The canal, it was urged, was not an experiment; it had been tested and not found wanting; already the great achievement of De Witt Clinton in completing the Erie Canal had made New York City the metropolis of the western world.
Before it was over, he had entered, by the special privilege accorded such characters, the club about which man-society in San Francisco revolved; he had broken into a half a dozen circles of women society; he had become hail-fellow-well-met with the younger sons of the cocktail route, the loud characters of flashy Latin quarter studios, the returned Arctic millionaires of the hour and day who kept the Palace Hotel prosperous, the patrons and heroes of the prize-fight games, the small theatrical sets of that small metropolis.
There, every individual work, however capricious and isolated it may seem, has its place and its projection. Harmony results from the whole. From the cathedral of Shakespeare to the mosque of Byron, a thousand tiny bell towers are piled pell-mell above this metropolis of universal thought. At its base are written some ancient titles of humanity which architecture had not registered.
At the daily rising of this great curtain of nature, at the present time, scores of white sails and sluggish vessels are seen thickening on the water, with that air of life which denotes the neighborhood to the metropolis of a great and flourishing empire; but to Henry and the peddler it displayed only the square yards and lofty masts of a vessel of war, riding a few miles below them.
With these exceptions, the valley and the hill opposite Blacherne, and the wide-reaching Metropolis beyond them, were to appearances a blacker cloud dropped from the clouded sky. A curious sound now came to him from the direction of the city. Was it a rising wind? Or a muffled roll from the sea? While wondering, some one behind him said: "They are coming."
Such levity is proper enough in the provinces, we make no doubt, but it ill suits the dignity of the metropolis. We trust our young friend will take these remarks in good part, for we mean them solely for his benefit. All who know us are aware that although we are at times justly severe upon tigers and martyrs, we never intentionally offend gladiators. "The Infant Prodigy performed wonders.
In Etruria proper Volsinii was the metropolis; of the rest of its twelve towns we know by trustworthy tradition only Perusia, Vetulonium, Volci, and Tarquinii. It was, however, quite as unusual for the Etruscans really to act in concert, as it was for the Latin confederacy to do otherwise.
An organisation for this purpose did once really exist in England, really trying to do the work which it was intended to do, as half the pages of our early statutes witness. In London, as the metropolis, a central council sate for every branch of trade, and this council was in communication with the Chancellor and the Crown.
He felt lonely and desolate in spite of his joy at getting back to "God's Country." He frowned at the hazy outline of the great city from which tall buildings were beginning to differentiate themselves as they drew nearer. There was New York. He meant to see New York, of course. He was a Westerner and had never had an opportunity to go about the metropolis of his own country.
Follow it to its source, two days' trot or tramp up towards Cheyenne Pass, and there you find them, as the Sioux did twenty years ago, before we bade them seek their lodge-poles farther north. How far is it to the prairie metropolis, a mile and a half, you venture?