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The railway runs through the streets of many cities in the United States, it being always taken for granted that the lieges can take care of themselves. In Germany, the Grand Dukes treat their subjects like infants, and keep them locked within palings till the train is ready to start, lest they should hurt themselves. In England, various officers are at hand to warn you off the rails and guide your erring feet, and yet ever and anon one hears of accidents. In America, a printed placard at all the crossings tells you, “ Look out for the locomotive when the bell rings," and leaves you to be your own guardian, and that kind of care answers the purpose as well.
The superior comfort of an American railway carriage will hardly be believed by persons whose dignity or respectability demand first, second, and third class carriages. Nevertheless, it is perfectly true. Their construction, with a passage down the centre of each carriage, which is long enough to contain twenty-five or thirty persons on each side, enables the conductor to pass up and down. They are so made that he or passengers can pass from one carriage to another while the train is in motion. A cord also passes along the roofs, attached to a bell, which will summon him from whatever car he may be in. Thus no unpleasant circumstance need be endured for a moment. It would be impossible for a gentleman to get himself pommelled by a flighty man waking and fancying that his single fellowtraveller wished to mesmerise him, as lately happened in one of our first-class carriages. In his case there was no remedy-he must either fight or be beaten black and blue till they reached a station. If he had had fifty companions, and the bell-rope to boot, he would have been perfectly safe.
But, say they who are accustomed to the strict social subdivisions of old monarchies, how do you do with the workmen, and the serving damsels, and all the class of people that you don't associate with in the house? Why, we do very well. That is the curiosity of it. Politeness, if it do not soar to the height of refinement that it does in courts, never sinks down to rudeness or brutality in the United States. Everybody understands that everybody has rights. The “great” are more careful not to offend the “little,” so that I never once heard a haughty word to an inferior; and the “little," knowing that they are in no danger of being encroached on by the “great," in their turn commit no unpleasant encroachment. People fall naturally
into a classified state, so that the whole car may readily be filled with mechanics and their peers. Should two or three refined people enter it, they will find nothing to offend them. And I have travelled for hours near a knot of workmen, or an Irishwoman with her bundle, or a mechanic's wife with her baby, and felt interested in observing the propriety of their manners. I just once saw a train stopped, and a man turned out to shift for himself on a road deep with mire. Not because he had misbehaved, for he sat as dull and heavy as strong drink could make him, but because he had no money to pay his fare. He did not seem to excite the compassion of any one, and not a word above a whisper was uttered by the ejected man or the conductor.
In roads which have many branches, you receive a check for each article of baggage. The baggagemaster, with a badge on his hat, passes through the whole train frequently in course of the journey. The traveller gives him his checks; and at the station where he is to stay, his baggage, being prepared, is popped on the platform as quickly as he can step out himself, and the train is off again. In some trains a telegraph youth enters and inquires, “ Any messages to New York ? Any umbrellas or shawls left at Baltimore? Will telegraph for you with pleasure.” And this he will do at the rate of eighteenpence, for what in England would cost half a guinea. Boys with candies, fruits, ready.cracked butternuts, pop-corn, books, pamphlets, railway guides and newspapers, pass through the cars at all stopping stations, but these have, I think, been voted a nuisance to be abated.
A lady may travel thousands of miles, and be sure of courtesy from every one. I have found a gentleman alight, and hand you out, and inquire about your baggage, with whom your only previous intercourse has been an inquiry if the next station was that you wished to alight at. I heard a mother say, she got along better with her three children, without her husband, than she should have done with him, for when people saw she was alone, every one helped her. The gentlemen purchased cakes to feed the children, and amused them very kindly,
The conductor, in passing through the carriages, collects the tickets, to avoid delay at the journey's end. How impatient is the traveller in England, when, after a long day's journey, he sits within a bow-shot of the platform, while the guard pops his head into carriage after carriage with his “ Tickets, please,” or “Please to shew your ticket”—and how impatient the friends waiting on the pla' form, who look upon the carriages and cannot reach them! And what a fever is he in who wants to proceed by the next train, but, by wasting the quarter of an hour devoted to ticket-gathering, loses his transit! We have all seen this occur in busy, “mail accelerating" England. It cannot occur in America.
The general cleanliness of the whole country is not departed from in the travelling conveyances. The comfortable appendage of the stove has not introduced any appearance of smoke, and the cushions, floors, and numerous windows are kept scrupulously neat. Every car has blinds for summer, and a stove in the centre for cold weather. Each velvetcushioned seat has a movable back, so that four can turn face to face, or you may, by turning the back, be alone with one companion. Many cars have a saloon at one end, where ladies retire to nurse their babes, and where you may take a nap on a long sofa.
In such a dressing room I had been kindly packed by my friends, and had dropped asleep, when a change in the noise made by the carriages awaked me. It was a pale, misty moonlight, past two A.M. I roused myself to look out, and saw water expanded as far as my eye could penetrate. Were we on the shore of the sea ? I went to the other side. It was water still—not shoreless ocean, indeed, but still we were in the midst of water. I had not studied the map—no one had told me that the rails had been laid across two inlets of the Chesapeake Bay, in preference to laying them round it. So there I stood in mute surprise. These people are like the “ Ancient Mariner,” thought I
“ Tramp, tramp across the land we go,
Splash, splash across the sea.” Presently, however, we had passed the open piles, which sustain the rails, and leave the shallow tides