the docks was indeed a work of immense magnitude, and the contrivers of the plan found that there were very great difficulties to be surmounted before it could be carried into effect. It was necessary, of course, that the place to be selected should be pretty low land, and near the river; for if the land was high, the work of excavating the basins would have been so much increased as to render the undertaking impracticable. It was found on examination that all the land that was near the river, and also near the city, and that was in other respects suitable for the purpose, was already occupied with streets and houses. These houses, of course, had all to be bought and demolished, and the materials of them removed entirely from the ground, before the excavations could be begun.
Then, too, some very solid and substantial barrier was required to be constructed between [Pg 178]the excavated basins made and the bank of the river, to prevent the water of the river from bursting in upon the workmen while they were digging. In such a case as this they make what is called a coffer dam, which is a sort of dam, or dike, made by driving piles close together into the ground, in two rows, at a little distance apart, and then filling up the space between them with earth and gravel. By this means the water of the river can be kept out until the digging of the basins is completed.
The first set of docks that was made was called the West India Docks. They were made about the year 1800. Very soon afterwards several others were commenced; and now there are five. The following table gives the names of them, with the number of acres enclosed within the walls of each:—
|West India Docks||295|
|East India Docks||32|
|St. Catharine's Docks||24|
If you wish to form a definite idea of the size of these docks, you must fix your mind upon some pretty large field near where you live, if you live in the country, and ask your father, or [Pg 179]some other man that knows, how many acres there are in it. Then you can compare the field with some one or other of the docks according to the number of acres assigned to it in the above table.
If you live in the city, you must ask the number of acres in some public square. Boston Common contains forty-eight acres.
St. Catharine's Docks contain only twenty-four acres; and yet more than a thousand houses were pulled down to clear away a place for them, and about eleven thousand persons were compelled to remove.
Most of the docks are now entirely surrounded by the streets and houses of the city; so that there is nothing to indicate your approach to them except that you sometimes get glimpses of the masts of the ships rising above the buildings at the end of a street. The docks themselves, and all the platforms and warehouses that pertain to them, are surrounded by a very thick and high wall; so that there is no way of getting in except by passing through great gateways which are made for the purpose on the different sides. These gateways are closed at night.
Mr. George and Rollo, when the time arrived for visiting the docks, held a consultation together [Pg 180]in respect to the mode of going to them from their lodgings at the West End.
Of course the docks, being below the city, were in exactly the opposite direction from where they lived—Northumberland Court. The distance was three or four miles.
"We can go by water," said Mr. George, "on the river, or we can take a cab."
"Or we can go in an omnibus," said Rollo. "Yes, uncle George," he added eagerly, "let us go on the top of an omnibus."
Mr. George was at first a little disinclined to adopt this plan; but Rollo seemed very earnest about it, and finally he consented.
"We can get up very easily," said he; "and when we are up there we can see every thing."
"I am not concerned about our getting up," said Mr. George. "The difficulty is in getting down."
However, Mr. George finally consented to Rollo's proposal; and so, going out into the Strand, they both mounted on the top of an omnibus, and in this way they rode down the Strand and through the heart of London. They were obliged to proceed slowly, so great was the throng of carts, wagons, drays, cabs, coaches, and carriages that encumbered the streets. In about an [Pg 181]hour, however, they were set down a little beyond the Tower.
"Now," said Mr. George, "the question is, whether I can find the way to the dock gates."
"Have you got a ticket?" asked Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George; "I presume a ticket is not necessary."
"I presume it is necessary," said Rollo. "You never can go any where, or get into any thing, in London, without a ticket."
"Well," said Mr. George, "we will see. At any rate, if tickets are required, there must be some way of getting them at the gate."
Mr. George very soon found his way to the entrance of the docks. It was at the end of a short street, the name and position of which he had studied out on the map before leaving home. He took care to be set down by the omnibus near this street; and by this means he found his way very easily to his place of destination.
The entrance was by a great gateway. The gateway was wide open, and trains of carts, and crowds of men,—mechanics, laborers, merchants, clerks, and seamen,—were going and coming through it.
"We need not have concerned ourselves about a ticket," said Mr. George.
"No," said Rollo. "I see."
"The entrance is as public as any street in London," said Mr. George.
So saying, our two travellers walked on and passed within the enclosures.
As soon as they were fairly in, they stopped at the corner of a sort of sidewalk and looked around. The view which was presented to their eyes formed a most extraordinary spectacle. Forests of masts extended in every direction. Near them rose the hulls of great ships, with men going up and down the long plank stairways which led to the decks of them. Here and there were extended long platforms bordering the docks, with immense piles of boxes, barrels, bales, cotton and coffee bags, bars of iron, pigs of lead, and every other species of merchandise heaped up upon them. Carts and drays were going and coming, loaded with goods taken from these piles; while on the other hand the piles themselves were receiving continual additions from the ships, through the new supplies which the seamen and laborers were hoisting out from the hatchways.
Here and there, too, the smoke and the puffing vapor of a steamer were seen, and the clangor of ponderous machinery was heard, giving dignity, as it were, to the bustle.
"So, then, these are the famous London Docks," said Mr. George.
"What a place!" said Rollo.
