+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

the Pasha has ordered a fresh party of hunting
soldiers to proceed tip the river, as far as
the White Nile, to search for another young
hippopotamus afemale! We may, therefore,
look forward to the unrivalled fame of
possessing a royal pair—"sure such a pair"
as were never yet seen in any collection of
Natural Historyto say nothing of the chance
of a progeny. These are national questions,
why should they be cabinet secrets?

We are certainly a strange peoplewe
English. Our indefatigable energies and
matchless wealth often exhibit themselves
in eccentric fancies. No wonder, foreigners
philosophers and allare so much puzzled
what to make of us. They point to the
unaided efforts of a Waghorn, and to his
widow's pension-miteand then they point
to our hippopotamus! Truly, it is not easy
to reply to the inference, and impossible to
evade it. We have had a Chaucer and a
Milton, a Hobbes, and a Newton, a Watt and
a Winsor; and we have had other great poets,
and philosophers, and machinists, and men of
learning and science, and have several of each
now living among us: but any amount of a
people's anxious interest, which the present
state of popular education induces, is very
limited indeed compared to that which is felt
by all classes for a Tom Thumb, a Jim Crow,
or our present Idol. Howbeit, as the last is
really a great improvement on the two former
fascinating exotics, it is to be hoped that we
shall, in course of time, more habitually
display some kind of discrimination in the objects
of our devotion.



IN all the utilities of Railway travelling,
England is supreme. Speed, represented by
from thirty to sixty miles an hour, "just (to
quote the words of Lubin Log) as the passenger
pleases;" punctuality, that admits of the setting
of watches by arrivals and departures; and
safety, exemplified by the loss of no human
life from any other cause than the carelessness
of the sufferer, during the past two years,
are proofs of British supremacy in locomotion.
Yetby a strange perversity not easily
accounted for in a country known all over
the rest of the world as the Kingdom of
Comfortthe point apparently aimed at is
to render the transit of the human frame as
uncomfortable an operation as possible. Every
elegance and luxury is bestowed upon waiting-
rooms where extreme punctuality renders it
unnecessary for people to wait; and upon
refreshment-rooms in which travellers are
allowed ten minutes to scald themselves with
boiling coffee, or to choke themselves with
impossible pork-pies; but carriages in which
travellers have to be cramped up, often for hours,
and sometimes for whole days, are apparently
contrived to inflict as much torture as
practicable. In order to force those who cannot
afford it into the first-class, second and third-
class carriages are only one and two degrees
removed from cattle pens. And that these
should not be too delicious, the humbler order
of passengers will not easily forget that a
director once proposed to hire a number of
chimney-sweeps to renderwhat, with the
best company, are nothing better than
locomotive hutchesperfectly untenable.

They manage these things better abroad.
There a detestable class-feelinga contemptible
purse-worship, which rigidly separates people
according to their pecuniary circumstances;
which metes out the smallest privilege or
comfort at a pricedoes not exist to
prevent the managers of railways from making
the journeys of their customers and
supporters as pleasant as possible. On the
French railroads, (setting aside the question
that the fares are much lower,) the second-
class carriages are comfortably cushioned,
having pretty silk blinds to keep out the sun;
windows that really are capable of being pulled
up and down, besides hooks for hats,—a great
convenience on a journey. For the blinds,
indeed, an enterprising blind-maker in France
agreed to furnish them to one railway
company, gratis, on condition that they used no
other for a certain number of years, and allowed
him to make them the medium of his
advertisements. Talk of advertising vanscan they
be compared to the brilliant notion of
advertising railwaystrains of puffs, wafting the
genius of inventors faster than the wind! We
throw out the hint to the "advertising world"
in this country.

In winter, even in an English first-class
carriage, there is no protection against frost
and damp; but in nearly all the foreign railways,
no sooner does the winter set in than
the first-class traveller finds the bottom of his
carriage provided with a long tin case full of
hot water. In the cold months, masses of
woollen cloth and railway wrappers, are seen
shaking in the corners of first-class English
carriages with shivering, comfortless, human
beings inside them, despairing of any sort of
warmth whatever.

Comfort in railway travelling is, however
brought to the highest perfection in Germany.
An esteemed correspondent at Vienna writes
to us on this subject in the following terms:—
On the "Wiener-Neustäder Eisenbahn" (the
Vienna and Neustadt Railway), the
carriages of the first, second, and third-class
may each be said to resemble a spacious room,
furnished with seats, something like a concert-
room, and having a broad passage down the
middle. Thus one may get up, walk towards
a friend a dozen seats off; or, if you require
more air or a change of position, you will find
the backs of the seats shift so as to enable you
to turn round, and sit down the other way
without inconvenience to any one. I need
not say that on this railway there is no
struggle for "that corner place with your back