Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 140.pdf/73

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narrows their minds to a nutshell. If she goes out alone, she comes back with a story of adventure rivalling Burnaby's "Ride to Khiva." What things she has done! What things she has left undone, that she might have done! She has tramped miles in her terrible boots. ("I vow and protest," as Dick Avenel said, "they've got nails in them.") She went from South Kensington, where she is staying, down to Newington to see Spurgeon's Tabernacle; from there she walked to London Bridge, and found out the Monument; then she reached the Bank, and, after standing there for an hour, timidly asked a policeman when the traffic would cease. The policeman grinned grimly, and took her over the maëlstsom. Wasn't he kind? London police are the admiration of the country visitor. She wandered into Cheapside, lost her way (how, you can't make out, but country cousins positively possess a genius for losing their way); was nearly bumped to pieces by the crowd; drifted somehow into Holborn; turned eastwards, and asked if she was going right for South Kensington; contemplated with rapt delight the superb view from the Viaduct; felt hungry, but could not summon courage to enter a confectioner's, because she saw a few young men in the shop; wanted to take an omnibus, but did not know how to stop one; finally got the wrong one, and, being carried to the Edgware Road, inquired if she had reached South Kensington; thought the Edgware Road was Regent Street, and Regent Street the direct route to South Kensington; at last got a cab — a four-wheeler, as hansoms, she imagined, were "fast" — and reached her destination tired out, and fully persuaded that she had passed through as many perils as Othello. To do her credit, the country lady is venturesome enough by daylight. It is after dark that she is afraid to move from the shelter of home. Then she believes the wild beasts seek their prey. Is it "proper" to go to a theatre without a gentleman? Dare two ladies walk up Regent Street, are they not spoken to every minute? If by chance some one does speak to her, she gathers up her skirts in both hands, and bolts, under the full impression that the whole neighborhood is chasing her. It is a serious charge to have a country lady "in tow" in London streets, especially at night. At the crossings she either rushes into the road as if she were at home, where two carts per day traverse the village "streets," or stands trembling on the kerb, and almost compels you to drag her over the fearful whirlpool of vehicles. But for sight-seeing she is only rivalled by the Cookist on the Continent. She thinks nothing of Madame Tussaud's, the South Kensington Museum, the Tower, St. Paul's, and a theatre for a day's work, and wakes up the next morning ready for another half-dozen places at all the four points of the compass. In music she usually prefers the Christy's and in the drama she is omnivorous; never having seen a play, all acting is alike to her, and all splendid. In short, she is a happy, hearty creature, dreadfully unstylish, amazingly innocent, knowing nothing that "everybody knows," but wise in many things that to "Cockney impudence" seem hardly worth knowing. But she makes delicious conserves and preserves (we have not the least idea whether there is any difference between these two), and sends us up baskets of autumn apples. So the country cousin is useful, and certainly "most awfully amusing." Slang horrifies her, by the way; and, on the whole, though she has an accent, her English is, perhaps, purer than that of her town relations. She thinks them not a little fast, but very "nice" — she would not say "firstrate" on any account — and very ignorant not to know how jam is made, and never to have heard of the rural dean of Slowcombe. Perhaps she is right! Who shall decide what is "worth knowing"?

Indian Punkahs. — A very efficient mode of working punkahs has recently been patented, and for simplicity and cheapness will probably supersede all other methods of keeping these useful contrivances in continual motion. By means of an electric motor, punkahs can be worked at the cost of a few pence daily, and being very moderate in price, it is probable that it will ere long be largely employed in military establishments and private residences throughout our Indian Empire. The motor, with the punkah in operation, can be seen daily at the offices of the Howe Machine Company, Limited, 48 Queen Victoria Street, City, and may fairly be regarded a very meritorious and useful contrivance. We believe that the motor can be employed to innumerable purposes, such as the working of sewing-machines, organs, harmoniums, etc.; and, when its merits are more widely known, will doubtless be in great demand.