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RAILWAY DREAMING

WHEN was I last in France all the winter,
deducting the many hours I passed upon the
wet and windy way between France and
England? In what autumn and spring was
it that those Champs Elysées trees were
yellow and scant of leaf when I first looked
at them out of my balcony, and were a bright
and tender green when I last looked at
them on a beautiful May morning?

I can't make out. I am never sure of
time or place upon a Railroad. I can't
read, I can't think, I can't sleepI can
only dream. Rattling along in this railway
carriage in a state of luxurious
confusion, I take it for granted I am coming
from somewhere, and going somewhere else.
I seek to know no more. Why things come
into my head and fly out again, whence they
come and why they come, where they go and
why they go, I am incapable of considering.
It may be the guard's business, or the railway
company's; I only know it is not mine. I
know nothing about myselffor anything I
know, I may be coming from the Moon.

If I am coming from the Moon, what an
extraordinary people the Mooninians must be
for sitting down in the open air! I have
seen them wipe the hoar-frost off the seats in
the public ways, on the faintest appearance of
a gleam of sun, and sit down to enjoy
themselves. I have seen them, two minutes after
it has left off raining for the first time in
eight-and-forty hours, take chairs in the midst
of the mud and water, and begin to chat. I have
seen them by the roadside, easily reclining
on iron couches, when their beards have been
all but blown off their chins by the east
wind. I have seen them, with no protection
from the black drizzle and dirt but a
saturated canvas blind overhead, and a handful
of sand under foot, smoke and drink new
beer, whole evenings. And the Mooninian
babies. Heavens, what a surprising race
are the Mooninian babies! Seventy-one of
these innocents have I counted, with their
nurses and chairs, spending the day outside
the Café de la Lune, in weather that would
have satisfied Herod. Thirty-nine have I
beheld in that locality at once, with these
eyes, partaking of their natural refreshment
under umbrellas. Twenty-three have I seen
engaged with skipping-ropes, in mire three
inches thick. At three years old the Mooninian
babies grow up. They are by that
time familiar with coffee-houses, and used up
as to truffles. They dine at six. Soup, fish,
two entrées, a vegetable, a cold dish, or paté-
de-fois-gras, a roast, a salad, a sweet, and a
preserved peach or so, form (with occasional
whets of sardines, radishes, and Lyons sausage)
their frugal repast. They breakfast at eleven,
on a light beefsteak with Madeira sauce, a
kidney steeped in champagne, a trifle of sweetbread,
a plate of fried potatoes, and a glass
or two of wholesome Bordeaux wine. I have
seen a marriageable young female aged five,
in a mature bonnet and crinoline, finish off at
a public establishment with her amiable
parents, on coffee that would consign a
child of any other nation to the family undertaker
in one experiment. I have dined at a
friendly party, sitting next to a Mooninian
baby, who ate of nine dishes besides ice and
fruit, and, wildly stimulated by sauces, in
all leisure moments flourished its spoon about
its head in the manner of a pictorial glory.

The Mooninian Exchange was a strange
sight in my time. The Mooninians of all
ranks and classes were gambling at that
period (whenever it was), in the wildest manner
in a manner, which, in its extension to
all possible subjects of gambling, and in the
prevalence of the frenzy among all grades,
has few parallels that I can recall. The
steps of the Mooninian Bourse were thronged
every day with a vast, hot, mad crowd, so
expressive of the desperate game in which the
whole City were players, that one stood
aghast. In the Moonmian Journals I read,
any day, without surprise, how such a
Porter had rushed out of such a house and
flung himself into the river, "because of
losses on the Bourse;" or how such a man
had robbed such another, with the intent of
acquiring funds for speculation on the Bourse.
In the great Mooninian Public Drive, every
day, there were crowds of riders on blood-
horses, and crowds of riders in dainty
carriages red-velvet lined and white-leather
harnessed, all of whom had the cards and
counters in their pockets; who were all feeding
the blood-horses on paper and stabling
them on the board; who were leading a
grand life at a great rate and with a mighty

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