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“I haven't an idea.”
should he ever get the chance, if he “Do you feel like lending money wishes really to understand how going more than usual ?"
up and down on the face of the earth “Not the least; but these dirty, will be done in “the good time coming." greasy little notes for tuppence half Besides our spirited little locomotive, penny each do give one rather a disgust the Champaign—which every of money. Perhaps it's the custom of and then during our voyage was so the country for natives to get rid of evidently inclined to run away with them in this way. They are certainly that our companion the Vicemore reckless of expense than any president had to go forward and reother people I have ever been amongst. strain the zeal of the young engineer
“ Can't be a joke, eh? Now, what and stoker—we had two cars. That is the meaning of this ?” he added, nearest the engine was our sittingpiteously, to the potentate, as he came room by day and bedroom by night. up to us.
At each end there was as comfortable “Meaning-waal, I suppose it's—1 a little chamber as man could wish for, suppose
it's meant for a warning to or woman either. These were occupied poor green old John Bull and the rest by the optimist and the potentate, while to button up their pockets when they the remaining four of us had each a comes out West. But come along, there's separate compartment of the sittingno time to lose ; we're two hours behind room, which the negro boy made up time, and shan't make connections unless every night for us into a comfortable we look sharp. There's the Champaign couch while we were at supper. Be across the platform, with her steam up, yond the foremost bedroom was a dressand our President and Vice waiting ing-room, with large washing accommofor us.”
dation, and water always turned on in “But breakfast-how about break some mysterious way. We stepped fast ?" pleaded the optimist : “ we've from the platform of this car across had nothing to speak of since Hamilton." into our dining-room, which occupied
“Oh, they'll have got something on the larger half of the second car, beboard ; come along."
yond which were the store-room and And accordingly, within five minutes the servants' berths, for a second negro of our arrival, we were aboard the little boy from a Chicago restaurant was told i special train which was to take us to the off to attend to this car and look after
new line in northern Iowa. The bell of the commissariat. In this important the Champaign began to toll, and we department we were practically selfmoved slowly out of the central depôt supporting, though our chef never lost of the western city of Aladdin. Neither an opportunity of foraging for fresh then, nor on my return to Chicago, provisions whenever we came to a halt. could I get any further explanation of Our stores, chiefly of the potted and herthe mysterious notice.
metically sealed order, comprised pickled There seems to be a general notion oysters and salmon, sardines, and Yarabroad amongst the travelling world mouth bloaters, cold roast beef and that locomotion in the United States boiled tongue, with tomatoes and other
is a decidedly democratic, and, there- preserved vegetables, potted duck, and Į fore, an uncomfortable, as well as a dan- pickles and sauces of various descrip
gerous business. I don't personally tions, including one which bore the title agree with the position that all things of “kalos geusis,” to which the struggler democratic must be either dangerous objected strongly (the name, not the of uncomfortable. But, be that as it condiment) on grammatical grounds. - tay, I recommend the most fastidious These, with cheese and crackers, and traveller that ever got into a carriage an unfailing supply of peaches and to try a trip on a special belonging to grapes for dessert, left little to be deone of the great American companies, sired, even when fresh prairie hen or
chickens were not to be had.
