Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

A Walk from London to John O'Groat's by Elihu Burritt

Part 4 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download A Walk from London to John O'Groat's pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

the shorn lamb." A French writer puts it the other way, and more
practically: "Providence tempers the wool of the lamb to the wind."
This is far better and more natural. But it may be truly said that
Providence tempers the seasons to the temperaments and customs of
the two nations.

Just before reaching Oakham, I passed a grand mansion, standing far
back from the turnpike road, on a commanding eminence, flanked with
extensive plantations. The wide avenue leading to it looked a full
mile in length. Lawns and lakes, which mirrored the trees with
equal distinctness, suffused the landscape of the park like evening
smiles of Nature. It was indeed a goodly heritage for one man; and
he only mounted a plain _Mr_. to his name, although I learned that
he could count his farms by the dozen. I was told that the annual
dinner given to his tenant farmers came off the previous day at the
inn where I lodged. A sumptuous banquet was provided for them,
presided over by the steward of the estate; as the great _Mr_. did
not honor the plebeian company with his presence. This is a feature
of the structure of English society which the best read American
would not be likely to recognise without travelling somewhat
extensively in the country. The British Nobility, the great, world-
renowned Middle Class, and the poor laboring population, constitute
the three great divisions of the people and include them all in his
mind. He is apt to leave out of count the Gentry, the great
untitled MISTERS, who come in between the nobility and middle-men,
and constitute the connecting link between them. "The fine old
English gentleman, all of the olden time," is supposed to belong to
this class. They make up most of "the old county families," of
which you hear more than you read. They are generally large
landholders, owning from twenty to one hundred farms. They live in
grand old mansions, surrounded with liveried servants, and inspire a
mild awe and respectful admiration, not only in the common country
people, but in the minds of persons in whom an American would not
look for such homage to untitled rank. They hunt with horses and
dogs over the grounds of their tenant farmers, and the latter often
act as game-beaters for them at their "shootings." When one of them
owns a whole village, church and all, he is generally called "the
Squire," but most of them are squired without the definite article.
They still boast of as good specimens of "the fine old English
gentleman" as the country can show; and I am inclined to think it is
not an unfounded pretension, although I have not yet come in contact
with many of the class.

One of this county squirocracy I know personally and well,--and
other Americans know him as well as myself,--who, though living in a
palace of his own, once occupied by an exiled French sovereign, is
just as simple and honest as a child in every feature of his
disposition and deportment. Every year he has a Festival in his
park, lasting two or three days. It is a kind of out-door
Parliament and a Greenwich Fair combined, as it would seem at first
sight to an incidental spectator. I do not believe anything in the
rest of the wide world could equal this gathering, for many peculiar
features of enjoyment. It is made up of both sexes and all ages and
conditions; especially of the laboring classes. They come out
strong on these occasions. The round and red faced boys and girls
of villages and hamlets for a great distance around look forward to
this annual frolic with exhilarating expectation. Never was romping
and racing and the amorous forfeit plays of the ring got up under
more favorable auspices, or with more pleasant surroundings. It
would do any man's heart good, who was ever a genuine boy, to see
the venerable squire and his lady presiding over a race between
competing couples of ploughmens' boys, from ten to fifteen years of
age, running their rounds in the park, bare-footed, bare-headed,
with faces as round and red as a ripe pumpkin, and hair of the same
color whipping the air as they neck-and-neck it in the middle of the
heat. When the winners of the prizes receive their rewards at his
hands, his kind words and the radiant benevolence of his face they
value more than the conquest and the coins they win.

Then there are intellectual entertainments and deliberative
proceedings of grave moment arranged for the elder portion of the
great congregation. While groups of blushing lads and lasses are
hunting the handkerchief in the hustle and tussle of the ring under
the great, solemn elms, a scene may be witnessed on the lawn nearer
the mansion that ought to have been painted long ago. Two or three
double-horse wagons are ranged end to end in the shade, and planks
are placed along from one end to the other, making a continuous seat
for a score or two of orators. In front of this dozen-wheeled
tribune rows of seats, capable of holding several hundred persons,
are arranged within hearing distance. When these are filled and
surrounded by a standing wall of men and women, three or four deep,
and when the orators of the day ascend over the wheels to the long
wagon-seat, you have a scene and an assembly the like of which you
find nowhere else in Christendom. No Saxon parliament of the
Heptarchy could "hold a candle to it." Never, in any age or country
of free speech, did individual ideas, idiosyncrasies, and liberty of
conscience have freer scope and play. Never did all the isms of
philanthropy, politics, or of social and moral reform generally have
such a harmonious trysting time of it. Never was there a platform
erected for discussing things local and general so catholic as the
one now resting upon the wheels of those farm wagons. Every year
the bland and venerable host succeeds in widening the area of
debate. I was invited to be present at the Festival this year, but
was too far on the road to John O'Groat's to participate in a
pleasure I have often enjoyed. But I read his resume of the year's
doings, aspects and prospects from Japan to Hudson's Bay with lively
interest and valuable instruction. He seldom presides himself as
chairman, but leaves that post of honor to be filled, if possible,
by the citizen of some foreign country, if he can speak English
tolerably. This gives a more cosmopolitan aspect to the assembly.
But he himself always makes what in Parliament would be called "a
financial statement," without the reference to money matters. He
sums up the significance of all the great events of the year,
bearing upon human progress in general, and upon each specific
enterprise in particular. With palatial mansions, parks, and farms
great and small, scattered through several counties, he is the
greatest radical in England. He distances the Chartists altogether
in his programme, and adds several new points to their political
creed. He not only advocates manhood suffrage, but womanhood
suffrage, and woman-seats in Parliament. Then he is a great friend
of a reform which the Chartists grievously overlook, and which would
make thousands of them voters if they would adopt it. That is,
Total Abstinence from Tobacco, as well as from Ardent Spirits.
Thus, no report of modern times equals the good Squire's summing-up,
which he gives on these occasions, from the great farm-wagon
tribune, to the multitudinous and motley congregation assembled
under his park trees. This year it was unusually rich and piquant,
from the expanded area of events and aspects. In presenting these,
as bearing upon the causes of Temperance, Peace, Anti-War, Anti-
Slavery, Anti-Tobacco, Anti-Capital Punishment, Anti-Church-Rates,
Free Trade, Woman's Rights, Parliamentary Reform, Social Reform,
Scientific Progress, Discovery of the Sources of the Nile, and other
important movements, he was necessarily obliged to be somewhat
discursive. But he generalised with much ease and perspicuity, and
conducted the thread of his discourse, like a rivulet of light,
through the histories of the year; transporting the mind of his
audience from doings in Japan to those in America, from Poland to
Mexico, and through stirring regions of Geography, Politics,
Philanthropy, Social Science and Economy, by gentle and interesting
transitions. This annual statement is very valuable and
instructive, and should have a wider publicity than it usually

When "the fine old English gentleman all of the olden time" has
concluded his resume of the year's progress, and the prospects it
leaves to the one incoming, the orators of the different causes
which he has thus reported, arise one after the other, and the
bright air and the green foliage of the over-spreading trees, as
well as the listening multitude below are stirred with fervid
speeches, sometimes interspersed with "music from the band." The
Festival is wound up by a banquet in the hall, given by the
munificent host to a large number of guests, representing the
various good movements advocated from the platform described. Many
Americans have spoken from that rostrum, and sat at that banquet
table in years gone by, and they will attest to the correctness of
these slight delineations of the character of the host and of the
annual festival that will perpetuate his name in long and pleasant

Oakham is a goodly and pleasant town, the chief and capital of
Rutlandshire. It has the ruins of an old castle in its midst, and
several interesting antiquities and customs. It, too, has its
unique speciality or prerogative. I was told that every person of
title driving through the town, or coming to reside within the
jurisdiction of its bye-laws, must leave his card to the authorities
in the shape of a veritable horse-shoe. It is said that the walls
of the old town hall are hung with these iron souvenirs of
distinguished visits; thus constituting a museum that would be
instructive to a farrier or blacksmith, as well as to the

From Oakham I walked to Melton Mowbray, a cleanly, good-looking town
in Leicestershire, situated on the little river Eye. One cannot say
exactly in regard to Rutlandshire what an Englishman once said to
the authorities of a pigmy Italian duchy, who ordered him to leave
it in twenty-four hours. "I only require fifteen minutes," said
cousin John, with a look and tone which Jonathan could not imitate.
This rural county is to the shire-family of England what Rhode
Island is to the American family of States--the smallest, but not
least, in several happy characteristics.

I spent a quiet Sabbath in Melton Mowbray; attended divine service
in the old parish church and listened to two extemporaneous sermons
full of simple and earnest teaching, and delivered in a
conversational tone of voice. Here, too, the parish church was
seated in the midst of the great congregation which had long ceased
to listen to the call of its Sabbath bells. It was a beautiful and
touching arrangement of the olden time to erect the House of Prayer
in the centre of "God's Acre," that the shadow of its belfry and the
Sabbath voice of its silvery bells might float for centuries over
the family circles lying side by side in their long homes around the
sanctuary. There was a good and tender thought in making up this
sabbath society of the living and the dead; in planting the narrow
pathway between the two Sions with the white milestones of
generations that had travelled it in ages gone, leaving here and
there words of faith, hope and admonition to those following in
their footsteps. It is one of the contingencies of "higher
civilization" that this social economy of the churchyard, that
linked present and past generations in such touching and instructive
companionship, has been suspended and annulled.

Melton Mowbray has also a very respectable individuality. It is a
great centre for the scarlet-coated Nimrods who scale hedges and
ditches, in well-mounted squadrons, after a fox _preserved_ at great
expense and care to become the victim of their valor. But this is a
small and frivolous distinction compared with its celebrated
manufacture of _pork-pies_. It bids fair to become as famous for
them as Banbury is for buns. I visited the principal establishment
for providing the travelling and picnicking world with these very
substantial and palatable portables. I went under the impulse of
that uneasy, suspicious curiosity to peer into the forbidden
mysteries of the kitchen which generally brings no satisfaction when
gratified, and which often admonishes a man not only to eat what is
set before him without any questions for conscience sake, but also
for the sake of the more delicate and exacting sensibilities of the
stomach. I must confess my first visit to this, the greatest pork-
pie factory in the world, savored a little of the anxiety to know
the worst, instead of the best, in regard to the solid materials and
lighter ingredients which entered into the composition of these
suspiciously cheap luxuries. There were points also connected with
the process of their elaboration which had given me an undefinable
uneasiness in the refreshment rooms of a hundred railway stations.
I was determined to settle these moot points once for all. So I
entered the establishment with an eye of as keen a speculation as an
exciseman's searching a building for illicit distillery, and I came
out of it a more charitable and contented man. All was above board,
fair and clean. The meat was fresh and good. The flour was fine
and sweet; the butter and lard would grace the neatest housewife's
larder; the forms on which the pies were moulded were as pure as
spotless marble. The men and boys looked healthy and bright; their
hands were smooth and clean, and their aprons white as snow. Not
one of them smoked or took snuff at his work. I saw every process
and implement employed in the construction of these pies for the
market; the great tubs of pepper and spice, the huge ovens, the
cooling racks, the packing room; in a word, every department and
feature of the establishment. And the best thing that I can say of
it is this: that I shall eat with better satisfaction and relish
hereafter the pies bearing the brand of Evans, of Melton Mowbray,
than I ever did before. The famous Stilton cheese is another
speciality of this quiet and interesting town, or of its immediate
neighborhood. So, putting the two articles of luxury and
consumption together, it is rather ahead of Banbury with its cakes.

