Artists' Excursion Over the Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road

by Porte Crayon (David Hunter Strother)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine—June, 1859


a"Many a noble heart,
Many a regal head,
Labors for our native land
Harder than the horniest hand
For its daily bread;
Painter, poet, statesman, sage,
Toll for human kind,
Unrewarded but of Heaven
And the inner mind."—Anon.

THE ages of gold, of silver, of brass, and iron, as described by the poets, are past. The present is the age of steam. By steam the commerce of the world is carried on. By steam we travel over sea and land. Steam has turned manufacturer, farmer, cook (although it must be acknowledged it makes but a sorry business of this last). Latterly, steam and the fine arts have scraped acquaintance. The real and the ideal have smoked pipes together. The iron horse and Pegasus have trotted side by side in double harness, puffing in unison, like a well-trained pair. What will be the result of this conjunction Heaven knows. We believe that it marks the commencement of a new era in human progress; and it is meet, therefore, that some record of the event should be given to the world.

On such an occasion, perhaps, the lions themselves should have been the carvers; but it has pleased them to delegate the task. Friends and fellow-excursionists! with the aid of your faithful memories to supply its deficiencies, with your kindly good-humor to interpret its freedom, with the light of your joy-giving spirits to illuminate its dullness, we may indulge the hope that this record will not be deemed altogether unworthy of the great event it is designed to perpetuate.

Before entering upon our narrative we will indulge in a few remarks upon the birth and ancestry of the principal actor in our drama—Steam; and yet, in so doing, we are sadly puzzled to know where to begin, or where to leave off. To what master-mind does the world owe the great idea? Is it to Fulton? Both Fitch and Ramsey used it before his day, and they got it from Oliver Evans, and he doubtless from Watt; and Watt, through Savary, Papin, and others, was beholden to the Marquis of Worcester. And is it not proven that the Marquis obtained the secret in France, from poor Solomon De Caus? who was imprisoned for trying to force the idea into Richelieu's head against the will of the imperious Cardinal. Then Italy claims the ahonor by Giovanni Bianca, and Spain, as the invention of Blasco de Garay. But Hero of Alexandria, one hundred and twenty years before the Christian era, speaks of a machine moved by the vapor of water, in his work entitled "Spiritalia seu Pneumatica." Was it by this power that the obelisks were brought from their quarries, and the monstrous sphinxes trundled about? May we not suppose that the Chinese and Hindoos understood the subject long ages before the sculptors of sphinxes and obelisks were born? and that the first conceit entered Adam's head perhaps as he watched the boiling of his wife's teakettle; for, to quote from a French writer, "C'est que nos progres sont lents, plein de tatonnements et d'incertitudes; qu'ils s'enchainent les uns aux autres, de maniere a rendre bien problematiques toutes les questions d'origine et de decouverte. Si Yon voulait faire une histoire complete de la machine', it vapeur il faudrait remonter au commencement du monde."

Butler tells us that

"All the inventions which the world contains
Were not by reason first found out, nor brains,
But fell to those alone who chanced to light
Upon them by mistake or oversight."

This may be true in regard to a host of discoveries, and we have read a great many anecdotes to the purpose; pleasant, if not true. But the giant of the nineteenth century is not the child of chance. Though its origin is lost in the mists of antiquity for twenty centuries at least, it has been the nursling of labor and genius. In assisting its development and progress, how "many a noble heart," how "many a regal head, " has perished unrewarded and unknown! But while rival nations may boast of priority in conception, of having furnished a vague thought or inconclusive experiment, the great result is directly and undoubtedly due to the practical pertinacity of the Anglo-Saxon.

Next arises the question between the Anglo-Saxon of the Old and the Anglo-Saxon of the New World.

Since the day that France awarded to Franklin the medal with the famous legend, "Eripuit coelo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis," the New World has generally led the Old in the great utilitarian enterprises that mark the civilization of the age, and men have begun to suspect that the true bird of wisdom is not the owl but the eagle. Although Europe justly claims precedence in speculative science, how many a grand principle has there lain dormant, inoperative for centuries—a theme for the discussions of impractical savants, a bauble for the entertainment of the curious—which, when transplanted to the soil of the Great Republic, has quickly developed into gigantic life and activity!

aWhile to England undoubtedly belongs the honor of having originated the railway, yet the idea vegetated there for more than a century before it fairly awoke to life and movement. And when at length the cautious experiments, still unacknowledged and incomplete, made noise enough to wake an echo in the West, the first response was the adoption of the grandest and most audacious scheme for purposes of internal commerce which has yet been conceived and executed, and in thirty years thereafter our maps are streaked over with black lines representing thirty thousand miles of railroad.

It was not until 1829 that the capability of the railway was clearly and practically established by the introduction of steam locomotives on the Liverpool and Manchester road, then in course of construction. Fifty years before this event an ingenious American, Oliver Evans, of Maryland, suggested the idea of railways for purposes of general trade and travel, with steam-carriages as the motive power. The Legislature of Pennsylvania treated his application for a patent with contempt; and, wanting means himself, his conceptions were not realized until half a century later. To what extent his plans were matured and capable of being turned to practical account may be inferred from the following prophecy, extracted from a little volume published Anno Domini 1813:

"The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam-engines from one city to another, almost as fast as birds can fly, fifteen or twenty miles in an hour.

"Passing through the air with such velocity, changing the scenes in such rapid succession, will be the most exhilarating exercise.

"A carriage will set out from Washington in the morning, the passengers will breakfast at Baltimore, dine at Philadelphia, and sup at New York the same day.

"To accomplish this, two sets of railways will be laid (so nearly level as not in any place to deviate more than two degrees from a horizontal line), made of wood or iron, or smooth paths of broken stone or gravel with a rail to guide the carriages, so that they may pass each other in different directions, and travel by night as well as by day; and the passengers will sleep in these stages as comfort. ably as they now do in steam stage boats.

"Twenty miles per hour is about thirty-two feet per second, and the resistance of the air will then be about one pound to the square foot; but the body of the carriages will be shaped like a swift swimming fish, to pass easily through the air. . . .

"The United States will be the first nation to make this discovery and to adopt the system, and her wealth and power will rise to an unparalleled height."

