to the Orkney Islands
Chapter IX. The Railway Ride
"Now, Florence, said
Grimkie, when the cab arrived at the station, and stopped for the party
to get out, now we shall see which is the best an English railroad
ride, or an American one.
A man in a peculiar velveteen dress of a bronze green color, and with a
badge upon his arm to mark his official character, came with a barrow,
and in a very respectful manner asked where the party were going.
To Carlisle, said Grimkie.
Yery well, said the man. If you will follow me to the platform I will
show you where to get the tickets.
So saying the porter put the trunks and all the parcels carefully upon
his barrow, and led the way through an arched passage into the interior
of the station. Grimkie paid the cabman, and then, with the rest of the
party, followed the porter.
When they entered the station, a remarkable scene presented itself to
view. Florence looked about with great surprise and admiration. She saw
an immense space covered with a glass roof, with platforms flagged with
stone along the sides, and great numbers of trains on the different
tracks in the center. Great hissing locomotives were moving to and fro,
on these tracks, and parties of travellers, with porters wheeling their
trunks and parcels on their barrows, were moving in various directions
along the platforms. There were doors opening into pretty rooms, with
signs over them, marked, First Class Waiting Rooms, and Second Class
Waiting Rooms, and First Class Refreshment Rooms, and the like. One of
the objects which most strongly attracted Florence's attention, was a
very elegant little book stall, with a great variety of entertaining
books displayed on the shelves of it, together with prints, newspapers
and periodicals, all neatly arranged on open shelves, or behind glass
But there was not time to stop and look at these things, for the porter
went on, and it seemed necessary to follow him. He took the barrow near
to one of the trains which was standing upon the track, and stopping
there, he said to Grimkie,
You have plenty of time, sir. The train does not go for twenty minutes.
Your luggage will be quite safe here, and if you will come with me I
will show you/the waiting-room, and then I will come and tell you when
it is time to get the tickets.
Cant I get the tickets now? asked Grimkie. Not quite yet, sir, said
the porter. The ticket office for this train will be open in about ten
So saying, the porter led the way to the first class waiting room, and
the whole party went in. They found a spacious and handsomely furnished
room, with a great table in the center, and very comfortable-looking
sofas and arm-chairs against the walls. On one side was a door opening
into the refreshment room, where they saw a large table elegantly set,
as if for a sumptuous dinner. Beyond was a counter loaded with
decanters, plates of fruits, tarts, pies, and all sorts of delicacies,
and with one or two very tidy-looking girls behind it, ready to wait
What nice rooms! said Florence.
Yes, said Grimkie. These are for the first class passengers.
How did the porter know that we were going first class? asked
"He knew by our looks, said Grimkie; besides, he knew by our being
Americans. Americans always take the first class. They dont go for
marking themselves publicly as second rate people, and so whether they
are rich or poor, they all rush into the first class carriages.
Who told you that? asked Florence. Florence knew very well that
Grimkie was quoting what somebody else had said, for the language did
not sound at all as if it were original with him.
A gentleman on board the steamer, said Grimkie, coolly.
Mother, said Florence, turning to Mrs. Morelle, who had seated herself
comfortably upon one of the sofas, let us go out on the platform again.
It is a great deal more amusing there than here.
I think so, too, said Mrs. Morelle. So saying, she rose from her seat,
and they all went together out upon the platform, and began to walk up
and down, amusing themselves with observing what was going on. Grimkie
and John began to read the placards and notices which were posted up
along the walls. Some of them were adorned with pictures printed in.
colored inks, and were mounted in handsome frames.
While they were looking at these things, the porter came again and told
Grimkie that the ticket office was now open, and he proceeded to show
him the way to it. Grimkie bought the tickets, and then the porter led
the way toward the night train. Mrs. Morelle and John went on together
after him, and Grimkie and Florence followed.
This is very nice, said Florence, to have a man wait upon us in this
way, and show us exactly what we are to do.
Yes, said Grimkie, but then we have to pay for it.
No, replied Florence, for I saw a notice posted up that the men were
not allowed to receive anything whatever from the passengers. If they do
take anything they are to be dismissed.
I don't mean that we have to pay the men said Grimkie, but the
company. The fares are a great deal higher in England than in America.
Here they have plenty of servants to wait upon us at the stations, and
they charge accordingly. In America every man takes care of himself and
saves his money.
Not all of it, said Florence.
