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men have been educated. In the far distance is Harrow, where Byron was a scholar; the green spot by the gliding Thames is Runnymede, where Magna Charta was wrested from King John, whereby (I believe ) we obtained the privilege of being tried by twelve men who never read the newspapers, and so have never "formed or expressed an opinion;" a clump of houses is the village of Datchet, where the Merry Wives of Windsor served Falstaff a bad trick; and the spire above the trees marks the site of Stoke church, where the curfew tolled the knell of parting day; and, concerning this, the sergeant was kind enough to tell me that nearly every American who came to Windsor was able to repeat Gray's Elegy. These are the real attractions of Windsor Castle. We may forget what king built this tower or that, but no one forgets the moment when he looked across the green country to where "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep."
Back in London by night, an opportunity was afforded to hear the celebrated Spurgeon, who was to deliver a week-day evening address at his tabernacle, on the Surrey side. It seems a little odd, but a Londoner directing a stranger to this place of worship will tell him that it is near a famous inn in old times, bearing still its ancient name of the “Elephant and Castle.” Going first to the "Elephant and Castle,” we had no difficulty in finding the immense tabernacle. It is an excessively ugly affair outside, and inside the effort appears to be to make it look as unlike a church as possible. In shape, the interior (to use a familiar, though possibly an irreverent illustration) is like the race track at the Topeka fair grounds. There are several galleries, and an immense amount of room. Although it was a week-day meeting, a large audience was present, and I noticed the red uniforms of
two soldiers lighting up the sober-colored mass. The pulpit is a sort of small gallery. Mr. Spurgeon is a solid, heavy, muscular man, with a thoroughly middle-class English look. Were he a politician, I should take him for a popular speaker of the advanced radical party. His discourse, I am bound to say, seemed to me far from striking; and I may as well add, that my observation leads me to believe that in the matter of pulpit eloquence America is far in advance of the other side of the Atlantic. Mr. Spurgeon's sermon was a plain, matter-of-fact talk, rising nowhere into the sublime, or even the poetical; but his voice is a wonder
He filled the great building without the slightest apparent exertion, and his lower notes were singularly musical and pleasing. I could, from hearing his voice, well believe all that is said of his powers as a speaker when circumstances call for their exertion. After the sermon a number of persons were baptized, the officiating clergyman being (I was told) a brother of Mr. Spurgeon's. The ordinance was conducted after the manner of Baptist churches in America, save that all the lady candidates wore white robes and caps.
The next day, at the instance of a Liverpool printer, I visited the Caxton exhibition at the South Kensington Museum. There was here a wonderful collection of everything relating to the past or present of the art of printing in all its branches. Some specimens of American work were on exhibition, though nothing near as fine a show as could have been made. In the midst of a glass case of cards I noticed one of “Haight & Taylor, Ellenville, N. Y.;" and the names brought to my mind the recollection of one whose death diminished the world's too slender stock of sincere and honest men, the late R. B. Taylor, of Wyandotte.
There was a wonderful array of old books, particularly those printed by Caxton himself. I looked even at the pages of the first book printed in England. I suppose I ought to have burst
Ι out in a torrent of eloquent and grateful eulogy on the “art preservative of arts," the palladium of liberty, etc., etc., etc., and have blessed the memory of William Caxton, but I did not. Seeing his work, brought him very near to me. He looked at me, in fact, from the open pages of his book, with the same provokingly bland, innocent, benevolent expression he wears in Maclise's picture. It irritated me, and I felt as if, provided he could really "materialize,” I would have addressed him thus:
“Mr. William Caxton, you were originally a mercer, and you were also an embassador, and one with just the statutory amount of common sense would suppose that that was a sufficiently fat take for you; but you must needs go into the printing business. Now then, what for? You say that the Duchess of Burgundy wanted you to print the 'Recueil of the History of Troye,' and you did it; yes, and Eve wanted Adam to eat the apple, and he
and Herodius had an anxiety for the head of John the Baptist, and she got it; and Lady Macbeth wanted Mac. to give old man Duncan a fatal prod, and he did it. He never even gave the old man a chance.' You didn't foresee the consequences, you say, when you set up your book, newspaper and plain and fancy job printing establishment in Westminster Abbey. You didn't know, now honest ? You didn't think there would ever be such a thing as a tramping jour., did you? You didn't see the head of the blooming old procession that has been about three hundred years passing a given point? You wasn't prepared for that gay old cortege, that innumerable caravan, were you? It didn't
occur to you about the 'banner,' and the very rum lot that were to put in their time carrying it? Your prophetic eye did not see the long string of red noses and sore eyes and sun-burnt necks and blistered heels? You never thought of the fellows who would sleep on the bank, and under the bank, and behind the stove, and down in the press-room among the greasy rags and wrapping-paper and strings, and also repose their old bones betimes in the calaboose? No, you didn't think of any of these things, we may well believe. You never dreamed, Bill, that some thousands of your fellow-creatures would put their eyes out, and grow old before their time, and humpbacked in the flower of their youth, sticking type on morning papers. You never imagined how they would all stir the fire up; how the 'old man' would blaspheme the foreman, and how the last named would make even by calling the learned and accomplished compositors a lot of goggle-eyed, slab-sided, knock-kneed blacksmiths. Bless your simple-hearted, ink-smearing old soul, nothing appears to have occurred to you! You didn't hear, sounding down the ages, anything about 'a few cords of dry wood wanted at this office immediately, nor the loud and exceedingly bitter cry for ‘any kind of country produce. You are responsible for all this, and you say you didn't think! And in that connection, I may remark that that is what every meddling, mischief-making lunatic says. You didn't know the gun was loaded, and so you snapped it, and that is the way some fool kills somebody every day in the week. But you didn't think; you meant well, but you were just an idiot, that was all. Probably if you had thought, you would have hung the printing business on the dead hook; but you didn't, and it is now too late. The line is hair-spaced now, and it can't be helped.
We are in the everlasting 'drag,' and are stuck for all night. Oh, William! William !"
Queen Victoria, Spurgeon and William Caxton formed the bill of fare at this last visit to London; from thence my way led into the "country,” and away from the cities, into the heart of that rural England referred to by an English poet as having been made by God, while “man made the town.”