In another paper, published in the Aurora of Philadelphia, dated December 10, 1813, public attention is called to a project for connecting that city with New York by railway, and, after describing several plans for laying the proposed track, Mr. Evans thus concludes: "I renew my proposition, viz.: as soon as either of these plans shall be adopted, after having made the necessary experiments to prove the principles, and having obtained the necessary legislative protection and patronage, I am willing to take of the stock five hundred dollars per mile, to the distance of fifty or sixty miles, payable in steam-carriages or steam-engines, invented by me for the purpose forty years ago, and will warrant them to answer to the satisfaction of the stockholders, and even to make the steam-stages run twelve or fifteen miles per hour, or take back the engines at my own expense if required."

The confident zeal of the ingenious inventor seems to have awakened no corresponding confidence in the public mind. When we consider the character of the people whom he addressed, and the stimulating necessity, in a country of vast extent and sparse population, for extraordinary means of travel and transportation, we can only account for the apathy with which his propositions were received by supposing that the world was not then ready for the subject. In those days were wars and rumors of wars, and, amidst the thunders of battle and the downfall of kingdoms, "the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard."

Oliver Evans lived a generation too soon; and thus it was that America lost the honor of originating, practically, the Railroad system.

At length the temple of Janus was closed, and the time came for the triumphs of peace.

Phillip F. ThomasAs the husbandman burns the rubbish from his field, and plows deep into the earth that, among the clods and ashes, good seed may be sown to yield its fruit in due season; so had the fields of Christendom been wasted with fire, and broken up with the hot plowshare of war, that, from the clods and ashes of ignorance and superstition, a better seed might spring and nobler fruits be gathered.

In the origination of such a work as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, at a time when the system was still in its infancy, we scarcely know which most to admire, the far-reaching sagacity which conceived the idea, or the hardy and zealous faith in which it was accepted. To Philip L. Thomas, Esq., a Quaker merchant of Baltimore, is generally accorded the, honor of having been the first to suggest and urge the undertaking, moved thereto by some written advices from England. The city of Baltimore, at that time worth but twenty-five millions, unhesitatingly embarked in an enterprise to complete which has cost thirty-one millions. We doubt whether there is on record a similar instance of commercial pluck. Mr. Thomas still lives in the full enjoyment of the "mens sana in corpore sano;" and, at the advanced age of eighty-four, has the gratification, in his daily walks, of seeing around him the magnificent results of his foresight. Verily, he that buildeth is greater than he that destroyeth a city, and greater is his reward. As the calm approval of the inner mind, the silent and unsougnt homage of the thinking world, is nobler than the noise of the fitful rabble that hails the last favorite of fortunate war.

The work of construction was commenced on the Fourth of July, 1828, with appropriate pomp and ceremony. The venerable Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, laid the first stone, and pronounced it, next to his signing the Declaration of Independence, the most important act of his life. During the progress of the work, from year to year, old theories were exploded and new principles introduced, increasing in boldness and originality as it advanced. "Its annual reports went forth as text-books;" "its work-shops were practical lecture-rooms;" and to have worthily graduated in this school is an honorable passport to scientific service in any part of the world. In its struggles with unparalleled difficulties—financial, physical, legislative, and legal—the gallant little State of Maryland found men equal to every emergency as it arose, and the development of so much talent and high character in various departments should not be esteemed the smallest benefit which the country has derived from this great enterprise.

In the spring of 1858 a number of distinguished artists and literati were invited to make a pleasure-excursion over the road by a special train to start from Baltimore on the 1st of June. The company's guests were to travel at their leisure, stopping at all the prominent points of interest long enough to examine the most notable productions of human science and labor; to enjoy the magnificent natural scenery for which the line is so famous; and, if so disposed, to exercise their talents after the manner of Doctor Syntax—

To prose it here, to verse it there,
And picturesque it every where."

It was particularly appropriate that the pioneer of the American railway system should also have been the first to inaugurate this new and significant idea. For the first time in our history had the great embodiment of utilitarianism extended the hand to the votaries of the beautiful, claiming brotherhood and asking co-operation. Our development, although without parallel in its rapidity, has hitherto been confined too strictly to the hard, narrow path of materialism. The elegant arts have existed among us rather as potted exotics imported from abroad, baubles to amuse the idle, luxuries to delight the rich, and, as such, awakening no real sympathy in the hearts of the people. The artist walks among us as a man apart, a solitary, a dreamer; misunderstood, unrecognized in the great working hive of society. Bookman looks askance at the ingenious handicraft: Hardfist despises the flaccid muscle and velvet palm; timorous Respectability has a horror of superfluous hair; venerable Conscientiousness is not sure but that the making of graven images and likenesses of things on the earth is contrary to Scripture.

Anno Domini MMMM.DCCC.LIXBut it can not be that the brightest, busiest, and freest people on earth—a people that has builded this vast temple to civilization in the Western wilderness—will ever rest until the work is completed and crowned by the ennobling hand of Art. Brethren, the day is not far off. Like the cock's shrill clarion, heralding the coming dawn, hearken to the invocation of the Iron horse:

"Come, ye gifted of the land—worshipers at the shrine of the beautiful—from your seclusion in the clouds—come down, and see the mighty works your kindred race has wrought; cease from sighing o'er the mouldy Past; turn away from heroes that are strangers to your people, from gods that are not theirs; waste not your inspirations upon idle or unworthy theme; but come, with hands of skill and hearts of fire, to glorify a Present worthy of your powers. Scorn not the proffered friendship, but let the artist clasp hands with the artisan; let the Poet walk with the People. Illustrate, adorn, exalt, embellish, that the nobler aspirations of the human soul after truth, beauty, and immortality may be realized!

"Write, paint, sketch, and chisel that when ten, and thrice ten, hundred years are gone, and our fires shall be quenched, our iron bodies heaps of rust, the noble archways that have borne us over rivers and mountain gorges shall have crumbled into ruin, the stranger (perhaps a winged tourist from some other sphere), finding a mossy stone carved with the letters B. & 0. R. R., may know that they stand for 'Baltimore and Ohio Railroad,' the grandest and most renowned work of its age!"

