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A THOUGHT OF THE FUTURE.—BY FELICIA HEMANS.
DREAMER! and wouldst thou know
In thy heart's lonely urn?
What hath it been to thee,
Finding no place of rest :
A precious odour cast
And winning no reply.
Even were such answer thine,
Their depth of Love to sound.
Do not words faint and fail,
In some o'erwhelming hour?
Doth not thy frail form sink
Where thy beloved are not?
Is not thy very soul
Bows down thy weary head ?
And wouldst thou bear all this,
With earthly feeling's strife ?
Not thus, not thus-oh no!
To breathe celestial air:
But as the sky-lark springs
So must Love mount to Heaven !
Vainly it shall not strive
As light might wake a lyre.
And oh! its blessing there
A joy of sunlight shed !
Let me then, let me dream
In mercy shall be thrown!
LETTERS FROM NEW YORK, NO. 11." · Dear D-, Once for all, I take leave to remind you that I am
neither writing a tour nor transcribing a journal, but merely giving the reminiscences of my American excursions. What I neglect to mention has not been worthy of remembrance; but I should really be ungrateful, were I to forget to tell you of the attentions for which I am indebted to Commodore Chauncey, and the other officers of the Navy at the Dockyard.
I met the Commodore and Captain Reid at dinner, in the house of a mutual friend, and they politely invited me to visit the men-of-war at Brooklyn,-an invitation which I was the more pleased to receive, as I had some short time before seen the fleet and works at Plymouth, and was desirous of an opportunity to compare them :-not that the comparison could be fair towards the Americans; perhaps I should more correctly express myself by saying, I was actuated by curiosity to see the early sprouting of that acorn which is destined, according to the: most confident predictions, to outgrow the mighty oak of England. I am not, however, one of those who have any fears on the subject. The application of steam to navigation is bringing on a revolution in naval affairs; and the nation which has made, and is making, the greatest progress in the use of machinery will still keep ahead.
At the time appointed next morning, the Commodore's barge was at the wharf. On my landing at the Navy-yard, the officers evinced the utmost kindness and attention; every thing was shown and explained in the freest manner, -I may justly say, indeed, with a degree of solicitude, in order that the information should be at once correct, full, and satisfactory. The interest of this visit was enhanced to me by the circumstance of the great ship the Ohio (larger, I have since understood, than our Royal George) having been built by an old schoolfellow, Mr. Eckford. She is constructed of live, or evergreen oak, a species of the most durable timber, brought from the Floridas, and other of the southern States.
The celebrated steam-frigate the Fulton was, however, a greater curiosity; but, although nothing was said in her disparagement, I think the officers did not regard her with a right seaman-like affection. She is certainly a huge clumsy ark in appearance, and the masses of timber of which she is composed, would afford but a slight defence against Congreve's rockets, and those other organs and faculties of fire which chemistry has supplied the means of constructing. *
In speaking of the attentions I received at the Navy-yard, I am reminded of the great civility with which the Collector and Custom-house officers, (on the two several occasions of my arrival from England, as well as that of my family,) allowed my luggage to be passed unexamined. On the first occasion, as I was then in a public capacity, and shared the favour in common with my colleagues, I considered it as a customary mark of attention to our appointments; but it was not so in the other cases, and should therefore be regarded as evincing a laudable disposition to conciliate the good-will of travellers. I have great pleasure in recording such instances of liberality, because the civilities shown by the Americans to British travellers, have not, in many instances, been properly acknowledged nor sufficiently appreciated.
* This vast vessel has recently been destroyed by fire. Nov-VOL. XXVI. NO, CVII.
To speak from my own experience, I have uniformly seen the kindest demonstrations of respect from the Americans towards the British. I am persuaded, where individuals have been treated otherwise, the fault has been in a great measure owing to themselves. Nothing can be more absurd than to expect in a newly-settled country the delicacies of England, or the same snugness of accommodation in the inns; and yet it is of these things that one oftenest hears complaints. If due allowance be made for the difficulties that must be surmounted before a settlement can be considered as established, it must be conceded that the Americans have much to be proud of. Four years ago, when I first visited Syracuse, in the Western country of the State of New York, there was but one small tavern, rude enough, and some ten or twelve houses ; it is now a large handsome town, with several excellent inns and hotels ; one of them, which was just finished when I lately passed through, contains, as I was told by the waiter, seventy bedchambers.
In New York, the hotels are on a superb scale. The American, in Broadway, is one of the best I have ever met with. In addition to all the customary accommodation of similar establishments, the suites of apartments for families are furnished with elegance, and the attendance is of the best description
! Hotels and boarding-houses are, in fact, much more important in the domestic economy of America than with us. They are the homes, generally, of the newly-married, even of those of the most respectable connexions, as well as the local habitations of the travellers; and many of them are calculated to afford accommodation to others, besides their own inmates.
In the American hotel, a vast table-d'hote was spread every day at three o'clock, not only for the guests in the house, but for others who lodged elsewhere: probably, not fewer than a hundred persons dine at this table daily. There was also a smaller dinner served up a little later, at which the guests in the house, who were disposed to make themselves more select, usually assembled. But this was as they themselves might fancy; for parties are free to live in their own rooms as they please, and may be served as in the hotels of England."
This boarding-house way of life, ever too public to be quite comfortable, no doubt had its origin in the population coming faster than private houses could be prepared. One of the first things done in planting a settlement is the erection of an hotel, where the better order of settlers may reside until they can get their own houses ready. ..
It has sometimes fancifully occurred to me, that the taciturnity of the Americans at table is an effect of the boarding house system. The guests at the table-d'hôte being strangers to each other, and hav. ing come from no one knows where, must naturally have induced amongst them a degree of cautious reserve in making acquaintances, until distance and silence, and early separation, have become proprieties—at least customs-of the dinner-table.
