|Chapter Title||III Boston (cont.)|
|Newspaper Title||The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||American Notes for General Circulation|
BY CHARLES DICKENS.
AT SOUTH BOSTON, as it is called, in a situation excellently adapted for the pur- pose, several charitable institutions are clustered together. One of these, is the State Hospital for the insane ; admirably conducted on those enlightened principle of conciliation and kindness, which twenty years ago would have been worse than he- retical, and which have been acted upon with so much success in our own pauper asylum at Hanwell. "Evince a desire to show some confidence, and repose some trust even in mad people,"—said the resi-
dent physician, as we walked along the galleries, his patients flocking round us un- restrained. Of those who deny or doubt the wisdom of this maxim after witnessing its effects, if there be such people still alive, I can only say I hope I may never be sum- moned as a juryman on a Commission of Lunacy whereof they are the subjects ; for I should certainly find them out of their senses, on such evidence alone.
Each ward in this Institution is shaped like a long gallery or hall, with the dormi- tories of the patients opening from it on either hand. Here they work, read, play at skittles, and other games ; and when the weather does not admit of their taking exercise out of doors, pass the day together.
In one of these rooms, seated, calmly and quiet, as a matter of course, among a throng of mad women, black mid white, were the physician's wife and another lady, with a couple of children. These ladies were graceful and handsome, and it was not difficult to perceive at a glance that even their presence there, had a highly bene- ficial influence on the patients who were grouping about them.
Leaning her head against the chimney- piece, with a great assumption of dignity and refinement of manner, sat an elderly female, in as many scraps of finery as Madge Wildfire herself. Her head in particular was so strewn with scraps of gauze and cotton and bits of paper, and had so many queer odds and ends stuck all about it, that it looked a bird's-nest.
She was radiant with imaginary jewels, wore a rich pair of undoubted gold spec- tacles ; and gracefully dropped upon her lap, as we approached, a very old greasy newspaper, in which I dare say she had been rending an account of her own pre- sentation at some Foreign Court.
I have been thus particular in describing her, because she will serve to exemplify the physician's manner of acquainting and retaining the confidence of his patients.
" This," he said aloud taking me by the hand and advancing to the fantastic figure with great politeness,—not raising her suspicions by the slightest look or whisper, or any kind of aside to me. " This lady is the hostess of this mansion, Sir. It belongs to her. Nobody else has anything whatever to do with it. It is a large establishment as you see, and requîres a great number of attendants. She lives, you observe, in the very first style. She is kind enough to receive my visits, and to permit my wife and family to reside here ; for which it is hardly necessary to say, we are much indebted to her. She is exceedingly courteous, you perceive," on this hint she bowed condescendingly, " and will permit me to have the pleasure of introducing you—a gentleman from England, ma'am : newly arrived from En- gland, after a very tempestuous passage. Mr Dickens—the lady of the house."
We exchanged the most dignified salu- tations, with profound gravity and respect —and so went on. The rest of the mad women seemed to understand the joke
perfectly, (not only in this case, but in all others, except their own), and to be highly amused by it. The nature of their several kinds of insanity was made known to me in the same way, and left each of them in high good humour. Not only is a tho- rough confidence established by these menus, between the physician and patient, m respect of the nature and extent of their hallucinations, but it is easy to understand that opportunities are afforded for seizing any moment of reason, to startle them by placing then own delusion before them in its most incongruous and ridiculous light.
Every patient in this asylum sits down to dinner every day with a knife and fork ; and in the midst of them sits the gentle- man whose manner of dealing with his charges I have just described. At every meal, moral influence alone restrains the more violent among them from cutting the throats of the rest ; but the effect of that
influence is reduced to an absolute cer- tainty, and is found, even as a means of restraint, to say nothing of it as a means of cure, a hundred times more efficacious than all the strait-waistcoats, fetters, and handcuffs, that ignorance, prejudice, and
cruelty have manufactured since the creation of the world.