"I had no idea of the vast extent and magnitude of the works," said Mr. George.
"How many different kinds of flags there are at the masts of the vessels, uncle George!" said Rollo. "Look!"
"What a monstrous work it must have been," said Mr. George, "the digging out by hand of all these immense basins!"
"What did they do with the mud?" asked Rollo.
"They loaded it into scows," said Mr. George, "and floated it off, up or down the river, wherever there were any low places that required to be filled up.
"When, at length, the excavations were finished," continued Mr. George, "they began at the bottom, and laid foundations deep and strong, and then built up very thick and solid walls all along the sides of the basins, up to the level of the top of the ground, and then made streets and quays along the margin, and built the sheds and warehouses, and the work was done."
"But then, how could they get the ships in?" asked Rollo.
"Ah, yes," said Mr. George; "I forgot about that. It was necessary to have passage ways [Pg 184]leading in from the river, with walls and gates, and with drawbridges over them."
"What do they want the drawbridges for?" asked Rollo.
"So that the people that are at work there can go across," said Mr. George. "The people who live along the bank of the river, between the basin and the bank, would of course have occasion to pass to and fro, and they must have a bridge across the outlet of the docks. But then, this bridge, if it were permanent, would be in the way of the ships in passing in and out; and so it must be made a drawbridge.
"Then, besides," continued Mr. George, "they need drawbridges across the passage ways within the docks; for the workmen have to go back and forth continually, in prosecuting the work of loading and unloading the ships and in warping them in and out."
"Yes," said Rollo. "There is a vessel that they are warping in now."
Rollo understood very well what was meant by warping; but as many of the readers of this book may live far from the sea, or may, from other causes, have not had opportunities to learn much about the manœuvring of ships, I ought to explain that this term denotes a mode of moving [Pg 185]vessels for short distances by means of a line, either rope or cable, which is fastened at one end outside the ship, and then is drawn in at the other by the sailors on board. When this operation is performed in a dock, for example, one end of the line is carried forward some little distance towards the direction in which they wish the vessel to go, and is made fast there to a pile, or ring, or post, or some other suitable fixture on the quay, or on board another vessel. The other end of the line, which has remained all the time on board the ship, is now attached to the capstan or the windlass, and the line is drawn in. By this means the vessel is pulled ahead.
Vessels are sometimes warped for short distances up a river, when the wind and current are both against her, so that she cannot proceed in any other way. In this case the outer end of the line is often fastened to a tree.
In the arctic seas a ship is often warped through loose ice, or along narrow and crooked channels of open water, by means of posts set in the larger and more solid floes. When she is drawn up pretty near to one of these posts, the line is taken off and carried forward to another post, which the sailors have, in the mean time, been getting ready upon another floe farther ahead.
Warping is, of course, a very slow way of getting along, and is only practicable for short distances, and is most frequently employed in confined situations, where it would be unsafe to go fast. You would think, too, that this process could only be resorted to near a shore, or a quay, or a great field of ice, where posts could be set to attach the lines to; but this, as will appear presently, is a mistake.
The warping which had attracted Rollo's attention was for the purpose of bringing a ship up alongside of the quay at the place where she was to be unloaded. The ship had just come into the dock.
"She has just come in," said Rollo, "I verily believe. I wish we had been here a little sooner, so as to have seen her come through the drawbridges."
Just at this instant the rope leading from the ship, which had been drawn very tense, was suddenly slacked on board the ship, and the middle of it fell into the water.
"What does that mean?" asked Rollo.
"They are going to fasten it in a new place, I suppose," said Mr. George. "Yes, there's the boat."
There was a boat, with two men in it, just then coming up to the part of the quay where the end [Pg 187]of the line had been fastened. A man on the quay cast off the line, and threw the end down on board the boat. The boatmen, after taking it in, rowed forward to another place, and there fastened it again. As soon as they had fastened it, they called out to the men on board the ship, "Haul away!" and then a moment afterwards the middle of the rope could be seen gradually rising out of the water until it was drawn straight and tense as before; and then the ship began to move on, though very slowly, towards the place where they wished to bring her.
"That's a good way to get her to her place," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "I don't know how seamen could manage their vessels in docks and harbors without this process of warping."
"I suppose they can't warp any where but in docks and harbors," said Rollo.
"Why not?" asked Mr. George.
"Because," replied Rollo, "unless there was a quay or a shore close by, they would not have any thing to fasten the line to."
Mr. George then explained to Rollo that they could warp a vessel among the ice in the arctic regions by fastening the line to posts set for the purpose in the great floes.
"O, of course they can do that," said Rollo. [Pg 188]"The ice, in that case, is just the same as a shore; I mean where there is not any shore at all."
"Well," said Mr. George, "they can warp where there is not any shore at all, provided that the water is not too deep. In that case they take a small anchor in a boat, and row forward to the length of the line, and then drop the anchor, and so warp to that."
"Yes," said Rollo; "I see. I did not think of that plan. But when they have brought the vessel up to where the anchor is, what do they do then?"
"Why, in the mean time," said Mr. George, "the sailors in the boat have taken another anchor, and have gone forward with it to a new station; and so, when the ship has come up near enough to the first anchor, they shift the line and then proceed to warp to the second."
