From the Belvoir Vale I continued my walk to Nottingham the following day; crossing a grand old bridge over the Trent.  Take it all in all, this may be called perhaps the most English town in England; stirring, plucky and radical; full of industrial intellect and vigor.  Its chief businesses involve and exercise thought; and thought educed into one direction and activity, runs naturally into others.  The whole population, under these influences, has become peopled to a remarkable status and strength of opinion, sentiment and action.  They prefix that large and generous quality to their best doings and institutions, and have their Peoples' College, Peoples' Park, etc.  The Peoples' Charter had its stronghold here, and all radical reforms are sure to find sympathy and support among the People of Nottingham.  I should think no equal population in the kingdom would sing "Britons never, never will be slaves," with more spirit, or, perhaps, with more understanding.  Their plucky, English natures became terribly stirred up in the exciting time of the Reform Bill, and they burned down the magnificent palace-castle of the old Duke of Newcastle, crowning the mountainous rock which terminates on the west the elevated ridge on which the town is built.  When the Bill was carried, and the People had cooled down to their normal condition of mind, they were obliged to pay for this evening's illumination of their wrath pretty dearly.  The Duke mulcted the town and county to the tune of £21,000, or full $100,000.  The castle was no Chepstow structure, rough and rude for war, but more like the ornate and castellated palace at Heidelberg, and it was almost as high above the Trent as the latter is above the Neckar.  The view the site commands is truly magnificent, embracing the Trent Valley, and an extensive vista beyond it.  It was really the great lion of the town, and the People, having paid the £21,000 for dismounting it, because it roared in the wrong direction on the Reform Bill, expected, of course, that His Grace the Duke would set it up again on the old pedestal, with its mane and tail and general aspect much improved.  But they counted without their host.  "Is it not lawful to do what I will with my own," was the substance of his reply; and there stands the blackened, crumbling ruin to this day, as a silent but grim reproach to the People for letting their angry passions rise to such destructive excitement on political questions.

Hosiery and lace are the two great manufacturing interests of Nottingham, and the tons of these articles it turns out yearly for the world are astonishing in number and value.  A single London house employs 3,000 hands in the town and immediate vicinity upon hosiery alone for its establishment.  Lace now seems to lead the way, and there are whole streets of factories and warehouses busy with its manufacture and sale.  Perhaps no fabric in the world ever tested the ingenuity and value of machinery like this.  The cost has been reduced, from the old hand-working to the present process, from three dollars to three cents a yard!  I think no machinery yet invented has been endowed with more delicate functions of human reason and genius than that employed upon the flower-work of this subtle drapery.  Until I saw it with my own eyes, I had concluded that the machinery invented or employed in America for setting card-teeth was the most astute, and as nearly approaching the faculties of the human mind in its apparent thought-power, as it was reverent and safe to carry anything made of iron and steel, or made by man at all.  To construct a machine which should pass between its fingers a broad belt of leather and a fine thread of wire, prick rows of holes across the breadth of the leather, bend, cut off, and insert the shank ends of the teeth clear through these holes, and clinch them on the back side, and pour out a continuous, uninterrupted stream of perfectly-teethed belt, all ready for carding, - this, I fancied, was the ne plus ultra of mechanical inventions.  But it is quite surpassed by the lace-weaving looms of Nottingham, that work out, to exquisite perfection, all the flowers, leaves, vines and vein-work of nature.  It was wonderful to see the ductility of cotton, as here exemplified.  The bobbins, which, I suppose, are a mere refinement upon the old hand-thrown shuttle, are of brass, about the size of half-a-crown.  A groove that will just admit the thin edge of a case-knife, is cut into the rim of the little wheel, about one quarter of an inch deep.  A cotton thread, 120 yards in length, and strong enough to be twitched about and twisted by a score of vigorous, chattering, iron fingers, is wound around in this groove.  But it would be idle to attempt a description of either the machinery or the process.

I went next into a large establishment for dyeing, dressing, winding and packing the lace for market.  It was startling to see the acres of it dyed black for mourning.  Really there seemed enough of it to drape the whole valley of the shadow of death!  It was an impressive sight truly.  If there were other establishments doing the same thing, Nottingham must turn out weeds of grief enough for several millions of mourning widows, mothers, sisters and daughters in a year.  I ascended into the dressing-room, I think they called it, in the upper story, where there was a piece containing one twenty-fifth of an acre of lace undergoing a fearful operation for a human constitution to sustain.  It was necessary that the heat of the apartment should be kept at one hundred and twenty degrees!  There was a large number of women and girls, and a few men and boys working under this melting ordeal.  And one of the proprietors was at their head, in a rather summer dress, and with a seethed and crimson face beaded with hot perspiration.  It was a very delicate and important operation which he had not only to watch with his own eyes, but to work at with his own hands.  I was glad to learn that he was a staunch Protestant, and did not believe in purgatory; but those poor girls! - could they be expected to hold to the same belief under such a test?