No, not all of it, replied Grimkie, but all that part which the
company would require to employ servants at all the stations to take
care of him. Besides, this porter will expect a sixpence from me, and I
have got one all ready to give to him. You will see how he will manage
to get it slily. The gentleman on board the steamer told me all about
By this time the porter had come to the train. The train was not
composed, as in America, of a few long cars, but of a larger number of
carriages, each of which contained three separate compartments, with
doors at the sides. The porter went to one of these carriages, marked
First Class, and opened the door. Grimkie put in some of the small
parcels of the luggage, and the porter put the trunks upon the top. He
kept one bag in his hands and told Grimkie that he would hand it to him
after he got in. So Grimkie got into the carriage and took his seat, and
the porter, after he had put up the trunks upon the top, within the
railing which had been made there to keep them from falling off, and had
covered them with a tarpaulin, took the bag and put it into the
carriage, contriving at the same time, when he shut the door, to hold
his hand inside of it a moment, in such a way that Grimkie could give
him the sixpence.
You will not change carriages, sir, said he to Grimkie, until you get
to Carlisle, and then you will find your luggage on the top quite safe.
Grimkie, said Florence, as soon as the man had gone. You ought not to
have given that man a sixpence. He is liable to lose his place for
Yes; said Grimkie. Provided any body saw him take it.
That makes no difference, said Florence, whether any body saw him
take it or not. It makes not the least difference in the world. You have
broken the law.
No, said Grimkie. I have not broken any law. There is no law against
the traveller's giving the sixpence, but only against the porters
taking it. He may have broken a law, but I have not.
Oh Grimkie! said Florence.
Florence was no match for Grimkie in the logical management of an
argument, and she did not know exactly how to reply to his reasoning in
this instance, though she felt very confident that he was wrong. Her
thoughts were, however, for the present, at once diverted from the
subject, for the train began to move, and in a very few minutes it
appeared that it was entering a dark tunnel. The interior of the
carriage, however, did not become dark, for in proportion as the
daylight faded away the illumination which it had produced was replaced
by a lamp-light which gradually began to appear. Where this lamplight
could come from was at first a mystery, but, on looking up, the children
saw a lamp burning brightly in a glass which was set into the top of the
carriage over their heads, with a reflector above it which threw the
light down. This light made it very cheerful and pleasant within the car
while the train was passing the tunnel.
On emerging from the tunnel at the other end a marvelous picture of
verdure and beauty met the view of the travellers, and filled them with
delight. Florence particularly was charmed with the aspect of the scene.
She looked out first at one window and then the other, scarcely knowing
which way to turn in her fear that something would escape her. The rich
and deep green of the fields, the hawthorn hedges, in full flower, the
gardens, the beautiful villas, the charming cottages, half covered with
eglantine and ivy, the little railway stations, which the train passed
from time to time, built substantially of stone, in very picturesque and
endlessly varied forms, and with the prettiest ornamental gardens which
can be imagined surrounding them, or extending from them each way along
the sloping banks which bordered the trackthese and a hundred other
objects which came into view in the most rapid and ever changing
succession, kept her in a continual state of excitement.
It was about one o'clock when the train left Liverpool, and it reached
Carlisle about half past five. The distance was about a hundred and
thirty miles. The. time passed, however, very rapidly. A short time
before the train arrived, Mrs. Morelle asked Grrimkie what he was going
to do about a hotel.
You know, said she, that the agreement is that you are to take the
whole care of the party, just as if you were my courier.
A courier is a travelling servant, who is employed by a gentleman
travelling, or by a lady, or a family, to conduct them wherever they
wish to go on their journey. He takes care of all the luggage, knows
which are the good hotels, makes bargains with the keepers of them, and
settles the bills, makes arrangements for horses and carriages when
travelling, and in a word relieves his employers of all trouble and
care, and enables them to make their journey with as much ease and quiet
of mind as if they were merely taking a mornings drive on their own
grounds at home.
That is to say, this is the case when the employer of the courier
understands how to manage properly. It is with travelling couriers as
with all other servants ; every thing depends upon the principles of
management adopted by the master or mistress. A courier is a means of
great convenience and comfort in travelling, or a source of continual
vexation and trouble, according to the tact or want of tact displayed by
the traveller himself, in employing and directing him.
Grimkie looked a little at a loss when his aunt asked him what hotel he
was going to. He said he had intended to have asked some gentleman in
the cars, supposing that the cars would be large, as in America, and
that there would be a great many people in them. But in fact there had
been no one in their compartment of the carriage all the way. He had
looked into his guide book, and the guide book gave the names of two or
three of the hotels in Carlisle, but did not say which was the best.
Read us the names, Grimkie, said Florence. We can judge something by
the sound of them.
So Grimkie opened the book and began to read There's the Royal Hotel,
We won't go there, said John, at any rate. We are republicans.
And there's a hotel called the County Hotel, continued Grimkie. It is
in the station.
In the station? repeated Florence; let us go there, It will seem very
funny to be at a hotel that is in the station. May we go to any hotel
that we choose, mother?