Rollo was much interested in these explanations; though, as most other boys would have been in his situation, he was a little disappointed to find himself mistaken in the opinion which he had advanced so confidently, that warping would be impracticable except in the immediate vicinity of the shore. Indeed, it often happens with boys, when they begin to reach what may be called the reasoning age, that, in the conversations which they hold with those older and better informed [Pg 189]than themselves, you can see very plainly that their curiosity and their appetite for knowledge are mingled in a very singular way with the pleasure of maintaining an argument with their interlocutor, and of conquering him in it. It was strikingly so with Rollo on this occasion.
"Yes," said he, after reflecting a moment on what his uncle had said, "yes; I see how they can warp by means of anchors, where there is a bottom which they can take hold of by them; but that is just the same as a shore. It makes no difference whether the line is fastened to an anchor on the bottom, or to a post or a tree on the land. One thing I am sure of, at any rate; and that is, that it would not be possible for them to warp a ship when it is out in the open sea."
"It would certainly seem at first view that they could not," replied Mr. George, quietly; "and yet they can."
"How do they do it?" asked Rollo, much surprised.
"It is not very often that they wish to do it," said Mr. George; "but they can do it, in this way: They have a sort of float, which is made in some respects on the principle of an umbrella. The sailors take one or two of these floats in a boat, with lines from the ship attached to them, and after rowing forward a considerable distance, [Pg 190]they throw them over into the water. The men at the capstan then, on board the ship, heave away, and the lines, in pulling upon the floats, pull them open, and cause them to take hold of the water in such a manner that the ship can be drawn up towards them. Of course the floats do not take hold of the water enough to make them entirely immovable. They are drawn in, in some degree, towards the ship; but the ship is drawn forward much more towards them."
"Yes," said Rollo; "I see that they might do it in that way. But I don't understand why they should have any occasion to warp a ship out in the open sea."
"They do not have occasion to do so often," replied Mr. George. "I have been told, however, that they resort to this method sometimes, in time of war, to get a ship away from an enemy in a calm. Perhaps, too, they might sometimes have occasion to do it in order to get away from an iceberg."
While this conversation was going on Mr. George and Rollo had been sauntering slowly along the walk, with warehouses on one side of them, and a roadway for carts and drays on the other, between the walk and the dock; and now all at once Rollo's attention was attracted by the spectacle of a large ship, on the decks of which there appeared a great number of people—men, women, and children.
"What is that?" asked Rollo, suddenly. "What do you suppose all those people are doing on board that ship?"
"That must be an emigrant ship," said Mr. George. "Those are emigrants, I have no doubt, going to America. Let us go on board."
"Will they allow us to go?" asked Rollo, doubtfully.
"O, yes," said Mr. George; "they will not know but that we are emigrants ourselves, or the friends of some of the emigrants. In fact, [Pg 192]we are the friends of some of the emigrants. We are the friends of all of them."
So saying, Mr. George led the way, and Rollo followed up the plankway which led to the deck of the ship. Here a very singular spectacle presented itself to view. The decks were covered with groups of people, all dressed in the most quaint and singular costume, and wearing a very foreign air. They were, in general, natives of the interior provinces of France and Germany, and they were dressed in accordance with the fashions which prevailed in the places from which they severally came.
The men were generally standing or walking about. Some were talking together, others were smoking pipes, and others still were busy with their chests and bundles, rearranging their effects apparently, so as to have easy and convenient access to such as they should require for the voyage. Then there were a great many groups of women and girls seated together on benches, trunks, or camp stools, with little children playing about near them on the deck.
"I am very glad to see this," said Mr. George. "I have very often witnessed the landing of the emigrants in New York at the end of their voyage; and here I have the opportunity of seeing them as they go on board the ship, at the beginning of it."
"I am glad, too," said Rollo. "But look at that old woman!"
Rollo pointed as he said this to an aged woman, whose face, which was of the color of mahogany, was wrinkled in a most extraordinary manner, and who wore a cap of very remarkable shape and dimensions. She had an antique-looking book in her hands, the contents of which she seemed to be conning over with great attention. Mr. George and Rollo looked down upon the pages of the book as they passed, and saw that it was printed in what might be called an ancient black-letter type.
"It is a German book," said Rollo, in a whisper.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "I suppose it is her Bible, or perhaps her Prayer Book."
Near the old woman was a child playing upon the deck. Perhaps it was her grandchild. The child had a small wagon, which she was drawing about the deck. The wagon looked very much worn and soiled by long usage, but in other respects it resembled very much the little wagons that are drawn about by children in America.
"It is just like one of our little wagons," said Rollo.
"Yes," replied Mr. George, "of course it is; [Pg 194]for almost all the little wagons, as well as the other toys, that children get in America, come from Germany."
"Ah!" said Rollo; "I did not think of that."
"Would you ask her to let me see her wagon?" continued Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "that is, if you can ask her in German."
"Don't you suppose she knows English?" asked Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George, "I presume not."
"I mean to try her," said Rollo.
So he extended his hand towards the child; and then, smiling upon her to denote that he was her friend, and also to make what he said appear like an invitation, and not like a command, he pronounced very distinctly the words, "Come here."
The child immediately came towards him with the little wagon.