As we ran out of the central depôt box of excellent Havannahs reposed in we all stood on the platform looking a corner of the dining-rooin. Our wine curiously at the huge corn elevators, and carte consisted of the single item of dry the high square blocks of warehouses, champagne, and our stock of ice never as handsome as any in Cannon Street, failed, while at any hour of the day a and the rectangular streets and avenues, cup of black coffee, hot and strong, was broader than any in London. I suppose forthcoming at a few minutes' notice. that our evident wonder pleased our
Thus furnished, we started on our ex hosts, all Western men; and indeed after ploring voyage, and with three of the all that one has read in fifty books of magnates of the railway world on board, travels about Chicago, I will defy any we carried a three-sesame power, before one not to be startled when first brought which every kind of railway door flew face to face with the reality. open with the oiliest promptitude. The We were certainly not destined to course to be taken, and the point to be pass out of the town precincts without reached each day, were settled, as we a shock to our Old-World notions. As ran, in general conclave. Then tele we steamed slowly along through the grams were sent on ahead, one to order suburbs, tolling our great bell, we came tea at the place selected for our night upon one of the broad avennes lined quarters, others (after we had left the with trees, which form such a delightful lines controlled by the Illinois Central feature in all American towns. At authority) to ask permission of various the crossing, in the very middle of the railway governments to take our special avenue, a yood-sized house was standing over their lines. This favour was of -a house with five windows, and a course always granted at once, and an door on the side which was turned official generally appeared in due course towards us. You might hire such an to escort us over each successive com one for from forty pounds to fifty pounds pany's road, while an engineer of such a-year in Clerkenwell or Hammersmith, company mounted the Champaign, to except that the framework of this tenehelp our men with his local experience. ment was wooden, only the foundations The jealousy between rival lines which and chimney-stacks being of brick. For existed, and to a great extent I fancy a moment one fancied that it was stastill exists, at home, and would make tionary, and couldn't conceive how even such an arrangement difficult, has no the laxest municipal democracycould place in the West. The competition is have allowed a citizen of eccentric indeed keen enough, but is subordinated habits to build right in the middle of in this matter to the true interests of
an important thoroughfare. A second the companies and of the public; and as glance, however, showed us that the all the lines “make connections” wher house was upon rollers, and was only, ever they come in contact, and the in fact, waiting until we had passed, gauges are everywhere the same, you (as a market-cart might do in Eng-; can go a round of thousands of miles land), to cross the track, and pursue its without ever changing carriage, or being journey. I looked interrogatively at the aware that you are on a different line struggler, who was standing next me, from that on which you started. At and he at me, with the kind of expresnight we were switched away into some sion (I should fancy) of Bill Nye, when siding, as remote as possible from the he detected the heathen Chinee playing main track, that we might get quiet the best bower which William had sleep without annoyance from the already dealt to his own partner.
He rumble and bell tolling of passing was evidently suspicious of some elabofreight trains, and as a rule on awaken rate hoax, such as have been so often ing we found that we had made a start played by our saturnine cou-ins on creat day break, and had run some sixty or dulous Britishers. The potentate, howseventy miles already on our route. ever, stood by with a perfectly innocent
face, and seemed almost surprised when “Well, that's a wrinkle in the ecoour young friend broke out
nomic line. I'm glad I've seen it with “What has that wretched house
my own eyes, or I'll be hanged if I could been doing? Are they taking it to have swallowed the story.” the police court for being drunk and “ I guess you'll have to swallow bigger disorderly ?"
things before you get back. But here's "Likely enough," answered the im
the boy to call us to breakfast." perturbable potentate;
old And the summons was, indeed, a welwooden houses don't bear the best of come one; with the exception of a cup of characters."
tea, with some immaterial kind of bread, " But, seriously, now, what is the cake and baked apple accompaniment, meaning of it?”
we had been fasting since the famous “Well, just this. Building is mighty joint at Hamilton. So we trooped after dear in Chicayo, I tell you; but if it the President into our second carriage cost twice as much, every block in the with alacrity.
with alacrity. The misgivings which city has got to be as tall and handsome undoubtedly had troubled at least one as the best of those you saw.
of us, when we were hurried away, unfed, man that owns a lot is in a hurry to from the central depôt at Chicayo, disget rid of the old houses which served appeared at once. Our table was spread well enough a year or two back. Then, with haste as well as profusion. In the there are a lot of young fellows, clerks centre a solid pile of peaches and grapes. and the like, who will go and marry, The side dishes contained pickled salmon -we are a marrying people, you know. and oysters, with beef-tongue and chicken What did that dreadful old Scotchman to fall back upon, and a large reservoir say about it?"
of tomatoes, sliced, and served with oil “Carlyle, you mean? Why, that the and vinegar. (This last dish, a delicious most notable fact about you was, that cool salad when carefully prepared, is you had begotten with hitherto-unheard almost universal in the States, and after of rapidity twenty millions of the greatest a dusty journey of a hundred miles or bores under the sun. Is that what you
so in the cars, with the thermometer at mean ?”
