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New York hotels - Broadway-The planter's opinions- Peel's Museum-Animal magnetism-Lady magnetized-Philadelphia -Funeral pageant the late president Ferry-house hotel John of the rat, and the new bridegroom.
It has been ever and aye my earnest desire to pass through the highways of life quietly, without the fracas, bustle, and ostentatious turmoil in which the greater portion of the travelling public seem to delight. Arrived at New York, I consult with a fellow voyageur as to the possibility of getting into a quiet house; he enters into my view at once, is well acquainted with the Broadway hotels, and I gladly follow in his wake, and we make our public entry through Broadway, and all the fine clothes, bright eyes, severe, gay, grave, and quizzical faces of the New Yorkers.
"They are going to church," said my companion, Mr. Yellowley. This portly gentleman, who declares he hates a crowd just as much as I do, will not permit the carriage to stop at Astor House, and we are set down at Hotel. At first I thought the whip had made a mistake, and had driven to the doors of a meeting house or conventicle; but the black waiters in white jackets, pouncing upon our baggage, speedily
undeceived me, while my companion elbowed his way through the dense crowd of gentlemen in black, sitting and standing about the doors, in the hall, in the porch, up to an elevated desk, upon which we found a large dirty book, flanked with pens and ink bottles, entered our names, and Yellowley was hailed directly by some old familiar faces, and again and again did he repeat, pro bono publico, the story of our hair-breadth 'scapes and the perils and dangers of our voyage. The curiosity of the crowd being somewhat appeased, we are permitted to clamber after our baggage, up to the top of the house, and enjoy the tranquillity of a garret. If this be Mr. Yellowley's quiet house, thought I, what must the hotels down South be.
We dine at half-past one, the boarders being summoned by the roar of a huge gong.. Upwards of one hundred men, women, and children, sit down to soup, with a regiment of black waiters drawn up in firm array behind our chairs. The blacks perform their evolutions with mechanical precision thus, fifty dishes are set down on the table with a loud clankagain fifty covers are whipped off, and the dinner proceeds amidst an awful clatter of knives and forks; every man, working away with resolution and haste, fills and empties his plate, regardless of his neighbour's wants. "Help yourself, and your friends will like you the better," is the motto here; a truce to conversation, also, while the all important business of eating is being gone through. Very little wine was drank, and whenever a man filled his skin, he rose up from the table and retreated down to the bar, there lounged about, smoking cigars, sipping brandy and water, chewing tobacco, glancing at the newspapers fastened on desks in the reading rooms, or seated close to door or win
dows staring at the passengers in the street. There is a restlessness, an uneasy shifting of positions, a sort of perpetual motion about the men, coupled with an anxious expression of countenance, and fierce frowning brows bent upon strangers, which does not make a very agreeable impression upon my mind, even though I am prepared to admire the Americans.
"You must not judge of us by what you see here," said Mr. Yellowley. "The New Yorkers are all men of business, they are citizens of the world; you must go South and West to see the genuine American in his true colours."
Stroll up and down the sunny side of Broadwaymeet several of our late fellow passengers, all in raptures with the splendid weather, good accommodation, beauty of the ladies, and intelligence of the men of New York. I never saw such transparent complexions, said one-such brilliant eyes, said another-such feet and ancles, such bu―adieu, mes amis, au revoir. But Mr. Yellowley and his discreet son are not so much enraptured as the rest.
"I see nothing natural in the gait, in the walk of those ladies," said the dignified planter, looking up and down the pavé at the glittering ranks of fair ladies, slowly sailing before the store windows, to see and to be seen. "The odious custom of wearing pan
Pantalets, I believe, Mr. Yellowley,” said I. "Well, then, pantalets. I have no objection," continued he, " to see little girls-children, disporting upon green lawns and sofas, wear pantalets but look there, sir, behold that venerable matron dressed like a Parisian grisette, waist à la wasp or à la Psyche
her flowers, her feathers, her chains, her flounced
pantalets. I ask you, sir, what can that old woman mean by affecting such infantine simplicity, twirling a parasol not bigger than a supper plate before her mahogany features ?"
"You are severe, Mr. Yellowley," said I.
"I am determined to be so," said that gentleman; "I am resolved to discountenance every thing of the sort."
Placards at every corner inform us that a lady will be magnetized this evening at Peel's Museum, admission twenty-five cents only; and at eight o'clock we march into the Museum, and admire a fusty collection of stuffed beasts, birds, and fishes, and a live tiger-cat, more playful than pleasant, till the learned doctor arrives, and is recognised as an old acquaintance by one of our party.
Why, G," exclaimed our friend, addressing the doctor by a name not to be found in the affiche or programme "why, G, haven't we met before ?" Very likely, sir," said the doctor, drily, arranging his spectacles; "as a public lecturer and professional man, I meet with fresh faces every day."
"Why, hang it, doctor, don't you remember me, Bob F-, your old comrade down South? But how comes it to pass you look so much older than I do? Why, man, you are as grey as a badger."
"I think, sir," retorted the doctor, "your comrade down South was a few years younger than I am," cutting the dialogue short by informing us that the lady was waiting in the theatre, a convenient lecture room, which was soon filled with ladies and gentlemen anxious to witness the performance. The lady soon slipped from behind a red curtain, and made a sidelong inclination towards the company, while the gallant
little Doctor led her to an arm-chair, in which she was presently adjusted, her head being thrown back, arms hanging down, like a patient in a dentist's fauteuil ; she was a stout, blooming dame, verging to thirty, good-looking withal, blushing like any rose.
The Doctor now briefly addressed us upon the theory and practice of animal magnetism, declares he is only a young beginner himself, requests our patience, turns up the cuffs of his coat, and goes to work in a masterly manner, rubbing down the quiescent lady in the chair with both hands, from the crown of her head downwards, towards the tip of her fingers, while we look on as grave as church mice, and preserve a decent silence. The Doctor, pausing in his labour, asks the lady how she feels, and receiving no reply, he steps forward on the stage, and declares she is now in the magnetic state. A black board is set up at one side of the stage, and the Doctor requests any lady or gentleman present to write any question and command thereon with chalk, and mark the result-half a dozen young men spring forward, and we have several questions and commands written on the board, and rubbed out again, before the Doctor is satisfied. "Will her to raise her right arm,"-the Doctor slowly raises his right arm behind the sleeping beauty, and she raises her right arm also; and her arm being once in the air, the Doctor declares she has no power to let it drop again, till he wills it—(loud applause)— the lady still asleep, with her arm sticking out, like the handle of a pump. Mr. Yellowley here expresses his unbelief. He says it is all a hoax-that the lady can bend her arm if she pleases; and Mr. Yellowley is invited by the Doctor to mount the stage-" for," says the Doctor, jocosely, "seeing is believing, but feeling