"There!" said Rollo; "I was pretty sure that she could understand English."
The child did not understand English, however, after all. And yet she understood what Rollo said; for it so happens, by a remarkable coincidence, that the German words for "come here," though spelled differently, sound almost precisely like the English words. Besides, the child knew from Rollo's gesture that he wished her to come to him.
Rollo attempted to talk with the child, but he could make no progress. The child could not understand any thing that he said. Presently a very pleasant-looking woman who was sitting on a trunk near by, and who proved to be the child's mother, shook her head smilingly at Rollo, and said, with a very foreign accent, pointing at the same time to the child, "Not understands English."
Mr. George then held a little conversation with this woman in German. She told him that she was the mother of the child, and that the old woman who was reading near was its grandmother. She had a husband, she said, and two other children. Her husband was on the shore. He had gone into the city to make some purchases for the voyage, and her two other children had gone with him to see what was to be seen.
Mr. George and Rollo, after this, walked about the deck of the ship for some time, looking at the various family groups that were scattered here and there, and holding conversations with many of the people. The persons whom they talked with all looked up with an expression of great animation and pleasure in their countenances when they learned that their visitors were Americans, and seemed much gratified to see them. I suppose they considered them very favorable specimens [Pg 196]of the people of the country which they were going to make their future home.
I am sure that they needed all the kind words and encouraging looks that Mr. George and Rollo bestowed upon them; for it is a very serious and solemn business for a family to bid a final farewell to their native land, and in many instances to the whole circle of their acquaintances and friends, in order to cross the stormy ocean and seek a home in what is to them an entirely new world.
Even the voyage itself is greatly to be dreaded by them, on account of the inevitable discomforts and dangers of it. While the ship is lying in the docks, waiting for the appointed day of sailing to arrive, they can pass their time very pleasantly, sitting upon the decks, reading, writing, or sewing; but as soon as the voyage has fairly commenced, all these enjoyments are at once at an end; for even if the wind is fair, and the water is tolerably smooth, they are at first nearly all sick, and are confined to their berths below; so that, even when there are hundreds of people on board, the deck of the ship looks very solitary.
The situation of the poor passengers, too, in their berths below, is very uncomfortable. They are crowded very closely together; the air is confined and unwholesome; and their food is of the coarsest and plainest description. Then, besides, in every such a company there will always be some that are rude and noisy, or otherwise disagreeable in their habits or demeanor; and those who are of a timid and gentle disposition often suffer very severely from the unjust and overbearing treatment which they receive from tyrants whom they can neither resist nor escape from.
Then, sometimes, when the ship is in mid ocean, there comes on a storm. A storm at sea, attacking [Pg 198]an emigrant ship full of passengers, produces sometimes a frightful amount of misery. Many of the company are dreadfully alarmed, and feel sure that they will all certainly go to the bottom. Their terror is increased by the tremendous roar of the winds, and by the thundering thumps and concussions which the ship encounters from the waves.
The consternation is increased when the gale comes on suddenly in a squall, so that there is not time to take the sails in in season. In such a case the sails are often blown away or torn into pieces—the remnants of them, and the ends of the rigging, flapping in the wind with a sound louder than thunder.
Of course, during the continuance of such a storm, the passengers are all confined closely below; for the seas and the spray sweep over the decks at such times with so much violence that even the sailors can scarcely remain there. Then it is almost entirely dark where the passengers have to stay; for in such a storm the deadlights must all be put in, and the hatches shut down and covered, to keep out the sea. Notwithstanding all the precautions, however, that can possibly be taken, the seas will find their way in, and the decks, and the berths, and the beds become dripping wet and very uncomfortable.
Then, again, the violent motion of a ship in a storm makes almost every body sick; and this is another trouble. It is very difficult, too, at such times, for so large a company to get their food. They cannot go to get it; for they cannot walk, or even stand, on account of the pitching and tossing of the ship; and it is equally difficult to bring it to them. The poor children are always [Pg 200]greatly neglected; and the mournful and wearisome sound of their incessant fretting and crying adds very much to the general discomfort and misery.
It often happens, moreover, that dreadful diseases of an infectious and malignant character break out on board these crowded ships, and multitudes sicken and die. Of course, under such circumstances, the sick can receive very few of the attentions that sick persons require, especially when the weather is stormy, and their friends and fellow-passengers, who would have been glad to have assisted them, are disabled themselves. Then, in their dejection and misery, their thoughts revert to the homes they have left. They forget all the sorrows and trials which they endured there, and by the pressure of which they were driven to the determination to leave their native land; and now they mourn bitterly that they were induced to take a step which is to end so disastrously. They think that they would give all that they possess to be once more restored to their former homes.
Thus, during the prevalence of a storm, the emigrant ship is filled sometimes with every species of suffering. There is, however, comparatively very little actual danger, for the ships are very strong, being built expressly for the purpose of [Pg 201]resisting the severest buffetings of the waves; and generally, if there is sea room enough, they ride out these gales in safety. Then, after repairing the damages which their spars and rigging may have sustained, they resume their voyage. If, however, there is not sea room enough for the ship when she is thus caught,—that is, if the storm comes on when she is in such a position that [Pg 202]the wind drives her towards rocks, or shoals, or to a line of coast,—her situation becomes one of great peril. In such cases it is almost impossible to save her from being driven upon the rocks or sands, and there being broken up and beaten to pieces by the waves.
