The short jackets which the women wear here, as well as in France, are not only more becoming to the person, but much better calculated for women who have rustic or household employments than the long gowns worn in England, dangling in the dirt.
All the inns on the road were better than I expected, though the softness of the beds still harassed me, and prevented my finding the rest I was frequently in want of, to enable me to bear the fatigue of the next day. The charges were moderate, and the people very civil, with a certain honest hilarity and independent spirit in their manner, which almost made me forget that they were innkeepers, a set of men--waiters, hostesses, chambermaids, &c., down to the ostler, whose cunning servility in England I think particularly disgusting.
The prospect of Hamburg at a distance, as well as the fine road shaded with trees, led me to expect to see a much pleasanter city than I found.
I was aware of the difficulty of obtaining lodgings, even at the inns, on account of the concourse of strangers at present resorting to such a centrical situation, and determined to go to Altona the next day to seek for an abode, wanting now only rest. But even for a single night we were sent from house to house, and found at last a vacant room to sleep in, which I should have turned from with disgust had there been a choice.
I scarcely know anything that produces more disagreeable sensations, I mean to speak of the passing cares, the recollection of which afterwards enlivens our enjoyments, than those excited by little disasters of this kind. After a long journey, with our eyes directed to some particular spot, to arrive and find nothing as it should be is vexatious, and sinks the agitated spirits. But I, who received the cruellest of disappointments last spring in returning to my home, term such as these emphatically passing cares. Know you of what materials some hearts are made? I play the child, and weep at the recollection--for the grief is still fresh that stunned as well as wounded me--yet never did drops of anguish like these bedew the cheeks of infantine innocence--and why should they mine, that never was stained by a blush of guilt? Innocent and credulous as a child, why have I not the same happy thoughtlessness? Adieu!
I might have spared myself the disagreeable feelings I experienced the first night of my arrival at Hamburg, leaving the open air to be shut up in noise and dirt, had I gone immediately to Altona, where a lodging had been prepared for me by a gentleman from whom I received many civilities during my journey. I wished to have travelled in company with him from Copenhagen, because I found him intelligent and friendly, but business obliged him to hurry forward, and I wrote to him on the subject of accommodations as soon as I was informed of the difficulties I might have to encounter to house myself and brat.
It is but a short and pleasant walk from Hamburg to Altona, under the shade of several rows of trees, and this walk is the more agreeable after quitting the rough pavement of either place.
Hamburg is an ill, close-built town, swarming with inhabitants, and, from what I could learn, like all the other free towns, governed in a manner which bears hard on the poor, whilst narrowing the minds of the rich; the character of the man is lost in the Hamburger. Always afraid of the encroachments of their Danish neighbours, that is, anxiously apprehensive of their sharing the golden harvest of commerce with them, or taking a little of the trade off their hands- -though they have more than they know what to do with--they are ever on the watch, till their very eyes lose all expression, excepting the prying glance of suspicion.