On Monday, August 11th, I resumed my walk northward, and passed
through a very highly cultivated and interesting section. About the
middle of the afternoon, I reached Broughton Hill, and looked off
upon the most beautiful and magnificent landscape I have yet seen in
England. It was the Belvoir Vale; and it would be worth a hundred
miles' walk to see it, if that was the only way to reach it. It lay
in a half-moon shape, the base line measuring apparently about
twenty miles in length. As I sat upon the high wall of this valley,
that overlooks it on the south, I felt that I was looking upon the
most highly-finished piece of pre-Raphaelite artistry that could be
found in the world,--the artistry of the plough, glorious and
beautiful with the unconscious and involuntary pictures which
patient human labor paints upon the canvas of Nature. Never did I
see the like before. If Turner had the shaping of the ground
entirely for an artistic purpose, it could not have been more
happily formed for a display of agricultural pictures. What might
be called the _physical_ vista made the most perfect hemiorama I
ever looked upon. The long, high, wooded ridge, including Broughton
Hill, _eclipsed_, as it were, just half the disk of a circle twenty
miles in diameter, leaving the other half in all the glow and glory
that Nature and that great blind painter, Agricultural Industry,
could give to it. The valley with its foot against this mountainous
ridge, put out its right arm and enfolded to its bosom a little,
beautiful world of its own of about fifty miles girth. In this
embrace were included hundreds of softly-rounded hills, with their
intervening valleys, villages, hamlets, church spires and towers,
plantations, groves, copses and hedge-row trees, grouped by sheer
accident as picturesquely as Turner himself could have arranged
them. The elevation of the ridge on which I sat softened down all
these distant hills, so that they looked only like little undulating
risings by which the valley gently ascended to the blue rim of the
horizon on the north.

It was an excellent standpoint on which to balance Nature and Human
Industry; to estimate their separate and joint work upon that vast
landscape. A few centuries ago, perhaps about the time that the
Mayflower sighted Plymouth Rock, this valley, now so indescribably
beautiful, was almost in the state of nature. Wolves and wild boars
may have been prowling about in the woods and tangled thickets that
covered this ridge back for several leagues. Bushes, bogs and
briers, and coarse prairie grass roughened the bottom of this
valley; matted heather, furze, broom and clumps of shrubby trees,
all those hills and uplands arising in the background to the
northward horizon. This declining sun, and the moon and stars that
will soon follow in the pathway of its chariot, like a liveried
cortege, shone upon that scene with all the light they will give
this day and night. The rain and dew, and all the genial ministries
of the seasons, did their unaided best to make it lovely and
beautiful. The sweetest singing-birds of England came and tried to
cheer its solitude with their happy voices. The summer breezes came
with their softest breath, whispering through brake, bush and brier
the little speeches of Nature's life. The summer bees came and
filled all those heather-purpled acres with their industrial lays,
and sang a merry song in the door of every wild-flower that gave
them the petalled honey of its heart. All the trained and
travelling industrials and all the sweet influences of Nature came
and did all they could without man's help to make this great valley
most delightful to the eye. But the wolves still prowled and
howled; the briers grew rough and rank; the grass, coarse and thin;
the heathered hills were oozy and cold in their watery beds; the
clumpy, shrubby trees wore the same ragged coats of moss; and no
feature of the scene mended for the better from year to year.

Then came the great Blind Painter, with his rude, iron pencils, to
the help of Nature. He came with the Axe, Plough and Spade, her
mightiest allies. With these he had driven wild Druidic Paganism
back mile by mile from England's centre; back into her dark
fastnesses. With the Axe, Spade and Plough he chased the foul
beasts and barbarisms from the island. Two centuries long was he in
painting this Beautiful Valley. Nature ground and mixed the colors
for him all the while, for he was blind. He was poor; often cold
and hungry, and his children, with blue fingers and pale, silent
eyes, sometimes asked for bread in winter he could not give. He
lived in a low cottage, small, damp and dark, and laid him down at
night upon a bed of straw. He could not read; and his thoughts of
human life and its hereafter were few and small. He had no taste
for music, and seldom whistled at his work. He wore a coarse
garment, of ghostly pattern, called a smock-frock. His hat just
rounded his head to a more globular and mindless form. His shoes
were as heavy as a horse's with iron nails. He had no eye nor taste
for colors. If all the trees, if all the crops of grain, grass and
roots on which he wrought his life long, had come out in brickdust
and oil, it would have been all the same to him, if they had sold as
high in the market, and beer and bread had been as cheap for the
uniformity. And yet he was the Turner of this great painting. He
is the artist that has made England a gallery of the finest
agricultural pictures in the world. And in no country in
Christendom is High Art so appreciated to such pecuniary patronage
and valuation as here. In none is the genius of the Pencil so
treasured, so paid, and almost worshipped as here. The public and
private galleries of Britain hold pictures that would buy every acre
of the island at the price current of it when Elizabeth was queen.
One of Turner's landscapes would pay for a whole Highland county at
its valuation when Mary held her first court at Holyrood.

I sit here and look off upon this largest, loveliest picture the
Blind Painter has given to England. I note his grouping of the ivy-
framed fields, of every size and form, panelling the gently-rounded
hills, and all the soft slopes down to the foot of the valley; the
silvery, ripe barley against the dark-green beans; the rich gold of
the wheat against the smooth, blue-dashed leaves of the mangel
wurzel or rutabaga; the ripening oats overlooking a foreground of
vividly green turnips, with alternations of pasture and meadow land,
hedges running in every direction, plantations, groves, copses
sprinkled over the whole vista, as if the whole little world, clear
up to the soft, blue fringe of the horizon, were the design and work
of a single artist. And this, and ten thousand pictures of the same
genius, were the work of the Briarean-handed BLIND PAINTER, who
still wears a smock-frock and hob-nailed shoes, and lives in a low,
damp cottage, and dines on bread and cheese among the golden sheaves
of harvest!

O, Mother England! thou that knightest the artists while living, and
buildest their sepulchres when dead; thou that honorest to such
stature of praise the plagiarists upon Nature, and clothest the
copyists of patient Labor's pictures in such purple and fine linen;
thou whose heart is softening to the sweet benevolences of Christian
charity in so many directions,--wilt thou not think, with a new
sentiment of kindness and sympathy, on this Blind Painter, who has
tapestried the hills and valleys of thy island with an artistry that
angels might look upon with admiration and wonder!

Wilt thou not build him a better cottage to live in?

Wilt thou not give him something better than dry bread and cold
bacon for dinner in harvest?

Wilt thou not teach all his children to read the alphabet and the
blessed syllables of the Great Revelation of God's Love to man?

Wilt thou not make a morning-ward door in his dwelling and show him
a future with a sun in it, in _this_ world, as well as the world to

Wilt thou not open up a pathway through the valley of his
humiliation by which his children may ascend to the better
conditions of society?



From the Belvoir Vale I continued my walk to Nottingham the
following day; crossing a grand old bridge over the Trent. Take it
all in all, this may be called perhaps the most English town in
England; stirring, plucky and radical; full of industrial intellect
and vigor. Its chief businesses involve and exercise thought; and
thought educed into one direction and activity, runs naturally into
others. The whole population, under these influences, has become
_peopled_ to a remarkable status and strength of opinion, sentiment
and action. They prefix that large and generous quality to their
best doings and institutions, and have their Peoples' College,
Peoples' Park, etc. The Peoples' Charter had its stronghold here,
and all radical reforms are sure to find sympathy and support among
the People of Nottingham. I should think no equal population in the
kingdom would sing "Britons never, never will be slaves," with more
spirit, or, perhaps, with more understanding. Their plucky, English
natures became terribly stirred up in the exciting time of the
Reform Bill, and they burned down the magnificent palace-castle of
the old Duke of Newcastle, crowning the mountainous rock which
terminates on the west the elevated ridge on which the town is
built. When the Bill was carried, and the People had cooled down to
their normal condition of mind, they were obliged to pay for this
evening's illumination of their wrath pretty dearly. The Duke
mulcted the town and county to the tune of 21,000 pounds, or full
$100,000. The castle was no Chepstow structure, rough and rude for
war, but more like the ornate and castellated palace at Heidelberg,
and it was almost as high above the Trent as the latter is above the
Neckar. The view the site commands is truly magnificent, embracing
the Trent Valley, and an extensive vista beyond it. It was really
the great lion of the town, and the People, having paid the 21,000
pounds for dismounting it, because it roared in the wrong direction
on the Reform Bill, expected, of course, that His Grace the Duke
would set it up again on the old pedestal, with its mane and tail
and general aspect much improved. But they counted without their
host. "Is it not lawful to do what I will with my own," was the
substance of his reply; and there stands the blackened, crumbling
ruin to this day, as a silent but grim reproach to the People for
letting their angry passions rise to such destructive excitement on
political questions.

Hosiery and lace are the two great manufacturing interests of
Nottingham, and the tons of these articles it turns out yearly for
the world are astonishing in number and value. A single London
house employs 3,000 hands in the town and immediate vicinity upon
hosiery alone for its establishment. Lace now seems to lead the
way, and there are whole streets of factories and warehouses busy
with its manufacture and sale. Perhaps no fabric in the world ever
tested the ingenuity and value of machinery like this. The cost has
been reduced, from the old hand-working to the present process, from
three dollars to three cents a yard! I think no machinery yet
invented has been endowed with more delicate functions of human
reason and genius than that employed upon the flower-work of this
subtle drapery. Until I saw it with my own eyes, I had concluded
that the machinery invented or employed in America for setting card-
teeth was the most astute, and as nearly approaching the faculties
of the human mind in its apparent thought-power, as it was reverent
and safe to carry anything made of iron and steel, or made by man at
all. To construct a machine which should pass between its fingers a
broad belt of leather and a fine thread of wire, prick rows of holes
across the breadth of the leather, bend, cut off, and insert the
shank ends of the teeth clear through these holes, and clinch them
on the back side, and pour out a continuous, uninterrupted stream of
perfectly-teethed belt, all ready for carding,--this, I fancied, was
the ne plus ultra of mechanical inventions. But it is quite
surpassed by the lace-weaving looms of Nottingham, that work out, to
exquisite perfection, all the flowers, leaves, vines and vein-work
of nature. It was wonderful to see the ductility of cotton, as here
exemplified. The _bobbins_, which, I suppose, are a mere refinement
upon the old hand-thrown shuttle, are of brass, about the size of
half-a-crown. A groove that will just admit the thin edge of a
case-knife, is cut into the rim of the little wheel, about one
quarter of an inch deep. A cotton thread, 120 yards in length, and
strong enough to be twitched about and twisted by a score of
vigorous, chattering, iron fingers, is wound around in this groove.
But it would be idle to attempt a description of either the
machinery or the process.

I went next into a large establishment for dyeing, dressing, winding
and packing the lace for market. It was startling to see the acres
of it dyed black for mourning. Really there seemed enough of it to
drape the whole valley of the shadow of death! It was an impressive
sight truly. If there were other establishments doing the same
thing, Nottingham must turn out weeds of grief enough for several
millions of mourning widows, mothers, sisters and daughters in a
year. I ascended into the dressing-room, I think they called it, in
the upper story, where there was a piece containing one twenty-fifth
of an acre of lace undergoing a fearful operation for a human
constitution to sustain. It was necessary that the heat of the
apartment should be kept at _one hundred and twenty_ degrees! There
was a large number of women and girls, and a few men and boys
working under this melting ordeal. And one of the proprietors was
at their head, in a rather summer dress, and with a seethed and
crimson face beaded with hot perspiration. It was a very delicate
and important operation which he had not only to watch with his own
eyes, but to work at with his own hands. I was glad to learn that
he was a staunch Protestant, and did not believe in _purgatory_; but
those poor girls!--could they be expected to hold to the same belief
under such a test?

I was told that they could get up lace so cheap that the people of
the town frequently cover their gooseberry bushes with it to keep
off the insects. Spider-webbing is a scarcely more gossamer-like
fabric. Sixteen square yards of this lace only weigh about an
ounce! If the negroes on one of the South Carolina Sea-island
plantations could have been shut into that dressing-room for two
whole minutes, with the mercury at 120 degrees, they would have
rolled up the whites of their eyes in perfect amazement and made a
rush for "Dixie" again.

From Nottingham I made an afternoon walk to Mansfield. The weather
was splendid and the country in all the glory of harvest. On
reaching Newstead Abbey, I found, to my regret, that the entree to
the public had been closed by the new proprietor, one, I was told,
of the manufacturing gentry of the Manchester school. Not that he
was less liberal and accommodating to sight-seers than his
predecessors, but because he was making very extensive and costly
improvements in the buildings and grounds. I have seen nothing yet
in England to compare, for ornate carving, with the new gate-way he
is making to the park. It is of the finest kind of arabesque work
done in stone that much resembles the Caen. This prevention barred
me from even a distant view of the once famous residence of Lord
Byron, as it could not be seen from the public road.

