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The broad side-paths are thronged with people of all classes; there are beautiful houses, and houses under erection ; splendid shops, and a heap of horrible rubbish. There is something confused in this Broadway which makes one feel a little bewildered in the beginning. And thus, in the first place, I merely think of getting across the street alive. That beautiful little green plot, with its lovely fountain, seems to me, beside the bustling Broadway, like an oasis in the agitated sand.
I must now say something of my arrival here.
I last left you the day before we reached Halifax. That night was the end of any danger in our voyage; for it was during a thick mist that we approached the shore and its dargerous surf. We were obliged every now and then to lie still. In the morning, however, we were at Halifax, and I saw the surf billows, like some unknown, enormous sea-creatures, heave themselves, roaring at a distance around us. I went on shore at Halifax, but only to meet again the worst features of the Old World, fog, rags, beggars, dirty, screaming children, wretched horses, and such like. I was glad to stay only a few hours there.
The following day we took our course direct to New York; that was a real enjoyment-warm weather, a calm sea, favorable wind, and in the evening the ocean full of phosphoric light and stars, and heaven full of stars also, shining out from amid poetical clouds. It was a glorious evening. I was on deck till quite late, and watched the fire-works which our keel called forth from the deep along the whole track of the ship. We sailed, as it were, in an element of bright silver, from which the most splendid constellation of golden stars sprang forth incessantly.
The day before had been cloudy, the heavens and the sea had been gray, the waves lead-colored; but when we came into the large, beautiful haven of New York, which inclosed us like an open embrace, the sun broke through the clouds strong and warm, and every thing far around
was illuminated. It was a glorious reception by the New World ; besides this, there was a something so singularly full of vitality, so exuberantly young, which struck me deeply: there was in it something of that first life of youth, such as is felt at fifteen or sixteen. I drank in the air as one might drink in water, while I stood on deck looking out upon the new shore which we were rapidly approaching
The shore is low. A forest of masts, as yet, hid New York from my sight; one only saw its towers and its 'smoke; and right and left in the harbor lay, with its green hills, and groups of beautiful villas and houses, the large islands, Long Island, and to the left, Staten Island, which seemed to me higher and more woody than the rest of the coast. The harbor is magnificent; and our arrival was festively beautiful, thanks to sun and wind !
A very agreeable family, of the name of B-from Georgia, took charge of me and mine with the utmost kindness, and I accompanied them to the Astor House, where we immediately obtained rooms. The pale girl and myself took up our quarters in a room four stories high ; we could not manage it otherwise.
I had not been'a quarter of an hour in the Astor House, and was standing with my traveling companions in a parlor, when a gentleman dressed in black, with a refined, gentlemanly appearance and manner, and a pair of the handsomest brown eyes I ever saw, approached me gently, and mentioned my name in a remarkably melodious voice: it was Mr. Downing, who had come from his villa on the Hudson to meet me on my arrival. I had scarcely expected that, as I was so much after my time, and he had already made a journey to New York on my behalf in vain. His exterior and his whole demeanor pleased me greatly. I do not know why, but I had imagined him to be a middle-aged man, with blue eyes and light hair ; and he is a young man, about thirty, with dark eyes and dark hair,
of a beautiful brown, and softly curling-in short, of quite a poetical appearance! He will remain here with me over to-morrow; but he insists upon it that on the following day I shall accompany him to his house on the Hudson, where I can make the acquaintance of his wife at my leisure, in the Highlands of the Hudson, as well as consider over my future traveling movements.
I have spent the evening, with my friends from the “ Canada" and Mr. Downing, in one of the many large drawing-rooms of the house, and there made various acquaintances. Magnificent drawing-rooms with furniture of velvet, with mirrors and gilding brilliant with gas-lighted, magnificent chandeliers, and other grandeur, stand open in every story of the house for ladies and gentlemen who live here, or who are visiting here, to converse or to rest, talking together on soft and splendid sofas or arm-chairs, fanning themselves, and just as if they had nothing else to do in the world than to make themselves agreeable to one another. Scarcely, can a lady rise, than immediately a gentleman is at hand to offer her his arm.