LeftThe engineer turned the steam-cock, and the invocation comes to a sudden stop. But the light-hearted craftsmen had heard the call, and were not backward sending in their acceptances—right glad to lay down pencil and pallet for a season to join a whole-souled frolic; to turn from the mimic creations on their canvas to scenes of real life and sunshine.

So, on the afternoon of the 31st of May, the guests began to assemble at the indicated place of rendezvous, the "Gilmore House," in Baltimore; and then and there commenced the thousand-and-one delightful little incidents which will live in many memories as perennial fountains of refreshment. There were meetings and greetings of old friends, school-mates, fellow-wanderers in foreign lands, who had not seen each other for years; there were presentations and salutations between those who, seen for the first time in the flesh, had long been united in spirit; the appreciative recognition of names well known to fame; the curious and admiring scrutiny, to note in what manner of casket the Master had chosen to bestow those rare gifts of which the world had spoken so approvingly.

But some of our best friends are missing our choicest spirits. Where is N.? Where is R.? Left behind—too late for the train. Bah! what a flattening sensation it produces to see the cars moving off just as we arrive, red and panting, at the depot! How is A Brother Artistone overwhelmed with self-abasement too deep for anger, the jest of grinning porters and vulgar idlers; and, worse than all, to hear the mocking yell of the fiendish locomotive in the rapidly lengthening distance! But no regrets; our friends have sped a message that has put the speed of the locomotive to scorn in its turn. They will join us to-night. All's well!

About eight o'clock in the evening the company sat down to a dinner, especially prepared for the occasion. And such a dinner! Ye gods! Talk of the suppers of Apicius, with their pencocks' brains and other barbarous nonsense! We'll guarantee the luxurious heathen never dreamed of such a feast as this. And if, as some one observed, there was less wit current than might have been expected from such a company on such an occasion, it may be fairly inferred that the bountiful providence of our host of the "Gilmore" met with an appreciation too deep for words. Besides, folks were tired with the day's journey, and the transition from table to bed was easy and natural.

Good-night! It still rains, but all the better. Things will look fresher when it does clear up, and the waterfalls will be in fine condition. The morning of the 1st of June dawned most unpropitiously; the heavens were covered with damp, spongy clouds, that squeezed out drenching showers whenever they happened to jostle. But in spite of these unpromising appearances the excursionists were at the Camden Street depot at the appointed hour. The missing parties had arrived during the night, and, with the guests of the previous evening, were "all agog to dash through thick and thin."

But before we start we must describe the magnificent train prepared for their accommodation. It was composed of six cars, drawn by engine No. 232—a miracle of power, speed, and beauty, and much such an animal as Job had in his eye when he described Leviathan. The forward compartment of car No. 1 was fitted up for the convenience of the photographers, and occupied by several skillful and zealous amateurs of that wonderful and charming art. Brother, give us your hand, though it be spotted with chemicals. Is not the common love of the beautiful the true bond of union between us? What matters it whether we see our divinity with eyes of flesh or glass eyes?

Adjoining was the baggage and provision room, where heaps of square willow baskets gave promise of good cheer. Next came the dining-saloon, with a table running the whole length of the car; then the parlor, furnished with springy sofas and a handsome piano-forte. Following this were two cars with tables and desks for writing and drawing, also containing comfortable sleeping apartments. The last was the smoking-room, whose windows and rear platform afforded the best opportunity for seeing the country.

The Model ConductorA talented and accomplished gentleman, Mr. William Prescott Smith, in charge of the aesthetic and social department of the expedition, had, on the part of the Railroad Company, welcomed and introduced the guests to these elegant and luxurious quarters. Billy Hughes, the Company's faithful and reliable "Passenger car Inspector," had, with penknife and hammer, examined the train from end to end, and given official notice that all was right. 232, impatient of delay, was stewing and fretting in his iron harness, when the voice of Captain Rawlings, the model conductor, sung out, sharp and clear,

"All aboard!"

The locomotive gave a yell of delight. Ding-dong! ding-dong! we are off. Oh for the pen of Saxe, that we might express the joyousness of rapid railway motion!

At starting our party numbered about fifty souls, collected from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, besides several individuals from the country. All branches of the liberal arts were handsomely represented, and we will wager that it has never fallen to the lot of any other locomotive to draw so rich a freight of varied talent and accomplishment.

But the weather? Still clouds and rain. No matter; it will not dampen such a company as ours. Already two accomplished performers have boarded the piano, and are storming away at the overture of "Massaniello," with such concomitants as would have astounded the fiery soul of the great Auber himself. Con moto—thirty miles an hour—presto prestissimo! steam-whistle—sostenuto e fortissimo! wheels—tremando e rinforzando! escape-pipe—staccato e sfogato! Allegro—"Come o'er the moonlit sea"—forty voices. Hurrah for music, wine, and good-fellowship! What care we for clouds or rain?

In the mean time the train was rushing over the iron path at a round rate. At the Washington Junction the pretty landscape was completely befogged The picturesque valley of the Patapsco to Ellicott's shrouded in mist. As they progressed the external world of gray shadows was left to take care of itself, and the tourists were richly remunerated by the opportunity thus afforded of developing their internal resources. There was music, vocal and instrumental; there was wit, Champagne, and deviled crabs; there was humor, broad and jovial; conversation genial and intelligent. From the numerous earnest and animated groups one may catch an occasional characteristic word or thought amidst the din.

Jacques"Well, old friend, how has the world gone with you since we last parted? Do You remember the tour we made with D---- and M---- to Valombrosa and Laverna? ……Those glorious evenings at our quarters on the Lung Arno ...... And D---- is dead, poor fellow! There perished a promising artist and a high-souled gentleman…..We traveled together through Palestine and Egypt. I left him sketching a Sphinx ...... Still in Rome, pursuing his art, poor, persevering and enthusiastic…. And W----? Has a large family. I saw a group of children by him in the last exhibition; well executed and life-like...... he went to the East Indies...... the foliage of Central America is rich beyond the power of a temperate imagination to conceive...... doubtless, Greek art has fulfilled its mission And Ruskin? Old gods overthrown, and new ones set up, which are, worse…. it is singular how much attention a mere phrasemonger can command, especially when he treats of subjects in which the world is not deeply versed ...... peaks of the Andes, their bases clothed in the wild luxuriance of tropical foliage, their summits glittering with eternal snows."

