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to their several quarters. This veiy plan, so
easy, so obvious, so accordant with common-sense
and politeness to our visitors, has been
strongly recommended by the Parliamentary
Committee, now sitting, to inquire into the
affairs of the Custom House; and it is to us
marvellous that it should not have been one
of the very first regulations adopted for the
comfort of the foreign visitors of the Exhibition.
We draw attention to it the more particularly,
because even now an Order in
Council might at once remove the evil, and
introduce a practice which could not possibly
be attended by any mischief, but would add
inconceivably to the comfort of foreigners
arriving in London, and give a fine feeling of
our liberal courtesy. Any case of difficulty
in levying any duty might be referred to the
Custom House on shore; but such cases must
be rare, and the general body of the passengers
would be exempt from the present most
vexatious detention.

So far, however, from any relaxation in the
old system, in one respect the rigour is
increased. Foreigners are asked to produce
their passports. When you ask the meaning
of this, you are told it is done at the request
of the Foreign Powers themselves, to prevent
the entrance of dangerous characters. But
why should we stoop to become the tools of
foreign surveillance? Why not leave our
law and police to protect public order, as they
always have done?

However, on the packet touching the quay,
the passengers are all marched off to the
waiting-rooms of the Custom House, where
their passports are examined, and while their
luggage is brought from the ship to the
examining-room. Here, then, were one hundred
and thirty strangers cooped up like so
many sheep, on their arrival in the capital of
England, for several hours, while their luggage
is brought ashore, and while afterwards they
are, two by two, introduced to the examining-room.
Proud as I had felt of the approach
to London, I was proportionably mortified to
be a witness of this humiliating termination--
a termination in which we were sunk below
many of the despotic powers of the Continent ;
for even on the Rhine, the Elbe, and the
Danube, you have your baggage examined on
board of the vessel; and in passing the Prussian
frontier, the other day, neither I nor my
friend had a single package opened. Every
moment's miserable detention here was a
torment uselessly and unnecessarily inflicted.
The whole of the trunks and bags of the
strangers, containing only their apparel,
requisite during their visit, might just as
well have been inspected on the deck, between
Gravesend and London.

May it not, and shall it not, yet be so ?
There are yet three months at least before
the close of the Exhibition. In the autumn,
when on the Continent, as at home, the great
bulk of professional people find themselves
only at liberty,—when schools, universities,
law and government offices, are to a certain
degree closed,—the fullest tide of travel
towards this country will set in. Is it not
worth while, then, to remove this wretched
stumbling-block out of the way of our visitors;
to adopt a course which can lose us nothing
pecuniarily, but must gain us immensely in
point of national character for courtesy and
true kindness ? Is it worth while to destroy
that generous sense of our national greatness,
which must unavoidably fill the mind of the
foreigner who ascends the Thames amid the
gigantic evidences of our enormous commerce,
our physical and intellectual energies, our
wealth and inexhaustible activity, by so
miserableso gratuitously miserablea finale
as this? It is but justice to say, that on this
occasion the officers performed their unpleasant
duty with a courtesy and a patience
which did them the highest credit; but no
courtesy of manner can obliterate the real
discourtesy and annoyance of a useless and
most tedious detention of often many hours,
and the mortifying feeling of a reception of
our foreign guests, so totally out of keeping
with every other arrangement for this great
and unprecedented gathering of the Nations.



IN Araby the Blest two brothers lived:
Ali and Zeid. Ali, the elder one,
Was married, and had children young and fair,
The red-lipp'd fruitage of our human tree ;
But Zeid dwelt singly, though his love was great.

They had one field in common, which they sow'd
With life-sustaining corn, marking no bounds
Of mine and thine, but sharing it alike.

Harvest came round again. The one long field
Of the two brothers glow'd like tawny fire,
Self-ripening as with inward heat and life ;
And all the land, with depth of swarthy gold,
Fermented in the vibrating noon-glare.
Ali and Zeid work'd in the field all day.
And Ali's wife and children also work'd;
Till over heaven fell purple robes of night,
And through star-kingdoms went the regal moon.

So, day by day they toil'd, till all the sheaves
Were stack'd, and the last gleanings gather'd in :
Then did each brother take his equal share,
And rest was on the land, and vacancy.

And on a night, as Zeid lay in his bed,
Steeping in dew of silence his calm soul,
Into his mind, out of the quiet, grew
These thoughts and words:—"My brother has a
And children, who depend upon his arm
For food and raiment ; while my own bare wants
Are all I have to heed. Is it then just
That I should take an equal share with him
Of the rich strength and fatness of the land?"—
Whereat, being strangely moved within his soul,
He rose, and quickly clad himself, and went

* The substance of this legend will be found in
Margoliouth's "Pilgrimage to the Land of my Fathers."