Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

By Frederick Marryat | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
The Quaker City

Philadelphia is certainly, in appearance, the most wealthy and imposing city in the Union. It is well built, and ornamented with magnificent public edifices of white marble; indeed there is a great show of this material throughout the whole of the town, all the flights of steps to the doors, door-lintels, and window-sills being very generally composed of this material. The exterior of the houses, as well as the side pavement, are kept remarkably clean; and there is no intermixture of commerce, as there is at New York, the bustle of business being confined to the Quays and one or two streets adjoining the river side.

The first idea which strikes you when you arrive at Philadelphia is that it is Sunday: everything is so quiet, and there are so few people stirring; but by the time that you have paraded half a dozen streets, you come to a conclusion that it must be Saturday, as that day is, generally speaking, a washing-day. Philadelphia is so admirably supplied with water from the Schuylkill water-works, that every house has it laid on from the attic to the basement; and all day long they wash windows, door, marble step, and pavements in front of the houses. Indeed, they have so much water that they can afford to be very liberal to passers-by. One minute you have a shower-bath from a Negress, who is

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