RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 20 . . Europe . . Part 3
RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 3 of Chapter 20 . . . Europe. A new part will be posted every Thursday. Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 20 . . . EUROPE . . . Part 3
George and Emma Billmeyer had a generally pleasant Atlantic passage, with only one stormy day. They took a Cunard Line steamship and arrived in Liverpool after a nine-day passage from New York City.
Emma wanted to be dressed in her finest getting off the steamship in Liverpool, however she was glad that the advise from George’s Travel Guide was taken: “There is no occasion whatever of coming out in one’s best clothes until reaching the hotel and washing off the grime of the voyage.”
Liverpool was the largest seaport in the world, with over six miles of docks. At any point in time, it seemed there were several steamships coming, going or building steam. Very fine soot was constantly in the air.
George had made prior arrangements to have most of their baggage sent directly from the ship to their hotel in London. Their personal baggage accompanied them to the North Western Hotel in Liverpool.
A horse-drawn omnibus, from the hotel, met them. They checked into the hotel, cleaned up, rested; and then went out to eat. On the way back to the hotel, they stopped by a telegraph office, to let everybody know they had arrived safely.
George asked Emma, “How would you describe the voyage?”
Emma laughed, smiled and simply replied, “Adorable.”
Early next morning, George and Emma arrived at Liverpool’s Lime Street Station and took the London & North Western Railway Express train to London. During half of the trip, George was either talking to the conductor about the ride of the railcar or wandering through the cars taking note of design features and workmanship. They arrived at Euston Station in London. It was a pleasant five-hour trip.
Counting and examining all nineteen pieces of luggage in their hotel room, Emma emphatically stated, “Their all here and no worse for the wear!” They heard that their visit to London should include Madame Tussaud’s Exhibition of waxwork figures. It continued to rain heavily, since their arrival; therefore, they moved this indoor visit to the beginning of their list.
George planned on leaving Emma by herself, following their second night in London, as he traveled throughout the northern British Isles; to understand if there were any unique ways British railways were handling freight transfers between narrow gauge and standard gauge railroads. The sun greeted them on their second day in London.
George and Emma thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sights while riding through London on the upper deck of a horse-drawn omnibus. They visited Westminster Abbey and George set up lines of credit at several stores, near their hotel, where Emma planned to make herself known in the coming days.
Off on his own, George was soon to discover that just as the narrow gauge movement started on this side of the Atlantic, it likewise appeared that the conversion of narrow gauge to standard gauge was moving at an accelerated pace; compared to the States. Nothing earth shattering was seen that held promise for the sustainability of narrow gauge railroads.
George returned to London, felling a little dejected. Emma could not wait to show him all the linen, lace and silks that she bought. Emma stated, “Dickins & Jones on Regent Street know me by name. Without a doubt, it’s my favorite shop in London. I also got measured for a dress at Susanne Weatherly’s place on Baker Street. We need to stop by her shop tomorrow, to pay for it. The dress will be ready to pick up upon our return back through London.” George commented, “Well I’m glad at least one of us had a successful visit to the British Isles.”
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