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melody - a national air, and then the concert ended with hurrahs, the soldiers opened their ranks, and the people rushed up to congratulate the conductor and his singers - and I heard it all! This was the overwhelming factthe great, indescribable surprise of
When the concert was over, the crowd broke up and wended its way, by a score of crooked streets, to the river Scheldt, where there were fireworks —"the bombardment of a Turkish fort”and in the meantime the two bells lifted up their great voices till it seemed as if the earth jarred.
I saw no more of the fete, for I left Antwerp the next evening, The sky was nearly overcast, save a bright silvery band where the sun was sinking. I looked back once more at the town, and there, cutting that band of bright sky across- - no longer gray, but robed in a violet light-was the mighty spire of Notre Dame.
The train sped away till the land, level and green before, seemed to fairly sink. When it was growing dark we were in Holland. The flat land stretched away to the level sea; nothing rose to break the faint sky-line save a lonely wind-mill; and when the moon rose in a mist, and lights were seen in the distance, we could not tell whether they belonged to earth, or sea, or sky-whether they shone in the homes of men, or in the rigging of some ship at anchor, or were the bright glancing of some lowhung star. And so we came to Flushing.
T Flushing I embarked on a steamer bearing a Dutch name,
of which I have forgotten half-a-dozen syllables, and so will not undertake to give the balance. The destination of the boat was Queenboro, a run of twelve hours, more or less, according to wind, weather and other circumstances.
Some naval officer being asked what was the most awful thing about a sea-fight, said it was seeing them sprinkle the deck with sawdust to catch the blood, as yet unshed. I was reminded of this on entering the cabin of the on seeing certain ominous tin basins hanging opposite each berth. It was plain that the tinware was not intended for ornament, but use.
The company was not large, the most conspicuous being a young Japanese coming from school on the continent, and a young woman of a remarkably sociable temperament, and who, to use a seafaring expression, was “three sheets in the wind.” The boat soon left the pier, and considerable motion was perceptible. It was surprising how soon conversation turned on the state of the water, but nobody was afraid of seasickness; none of the passengers had ever been seasick or ever expected to be, and there was a disposition to converse in a lively manner on the subject of the dreaded malady. The young woman aforesaid appeared at frequent intervals at her state-room door and laughed violently at the gentlemen passengers. It was observed, however, that all this hilarity did not materially check the rolling of the steamer, and soon an old woman bowed her head on the table, and wept and moaned and bewailed herself. The gentleman from the Orient was next affected. He stopped talking, and turned first a dark brown, then a deep yellow, then a light straw color, and fled to his berth, from whence his slanting eyes glistened in the midst of a countenance the color of a dirty white pocket handkerchief. The state-room door opened once more, a hysterical laugh was heard, and after that the young woman was heard but not seen. One by one the passengers about the table thought it was about time to turn in, and said they always went to bed early. One of the last was this writer. He remembers that he lost his interest in everything earthly, and felt no hopes, desires, emotions, ambitions or wants, save an overwhelming anxiety to lie down somewhere. The sensation was like being lowered by the heels and head first into a barrel of moderately warm and very dirty water. There was no local pain, no settled agony anywhere in particular, only just a spreading, all-pervading, overwhelming sick. The man who says that when you are seasick you should keep on deck and walk about, is a liar and a horse-thief. This deponent did nothing of the sort, nor would he to have saved the boat from instant destruction. So still did he lie, that he could have been carried around with a show and exhibited as a mummy.
The effect was beneficial. In an hour the sea-sickness grew ashamed of attacking a man who was down, and made no resistance, and so left; and after that the motion of the ship was not disagreeable. But all night there were moanings and groanings all around the cabin, and cries of "Stew—(whoop, whoop, whoop) — ard!!" So passed the solemn hours away till daylight came, and stricken, haggard wretches began to crawl on deck, and remark with wan smiles, that "it was pretty rough last night.”
The run from Queenboro to London was made in the dirtiest railway car I ever saw in England, but the day was so fair that a little discomfort was forgotten. Our way lay through the fair county of Kent, in some respects one of the most beautiful of English counties, and we saw acres of its famous hop fields. Of the towns along the way, I remember only Rochester, and that not because of anything connected with its history, save that it was the first stopping-place of Mr. Pickwick and his friends when they started out on their tour of observation.
London looked natural enough, though perhaps a trifle uglier after Paris; but for all that it is a difficult town to get away from, and I believe I could live there for six months, and take each day a new and interesting tour of observation.
A day was devoted to Windsor Castle, easily and quickly reached by rail from London. Like most historic places in England, it is more interesting from past than present associations. In the absence of the Queen (who is generally absent), admission is obtained without difficulty, and "by the Queen's command” no fees or gratuities are allowed. A few of the state apartments are shown. They are handsome, of course, but with the furniture covered with linen, look dreary. These royal rooms did not seem to me as fine as the halls of the Louvre, the people's palace, open to the humblest French workman every day. There is a fine collection of portraits by Van Dyke, and a miscellaneous assortment of royal portraits, one of the best, I think, being of George IV, painted by Lawrence. Poor old George III was of course conspicuous, with his low forehead, his goggle eyes and his open mouth. Looking at that face, one can readily imagine the august monarch, as depicted by Peter Pindar, wondering how the apple got inside the dumpling, no seam being visible.
While walking about the state apartments, an English gentleman said to me: “You must go on top of the great tower and talk with the sergeant; he is as funny as your Artemus Ward." I believe that is the highest praise that an Englishman can confer on a humorist. No other American, great or small, ever made such an impression in London as did poor Charley Browne. He was a revelation.
His like had never been seen before, as it never will be again. His jokes were made the subject of critical analysis in the English magazines. His “show” drew better in London than even in “Baldinsville;" and to this day he is used as a sort of standard, and all other "funny men” are compared with him. This does not arise from ignorance of what is called "American humor"—the "nigger business” has had an established home in England for years; but it arises solely from the honest truth that, in the matter of natural, original, perpetual fun, America has produced but one Artemus Ward, the only one of an army of our humorists who lived and died with his laurels green.
But this is a digression. I took the gentleman's advice, ascended the tower, and found the sergeant, a big, hearty soldier, who had paced the tower for eighteen years.
His blue eyes twinkled with a merry light, and he had really a great store of dry fun about him. He had a most interesting panorama, if that be the proper expression, to exhibit. Close by is a little town; it is Eton, with the famous school, where many of England's greatest