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on the walls is a frescoed circle, illustrative of cer- building. I take my companion up another bronze tain epochs in our country's career. At the top is staircase, and bring him into the President's room the canopy, where the visitor sees General Wash- at its head. From this I take him into the Senate ington and the thirteen States, with an angel blow- lobby and Marble Room, where he may notice, as ing a horn. I presume it stands for Fame. In the in the President's room, the indefinite multiplica
groups surrounding this central assembly, he may tion of rooms, caused by the reflections of the discover figures resembling other men well known opposite mirrors. in the annals of the nation.
Again going into the lobby, we turn to the left In another moment we are in the old Hall of and look into the Vice-President's room. Representatives, with its many statues and its two object of interest here is the little looking-glass mosaic portraits. I confess that I am not very purchased many years ago,— a purchase defond of all the works of art about the Capitol. Inounced by the senators as an act of reckless shall take the liberty to pass them by in silence. extravagance ! I ought, however, to praise the figure of History, Turning to the right, we step from the lobby standing in her marble chariot, with her book of record before her. One of the interesting features of the room is its “echoes”; by putting his ear to the wall, the listener can hear everything that is said by the people passing through the Hall, even to a faint whisper. Another amusing pastime is to try to discover faces and figures in the breccia columns.
A few steps farther, and we enter the present Hall of Representatives, containing a few pictures. Without pausing to look at them, we pass into the lobby and reception-room, and find the walls decorated with the portraits of the many Speakers who have, in the past, presided over the House.
Leaving the House lobby near the Speaker's room, and descending the bronze staircase, we pass THE OLD MIRROR IN THE VICE-PRESIDENT'S ROOM. around through the long colonnade on the floor below, and soon reach a circular room
om filled with into the Senate Chamber. It contains no paintthe pillars that support the Rotunda. Having ings, but if my companion is like the average passed this, we reach the Senate wing of the sight-seer he will mount the steps and sit in the chair of the Vice-President, and handle the historic little gavel that has descended with the memories of former times to the senators of to-day. He may also look at the little snuff-boxes, not quite so old, but playing as important a part in the traditionary lore of that body. Near Captain Bassett's chair is another box, containing an instrument that puts in motion the “automatic pages.” This is a new contrivance of electric wires, after the fashion of the fire and messenger alarms, arid saves the human pages much labor in “hunting up” senators on a call of the yeas and nays, or when their presence is wanted for anything else. The wires connect with all the committee-rooms and other places frequented by the law-makers; and by one, two, three, or four turns of the machine, a tinkle is set up all over the Senate wing, signaling to the senators exactly what is being done. If curious, the stranger may wander into the cloak-rooms and imagine how the law-makers make themselves comfortable when a tedious talker is occupying the floor in the Chamber.
Making our exit by way of the eastern door, and taking a glance into the Reception Room, and perhaps walking out to the bronze doors, we turn to the right and pause at the steps leading to the ladies' gallery. Midway up the stairs, is a representation of the battle on Lake Erie, and on the floor above there are some other pictures.
THE GREAT TELESCOPE IN THE NATIONAL OBSERVATORY. Walking around the gallery corridor, and noticing upon the doors the sections reserved for the ex- a little fat man came into this place, and, with a ecutive officers, diplomatic corps, and families of grand gesture and a funny brogue, called the atcongressmen, we descend the staircase opposite tention of the guards to the picture. to that we have just ascended.
“Do you see that man on that horse ? ” he At the foot of the steps, and in the same relative asked, pointing to the gallant charger. “Well, I position as the statue of Franklin, is a statue of am that man !!” John Hancock, whose bold signature on the Saying which he slapped himself forcibly on his Declaration of Independence is familiar to the chest, and pompously disappeared. He repeated world.
this performance on several succeeding days, but Half-way up these stairs is a representation (or did not give his name
me — simply saying: an alleged representation) of the battle of Chapul- “I am that man !" tepec. Of this painting I do not know what to Continuing the descent of the stairs to the subsay. It is mystifying to most spectators. No one terranean regions, I show my friend the coal celknows what the different soldiers are about. They lars and other dismal places where the pages seem to be going in all directions. There are delighted to roam, and also the heating and venseveral horsemen in the battle, but one always tilating apparatus, with its donkey engines and struck my fancy. He is on a fiery steed, and is huge fan that sends air up to the Senate. And on apparently leading some gallant and desperate the way up I stop at a dark little room and hint charge. It used to trouble me, when a page, for vaguely at its contents. I can not enter, because I was very anxious to know what general it repre- Captain Bassett has the key. But I have been in sented. I never knew until recently. During the it in times gone by, and know some of its myslast special session of the Senate, the galleries teries. There is perhaps more valuable bric-à-brac were almost daily cleared for the transaction of in it than in all the rest of the entire building executive business, guards being stationed at the the exclusive property of the Captain. What he steps to prevent persons from entering. One day particularly prizes is one of the old lamps used
when the Senate met in its old quarters. The Chamber was then lighted in the style of the eighteenth century. Lamps were fastened to the desks of the Vice-President and Secretary; and on each senator's desk rested a candle. These candles were of sufficient length to burn through half a night, but at the opening of a door a draught would extinguish them. Captain Bassett was one of the two pages then employed, and he had to be constantly answering such calls as, “Here, page, light my candle !” and “Here, page, snuff my candle !” from such men as Daniel Webster and Henry Clay,
Returning to the principal story, we pass around the south side of the Senate to the central corridor, observing opposite the main entrance to the Senate a venera ble clock that, being too tall for the shelf, has stood many years on the floor.