I was told that they could get up lace so cheap that the people of the town frequently cover their gooseberry bushes with it to keep off the insects.  Spider-webbing is a scarcely more gossamer-like fabric.  Sixteen square yards of this lace only weigh about an ounce!  If the negroes on one of the South Carolina Sea-island plantations could have been shut into that dressing-room for two whole minutes, with the mercury at 120 degrees, they would have rolled up the whites of their eyes in perfect amazement and made a rush for "Dixie" again.

From Nottingham I made an afternoon walk to Mansfield.  The weather was splendid and the country in all the glory of harvest.  On reaching Newstead Abbey, I found, to my regret, that the entree to the public had been closed by the new proprietor, one, I was told, of the manufacturing gentry of the Manchester school.  Not that he was less liberal and accommodating to sight-seers than his predecessors, but because he was making very extensive and costly improvements in the buildings and grounds.  I have seen nothing yet in England to compare, for ornate carving, with the new gate-way he is making to the park.  It is of the finest kind of arabesque work done in stone that much resembles the Caen.  This prevention barred me from even a distant view of the once famous residence of Lord Byron, as it could not be seen from the public road.

Within about three miles of Mansfield, I came to a turnpike gate, - a neat, cozy, comfortable cottage, got up in the Gothic order.  I stopped to rest a moment, and noticing the good woman setting her tea-table, I invited myself to a seat at it, on the inn basis, and had a pleasant meal and chat with her and an under-gamekeeper of the Duke of Portland, who had come in a little before me.  The stories he told me about the extent of the Duke's possessions were marvellous, more especially in reference to his game preserves.  I should think there must be a larger number of hares, rabbits and partridges on his estate than in the whole of New England.  As I sat engaged in conversation with the woman of the house and this accidental guest, an unmistakable American face met my eyes, as I raised them to the opposite wall.  It was the familiar face of a Bristol clock, made in the Connecticut village adjoining the one in which I was born.  It wore the same honest expression, which a great many ill-natured people, especially in our Southern States, have regarded as covering a dishonest and untruthful mind, or a bad memory of the hours.  Still it is the most ubiquitous Americanism in the world, and it is pleasant to see its face in so many cottages of laboring men from Land's End to John O'Groat's.

Mansfield is a very substantial and venerable town, bearing a name which one distinguished man has rendered illustrious by wearing it through a brilliant life.  It is situated near the celebrated Sherwood Forest, and is marked by many features of peculiar interest.  One of its noticeable celebrities is the house in which Lord Chesterfield resided.  It is now occupied by a Wesleyan minister, who elaborates his sermons in the very room, I believe, in which that fashionable nobleman penned his polite literature for youthful candidates for the uppermost circles of society.  In the centre of the market place there is a magnificent monument erected to the memory of the late Lord George Bentinck, who was held in high esteem by the people of the town and vicinity.  The manufactures are pretty much the same as in Nottingham.  They turn out a great production of raw material in red sandstone, very much resembling our Portland, quite as fine, hard and durable.  Immense blocks of it are quarried and conveyed to London and to all parts of the kingdom.  The town also supplies a vast amount of moulding sand, of nearly the same color and consistency as that we procure from Albany.  I stopped on my way into the town to take a turn through the cemetery, which was very beautifully laid out, and looked like a great garden lawn belted with shrubbery, and illuminated with the variegated lamps of flowers of every hue and breath.  The meandering walks were all laid with asphalte, which presented a new and striking contrast to the gorgeous borders and the vivid green of the cleanly shaven grass.  Many of the little graves were made in nests of geraniums and other modest and sweet-eyed stars of hope.