80°, is one of those culinary sensations “ Yes, that's it; the old cynic ! But which hang fondly on the memory.) we don't mind him ; we are a good On the side table were rolls, crackers, natured people as well as a marrying cheese, sauces, and an array of coffeepeople.”
cups, while underneath stood a pail of " That was said before your war, ice, with the heads of chanı pagne bottles remember."
protruding. One of the black boys was “ Ay, but the American war in a opening a bottle as we entered, while nutshell' and the fire in a dirty chim the other, napkin in hand, marshalled ney canie out in our sorest pinch. us to the table. I thought I remarked a However, we've forgiven him.”
benignant and gratified twinkle in the “ So have we all; and he has said eye of the President as he watched the much worse things about England. Be effect of his preparations on his halfsides, you won : you put out the fire, faniished guests. Let me draw a decent and cleansed the chimney.”
veil over the next halt-huur, during “Yes, that's true; so we can afford which the Champaign sped on her way to laugh. Well then, these young fel through one of the niost prosj erous lows must have a house, and can't afford sections of the sovereigu State of Illinois. to build, or live, in the town ; so they Though prosperous, I am haj py to just go and buy one of the old wooden believe, on the assurance of the Presiones, get a lot in the suburbs and build dent, one of the most veracious of men, foundations, and then just cut away the that it offers no features of picturesque house, clap it on rollers, and lote it out or other special interest to strangers. of town as you saw."
At the end of that time a cup of su oking
black coffee stood before each of us, and “Waal, I reckon the Chicago folk. the first fragrant bouquet of the Presi I don't think many get out of the dent's Havannahs was stealing through town.” the car.
The struggler was still lin The struggler gravely swallowed his gering over a third peach ; and, as he last mouthful, and held out his hand tenderly skinned it, remarked to the for a cigar, with a look of confidence Vice-president, his next neighbour : injured. He was beginning to tbink
“There is certainly something I like that there was some deliberate plot to very much in your peaches. They mystify us, and I believe would have haven't, of course, the delicate texture prefaced every question be put with and flavour of hothouse fruit, or of the “bar sell,” if he had thought that that best wall-fruit. But then, they are not polite Anglicanism would have been wall-grown, I take it ?”
understood by our Western friends. “No, indeed; we don't get many I must own that the thirty-six tons walls in Southern Illinois. It'll be all was even to me a somewhat large order. standard fruit that you get in these “A friend of mine, an English sherry
importer,” I said, “has a large peach “So I thought,” said the struggler, orchard at Port St. Mary's, and he feeds taking a patronizing bite out of the his pigs with the fruit, after he has sunny side of his now skinned peach. preserved all he cares for.” “But they are a more cut-and-come Why don't he tote it into Cadiz again kind of fruit than ours—a demo and sell it ?" said the potentate. “You cratic version of Old-World peaches. Britishers are so cussed wasteful." You feel as if you might eat any quan
“I like that," said the optimist. tity of them without depriving any body“Why, I never knew what a spendelse of their chance. I dare say you thrift nation was till I got here." have them in large quantities here, these “Well, we caught it from you, anyyellow standard peaches ?”
how," replied the potentate.
“ But is “Yes, there is a large district of that why Spanish hams are so cracked Southern Illinois which is celebrated up? Is it a peach flavour, or what ?” for them,” said the Vice-president.
“ Montauche's hams, you mean,"
I “We run a fruit train every day said. “No, I believe those remarkable through the season," put in the Presi. porkers obtain their flavour from a diet dent, who never missed hearing any of snakes and snow; or, I am bound to reniark which bore on the traffic of his say, some travellers declare that it comes darling lines.
“ It has grown to be a from chestnuts." big business these last few years.”