In the labour department, every patient is as freely trusted with the tools of his trade as if he were a sane man. In the garden, and on the farm, they work with spades, rakes, and hoes. For amusement, they walk, run, fish, paint, read, and ride out to take the air in carriages, provided for the purpose. They have among them- selves a sewing society to make clothes for the poor, which holds meetings, passes resolutions, never comes to fisty cuffs or bowie-knives as some assemblies have been known to do elsewhere ; and con- ducts all its proceedings with the greatest decorum. The irritability, which would otherwise be expended on then own flesh, clothes, and furniture, is dissipated in these pursuits. They are cheerful, tran- quil, and healthy.
Once a week, they have a ball, in which the Doctor and his family, with all the muses and attendants, take an active part.
Dances and marches are performed alter- nately, to the enlivening strains of a piano, and now and then some gentle- man 0r lady (whose proficiency has been previously ascertained) obliges the com- pany with a song ; nor does it ever dege- nerate, at a tender crisis, into a screech 0r howl, wherein, I must confess, I should have thought the danger lay At an early hour they all met together for these festive purposes ; at eight o'clock refresh- ments are served, and at nine they sepa-
Immense politeness and good-breeding are observed throughout. They all take their tone from the Doctor ; and he moves a very Chesterfield among the company.
Like other assemblies, these entertainments afford a fruitful topic of conversation among the ladies for some days ; and the gentle- men are so anxious to shine upon these occasions, that they have been sometimes found " practising their steps" in private, to cut a more distinguished figure in the
It is obvious that one great feature of this system, is the inculcation and encou- ragement, even among such unhappy per-
sons of a decent self respect. Something of the same spirit pervades all the institu-
tions at South Boston.
There is the House of Industry. In that branch of it, which is devoted to the reception of old or otherwise helpless pau- pers, these words are painted on the walls : " WORTHY OF NOTICE. SELF- GOVERNMENT, QUIETUDE, AND PEACE
ARE BLESSINGS." It is not assumed
and taken for granted that being there they must be evil-disposed and wicked people, before whose vicious eyes it is necessary to flourish threats and harsh restraints. They are met at the very threshold with this mild appeal. All within doors is very plain and simple, as it ought to be, but arranged with a view to peace and comfort. It costs no more than any other plan of arrangement, but it bespeaks an amount of consideration for those who are reduced to seek a shelter
there, winch puts them at once upon their gratitude and good behaviour. Instead of being parcelled out in great, long, ramb- ling wards, where a certain amount of weazen life may mope, and pine, and shiver, all day long, the building is di- vided into separate rooms, each with its share of light and air. In these, the better kind of paupers live. They have a motive for exertion and becoming pride, in the desire to make these little chambers comfortable and decent. I do not re- member one but it was clean and neat, and had its plant or two upon the window- sill, or row of crockery upon the shelf, or small display of coloured prints upon the white washed wall, or, perhaps, its woolen
clock behind the door.
The orphans and young children are in an adjoining building, separate from this, but a part of the same institution. Some are such little creatures, that the stairs are of lilliputian measurement, fitted to their tiny strides. The same consideration for their years and weakness is expressed in then very seats, which are perfect curiosi- ties, and look like articles of furniture for a pauper doll's house. I can imagine the glee of our Poor Law Commissioners at the notion of these seats having arms and backs ; but small spines being of older date than then occupation of the Board- room at Somerset House, I thought even this provision very merciful and kind.
Here again I was greatly pleased with the inscriptions on the wall, which were scraps of plain morality, easily remembered and understood : such as "Love one another"—"God remembers the smallest creature in his creation :" and straight forward advice of that nature. The books and tasks of these smallest of scholars, were adapted, in the same judicious man- ner, to their childish powers. When we had examined those lessons, four morsels of girls (of whom one was blind) sang a little song, about the merry month of May, which I thought (being extremely dismal) would have suited an English No- vember better. That done, we went to see their sleeping rooms on the floor above, in which the arrangements were no less ex- cellent and gentle than those we had seen below. And after observing that the
teachers were of a class and character well
suited to the spirit of the place, I took leave of the infants with a lighter heart than ever I have taken leave of pauper infants yet.
