Most heartily glad were
Mrs. Morelle and Florence to set foot once more upon dry land. Grimkie
and John, though on the whole well pleased to arrive at the end of the
voyage, had, nevertheless, found so much to amuse them, and to occupy
their minds, on board the ship, especially during the last few days,
that they had not been at all impatient to reach the shore. Immediately
on landing they all got into a cab and drove to the Waterloo Hotel,
where rooms had been ordered for them beforehand by Mr. Jay, who had
written to Liverpool for that purpose, the week before the Europa
They found the rooms all ready for them,—a parlor and two bed-rooms. The
parlor was on the front of the house, and looked out upon the street.
The bed-rooms were in the rear. One of the bed-rooms was for Mrs.
Morelle and Florence, and the other for Grimkie and John.
Of course they all went to bed early. They found it inexpressibly
delightful to have a good wide and soft bed to get into, and to go to
sleep without being rocked, though Mrs. Morelle and Florence still
continued to feel the rocking motion of the ship whenever they shut
In an English hotel the usages are entirely different from those which
prevail in America. There are no stated hours for meals, and no public
room except one for gentlemen. In an American hotel there is no
objection to a little bustle and life. Indeed one of the charms of
traveling in America is the pleasure of witnessing the bustle and life
of the hotels. In England, on the other hand, the hotels are kept as
still and quiet as possible. The idea is, especially when a lady arrives
at one, to make it as much as possible like her own private house. Often
the landlord, the landlady, the porter, the waiter and the chambermaid,
meet her at the door when she comes, and receive her just as if they
were her own private servants, and the house was her own private house.
The porter receives and takes care of the baggage, the landlady conducts
the guests to their parlor, and from the parlor the chambermaid
presently shows the way to her chambers. The lady establishes herself in
these rooms just as if she were at home. She has all her meals with her
own party, in her own room, ordering just what she likes, and fixing the
hours to suit her own convenience. The fact that there may he other
parties in the hotel, living in the same way, is kept as much as
possible out of view. Thus it happens that a lady is sometimes several
days at a hotel, and one of her best friends is there too all the time,
living in another wing or in rooms approached by some other passage-way,
while she knows nothing about it.
Of course there ’was a great deal to be done that evening before the
members of our party were ready to go to bed, but when finally bedtime
arrived, Mrs. Morelle said that she should not wish to have breakfast
very early the next morning, but the children might get up, she added,
as early as they pleased, and if they wished, go out and take a walk.
“Only you must be back by a quarter to nine,” said she, “for I intend to
have breakfast at nine. And Florence,” she added, “if you are up in
time, I should like to have you order it.”
“How shall I order it, mother?” asked Florence.
“When you go out into the parlor you will find the table already set.
The waiters always set all the tables in the different parlors early in
the morning, when they arrange the rooms.
You must then ring the bell and the waiter will come. Tell him that your
mother will have breakfast at nine o’clock, and also tell him what you
“And what shall we have mother?” asked Florence.
“You may have whatever you please/’ said Mrs. Morelle, “only I should
like a fried sole for one thing.”
The sole is a remarkably fine fish, in some sense peculiar to England.
It is particularly nice when fried, and the Americans generally count a
great deal upon having one for breakfast on the morning after they
arrive in Liverpool from a voyage across the Atlantic.
Liverpool lies so far to the north, that the sun, in the middle of June,
rises very early,—between three and four o’clock—and it is quite light
at half past two. Grimkie was deceived by this very early dawn, and he
got up about three o’clock on the following morning, and began to dress
himself, but happening to look at his watch he saw how early it was, and
so he went to bed again.
When he next awoke, it was half past six. So he determined to get up.
John got up too. They both dressed themselves and went out into the
parlor, hut they found that the shutters were not open.
“John,” said Grimkie, "the waiters are all asleep. We will go out and
take a walk and come hack again by and by.”
So the two boys passed down stairs and went out into the streets. There
were milk carts and other such things going about, but the shops were
all shut, and there were no signs of opening them.
“John,” said Grimkie, “the shopmen are all asleep too, and there is
nothing to see here—but let us go down to the landing. We shall find
somebody awake there you may depend.”
Now there is something very curious at Liverpool in respect to the
arrangements made for the shipping, something that is especially well
calculated to interest such boys as Grimkie and John, and that is the
system of docks and landings. The tide rises and falls so much that the
ordinary system of fixed piers for vessels to lie at, and rise and fall
with the tide, will not answer. Accordingly there have been built a
range of immense docks, extending along the shore for many miles. The
ships go into these docks through vast gates which are opened at high
tide, when of course the river and the docks are both full. Then the
gates are shut to keep the water in, and thus although the tide in the
river may go down very low, the ships within the docks, are kept afloat
all the time—the water there being kept up by the resistance of the
gates, which are made of immense size and strength, in order to enable
them to sustain the pressure.
Thus in sailing up the river opposite to Liverpool the voyager sees
nothing for miles along the shore but a lofty wall, of prodigious size
interrupted here and there by towers, gateways, and other curious
structures—and beyond it a forest of masts and steamboat funnels, rising
above it, in countless thousands. The wall is the outer line of the
docks, and the masts and funnels seen beyond belong to the ships and
steamers which are lying within.
Grimkie and John went down to the shore and rambled about for an hour or
more among these docks. They saw immense numbers of ships floating in
the basins—which were full of water, although it was low tide in the
river outside— and-the draw-bridge and gates connecting one lock with
another, and vessels loading and unloading, and men hoisting boilers and
machinery into steamers by means of prodigious iron cranes, and other
They also saw the landing-stage, which is one of the wonders of
Liverpool. It is an immense floating wharf which rises and falls with
the tide so as always to preserve the same level in respect to the
water. Here all the ferry boats, and tug boats, and tenders, and other
small steamers land, as well as row boats and sail boats innumerable,
the coming and going of which make the great landing-stage one of the
busiest places in the world.
The boys were so much interested in what they saw, that instead of
getting back to the hotel at eight o’clock as they had intended, it was
a quarter of nine when they arrived. They found that Florence had
ordered breakfast, and that the table was set. There was also a pleasant
little coal fire burning in the grate, for the morning was cool. In a
short time Mrs. Morelle appeared, and soon afterward the whole party sat
down to breakfast.