Next day I had a very enjoyable walk in a north-westerly direction to Chesterfield.  On the way, called in at a blacksmith's shop, and had a long talk with the smith-in-chief on matters connected with his trade.  The "custom-work" of such shops in country villages in England is like that in ours fifty years ago - embracing the greatest variety of jobs.  Articles now made with us in large manufacturing establishments at a price which would starve a master and his apprentice to compete with, are hammered out in these English shops on a single anvil.  On comparing notes with this knight of the hammer, I learned a fact I had not known before.  His price for horse-shoeing varied according to the size of the hoof, just as our leather-shoemakers charge according to the foot.  On taking leave of him he intimated, in the most frank and natural way in the world, that, in our exchange of information, the balance was in his favor, and that I could not but think it fair to pay him the difference.  I looked at him first inquiringly and doubtingly, embarrassed with the idea that I had not understood him, or that he was a journeyman and not the master of the establishment.  But he was as free and easy and natural as possible.  An American tobacco-chewer, of fifty years' standing, would not have asked a cut from a neighbor's "lady's twist," or "pig-tail" in more perfect good faith.  That good, round, English face would have blushed crimson if the man suspected that I misunderstood him.  Nay, more, he would quite likely have thrown the pennies at my head if I had offered them to him to buy bread or bacon with for himself and family.  I had no reason for a moment's doubt.  It all meant beer, "only that and nothing more;" a mere pour boire souvenir to celebrate our mutual acquaintance.  So I gave him a couple of pennies, just as I would have given him a bite of tobacco if we had both been in that line.  I feared to give him more, lest he might think I meant bread and bacon and thought him a beggar.  But I ventured to tell him, however, that I did not use that beverage myself, and hoped he would wish me health in some better enjoyment.

I saw, for the first time, a number of Spanish cattle feeding in a pasture.  They were large, variously colored animals with the widely-branching horns that distinguish them.  A man must have a long range of buildings to stable a score of creatures with such horns, and for that reason they will only be kept as curiosities in these northern latitudes.  And they are curiosities of animal life, heightened to a wonderment when placed side by side with the black Galloways, or those British breeds of cattle which have no horns at all.  I should not wonder, however, if this large, cream-colored stock from Spain should be introduced here to cross with the Durhams, Devons, and Herefords.

When about half-way from Mansfield to Chesterfield, a remarkable change came over the face of the landscape.  The mosaic work of the hill-sides and valleys showed more green squares than before.  Three-fourths of the fields were meadow or pasture, or in mangel or turnips.  There was but one here and there in wheat or other grain.  The road beneath and the sky above began to blacken, and the chimneys of coal-pits to thicken.  Sooty-faced men, horses and donkeys passed with loaded carts; and all the premonitory aspects of the "black country" multiplied as I proceeded.  I do not recollect ever seeing a landscape change so suddenly in England.

Chesterfield is an intelligent looking town, evidently growing in population and prosperity.  It has its own unique speciality; almost as strikingly distinctive as that of Strasburg or Pisa.  This is the most ambiguous and mysterious church spire in the world.  It would be very difficult to convey any idea of it by any description from an unaided pen; and there is nothing extant that would avail as an illustration.  The church is very old and large, and stands upon a commanding eminence.  The massive tower supports a tall but suddenly tapering spire of the most puzzling construction to the eye.  It must have been designed by a monk of the olden time, with a Chinese turn of ingenuity.  There is no order known to architecture to furnish a term or likeness for it.  A ridgy, spiral spire are the three most descriptive words, but these are not half enough for stating the shape, style and posture of this strange steeple.  It is difficult even to assist the imagination to form an idea of it.  I will essay a few words in that direction.  Suppose, then, a plain spire, 100 feet high, in the form of an attenuated cone, planted upon a heavy church tower.  Now, in imagination, plough this cone all around into deep ridges from top to bottom.  Then mount to the top, and, with a great iron wrench, give it an even twist clear down to the base, so that each ridge shall wind entirely around the spire between the bottom and the top.  Then, in giving it this screw-looking twist, bend over the top, with a gentle incline all the way down, so that it shall be "out of perpendicular" by about three feet.  Then come down and look at your work, and you will be astonished at it, standing far or near.  The tall, ridgy, curved, conical screw puzzles you with all sorts of optical illusions.  As the eyes in a front-face portrait follow you around the room in which it is hung, so this strange spire seems to lean over upon you at every point, as you walk round the church.  Indeed, I believe it was only found out several centuries after its erection, that it absolutely leaned more in one direction than another.  It is a remarkable sight from the railway as you approach the town from a distance.  If it may be said reverently, the church, standing on comparatively a hill, not only lifts its horn on high, but one like that of a rhinoceros, considerably curved.  Just outside the town stands the house in which George Stephenson lived his last days, and ended his great life of benefaction to mankind; leaving upon that haloed spot a biograph which the ages of time to come shall not wash out.

From Chesterfield I diverged westward to see Chatsworth and Haddon Hall.  Whoever makes this walk or ride, let him be sure to stop at Watch Hill on the way, and look at the view eastward.  It is grander than that of Belvoir Vale, if not so beautiful.

