Tallis, John
Tallis's history and description of the Crystal Palace and the exhibition of the world's industry in 1851 (Band 1) — London, 1851

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which lay nearest, attention was directed to distant and out-of-the-way spots, brought
into prominence by the light streaming upon them. Policemen in list slippers might
occasionally be seen flitting noiselessly to a point whence the strangers might be
reconnoitred, or suddenly emerging from behind some dark object where they had
remained for a time cautiously stowed away. If a court was entered, or a divergence
made to the right or to the left, the quick eyes and the scarcely discernible footfall of
some member of ' the force' followed. Over the whole interior a profound silence reigned,
broken only at intervals as the clocks of the building rang out slowly the advancing
hour. Turning towards the western half of the interior, huge envelopes of calico con-
cealed most of the objects facing the nave, but the large trophies in the centre remained
uncovered, and looked solemn and grand in the dim neutral light which prevailed. The
Indian shirts of mail and the model prahus of the East were favoured by the beams of
the moon. The chandeliers of Apsley Pellat and Co. caught the eye in passing, and
glistened as if anxious to have their illuminating properties tested. Glimpses were again
caught of remote galleries brought into prominence by gas-lamps. In some places light
shone, though whence it came appeared a mystery. In others there was almost a Cim-
merian darkness. The contributions to the carriage department were swathed in
calico, while the gigantic locomotives disdained any covering, and rested in grim repose.
The activity of mules, spinning-frames, and looms was hushed, the whirl of driving-
wheels was silent, and amidst the whole of that usually noisy department dedicated to
machinery in motion, the only sound we heard was that of a cricket chirruping away
merrily amidst Whitworth's tools.



Unquestionably the French collection, next to that of the United Kingdom, was one
of the most attractive and extensive in the Exhibition. The lengthened and successful
experience enjoyed by France in exhibitions of national industry, gave to the exhibitors
an advantage not possessed by the majority of those contributing to the Exhibition, so
far at least as concerned the arrangement and execution of necessary minor details. No
class of the Exhibition was left unrepresented by our continental neighbours. The total
number of exhibitors amounted to about 1,750, and the area they occupied was very
extensive, both on the north and south sides of the main eastern avenue and in the
galleries. In raw materials, the beautiful specimens of raw and thrown silk attracted
universal admiration; and an interesting specimen of cocoons in the frames, in which the
silkworms are reared and spin, gave a good idea of the manner in which the culture of
these insects is carried on. Hemp, wool, and other textile materials, were also interest-
ing, as well as those more delicate chemical preparations in which the French more
particularly excel other nations. Specimens also of metals were not wanting, and
articles of food were largely exhibited. Machinery was likewise displayed in fair propor-
tion, though here the superiority was decidedly in favour of the British collection of
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