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she said, with a smile, “ a Companion that will be of more service to you than either : more intelligent than a gentleman, and less troublesome than a lady;" at the same time handing me “ The London, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester Railway Companion.” I was interested in the girl's appearance, and I asked her a few questions. She seemed to be in poor health, and this was readily explained: “I have sold Companions and Guides here,” said she, “ ever since the railway opened, on the 4th of July, 1837. That 4th of July I think a deal of; for I have a brother in America, and he says there is no such country in the world. I should think he liked your country better than his own.”
“ Pray how did you know I was an American ?"
“Well, sir, I can hardly tell you ; but there is something about an American gentleman that strikes me the first moment I see him; and I always try to find them, for they almost always buy my Companions. But they forever ask me if I can't take less than a crown for the book; and when I say I am a poor girl, and have by selling books to support my mother who has the consumption, and a little brother who had both his arms crushed by the machinery of the factory, and all the rest of us are dead (except William, who is in New-York), then they don't ask me to take less, and very often give me more.”
“Where does your mother live ?"
“She lives about six miles from town now; but she used to live in Bristol.”
“Did you ever hear Robert Hall preach ?”
“Oh! yes, sir; we used to go to Mr. Hall's Chapel, and many a time has he come to tea at our house ; and when he came he always had his pockets full of something good for us. But he has gone to heaven now, if any one goes there."
“Could you understand his preaching ?”
“I was very young, and had not much education, and I could not understand much of his preaching of a Sunday; but I could understand almost every word when he lectured in the evening; and every time he came to see us, he would read the Bible, and explain it as he went along, and pray and talk to us about religion; and then I could understand
every word. What made me like Mr. Hall so much was because he was so kind to the poor : he never was ashamed to speak to them in the street, or anywhere he met them. Do you have such ministers in America ?"
“We have a great many good ministers, but not many, I fear, like Mr. Hall. How many hours a day do you spend bere ?"
“ I am here when every train goes out, and I sleep between them.”
" Don't this injure your health ?”
“ Yes, sir ; for, when I came here, I was not the pale girl you see now; I was as ruddy as any girl in Lancashire. But I am willing to work hard to help dear mamma and poor little Charlie, for they can't help themselves. They get along through the
THE POOR GIRL'S NARRATIVE. 19 week as well as they can, and when Saturday night comes I go home, and we have some good things, and are so happy when we are together that we think we have pretty good times.”
“How much do you get by selling these Companions ?"
“ The Company give me sixpence for every one I sell; and, although I wish they could allow me a little more, yet I feel very thankful for that; for what I get here, with what my brother sends from America, makes us pretty comfortable. If I had not been obliged to pay the surgeon so much for cutting off Charlie's arms, and for coming to see mamma, I should feel encouraged. But I don't want to complain. I remember Mr. Hall used to say that we are all treated better than we deserve, and that we should not complain when God afflicts us, for it's no sign that he does not love us just as well as ever."
“I am glad to hear you express such feelings, my poor girl, though I am sorry for you.”
“Oh, sir," said she, “if you could see how many thousands there are in England that have nothing but what they get by begging; how many there are that go naked and hungry, you wouldn't pity me. The only thing that troubles me much is, I am growing so weak that I fear I shall not be able to sell books much longer, and I don't know what we shall do when I get sick and helpless. We can go to the workhouse, but it makes me feel very gloomy to think about that. I suffer a good deal in think
ing what we should have to put up with if we went there; and, rather than go there, I shall work as long as I can.”
I think, dear I know you too well to suppose you will not be interested in these conversations. I am persuaded that far more may be learned of English society by hearing persons of all classes describe their own feelings, than is to be gathered from any other source. The poor best know their own sorrows, and are sure to express the real feelings of the heart.
As I took my book, and the girl turned away to find another customer, an accomplished and finelooking man of youthful appearance (who had been seated near us, and overheard our conversation) called her back, and gave her a sovereign for one of her books, and then politely handing me his card, with an apology for introducing himself, inquired if I was going up to London. “Yes, my lord,” I replied, when I saw, from a glance at the card, that I was addressing an Irish nobleman.
“ Will you give an Irishman the pleasure of your company? I have taken one apartment for London, and nothing will be more agreeable than to have you for a companion.”
I replied, as I put my card in his hand, that I would accept his kind invitation no less for the pleasure of riding with an Irishman than with a nobleman. “ Your republicanism I do respect,” said he," after all; for the nobleman who does not merit
respect for his character is deserving of none for his title.”
Taking our seats in the carriage, which was furnished in the most expensive manner, with damask linings and the richest scarlet velvet, the whole train entered the grand tunnel which passes under the city. This is a stupendous work, being a mile and a quarter in length, seventeen feet high, and twenty-five wide, and constructed at an expense of nearly a million of dollars. The carriages are drawn up by means of a stationary engine at Edge Hill, where the tunnel terminates. It caused a most singular, and by no means pleasant sensation, thus to pass through the bowels of the earth, under the streets, churches, and warehouses of a great city. It reminded me of the long, dark, damp caverns of the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
One of the first things that excited my astonishment in this country was the enormous wealth one sees expended in its public works. The principal railways of England and Wales already opened, X or in course of construction, number fifty-four, besides a great number of minor importance, exclusive of many other projected lines, some of which have received the sanction of Parliament, but are not likely to be executed at present. The total length of these fifty-four principal roads exceeds 1760 miles, independent of the smaller branches. The gross sum the different companies have been authorized to raise for the construction of these principal roads is