Most travellers observe two strong peculiarities in the American character-a persuasion that the country is farther advanced in refinement than Europeans will be disposed to allow, and a solicitude to hear what strangers think of it, seemingly dictated by a thirst of praise. I cannot, however, discern in either any particular weakness or vanity. The extraordinary progress-the forest converted in the course of season into a city-are circumstances calculated to cherish a great notion of national superiority ; but the chief cause is in the readiness with which the inhabitants adopt new inventions. Every thing they require is of necessity new; and they judiciously, in consequence, avail themselves of the most recent improvements. Thus it happens that, on inquiry, finding often many things in familiar use among them, which Europeans have only heard of in the lists of patents, they conceive their knowledge is proportionally advanced in all things. Their anxiety to hear what strangers think of them arises from equal innocence; they know that they are "progressing,” to use their own phrase, and are curious to ascertain how near they may have approached towards those whom they acknowledge to be before them. I have, however, noticed but few instances in which the question was put with the expectation of flattery. Doubtless, there are foolish people who hope to have their claims of national superiority at once admitted ; but are there not others as foolish, who withhold from the Americans the commendations to which they are justly, erititled ?
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP A LANDAULET! | I DINED one day at a bachelor's dinner in Lincoln's-inn-fields, and my wife having no engagement that evening, I gave my coachman a half holiday, and when he had set me down, desired him to put up his horses, as I should return home in a jarvey. At eleven, my conveyance arrived; the steps were let down, and, when down, they slanted under the body of the carriage; my foot slipped from the lowest step, and I grazed my shin against the second; but at last I surmounted the difficulty, and seating myself, sank back upon the musty, fusty, illsavoured squabs of the jarvey. · I was about to undertake a very formidable journey; I lived in the Regent's Park; and as the horses that now drew me had been worked hard during the day, it seemed probable that some hours would elapse before I could reach my own door, Off they went, however; the coachman urged them on with whip and tongue: the body of the jarvey swung to and fro; the glasses shook and clattered; the straw on the floor felt damp, and rain water oozed through the roof, (for it was a landaulet). I felt chilled, and drew up the front window, at least I drew up the frame; but as it contained no glass, I was not the warmer for my pains ; so I wrapped my cloak around me, and rather sulkily sank into a reverie. . The vehicle still continued to rumble, and rattle, and shake, and squeak; I fell into a doze, caused by some fatigue and much claret, and gradually these sounds seemed to soften into a voice! I distinguished intelligible accents! I listened attentively to the low murmurs, and distinctly I heard, and treasured in my memory, what appeared to me to be the “Lament of the Landaulet !”
The poor body seemed to sigh, and the wheels became spokesmen!
“I am about fifteen years of age,” (thus squeaked my equipage); “I was born in Long Acre, the birth-place of the aristocracy of my -race, and Messrs. Houlditch were my parents.
“No four-wheeled carriage could possibly have entered upon life with brighter prospects; it is, alas ! my hard lot to detail the vicissitudes that rendered me what I am.
“I was ordered by an Earl, who was on the point of marriage with an heiress, and I was fitted up in the most expensive style. My complexion was pale yellow; on my sides I had coronets and supporters; my inside was soft and comfortable; my rumble behind was satisfactory; and my dickey was perfection, and provided with a hammercloth. My boots were capacious, my pockets were ample, and my leathers in good condition.
* When I stood at the Earl's door on the morning of his marriage, it was admitted by all who beheld me, that a neater turn-out had never left Long Acre. Lightly did my noble possessor press my cushions, as I wasted him to St. George's Church, Hanover-square; and when the ceremony was over, and the happy pair sat side by side within me, the Earl kissed the lips of his Countess, and I felt proud, not of the rank and wealth of my contents, but because they were contented and happy. . “Oh, how merrily my wheels whirled in those days! I bore my possessors to their country-seat; I flew about the county returning wedding visits; I went to races, with sandwiches and champagne in my pockets ; and I spent many a long night in an inn-yard, while my lord and my lady were presiding at county assemblies.
“ Mine was a life of sunshine and smiles. But ladies are capricious : the Countess suddenly discovered that I was heavy. Now, if she wished me to be light-headed, why did she order a landaulet? She declared, too, that I was unfit for town service; gave new orders to Houlditch; took possession of a chariot fashioned eight months later than myself; - sent me to Long-Acre to be disposed of, and I became a second-hand article !
“ My humiliation happened at an unlucky moment, for continual racketing in the country bad quite unhinged me; I required bracing, and had quite lost my colour. My paternal relation, however, (Houlditch,) undertook my repair, and I was very soon exhibited painted green, and ticketed, ' For sale, second-hand.
" It was now the month of May, when all persons of the smallest fashionable pretensions shun their country abodes and come to London, that they may escape the first fragrance of the flowers, the first song of the birds, the budding beauty of the forests, and the fresh verdure of the fields. I therefore felt (as young unmarried ladies feel at the commencement of the season) that there was every chance of my finding a lord and master, and becoming a prominent ornament of his establishment.
" After standing for a month at Houlditch's, (who, by the by, was not over-civil to his own child, but made a great favour of giving me houseroom,) I one day found myself scrutinised by a gentleman of very fashionable appearance. He was in immediate want of a carriage; I was, fortunately, exactly the sort of carriage he required, and in a quarter of an hour the transfer was arranged.
" The gentleman was on the point of running away with a young lady; he was attached to her, four horses were attached to me, and I was in waiting at the corner of Grosvenor-street at midnight. I thought myself a fortunate vehicle; I anticipated another marriage, another matri