Our recently naturalized fellow-citizens, of a different blood and different religion, must not suppose that we are going to forget our inborn love for the mother to whom we owe our being. Protestant England and Protestant America are coming nearer and nearer to each other every year. The interchange of the two peoples is more and more frequent, and there are many reasons why it is likely to continue increasing.
In looking at the churches and the monuments which I saw in London and elsewhere in England, certain resemblances, comparisons, parallels, contrasts, and suggestions obtruded themselves upon my consciousness. We have one steeple in Boston which to my eyes seems absolutely perfect: that of the Central Church, at the corner of Newbury and Berkeley streets. Its resemblance to the spire of Salisbury had always struck me. On mentioning this to the late Mr. Richardson, the very distinguished architect, he said to me that he thought it more nearly like that of the Cathedral of Chartres. One of our best living architects agreed with me as to its similarity to that of Salisbury. It does not copy either exactly, but, if it had twice its actual dimensions, would compare well with the best of the two, if one is better than the other. Saint-Martin's-in-the-Fields made me feel as if I were in Boston. Our Arlington Street Church copies it pretty closely, but Mr. Gilman left out the columns. I could not admire the Nelson Column, nor that which lends monumental distinction to the Duke of York. After Trajan's and that of the Place Vend?me, each of which is a permanent and precious historical record, accounting sufficiently for its existence, there is something very unsatisfactory in these nude cylinders. That to the Duke of York might well have the confession of the needy knife grinder as an inscription on its base. I confess in all honesty that I vastly prefer the monument commemorating the fire to either of them. That has a story to tell and tells it,--with a lie or two added, according to Pope, but it tells it in language and symbol.
It is very pleasant to pick up a new epithet to apply to the poet upon whose genius our language has nearly exhausted itself. It delights me to speak of him in the words which I have just found in a memoir not yet a century old, as "the Warwickshire bard," "the inestimable Shakespeare."
Leans on these wrecks that press the sod;
Author: Oliver Wendell Holmes
"Down, thou climbing sorrow,
And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head."
My companion and I required an attendant, and we found one of those useful androgynous personages known as courier-maids, who had travelled with friends of ours, and who was ready to start with us at a moment's warning. She was of English birth, lively, short-gaited, serviceable, more especially in the first of her dual capacities. So far as my wants were concerned, I found her zealous and active in providing for my comfort.
Then chase the sunsets o'er the western water,
We slept at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, which we found fresh, sweet, bright,--it must have been recently rejuvenated, I thought. The next day we took the train for New Haven, Springfield, and Boston, and that night slept in our own beds, thankful to find ourselves safe at home after our summer excursion, which had brought us so many experiences delightful to remember, so many friendships which have made life better worth living.
Here Mr. Gladstone was of course the centre of a group, to which I was glad to add myself. His features are almost as familiar to me as my own, for a photograph of him in his library has long stood on my revolving bookcase, with a large lens before it. He is one of a small circle of individuals in whom I have had and still have a special personal interest. The year 1809, which introduced me to atmospheric existence, was the birth-year of Gladstone, Tennyson, Lord Houghton, and Darwin. It seems like an honor to have come into the world in such company, but it is more likely to promote humility than vanity in a common mortal to find himself coeval with such illustrious personages. Men born in the same year watch each other, especially as the sands of life begin to run low, as we can imagine so many damaged hour-glasses to keep an eye on each other. Women, of course, never know who are their contemporaries.
Mrs. Smith's particular Smith may be worth his millions and live in his marble palace; but if Mrs. Smith thinks her coachman is going to stand with his horses at that door until she appears, she is mistaken, for she is a minute late, and now the coach moves on, and Rhadamanthus calls aloud,--