But enough of these scattered leaves. Could we have commanded the services of Briareus as stenographer, what a volume of railway talk we might have collected! Thus we passed the Frederick Junction and the Point of Rocks—still cloudy. "We're getting into the mountains, and every thing will be murky." Folks begin to get discontented, and visions of a sunless world haunt the imagination. But it is useless to murmur. "Jacques, open another bottle."

Nisi Pro NobisAs we approached Harper's Ferry, suddenly a cry was raised on the foremost platform, which was repeated from car to car until the whole train resounded with the exultant shout, "The sun! the sun!" The dun clouds, broken and flying, hastened from the field like a routed army, while the conqueror appeared in all his might and majesty. The heavens shone clear and blue as a baby's eye; the tender leafage of the mountains looked fresh as budding girlhood; the swelling bosom of the river flashed with its jeweled foam; the browsing herds leaped and capered over the meadows in their uncouth gladness; men rejoiced in the light with a sentiment akin to worship. It seemed as if all nature was breaking forth into song. "Gaudeamus!" Even the stout engineer, wiping the smoke from his eyes with his grimy hand, cried out, "Go it, old fel'! 'pears as if he was hung out a purpose!"

Over that imposing covered bridge, spanning the Potomac River, we pass from Maryland into Virginia. Through that stupendous gateway, walled with precipitous rocks, we enter the great valley.

At Harper's Ferry the excursionists were informed that they would have four hours at their disposal; and thereupon, with commendable alacrity, they set about the business of sight-seeing, each taking the road that chance or preference suggested. Some climbed the steep and winding path that led to Jefferson's Rock—a point of view made famous by the pen of the sage of Monticello; some visited the work-shops of the National Armory, where our weapons of war and glory are manufactured by thousands and hundreds of thousands; some strolled quietly along the river's brink, preferring the contemplation of scenes less extended but more picturesque than those visible from the hill-tops. For our part-having been familiar with this romantic spot from boyhood—we went to sleep.

Washington's PortraitHarper's Ferry is situated on a point of land at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, and opposite the gap in the Blue Ridge through which the united streams pass onward to the sea. The fact that it is the seat of a national armory, and has been described in glowing language by Jefferson, may have given it a wider notoriety than the comparative merits of its scenery would justify; and the tourist who only gives it a passing glance may experience a feeling of disappointment. But if, instead of four hours, he should be fortunate enough to have four days at his disposal, or even four weeks, to pass in exploring the town and its environs, he can be no true lover of the sublime, romantic, and beautiful, if he fails to acknowledge that his time has been well spent, and that Harper's Ferry has justified her ancient renown.

A capital dinner at Entler's solaced the excursionists after their scrambling rambles, and at the appointed hour they again took their seats in the train. As they were about starting their attention was directed to the figure of a man, half-sculptured half-painted by the plastic hand of Nature on the face of an impending cliff. This is supposed by the vulgar to bear a marvelous resemblance to Washington; and without meaning to pay the picture a pointed compliment, we must admit that it counterfeits the physical traits of the first President quite as well as many of his successors in office have represented his moral virtues.

Continuing our route westward through portions of the fertile counties of Jefferson and Berkeley, we arrived about five o'clock in the afternoon at Martinsburg, one hundred miles from our starting-point. At this station the Railroad Company have extensive work-shops and stabling for their iron animals, which are duly groomed and doctored, and make night and day hideous with their noise-reminding one of Paddy's description of the World's Fair:

"There's staym ingynes,
That stand in lines,
Enormous and amazing;
That squeal and snort,
Like whales in sport,
Or elephants a-grazing."

The clear weather had become a fixed fact, with every promise of continuance. The world was to be no longer without a sun—the excursion no longer to miss the smiles of beauty. The Valley of Virginia owes little of her goodliness and glory to the hand of man. Her swelling hills are crowned by no stately edifices; no fair cities lift their embattled towers above her rich-leafed forests, nor gilded domes reflect the golden radiance of her sunsets; no ivy-mantled ruin woos the tourist from his path, steeping his soul in the regal sadness of ancient memories. Yet the valley boasts of gifts choicer and fairer than these, "of that brave wealth for heart and eye."

"Fresh from the hand of the All-giver,
Mountain, wood, and sparkling river,
Fatling herds and fruitful field,
All joys that peace and plenty yield,
And more, oh, pleasant land! is thine
Thrice bless'd by bounteous Power Divine.
Earth's sweetest flowers here shed perfume,
And here earth's fairest maidens bloom."

Modern ChivalryAnd lest the passing traveler should unwiltingly look in seem upon the old town of Martinsburg because, forsooth, the genius of architecture smiled not on her humble birth, let him know that she may rightfully claim a share in the foregoing poetic commendations, and that he fame of her hospitable homes and lovely daughters is wide-spread and well merited.

Now it had been arranged that several ladies should join the excursion at this place, and when the train stopped in front of the Depot Hotel quite a bevy appeared on the platform. As they approached the steps of the parlor car their progress was arrested by a black puddle left by the recent rains.

"Let me run for a chair," said one gallant escort.

"Get a dry board," suggested another.

Gentle Sirs, you are slow: this is no time nor place for laggard courtesy. Quick as thought Captain Rawlings stepped forward, and gracefully dropping on one knee in the water, made a stepping-place of the other, firm and steady as an arch of limestone. With smiling acknowledgments the fair Martinsburgers skipped over, and reached the car with unsoiled slippers.

Poets have sung, artists have painted, historians have recorded the gallantry of Raleigh, who threw his cloak in the mud to save the shoes of Queen Bess. Is the flattery accorded to the vanity of a royal virago a nobler theme than the instinctive homage of manhood to innocence and beauty? Shall the muses laud the venal fawning of the courtier, and the unbought chivalry of the man of the people be forgotten? No! for cheers greeted the gallant Captain as he rose, and there was, besides, an appreciative eye that marked the deed—a skillful hand that fixed the scene and decreed it immortality.