Connected with the House of Industry there is also an Hospital, which was in the best order, and had, I am glad to say, many beds unoccupied. It had one fault, however, which is common to all American interiors ; the presence of the eternal, accursed, suffocating, red-hot demon of a stove, whose breath would blight the purest air under Heaven.
There are two establishments for boys in this same neighbourhood. One is called the Boylston school, and is an asylum for neglected and indigent boys, who have committed no crime, but who in the ordi- nary course of things would very soon be purged of that distinction if they were not taken from the hungry streets and sent
here. The other is a House of Reforma- tion for Juvenile Offenders. They are both under the same roof, but the two classes of boys never come in contact.
The Boylston boys, as may be readily supposed, have very much the advantage of the others in point of personal appear- ance. They were in their school-room when I came upon them, and answered correctly, without book, such question as, where was England, how far was it : what was its population ; its capital city ; its form of government; and so forth. They sang a song too, about a farmer sowing his seed :
with corresponding action at such parts as " 'Tis thus he sows." " He turns him
round." " He claps his hands." Which gave it greater interest for them, and ac- customed them to act together in an orderly manner. They appeared exceedingly well taught, and not better taught than fed ; in a more chubby looking, full waist-
coated set of boys I never saw.
The juvenile offenders had not such pleasant faces by a great deal ; and in this establishment there were many boys of colour. I saw them first at their work,
(basket making, and the manufacture of palm-leaf hats), afterwards, in their school, where they sang a chorus in praise of liberty : an odd, and, one
would think, rather aggravating, theme for prisoners. These boys are divided into four classes, each denoted by a numeral, worn on a badge upon the
arm. On the arrival of a new-
comer he is put into the fourth or lowest class, and left, by good behaviour, to work his way up into the first. The de- sign and object of this institution is to reclaim the youthful criminal by firm but kind and judicious treatment ; to make his prison a place of purification and im-
provement, not of demoralization and corruption ; to impress upon him that there is but one path, and that one sober industry, which can ever lead him to happi- ness ; to teach him how it may he trodden, if his footsteps have never yet been led that way, and to lure him back to it if they have strayed: in a word, to snatch him from destruction, and restore him to society a penitent and useful member. The importance of such an establishment, in every point of view, and with reference to every consideration of humanity and social policy, requires no comment.
One other establishment closes the cata- logue. It is the House of Correction for the State, in which silence is strictly main- tained, but where the prisoners have the comfort and mental relief of seeing each other, and of working together. This is the improved system of prison discipline which we have imported into England, and which has been in successful opera- tion among us for some years past.
America, as a new and not over popu- lated country, has, in all her prisons, the one great advantage, of being enabled to find useful and profitable work for the in- mates, whereas with us, the prejudice against prison labour is naturally very strong, and almost insurmountable, when honest men, who have not offended against the laws, are frequently doomed to seek employment in vain. Even in the United States, the principal of bringing
convict labour and free labour into a com- petition which must obviously be to the disadvantage of the latter, has already found many opponents, whose number is not likely to diminish with access of years.
For this very reason though, our best prisons would seem at the first glance to
be better conducted than those of Ame- rica. The treadmill is accompanied with little or no noise ; five hundred men may pick oakum in the same room, without a sound, and both kinds of labour admit of such keen and vigilant superintendence as will render even a word of personal com- munication among the prisoners almost impossible. On the other hand, the noise of the loom, the forge, the carpenter's hammer, or the stone-mason's saw, greatly favour these opportunities of intercourse— hurried and brief no doubt, but opportu-
nities still—which these several kinds of work, by rendering it necessary for men to be employed very near to each other, and often side by side, without any barrier or partition between them, in their very nature present. A visitor, too,—requires to reason and reflect a little, before the sight of a number of men engaged in ordinary labour, such as he is accus- tomed to out of doors, will impress him half as strongly as the contemplation of the same persons in the same place and garb would, if they were occupied in some task, marked and degraded every- where as belonging only to felons in jails.