“After all,” said the optimist, “when “When you say a fruit train, you you come to think of it, thirty-six tons mean, I suppose, that one of your morn isn't so much for a big city. How many ing trains brings in the fruit? Ours people in Chicago now?" comes into London mostly on large light “Three hundred and fifty thousand.” waggons adapted exclusively for fruit “All fruit eaters, I suppose. Well
that is a ton or so to 10,000. You “No; I guess our train only brings were last from college, struggler; cipher fruit. It has got to average seventeen us out how many pottles a head that One morning this summer,
would come to." I remember it brought in thirty-six tons “But this is only from one source of of strawberries ; and I think ihat's the supply," said the struggler. biggest lot we've carried yet."
“We bring in pretty near all the fruit, The struggler paused in the act of I guess,” said the President. “Market carrying to his mouth the last morsei of gardening about the town hasn't begun his peach.
“ Thirty-six tons ! tons' yet. They haven't time for it, and the weight of strawberries in one day ! climate wouldn't suit so well." You are joking. Why, who eats them ?” “Surpose we go and have a look at
the country? Why, we must have run the Ohio and Mississippi. Then a base sixty or seventy miles by this time, I line is drawn across the meridian line at should think."
right angles, of course from the same “Thereabouts,” said the President, point. Then, by drawing cross lines and so we got up and sauntered into parallel with these two initial ones, the our drawing-room car, and ensconced country under survey is mapped out ourselves at the windows, to make all into blocks six miles square.” such observations on the new country as “What a monotonous rectangular the pace would permit. It was under business !” said the optimist ; " and a corn almost exclusively as far as the
six-mile block is a parish, I suppose ?" could reach,—corn standing from four to “We call 'em townships," said the six feet high over a slightly undulating Vice-president. “Then each township country, crossed here and there by very is divided again into numbered sections, passable tracks. The stations which we each a mile square, or thirty-six secshot past were generally surrounded by tions to every township. Out of these, detached cottages and farm homesteads; one section, generally the sixteenth, is the inevitable large, square, brick-built reserved for school purposes." school-house standing out as the prin
“ What if there are no children ?" cipal building, though occasionally some “ Well, that's generally the case at enterprising citizen had run up a solid first. So the school section—640 acres, block of stores, with dwelling-houses you see—lies there till school trustees above, in sure anticipation of the coming are named, and then it is vested in population and prosperity, which chal them to deal with as they find best.” lenged comparison with it for size.
But are there school trustees to "What is your plan here, in Illinois,
every township?" as to your schools ?” asked the optimist. Yes, to every political township; "I see everywhere the school standing and the political ones generally coincide up, the biggest and best building in the with the surveyed townships, though town. How do you pay for them and they are fixed by the State, and not by maintain them ?”
the Central Government." "By reserved sections," said the Well, but these 640 acres must be potentate.
often nearly useless—like a white ele" Thank you, but you might as well phant, or the Vicar of Wakefield's big say by conic sections for anything that picture. They can't let, I suppose, at a the phrase means to me. What are re
rent in these parts ? Heavy rents are a served sections, pray ?”
privilege of our Old World.” The Vice will explain. He had a “No, and they don't need. Tho hand in the Government survey in these trustees nearly always want money to parts ;” and the potentate betook him build the schools, and for initiatory self to his cigar.
expenses, so they sell the school lot for “Well, it's rather a long story to
what it will bring.” make it clear to you,” said the Vice “And what then? where does the president. “Our State survey system
school income come from? How are the wasn't applied to the thirteen colonies, teachers paid, and the buildings mainbut now whenever a territory applies to
tained ? I understand your system to be be adınitted as a State, and often before absolutely free ?” that, it is regularly surveyed, and Well, so it is; we get the income divided up into sections."
by just taxing all owners of land in And some of these are re the township.” served for the schools ?"
“ That's simple enough certainly, and This is how it's done. A an excellent plan. But now about the meridian line is drawn across north and other thirty-five sections : how are they south from some natural starting-point. dealt with First, who do they belong to, Here in Illinois we took the junction of
the Union or the State, or to squatters?”,
“ I see.
“ Just so.