It was a pleasure quite equal to my anticipation to visit Chatsworth for the first time, after a sojourn in England, off and on, for sixteen years.  It is the lion number three, according to the American ranking of the historical edifices and localities of England.  Stratford-upon-Avon, Westminster Abbey and Chatsworth are the three representative celebrities which our travellers think they must visit, if they would see the life of England's ages from the best stand-points.  And this is the order in which they rank them.  Chatsworth and Haddon Hall should be seen the same day if possible; so that you may carry the impressions of the one fresh and active into the other.  They are the two most representative buildings in the kingdom.  Haddon is old English feudalism edificed.  It represents the rough grandeur, hospitality, wassail and rude romance of the English nobility five hundred years ago.  It was all in its glory about the time when Thomas-a-Becket the Magnificent used to entertain great companies of belted knights of the realm in a manner that exceeded regal munificence in those days, - even directing fresh straw to be laid for them on his ample mansion floor, that they might not soil the bravery of their dresses when they bunked down for the night.  The building is brimful of the character and history of that period.  Indeed, there are no two milestones of English history so near together, and yet measuring such a space of the nation's life and manners between them, as this hall and that of Chatsworth.  It was built, of course, in the bow-and-arrow times, when the sun had to use the same missiles in shooting its barbed rays into the narrow apertures of old castles - or the stone coffins of fear-hunted knights and ladies, as they might be called.  What a monument this to the dispositions and habits of the world, outside and inside, of that early time!  Here is the porter's or warder's lodge just inside the huge gate.  To think of a living being with a human soul in him burrowing in such a place! - a big, black sarcophagus without a lid to it, set deep in the solid wall.  Then there is the chapel.  Compare it with that of Chatsworth, and you may count almost on your fingers the centuries that have intervened between them.  It was new-roofed soon after the discovery of America, and perhaps done up to some show of decency and comfort.  But how small and rude the pulpit and pews - looking like rough-boarded potato-bins!  Here is the great banquet-hall, full to overflowing with the tracks and cross-tracks of that wild, strange life of old.  There is a fire-place for you, and a mark in the chimney-back of five hundred Christmas logs.  Doubtless this great stone pavement of a floor was carpeted with straw at these banquets, after the illustrious Becket's pattern.  Here is a memento of the feast hanging up at the top of the kitchenward door; - a pair of roughly-forged, rusty handcuffs amalgamated into one pair of jaws, like a musk-rat trap.  What was the use of that thing, conductor?  "That, sir, they put the 'ands in of them as shirked and didn't drink up all the wine as was poured into their cups, and there they made them stand on tiptoe up against that door, sir, before all the company, sir, until they was ashamed of theirselves."  Descend into the kitchen, all scarred with the tremendous cookery of ages.  Here they roasted bullocks whole, and just back in that dark vault with a slit or two in it for the light, they killed and dressed them.  There are the relics of the shambles.  And here is the great form on which they cut them up into manageable pieces.  It would do you good, you Young America, to see that form, and the cross-gashes of the meat-axe in it.  It is the half of a gigantic English oak, which was growing in Julius Caesar's time, sawed through lengthwise, making a top surface several feet wide, black and smooth as ebony.  Some of the bark still clings to the under side.  The dancing hall is the great room of the building.  All that the taste, art and wealth of that day could do, was done to make it a splendid apartment, and it would pass muster still as a comfortable and respectable salon.  As we pass out, you may decipher the short prayer cut in the wasting stone of a side portal, "GOD SAVE THE VERNONS!"  I hope this prayer has been favorably answered; for history records much virtue in the family, mingled with some romantic escapades, which have contributed, I believe, to the entertainment of many novel readers.