Within about three miles of Mansfield, I came to a turnpike gate,--a
neat, cozy, comfortable cottage, got up in the Gothic order. I
stopped to rest a moment, and noticing the good woman setting her
tea-table, I invited myself to a seat at it, on the inn basis, and
had a pleasant meal and chat with her and an under-gamekeeper of the
Duke of Portland, who had come in a little before me. The stories
he told me about the extent of the Duke's possessions were
marvellous, more especially in reference to his game preserves. I
should think there must be a larger number of hares, rabbits and
partridges on his estate than in the whole of New England. As I sat
engaged in conversation with the woman of the house and this
accidental guest, an unmistakable American face met my eyes, as I
raised them to the opposite wall. It was the familiar face of a
Bristol clock, made in the Connecticut village adjoining the one in
which I was born. It wore the same honest expression, which a great
many ill-natured people, especially in our Southern States, have
regarded as covering a dishonest and untruthful mind, or a bad
memory of the hours. Still it is the most ubiquitous Americanism in
the world, and it is pleasant to see its face in so many cottages of
laboring men from Land's End to John O'Groat's.

Mansfield is a very substantial and venerable town, bearing a name
which one distinguished man has rendered illustrious by wearing it
through a brilliant life. It is situated near the celebrated
Sherwood Forest, and is marked by many features of peculiar
interest. One of its noticeable celebrities is the house in which
Lord Chesterfield resided. It is now occupied by a Wesleyan
minister, who elaborates his sermons in the very room, I believe, in
which that fashionable nobleman penned his polite literature for
youthful candidates for the uppermost circles of society. In the
centre of the market place there is a magnificent monument erected
to the memory of the late Lord George Bentinck, who was held in high
esteem by the people of the town and vicinity. The manufactures are
pretty much the same as in Nottingham. They turn out a great
production of raw material in red sandstone, very much resembling
our Portland, quite as fine, hard and durable. Immense blocks of it
are quarried and conveyed to London and to all parts of the kingdom.
The town also supplies a vast amount of moulding sand, of nearly the
same color and consistency as that we procure from Albany. I
stopped on my way into the town to take a turn through the cemetery,
which was very beautifully laid out, and looked like a great garden
lawn belted with shrubbery, and illuminated with the variegated
lamps of flowers of every hue and breath. The meandering walks were
all laid with asphalte, which presented a new and striking contrast
to the gorgeous borders and the vivid green of the cleanly shaven
grass. Many of the little graves were made in nests of geraniums
and other modest and sweet-eyed stars of hope.

Next day I had a very enjoyable walk in a north-westerly direction
to Chesterfield. On the way, called in at a blacksmith's shop, and
had a long talk with the smith-in-chief on matters connected with
his trade. The "custom-work" of such shops in country villages in
England is like that in ours fifty years ago--embracing the greatest
variety of jobs. Articles now made with us in large manufacturing
establishments at a price which would starve a master and his
apprentice to compete with, are hammered out in these English shops
on a single anvil. On comparing notes with this knight of the
hammer, I learned a fact I had not known before. His price for
horse-shoeing varied according to the size of the hoof, just as our
leather-shoemakers charge according to the foot. On taking leave of
him he intimated, in the most frank and natural way in the world,
that, in our exchange of information, the balance was in his favor,
and that I could not but think it fair to pay him the difference. I
looked at him first inquiringly and doubtingly, embarrassed with the
idea that I had not understood him, or that he was a journeyman and
not the master of the establishment. But he was as free and easy
and natural as possible. An American tobacco-chewer, of fifty
years' standing, would not have asked a cut from a neighbor's
"lady's twist," or "pig-tail" in more perfect good faith. That
good, round, English face would have blushed crimson if the man
suspected that I misunderstood him. Nay, more, he would quite
likely have thrown the pennies at my head if I had offered them to
him to buy bread or bacon with for himself and family. I had no
reason for a moment's doubt. It all meant _beer_, "only that and
nothing more;" a mere pour boire souvenir to celebrate our mutual
acquaintance. So I gave him a couple of pennies, just as I would
have given him a bite of tobacco if we had both been in that line.
I feared to give him more, lest he might think I meant bread and
bacon and thought him a beggar. But I ventured to tell him,
however, that I did not use that beverage myself, and hoped he would
wish me health in some better enjoyment.

I saw, for the first time, a number of Spanish cattle feeding in a
pasture. They were large, variously colored animals with the
widely-branching horns that distinguish them. A man must have a
long range of buildings to stable a score of creatures with such
horns, and for that reason they will only be kept as curiosities in
these northern latitudes. And they are curiosities of animal life,
heightened to a wonderment when placed side by side with the black
Galloways, or those British breeds of cattle which have no horns at
all. I should not wonder, however, if this large, cream-colored
stock from Spain should be introduced here to cross with the
Durhams, Devons, and Herefords.

When about half-way from Mansfield to Chesterfield, a remarkable
change came over the face of the landscape. The mosaic work of the
hill-sides and valleys showed more green squares than before.
Three-fourths of the fields were meadow or pasture, or in mangel or
turnips. There was but one here and there in wheat or other grain.
The road beneath and the sky above began to blacken, and the
chimneys of coal-pits to thicken. Sooty-faced men, horses and
donkeys passed with loaded carts; and all the premonitory aspects of
the "black country" multiplied as I proceeded. I do not recollect
ever seeing a landscape change so suddenly in England.

Chesterfield is an intelligent looking town, evidently growing in
population and prosperity. It has its own unique speciality; almost
as strikingly distinctive as that of Strasburg or Pisa. This is the
most ambiguous and mysterious church spire in the world. It would
be very difficult to convey any idea of it by any description from
an unaided pen; and there is nothing extant that would avail as an
illustration. The church is very old and large, and stands upon a
commanding eminence. The massive tower supports a tall but suddenly
tapering spire of the most puzzling construction to the eye. It
must have been designed by a monk of the olden time, with a Chinese
turn of ingenuity. There is no order known to architecture to
furnish a term or likeness for it. A ridgy, spiral spire are the
three most descriptive words, but these are not half enough for
stating the shape, style and posture of this strange steeple. It is
difficult even to assist the imagination to form an idea of it. I
will essay a few words in that direction. Suppose, then, a plain
spire, 100 feet high, in the form of an attenuated cone, planted
upon a heavy church tower. Now, in imagination, plough this cone
all around into deep ridges from top to bottom. Then mount to the
top, and, with a great iron wrench, give it an even twist clear down
to the base, so that each ridge shall wind entirely around the spire
between the bottom and the top. Then, in giving it this screw-
looking twist, bend over the top, with a gentle incline all the way
down, so that it shall be "out of perpendicular" by about three
feet. Then come down and look at your work, and you will be
astonished at it, standing far or near. The tall, ridgy, curved,
conical screw puzzles you with all sorts of optical illusions. As
the eyes in a front-face portrait follow you around the room in
which it is hung, so this strange spire seems to lean over upon you
at every point, as you walk round the church. Indeed, I believe it
was only found out several centuries after its erection, that it
absolutely leaned more in one direction than another. It is a
remarkable sight from the railway as you approach the town from a
distance. If it may be said reverently, the church, standing on
comparatively a hill, not only lifts its horn on high, but one like
that of a rhinoceros, considerably curved. Just outside the town
stands the house in which George Stephenson lived his last days, and
ended his great life of benefaction to mankind; leaving upon that
haloed spot a _biograph_ which the ages of time to come shall not
wash out.

From Chesterfield I diverged westward to see Chatsworth and Haddon
Hall. Whoever makes this walk or ride, let him be sure to stop at
Watch Hill on the way, and look at the view eastward. It is grander
than that of Belvoir Vale, if not so beautiful.

It was a pleasure quite equal to my anticipation to visit Chatsworth
for the first time, after a sojourn in England, off and on, for
sixteen years. It is the lion number three, according to the
American ranking of the historical edifices and localities of
England. Stratford-upon-Avon, Westminster Abbey and Chatsworth are
the three representative celebrities which our travellers think they
must visit, if they would see the life of England's ages from the
best stand-points. And this is the order in which they rank them.
Chatsworth and Haddon Hall should be seen the same day if possible;
so that you may carry the impressions of the one fresh and active
into the other. They are the two most representative buildings in
the kingdom. Haddon is old English feudalism _edificed_. It
represents the rough grandeur, hospitality, wassail and rude romance
of the English nobility five hundred years ago. It was all in its
glory about the time when Thomas-a-Becket the Magnificent used to
entertain great companies of belted knights of the realm in a manner
that exceeded regal munificence in those days,--even directing fresh
straw to be laid for them on his ample mansion floor, that they
might not soil the bravery of their dresses when they bunked down
for the night. The building is brimful of the character and history
of that period. Indeed, there are no two milestones of English
history so near together, and yet measuring such a space of the
nation's life and manners between them, as this hall and that of
Chatsworth. It was built, of course, in the bow-and-arrow times,
when the sun had to use the same missiles in shooting its barbed
rays into the narrow apertures of old castles--or the stone coffins
of fear-hunted knights and ladies, as they might be called. What a
monument this to the dispositions and habits of the world, outside
and inside, of that early time! Here is the porter's or warder's
lodge just inside the huge gate. To think of a living being with a
human soul in him burrowing in such a place!--a big, black
sarcophagus without a lid to it, set deep in the solid wall. Then
there is the chapel. Compare it with that of Chatsworth, and you
may count almost on your fingers the centuries that have intervened
between them. It was new-roofed soon after the discovery of
America, and perhaps done up to some show of decency and comfort.
But how small and rude the pulpit and pews--looking like rough-
boarded potato-bins! Here is the great banquet-hall, full to
overflowing with the tracks and cross-tracks of that wild, strange
life of old. There is a fire-place for you, and a mark in the
chimney-back of five hundred Christmas logs. Doubtless this great
stone pavement of a floor was carpeted with straw at these banquets,
after the illustrious Becket's pattern. Here is a memento of the
feast hanging up at the top of the kitchenward door;--a pair of
roughly-forged, rusty handcuffs amalgamated into one pair of jaws,
like a musk-rat trap. What was the use of that thing, conductor?
"That, sir, they put the 'ands in of them as shirked and didn't
drink up all the wine as was poured into their cups, and there they
made them stand on tiptoe up against that door, sir, before all the
company, sir, until they was ashamed of theirselves." Descend into
the kitchen, all scarred with the tremendous cookery of ages. Here
they roasted bullocks whole, and just back in that dark vault with a
slit or two in it for the light, they killed and dressed them.
There are the relics of the shambles. And here is the great form on
which they cut them up into manageable pieces. It would do you
good, you Young America, to see that form, and the cross-gashes of
the meat-axe in it. It is the half of a gigantic English oak, which
was growing in Julius Caesar's time, sawed through lengthwise,
making a top surface several feet wide, black and smooth as ebony.
Some of the bark still clings to the under side. The dancing hall
is the great room of the building. All that the taste, art and
wealth of that day could do, was done to make it a splendid
apartment, and it would pass muster still as a comfortable and
respectable salon. As we pass out, you may decipher the short
prayer cut in the wasting stone of a side portal, "GOD SAVE THE
VERNONS!" I hope this prayer has been favorably answered; for
history records much virtue in the family, mingled with some
romantic escapades, which have contributed, I believe, to the
entertainment of many novel readers.

Just what Haddon Hall was to the baronial life and society of
England five hundred years ago, is Chatsworth to the full stature of
modern civilization and aristocratic wealth, taste and position. Of
this it is probably the best measure and representative in the
kingdom; and as such it possesses a special value and interest to
the world at large. Were it not for here and there such an
establishment, we should lack waymarks in the progress of the arts,
sciences and tastes of advancing civilization. Governments and
joint-stock companies may erect and fill, with a world of utilities
and curiosities of ancient and modern times, British Museums,
National Galleries, Crystal Palaces and Polytechnic Institutions;
but not one of these, nor the Louvre, nor Versailles, nor the
Tuileries can compete with one private mind, taste and will
concentrated upon one great work for a lifetime, when endowed with
the requisite perceptions and means competent to carry that work to
the highest perfection of science, genius and art. Museums,
galleries and public institutions of art are exclusively _visiting_
places. The elegancies of _home_ life are all shut out of their
attractions. You see in them the work and presence of a committee,
or corporation, often in discrepant layers of taste and plan. One
mind does not stand out or above the whole, fashioning the tout-
ensemble to the symmetrical lines of one governing, all-pervading
and shaping thought. You see no exquisite artistry of drawing-room
or boudoir elegance and luxury running through living apartments of
home, out into the conservatories, lawns, gardens, park and all its
surroundings and embellishments, making the whole like a great
illuminated volume of family life, which you may peruse page by
page, and trace the same pen and the same story from beginning to
end. Even the grandest royal residences lack, in this quality, what
you will find at Chatsworth. They all show the sharp-edged strata
of unaffiliated tastes and styles of different ages and artists.
They lack the oneness of a single individuality, of one great
symmetrical conception.