In an American state prison, or house of correction, I found it difficult to persuade myself, that I was really in a jail : a place of ignominious punishment and endurance. And to this hour, I very much question
whether the humane boast that it is not like one, has its root in the true wisdom and philosophy of the matter.
I hope I may not be misunderstood on this subject, for it is one in which I take a strong and deep interest. I incline as little to the sickly feeling which makes every canting lie or maudlin speech of a notorious criminal a subject of newspaper re- port and general sympathy, as I do to those good old customs of the good old times which made England, even so recently as in the reign of the Third King George, in respect of her criminal code and her prison regulations, one of the most bloody-
minded and barbarous countries on the
earth. If I thought it would do any good to the rising generation, I would cheer-
fully give my consent to the disinterment of the bones of any genteel highwayman (the more genteel, the more cheerfully), and to their exposure, piece meal, on any sign post, gate, or gibbet, that might be deemed a good elevation for the purpose. My reason is as well convinced that these gentry were utterly worthless and debauched villains, as it is that the laws and jails hardened them in their evil courses, or that their wonderful escapes were effected by the prison-turnkeys who, in those ad- mirable days, had always been felons them- selves, and were, to the last, then bosom- friends and pot-companions. At the same time I know, as all men do or should, that the subject of Prison Dis- cipline is one of the highest importance to any community ; and that in her sweep- ing reform and bright example to other countries on this head, America has shown great wisdom, great benevolence, and ex- alted policy. In contrasting her system with that which we have modelled upon it, I merely seek to show that with all its drawbacks, ours has some advantages of
The House of Correction which has led to these remarks, is not walled, like other prisons, but is palisaded round about with tall rough stakes, something after the man- ner of an enclosure for keeping elephants in, as we see it represented in Eastern prints and pictures. The prisoners wear a parti-coloured dress, and those who are sentenced to hard labour, work at nail- making or stone cutting. When I was there, the latter class of labourers were employed upon the stone for a new cus- tom-house in course of erection at Boston.
They appeared to shape it skillfully and with expedition, though there were very few among them (if any) who had not ac- quired the art within the prison gates.
The women, all in one large room, were employed in making light clothing, for
New Orleans and the Southern States.
They did their work in silence, like the men, and like them, were overlooked by the person contracting for their labour, or by some agent of his appointment. In addition to this, they are every moment liable to be visited by the prison officers
appointed for that purpose.
The arrangements for cooking, washing of clothes, and so forth, are much upon the plan of those I have seen at home. Their mode of bestowing the prisoners at night (winch is of general adoption) differs from ours, and is both simple and effective. In the centre of a lofty area, lighted by windows in the four walls, are five tiers of cells, one above the other ; each tier having before it a light iron gallery, attainable by
stairs of the same construction and ma- terial : excepting the lower one, which is on the ground. Behind these, back to back with them, and facing the opposite wall, are five corresponding rows of cells, accessible by similar means : so that sup- posing the prisoners locked up in their cells, an officer stationed on the ground, with his back to the wall, has half their number under his eye at once ; the re- maining half being equally under the ob- servation of another officer on the opposite side ; and all in one giant appartment. Un- less this watch be corrupted or sleeping on his post, it is impossible for a man to escape ; for even in the event of his forcing the iron door of his cell without noise (which is exceedingly improbable), the moment he appears outside, an! steps into that one of the five galleries on which it is situated, he must be plainly and fully
visible to the officer below. Each of these cells holds a small truckle-bed, in which one prisoner sleeps ; never more. It is small of course ; and the door being not solid, but grated, and without blind or curtain, the prisoner within is at all times exposed to the observation and inspection of any guard who may pass along that tier at any hour or minute of the night. Every day, the prisoners receive their dinner, singly, through a trap in the kitchen wall ; and each man carries his to his sleeping cell to eat it, where he is locked up, alone, for that purpose, one hour. The whole of this arrangement struck me as being ad- mirable ; and I hope that the next new prison we erect in England may be built on this plan.