When driven thus upon a shore, the ship usually strikes at such a distance from it as to make it impossible for the passengers to reach the land. Nor can they long continue to live on board the ship; for, as she strikes the sand or rocks upon the bottom, the waves, which continue to roll in in tremendous surges from the offing, knock her over upon her side, break in upon her decks, and drench her completely in every part, above and below. Those of the passengers who attempt to remain below, or who from any cause cannot get up the stairways, are speedily drowned; while those who reach the deck are almost all soon washed off into the sea. Some lash themselves to the bulwarks or to the masts, and some climb into the rigging to get out of the way of the seas, if, indeed, any of the rigging remains standing; and then, at length, when the sea subsides a little, people put off in surf boats from the shore, to rescue them. In this way, usually, a considerable number are saved.
These and other dreadful dangers attend the [Pg 203]companies of emigrants in their attempts to cross the wide and stormy Atlantic. Still the prospect for themselves and their children of living in peace and plenty in the new world prompts them to come every year in immense numbers. About eight hundred such shiploads as that which Rollo and Mr. George saw in the London Docks arrive in New York alone every year. This makes, on an average, about fifteen ships to arrive there every week. It is only a very small proportion indeed of the number that sail that are wrecked on the passage.
But to return to Mr. George and Rollo.
After remaining on board the emigrant ship until their curiosity was satisfied, our travellers went down the plank again to the quay, and continued their walk. The next thing that attracted Rollo's attention was a great crane, which stood on the quay, near a ship, a short distance before them.
"Ah!" said Rollo; "here is a great crane. Let us go and see what they are hoisting."
So Rollo hastened forward, Mr. George following him, until they came to the crane. Four workmen were employed at it, in turning the wheels by means of two great iron cranks. They were hoisting a very heavy block of white marble out of the vessel.
While Mr. George and Rollo were looking at the crane, a bell began to ring in a little steeple near by; and all the men in every part of the quay and in all the sheds and warehouses immediately stopped working, put on their jackets, and began walking away in throngs towards the gates.
"Ah!" said Mr. George, in a tone of disappointment, "we have got here at twelve o'clock. That was just what I wished to avoid."
"Yes," said Rollo; "they are all going home to dinner."
Rollo, however, soon found that all the men were not going home to dinner, for great numbers of them began to make preparations for dining in the yard. They began to establish themselves in little groups, three or four together, in nooks and corners, under the sheds, wherever they could find the most convenient arrangement of boxes and bales to serve for chairs and tables. When established in these places, they proceeded to open the stores which they had provided for their dinners, the said stores being contained in sundry baskets, pails, and cans, which had been concealed all the morning in various hiding-places among the piles of merchandise, and were now brought forth to furnish the owners with their midday meal.
One of these parties, Rollo found, had a very convenient way of getting ale to drink with their dinner. There was a row of barrels lying on the quay near where they had established themselves to dine; and two of the party went to one of these barrels, and, starting out the bung, they helped themselves to as much ale as they required. They got the ale out of the barrel by means of a long and narrow glass, with a string around the neck of it, and a very thick and heavy bottom. This glass they let down through the bunghole into the barrel, and then drew up the ale with it as you would draw up water with a bucket from a well.
Rollo amused himself as he walked along observing these various dinner parties, wondering, too, all the time, at the throngs of men that were pouring along through all the spaces and passage ways that led towards the gate.[G]
"I did not know that there were so many men at work here," said he.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "When business is brisk, there are about three thousand at work here."
"How did you know?" asked Rollo.
"I read it in the guide book," said Mr. George.
Here Mr. George took his guide book out of his pocket, and began to read from it, as he walked along, the following description:—
"'As you enter the dock, the sight of the forest of masts in the distance, and the tall chimneys vomiting clouds of black smoke, and the many-colored flags flying in the air, has a most peculiar effect; while the sheds, with the monster wheels arching through the roofs, look like the paddle boxes of huge steamers.'"
"Yes," said Rollo; "that is exactly the way it looks."
"'Along the quay,'" continued Mr. George, still reading, "'you see, now men with their faces blue with indigo; and now gaugers, with their long, brass-tipped rules dripping with spirit from the cask they have been probing; then will come a group of flaxen-haired sailors, chattering German; and next a black sailor, with a cotton handkerchief twisted turban-like around his head; presently a blue-smocked butcher, with fresh meat and a bunch of cabbages in a tray on his shoulder; and shortly afterwards a mate, with green paroquets in a wooden cage. Here you will see, sitting on a bench, a sorrowful-looking woman, with new, bright cooking tins at her feet, [Pg 207]telling you she is an emigrant preparing for her voyage. As you pass along the quay the air is pungent with tobacco, or it overpowers you with the fumes of rum; then you are nearly sickened with the smell arising from heaps of hides and huge bins of horns; and shortly afterwards the atmosphere is fragrant with coffee and spice. Nearly every where you meet stacks of cork, or yellow bins of sulphur, or lead-colored copper ore.'"