This one-mindedness, this one-man power of conception and execution
gives to the Duke of Devonshire's palace at Chatsworth an interest
and a value that probably do not attach to any other private
establishment in England. In this felicitous characteristic it
stands out in remarkable prominence and in striking contrast with
nearly all the other baronial halls of the country. It is the
parlor pier-glass of the present century. It reflects the two
images in vivid apposition--the brilliant civilization of this last,
unfinished age in which we live and the life of bygone centuries;
that is, if Haddon Hall shows its face in it, or if you have the
features of that antiquity before your eyes when you look into the
Chatsworth mirror. The whole of this magnificent establishment
bears the impress of the nineteenth century, inside and outside.
The architecture, sculpture, carving, paintings, engravings,
furniture, libraries, conservatories, flowers, shrubberies and
rockeries all bear and honor the finger-prints of modern taste and
art. In no casket in England, probably, have so many jewels of this
century's civilization been treasured for posterity as in this
mansion on the little meandering Derwent. If England has no grand
National Gallery like the French Louvre, she has works of art that
would fill fifty Louvres, collected and treasured in these quiet
private halls, embosomed in green parks and plantations, from one
end of the land to the other. And in no other country are the
private treasure-houses of genius so accessible to the public as in
this. They doubtless act as educational centres for refining the
habits of the nation; exerting an influence that reaches and
elevates the homes of the people, cultivating in them new
perceptions of beauty and comfort; diffusing a taste for embowering
even humble cottages in shrubbery; making little flower-fringed
lawns, six feet by eight or less; rockeries and ferneries, and
artificial ruins of castles or abbeys of smaller dimensions still.

In passing through the galleries and gardens of Chatsworth you will
recognise the originals of many works of art which command the
admiration of the world. The most familiar to the American visitor
will probably be the great painting of the Bolton Abbey Scene, the
engravings of which are so numerous and admired on both sides of the
Atlantic. But there is the original of a greater work, which has
made the wonder of the age. It is the original of the Great Crystal
Palace of 1851, and the mother of all the palaces of the same
structure which have been or will be erected in time past or to
come. Here it diadems at Chatsworth the choice plants and flowers
of all the tropics; presenting a model which needed only expansion,
and some modifications, to furnish the reproduction that delighted
the world in Hyde Park in 1851.

I was pleasantly impressed with one feature of the economy that
ruled at Chatsworth. Although there were between one and two
thousand deer flecking the park, it was utilised to the pasture of
humbler and more useful animals. Over one hundred poor people's
cows were feeding demurely over its vast extent, even to the gilded
gates of the palace. They are charged only 2 pounds for the season;
which is very moderate, even cheaper than the stony pasturage around
the villages of New England. I noticed a flock of Spanish sheep,
black-and-white, looking like a drove of Berkshire hogs, and
seemingly clothed with bristles instead of wool. They are kept
rather as curiosities than for use.

Chatsworth, with all its treasures and embodiments of wealth, art
and genius, with an estate continuous in one direction for about
thirty miles, is but one of the establishments of the Duke of
Devonshire. He owns a palace on the Thames that might crown the
ambition of a German prince. He also counts in his possessions old
abbeys, baronial halls, parks and towns that once were walled, and
still have streets called after their gates. If any country is to
have a personage occupying such a position, it is well to have a
considerable number of the same class, to yeomanise such an
aristocracy--to make each feel that he has his peers in fifty
others. Otherwise an isolated duke would have to live and move
outside the pale of human society; a proud, haughty entity dashing
about, with not even a comet's orbit nor any fixed place in the
constellation of a nation's communities. It is of great necessity
to him, independent of political considerations, that there is a
House of Peers instituted, in which he may find his social level;
where he may meet his equals in considerable numbers, and feel
himself but a man.



From Chatsworth I went on to Sheffield, crossing a hilly moorland
belonging to the Duke of Rutland, and containing 10,000 acres in one
solid block. It was all covered with heather, and kept in this
wild, bleak condition for game. Here and there well-cultivated
farms, as it were, bit into this cold waste, rescuing large, square
morsels of land, and making them glow with the warm flush and glory
of luxuriant harvests; thus showing how such great reaches of desert
may be made to blossom like the rose under the hand of human labor.

Here is Sheffield, down here, sweltering, smoking, and sweating,
with face like the tan, under the walls of these surrounding hills.
Here live and labor Briareus and Cyclops of modern mythology. Here

Swing their heavy sledge,
With measured beats and slow;
Like the sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

Here live the lineal descendants of Thor, christianised to human
industries. Here the great hammer of the Scandinavian Thunderer
descended, took nest, and hatched a brood of ten thousand little
iron beetles for beating iron and steel into shapes and uses that
Tubal Cain never dreamed of. Here you may hear their clatter night
and day upon a thousand anvils. O, Vale of Vulcan! O, Valley of
Knives! Was ever a boy put into trousers, in either hemisphere,
that did not carry in the first pocket made for him one of thy cheap
blades? Did ever a reaper in the Old World or New cut and bind a
sheaf of grain, who did not wield one of thy famous sickles? All
Americans who were boys forty years ago, will remember three English
centres of peculiar interest to them. These were Sheffield,
Colebrook Dale, and Paternoster Row. There was hardly a house or
log cabin between the Penobscot and the Mississippi which could not
show the imprint of these three places, on the iron tea-kettle, the
youngest boy's Barlow knife, and his younger sister's picture-book.
To the juvenile imagination of those times, Sheffield was a huge
jack-knife, Colebrook Dale a porridge-pot, and Paternoster Row a
psalm-book, each in the generative case. How we young reapers used
to discuss the comparative merits and meanings of those mysterious
letters on our sickles, B.Y and I.R! What were they? Were they
beginnings of words, or whole words themselves? Did they stand for
things, qualities, or persons? "Mine is a _By_ sickle; mine is an
_Ir_ one. Mine is the best," says the last, "for it has the finest
teeth and the best curve." That was our boys' talk in walking
through the rye, with bent backs and red faces, a little behind our
fathers; who cut a wider work to enable us to keep near them.

In what blacksmith shop or hardware house in America does not
Sheffield show its face and faculties? Did any American, knowing
the difference between cast-iron and cast-steel, ever miss the sight
of Naylor and Sanderson's yellow labels in his travels? How many
millions of acres of primeval forest have the ages edged with their
fine steel cut through, and given to the plough! Fashion has its
Iron Age as well as its Golden; and, what is more remarkable, the
first of the two has come last, in the fitful histories of custom.
And this last freak of feminine taste has brought a wonderful grist
of additional business to the Sheffield mill. The fair Eugenie has
done a good thing for this smoky town, well deserving of a monument
of burnished steel erected to her memory on one of these hills.
More than this; as Empress of Crinoline, she should wear the iron
crown of Charlemagne in her own right. Her husband's empire is but
a mere arondissement compared with the domain that does homage to
her sceptre. Sheffield is the great arsenal of her armaments.
Sheffield cases ships of war with iron plates a foot thick; but that
is nothing, in pounds avoirdupois, compared with the weight of steel
it spins into elastic springs for casing the skirts of two hundred
millions of the fair Eugenie's sex and lieges in the two
hemispheres. It is estimated that ten thousand tons of steel are
annually absorbed into this use in Christendom; and Sheffield,
doubtless, furnishes a large proportion of it.

Here I had another involuntary walk, not put down in the programme
of my expectations. On inquiring the way to Fir Vale, a picturesque
suburb where a friend resided, I was directed to a locality which,
it was suggested, must be the one I meant, though it was called Fir
View. I followed the direction given for a considerable distance,
when it was varied successively by persons of whom I occasionally
inquired. After ascending and descending a number of steep hills, I
suddenly came down upon the town again from the south, having made a
complete circuit of it; a performance that cost me about two hours
of time and much unsatisfactory perspiration. Fearing that a second
attempt would be equally unsuccessful, I took the Leeds road, and
left the Jericho at the first round. Walked about nine miles to a
furnace-lighted village called very appropriately Hoyland, or
Highland, when anglicised from the Danish. It commands truly a
grand view of wooded hills and deep valleys dashed with the sheen of
ripened grain.

The next day I passed through a good sample section of England's
wealth and industry. Mansions and parks of the gentry, hill,
valley, wheat-fields, meadows of the most vivid green; crops
luxuriant in most picturesque alternations; in a word, the whole a
vista of the richest agricultural scenery. And yet out of the
brightest and broadest fields of wheat, barley and oats, towered up
the colliery chimneys in every direction, like good-natured and
swarthy giants smoking their pipes complacently and "with
comfortable breasts" in view of the goodly scene. The golden grain
grew thick and tall up to the very pit's mouth. In the sun-light
above and gas-light below human industry was plying its differently-
bitted implements. There were men reaping and studding the pathway
of their sickles through the field with thickly-planted sheaves.
But right under them, a hundred fathoms deep, subterranean farmers
were at work, with black and sweaty brows, garnering the coal-
harvest sown there before the Flood. Sickle above and pick below
were gathering simultaneously the layers of wealth that Nature had
stored in her parlor and cellar for man.

I passed through Barnsley and Wakefield on this day's walk,--towns
full of profitable industries and busy populations, and growing in
both after the American impulse and expansion. If the good "Vicar
of Wakefield" of the olden time could revisit the scene of his
earthly experience, and look upon the old church of his ministry as
it now appears, renovated from bottom to the top of its grand and
lofty spire, he would not be entrapped again so easily into assent
to the Greek apothegm of the swindler.

I lodged at a little village inn between Wakefield and Leeds, after
a day of the most enjoyable walk that I had made. Never before,
between sun and sun, had I passed over such a section of above-
ground and under-ground industry and wealth. The next morning I
continued northward, and noticed still more striking combinations of
natural productions and human industries than on the preceding day.
One small, rural area in which these were blended impressed me
greatly, and I stopped to photograph the scene on my mind. In a
circle hardly a third of a mile in diameter, there was the heaviest
crop of oats growing that I had yet seen in England; in another part
of the same field there was a large brick-kiln; in another, an
extensive quarry and machinery for sawing the stone into all sizes
and shapes; then a furnace for casting iron, and lastly, a coal
mine; and all these departments of labor and production were in full
operation. It is quite possible that not one of the hundred
laborers on and under this ten-acre patch ever thought it an
extraordinary focus of production. Perhaps even the proprietors and
managers of the five different enterprises worked on the small space
had taken its rich and diversified fertilities as a matter of
course, as we take the rain, light and heat of summer; but to a
traveller "taking stock" of a country's resources, it could not but
be a point of view exciting admiration. I left it behind me deeply
impressed with the conviction that I had seen the most productive
ten-acre field that could be found on the surface of the globe,
counting in the variety and value of its surface and sub-surface

I took tea with a friend in Leeds, remaining only an hour or two in
that town, then pursuing my course northward. The wide world knows
so much of Leeds that any notice that I could give of it might seem
affected and presumptuous. It is to the Cloth-World what Rome is to
the Catholic. Its Cloth Hall is the St. Peter's of Coat-and-
trouserdom. Its rivers, streams and canals run black and blue with
the stringent juices of all the woods and weeds of the world used in
dyeing. The woods of all the continents come floating in here, like
baled summer clouds of heaven. It is a city of magnipotent
chimneys; and they stand thick and tall on the hills and in the
valleys around, and puff their black breathings into the face and
eyes of the sky above, baconising its countenance, and giving it no
time to wash up and look sober, calm and clean, except a few hours
on the sabbath. The Leeds Mercury is a power in the land, and
everybody who reads the English language in either hemisphere knows
Edward Baines by name.

