As we drove over the rough streets of New York in the early hours of Sunday morning, it appeared as a city of the dead. There was no sign of life as our horses toiled along Broadway and up Fifth Avenue to the Buckingham Hotel, where we had secured rooms.
This hotel, though comfortable, had the disadvantage of being too far up town for short sojourners, but it has the merit of being conducted on the European system—that is, the rooms and meals are charged for separately. The American plan is to make an inclusive charge of from four to five dollars a day, and it is often troublesome only being able to have meals in the dining-room between certain hours. Besides, it is pleasant to be able to visit the restaurants of New York, which are admirable, and equal, if not superior to those of Paris. Delmonico's, where we dined one evening, is particularly excellent.
We were glad when eleven o'clock came and we could go to St. Thomas' Church, close by. It is one of the most frequented of the many beautiful churches of all denominations in New York, and of very fine interior proportions. Upon the dark oak carving is reflected in many hues the rich stained glass. The service was rendered according to the ritual of the English Church, which is followed by the Episcopal Church of America. They succeed in America in uniting a non-ceremonial service with a bright and hearty one. We listened to a very powerful sermon on St. Paul on the Hill of Mars, in which the eloquent preacher boldly declared that the political honesty of the Athenians 2000 years ago was superior to that of the United States of to-day.
On our way back we went into the Roman Catholic Cathedral, which was just opposite to our windows at the "Buckingham," a very large marble building, but still unfinished.
We found four reporters waiting at the hotel to "interview" my husband. He had eluded them on the landing-stage, but they would take no denial here, and we were much harassed by others in the course of the day.
Our luggage arrived at noon. It is almost a necessity to employ the Express Company for the conveyance of "baggage" throughout America, as the hackney carriages and hotel omnibuses are not prepared to take it. The charges are very high, and it is often extremely inconvenient having to wait two, three, or even four hours for it, after arrival in a town.
The geography of New York is exceedingly simple, and is followed in nearly every American city. "Avenues" traverse the length of the town, which are called first, second, or third avenues, and the "streets" which intersect them are also numbered consecutively, so that you have—Third Street, Fifth Avenue, and know that it is the third street from the commencement of Fifth Avenue.