Imágenes de páginas

that about twenty thousand years would be required for the Independent Order of Good Templars to acquire a good and sufficient foothold.

The Royal Porcelain Works are well worth a visit. The works have been established about one hundred and fifty years, and claim to make the finest goods in England. The curious in pottery may have noticed the Worcester work at our Centennial Exhibition. The processes by which what look like white rocks and white sand are converted into the most delicate porcelain wares, are very interesting. Nearly everything is done by hand; and here, as in America, it has been found that in certain kinds of burnishing-work women can alone be employed. Here is one "field” where woman is preëminent. Agates are used in burnishing, and I suggested Colorado as a good field to supply the large amount of the stone required. There are six hundred persons employed in the works -- all save two of them English. As a curious instance of the biblical truth that there is “nothing new under the sun," I was told that the favorite ware now was of the same pattern as a set made for King George III. If you go to Worcester, do not fail to visit the porcelain works. You can get a pair of nice blue vases there for the sum of only one thousand guineas a pair.

At Worcester, it was my disgusting fortune to meet the first ill-mannered Englishman. It was a youth with a scorbutic countenance, who sold tickets at the Great Western station. This person not only refused to change a Bank of England note, but genteelly intimated that I was a counterfeiter, or a burglar, or a horse-thief for having such a note in my possession. As it was -train-time when I received this flattering testimonial to my char


acter, and there was no chance to get the note changed elsewhere, I was obliged to remain several hours longer in Worcester,

I wandered into the Guildhall, where a court was in session. It was a small affair, and the Justices had no wigs; but as it is impossible to deal out justice in England without something unusual on your head, all the Justices had their hats on. It was some case in which a “workus” was mixed up; and it struck me that their worships looked uncommonly like the beadle in Oliver Twist.

In accordance with the American custom, I went into a newspaper office. The editor, I was sorry to learn, was dead. I trust his life was insured, as otherwise his family were undoubtedly left destitute. The business manager, a fat man with a gracious way, who had worked on a London paper, was very civil. I went into the composing room with him. It looked just as such an institution does in America. The foreman told me that the “tramping jour.” was a regular British institution; so my friend, and everybody's friend, Mr. Peter Bartlett Lee, will find himself at home should he choose to visit the shores of old Albion. I was shown an old hand-press, and was astonished to see the American eagle roosting thereon. "Hello, old bird,” thought I; "what are you doing here?” The matter was explained when I saw that it was an old “Columbian” press, the "image and superscription" of which may be seen in any history of typography. However, this was not all: I found a new American jobber in operation in the office.

Although I had had a sample of "Worcestershire sauce” from the cub at the railroad station, I looked about for the manufactory of Lea & Perrin's "justly celebrated” article. The manufactory was not as extensive as I expected; and I fear that what is sauce for Worcester is not sauce for America.

At 4 o'clock P. M. I wended my way to the station, where my imperial friend was graciously pleased to accept a sum in copper and silver in exchange for a ticket to Stratford-on-Avon-of which I may use the entirely original and impromptu expression, "more anon."

[ocr errors]



W ,


ILLIAM SHAKSPEARE, by merely being born, con

ferred unmeasured honor on a very stupid, “stale, flat and unprofitable” town a town which it is a duty to visit and a pleasure to leave; a town where the old houses are not picturesque, and the new ones are not handsome.

The Stratford of Shakspeare's time was probably a cozy hamlet, as comfortable as any English village could be in the "good old time.” It was nearer the Avon (which, by the way, is pronounced A-von by those born on its banks), and there were trees and gardens where there are now broad, flat yellow streets lined with ugly houses.

I reached Stratford a few hours "by sun," and looked about for something that would bring back the old time. I found, instead, the programme of a "praise meeting” such as my friend the Rev. Mr. Blakesley holds at his church-though I venture to say the birthplace of the “bard of Avon” does not furnish as good music as Topeka; and also a handbill announcing that the Methodists were going to hold a camp meeting soon.

Here was certainly one American institution at the start. While the religious exercises of the neighborhood savored of the modern, it must be confessed that the amusements had a more ancient flavor. For instance, it announced that one of the sports at an approaching festival would be "walking across the river on a greased pole for a pig.” This would have pleased Falstaff, and doubtless that immoral old knight laughed at the same performance in his time.

It was sunset, or rather the long English twilight had commenced, when I wended my way to the church of the Holy Trinity, where Shakspeare is buried. The church stands in the corner of the town, and is shut in by garden walls and trees. It does not seem a part of the modern town. A sound of music issued from the gray old church, and a boy told me it was doubtful if I could gain admission, as “choir meeting” was in progress. However, yonder was the house of Mr. Butcher, the parish clerk, and I might see him about it. Mr. Butcher came out of his respectable mansion as I approached it. He was a man of decent and venerable aspect, with a Roman nose large enough for two average Romans. He was somewhat round-shouldered, and had a rather sad and wearied look. I felt that he thought this was a "mad world, my masters,” when people came across the ocean to ask him hundreds of questions about a man who has been dead since 1616. He did his duty, though, and we entered the church, in which the shadows had commenced to gather. The choir leader had his forces marshaled, and was giving his orders in a loud and peremptory manner. We passed through the choir and stood at the railing of the chancel within which lies buried Shakspeare. The bust in the niche in the wall above the chancel is familiar to every one from engravings. It is colored, to make it appear life-like, I presume. I trust it is a bad likeness;

I I hope that the artist who carved it was a very bad one, for it would be a genuine affliction to believe that Shakspeare looked like that. It is the beefy countenance of a good-natured person

« AnteriorContinuar »