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The Commercial Metropolis and Rural Scenery.
"All that Nature did thy soil deny,
A constant tribute paid to thee."
Liverpool! How lan
ERE we are upon substantial soil. guidly the word melts in the mouth! My partiality for steamships and big ponds could not restrain the outbreak of joy with which we pressed the solid land. The effects too of our experience, though sad at first, have resulted in a bound of animal spirits almost inconsistent with sanity.
At the mouth of the Mersey we took a pilot aboard, and with our "starboard, sir," "port, sir," and "steady, sir," we reached Liverpool at 11 o'clock, upon the night of the 17th of May, 1851. It was some recompense for missing the green, bright green banks of the Mersey, with its cottages and residences, that we passed up amid a galaxy of many-colored lights, which, reflected upon the water from Birkenhead on the one side, and Liverpool on the other, almost transformed the scene into one of fairyland. Our guns boomed; mails were taken; and after the custom-house proceedings, by no means vexatious, we were permitted to land. The first person that spoke to me was a little imp, modelled after the exterior of Oliver Twist. A police officer touched him with a bâton. He was non est in a jiffy.
Our first impression of the population here was not very favorable. True, we saw the fag-end of humanity in the shape
of beggars and loafers at the landing. We had no sooner taken up our march to our hotel, preferring to feel the delight of a walk, after so long a ride on the billows, than a fellow who said that he was a servant at the Waterloo, offered himself as our pilot. I suspected him, but thought that we would use him, as it was nearly two in the morning. We had not gone far before we were saluted with, "Which hotel, sir-which hotel?"
"Sorry-very sorry-can't accommodate you, sir-I'm boots at the Waterloo, sir-all full, sir. Three ship-loads just arrived, sir-very sorry-Victoria Hotel near by-few minutes walk, sir -own sister of the Waterloo keeps it."
He had said too much. We marched on, heartily laughing at " Boots!" Saint Somebody's church illuminated the hour of two, and it was nearly daylight-a phenomenon belonging to this northern clime which considerably bewildered our Buckeye experience. We found the Waterloo open, and the lady at the door with her servants, ready to take down our names. I introduced our pilot as their servant. They, of course, disclaimed his acquaintance. "You are a pretty specimen of human veracity."
66 Yes, sir, I am obliged to you, sir."
"But I suppose we ought to pay you for your guidance ?" "Oh yes, please you, sir, you are very kind, sir."
I gave him a shilling, with a caution about lying, which he, with a rub over his red nose, and a low bow, acknowledged.
We had scarcely appeared this morning at our window, when that extreme of English civilization called "starvation" was seen in the shape of a young urchin, whether boy or girl I could not discern, for the dress consisted of only two rags. He stood bobbing his head and whining, while I sketched him. His counterfeit presentment followed us. as soon as we left the hotel to take a stroll; and the little gipsey had the same monotone of grief. He was joined by another; and thus marshalled, we had to pass the agony of some squares. It was not until a fretful threat to
"cut his weazand," that he cut our company, which he did with the remark," they won't pay any more."
How comfortably every thing is conducted in these English hotels. We have our own parlors, and our own meals. It looks so cosey to see our own good company presiding at the tea-urn, and dispensing the Johnsonian beverage.
Of course, the modes here strike us strangely. But as we started out to admire all that is admirable, we must commend the English mode of hotel keeping, with its private parlors and private meals.
Every object, even the go-carts, strike a stranger queerly at first. Omnibuses, with nobody inside, and crowded a-top, dash past our windows. Cabs as big as our carriages, like a streak of lightning, dash by with one horse. Horns musically quiver in the fresh morning air. The tall dark houses and clean white paves of Liverpool surround us, while on every side green foliage and twittering birds betoken that love of rural life which the English bring even into their cities. One thing in-doors is noticeable. The sedulous zeal displayed in curtaining out heaven's sun light. It would seem that, with the prodigality of gloomy weather in this isle, as much of the light as possible would be admitted, more especially as a heavy window tax is assessed. But no such thing. Why? Is it a phase of that habitual exclusiveness and love of domestic ease which form so prominent a trait in the English character?