I was given to understand that in this prison no swords or fire arms, or even cud- gels, are kept ; nor is it probable that, so long as its present excellent management continues, any weapon, offensive or defen- sive, will ever be required within its bounds.
Such are the Institutions at South Boston ! In all of them, the unfortunate or degenerate citizens of the State are care- fully instructed in their duties both to God and man ; are surrounded by all reasonable means of comfort and happiness that their condition will admit of ; are appealed to, as members of the great human family, however afflicted, indigent, or fallen ; are
ruled by the strong heart, and not by the strong (though immeasurably weaker) Hand. I have described them at some length : firstly, because their worth de- manded it ; and secondly, because I mean to take them for a model, and to content myself with saying of others we may come to, whose design and purpose are the same, that in this or that respect they practi- cally fail, or differ.
I wish by his account of them, imper- fect in its execution, but in its just inten- tion, honest, I could hope to convey to my readers one-hundredth part of the gratifi- cation, the sights I have described, af-
To an Englishman, accustomed to the paraphernalia of Westminster Hall, an American Court of Law is as odd a sight as, I suppose, an English Court of Law would be to an American. Except in the Supreme Court at Washington (where the judges wear a plain black robe), there is no such thing as a wig or gown connected with the administration of justice. The geutlemen of the bar being barristers and attorneys too (for there is no division of those functions as in England), are no more removed from their clients than at- torneys in our Court for the Relief of In- solvent Debtors are, from theirs. The jury are quite at home, and make them-
selves as comfortable as circumstances will permit. The witness is so little elevated above, or put aloof from, the crowd in the court, that a stranger entering during a pause in the proceedings would find it dif- ficult to pick him out from the rest. And if it chanced to be a criminal trial, his eyes, in nine cases out of ten, would wan-
der to the dock in search of the prisoner, in vain ; for that gentleman would most likely be lounging amongst the most dis- tinguished ornaments of the legal profes- sion, whispering suggestions in his coun- sel's ear, or making a toothpick out of an old quill with his pen-knife.
I could not but notice these differences, when I visited the Courts at Boston, I was much surprised at first, too, to observe that the counsel who interrogated the witness under examination at the time, did so sitting. But seeing that he was also occupied in writing down the an- swers, and remembering that he was alone and had no "junior," I quickly consoled myself with the reflection that law was not quite so expensive an article here, as at home ; and that the absence of sundry formalities which we regard as indispen- sable, had doubtless a very favourable in- fluence upon the bill of costs.
In every Court, ample and commodious provision is made for the accommodation of the citizens. This is the case all through America. In every public Institution, the right of the people to attend, and to have an interest in the proceedings, is most fully and distinctly recognised. There are no grim door-keepers to dole out there tardy civility by the six-penny worth ; nor is there, I sincerely believe, any insolence of office of any kind. Nothing national is exhibited for money ; and no public officer is a showman. We have, begun of late years to imitate this good example. I hope we shall continue to do so ; and that in the fulness of time, even deans and chapters may be converted.
In the civil court an action was trying, for damages sustained in some accident upon a railway. The witnesses had been examined, and counsel was addressing the jury. The learned gentleman (like a few of his English brethren) was desperately long-winded, and had a remarkable capacity of saying the same thing over and over again. His great theme was " Warren the engine driver," whom he pressed into the service of every sentence he uttered. I listened to him for about a
quarter of an hour ; and, coming out of court at the expiration of that time, with- out the faintest ray of enlightenment as to the merits of the case, felt as if I were at home again.
