THE BROKEN CIRCLE.
One trivial letter ruins all, left out;
"A silent Orpheus wrought the charm
Ah, but here is one marble countenance that I know full well, and knew for many a year in the flesh! Is there an American who sees the bust of Longfellow among the effigies of the great authors of England without feeling a thrill of pleasure at recognizing the features of his native fellow-countryman in the Valhalla of his ancestral fellow-countrymen? There are many memorials in Poets' Corner and elsewhere in the Abbey which could be better spared than that. Too many that were placed there as luminaries have become conspicuous by their obscurity in the midst of that illustrious company. On the whole, the Abbey produces a distinct sense of being overcrowded. It appears too much like a lapidary's store-room. Look up at the lofty roof, which we willingly pardon for shutting out the heaven above us,--at least in an average London day; look down at the floor and think of what precious relics it covers; but do not look around you with the hope of getting any clear, concentrated, satisfying effect from this great museum of gigantic funereal bricabrac. Pardon me, shades of the mighty dead! I had something of this feeling, but at another hour I might perhaps be overcome by emotion, and weep, as my fellow-countryman did at the grave of the earliest of his ancestors. I should love myself better in that aspect than I do in this coldblooded criticism; but it suggested itself, and as no flattery can soothe, so no censure can wound, "the dull, cold ear of death."
"I can call spirits from the vasty deep." ...
What a great book one could make, with such aids, and how many would fling it down, and take up anything in preference, provided only that it were short enough; even this slight record, for want of something shorter!
Like a tall bully, lifts its head and lies."
London is a place of mysteries. Looking out of one of the windows at the back of Dr. Fothergill's house, I saw an immense wooden blind, such as we have on our windows in summer, but reaching from the ground as high as the top of the neighboring houses. While admitting the air freely, it shut the property to which it belonged completely from sight. I asked the meaning of this extraordinary structure, and learned that it was put up by a great nobleman, of whose subterranean palace and strange seclusion I had before heard. Common report attributed his unwillingness to be seen to a disfiguring malady with which he was said to be afflicted. The story was that he was visible only to his valet. But a lady of quality, whom I met in this country, told me she had seen him, and observed nothing to justify it. These old countries are full of romances and legends and diableries of all sorts, in which truth and lies are so mixed that one does not know what to believe. What happens behind the high walls of the old cities is as much a secret as were the doings inside the prisons of the Inquisition.
"Mrs. Brown's carriage stops the way!"
Wilton, the seat of the Earl of Pembroke, within an easy drive's distance from Salisbury, was the first nobleman's residence I saw in my early visit. Not a great deal of what I then saw had survived in my memory. I recall the general effect of the stately mansion and its grounds. A picture or two of Vandyke's had not quite faded out of my recollection. I could not forget the armor of Anne de Montmorenci,--not another Maid of Orleans, but Constable of France,--said to have been taken in battle by an ancestor of the Herberts. It was one of the first things that made me feel I was in the Old World. Miles Standish's sword was as far back as New England collections of armor carried us at that day. The remarkable gallery of ancient sculptures impressed me at the time, but no one bust or statue survived as a distinct image. Even the beautiful Palladian bridge had not pictured itself on my mental tablet as it should have done, and I could not have taken my oath that I had seen it. But the pretty English maidens whom we met on the day of our visit to Wilton,--daughters or granddaughters of a famous inventor and engineer,--still lingered as vague and pleasing visions, so lovely had they seemed among the daisies and primroses. The primroses and daisies were as fresh in the spring of 1886 as they were in the spring of 1833, but I hardly dared to ask after the blooming maidens of that early period.
And strew the turf their priests have trod.下载
We got to the hotel where we had engaged quarters, at eleven o'clock in the evening of Wednesday, the 12th of May. Everything was ready for us,--a bright fire blazing and supper waiting. When we came to look at the accommodations, we found they were not at all adapted to our needs. It was impossible to stay there another night. So early the next morning we sent out our courier-maid, a dove from the ark, to find us a place where we could rest the soles of our feet. London is a nation of something like four millions of inhabitants, and one does not feel easy without he has an assured place of shelter. The dove flew all over the habitable districts of the city,--inquired at as many as twenty houses. No roosting-place for our little flock of three. At last the good angel who followed us everywhere, in one shape or another, pointed the wanderer to a place which corresponded with all our requirements and wishes. This was at No. 17 Dover Street, Mackellar's Hotel, where we found ourselves comfortably lodged and well cared for during the whole time we were in London. It was close to Piccadilly and to Bond Street. Near us, in the same range, were Brown's Hotel and Batt's Hotel, both widely known to the temporary residents of London.下载
I took great delight in wandering about the old town of Salisbury. There are no such surprises in our oldest places as one finds in Chester, or Tewkesbury, or Stratford, or Salisbury, and I have no doubt in scores or hundreds of similar places which I have never visited. The best substitute for such rambles as one can take through these mouldy boroughs (or burrows) is to be found in such towns as Salem, Newburyport, Portsmouth. Without imagination, Shakespeare's birthplace is but a queer old house, and Anne Hathaway's home a tumble-down cottage. With it, one can see the witches of Salem Village sailing out of those little square windows, which look as if they were made on purpose for them, or stroll down to Derby's wharf and gaze at "Cleopatra's Barge," precursor of the yachts of the Astors and Goulds and Vanderbilts, as she comes swimming into the harbor in all her gilded glory. But it must make a difference what the imagination has to work upon, and I do not at all wonder that Mr. Ruskin would not wish to live in a land where there are no old ruins of castles and monasteries. Man will not live on bread only; he wants a great deal more, if he can get it,--frosted cake as well as corn-bread; and the New World keeps the imagination on plain and scanty diet, compared to the rich traditional and historic food which furnishes the banquets of the Old World.
We left Boston on the 29th of April, 1886, and reached New York on the 29th of August, four months of absence in all, of which nearly three weeks were taken up by the two passages; one week was spent in Paris, and the rest of the time in England and Scotland.
Where doubt is disenchantment