As I emerged from the great, busy town on the north, I passed by the
estates and residences of its manufacturing aristocracy. The homes
they have built and embellished should satisfy the tastes and
ambitions of any hereditary nobility. They need only a little more
age to make them rival many baronial establishments. It is
interesting to see how the different classes of society are stepping
into each other's shoes in going up into higher grades of social
life. The merchant and manufacturing princes of England have not
only reached but surpassed the conditions of wealth, taste and
elegance which the hereditary peers of the realm occupied a century
ago; while the latter have gone up to the rich and luxurious
surroundings of kings and queens of that period. The upward
movement has reached the very lowest strata of society. Not only
have the small tradesmen and farmers ascended to the comfortable
conditions of large merchants and landowners of one hundred years
ago, but common day laborers are lifted upward by the general
uprising. I should not wonder if all the damp, low cellarless
cottages they now frequently inhabit should be swept away in less
than fifty years and replaced by as comfortable buildings as the
great middle class occupied in the childhood of the present

I found comfortable quarters for the night in the little village of
Bramhope, about five miles from Leeds. The next day I walked to
Harrogate, passing through Otley and across the celebrated Wharf
Vale. The scenery of this valley, as it opens upon you suddenly on
descending from the south into Otley, is exceedingly beautiful; not
so extensive as that of Belvoir Vale, but with all the features of
the latter landscape compressed in a smaller space; like a portrait
taken on a smaller scale. As you look off from the southern ridge
or wall of the valley, you seem to stand on the cord of a segment of
a circle, the radius of which touches the horizon at about five
miles to the north. This crescent is filled with the most delicate
lineaments of Nature's beauty. The opposite walls of the gallery
slope upward from the meandering Wharf so gently and yet reach the
blue ceiling of the sky so near, that all the paintings that panel
them are vividly distinct to your eye, and you can group all their
lights and shades in the compass of a single glance.

On the opposite side, half hidden and half revealed among the trees
of an ample park, stands Farnley Hall, a historical residence of an
old historical family. I had a letter of introduction to the
present proprietor, Mr. Fawkes, who, I hope, will not deem it a
disparagement to be called one of the Knights of the Shorthorns--a
more extensive, useful, and cosmopolitan order than were the Knights
of Rhodes or of Malta. Unfortunately for me, he was not at home;
but his steward, a very intelligent, gentlemanly and genial man,
took me over the establishment, and showed me all the stock that was
stabled, mostly bulls of different ages. They were all of the best
families of Shorthorn blood, and a better connoisseur of animal life
than myself could not have enjoyed the sight of such well-made
creatures more thoroughly than I did. The prince of the blood, in
my estimation, was "Lord Cobham," a cream-colored bull, with which
compared that famous animal in Greek mythology which played himself
off as such an Adonis among the bovines, must have been a shabby,
scraggy quadruped. Poor Europa! it would have been bad enough if
she had been run away with by a "Lord Cobham." But the like of him
did not live in her day.

After going through the housings for cattle, the steward took me to
the Hall, a grand old mansion full of English history, especially of
the Commonwealth period. Indeed, one large apartment was a museum
of relics of that stirring and stormy time. There, against the
antique, carved wainscoting, hung the great broad-brim of Oliver
Cromwell, with a circumference nearly as large as an opened
umbrella, heavy, coarse and grim. There hung a sword he wielded in
the fiery rifts of battle. There was Fairfax's sword hanging by its
side; and his famous war-drum lay beneath. Its leather lungs, that
once shouted the charge, were now still and frowsy, with no martial
speech left in them.

Mr. Fawkes owns about 15,000 acres of land, including most of the
valley of Otley, and extending back almost to Harrogate. He farms
about 450 acres, but grows no wheat. Indeed, I did not see a field
of it in a circle of five miles' diameter.

I reached Harrogate in the dusk of the evening, and found the town
alive with people mostly in the streets. It is a snug and cozy
little Saratoga among the hills of Yorkshire, away from the smoke,
soot and savor of the great manufacturing centres. It is a favorite
resort for a mild class of invalids, and of persons who need the
medicine of pure air and gentle exercise, blended with the quiet
tonics of cheery mirth and recreation. Superadded to all these
stimulants, there is a mineral spring at which the visitors, young
and old, drink most voluminously. I went down to it in the morning
before breakfast, and found it thronged by a multitude of men, women
and children, who drank off great goblets of it with astonishing
faith and facility. The rotunda was so filled with the fumes of
sulphur that I found it more easy to inhale than to imbibe, and
preferred to satisfy that sense as to the merits of the water.

The next day I reached the brave old city of Ripon. On the way I
stopped an hour or two at Ripley and visited the castle. The
building itself is a good specimen of the baronial hall of the olden
time. But the gardens and grounds constitute its distinguishing
feature. I never saw before such an exquisite arrangement of
flowers, even at Chatsworth or the Kew Gardens. All forms
imaginable were produced by them. The most extensive and elaborate
combination was a row of flower sofas reaching around the garden.
Each was from 20 to 30 feet in length. The seat was wrought in
geraniums of every tint, all grown to an even, compact surface,
presenting figures as diversified as the alternating hues could
produce. The back was worked in taller flowers, presenting the same
evenness of line and surface. On entering the garden gate and
catching the first sight of these beautiful structures, you take
them for veritable sofas, as perfectly wrought as anything was ever
done in Berlin wool.

Ripon is an interesting little city, with a fact-roll of history
reaching back into the dimmest centuries of the land. It has run
the gauntlet of all the Saxon, Danish, Scotch and Norman raids and
regimes. It was burnt once or twice by each of these races in the
struggle for supremacy. But with a plucky tenacity of life, it
arose successively out of its own ashes and spread its phoenix wings
to a new and vigorous vitality. A venerable cathedral looks down
upon it with a motherly face. Unique old buildings, with half their
centuries unrecorded and lost in oblivion, stand to this day in good
repair, as the homes of happy children, who play at marbles and the
last sports of the day just as if they were born in houses only a
year older than themselves. Institutions and customs older than the
cathedral are kept up with a filial faith in their virtue. One of
the most interesting of these, I believe, was established by the
Saxon Edgar or Alfred--it matters not which; they were only a
century or two apart, and that space is but a trifling circumstance
in the history of this old country. One of these kings appointed an
officer called a "wakeman" for the town. He must originally have
been a kind of secular beadle of the community, or a curfew
constable, to see the whole population well a-bed in good season.
One of his duties consisted in blowing a horn every night at nine
o'clock as a signal to turn in. But a remarkable consideration was
attached to faithful compliance with this summons. If any house or
shop was robbed before sunrise, a tax was levied upon every
inhabitant, of 4d. if his house had one outer door, and of 8d. if it
had two. This tax was to compensate the sufferer for his loss, and
also to put the whole community under bonds to keep the peace and to
feel responsible for the safety of each other's property. Thus it
not only acted as a great mutual insurance company of which every
householder was a member, but it made him, as it were, a special
constable against burglary. This old Saxon institution is in full
life and vigor to-day. The wakeman is still the highest secular
official of the town. For a thousand consecutive years the
wakeman's toot-horn has been blown at night over the successive
generations of the little cathedral city. This is an interesting
fact, full of promise. No American could fail to admire this
conservatism who appreciates national individuality. No one, at
heart, could more highly esteem these salient traits of a people's
character. And here I may as well put in a few thoughts on this
subject as at any stage of my walk.

Good-natured reader, are you a man of sensitive perceptions as to
the proprieties and dignities of dress and deportment which should
characterise some great historical personage whose name you have
held in profound veneration all your life long? Now, in the wayward
drift of your imagination among the freaks of modern fashion, did it
ever dare to present before your eyes St. Paul in strapped
pantaloons, figured velvet vest, swallow-tailed coat, stove-pipe
hat, and a cockney glass at his eye? Did your fancy, in its wildest
fictions, ever pass such an image across the speculum of your mental

Gentle reader, "in maiden meditation, fancy free," did a dreamy
thought of yours ever stray through the histories of your sex and
its modes of dress and adornment, and so blend or transpose them as
to present to you, in a sudden flash of the imagination, the Virgin
Mary dressed like the Empress Eugenie? Readers both, did not that
fancy trouble you, as if an unholy thought had fallen into the soul?
Well, a thought like that must trouble the American when his fancy
passes before his mind's eye the image of Old England Americanised.
And a faculty more serious and trusty than fancy will present this
transformation to him, day by day, as he visits the great centres of
the nation's life and industry. In London, Manchester, Liverpool,
and all the most busy and prosperous commercial and manufacturing
towns, he will see that England is becoming Americanised shockingly
fast. In all these populous places it is losing the old
individuality that once distinguished the grandfatherland of fifty
millions who now speak its language beyond the sea. Look at London!
look at the miles of three and four story houses under the mason's
hands, now running out in every direction from the city. Will you
see a single feature of the Old England of our common memories in
them? No, not one! no more than in a modern English dress-coat, or
in one of the iron rails of the British Great Western, or of the
Illinois Central. It is doubtful if there will be anything of
England left in London at the end of the next fifty years, unless it
be the fog and the Lord Mayor's Show. Already the radicals are
crying out against both of these institutions, which are merely
local, by the way. The tailor's shears, the mason's trowel, and the
carpenter's edge-tools are evening everything in Christendom to one
dead level of uniformity. The railroads and telegraphs are all
working to the same end. All these agencies of modern civilization
at first lay their innovating hands upon large cities or commercial
centres. Thence they work outward slowly and transform the
appearance and habits of the country. The transformations I have
noticed in England since 1846 are wonderful, utilitarian, and
productive of absolute and rigid comfort to the people; still, I
must confess, they inspire in me a sentiment akin to that which our
village fathers experienced when the old church in which they
worshipped from childhood was pulled down to make room for a better

To every American, sympathising with these sentiments, it must be
interesting to visit such a rural little city as Ripon, and find
populations that cling with reverence and affection to the old Saxon
institutions of Alfred. It will make him feel that he stands in the
unbroken lineage of the centuries, to hear the wakeman's horn, and
to know that it has been blown, spring, summer, autumn and winter,
in all weathers, in weal and in woe, for a thousand years. As Old
England is driven farther and farther back from London, Manchester,
Liverpool, and other great improving towns, she will find refuge and
residence in these retired country villages. Here she will wear
longest and last the features in which she was engraven on the minds
of all the millions who call her mother beyond the sea.

The next day I visited the celebrated Fountain Abbey in Studley
Park,--a grand relic of antiquity, framed with silver and emerald
work of lakelets, lawns, shrubberies and trees as beautifully
arranged as art, taste and wealth could set them. The old abbey is
a majestic ruin which fills one with wonder as he looks up at its
broken arches and towers and sees the dimensions marked by the
pedestals or foot-prints of its templed columns. It stands rather
in a narrow glen than in a valley, and was commenced, it is
supposed, about 1130. The yew-trees under which the monks
bivouacked while at work upon the magnificent edifice, are still
standing, bearing leaves as large and green as those that covered
the enthusiastic architects of that early time. In the height of
its prosperity and power, the lands of the abbey embraced over
72,000 acres. The Park enclosing this great monument of an earlier
age contains 250 acres, and is really an earthly elysium of beauty.
It was comforting to learn that it was laid out so late as 1720, and
that all the noble trees that filled it had grown to their present
grandeur within the intervening period. Here I saw for the first
time in England our hard-maple. It was a spindling thing, looking
as if it had suffered much from fever and ague or rheumatism; but it
was pleasant to see it admitted into a larger fellowship of trees
than our New England soil ever bore. On a green, lawn-faced slope,
at the turning of the principal walk, there was a little tree a few
feet high enclosed in by a circular wire fence. It was planted by
the Princess of Wales on a visit of the royal pair to Studley soon
after their marriage. The fair Dane left her card in this way to
the old Abbey, which began to rise upon its foundations soon after
the stalwart Danish sovereign of England fell at the Battle of
Hastings. Will any one of her posterity ever bear his name and sit
upon the throne he vacated for that bloody grave? No! She will
remember a better name at the font. The day and the name of the
Harolds, Williams, Henrys, Charles's, and Georges are over and gone
forever. ALBERT THE GOOD has estopped that succession; and England,
doubtless, for centuries to come, will wear that name and its
memories in her crown.