In the prisoners' cell, waiting to be ex- amined by the magistrates on a charge of theft, was a boy. This lad, instead of being committed to a common jail, would be sent to the asylum at South Boston, and there taught a trade ; and in the course of time he would be bound apprentice to some respectable master. Thus, his de-
tection in this offence, instead of being the prelude to a life of infamy and a miserable death, would lead, there was a reasonable hope, to his being reclaimed from vice, and becoming a worthy member of society.
I am by no means a wholesale admirer of our legal solemnities, many of which im- press me as being exceedingly ludicrous. Strange as it may seem too, there is un- doubtedly a degree of protection in the wig and gown—a dismissal of individual responsibility in dressing for the part which encourages that insolent bearing and language, and that gross perversion of the office of a pleader for The Truth, so frequent in our courts of law. Still, I can not help doubting whether America, in her desire to shake off the absurdities and abuses of the old system, may not have gone too far into the opposite extreme : and whether it is not desirable, especially in the small community of a city like this, where each man knows the other, to sur- round the administration of justice with some artificial barriers against the " Hail fellow, well met" deportment of every day life. All the aid it can have in the very high character and ability of the Bench, not only here but elsewhere, it has, and well deserves to have ; but it may need something more : not to impress the thoughtful and the well-informed, but the ignorant and heedless ; a class which in- cludes some prisoners and many wit-
nesses. These institutions were established, no doubt, upon the principle that those who had so large a share in making the laws, would certainly respect them. But experience has proved this hope to be fal- lacious ; for no men know better than the Judges of America, that on the occasion of any great popular excitement the law is powerless, and cannot, for the time, assert its own supremacy.
The tone of society in Boston is one of perfect politeness, courtesy, and good breeding. The ladies are unquestionably very beautiful—in face : but there I am compelled to stop. Their education is much as with us ; neither better nor worse. I had heard some very marvellous stories in this respect ; but not believing them, was not disappointed. Blue ladies there are, in Boston ; but like philosophers of that colour and sex in most other latitudes, they rather desire to be thought superior than to be so. Evangelical ladies there are, likewise, whose attachment to the forms of religion, and horror of theatrical entertainments, are most exemplary. Ladies who have a passion for attending lectures are to be found among all classes and all conditions. In the kind of provincial life which prevails in cities such as this, the Pulpit has great influence. The peculiar province of the Pulpit in New England (always excepting the Unitarian ministry) would appear to be the denouncement of all innocent and rational amusements. The church, the chapel, and the lecture-room, are the only means of excitement excepted ;
and to the church, the chapel, and the
lecture-room, the ladies resort in crowds.
Wherever religion is resorted to, as a strong drink, and as an escape from the dull monotonous round of home, those of its ministers who pepper the highest will be the surest to please. They who strew the Eternal Path with the greatest amount of brimstone, and who most ruthlessly
tread down the flowers and leaves that
grow by the way-side, will be voted the most righteous ; and they who enlarge with the greatest pertinacity on the difficulty of getting into heaven, will be considered by all true believers certain of going there ; though it would be hard to say by what pro- cess of reasoning this conclusion is arrived at. It is so at home, and it is so abroad. With regard to the other means of excitement, the Lecture, it has at least the merit of being always new. One lecture treads so quickly on the heels of another, that none are remembered ; and the course of this month may be safely repeated next, with its charm of novelty unbroken, and its in-
The fruits of the earth have their growth in corruption. Out of the rottenness of these things, there has sprung up in Bos- ton a sect of philosophers known as Tran- scendentalists. On inquiring what this appellation might be supposed to signify, I was given to understand that whatever was unintelligible would be certainly tran- scendental. Not deriving much comfort from this elucidation, I pursued the in- quiry still further, and found that the Transcendentalists are followers of my friend Mr. Carlyle, or, I should rather say, of a follower of his, Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson. This gentleman has written a volume of Essays, in which, among much that is dreamy and fanciful (if he will pardon me for saying so), there is much more that is true and manly, honest and
bold. Transcendentalism has its oc-
casional vagaries (what school has not ?) but it has good healthful qualities in spite of them ; not least among the number a hearty disgust of Cant, and an aptitude to
detect her in all the million varieties of her
everlasting wardrobe. And therefore if I were a Bostonian, I think I would be a Transcendentalist.
