From Norfolk

[our own Correspondent.]
Norfolk, Jan. 8, 1862.
dense fog, lacking only the name to be a shower, hung vast and heavy over the good city of Richmond as we ran out of it, and rolled rapidly into the country beyond.--Such a disagreeable day ! Glosely muffied against the cold, a few pedestrians, looking as if in the last stages of chronic melancholy, braved the damp and penetrating mist in pursuit of business, or to drive away Without the doors it was serverely disagreeable; within doors it was no better, and the ‘"blue imps"’ seemed to perch in every nook and cranny. Mothers yawned and sighed over their household cares, and children flattened their noses against the window panes in the rain endesvor to catch a glimpse of a bit of sunshine. It was a day of most sombre aspect, and a man with the least bit of trouble on his mind would not have staked a continental brass button on the chances of life or death.

It is curtone to notice the effect of such days on the denizens of the larger cities. In Berlin, one would think the whole city was mourning in ‘"sackcloth and ashes."’ In London, the bridges are crowded, and hundreds of wearied, sad-eyed men and women gaze mournfully into the depths of the Thames and upon the eddying rings which form under. the massive arches, then float away beneath the shadow of St. Paul's. In Paris, the ordinarily vivacious, light-hearted people are most miserable. All day long they sigh and smoke, and smoke and sigh, walking perhaps by the Hotel Dieu, close under the ponderous towers of Notre Dame, down to the Seme, where the same band of wearied, sad-eyed men and women cluster around the gloomy precincts of La Mogue. Go where you will, the influence of a damp and misty day upon the great public is an interesting study to a man of a philosophical turn of mind, provided, however, he have supshine enough in his heart to dispel the sombre clouds that hang about his own spirits.

As the day wore on the weather grew cold and the mist turned to icy sleet. We were something over two mortal hours in going from Richmond to Petersburg, traveling at a rate of speed that would have been highly creditable to a pair of dashing roadsters. When I was young--one moment, gentle reader, that was not so very many years ago — stage coaches were in fashion, and railroads were beginning to march steadily towards my home. One by one the old mail roads were shortened as the iron lines advanced upon them, and the heavy yellow stages, the six smoking horses, the wonderful driver, with his long whip and brass bugle, gradually retreated southward until they could only be found somewhere near the everglades of Florida. In those days traveling was an under taking, although long journeys were made with ease. Ten miles an hour, when the roads were good, was not an unfrequent rate of speed. There are many railroads now-a-days that make but little better time. Old people are accustomed to call those the palmy days of journeying, and seem to look back upon them with a sigh of regret that they exist no longer. Well, every one according to his own fancy. Stage coaches were very good in their day, they played their part in the history of civilization, they were the wonder and delight of boyhood; but now, I must confess, that to a poor sinner like my self, a good comfortable railroad car, with no dust, no fear of accidents, and thirty miles an hour, is quite good enough.

In entering Petersburg for the first time the stranger is forcibly impressed with the idea that there are two hotels in the town. Long before the cars cease running, the voices of half a dozen negroes are heard shouting out the names of their respective inns. ‘"Bollingbrook Porter,"’ ‘"Jarratt's Hotel"’--‘"in the name of the Prophet,"’ now they do scream as close as possible to your ears. Almost before you are aware of the fact you are whirling along the streets towards one of the two.

‘"Where do you stop ?"’ said an acquaintance to me in the cars.

‘"At the best hotel — which is it ?"’

‘"Take either you please and you'll wish you had taken the other,"’ was the reply.

I chose a house at random, only anxious to find fire enough to drive off certain Arcticsensations, and a good bed upon which to ‘"court the drwsy."’ Both luxuries were to be had by bestowing a small subsidy, of three dollars per diem, on the landlord.

It would be Scarrying coals to Newcastle " to attempt a description of a city so familiar to every one as Petersburg, and I could at best only give the impressions of a stranger. Suffice it to say, I was struck with the quietness and extreme respectability of the place; with the number of churches, which speaks well for its morals; with the beauty of the city and its surroundings; and with the hospitality of the people, as exemplified by the charming family who made my short stay as agreable as heart could wish Taken all in all, Petersburg is a fine old city, and seemingly a pleasant one to live in. Two days there confirmed all the good reports current of it, and the next I took the cars again and at midday arrived at Norfolk, in which city I am penning these discursive and rambling phrases.

Of the city of Norfolk I shall have much to say hereafter during my residence here. It is an old town, decidedly European in appearance, and possessing great historic inferest. At present, owing to the passive policy being pursued by Gen. Johnson on the Potomac, this has become the great centre for news, and the ubiquitous, versatile reporters are fiocking here from all parts of the Confederacy, anxiously watching the preparations going on to resist the thunder of Yankee guns, and the boasted power of Yankee armadas. To a poor, plodding newspaper man the place is delightful, for he is, to say the least, treated with some show of respect.

In my telegraphic dispatch of yesterday I sent you a ‘"straw"’ from Boston, which shows conclusively ‘"which way the wind blows."’ Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, recommends the State to assume the collection of a direct national tax, to furnish its portion of the twenty-million loan authorized by Congress. From this we can readily suppose that the bonds of the great Yankee nation do not stand at the highest figure in the financial market. All the swag; and the attempts to white wash the disagreeble fact, have proved a failure, and the Government loan despite the premiums and great inducements offered has failed to take the eye of the moneyed men of New York and Boston. A direct call upon the State had to be made. The valorous Governor declares the rebellion will soon be crushed, and that its promoters shall be ground to atoms beneath the ruins of their own ambition. What a Merry-Andrew he is to be sure !

Yesterday some smugglers from this city attempted to run the blockade, and take some tobacco, and other contraband articles, over to the Eastern Shore for the purpose of trafficking with the Yankees. In attempting to land they run their heads into the Lion's jaws and lost the boat, thirty-one boxes of tobacco, a bag of letters, and other doings. If the men were acting contrary to law, the Captain will be regarded with favor on both sides. Tobacco is said to be an expensive luxury in the Yankee camps.


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