After spending a few hours at Studley Park, I returned to Ripon and
went on to Thirsk, where I spent the Sabbath with a Friend. The
next day he drove me over to Rievaulx Abbey, which was the mother of
Fountain Abbey. On the way to it we passed the ruins of another of
these grand structures of that religious age, called Byland Abbey,
where Robert Bruce came within an ace of capturing King Edward on
his retreat from Scotland, after the Battle of Bannockburn.

One of the objects of this excursion was to visit the establishment
of Lord Faversham, near Helmsley, who is one of the most scientific
and successful stock-raisers, of the Shorthorn blood, in England,
and to whom I had a note of introduction. But he, too, was not at
home, which I much regretted, as I was desirous of seeing one of the
peers of the realm who enter into this culture of animal life with
so much personal interest and assiduity. His manager, however, was
very affable and attentive, ready and pleased to give any
information desired upon different points. He showed us a splendid
set of animals. Indeed, I had never seen a herd to equal it. There
were several bulls of different ages with a perfection of form truly
admirable. Some of them had already drawn first prizes at different
shows. Several noble specimens of this celebrated herd have been
sold to stock-raisers in America, Australia and in continental
countries. The most perfect of all the well-made animals on the
establishment, according to my untrained perceptions of symmetry,
was a milk-white cow, called "The Lady in White," three years old.
She and Mr. Fawkes' "Lord Cobham" should be shown together. I doubt
if a better mated pair could be found in England. There was a large
number of cows feeding in the park which would command admiration at
any exhibition of stock. Lord Faversham's famous "Skyrocket" ended
his days with much eclat. When getting into years, and into
monstrous obesity, he was presented as a contribution to the
Lancashire Relief Fund. Before passing into the butcher's hands, he
was exhibited in Leeds, and realised about 200 pounds as a show.
Thus as a curiosity first, and as a small mountain of fat beef
afterward, he proved a generous gift to the suffering operatives in
the manufacturing districts.

Passing through the park gate, we entered upon a lawn esplanade
looking down upon the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. This broad terrace
extended for apparently a half of a mile, and was as finely carpeted
piece of ground as you will find in England. No hair of horse or
dog groomed and brushed with the nicest care, and soft and shining
with the healthiest vitality, could surpass in delicacy and life of
surface the grass coverlet of this long terrace, from which you
looked down upon that grand monument of twelfth-century architecture
half veiled among the trees of the glen. This was one of the oldest
abbeys in the north of England, and the mother of several of them.
Some of its walls are still as entire and perfect as those of
Tintern, on the Wye. It was founded by the monks of the St. Bernard
order, in 1131, according to the historical record. Really those
black-cowled masons and carvers must have given the enthusiasm and
genius of the early painters of the Virgin to these magnificent
structures. I will not go into the subject at large here, leaving
it to form an entire chapter, when I have seen most of the old
abbeys of the country. In looking up at their walls, arches and
columns, one marvels to see the most delicate and elaborate vine and
flower-work of the carver's chisel apparently as perfect as when it
engraved the last line; and this, too, in face of the frosts and
beating storms of six hundred years. The largest ivy I ever saw
buttressed one of the windowed walls with ten thousand cross-folded
fingers and foliage of vivid green piled thick and high upon the
teeth-marks of time. The trunk was a full foot through at the butt.
A few years ago a large mound was uncovered near the ruin, and found
to be composed of cinders, showing incontestably that the monks had
worked iron ore very extensively, thus teaching the common people
that art as well as agriculture. These cinders have been used very
largely in repairing the roads for a considerable distance around.

On returning to Thirsk over the Hambleton range of hills, we crossed
thousands of acres of moor-land covered with heather in full bloom,
looking like a purple sea. It was a splendid sight. My friend, who
was an artist, stopped for a while to sketch one or two views of the
scene. As we proceeded, we saw several green and golden fields
impinging upon this florid waste, serving to illustrate what might
be done with the vast tracts of land in England and Scotland now
bristling with this thick and prickly vegetation. The heatherland
over which we were passing was utilised in a rather singular manner.
It yielded pasturage to two sets of industrials--sheep and bees. As
the heather blossom is thought to impart a peculiarly pleasant
flavor to honey, I was told many bee-stock-raisers of Lincolnshire
brought their hives to this section to pasture them for a season on
this purple prairie.

The westward view from the precipitous heights of the Hambleton
ridge is one of the most beautiful and extensive you will find in
England, well worth a special journey to see it. The declining sun
was flooding the great basin with the day's last, best smile,
filling it to the golden rim of the horizon with a soft light in
which lay a landscape of thirty miles' depth, embracing full fifty
villages and hamlets, parks, plantations and groves, all looking
"like emeralds chased in gold." On the whole, I am inclined to
think many tourists would regard this view as even superior to that
of Belvoir Vale. It might be justly placed between that and Wharf

A London gentleman produced a most unique picture on the forehead of
one of these hills, which may be seen at a great distance. In the
first place, he had a smooth, lawn-like surface prepared on the
steep slope. Then he cut out the form of a horse in the green turf,
sowing the whole contour of the animal with lime. This brought out
in such bold relief the body and limbs, that, at several miles
distance, you seem to see a colossal white horse standing on his
four legs, perfect in form and feature, even to ear and nostril.
The symmetry is perfect, although the body, head, legs and tail
cover a space of _four_ acres!

The next day I took staff for Northallerton, reaching that town
about the middle of the afternoon. Passed through a highly
cultivated district, and saw, for the first time, several reaping
machines at work in the fields. I was struck at the manner in which
they were used. I have noticed a peculiarity in reaping in this
section which must appear singular to an American. The men cut
inward instead of outward, as with us. And these machines were
following the same rule! As they went around the field, they were
followed or rather met by men and women, each with an allotted beat,
who rushed in behind and gathered up the fallen from the standing
grain so as to make a clear path for the next round. There seemed
to be no reason for this singular and awkward practice, except the
adhesion to an old custom of reaping. The grain was not very stout,
nor was it lodged.

From Northallerton I hastened on to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in order to
attend, for the first time in my life, the meetings of the British
Association. I reached that town on the 25th of August, and
remained there a week, enjoying one of the greatest treats that ever
fell to my lot. I will reserve a brief description of it for a
separate chapter at the end of this volume, if my Notes on other
matters do not crowd it out.



On Thursday, Sept. 3rd, I left Newcastle, and proceeded first
westward to the old town of Hexham, with the view of taking a more
central route into Scotland. Here, too, are the ruins of one of the
most ancient of the abbeys. The parish church wears the wrinkles of
as many centuries as the oldest in the land. Indeed, the town is
full of antiquities of different dates and races,--Roman, Scotch,
Saxon, Danish and Norman. They all left the marks of their glaived
hands upon it.

From Hexham I faced northward and followed the North Tyne up through
a very picturesque and romantic valley, thickly wooded and studded
with baronial mansions, parks, castles and residences of gentry,
with comfortable farm-houses looking sunny and cheerful on the green
hill slopes and on the quiet banks of the river. I saw fields of
wheat quite green, looking as if they needed another month's sun to
fit them for harvesting. Lodged in a little village about eight
miles from Hexham. The next day walked on to the little hamlet of
Fallstones, a distance of about twenty miles. As I ascended the
valley, the scene changed rapidly. The river dwindled to a narrow
stream. The hills that walled it in on either side grew higher and
balder, and the clouds lay cold and dank upon their bleak and sullen
brows. The hamlets edged in here and there grew thinner, smaller
and shabbier. The road was barred and gated about once in a mile,
to keep cattle and sheep from wandering; there being no fences nor
hedges running parallel with it. In a word, the premonitory
symptoms of a bare border-land thickened at every turn.

Another day brought me into the midst of a wild region, which might
be called No-man's-land; although most of it belongs to the Duke of
Northumberland. It is all in the solitary grandeur of heather-
haired hills, which tinge, with their purple flush, the huge, black-
winged clouds that alight upon them. Only here and there a
shepherd's cottage is to be seen half way up the heights, or
sheltering itself in a clump of trees in glen or gorge, like a
benighted traveller bivouacking for a night in a desert. Sheep, of
the Cheviot breed mostly, are nearly the sole inhabitants and
industrials of this mountainous waste. They climb to the highest
peaks and bring down the white wealth of their wool to man. It was
pleasant to see them like walking mites, flecking the dark brows of
the mountains. They made a picture; they made a tableau vivant of
the same illustration as Landseer's lamb looking into the grass-
covered cannon's mouth.

This is the Border-land! Here the fiercest antagonisms of hostile
nationalities met in deadly conflict. Fire and blood, rapine and
wrath blackened and reddened and ravaged for centuries across this
bleak territory. Robber-chieftains and knighted free-booters
carried on their guerilla raids backward and forward, under the
counterfeited banner of patriotism. Scotch and English armies led
by kings marched and counter-marched over this sombre boundary.
Never before was there one apparently more insoluble as a barrier
between two peoples. Never before in Christendom was there one that
required a longer space of time to melt. Never before did the
fusing of two nationalities encounter more fierce and prolonged
opposition. Did ever patriotism pour out a swifter and deeper tide
of chivalrous sentiment against merging one in another?--against
uniting two thrones and two peoples in one? Did patriotism ever
fight bloodier battles to prevent such a union, or cling to local
sovereignty with a more desperate hold?

This is the Border-land! Look up the purpled steeps of these
heathered hills. The white lambs are looking, with their soft, meek
eyes, into the grass-choked mouths of the rusty and dismantled
cannon of the war of nationalities between England and Scotland.
The deed has been consummated. The valor and patriotism of Wallace
and Bruce could not prevent it. The sheep of English and Scotch
shepherds feed side by side on these mountain heights, in spite of
Stirling and Bannockburn, of Flodden and Falkirk. The Iron Horse,
bearing the blended arms of the two realms on his shield, walks over
those battle-fields by night and day, treading their memories deeper
and deeper in the dust. The lambs are playing in the sun on the
boundary line of the two dominions. Does a Scot of to-day love his
native land less than the Campbell clansman or clan-chief in Bruce's
time? Not a whit. He carries a heartful of its choicest memories
with him into all countries of his sojourning. But there is a
larger sentiment that includes all these filial feelings towards his
motherland, while it draws additional warmth and strength from them.
It is the sentiment of Imperial Nationality; the feeling of a
Briton, that does not extinguish nor absorb, nor compete with, the
Scot in his heart;--the feeling that he is a political constituent
of a mighty nation, whose feet stand upon all the continents of the
earth, while it holds the best islands of the sea in its hands;--the
feeling with which he says _We_ with all the millions of a dominion
on which the sun never sets, and _Our_, when he speaks of its grand
and common histories, its hopes, prospects, progress, power and

There was a Border-land, dark and bloody, between Saxon England and
Celtic Wales. For centuries the red foot-marks of savage conflict
scarred and covered its wild waste. Never before did so small a
people make so stout, and desperate and protracted struggle for
local independence and isolation. Never did one produce a more
strong-hearted and blind-eyed patriotism, or patriotism more poets
to thrill the listeners to their lays with the intoxicating
fanaticism of a national sentiment. On that Border-land the white
lambs now lie in the sun. The Welsh sentiment is as strong as ever
in the Snowdon shepherd, and he may not speak a dozen words of the
English tongue. But the Briton lives in his breast. The feeling of
its great meaning surrounds and illumines the inner circles of his
local attachment. He may never have seen a map of the Globe, and
never have been outside the wall of the Welsh mountains; but he
knows, without geography, who and what Queen Victoria is among the
earth's sovereigns, and the length and breadth of her sceptre's
reach and rule around the world.

There was a Border-land between Britain and Ireland, blackened and
scarred by more burning antagonisms than those that once divided the
larger island. The record of several consecutive centuries is
graven deep in it by the brand and bayonet, and by the more incisive
teeth-marks of hate. The slumbering antipathies of race and
religion even now crop out here and there, over the unfused
boundary, in hissing tongues of flame. The Briton and the Celt are
still struggling for the precedence in the Irishman's breast; but it
is not a war of extermination. His ardent nature is given to
martial memories, and all the battles he boasts of are British
battles, in which he or his father played the hero number one. The
history of independent Ireland is poor and thin; still he holds it
back in his heart, and hesitates to link it with the great annals of
the "Saxon" realm, and thus make of both one grand and glorious
record, present and future. He cannot yet make up his mind to say
_We_ with all the other English-speaking millions of the empire, as
the Scotsman and Welshman have learned and loved to say it. He
cannot as yet say _Our_ with them with such a sentiment of joint-
interest, when the histories, hopes, expansion and capacities of
that empire unroll their vista before him. But the rains and the
dews of a milder century are falling upon this Border-land. The
lava of spent volcanoes that covered it is taking soil and seed of
green vegetation. The white lambs shall yet lie on it in the sun.

