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citizens of the State, who never ventured upon the dearly-purchased luxury of the mail-coach, greedily avail themselves at this hour of the cheap and manifold enjoyments of the rail. Travelling of late has been increasing in geometrical progression. Nobody shuts himself up in exclusive ignorance at home. People who never quitted their village for the last forty years of their lives, and whose bodies, souls, limbs, ideas, prejudices and passions, have daily revolved in the narrowest of all circles, have this year, by means of steam, in the course of a few hours been brought in presence of the congregated productions of the world, and within reach of civilising influences unknown to monarchs of a former age. To speak of the immediate and remote effects of the new system of conveyance would be to indite one of the most instructive and hopeful volumes of the time. One effect is too remarkable to be overlooked. Men cannot move their bodies and leave their minds behind them. In proportion as we stretch our limbs do we enlarge our thoughts. Let a man live in one house for twenty years, and then make a tour of the provinces. What is his very first impression as he crosses his own threshold after his return ? Every room, passage, and article of furniture in the house is smaller than when he quitted it. Larger houses have been seen, larger rooms have been visited, larger chairs have been sat in; the contrast is evident in an instant. And as the significance of the abode, so the value of personal prejudice diminishes at once before the instructed eye. It cannot be otherwise, for intellect is emancipated by free intercourse and selfishness is chastened.
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Now, if it be true that the whole country is on the march, and that marching is favourable to mental development, it is but charitable to hope that the schoolmaster is not only “abroad," but tolerably active wheresoever the learners are congregating. When disciples are restless, philosophers must needs be peripatetic. Are we turning this rushing and scampering over the land to real advantage ? Is the most made of the finest opportunity yet offered to this generation for guiding awakened thought and instructing the eager and susceptible mind? The question forcibly occurred to us the other day in a first-class carriage, in which two young ladies and a boy, for the space of three mortal hours, were amusing themselves and alarming us by a devotion to a trashy French novel, most cruelly and sacrilegiously misplaced. A volume of “Eugene Sue” was in the hands of each. The colour of the books was light green, and we remembered to have seen a huge heap of such covers as we hastily passed the book-stall at the station on our way to the carriage. Could it be possible that the conductors of our railways, allpowerful and responsible as they are, had either set up themselves, or permitted others to establish on their ground, storehouses of positively injurious aliment for the hungry minds that sought refreshment on their feverish way? Did they sell poison in their literary refreshment rooms, and stuff whose deleterious effects twenty doctors would not be sufficient to eradicate? We resolved to ascertain at the earliest opportunity, and within a week, visited every railway terminus in this metropolis. It was a painful and a humiliating inspection. With few
exceptions, unmitigated rubbish encumbered the bookshelves of almost every book-stall we visited, and indicated only too clearly that the hand of ignorance had been indiscriminately busy in piling up the worthless mass. The purchasers were not few or far betwee que but the greater their number the more melancholy the scene. Were all the buyers daily travellers ? Did they daily make these precious acquisitions ? If so, it was a dismal speculation to think how many journeys it would take to destroy for ever a literary taste that might have been perfectly healthy when it paid for its first day-ticket. Here and there crouched some old friends, who looked very strange indeed in the midst of such questionable society-like welldressed gentlemen compelled to take part in the general doings of Rag-fair. In one corner was a small thin volume, always to be gratefully remembered on account of an incident which is likely enough to lead to a thorough reformation of the cruel abuses to which we refer. The little volume was “ The Narrative of the Insurrection of 1745," by Lord Mahon. It caught our eye, as it had already fortunately arrested the attention at more than one railway station of Mr. Macaulay, the historian. The sight of it suggested to that brilliant writer the idea and title of a “Travellers’ Library," and at his instigation—for which we here tender him our thanks—Messrs. Longman commenced the cheap and popular series known by this name, and adorned by Mr. Macaulay's own charming productions.
As we progressed north, a wholesome change, we rejoice to say, became visible in railway book-stalls.
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We had trudged in vain after the schoolmaster elsewhere, but we caught him by the button at Eustonsquare; and it is with the object of inducing him to be less partial in his walks that we now venture thus publicly to appeal to him. At the North-Western terminus we diligently searched for that which required but little looking after in other places, but we poked in vain for the trash. If it had ever been there, the broom had been before us and swept it clean away. We asked for something “highly coloured." The bookseller politely presented us with Kügler's “ Handbook of Painting.” We shook our head and demanded a volume more intimately concerned with life and the world. We were offered “Kosmos.” “Something less universal,” said we, “befits the London traveller.” We were answered by “Prescott's Mexico," “ Modern Travel," and “ Murray's Handbook of France.” We could not get rubbish, whatever price we might offer to pay for it. There were no “Eugene Sues" for love or money—no cheap translations of any kind—no bribes to ignorance or unholy temptations to folly. “You'll soon be in the Gazette,'" we said commiseratingly to the bookseller. The bookseller smiled. “You never sell these things,” we added mildly. “Constantly; we can sell nothing else.” “What! have you nothing for the million ? ” “ Certainly; here is ‘Logic for the Million,' price 6s. ; will you buy it ?” “ Thank you, but surely books of a more chatty character — .” “Chatty-oh, yes ! Coleridge's Table Talk' is a standard dish here, and never wants purchasers.” Deeming our friend facetious, we entered into further conversation and more minute inquiry. For the benefit of railway directors, railway dealers in books, and railway travellers, we subjoin the result of our talk :
When the present proprietor of the Euston-square book-shop acquired the sole right of selling books and newspapers on the London and North-Western Railway, he found at the various stations on the line a miscellaneous collection of publications of the lowest possible character, and vendors equally miscellaneous and irresponsible. The keepers of the book. stalls, in fact, were without credit, without means, without education, without information. They bought cheaply to sell at a large profit, and the more despicable their commodities the greater their gains. At one fell swoop the injurious heap was removed. At first the result was most discouraging. An evident check had been given to demand; but as the new proprietor was gradually able to obtain the assistance of young men who had been educated as booksellers, and as public attention was drawn to the improvement in the character of the books exposed for sale, the returns perceptibly improved, and have maintained a steady progressive increase greatly in excess of the proportion to be expected from the increase of travelling up to the present time. Every new work of interest as it appeared was furnished to the stalls, from Macaulay's “England” down to Murray's “Colonial Library," and purchasers were not slow to come for all. Upon many good books, as well of recent as of more remote publication, there has been an actual run. “Macaulay” sold rapidly, “Layard” not less so. “Stokers and Pokers,” a sketch of the London and