Stage Ride to BerkeleyThe train arrived at Sir John's Run about seven o'clock, and the excursionists here found coaches waiting to convey them to the Berkeley Springs. As daylight was waning rapidly they lost no time in bestowing themselves in or about these omnivorous vehicles, calculated for nine passengers each, but carrying five-and-twenty if necessary. Forty odd souls and bodies, with their baggage, were packed in three carriages; and the party, under the guidance of Jimmy Jack, the most-renowned whip in Virginia, started up the romantic gorge of Sir John's. As the roads had had the benefit of two months' steady rain, the travelers had a good opportunity of realizing, for two miles and a half, what their ancestors would have considered very comfortable staging. Yet such is the degeneracy of the age that some grumbled, and swore it was the d----t route they had ever passed over. It was quite dark when the coaches drove up in front of the hotel, and discharged their cargoes of excursionists, filled with enthusiasm, and quite ready for supper. Nor was it long before a substantial meal had taken the place of the enthusiasm, and the company assembled in the big dining-room to see what further entertainment might be drawn from the social talents of the party.

The Learned ElephantSocrates, having wearied himself with a long lecture on the difference between the exoteric and esoteric doctrines of philosophy, and feeling the need of recreation, joined some boys who were playing at leap-frog in the academy yard. As they played, numbers of the academicians passed to and fro; but the presence of these wise and venerable men did not in the least interfere with the game. Presently there was seen approaching a highly respectable Athenian"—one of a class that mistakes pomposity for dignity, gravity for wisdom. "Boys, we must stop this," said the sage, hastily resuming his rptg6vtov; "there's a fool coming!" So the door of the great hall at Berkeley was closed, to shut out the fools, while the cloak of ceremony was laid aside and the evening devoted to

"Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides."

If the wit that sparkles is often too subtle for the power of pen or pencil, the kindly humor that warms is more picturesque. This evenings entertainment furnished abundance of both. There were songs—humorous, sentimental, tragic, characteristic, and descriptive. The softer sorrows of that mournful ditty, the "Bold Privateer," were followed by the noisier vexations of' the man who "bought tripe on Friday." The Wordsworthian sonnet of "One Fish-ball" was contrasted with the gin-shop tragedy of "Sam 'All," that made the listeners' hair stand on end. Then the learned elephant was introduced, who went through his astonishing performances with a degree of intelligence almost human. There were mysterious tricks of legerdemain; and, to conclude, a gentleman drew a carving knife out of his mouth, supposed to have been accidentally swallowed at supper. The negro waiters were so awe-struck by this last feat that they were afraid to touch the knife for some time afterward; and, when the party left next morning, carefully counted over the spoons, frilly impressed with the belief that Satan was traveling with the excursionists.

PrestidigitationWhether it was owing to the sedative qualities of the waters of Berkeley or other causes, the travelers enjoyed a night of profound repose. Betimes in the morning they were stirring about the village and public grounds—some sight-seeing, some enjoying a souse in the glorious pools for which this place is celebrated. Many great names, now historic, are associated with the fountains of Berkeley, so that there we trod on classic ground. But these reminiscences are too numerous and interesting to be treated in an episode. Of its present attractions we may only say, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof."

After a hearty, old-fashioned breakfast the excursion exchanged compliments with its host and parted with three cheers and a tiger.

As the morning was pleasant many preferred to cross the mountain on foot, and the coaches, with lighter loads, rejoined the train in good time.

Westward ho! with exhilarating speed, diving deeper and deeper into the mountains. At one time sweeping and circling with the graceful sinuosities of the river, at another darting straight through a projecting spur; now under the cool shadow of a beetling cliff, then gayly emerging into sunshine and open fields. The steady fire of appreciative comments showed that the artistic sense was thoroughly aroused.

The Anvil Chorus"Exquisite!" exclaimed one. "This is a perfect Claude!"

The ladies looked earnestly at a patch of plowed ground—

"What tinting! Ah, do observe those rocks; how delicately tender!"

"As a lover's heart," whispered an arch fair one.

"It has precisely the tone of a Ruysdale.

"The tone is any thing but agreeable," said another, as the steam-whistle closed an agonized yell.

"What noble breadth in the landscape to the right!"

"Yes; it is a mile wide, at least-you mean the meadow?"

"Per Bacco! What an object for a foreground! That blasted tree reminds me of Salvator."

"It has a frightened look," quoth she. Ill prefer them with leaves."

"Then what magnificent depth of shadow in the gorge before us!"

"Pray Heaven we may not tumble in!"

But what do the uninitiated know of the technical ecstasies of high art; of the contour of Angelo, the feeling of Raphael, the coloring of Titian, the corregisticy of Corregio? We will even let them pass.

At New Creek we laid by for the Western passenger train, which, in passing, left a brilliant addition to the artistic and literary material of the excursion in the persons of several guests from Cincinnati. A little after mid-day we arrived at Cumberland; and after part-taking of an excellent dinner at the "Revere House" the company separated, to seek in various directions such objects of curiosity and amusement as the town and its vicinity afforded.

The town of Cumberland is situated in a romantic basin, surrounded by lofty and picturesque mountains. It has been more fortunate than most of our American towns in its architectural embellishments, which seem to have been designed for their places, and, instead of marring, add to the effect of the surrounding scenery. Considering its position and circumstances, the Gothic chapel is one of the prettiest bits of architecture in the country.

A gorgeous sunset closed the second day, and gave promise of a bright to-morrow. Those who had been wandering in the hills, or had made episodical excursions to Frostburg and Mount Savage, returned well pleased with what they had seen, and the A Musical Suggestioncompany reassembled in force in the parlors of the hotel. Here some of the amusements of Berkeley were repeated; and with the, assistance of a fine piano and some other instruments happily improvised for the occasion, the anvil chorus from " Il Trovatore" was performed with stunning effect.

On the morning of the third day it rained, and damp masses of cloud hung about the sides and obscured the summits of the mountains. The artists, however, found more to admire than regret in this circumstance. What could be more appropriately brought together than clouds and mountains? Each lent and borrowed grandeur from the other.