Just what Haddon Hall was to the baronial life and society of England five hundred years ago, is Chatsworth to the full stature of modern civilization and aristocratic wealth, taste and position.  Of this it is probably the best measure and representative in the kingdom; and as such it possesses a special value and interest to the world at large.  Were it not for here and there such an establishment, we should lack waymarks in the progress of the arts, sciences and tastes of advancing civilization.  Governments and joint-stock companies may erect and fill, with a world of utilities and curiosities of ancient and modern times, British Museums, National Galleries, Crystal Palaces and Polytechnic Institutions; but not one of these, nor the Louvre, nor Versailles, nor the Tuileries can compete with one private mind, taste and will concentrated upon one great work for a lifetime, when endowed with the requisite perceptions and means competent to carry that work to the highest perfection of science, genius and art.  Museums, galleries and public institutions of art are exclusively visiting places.  The elegancies of home life are all shut out of their attractions.  You see in them the work and presence of a committee, or corporation, often in discrepant layers of taste and plan.  One mind does not stand out or above the whole, fashioning the tout-ensemble to the symmetrical lines of one governing, all-pervading and shaping thought.  You see no exquisite artistry of drawing-room or boudoir elegance and luxury running through living apartments of home, out into the conservatories, lawns, gardens, park and all its surroundings and embellishments, making the whole like a great illuminated volume of family life, which you may peruse page by page, and trace the same pen and the same story from beginning to end.  Even the grandest royal residences lack, in this quality, what you will find at Chatsworth.  They all show the sharp-edged strata of unaffiliated tastes and styles of different ages and artists.  They lack the oneness of a single individuality, of one great symmetrical conception.

This one-mindedness, this one-man power of conception and execution gives to the Duke of Devonshire's palace at Chatsworth an interest and a value that probably do not attach to any other private establishment in England.  In this felicitous characteristic it stands out in remarkable prominence and in striking contrast with nearly all the other baronial halls of the country.  It is the parlor pier-glass of the present century.  It reflects the two images in vivid apposition - the brilliant civilization of this last, unfinished age in which we live and the life of bygone centuries; that is, if Haddon Hall shows its face in it, or if you have the features of that antiquity before your eyes when you look into the Chatsworth mirror.  The whole of this magnificent establishment bears the impress of the nineteenth century, inside and outside.  The architecture, sculpture, carving, paintings, engravings, furniture, libraries, conservatories, flowers, shrubberies and rockeries all bear and honor the finger-prints of modern taste and art.  In no casket in England, probably, have so many jewels of this century's civilization been treasured for posterity as in this mansion on the little meandering Derwent.  If England has no grand National Gallery like the French Louvre, she has works of art that would fill fifty Louvres, collected and treasured in these quiet private halls, embosomed in green parks and plantations, from one end of the land to the other.  And in no other country are the private treasure-houses of genius so accessible to the public as in this.  They doubtless act as educational centres for refining the habits of the nation; exerting an influence that reaches and elevates the homes of the people, cultivating in them new perceptions of beauty and comfort; diffusing a taste for embowering even humble cottages in shrubbery; making little flower-fringed lawns, six feet by eight or less; rockeries and ferneries, and artificial ruins of castles or abbeys of smaller dimensions still.

In passing through the galleries and gardens of Chatsworth you will recognise the originals of many works of art which command the admiration of the world.  The most familiar to the American visitor will probably be the great painting of the Bolton Abbey Scene, the engravings of which are so numerous and admired on both sides of the Atlantic.  But there is the original of a greater work, which has made the wonder of the age.  It is the original of the Great Crystal Palace of 1851, and the mother of all the palaces of the same structure which have been or will be erected in time past or to come.  Here it diadems at Chatsworth the choice plants and flowers of all the tropics; presenting a model which needed only expansion, and some modifications, to furnish the reproduction that delighted the world in Hyde Park in 1851.

I was pleasantly impressed with one feature of the economy that ruled at Chatsworth.  Although there were between one and two thousand deer flecking the park, it was utilised to the pasture of humbler and more useful animals.  Over one hundred poor people's cows were feeding demurely over its vast extent, even to the gilded gates of the palace.  They are charged only £2 for the season; which is very moderate, even cheaper than the stony pasturage around the villages of New England.  I noticed a flock of Spanish sheep, black-and-white, looking like a drove of Berkshire hogs, and seemingly clothed with bristles instead of wool.  They are kept rather as curiosities than for use.

Chatsworth, with all its treasures and embodiments of wealth, art and genius, with an estate continuous in one direction for about thirty miles, is but one of the establishments of the Duke of Devonshire.  He owns a palace on the Thames that might crown the ambition of a German prince.  He also counts in his possessions old abbeys, baronial halls, parks and towns that once were walled, and still have streets called after their gates.  If any country is to have a personage occupying such a position, it is well to have a considerable number of the same class, to yeomanise such an aristocracy - to make each feel that he has his peers in fifty others.  Otherwise an isolated duke would have to live and move outside the pale of human society; a proud, haughty entity dashing about, with not even a comet's orbit nor any fixed place in the constellation of a nation's communities.  It is of great necessity to him, independent of political considerations, that there is a House of Peers instituted, in which he may find his social level; where he may meet his equals in considerable numbers, and feel himself but a man.