You may go to any one that Grimkie chooses" replied Mrs. Morelle. He
is responsible for finding us comfortable quarters for the night.
I'll see how the station hotel looks when we get there" said Grimkie to
Florence, and if it looks pleasant we will stop there.''
This plan for deciding the question in respect to the Station Hotel
seemed to be in theory a very good one, but it proved unfortunately
impracticable, for when the train stopped, and Grimkie had helped his
party out from the carriage to the platform, He found no signs of the
hotel to be seen, except two or three porters who wore the badges of the
hotel upon their caps, and one of whom stood ready at once to take
charge of Grimkie's luggage and to show the way to the hotel. Grimkie,
who had no time for reflection, decided at once to accept the offer, and
as soon as the trunks were handed down and put upon the hotel porter's
barrow, he followed with Mrs. Morelle and the children where the porter
They went for some distance along the platform, and then turned to a
side door which led to a long passage gently ascending. At the end of
this passage they ascended some steps and entered a door, and there
turning to the left they came into another long passage which looked
like the entry of the hotel. Apartments of various kinds opened from it
on each side, and waiters were seen carrying dinners and suppers to the
different rooms. At the end of this passage was a sort of office, and
turning round the comer an elegant stair-case came into view, leading to
the stories above. A pretty looking young woman met the party at the
office door. Grimkie said they wanted a sitting-room and two bed-rooms.
The young woman led the way up stairs to show the rooms. ,
In about half an hour after this time the whole party were sitting down,
in excellent spirits, and with great appetites, to a very nice dinner,
in an elegant little room, with windows looking out upon a great area
filled with omnibuses and cabs that were waiting for the arrival of the
next train, and upon a street which passed by a spacious castle-like
building that seemed to stand at the entrance to the town.
After dinner they all went out to take a walk. On entering the town they
found themselves in a narrow street with very ancient but very solid and
substantial looking buildings on either side of it, the whole entirely
unlike any thing which they had ever seen in America. They passed by
several inns which were so quaint and curious in their structure, and
looked so snug and so neat, and so much like the representations of
English inns which they had seen in pictures and drawing-books, that
Florence began to be sorry that they had stopped at the Station Hotel,
which was modern and new, and the rooms in which were very much like
those of a nice hotel in America.
Grimkie, said she, we made a mistake. We ought to have come to one of
these little old fashioned inns here in the town. See what nice curtains
at the chamber windows. If we had only known about these.
Ah yes, said Grimkie. If we could only manage when we are coming into
a strange town, to have a chance to see all the hotels and inns
beforehand, we could choose a great deal better.
You made a great mistake this time, said Florence.
Next time then you shall choose, said Grimkie.
Florence was prepared for some sort of tart reply from Grimkie, to her
finding fault with him, but when she heard so kind and polite a reply,
it produced a reaction in her own feelings. After a moments pause she
Grimkie, it was I that chose this time. Going to the Station Hotel was
my plan, after all.
Was it? said Grimkie; well you shall choose the next time too, if you
The principal object of the walk which our party were taking at this
time, was to visit the Cathedral of Carlisle. It was the first cathedral
which the children had had an opportunity of seeing. They found a very
ancient and venerable pile, with ruins around it, and several little
streets, and open spaces, with pretty houses fronting them, all of which
seemed to belong to the cathedral, for they were enclosed with it in a
wall which separated the whole precinct from the rest of the town. This
precinct is called the cathedral close! It pertains exclusively to the
cathedral, and is under ecclesiastical jurisdiction, in a measure, and
contains the dwellings of the various clergymen and laymen that are
attached to the cathedral service.
There was a certain air of solemn stillness and repose reigning about
the precincts of the cathedral, when our party entered the close, which
was very impressive. The venerable walls of the cathedral itself
crumbling with age, the old inscriptions and sculptured images, now in
some cases almost wholly effaced by the decay of the stone,the masses
of ruined walls, the remains of ancient cloisters or chapels which were
seen here and there rising from the patches of greensward,the smooth
and solitary walksand above all the mournful chirping of the rooks and
swallows and doves that were flying about among the turrets and parapets
far above, or in the tops of the ancient treescombined to impart a
peculiar expression of solemn and melancholy grandeur to the scene,
which was wholly indescribable.
After rambling about the town and the environs till after ten oclock,
the party returned to the Station Hotel, where they all went to bed
without candles, for it was not yet dark.
The next morning, soon after breakfast, Grimkie paid the bill, and they
all went down to the platform to take the train which was to leave about
half-past eight oclock for Glasgow. They were soon all comfortably
seated in the carriage, and five minutes afterward the train was in
motion. They had a delightful journey to Glasgow, where they arrived
safely a little after noon.
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