The only preacher I heard in Boston was Mr. Taylor, who addresses himself peculiarly to seamen, and who was once a mariner himself. I found his chapel down among the shipping, in one of the narrow, old, water-side streets, with a gay blue flag waving freely from its roof. In the gallery opposite to the pulpit were a little choir of male and female singers, a violoncello, and a violin. The preacher already sat in the pulpit, which was raised on pillars, and ornamented behind with painted drapery of a lively and some- what theatrical appearance. He looked a weather-beaten hard-featured man, of about six or eight and fifty; with deep lines graven as it were into his face, dark hair, and a stern, keen eye. Yet the general character of his countenance was pleasant and agreeable.
The service commenced with a hymn, to which succeeded an extemporary prayer. It had the fault of frequent repetition, in- cidental to all such prayers ; but it was plain and comprehensive in its doctrines, and breathed a tone of general sympathy and charity, which is not so commonly a
characteristic of this form of address to
the Deity as it might be. That done he opened his discourse, taking for his text a passage from the Songs of Solomon, laid upon the desk before the commencement of the service by some unknown member of the congregation : " Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on the
arm of her Beloved !"
He handled this text in all kinds of
ways, and twisted it into all manner of shapes ; but always ingeniously, and with a rude eloquence, well-adapted to the com- prehension of his hearers. Indeed, if I be not mistaken, he studied their sympathies and understandings much more than the display of his own powers. His imagery
was all drawn from the sea, and from the incidents of a seaman's life ; and was often
remarkably good. He spoke to them of " that glorious man, Lord Nelson," and of Collingwood ; and drew nothing in, as the saying is, by the head and shoulders, but brought it to bear upon his purpose, naturally, and with a sharp mind to its effect. Sometimes, when much excited with his subject, he had an odd way— compounded of John Bunyan, and Balfour of Burley—of taking his great quarto bible under his arm and pacing up and down the pulpit with it : looking steadily down, meantime, into the midst of the congrega- tion. Thus, when he applied his text to the first assemblage of his hearers, and pictured the wonder of the Church at their presumption in forming a congregation among themselves, he slopped short with his bible under his arm in the manner I have described, and pursued his discourse
after this manner.
"Who are these—who are they—who are these fellows ? where do they come from ? where are they going to ?—Come from ! What's the answer ?"—leaning out of the pulpit, and pointing downward with his right hand : " From below !"—starling back again, and looking at the sailors before him : "From below, my brethren. From under the hatches of sin, battened down above you by the evil one. That's were you came from !"—a walk up and down the pulpit : "and where are you going"—stopping abruptly : " where are you going ? Aloft !"—very softly, and pointing upward : " Aloft :"—louder :
"aloft!"—louder still: "That's where you are going—with a fair wind,—all taut and trim, steering direct for Heaven in its glory, where there are no storms or foul weather, and where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."— Another walk : " That's where you're going to, my friends, That's it. That's the place. That's the port. That's the haven. It's a blessed harbour—still water there, in all changes of the winds and tides ; no driving ashore upon the rocks, or slipping your cables and running out to sea, there : Peace—Peace—Peace, all peace !"—Another walk, and putting the bible under his left arm : "What ! Those fellows are coming from the wilder- ness, are they ? Yes. From the dreary, blighted wilderness of Iniquity, whose only crop is Death. But do they lean upon anything—do they lean upon nothing,
these poor seamen?"—Three raps upon the bible : "Oh yes.—Yes.—They lean upon the arm of their Beloved"—three more
raps—" upon the arm of their Beloved "— three more, and a walk : " Pilot, guiding- star, and compass, all in one, to all hands —here it is "—three more : " Here it is. They can do their seaman's duty manfully, and be easy in their minds in the utmost peril and danger, with this "—two more : " They can come, even if these poor fel- lows can come, from the wilderness lean- ing upon the arm of their Beloved, and go up—up—up !" raising his hand higher, and higher, at every repetition of the word, so that he stood with it at last stretched above his head, regarding them in a strange, rapt manner, and pressing the book triumphantly to his breast,
until he gradually subsided into some other portion of his discourse.