October 5th. Uf! It is more wearisome here than any body can believe; and I am quite tired out after one day of lion-life here.
Through the whole day have I had nothing to do but to receive visits; to sit or to stand in a grand parlor, and merely turn from one to another, receiving the salutations and shaking hands with sometimes half a dozen new acquaintance at once-gentlemen of all professions and all nations, ladies who invite me to their house and home, and who wish that I would go immediately; besides a number of letters which I could do no more than merely break open, requests for autographs, and so on. I have shaken hands with from seventy to eighty persons to-day, while I was unable to receive the visits of many others. Of the names I remember scarcely any, but the greater number of the people whom I have seen please me from
their cordial, frank manners, and I am grateful to them for their extreme friendliness toward me: it feels to me so warm and hospitable. Nevertheless, I was very glad to be relieved for a few hours from my good friends, and to drive out with Mr. Downing to the beautiful Greenwood, the large and new cemetery of New York, a young Père la Chaise, but on a more gigantic scale as to situation and plan. One drives as if in an extensive English park, amid hill and dale. From the highest hill, Ocean Hill, as it is called, one looks out to the seama glorious view. I should like to repose here.
The most beautiful monu. ment which I saw was of white marble, and had been erected by sorrowing parents over their young daughter and only child. The young girl had been thrown from a carriage.
On our return to the hotel, I dined with Mr. Downing in one of the smaller saloons. I saw some gentlemen sitting at table, whom it was as distressing for me to look at as it is to look at over-driven, worn-out horses, for so they looked to me. The restless, deeply-sunk eyes, the excited, wearied features, to what a life they bore witness! Better lie and sleep on Ocean Hill than live thus on Broadway! These figures resernbled a few of those which I had seen at the Astor House ; but I had already seen on Broadway both human beings and horses which I wished not to have seen on the soil of the New World, and which testify to dark passages of life even there. And yet-how should it be otherwise, especially at New York ? which is rather a large hotel, a caravanserai for the whole world, than a regular American city.
After dinner, I again received visitors; among these, Mrs. Child. She gave me the impression of a beautiful soul, but too angular to be happy. The little poetess, Miss Lynch, was among the visitors of the morning, an agreeable, pretty, and intellectual young lady, in whose countenance there is a look of Jenny Lind. I also saw
some of my countrymen. A pleasant young Swede, Frestadius, came with a large bouquet. The Norwegian consul, Hejerdahl, Mr. Buttenskön, I had scarcely time for more than merely to exchange a greeting with. Oneonius came, also, from the West, and wished to talk with me, that I might warn our countrymen against emigration and its sufferings.
Among the invitations of to-day there was one to a Phalanstery, situated in New Jersey, not far from New York. I shall have no objection to make a nearer acquaintance with these wild beasts. The family which invited me thither on a visit to themselves did not seem at all repulsive, but, on the contrary, attractive, so ingenuous, kind, and earnest did they appear.
But that which I am a little afraid of is, for myself at least, lest life in this country should be like this of today; then I should be regularly worn out, for my strength could never stand against these many lively people. What is to be done if it goes on in this way? Fortunately, I shall be conveyed away from New York early to-morrow morning by the excellent Mr. Downing. This evening I must, spite of my fatigue, drive to a soirée at the house of Miss Lynch, who wishes to introduce me to some of her literary friends. I am dressed for this purpose, have on my best clothes, and look quite respectable in them, and am writing while I wait for the carriage. Only to think of those who are lying down to sleep!
I am still in joint quarters with the pale young girl from the South; I have never seen any one with so serene a mind, or one who meets suffering so cheerfully. She is a quiet, pious being, endowed with great strength and tenderness of soul.
I must now go! Good-night!
Newburgh, on the Hudson, October 7th. Sunday. My sweet sister, my sweet friend ! how glad