What a volume might be filled with the succinctest history of the
Border-lands of Christendom! France was intersected with them for
centuries. Seemingly they were as implacable and obdurate as any
that ever divided the British isle. Local patriotism wrote poetry
and shed blood voluminously to prevent the fusion of these old
landmarks of pigmy nationalities. It took nearly a thousand years
to complete the blending; to make the _we_ and the _our_ of one
great consolidated empire the largest political sentiment of the men
of Normandy, Burgundy or Navarre. Long and fierce, and seemingly
endless was the struggle; but at last, on all those old obstinate
boundaries of hostile principalities, the white lambs lay in the

There are Border-lands now in the south and east of Europe foaming
and seething with the same antagonisms of race and language; and
Christendom is tremulous with their emotion. It is the same old
struggle over again; and yet ninety-nine in a hundred of intelligent
and reading people, with the history of British and French Border-
lands before them, seem to think that a new and strange thing has
happened under the sun. Full that proportion of our English-
speaking race, in both hemispheres, closing the volume of its own
annals, have made up their minds to the belief that these Border-
lands between German and Magyar, Teuton and Latin, Russ and Pole,
bristle with antagonisms the like of which never were subdued, and
never ought to be subdued by human means or motives. To them,
naturally, the half century of this hissing and seething,
insurrection and repression, is longer than the five hundred years
and more it took to fuse into one the nationalities of England and
Wales. What a point of space is a century midway between the ninth
and nineteenth! Few are long-sighted enough in historic vision to
touch that point with a cambric needle. It may seem unfeeling to
say it or think it; still it is as true as the plainest history of
the last millenium. There is a patriotism that looks at the future
through a gimlet hole, and sees in it but a single star. That
patriotism is a natural, and most popular sentiment. It was strong
in the Welshman's breast a thousand years ago, and in the Scotsman's
half that distance back in the past. But it is a patriotism that
has its day and its rule; then both its eyes are opened, and it
looks upon the firmament of the future broadside on, and sees a
constellation where it once saw and half worshipped a solitary star.
Better to be the part of a great WHOLE than the whole of a little

These continental Border-lands may see the face of their future
history in the mirror of England's annals. They are quaking now
with the impetuous emotions of local nationality. They are
blackened and scarred in the contest for the Welsh and Scotch
independence of centuries agone. But over those boundary wastes the
grass shall yet grow soft, fair and green, and there, too, the white
lambs shall lie in the sun.

My walk lay over the most inhospitable and unpeopled section I ever
saw. Calling at a station on the railway that passes through it, I
was told by the master that the nearest church or chapel was sixteen
miles in one direction, and over twenty in another. It is doubtful
if so large a churchless space could be found in Iowa or even
Kansas. I was glad to reach Hawick, a good, solid town but a little
way inside of the Scottish border, where I spent the sabbath and the
following Monday. This was a rallying and sallying point in the old
Border Wars, and was inundated two or three times by the flux and
reflux of this conflict, having been burnt twice, and put under the
ordeal of other calamities brought upon it when free-booting was
both the business, occupation and pastime of knighted chieftains and
their clansmen. It is now a thrifty, manufacturing town, lying in
the trough of the sea, or of the lofty hills that resemble waves
hardened to earth in their crests. Just opposite the Temperance Inn
in which I had my quarters, was the Tower Hotel, once a palatial
mansion of the Buccleuchs. There the Duchess of Monmouth used to
hold her drawing-rooms in an apartment which many a New England
journeyman mechanic would hardly think ample and comfortable enough
for his parlor. There is a curious conical mound in the town,
called the Moat-hill, which looks like a great, green carbuncle. It
is thought by some to be a Druidical monument, but is quite involved
in a mystery which no one has satisfactorily solved. It is strange
that no persistent and successful effort has been made to let day-
light through it. Some workmen a long time ago undertook to
perforate it, but were frightened away by a thunder-storm, which
they seemed to take as a reproof and threatened punishment for their
profanity. The great business of Hawick is the manufacture of a
woollen fabric called _Tweeds_. It came to this name in a singular
way. The clerk of the factory made out an invoice of the first lot
to a London house under the name of _Twilled_ goods. The London man
read it _Tweeds_, instead of Twilled, and ever since they have gone
by that title. As Sir Walter Scott was at that time making the name
"Tweed" illustrious, the mistake was a very lucrative one to the
manufacturers of the article. Here, too, in this border town
commences the chain of birthplaces of eminent men, who have honored
Scotland with their lives and history. Here was born James Wilson,
once the editor of The Economist, who worked his way up, through
intermediate positions of public honor and trust, to that of Finance
Minister for India, and died at the meridian of his manhood in that
country of dearly-bought distinctions.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8th, I commenced my walk northward from this
threshold town of Scotland. Followed down the Teviot to Denholm,
the birth-place of the celebrated poet and linguist, Dr. John
Leyden, another victim who offered himself a sacrifice to the costly
honors and emoluments of East Indian official life. One great
thought fired his soul in all the perils and privations of that
deadly climate. It was to ascend one niche higher in knowledge of
oriental tongues than Sir William Jones. He labored to this end
with a desperate assiduity that perhaps was never surpassed or even
equalled. He died hugging the conviction that he had attained it.
This little village was his birthplace. Here he wrote his first
rhymes, and wooed and won the first inspirations of the muse. His
heart, as its last pulses grew weaker and slower, in that far-off
heathen land, took on its child-thoughts again and its child-
memories; and his last words were about this little, rural hamlet
where he was born. A beautiful monument has been erected to his
memory in the centre of the large common around which the village is
built. On each of the four sides of the monument there is a tribute
to his name and worth; one from Sir Walter Scott, and one taken from
his own poems, entitled "Scenes of my Infancy," a touching appeal to
his old friends and neighbors to hold him in kind remembrance.

All this section is as fertile as it can be in the sceneries and
historical associations favorable for inspiring a strong-hearted
love of country, and for the development of the poetry of romantic
patriotism. It was pleasant to emerge from the dark, cold, barren
border-land, from the uncivilized mountains, standing sullen in the
wild, shaggy chevelure of nature, and to walk again between towering
hills dressed in the best toilet of human industry, crowned with
golden wheatfields, and zoned with broad girdles of the greenest
vegetation. It is when these contrasts are suddenly and closely
brought within the same vista that one sees and feels how the
Creator has honored the labor of human hands, and lifted it up into
partnership with His omnipotences in chronicling the consecutive
centuries of the earth in illuminated capitals of this joint
handwriting. It is a grand and impressive sight--one of those dark-
browed hills of the Border-land, bearded to its rock-ridged forehead
with such bush-bristles and haired with matted heather. In nature
it is what a painted Indian squaw in her blanket, eagle feathers and
moccasins, is in the world of humanity. We look upon both with a
species of admiration, as contrasts with objects whose worth is
measured by the comparison. The Empress Eugenie and the Princess of
Wales, and wives and sisters lovelier still to the circles of humble
life, look more beautiful and graceful when the eye turns to them
from a glance at the best-looking squaw of the North American wilds.
And so looked the well-dressed hills on each side of the Teviot,
compared with the uncultured and stunted mountains among which I had
so recently walked.

Ascending from Teviotdale, I passed the Earl of Minto's seat, a
large and modern-looking mansion, surrounded with beautiful grounds
and noble trees, and commanding a grand and picturesque view of
valley and mountain from an excellent point of observation. As soon
as I lost sight of Teviotdale another grand vista of golden and
purpled hills and rich valleys burst upon my sight as suddenly as
theatrical sceneries are shifted on the stage. Dined in a little,
rural, unpoetical village bearing the name of Lilliesleaf. Resuming
my walk, I soon came in sight of the grand valley of the Tweed, a
great basin of natural beauty, holding, as it were, Scotland's
"apples of gold in pictures of silver." Every step commanded some
new feature of interest. Here on the left arose to the still, blue
bosom of the sky the three great Eildon Hills, with their heads
crowned with heather as with an emerald diadem. The sun is low, and
the far-off village in the valley shows dimly between the daylight
and darkness. There is the shadow of a broken edifice, broken but
grand, that arises out of the midst of the low houses. A little
farther on, arches, and the stone vein-work of glassless windows,
and ivy-netted towers come out more distinctly. I recognise them at
the next furlong. They stand thus in pictures hung up in the
parlors of thousands of common homes in America, Australia and
India. They are the ruins of Melrose Abbey. Here is the original
of the picture. I see it at last, as thousands of Americans have
seen it before. In history and association it is to them the
Westminster Abbey of Scotland, but in ruin. It looks natural,
though not at first glance what one expected. The familiar
engraving does not give us the real flesh and blood of the
antiquity, or the complexion of the stone; but it does not
exaggerate the exquisite symmetries and artistic genius of the
structure. These truly inspire one with wonder. They are all that
pen and pencil have described them. The great window, which is the
most salient feature in the common picture, is a magnificent piece
of work in stone, twenty-four feet in height and sixteen in breadth.
It is all in the elm-tree order of architecture. The old monks
belonged to that school, and they wrought out branches, leaves and
leaf-veins, and framed the lacework of their chisels with colored
glass most exquisitely.

Melrose Abbey was the eldest daughter, I believe, of Rievaulx Abbey,
in Yorkshire, which has already been noticed; a year or two older in
its foundation than Fountain Abbey, in Studley Park. The fecundity
with which these ecclesiastical buildings multiplied and replenished
England and Scotland is a marvel, considering the age in which they
were erected and the small population and the poverty of the
country. But something on this aspect of the subject hereafter.
Here lie the ashes of Scottish kings, abbots and knights whose names
figured conspicuously in the history of public and private wars
which cover such a space of the country's life as an independent
nation. The Douglas family especially with several of its branches
found a resting-place for their dust within these walls. Built and
rebuilt, burnt and reburnt, mutilated, dismembered, consecrated and
desecrated, make up the history of this celebrated edifice, and that
of its like, from Land's End to John O'Groat's. It is a slight but
a very appreciable mitigation of these destructive acts that it was
ruined _artistically_; just as some enthusiastic castle and abbey-
painter would have suggested.

Although I spent the night at Melrose, it was a dark and cloudy one,
so that I could not see the abbey by moonlight--a view so much
prized and celebrated. The next day I literally walked from morning
till evening among the tombstones of antiquity and monuments of
Scotch history invested with an interest which will never wane. In
the first place, I went down the Tweed a few miles and crossed it in
a ferry-boat to see Dryburgh Abbey. Here, embowered among the trees
in a silver curve of the river, stands this grand monument of one of
the most remarkable ages of the world. Within an hour's walk from
Melrose, and four or five years only after the completion of that
edifice, the foundations of this were laid. It is astonishing. We
will not dwell upon it now, but make a separate chapter on it when I
have seen most of the other ruins of the kind in the kingdom. The
French are given to the habit of festooning the monuments and graves
of their relatives and friends with immortelles. Nature has hung
one of hers to Dryburgh Abbey. It is a yew-tree opposite the door
by which you enter the ruins. The year-rings of its trunk register
all the centuries that the stones of the oldest wall have stood
imbedded one upon the other. The tree is still green, putting forth
its leaf in its season. But there is an immortelle hung to these
dark, crumbling walls that shall outlive the greenest trees now
growing on earth. Here, in a little vaulted chapel, or rather a
deep niche in the wall, lie the remains of Sir Walter Scott, his
wife and the brilliant Lockhart. How many thousands of all lands
where the English language is spoken will come and stand here in
mute and pensive communion before the iron gate of this family tomb
and look through the bars upon this group of simply-lettered stones!

From Dryburgh I walked back to Melrose on the east side of the
Tweed. Lost the footpath, and for two hours clambered up and down
the precipitous cliffs that rise high and abrupt from the river. In
many places the zig-zag path was cut into the rock, hardly a foot in
breadth, overhanging a precipice which a person of weak nerves could
hardly face with composure. At last got out of these dark
fastnesses and ascended a range of lofty hills where I found a good
carriage road. This elevation commanded the most magnificent view
that I ever saw in Scotland, excepting, perhaps, the one from
Stirling Castle only for the feature which the Forth supplies. It
was truly beautiful beyond description, and it would be useless for
me to attempt one.