I have cited this, rather as an instance of the preacher's eccentricities than his merits, though taken in connection with his look and manner, and the character of his audience, even this was striking. It is possible, however, that my favourable impression of him may have been greatly influenced and strengthened, firstly, by his impression upon his hearers that the true observance of religion was not inconsistent with a cheerful deportment and an exact discharge of the duties of their station,
which, indeed, it scrupulously required of them ; and secondly, by his cautioning them not to set up any monopoly in Para-
dise and its mercies. I never heard these
two points so wisely touched (if indeed I have ever heard them touched at all), by any preacher of that kind, before.
Having passed the time I spent in Bos- ton, in making myself acquainted with these things, in settling the course I should take in my future travels, and in mixing constantly with its society, I am not aware that I have any occasion to prolong this chapter. Such of its social customs as I have not mentioned, however, may be told in a very few words.
The usual dinner-hour is two o'clock. A
dinner party takes place at five ; and at an evening party, they seldom sup later than eleven ; so that it goes hard but one gets home, even from a rout, by midnight. I never could find out any difference between a party at Boston and a party in London, saving that at the former place all assem- blies are held at more rational hours ; that the conversation may possibly be a little louder and more cheerful ; that a guest is usually expected to ascend to the very top of the house to take his cloak off ; that he is certain to see, at every dinner, an un- usual amount of poultry on the table ; and at every supper, at least two mighty bowls of hot stewed oysters, in any one of which a half-grown Duke of Clarence might be
There are two theatres in Boston, of good size and construction, but sadly in want of patronage. The few ladies who resort to them, sit, as of right, in the
front rows of the boxes.
The bar is a large room with a stone floor, and there people stand and smoke, and lounge about, all the evening : drop- ping in and out as the humour takes them. There too the stranger is initiated into the mysteries of Gin-sling, Cocktail, Sangaree, Mint Julep, Sherry-cobbler, Timber Doodle, and other rare drinks. The house is full of boarders, both married and single, many of whom sleep upon the pre- mises, and contract by the week for board and lodging : the charge for which dimi- nish as they go nearer the sky to roost. A public table is laid in a very handsome hall for breakfast, and for dinner, and for supper. The party sitting down together to these meals will vary in number from one to two hundred : sometimes more.
The event of such of these epochs in the day is proclaimed by an awful gong, which shakes the very window frames as it re- verberates through the house, and horribly disturbs nervous foreigners. There is an ordinary for ladies, and an ordinary for gentlemen.
In our private room the cloth could not, for any earthly consideration, have been laid for dinner without a huge glass dish, of cranberries in the middle of the table ; and breakfast would have been no breakfast un-
less the principle dish were a deformed beef- steak with a great flat bone in the centre, swimming in hot butter, and sprinkled with the very blackest of all possible pepper. Our bedroom was spacious and airy, but (like every bedroom on this side of the Atlantic), very bare of furniture, having no curtains to the French bedstead or to the window. It had one unusual luxury, how- ever, in the shape of a wardrobe of painted wood, something smaller than an English watch-box : or if this comparison should be insufficient to convey a just, idea of its dimensions, they may be estimated from the fact of my having lived for fourteen days and nights in the firm belief that it
was a shower-bath.