"It is an excellent description," said Rollo, when Mr. George paused.
Mr. George resumed his reading as follows:—
"'As you enter this warehouse the flooring is sticky, as if it had been newly tarred, with the sugar that has leaked through the casks—— '"
"We won't go there," said Rollo, interrupting.
"'And as you descend into these dark vaults,'" continued Mr. George, "'you see long lines of lights hanging from the black arches, and lamps flitting about midway.'"
"I should like to go there," said Rollo.
"'Here you sniff the fumes of the wine,'" continued Mr. George, "'and there the peculiar fungous smell of dry rot. Then the jumble of sounds, as you pass along the dock, blends in any thing but sweet concord. The sailors are singing [Pg 208]boisterous Ethiopian songs from the Yankee ship just entering; the cooper is hammering at the casks on the quay; the chains of the cranes, loosed of their weight, rattle as they fly up again; the ropes splash in the water; some captain shouts his orders through his hands; a goat bleats from some ship in the basin; and empty casks roll along the stones with a hollow, drum-like sound. Here the heavy-laden ships are down far below the quay, and you descend to them by ladders; whilst in another basin they are high up out of the water, so that their green copper sheathing is almost level with the eye of the passenger; while above his head a long line of bow-sprits stretch far over the quay, and from them hang spars and planks as a gangway to each ship. This immense establishment is worked by from one to three thousand hands, according as the business is either brisk or slack.'"
Here Mr. George shut the book and put it in his pocket.
"It is a very excellent account of it altogether," said Rollo.
"I think so too," said Mr. George.
As our travellers walked slowly along after this, their attention was continually attracted to one object of interest after another, each of which, [Pg 209]after leading to a brief conversation between them, gave way to the next. The talk was accordingly somewhat on this wise:—
"O uncle George!" said Rollo; "look at that monstrous pile of buck horns!"
"Yes," said Mr. George; "it is a monstrous pile indeed. They must be for knife handles."
"What a quantity of them!" said Rollo. "I should think that there would be knife handles enough in the pile for all creation. Where can they get so many horns?"
"I am sure I don't know," said Mr. George.
So they walked on.
Presently they came to an immense heap of bags of coffee. They knew that the bags contained coffee by the kernels that were spread about them all over the ground. Then they passed by long rows of barrels, which seemed to be filled with sugar. Mr. George walked by the side of the barrels, but Rollo jumped up and ran along on the top of them. Then came casks of tobacco, and next bars of iron and steel, and then some monstrous square logs of mahogany.
Mr. George and Rollo walked on in this manner for a quarter of a mile, and at length they came to one of the drawbridges. This drawbridge led over a passage way which formed a communication from one basin of the dock to [Pg 210]another. It was a very long and slender bridge of iron, made to turn on a pivot at one end. There was some machinery connected with it to work it.
"I wish they would come and turn this drawbridge away," said Rollo. "I want to see how it works."
"Perhaps they will after dinner," said Mr. George.
"Let us sit down, then, here somewhere," said Rollo, "and wait."
So Mr. George and Rollo, after crossing the drawbridge, sat down upon some of the fixtures connected with the machinery of the bridge.
From the place where they sat they had a good view of the whole interior of the dock. They could see the shipping, the warehouses, the forests of masts, the piles of merchandise, and the innumerable flags and signals which were flying at the mast heads of the vessels.
"It is a wonderful place," said Rollo; "but I don't understand how they do the business here. Whom do all these goods belong to? and how do they sell them? We have not seen any body here that looks as if he was buying any thing."
"No," said Mr. George. "The merchants don't come here to buy the goods. They buy them by [Pg 211]samples in the city. I will explain to you how they manage the business. The merchants who own ships send them to various parts of the world to buy what grows in the different countries and bring it here. We will take a particular case. Suppose it is coffee, for instance. The merchant never sees the coffee himself, perhaps. The captain or the supercargo reports to him how much there is, and he orders it to be stored in the warehouses here. Then he puts it into the hands of an agent to sell. His agent is called a broker. There are inspectors in the docks, whose business it is to examine the coffee and send specimens of it to the broker's office in the city. It is the same with all the other shiploads that come in. They are examined by inspectors, specimens are taken out and sent to the city, and the goods themselves are stored in the warehouses.
"Now, we will suppose a person wishes to buy some of these goods to make up a cargo. Perhaps it is a man who is going to send a ship to Africa after elephants' tusks, and he wants a great variety of goods to send there to pay the natives for them. He wants them in large quantities, too, enough to make a cargo. So he makes out a list of the articles that he wishes to send, and marks the quantities of each that he will require, and gives the list to the [Pg 212]agent. This agent is a man who is well acquainted with the docks and the brokers, and knows where they keep the specimens. He buys the articles and sends them all on board the ship that is going to Africa, which is perhaps all this time lying close at hand in the docks, ready to receive them. As fast as the goods are delivered on board the African ship, the captain of it gives the agent a receipt for them, and the latter, when he has got all the receipts, sends them to the merchant; and so the merchant knows that the goods are all on board, without ever having seen any of them."
"And then he pays the agent, I suppose, for his trouble," said Rollo.