The company breakfasted on board the train at full speed. During the meal a furious thunderstorm burst over the moving hostelrie. It was magnificent, and we laid down our knife and fork to quote Byron:

"The sky is changed, and such a change! O night,
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong!
Yet beautiful in your strength as is the light
Of a dark eye in woman—"

"Please pass beef-steak for the lady."

"Far along,
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,

Leaps the live thunder—not from one lone cloud,
Put every mountain now hath found a tongue;
And Jura answers from her misty shroud
Back to the joyous Alps that call to her aloud."

"Will you have a deviled crab?"

"Thank you, yes, Byron and deviled crabs go very well together."

"Oh! I have loved—"


"No, my, friend—the ocean."

"Why, in the name of sense, don't you eat your breakfast?".

"Ah, what a pity they should have happened together! A thunder-storm, which I adore; and breakfast, which is essential. I can get no good of either.

Ascending The AlleghaniesAt Piedmont, 208 miles from Baltimore located the central machine shops of the road; around which has grown up a town of twelve hundred inhabitants. As its name indicates, it lies at the foot of the main chain of the Alleghanies—the great back-bone dividing the waters of the East from the West.

Up to this point the course of the Baltimore and Ohio Road has led us through a country rugged and difficult indeed, but sufficiently practicable upon the ordinary principles of railroad engineering received and in use elsewhere. We have remarked the elegant design and durable materials of its numerous tunnels, crossways, and bridges, and the general substantial and permanent character of its construction; but as yet it has exhibited none of the peculiar features entitling it to that marked pre-eminence which is claimed for it over all similar works in the world. It is in the passage from Piedmont to Grafton that these bold and original characteristics are fully developed. On this division grades have been adopted averaging 116 feet to the mile—at one place for eleven consecutive miles, eight miles at another, and on either side of the Kingwood Tunnel, for some distance, are grades 106 feet to the mile.

This system, when first proposed by the Chief Engineer, B. H. Latrobe, was so far in advance of any thing which had been yet attempted, and so contrary to received theories, that the Company became alarmed, and a popular outcry was raised against it. Fortunately for the enterprise, and for science itself, the genius which conceived the idea was united with the courage to sustain it. The result has been a splendid success. Thus, by one bold leap, the Alleghanies were scaled, and the Mountains of Difficulty which existed in the imaginations of the scientific world were dissipated.

As the train commenced ascending the mountain a number of the excursionists, including the ladies, took their seats on the front of the engine and cow-catcher, for the purpose of obtaining a better view of the grand scenes which were opening before and around them. Such was the confidence felt in the steadiness and docility of the mighty steed that the gentlemen considered it a privilege to got a place; while their gentler companions reclined upon his iron shoulders and patted his brazen ribs as though he were a pet pony.

In the tales of chivalry, when a knight has rescued a beauteous damsel from some impending danger, or is engaged in the equally praise worthy business of stealing her away from her father, his war-horse is represented as being highly flattered with the honor of bearing the precious burden, and as manifesting his sense of it with arching neck and kindling eye, etc. As might and magnanimity are supposed to be inseparable, we may doubtless imagine that "232" appreciated his position; that he humped himself with pride, moderated his whistle, and "roared as gently as a sucking dove;" tripped it mincingly up the savage steep-smoothly as though his joints were greased with perfumed oil. Doubtless he did all these things and more; but we were occupied with the grandeur of the mountains; the awful gorge, deepening as we progressed, through which the savage river toiled and raged; the mossy rocks and groups of lofty firs near at hand, that gave the scene a Norwegian aspect; the silvery streamlets flashing through sombre thickets of evergreen; the gorgeous bouquets of azalia and mountain honey-suckle, that recalled the luxuriance of the tropics.

At Altamont we had attained the summit of the Alleghany, and the highest point on the route, 2638 feet above the ocean-tides. It is a well-established fact that as persons ascend to considerable heights there is a corresponding elevation of the spirits, an expansion of the faculties—whether referable to the condition of the atmosphere or innate causes we can not decide, but will relate a remarkable incident bearing on the subject.

A gentleman, happening to overhear one of the ladies express her admiration of the flowers that bloomed in wild profusion on the summit plains, gallantly descended into the thickets, and gathering a bouquet of the most perfect specimens, carefully inclosed it in a chalice of graceful ferns. Returning to the car, he presented it with the following address:

"Madam, the greatest English poet sings how

"'Proserpina gathering flowers,
Herself, a fairer flower, by gloomy Dio was gathered.'

On which occasion, Madam, the lovely daughter of Ceres was like the flowers I have the honor of presenting to you—a bouquet in-fern-al."

Steamboat ExcursionWhether this is to be classed among the meteorological or psychological phenomena is an undetermined question; but immediately thereafter the train began to descend by a gentle slope into the region of the glades—those breezy highland meadows lying between Altamont and Cranberry Summit.

A short call at the "Oakland Mountain House," then a rapid run over Cranberry Summit, and down the mountain for twelve miles, by grades similar to those by which we ascended, brought us to the famous Cheat River, whose amber waters roll through mountain gorges two thousand feet in depth. We have tried our pen on less imposing scenes, but here we are dumb. Possibly we started on too high a key in the outset, like the enthusiastic Frenchman with his "grande! superbe! magnifique!" and, having exhausted our superlatives, have no resource but to shrug our shoulders and say, Ah, very pretty!"

The Cheat River region is the great scenic lion of the road, as the Tray Run Viaduct is the mechanical wonder. At this last-mentioned point the train laid by for several hours to give the artists, poets, and photographers an opportunity to exercise their faculties. The road here is located along the steep mountain-side, about three hundred feet above the bed of the river. Over a ravine making down at right angles with the main gorge the viaduct in question is constructed, carrying the track 225 feet above its base. The structure is as admirable for its light and graceful form as for its evident strength and the imperishable durability of its material. From the high embankment that overlooks the river one may see the line of the road for some distance up and down; and nowhere else, perhaps, does the result of human labor lose so little in the immediate comparison with the grander works of nature. One wonders alternately at the vastness of the obstacles and the completeness of the achievement in surmounting them.

