With these sagacious hints for the consideration of my countrymen, I postpone for the present the subject of railways, and, in excuse for the length of my remarks, have only to plead a desire to make railway travelling in England more safe, and my future wanderings more intelligible. I have much more to say with regard to New York and its neighbourhood; but not wishing to overdose the reader at once, I shall return to the subject in the pages, as I did to the place in my subsequent travels.
[Footnote D: This power of supervision, on the part of the guard, might also act as an effective check upon the operations of those swindling gamblers who infest many of our railroads—especially the express trains of the Edinburgh and Glasgow—in which, owing to no stoppage taking place, they exercise their villanous calling with comparative impunity.]
A Day on the North River.
Early one fine morning in October, a four-seated fly might have been seen at the door of Putnam’s hotel, on the roof of which was being piled a Babel of luggage, the inside being already full. Into another vehicle, our party—i.e., three of us—entered, and ere long both the carriages were on the banks of the river, where the steamer was puffing away, impatient for a start. The hawsers were soon cast off, and we launched forth on the bosom of the glorious Hudson, whose unruffled surface blazed like liquid fire beneath the rays of the rising sun. I purposely abstain from saying anything of the vessel, as she was an old one, and a very bad specimen. The newer and better class of vessel, I shall have to describe hereafter.
On leaving New York, the northern banks of the river are dotted in every direction with neat little villas, the great want being turf, to which the American climate is an inveterate foe. Abreast of one of these villas, all around me is now smiling with peace and gladness; alas! how different was the scene but a few months previous; then, struggling bodies strewed the noble stream, and the hills and groves resounded with the bitterest cries of human agony, as one of the leviathan steamers, wrapped in a fierce and fiery mantle, hurried her living cargo to a burning or a watery grave.
We had a motley collection of passengers, but were not overcrowded. Of course, there was a Paddy on board. Where can one go without meeting one of that migratory portion of our race! There he was, with his “shocking bad hat,” his freckled face, his bright eye, and his shrewd expression, smoking his old “dudeen,” and gazing at the new world around him. But who shall say his thoughts were not in some wretched hovel in the land of his birth, and his heart beating with the noble determination, that when his industry met its reward, those who had shared his sorrows in the crowded land of his fathers, should partake of his success in the thinly-tenanted home of his adoption. Good luck to you, Paddy, with all my heart!