I went to the Chesnut Street Theatre to see Mr. Booth, formerly of Drury Lane, in the character of Lear, and a Mrs. Duff in Cordelia; but I have seen too many Lears and Cordelias to be easily pleased; I thought the whole performance very bad. The theatre is of excellently moderate dimensions, and prettily decorated. It was not the fashionable season for the theatres, which I presume must account for the appearance of the company in the nike free haven 3.0 boxes, which was any thing but elegant; nor was there more decorum of demeanour than I had observed elsewhere; I saw one man in the lower tier of boxes deliberately take off his coat that he might enjoy the refreshing coolness of shirt sleeves; all the gentlemen wore their hats, and the spitting was unceasing.
On another evening we went to the Walnut Street Theatre; the chief attraction of the night was furnished by the performance of a young man who had been previously exhibited as “a living skeleton.” He played the part of Jeremiah Thin, and certainly looked the part well; and here I think must end my praise of the evening’s performances.
The great and most striking contrast between this city and those of Europe, is perceived after sunset; scarcely a sound is heard; hardly a voice or a wheel breaks the stillness. The Streets are entirely dark, except where a stray lamp marks an hotel or the like; no shops are open, but those of the apothecary, and here and there a cook’s shop; scarcely a step is heard, and for a note of music, or the sound of mirth, I listened in vain. In leaving the theatre, which I always did before the afterpiece, I saw not a single carriage; the night of Miss Wright’s lecture, when I stayed to the end, I saw one. This darkness, this stillness, is so great, that I almost felt it awful. As we walked home one fine moonlight evening from the Chestnut Street house, we stopped a moment before the United States Bank, to look at its white marble columns by the subdued lights said to be so advantageous to them; the building did, indeed, look beautiful; the incongruous objects around were hardly visible, while the brilliant white of the building, which by daylight is dazzling, was mellowed into fainter light and softer shadow.
While pausing before this modern temple nike air max wright of Theseus, we remarked that we alone seemed alive in this great city; it was ten o’clock, and a most lovely cool evening, after a burning day, yet all was silence. Regent Street, Bond Street, with their blaze of gas-light bijouterie, and still more the Italian Boulevard of Paris, rose in strong contrast on the memory; the light, which outshines that of day — the gay, graceful, laughing throng — the elegant saloons of Tortoni, with all their varieties of cooling nectar — were all remembered. Is it an European prejudice to deem that the solitary dram swallowed by the gentlemen on quitting an American theatre indicates a lower and more vicious state of manners, than do the ices so sedulously offered to the ladies on leaving a French one?
The museum contains a good collection of objects illustrative of natural history, and some very interesting specimens of Indian antiquities; both here and at Cincinnati I saw so many things resembling Egyptian relics, that I should like to see the origin of the Indian nations enquired into, more accurately than has yet been done.
The shops, of which there appeared to me to be an unusually large proportion, are very handsome; many of them in a style of European elegance. Lottery offices abound, and that species of gambling is carried to a great extent. I saw fewer carriages in Philadelphia than either at Baltimore or Washington, but in the winter I was told they were more numerous.
Many of the best families had left the city for different watering-places, and others were daily following. Long Branch is a fashionable bathing place on the Jersey shore, to which many resort, both from this place and from New York; the description given of the manner of bathing appeared to me rather extraordinary, but the account was confirmed by so many different people, that I could not doubt its correctness. The shore, it seems, is too bold to admit of bathing machines, and the ladies have, therefore, recourse to another mode of ensuring the enjoyment of a sea-bath with safety. The accommodation at Long Branch is almost entirely at large boarding-houses, where all the company live at a table d’hote. It is customary for ladies on arriving to look round among the married gentlemen, the first time they meet at table, and to select the one her fancy leads her to prefer as a protector in her purposed visits to the realms of Neptune; she makes her request, which is always graciously received,air max 90 that he would lead her to taste the briny wave; but another fair one must select the same protector, else the arrangement cannot be complete, as custom does not authorise tete a tete immersion.
Chapter 26 Quakers — Presbyterians — Itinerant Methodist
I had never chanced, among all my wanderings, to enter a Quaker Meeting-house; and as I thought I could no where make my first visit better than at Philadelphia, I went under the protection of a Quaker lady to the principal orthodox meeting of the city. The building is large, but perfectly without ornament; the men and women are separated by a rail which divides it into two equal parts; the meeting was very full on both sides, and the atmosphere almost intolerably hot. As they glided in at their different doors, I spied many pretty faces peeping from the prim head gear of the females, and as the broad-brimmed males sat down, the welcome Parney supposes prepared for them in heaven, recurred to me,
“Entre done, et garde ton chapeau.”
The little bonnets and the large hats were ranged in long rows, and their stillness was for a long time so unbroken, that I could hardly persuade myself the figures they surmounted were alive. At length a grave square man arose, laid aside his ample beaver, and after another solemn interval of silence, he gave a deep groan, and as it were by the same effort uttered, “Keep thy foot.” Again he was silent for many minutes, and then he continued for more that an hour to put forth one word at a time, but at such an interval from each other that I found it quite impossible to follow his meaning, if, indeed, he had any. My Quaker friend told me she knew not who he was, and that she much regretted I had heard so poor a preacher. After he had concluded, a gentleman-like old man (a physician by profession) arose, and delivered a few moral sentences in an agreeable manner; soon after he had sat down, the whole congregation rose, I know not at what signal, and made their exit. It is a singular kind of worship, if worship it may be called, where all prayer is forbidden; yet it appeared to me, in its decent quietness, infinitely preferable to what I had witnessed at the Presbyterian air max 1 and Methodist Meeting-houses. A great schism had lately taken place among the Quakers of Philadelphia; many objecting to the over-strict discipline of the orthodox. Among the seceders there are again various shades of difference; I met many who called themselves Unitarian Quakers, others were Hicksites, and others again, though still wearing the Quaker habit, were said to be Deists.
We visited many churches and chapels in the city, but none that would elsewhere be called handsome, either internally or externally.
I went one evening, not a Sunday, with a party of ladies to see a Presbyterian minister inducted. The ceremony was woefully long, and the charge to the young man awfully impossible to obey, at least if he were a man, like unto other men. It was matter of astonishment to me to observe the deep attention, and the unwearied patience with which some hundreds of beautiful young girls who were assembled there, (not to mention the old ladies,) listened to the whole of this tedious ceremony; surely there is no country in the world where religion makes so large a part of the amusement and occupation of the ladies. Spain, in its most catholic days, could not exceed it: besides, in spite of the gloomy horrors of the Inquisition, gaiety and amusement were not there offered as a sacrifice by the young and lovely