We have viewed the city. Its Corinthian elegance of architecture, illustrated especially in the Exchange; excellent police; above all, its magnificent docks, by which the shipping is brought into the city and preserved afloat, notwithstanding the tides bespeak for Liverpool the encomium of the traveller. There are two provisos. The first, beggars, I have named. The other is, the apparent sacrilegious treatment of the buried dead. Would you believe it? The pave to several of the first churches here is over and upon the tombstones of the buried. The inscriptions are being effaced by the feet of the passenger. Nurses
with children, men, women, and boys, indiscriminately, tread over the ashes of the departed.
In our walk, we noticed Roscoe street-a reminder that Liverpool was the home of the Historian of the Medici. It recalled his splendid descriptions of that age, when Scholarship and Art were beginning to burst the barriers of the dark ages. to herald the new-born civilization which is ours to-day. It also recalled Irving's elegant tribute to the merchant litterateur. You remember how Irving first saw him, entering the Athenæum, with his venerable air-a fine illustration of “ a chance production" disappointing the assiduities of Art, and working out of the busy mart of traffic the glory and the genius of the great Tuscan era. You remember, too, how nobly he bore the loss of his books, and what a noble consolation he found in the closing words of his sonnet,
"Mind shall with mind direct communion hold,
And kindred spirits meet to part no more."
The country lying adjacent to the great railway between Liverpool and London, presents a perfect succession of rural beauties: one sweet continuous garden, divided off into elegant compartments, and dotted with residences of the most exquisite taste. After passing out of the tunnel from Liverpool, which is cut through the solid rock, and which we performed for a mile and a quarter up an inclined plane, drawn by a stationary engine; after we struck the daylight and the country, a bright greenish green, so green as almost to be yellow, saluted our eyes, albeit unused to any other than sea-green. The meadows all along seemed indeed a carpet, into which were inwoven snow-flakes of daisies, buttercups in profusion, and pansies large and plentiful! Yet the land here is naturally sterile, having a reddish tinge, and as we approach nearer the great metropolis it displays a chalk formation. We are at one moment moving in sight of a beautiful tower upon the hill, surrounded with walks and embowered in leafiness; then past a succession of
ivy-covered cottages, thatched with straw, and in themselves, with their streams and parterres, forming a rural landscape. The high gothic chimneys, and the very red of the bricks, give to the towns along the way a very picturesque effect. Nature seems like Cowper's rose, as if just washed in a shower; and so bright, yellow almost, and many-shaded, is the green, that it pleases the eye like an autumnal forest in Ohio. The churches are all perfectly neat; some, elegant gothic buildings. Now and then, a still, hallowing sense of antiquity hovers around these churches and their grave-yards, which we look for in vain at home. How pleasing to see, peeping from their verdurous coverts, these little minsters of heaven! From these, notwithstanding the marriage of Church and State-which cannot be too much abominated-have emanated those salutary influences which are illustrated by the surrounding practical works. From these chapels, honored by a LATIMER, a JEREMY TAYLOR, a HOOKER and a BERKLEY, in the elder time, came forth the power which has transformed the naturally poor soil of England into a garden of cultivation. They have made the ever-sweet hedges, and have constructed these roads which seem like elegant winding garden paths, extending as far as the eye can penetrate, like lines of light in a vast panorama of verdure.
We did not observe in all this journey a single sign of poverty. Comfort is impressed every where. In every village and cottage, Plenty appeared rejoicing in her stewardship. In the manufacturing districts through which we passed, the same rural air of neat exactitude and repose was apparent. You could only distinguish these districts by huge piles of coal near the railroad, and the tall chimney stacks lifting themselves out of the level against the sky, and topped with wavy streamers of smoke, which in the distance reminded us of our Liberty poles and flags. Each railway station is a pretty piece of architecture, with its elegant surrounding grounds. There does not seem to be a thing neglected or out of place. As the car dashed from point to point, our surprise was increased. Never through