A short distance down the corridor we reach the old Senate Chamber, which, as I have told you in a previous chapter, is now occupied by the Supreme Court.
Passing onward, just before we come to the Rotunda, is a door which I open to show the way to the Dome. The ascent is very complicated. We first wind around some iron steps, then enter a cold stone passage and go up other steps, and finally emerge upon an iron walk, in the open air, from which the pages used to clamber out upon the roof. As a visitor is not permitted to do this, however, we continue the journey up some more winding iron steps, and finally reach a door where we pause for a moment to catch breath. Grasping the iron railing, we assist our
selves to the top of a steep flight, - and reach a grateful landing where,
for the first time, we look down into the Rotunda. We may also go outside and wander on the “battlements.”
But we have not yet reached our destination. Up, up, we go, the stairs becoming steeper and
MARBLE STATUE, HISTORY, IN THE OLD HALL OF REPRESENTATIVES.
steeper. Stopping occasionally to rest and to If our young friend should wish to see the laws view the huge braces and iron net-work that sup- made by Congress since the beginning of the Govport the Dome, we attain the gallery. We amuse ernment (in round numbers, fifteen thousand), I ourselves for a while by looking down from the may take him into the Law Library, and show him immense height upon the people on the floor, and the statutes-at-large. If he should wish to judge also try the whispering properties of the place. of the amount of discussion expended by the legisThen we continue our climb, pass above the can- lators during a century, I should escort him to the opy, and, as further ascent is barred by the gate Senate Library, and point out hundreds of heavy leading to the chandelier which lights the Dome, Journals, Globes, and Records. If he should wish and immediately beneath the Goddess of Liberty, more information as to the perforinances of the lawwe go out upon the balcony. This is the pinna- makers, I have only to show him the Document cle! I have described a view from it on a summer Rooms, and study the amazed look upon his night. But it is as grand by day as it is entranc- countenance as he gazes about him. Room after ing by the light of the moon and stars.
room is literally filled with the bills and other From this extreme height, it is proper to go to measures that have been introduced. the extreme depth ; so I hurry the young tourist Next in order, our young friend may well visit down and take him to a spot hundreds of feet the Library of Congress, with its myriad of books.
below. This is the crypt, designed for the sepul- There he will find works of sage, humorist, novelture of the remains of Washington — a small oblong ist, scientist, and poet, all mixed up in grand vault two stories below the Rotunda foor, and confusion,- books of archæology, philosophy, and exactly in the center of the building. For more travels, fiction, music, poetry, and statistics, all than half a century a light was kept burning in helter-skelter, here, there, and everywhere,- on this place, guarded by an officer. This custom was the floors, on the railings, on the steps, and in the not abandoned until after the Civil War, when the windows, wherever the ingenuity of the librarian office of Keeper of the Crypt was finally abolished. could make room for them to lodge in the ex
tensive domain over which he presides. And yet, building! And there, in the circular space surwith all his economy, he has not space to hold rounding the crypt, in a part of the room devoted them all. They clog the steps of the tourist to broken statuary and the night councils of the on the floor below, they obstruct the passage pages, he has had to seek temporary shelter for
the books; and there, within a short while, unless Congress shall speedily come to his relief, this series of mine, having now been nearly finished, is perhaps destined to be entombed !
Such are a few of the wonders of the Capitol. I leave the young tourist to find the other points of interest by himself. If he has entered the city by way of the Potomac, the first object that met his
view, as the boat, having passed Mount Vernon, turned the bend in the river, was the Washington Monument in the distance; the second was the Capitol. Leaving it in the evening by the railway, as the cars pass the eastern branch and the bend of the road, those same two objects are the last in sight.
And as he travels rapidly away, and watches the dark form of the Goddess of Liberty – yet
more like a of the officials when traversing the galleries beautiful star in its transit than an eclipsing planabove. In his desperation, the librarian has cried et — sweep slowly and gracefully across the face out to Congress to give him a decent reposi- of the spotless and loftier shaft beyond, he will, if tory for his books; but Congress has, for years, a sensitive and reflective young fellow, carry with done nothing but smile at his perplexity. Crowded him a pleasant remembrance of the Federal city from shelf to floor, from floor to wall, he has he has visited, and will realize, better than before, finally been driven to the very dungeons of the the grandeur of the authority centered there.