Resuming our westward course, with a number of ups and downs, over rivers and under mountains, passing the Kingwood Tunnel, four thousand one hundred feet in length, we arrived at Grafton a little before sunset. Immediately on landing, a small party of the excursionists, a dozen or fifteen in number, composed of the ladies and their immediate attendants, embarked on a miniature steamer for an episodical pleasure trip on the Tygart's Valley River. The boat, which was about thirty feet long, and had a boiler like the hotel teakettle, puffed along in a way that reminded one of the early efforts of a young whale. But as speed was no object, the little animal's fussy endeavors only served to entertain the company. There was something dramatic in the contrast between these scenes and those they had just left. From the rushing and roaring of the cars through lonely and. savage mountains they suddenly find themselves gliding with swan-like motion on a river calm and beautiful as an Italian lake. Reclined beneath the picturesque awning that covered the after-part of their little vessel, they luxuriated in the evening coolness of the summer air, and looked with delight upon the placid bosom of the stream, that mirrored the rich overhanging foliage of the beech and maple, and mimicked with exquisite art the hues of sunset, as they changed from purple and flaming gold tothe soft violet of twilight. At intervals several well-trained voices discoursed harmonious music in accordance with the spirit of the scene, that nothing might be wanting to complete the enchantment of the fairy voyage.

Henry ChurchThree consecutive days of activity and excitement had fatigued even the elephant; and after a short but brilliant musical entertainment in their own parlor, the excursionists went to bed.

Renovated by a night of sound sleep, invigorated by the mountain air and a strong breakfast, the excursion went forth to greet the morning sun with unabated ardor.

The Alleghanies were behind them—westward ho! Seven miles from Grafton they tarried to enjoy one of the most exquisite bits of scenery which had yet met their eyes: the Valley Falls, where the river takes two leaps, in quick succession, of ten or twelve feet each, and then descends in long rocky rapid some seventy feet in a mile.

As we leave the mountains the traits of ruggedness and sublimity disappear, and the country assumes those softer characteristics which obtained for the Ohio the name of "La belle Riviere."

A short distance beyond Burton the train was stopped to give the excursionists an opportunity of visiting a couple who, from their extreme old age, have considerable local notoriety. Their cottage stood immediately by the way-side; and the old folks, with several of the younger fry, were at home, rather astonished, no doubt, at the number and character of their visitors.

Henry Church was born in Suffolk, England, in the year of our Lord 1750, and is now a hundred and eight years old. He came to this country a British soldier, of the 63d Light Infantry, and served under Lord Cornwallis in the memorable campaign of 1781. But it was not his fortune to have seen that great day of glory and disaster at Yorktown which terminated that campaign, and with it the War of Independence. A short time previous, while on a scouting-party between Richmond and Petersburg, he was taken by the troops under Lafayette, and sent a prisoner to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He remained here until peace was proclaimed; but the general amnesty brought no freedom for the captive Briton. He had become entangled in a flaxen net stronger than the bonds of way, and the meek eyes of a Quaker maiden had more enduring power than the bayonets of the Old Folks At Homepatriot regiments. Forgetting his loyalty to King and country, the ex-soldier embraced the sweet incarnation of peace, and bowed his martial neck to the gentle yoke, which he has worn with exemplary patience and constancy for seventy-and-seven years. Hannah Keine, the amiable Friend whose charms have so long led captivity captive, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1755, and is at this day one hundred and three years of age. She is erect, active in her movements, in full possession of all her faculties, and is still the tidy, thrifty, bustling mistress of the household she has ruled for more than three-quarters of a century. Eight children are the fruits of this union, the eldest of whom is in his seventy-sixth year; the youngest is fifty-four. Six of these have married, and the aggregate result is sixty-two grandchildren. One died, we are told, when between fifty and sixty years old, and the sorrowing mother was heard to say, in a tone of resignation,

"Well, it was always a weakly child, and I never expected to raise it."

Their daughter, Hannah, still lives a maiden, and true to her filial duties. She is now "hard on" to sixty; and as we saw her tripping, barefoot, from the corn patch (where she had been hoeing), we were not impressed with the idea that Time had been anywise lenient in his dealings with her. In view of these things, some good-natured neighbor lately ventured to suggest that it was high time she was looking out for a settlement, and following the example of her brothers and sisters.

"Ah!" said the old man, I hope she'll have the grace to wait till I am gone. It can't be many years now. But," he continued, with a sigh, "who knows? These young gals are uncertain!"

Then we were reminded of the ancient arrow-maker and his touching grief—

"Thus it is our children leave us!"

Church's CottageThe company has paid its respects to the incarnate centuries, and the artists, with rapid pencils, are making notes of the scene. In the centre is the old man, bowed upon his staff, and holding to his wife's arm, as she stands stark and stiff, like an umbrella stuck into a blue cotton case—for superfluity of skirts and crinoline were not of her day and generation. His iron frame is evidently yielding to the weight of years. Deaf, dim-eyed, his heavy jaw relaxed, his face wears ordinarily a look of vacuity; but bring him a goblet crowned with generous wine, or, what is more potent, though less poetical, a tin of old whisky—the milk of age—his hearing and eyesight will quickly improve, and he will discourse freely and intelligently of his past life; speaking of men and things belonging to our early history as the occurrences and acquaintances of yesterday.

Among the excursionists was an attaché, of the British Legation at Washington—a young soldier decorated for gallant conduct on the bloody parapets of the Redan.

"Father Church, let us introduce a countryman—an Englishman, and a soldier like yourself."

The old man took the extended hand mechanically, but his dull eyes gave us no sign.

"Bring here the bugle."

The instrument was brought, and the young officer sounded one of the martial airs of England. Old Hundred stood up as if his blood had been warmed with wine, and his face flashed with intelligence.

"I know it—I know it—An Englishman and a soldier did you say? Ay, and a brave lad, I'll warrant."