"Of course," said Mr. George; "but this is better than for him to attempt to do the business himself; for the agent is so familiar with the docks, and with every thing pertaining to them, that he can do it a great deal better than the merchant could, in half the time."
"Yes," said Rollo, "I should think he could."
"Then it makes the business very easy and pleasant for the merchant, I suppose," said Mr. George. "All that he requires is a small office and a few clerks. He sits down at his desk and considers where he will send his ship, when he has one ready for sea, and what cargo he will [Pg 213]send in her; and then there is nothing for him to do about it but to make out an inventory of the articles and send it to the agent at the docks, and the business is all done very regularly for him.
"Only," continued Mr. George, "it is very necessary that he should know how to plan his voyages so as to make them come out well, with a good profit at the end, otherwise he will soon go to ruin."
Mr. George and Rollo sat near the drawbridge talking in this manner for about half an hour. Then the men began to return from their dinner; and very soon afterwards the quays, and slips, and warehouses were all alive again with business and bustle. They then rose and began rambling about here and there, to watch the various operations that were going on. They saw during this ramble a great many curious and wonderful things, too numerous to be specified here. They remained in the docks for more than two hours, and then went home by one of the little steamers on the river.
The famous Tunnel under the Thames, and the still more famous Tower of London, are very near together, and strangers usually visit both on one and the same excursion.
The Tower, as has already been explained, was originally a sort of fortress, or castle, built on the bank of the river, below the city, to defend it from any enemy that might attempt to come up to it by ships from the sea. The space enclosed by the walls was very large; and as in modern times many new buildings and ranges of buildings have been erected within, with streets and courts between them, the place has now the appearance of being a little town enclosed by walls, and surrounded by a ditch with bridges, and standing in the midst of a large town.
Rollo and Mr. George passed over the ditch that surrounded the Tower by means of a drawbridge. Before they entered the gateway, however, they were conducted to a small building [Pg 215]which stood near it, where they obtained a ticket to view the Tower, and where, also, they were required to leave their umbrella. This room was a sort of refreshment room; and as they were told that they must wait here a few minutes till a party was formed, they occupied the time by taking a luncheon. Their luncheon consisted of a ham and veal pie, and a good drink for each of ginger beer.
At length, several other people having come in, a portly-looking man, dressed in a very gay uniform, and wearing on his head a black velvet hat adorned with a sort of wreath made of blue and white ribbons, took them in charge to lead them about the Tower.
This man belonged to a body that is called the Yeomen of the Guard. The dress which he wore was their uniform. He wore various badges and decorations besides his uniform. One of them was a medal that was given to him in honor of his having been a soldier at the battle of Waterloo.
Under the charge of this guide, the party, which consisted now of eight or ten persons, began to make the tour. They passed through various little courts and streets, which were sometimes bordered by ranges of buildings, and sometimes by castellated walls, with sentinels on duty, marching slowly back and forth along the parapet.
At length their gay-looking guide led the party through a door which opened into a very long and narrow hall, on one side of which there was arranged a row of effigies of horses, splendidly caparisoned, and mounted with the figures of the kings of England upon them in polished armor of steel. The gay trappings of the horses, and the glittering splendor of the breast-plates, and greaves, and helmets, and swords of the men, gave to the whole spectacle a very splendid effect. The guide walked along slowly in front of this row of effigies, informing the party as he went along of the names of the various monarchs who were represented, and describing the kind of armor which they severally wore.
The armor, of course, varied very much in its character and fashion, according to the age in which the monarch who wore it lived; and it was very interesting, in walking down the hall, to see how military fashions had changed from century to century, as shown by the successive changes in the accoutrements which were observed in passing along the line of kings.
There were many suits of armor that were quite small, having been made for the English princes when they were boys. Rollo amused himself by imagining how he should look in one of [Pg 217]these suits of armor, and he wished very much that he could have an opportunity of trying them on. In one place there was a battery of nine beautiful little cannons made of brass, each about two feet long, and just about large enough in caliber for a boy to fire. These cannons, which were all beautifully ornamented with bas reliefs on the outside, and were mounted on splendid little carriages, were presented to Charles II. when he was a boy; and I suppose that he and his playmates often fired them. There were a great many other strange and curious implements of war that have now gone wholly out of fashion. There were all kinds of matchlocks, and guns, and pistols, of the most uncouth and curious shapes; and shot of every kind—chain shot, and grape shot, and saw shot; and there were bows and arrows, and swords and halberds, and spears and cutlasses, and every other kind of weapon. These arms were arranged on the walls in magnificent great stars, or were stacked up in various ornamental forms about pillars or under arches; and they were so numerous that Rollo could not stop to look at half of them.
After this the yeoman of the guard led his party to a great many other curious places. He showed them the room where the crowns and sceptres of the English kings and queens, and all the great [Pg 218]diamonds and jewels of state, were kept. These treasures were placed on a stand in an immense iron cage, so that people assembled in the room around the cage could look in and see the things, but they could not reach them to touch them.
They were also taken to see various prison rooms and dungeons where state prisoners were kept; and also blocks and axes, the implements by which several great prisoners celebrated in history had been beheaded. They saw in particular the block and the axe which were used at the execution of Anne Boleyn and of Lady Jane Grey; and all the party looked very earnestly at the marks which the edge of the axe had made in the wood when the blows were given.
