Which made me look a thousand ways
The flora and fauna of a country, as seen from railroad trains and carriages, are not likely to be very accurately or exhaustively studied. I spoke of the trees I noticed between Chester and London somewhat slightingly. But I did not form any hasty opinions from what happened to catch my eye. Afterwards, in the oaks and elms of Windsor Park, in the elms of Cambridge and Oxford and Salisbury, in the lindens of Stratford, in the various noble trees, including the cedar of Lebanon, in which Tennyson very justly felt a pride as their owner, I saw enough to make me glad that I had not uttered any rash generalizations on the strength of my first glance. The most interesting comparison I made was between the New England and the Old England elms. It is not necessary to cross the ocean to do this, as we have both varieties growing side by side in our parks,--on Boston Common, for instance. It is wonderful to note how people will lie about big trees. There must be as many as a dozen trees, each of which calls itself the "largest elm in New England." In my younger days, when I never travelled without a measuring-tape in my pocket, it amused me to see how meek one of the great swaggering elms would look when it saw the fatal measure begin to unreel itself. It seemed to me that the leaves actually trembled as the inexorable band encircled the trunk in the smallest place it could find, which is the only safe rule. The English elm (Ulmus campestris) as we see it in Boston comes out a little earlier perhaps, than our own, but the difference is slight. It holds its leaves long after our elms are bare. It grows upward, with abundant dark foliage, while ours spreads, sometimes a hundred and twenty feet, and often droops like a weeping willow. The English elm looks like a much more robust tree than ours, yet they tell me it is very fragile, and that its limbs are constantly breaking off in high winds, just as happens with our native elms. Ours is not a very long-lived tree; between two and three hundred years is, I think, the longest life that can be hoped for it. Since I have heard of the fragility of the English elm, which is the fatal fault of our own, I have questioned whether it can claim a greater longevity than ours. There is a hint of a typical difference in the American and the Englishman which I have long recognized in the two elms as compared to each other. It may be fanciful, but I have thought that the compactness and robustness about the English elm, which are replaced by the long, tapering limbs and willowy grace and far-spreading reach of our own, might find a certain parallelism in the people, especially the females of the two countries.
"England, with all thy faults, I love thee still"?
Two sensations I had in Windsor park, or forest, for I am not quite sure of the boundary which separates them. The first was the lovely sight of the hawthorn in full bloom. I had always thought of the hawthorn as a pretty shrub, growing in hedges; as big as a currant bush or a barberry bush, or some humble plant of that character. I was surprised to see it as a tree, standing by itself, and making the most delicious roof a pair of young lovers could imagine to sit under. It looked at a little distance like a young apple-tree covered with new-fallen snow. I shall never see the word hawthorn in poetry again without the image of the snowy but far from chilling canopy rising before me. It is the very bower of young love, and must have done more than any growth of the forest to soften the doom brought upon man by the fruit of the forbidden tree. No wonder that
No man can find himself over the abysses, the floor of which is paved with wrecks and white with the bones of the shrieking myriads of human beings whom the waves have swallowed up, without some thought of the dread possibilities hanging over his fate. There is only one way to get rid of them: that which an old sea-captain mentioned to me, namely, to keep one's self under opiates until he wakes up in the harbor where he is bound. I did not take this as serious advice, but its meaning is that one who has all his senses about him cannot help being anxious. My old friend, whose beard had been shaken in many a tempest, knew too well that there is cause enough for anxiety.下载
A delightful excursion of ten or a dozen miles carried our party, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Flower, Mr. and Mrs. Willett, with A---- and myself, to Compton Wynyate, a most interesting old mansion, belonging to the Marquis of Northampton, who, with his daughter-in-law, Lady William Compton, welcomed us and showed us all the wonders of the place. It was a fine morning, but hot enough for one of our American July days. The drive was through English rural scenery; that is to say, it was lovely. The old house is a great curiosity. It was built in the reign of Henry the Eighth, and has passed through many vicissitudes. The place, as well as the edifice, is a study for the antiquarian. Remains of the old moat which surrounded it are still distinguishable. The twisted and variously figured chimneys are of singular variety and exceptional forms. Compton Wynyate is thought to get its name from the vineyards formerly under cultivation on the hillsides, which show the signs of having been laid out in terraces. The great hall, with its gallery, and its hangings, and the long table made from the trunk of a single tree, carries one back into the past centuries. There are strange nooks and corners and passages in the old building, and one place, a queer little "cubby-hole," has the appearance of having been a Roman Catholic chapel. I asked the master of the house, who pointed out the curiosities of the place most courteously, about the ghosts who of course were tenants in common with the living proprietors. I was surprised when he told me there were none. It was incredible, for here was every accommodation for a spiritual visitant. I should have expected at least one haunted chamber, to say nothing of blood-stains that could never be got rid of; but there were no legends of the supernatural or the terrible.
Some find the climate of the other side of the Atlantic suits them better than their own. As the New England characteristics are gradually superseded by those of other races, other forms of belief, and other associations, the time may come when a New Englander will feel more as if he were among his own people in London than in one of our seaboard cities. The vast majority of our people love their country too well and are too proud of it to be willing to expatriate themselves. But going back to our old home, to find ourselves among the relatives from whom we have been separated for a few generations, is not like transferring ourselves to a land where another language is spoken, and where there are no ties of blood and no common religious or political traditions. I, for one, being myself as inveterately rooted an American of the Bostonian variety as ever saw himself mirrored in the Frog Pond, hope that the exchanges of emigrants and re-migrants will be much more evenly balanced by and by than at present. I hope that more Englishmen like James Smithson will help to build up our scientific and literary institutions. I hope that more Americans like George Peabody will call down the blessings of the English people by noble benefactions to the cause of charity. It was with deep feelings of pride and gratitude that I looked upon the bust of Longfellow, holding its place among the monuments of England's greatest and best children. I see with equal pleasure and pride that one of our own large-hearted countrymen has honored the memory of three English poets, Milton, and Herbert, and Cowper, by the gift of two beautiful stained windows, and with still ampler munificence is erecting a stately fountain in the birthplace of Shakespeare. Such acts as these make us feel more and more the truth of the generous sentiment which closes the ode of Washington Allston, "America to Great Britain:" We are one!
All my travelling experiences, including a visit to Switzerland and Italy in the summer and autumn of 1835, were merely interludes of my student life in Paris. On my return to America, after a few years of hospital and private practice, I became a Professor in Harvard University, teaching Anatomy and Physiology, afterwards Anatomy alone, for the period of thirty-five years, during part of which time I paid some attention to literature, and became somewhat known as the author of several works in prose and verse which have been well received. My prospective visit will not be a professional one, as I resigned my office in 1882, and am no longer known chiefly as a teacher or a practitioner.