It was a touching and thought-compelling scene to see these two together. The old man, eighty years ago, had landed on our shores an armed invader to aid in crushing out the spirit of revolt in the feeble and disorganized colonies that bordered the Atlantic coast. With the sound of that martial bugle call he doubtless hears the roll of musketry and the deep growl of cannon. Unconscious of the misty present, he sees with the eyes of youth the scarlet battalions of his King marching and maneuvering in vain to force the wary and vigilant host of the rebels to untimely battle. Cornwallis, Tarleton, Lafayette, Lee—these are the names that fill his thoughts. With all these memories fresh in his brain he stands face to face, grasping the hand of the youth, who, member of a lordly embassy, has come to bear friendly greeting from Old England to the Great Nation of the western continent—a nation whose bounds extend from ocean to ocean; whose ships are in every sea; whose civilization, illuminating the breadth of the New World, reflects back upon the Old, light for light.

Before the last royal soldier that treads our soil shall have passed away may the memory of oppression, war, and hatred sink into the grave of oblivion; while hopeful, strong, and true as youth, may friendship spring between nations of kindred blood, laws, language, and religion!

Although the culminating point of scenic interest was past, the social life of the excursion had on the fourth day reached its most attractive stage. No friendship can be considered as firmly cemented until the parties have mutually confided to each other their little weaknesses and peccadilloes-their loves and debts, hopes and disappointments. No social community can be regarded as thoroughly mixed and mellowed until the members permit themselves unreservedly to make puns. It is a symptom that folks have agreed to lay aside the panoply of ceremony, generally irksome to all except those who have nothing else to wear. Dr. Johnson, the Ursa Major of English letters, said that a punster would steal. Dictionaries define punning as "a low species of wit." Heaven preserve our social life from lump-headed learning! We think a discreet punster a treasure in any company; a timely pun; very good wit; a bad one, very good humor—the worse the better.

The Day We CelebrateAt the Broad Tree Tunnel, instead of diving through the mountain, the excursion passed over it by the zigzag road which bad been used before the completion of the more direct subterraneous passage. To perform this two additional engines were brought into service. The train divided into three parts, and each engine taking charge of its portion, began the ascent of the hill by a grade of 250 feet to the mile.

The novelty of the passage so exhilarated the wits of the company that the puns rained, in numbers and brilliancy reminding one of the meteoric shower of 1836, which so astonished the negroes in Virginia and the savants all over the world. They crackled like a bunch of Chinese firecrackers let off in an empty barrel. Who lit the match? We don't know. Doubtless one of the literary men who remembered a couplet in "The Child's Own Book."

"YY. U. R. YY. U. B,
I. C. U. IL YY. for me."

The track over the hill is laid in the form of YYY connected in a regular zigzag. Upon that hint every body spoke at once. The consequences were charming, delightful, sublime; ay, and a step beyond. We can not recall half the good things that were said; we would not repeat them if we could. The confidence of these jolly and unguarded moments should be inviolate. Besides, many a savory dish is relished warm, which, if served cold, might be thought little better than an emetic.

At length the train reached the banks of the Ohio, and the eyes of many of the excursionists rested for the first time on the beautiful River of the West. From thence to Wheeling the road follows the course of the stream at Moundsville, passing in sight of the Indian tumulus, seventy feet in height. Although this is one of the points of especial interest the excursion did not stop to examine it, but hurried on to the termination of their trip. As they entered the town of Wheeling the President of the Committee on toasts arose, and, with a sparkling bumper in one hand, proposed the three hundred and seventy-ninth regular toast (being one for every mile of the road), with the understanding that it was positively to be the last. The sentiment was received with immense applause—which applause was reinforced by a thundering salute of cannon from without. The excursion was handsomely received by the Railroad Company's officials, and conveyed from the depot to the "M'Clure House" in several omnibuses furnished for the occasion.

Here they reposed for a time, for the mid-day heat was oppressive, and it was not until toward the middle of the afternoon that they again ventured out in detached parties—in carriages or afoot—to see the Lions. Wheeling is famous for its thriving manufactories of glass and iron, and is equally renowned for the free and genial hospitality of its citizens. The town is like many a child we've seen, that would be very pretty if its face was washed. But in recompense its environs are beautiful. The bold bluffs of the Ohio, softened with the tender leafage of June, fully justify the fame of the lovely river, while a drive across the noble suspension bridge to Zanes Island and the agricultural fair grounds well repays the trouble. Behind the town is Wheeling Hill, from whose summit the view is extensive, grand, and unique.

As we returned to the "M'Clure House" about dark we met a friend who saluted us with a joyful countenance.

"Comrade," said he, "I have discovered a new pleasure—come share it with me."

"What's that?"

"A Catawba cobbler."

"Bravissimo! lead the way."

So the cobblers were manufactured, and a plump strawberry dropped into each glass among the tinkling ice.

"I've had eight already," quoth my friend, each better than the other."

"Oh, Hebe! what a drink! This is the wine that Longfellow has poetized:

"Very good in its way
Is the Verzenay,
Or the Sillery soft and creamy;
But Catawba wine
Has a taste more divine,
More dulcet, delicious, and dreamy.

"There grows no vine
By the haunted Rhine,
By Danube, or Guadalquiver,
Nor on Island or Cape
That bears such a grape
As grows by the beautiful river."

"Eight are enough," observed my friend, with a touch of sadness in his voice. "At nine they begin to deteriorate. Nine, this time, was a trifle too acid."

In due time an elegant supper was served which was disposed of in a most satisfactory manner, highly creditable to all parties. Then followed a hospitable welcome from the venerable Mayor of Wheeling, with toasts, speeches, and compliments right and left. Every body was pleased, charmed, delighted with every body else, with every thing, with themselves, the road, and the excursion generally. Hip—hip—hip—hurrah!

At eleven o'clock the company re-embarked, and started on their return eastward. If during the four days of leisurely movement we had been delighted with the examination of the details of the road, and impressed by the sublimity of its natural surroundings, yet the wonderful character of the achievement was more fully realized by the rapid, unbroken sweep over the whole length of the rail from Wheeling to Baltimore, 379 miles in 16 hours, without an incident, a jolt, or the slightest discomfort.

On the 5th of June the company arrived at the Camden Street Station, about three o'clock in the afternoon. The excursion was over; but we will venture to say that, like

"The feast of O'Rourke, it will ne'er be forgot
By those who were there, or those who were not."

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