After dinner in Melrose, I resumed my walk northward and came
suddenly upon Abbotsford. Indeed, I should have missed it, had I
not noticed a wooden gate open on the roadside, with some directions
upon it for those wishing to visit the house. As it stands low down
towards the river, and as all the space above it to the road is
covered with trees and shrubbery, it is entirely hidden from view in
that direction. The descent to the house is rather steep and long.
And here it is!--Abbotsford! It is the photograph of Sir Walter
Scott. It is brim full of him and his histories. No author's pen
ever gave such an individuality to a human home. It is all the
coinage of thoughts that have flooded the hemispheres. Pages of
living literature built up all these lofty walls, bent these arches,
panelled these ceilings, and filled the whole edifice with these
mementoes of the men and ages gone. Every one of these hewn stones
cost a paragraph; that carved and gilded crest, a column's length of
thinking done on paper. It must be true that pure, unaided literary
labor never built before a mansion of this magnitude and filled it
with such treasures of art and history. This will forever make it
and the pictures of it a monument of peculiar interest. I have said
that it is brim full of the author. It is equally full of all he
wrote about; full of the interesting topographs of Scotland's
history, back to the twilight ages; full inside and out, and in the
very garden and stable walls. The studio of an artist was never
fuller of models of human or animal heads, or of counterfeit
duplicates of Nature's handiwork, than Sir Walter's mansion is of
things his pen painted on in the long life of its inspirations. The
very porchway that leads into the house is hung with petrified stag-
horns, doubtless dug up in Scottish bogs, and illustrating a page of
the natural history of the country in some pre-historic century.
The halls are panelled with Scotland,--with carvings in oak from the
old palace of Dunfermline. Coats of arms of the celebrated Border
chieftains are arrayed in line around the walls. The armoury is a
miniature arsenal of all arms ever wielded since the time of the
Druids. And a history attaches to nearly every one of the weapons.
History hangs its webwork everywhere. It is built, high and low,
into the face of the outside walls. Quaint, old, carved stones from
abbey and castle ruins, arms, devices and inscriptions are all here
presented to the eye like the printed page of an open volume. Among
the interesting relics are a chair made from the rafters of the
house in which Wallace was betrayed, Rob Roy's pistol, and the key
of the old Tolbooth of Edinburgh.

I was conducted through the rooms opened to visitors by a very
gentlemanly-looking man, who might be taken for an author himself,
from his intellectual appearance and conversation. The library is
the largest of all the apartments--fifty feet by sixty. Nor is it
too large for the collection of books it contains, which numbers
about 20,000 volumes, many of them very rare and valuable. But the
soul-centre of the building to me was the _study_, opening into the
library. There is the small writing-table, and there is the plain
armchair in which he sat by it and worked out those creations of
fancy which have excited such interest through the world. That
square foot over against this chair, where his paper lay, is the
focus, the point of incidence and reflection, of thoughts that
pencilled outward, like sun-rays, until their illumination reached
the antipodes,--thoughts that brought a pleasant shining to the sun-
burnt face of the Australian shepherd as he watched his flock at
noon from under the shadow of a stunted tree; thoughts which made a
cheery fellowship at night for the Hudson Bay hunter, in his snow-
buried cabin on the Saskatchiwine. The books of this little inner
library were the body-guard of his genius, chosen to be nearest him
in the outsallyings of his imagination. Here is a little
conversational closet, with a window in it to let in the leaf-sifted
light and air--a small recess large enough for a couple of chairs or
so, which he called a "Speak-a-bit." Here is something so near his
personality that it almost startles you like a sudden apparition of
himself. It is a glass case containing the clothes he last wore on
earth,--the large-buttoned, blue coat, the plaid trousers, the
broad-brimmed hat, and heavy, thick-soled shoes which he had on when
he came in from his last walk to lay himself down and die.

On signing my name in the register, I was affected at a coincidence
which conveyed a tribute of respect to the memory of the great
author of striking significance, while it recorded the painful
catastrophe which has broken over upon the American Republic. It
was a sad sight to me to see the profane and suicidal antagonisms
which have rent it in twain brought to the shrine of this great
memory and graven upon its sacred tablet as it were with the
murdering dagger's point. New and bad initials! The father and
patriot Washington would have wept tears of blood to have read them
here,--to have read them anywhere, bearing such deplorable meaning.
They were U.S.A. and C.S.A., as it were chasing each other up and
down the pages of the visitors' register. Sad, sad was the sight--
sadder, in a certain sense, than the smoke-wreaths of the Tuscarora
and Alabama ploughing the broad ocean with their keels. U.S.A. and
C.S.A.! What initials for Americans to write, with the precious
memories of a common history and a common weal still held to their
hearts--to write here or anywhere! What a riving and a ruin do
those letters record! Still they brought in their severed hands a
common homage-gift to the memory of the Writer of Abbotsford. If
they represented the dissolution of a great political fabric, in
which they once gloried with equal pride, they meant union here--a
oneness indissoluble in admiration for a great genius whose memory
can no more be localised to a nation than the interest of his works.

American names, both of the North and South, may be found on almost
every page of the register. I wrote mine next to that of a
gentleman from Worcester, Mass., my old place of residence, who only
left an hour before my arrival. Abbotsford and Stratford-upon-Avon
are points to which our countrymen converge in their travels in this
country; and you will find more of their signatures in the registry
of these two haloed homesteads of genius than anywhere else in

The valley of the Tweed in this section is all an artist would
delight in as a surrounding of such histories. The hills are lofty,
declining into gorges or dells at different angles with the river,
which they wall in precipitously with their wooded sides in many
places. They are mostly cultivated to the top, and now in harvest
many of them were crowned with stooked sheaves of wheat, each
looking in the distance like Nature with her golden curls done up in
paper, dressing for the harvest-home of the season. Some of them
wore belts and gores of turnip foliage of different nuances of green
luxuriance, combining with every conceivable shade and alternation
of vegetable coloring. Indeed, as already intimated, the view from
the eminence almost overhanging the little sequestered peninsula on
which Old Melrose stood twelve centuries ago, is indescribably
beautiful, and well worth a long journey to see, disconnected from
its historical associations. The Eildon Hills towering up heather-
crowned to the height of over 1,300 feet above the level of the sea
right out of the sheen of barley fields, as from a sea of silver,
form one of the salient features of this glorious landscape. This
is an interesting peculiarity of Scotch scenery;--civilization
sapping the barbarism of the wilderness; wheat-fields mordant biting
in upon peaty moorlands, or climbing to the tops of cold, bald
mountains, shearing off their thorny locks of heather and covering
them with the well-dressed chevelure of yellow grain. Where the
farmer's horse cannot climb with the plough, or the little sheep
cannot graze to advantage, human hands plant the Scotch larch or
fir, just as a tenant-gardener would set out cabbage-plants in odd
corners of his little holding which he could have no other use for.

Abbotsferry is just above Abbotsford, and is crossed in a small row-
boat. The river here is of considerable width and quite rapid. The
boat was kept on the other side; so I hallooed to a man engaged in
thatching a rick of oats to come and ferry me over. Without
descending from the ladder, he called to some one in the cottage,
when, to my surprise, a well-dressed young woman, in rather flowing
dress, red jacket, and with her hair tastefully done up in a net a-
la-mode, made her appearance. Descending to the river, she folded
up her gown, and, settling herself to the oars, "pushed her light
shallop from the shore" with the grace of The Lady of the Lake. In
a few minutes she ran the prow upon the pebbled beach at my feet,
and I took my seat at the other end of the boat. She did it all so
naturally, and without any other flush upon her pleasant face than
that of the exercise of rowing, that I felt quite easy myself and
checked the expression of regret I was on the point of uttering for
putting her to such service. A few questions convinced me it was
her regular employment, especially when her father was busy. I
could not help asking her if she had ever read "The Lady of the
Lake," but found that neither that romance nor any other had ever
invested her river experience with any sensibility except of a
cheerful duty. She was going to do the whole for a penny, her usual
charge, but I declined to take back any change for the piece of
silver I gave to her, intimating that I regarded it cheap at that to
be rowed over a river by such hands.

Almost opposite to Abbotsford I passed one of the best farming
establishments I had seen in Scotland. I was particularly struck
with a feature which will hereafter distinguish the steddings or
farm buildings in Great Britain. Steam has already accomplished
many changes, and among others one that could hardly have been
anticipated when it was first applied to common uses. It has
virtually turned the threshing-floor out of doors. Grain growing
has become completely out-of-door work, from seeding to sending to
market. The day of building two-story barns for storing and
threshing wheat, barley and oats is over, I am persuaded, in this
country. A quadrangle of slate-roofed cow-sheds, for housing horses
and cattle, will displace the old-fashioned barns, each with its
rood of roof. This I saw on crossing the Tweed was quite new, and
may serve as a model of the housing that will come into vogue
rapidly. One familiar with New England in the "old meeting-house"
time would call this establishment a hollow square of horse-sheds,
without a break or crevice at the angles.

I reached Galashiels about 5 p.m., and stopped an hour for tea.
This is a vigorous and thrifty town, that makes a profitable and
useful business of the manufacture of tweeds, tartans and shawls.
It is situated on the banks of the Gala, a little, rapid, shallow
river that joins the Tweed about a mile below. After tea I resumed
my walk, but owing to the confused direction of the landlady, took
the wrong side of the river, and diverged westward toward Peebles.
I had made three miles or more in this direction before I found out
my mistake, so was obliged to return to Galashiels, where I
concluded to spend the night, after another involuntary excursion
more unsatisfactory than my walk around Sheffield, inasmuch as I had
to travel over the same road twice for the whole distance. Thus the
three mistakes thus far made have cost me twenty miles of extra
footing. The next morning I set out in good season, determined to
reach Edinburgh, if possible, by night.

Followed the Gala Water, as it is called here, just as if it were a
placid lake or land-locked bay, though it is a tortuous and swift-
running stream. The scenery was still picturesque, in some places
very grand and romantic. There was one great amphitheatre just
before reaching the village of Stow which was peculiarly
interesting. It was a great bowl full of earth's glory up to the
very rim. The circular wall was embossed with the best patterns and
colors of vegetation. The hills of every tournure showed each in a
fir setting, looking, with their sloping fields of grain, like
inverted goblets of gold vined with emerald leafwork. In the valley
a reaping machine was at work with its peculiar chatter and clatter,
and men and women were following in its wake, gathering up and
binding the grain as it fell and clearing the way for the next
round. Up and down these hills frequently runs a stripe of Scotch
firs or larches a few rods wide; here and there they resemble those
geometrical figures often seen in gardens and pleasure grounds. The
sun peeping out of the clouds, and flooding these features with a
sudden, transient river of light, gives them a glow and glory that
would delight the artist. After a long walk through such scenery, I
reached, late in the evening, Auld Reekie, a favorite home-name
which the modern Athenians love to give to Edinburgh. Being anxious
to push on and complete my journey as soon as practicable, I only
remained in the celebrated Scotch metropolis one night, taking staff
early next morning, and holding northward towards the Highlands.

Edinburgh has made its mark upon the world and its place among the
great centres of the world's civilization. On the whole, no city in
Great Britain, or in Christendom, has ever attained to such well-
developed, I will not say angular, but salient individuality. This
is deep-featured and ineffaceable. It is, not was. Edinburgh has
reared great men prolifically and supplied the world with them, and
kept always a good number back for itself to give a shaping to
others the world needed. Its prestige is great in the production of
such intellects. But it keeps up with the times. It is faithful to
its antecedents, and appreciates them at their full value and
obligation. It does not lie a-bed until noon because it has got its
name up for educating brilliant minds. Its grand old University
holds its own among the wranglers of learning. Its High School is
proportionately as high as ever, notwithstanding the rapid growth of
others of the same purpose. Its pulpit boasts of its old mind-power
and moral stature. Its Theology stands iron-cabled, grand and solid
as an iceberg in the sea of modern speculation, unsoftened under the
patter of the heterodox sentimentalities of human philanthropy. It
is growing more and more a City of Palaces. And the palaces are all
built for housing the poorest of the poor, the weakest of the weak

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest