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and such as these have forever the better of those born to the manner; as for those assuming to be naturalized to the manner, they are not worthy to be confounded with such envoys from the present to the past. It is only the newest Americans who ever really see England, and they are apt to see it in the measure of that simplicity for which sincerity is by no means a satisfactory substitute.
It could well be in a passion of humility that a sophisticated traveller might wish to hide himself from them in the depths of that Roman bath which apparently so few visitors to Chester see. We found it with some difficulty, by the direction of a kindly shop-woman who, though she had lived all her life opposite, could only go so far as to say she believed it was under a certain small newspaper and periodical store across the way. Asking the young man we found there, he owned the fact, and leaving a yet younger man in charge, he lighted a stump of candle, and led to a sort of cavern back of his shop, where the classic relic, rude but unmistakable, was. Rough, low pillars supported the roof and the modern buildings overhead, and the bath, clumsily shaped of stone, attested the civilization once dominant in Chester. Our guide had his fact or his fable concerning the spring which supplied the bath; but whether it is in summer or in winter that this spring almost wholly disappears, I am ashamed not to remember.
The Rome that was built upon Britain underlies so much of England that if one begins to long for its excavation one must be willing to involve so much mediæval and modern superstructure in a common ruin that one's wisdom must be doubted. So far as the Roman remains showed themselves to a pretty ignorant observer they did not seem worth digging out in their
entirety; here and there an example seems to serve; they are the unpolished monuments of life in a remote and partially settled province, not to be compared, except at Bath and York, with those of Pompeii or Herculaneum. To be sure, if one knew they underlay New York, one would gladly level all the sky-scrapers in the town, that they might be given to the light. But in Chester it is another matter. There is already an interesting if not satisfactory collection of antiquities in Chester; and if it came to question of demolishing the delightful old wall, or the Rows, with God's Providence House, and Bishop Lloyd's House, or even the cathedral, though it is, to my knowledge, the least sympathetic of English cathedrals, one would wish to think twice. At the wall, especially, one would like to hesitate, walking perhaps all the way round the city on it, and pausing at discreet intervals to repose and ponder. It does not convince everywhere of an equal antiquity; there are parts that are evidently restorations and parts that are reproductions, and the gates frankly own themselves modern. But there are towers that moulder and bastions that have plainly borne the brunt of time. In the circuit of the wall you may look down on the roofs of old Chester within, and that much larger and busier new Chester without, which stretches with its shops and mills and suburban cottages and villas into the pretty country, as far as you like. But our affair was never with that Chester; except where the country began under the walls, and widened away beyond the river Dee, with bridges and tramways presently lost to the eye in the shadow of pleasant groves, we cared for nothing beyond the walls. There were places where these dropped sheer to the waters of the Dee, which obliged us at one point of its flow with a vivid rapid, or
(I will not be sure) the swift slope of a dam, where a man stood midway casting his line into the ripple. He could by some stretch of the imagination have been a Jolly Miller who lived on the river Dee, though I remember no mills in sight; and by an equal stroke of fancy, he could have been casting his line for the salmon with which the sands of Dee are also associated in song. I do not insist that the reader shall hazard either conjecture with me; but what I say is that all England is so closely netted over and embroidered with literary reminiscence, with race-memories, from the earliest hours of personal consciousness, that wherever the American goes his mind catches in some rhyme, some phrase, some story of fact or fable that makes the place more home to him than the house where he was born. That is the sweetness, the kindness of travel in England, and that is the enchanting strangeness. To other lands we relate ourselves by an effort, but there the charm lies waiting for us, to seize us and hold us fast with ties running to the inmost and furthermost of our earthly being.
At one point in our first ramble on the wall at Chester we came to a house built close upon it, of such quaintness and demureness that it needed no second glance, in the long June twilight, to convince us that one of Thomas Hardy's heroines lived there; or if it did, no possible doubt of the fact could be left when we encountered at the descent to the next city gate the smartest of red-coated sergeants mounting the wall to go and pay court to her. Afterwards we found many houses level with the top of the wall, with little gardened door-yards or leafy spaces beside them. I do not say they all had Hardy heroines in them; there were not sergeants enough for that; but the dwellings were all
of an insurpassable quaintness and demureness, or only less quaint and less demure than the first. One of the most winning traits of the past wherever you find it is its apparent willingness to be friends with the present, to make room for it when it can, and to respond as far as possible to its commonplace and even sordid occasions. Like old walls that I had known in Italy, the old wall at Chester lent itself not only to the domestic but the commercial demands of to-day, and if the shops which it allowed to front upon its promenade were preferably those of dealers in bric-à-brac and second-hand books, still the principle is the same. In one of these shops was an old (it looked old) sundial which tempted and tempted the poor American, who knew very well he could not get it home without intolerable inconvenience and expense; and who tore himself from it at last with the hope of returning another day and carrying it all the way to New York, if need be, in his arms. As is the custom of sundials it professed to number only the sunny hours; but he had (or is this his subsequent invention?) the belief that somewhere on its round was indelibly if invisibly marked that gloomy moment of the September afternoon when King Charles looked from the Phoenix Tower hard by the shop where the dial lurked, and saw his army routed by the Parliamentarians on Rowton Moor. To be sure the moment was bright for the Parliamentarians; there is the consolation in every defeat that it is the victory of at least one side, and in this instance it was the right side which won.
You are advised that if you would see Chester Cathedral aright you had best look at it across the grassy space which lies between it and the wall near Phoenix Tower. It is indeed finest there, for it is a fane that asks distance, and if you go visit it by the pale twilight
at nine o'clock of the long June day, the brown stone it is built of will remind you less than it might at noonday of the brown-stone fronts of the old New York streets. But who am I that I should criticise even the material body of any English cathedral? If we had this one of Chester in the finest American city, in Boston itself, we should throng to it with our guide-books if not our prayer-books, and would not allow that any ecclesiastical structure in the country compared with it. All that I say to my compatriots of either sex, who come to its Perpendicular Gothic fresh from the Oblique Doric of their Cunarders or White Stars at Liverpool, is: "Wait! Do not lavish your precipitate raptures all upon this good but plain edifice. Keep some of them rather for the gentler and lovelier dreams of architecture at Wells, at Ely, at Exeter, and supremely the minster at York, to which you should not come impoverished of the emotions you have been storing up from the beginning of your æsthetic consciousness. Yet, stay! Forbear to turn slightingly from your first cathedral because some one tells you it is not the best. It will have more to say to that precious newness of yours (you cannot yet realize how precious your newness is) than fairer temples shall to your more shop-worn sensibility.' It is always well in travel to cherish the first moments of it, for these are richer in potentialities of joy than any that can follow; and it is doubtless in the wise order of Providence that such a city as Chester should lie so near the great port of entry for three hundred thousand Americans that they may have something worthy of their emotions while they have still their sea-legs on, and may reel under the stroke without causing suspicion.
I have said how constantly one met them, how inevitably; and if they were wondering, willingly or un