The party walked about in the various buildings, and courts, and streets of the Tower for nearly two hours; and then, bidding the yeoman good by, they all went away.
"Now," said Rollo, as soon as they had got out of the gate, "which is the way to the Tunnel?"
The Tunnel is a subterranean passage under the Thames, made at a place where it was impossible to have a bridge, on account of the shipping. They expected, when they made the Tunnel, that it would be used a great deal by persons wishing to cross the river. But it is found, on trial, that almost every body who wishes to go [Pg 219]across the river at that place prefers to go in a boat rather than go down into the Tunnel. The reason is, that the Tunnel is so far below the bed of the river that you have to go down a long series of flights of stairs before you get to the entrance to it; and then, after going across, you have to come up just as many stairs before you get into the street again. This is found to be so troublesome and fatiguing that almost every one who has occasion to go across the river prefers to cross it by a ferry boat on the surface of the water; and scarcely any one goes into the Tunnel except those who wish to visit it out of curiosity.
The stairs that lead down to the passage under the river wind around the sides of an immense well, or shaft, made at the entrance of it. When Mr. George and Rollo reached the bottom of these stairs they heard loud sounds of music, and saw a brilliant light at the entrance to the Tunnel. On going in, they saw that the Tunnel itself was double, as it consisted of two vaulted passage ways, with a row of piers and arches between them. One of these passage ways was closed up; the other was open, and was lighted brilliantly with gas all the way through. But what most attracted Rollo's attention was, that the spaces between the piers all along the Tunnel were occupied [Pg 220]with little shops, each one having a man, a woman, or a child to attend it. As Mr. George and Rollo walked along, those people all asked them to stop and buy something at their shops. [Pg 221]There were pictures of all kinds, and little boxes, and views of the Tunnel, with magnifying glasses to make them look real, and needle cases, and work boxes, and knickknacks of all kinds for people to buy and carry home as souvenirs, or to show to their friends and say that they bought them in the Tunnel.
Besides these things that were for sale, there were various objects of interest and curiosity, such as electric machines where people might take shocks, and scales where they might be weighed, and refreshment rooms that were formed in the passage way that was not used for travel; and in one place there was a little ball room arranged there, where a party might, if they chose, stop and have a dance.
Rollo and Mr. George walked through the Tunnel, and then came back again. As they came back, Rollo stopped at one of the shops and bought a pretty little round box, which he said would do for a wafer box, and would also serve as a souvenir of his visit to the place.
Mr. George and Rollo concluded, after ascending again to the light of day, that they would go home by water; so they went out to the end of a long floating pier, which was built, as it happened, exactly opposite the entrance to the Tunnel. They sat down on a bench by a little toll [Pg 222]house there, to wait for a steamer going up the river.
"It must have been just about under here," said Rollo, "that I bought my little wafer box in the Tunnel."
"Yes," said Mr. George; "just about."
In a few minutes a steamer came along and took them in. She immediately set off again; and, after passing under all the London bridges and stopping on the way at various landings, she set them down at Hungerford stairs, and they went to their lodgings.
Mr. George and Rollo had various other adventures in London which there is not space to describe in this volume. Rollo did not, however, have time to visit all the places that he wished to see; for, before he had executed half the plans which he and his uncle George had projected, he received a sudden summons to set out, with his father, and mother, and Jennie, for Edinburgh.
[A] Whenever shillings or sixpences are mentioned in this book, English coin is meant. As a general rule, each English denomination is of double the value of the corresponding American one. Thus the English penny is a coin as large as a silver dollar, and it is worth two of the American pennies. The shilling is of the value of a quarter of a dollar; and a sixpence is equal to a New York shilling.
[B] See frontispiece.
[C] Such a body of ecclesiastics is called a chapter.
[D] The reader will recollect, from the description of Westminster Abbey, that the central part of the body of the church is called the nave, and that the parts of each side of the nave, beyond the ranges of columns that border it on the north and on the south, are called the aisles, and that the aisles are not so high usually as the nave. The long, vacant space which our party was now traversing was directly over the south aisle. They were coming towards the spectator, in the view of the church represented in the engraving. You see two towers in the front of the building shown in the engraving. The one on the right hand is on the south, and is called the clock tower. The other tower, which is on the north, is called the belfry. The party were coming along over the south aisle and south transept towards this south tower. If you read this explanation attentively, comparing it with the engraving, and compare the rest of the description with the engraving, you will be able to follow the party exactly through the whole of their ascent.
[E] The works of this clock are on such a scale that the pendulum is fourteen feet long, and the weight at the end weighs more than one hundred pounds. The minute hand is eight feet long, and weighs seventy-five pounds.
[F] These club houses are very large and splendid mansions belonging to associations of gentlemen called clubs. Some of the clubs contain more than a thousand members. The houses are fitted up in the most luxurious manner, with reading rooms, libraries, dining rooms, apartments for conversation, and for all sorts of games, and every thing else requisite to make them agreeable places of resort for the members. The annual expenditure in many of them is from thirty to fifty thousand dollars.
[G] It was while these workmen were going out in this way from the yard that the incident of the little girl falling into the dock occurred, as has been already related.