* * * * *
I am roused up with a start. What a change! The whole is alive and bustling, black shadowy figures are hurrying by. The white-funnelled steamer has come up, and is moaning dismally, eager to get away. Behind is the long international train of illuminated chambers, fresh from Paris and just come in, pouring out its men and women, who have arrived from all quarters of the world. They stream on board in a shadowy procession, laden with their bundles. Lower down, I hear the crashing of trunks discharged upon the earth! I go on board with the rest, sit down in a corner, and recall nothing till I find myself on the chill platform of Victoria Station—time, six o’clock a.m.
It was surely a dream, or like a dream!—a dream a little over thirty hours long. And what strange objects, all blended and confused together!—towers, towns, gateways, drawbridges, religious rites and processions, pealing organs and jangling chimes, long dusty roads lined with regimental trees, blouses, fishwomen’s caps, sabots, savoury and unsavoury smells, France dissolving into Belgium, Belgium into France, France into Belgium again; in short, one bewildering kaleidoscope! A day and two nights had gone, during all which time I had been on my legs, and had travelled nigh six hundred miles! Dream or no dream, it had been a very welcome show or panorama, new ideas and sights appearing at every turn.
And here is my little ’orario’:
1. Victoria, depart 5.0 2. Dover, arrive 7.0 " depart 10.0 3. Calais, arrive 12.44 " depart 1.0 4. Tournay, arrive 4.13 " depart 5.1 5. Orchies, arrive 6.8 " depart 6.29 6. Douai, arrive 7.6 " depart 10.8 7. Arras, arrive 10.52 " depart 11.17 8. Bethune, arrive 12.6 " depart 1.1 9. Lille, arrive 2.44 " depart 4.40 10. Comines, arrive 5.19 " depart 5.57 11. Ypres 6.42 12. Hazebrouck 7.50 13. Cassel 8.18 14. Bergues, arrive 9.6 " depart 10.4 15. St. Omer 11.37 16. Calais 12.14 17. Dover 4.0 18. Victoria 6.0
Time on journey 37 hours
This, of course, is more than a day, but it will be seen that eight hours were spent on English soil, and certainly nearly twelve in inaction.
BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD.
[Illustration: PEARS’ SOAP
A Specialty for Children]