To return from my digression and my illustration. I did not do a great deal of shopping myself while in London, being contented to have it done for me. But in the way of looking in at shop windows I did a very large business. Certain windows attracted me by a variety in unity which surpassed anything I have been accustomed to. Thus one window showed every conceivable convenience that could be shaped in ivory, and nothing else. One shop had such a display of magnificent dressing-cases that I should have thought a whole royal family was setting out on its travels. I see the cost of one of them is two hundred and seventy guineas. Thirteen hundred and fifty dollars seems a good deal to pay for a dressing-case.
Here are some of my first impressions of England as seen from the carriage and from the cars.--How very English! I recall Birket Foster's Pictures of English Landscape,--a beautiful, poetical series of views, but hardly more poetical than the reality. How thoroughly England is groomed! Our New England out-of-doors landscape often looks as if it had just got out of bed, and had not finished its toilet. The glowing green of everything strikes me: green hedges in place of our rail-fences, always ugly, and our rude stone-walls, which are not wanting in a certain look of fitness approaching to comeliness, and are really picturesque when lichen-coated, but poor features of landscape as compared to these universal hedges. I am disappointed in the trees, so far; I have not seen one large tree as yet. Most of those I see are of very moderate dimensions, feathered all the way up their long slender trunks, with a lop-sided mop of leaves at the top, like a wig which has slipped awry. I trust that I am not finding everything couleur de rose; but I certainly do find the cheeks of children and young persons of such brilliant rosy hue as I do not remember that I have ever seen before. I am almost ready to think this and that child's face has been colored from a pink saucer. If the Saxon youth exposed for sale at Rome, in the days of Pope Gregory the Great, had complexions like these children, no wonder that the pontiff exclaimed, Not Angli, but angeli! All this may sound a little extravagant, but I am giving my impressions without any intentional exaggeration. How far these first impressions may be modified by after-experiences there will be time enough to find out and to tell. It is better to set them down at once just as they are. A first impression is one never to be repeated; the second look will see much that was not noticed before, but it will not reproduce the sharp lines of the first proof, which is always interesting, no matter what the eye or the mind fixes upon. "I see men as trees walking." That first experience could not be mended. When Dickens landed in Boston, he was struck with the brightness of all the objects he saw,--buildings, signs, and so forth. When I landed in Liverpool, everything looked very dark, very dingy, very massive, in the streets I drove through. So in London, but in a week it all seemed natural enough.
Nature had sent one cuckoo from her aviary to sing his double note for me, that I might not pass away from her pleasing show without once hearing the call so dear to the poets. It was the last day of spring. A few more days, and the solitary voice might have been often heard; for the bird becomes so common as to furnish Shakespeare an image to fit "the skipping king:"--
That golden time again."
The place where we had engaged lodgings was H?tel d'Orient, in the Rue Daunou. The situation was convenient, very near the Place Vendome and the Rue de la Paix. But the house was undergoing renovations which made it as unpresentable as a moulting fowl. Scrubbing, painting of blinds, and other perturbing processes did all they could to make it uncomfortable. The courtyard was always sloppy, and the whole condition of things reminded me forcibly of the state of Mr. Briggs's household while the mason was carrying out the complex operations which began with the application of "a little compo." (I hope all my readers remember Mr. Briggs, whose adventures as told by the pencil of John Leech are not unworthy of comparison with those of Mr. Pickwick as related by Dickens.) Barring these unfortunate conditions, the hotel was commendable, and when in order would be a desirable place of temporary residence.
We slept at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, which we found fresh, sweet, bright,--it must have been recently rejuvenated, I thought. The next day we took the train for New Haven, Springfield, and Boston, and that night slept in our own beds, thankful to find ourselves safe at home after our summer excursion, which had brought us so many experiences delightful to remember, so many friendships which have made life better worth living.下载
To return from my digression and my illustration. I did not do a great deal of shopping myself while in London, being contented to have it done for me. But in the way of looking in at shop windows I did a very large business. Certain windows attracted me by a variety in unity which surpassed anything I have been accustomed to. Thus one window showed every conceivable convenience that could be shaped in ivory, and nothing else. One shop had such a display of magnificent dressing-cases that I should have thought a whole royal family was setting out on its travels. I see the cost of one of them is two hundred and seventy guineas. Thirteen hundred and fifty dollars seems a good deal to pay for a dressing-case.下载
He is in little all the sphere.下载
To Windsor. Machinery to the left of the road. Recognized it instantly, by recollection of the plate in "Rees's Cyclopedia," as Herschel's great telescope.--Oxford. Saw only its outside. I knew no one there, and no one knew me.--Blenheim,--the Titians best remembered of its objects on exhibition. The great Derby day of the Epsom races. Went to the race with a coach-load of friends and acquaintances. Plenipotentiary, the winner, "rode by P. Connelly." So says Herring's picture of him, now before me. Chestnut, a great "bullock" of a horse, who easily beat the twenty-two that started. Every New England deacon ought to see one Derby day to learn what sort of a world this is he lives in. Man is a sporting as well as a praying animal.下载
"Sweet day, so pure, so calm, so bright,下载
might be more hilarious and demonstrative in their mirth than I, a sober New Englander in the superfluous decade, might find myself equal to. But there was no uproarious jollity; on the contrary, it was a pleasant gathering of literary people and artists, who took their pleasure not sadly, but serenely, and I do not remember a single explosive guffaw.
To the Tower, to see the lions,--of all sorts. There I found a "poor relation," who made my acquaintance without introduction. A large baboon, or ape,--some creature of that family,--was sitting at the open door of his cage, when I gave him offence by approaching too near and inspecting him too narrowly. He made a spring at me, and if the keeper had not pulled me back would have treated me unhandsomely, like a quadrumanous rough, as he was. He succeeded in stripping my waistcoat of its buttons, as one would strip a pea-pod of its peas.
The first degree conferred was that of LL.D., on Sir W. A. White, G.C.M., G.C.B., to whose long list of appended initials it seemed like throwing a perfume on the violet to add three more letters.