Infomotions, Inc.Worldly Ways and Byways / Gregory, Eliot, 1854-1915



Author: Gregory, Eliot, 1854-1915
Title: Worldly Ways and Byways
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Worldly Ways and Byways

by Eliot Gregory

December, 1995  [Etext #379]


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Worldly Ways and Byways - Eliot Gregory.  1899 edition.  Scanned and 
proofed by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk
***




Worldly Ways and Byways





A Table of Contents

To the READER

1.  Charm
2.  The Moth and the Star
3.  Contrasted Travelling
4.  The Outer and the Inner Woman
5.  On Some Gilded Misalliances
6.  The Complacency of Mediocrity
7.  The Discontent of Talent
8.  Slouch
9.  Social Suggestion
10. Bohemia
11. Social Exiles
12. "Seven Ages" of Furniture
13. Our Elite and Public Life
14. The Small Summer Hotel
15. A False Start
16. A Holy Land
17. Royalty at Play
18. A Rock Ahead
19. The Grand Prix
20. "The Treadmill"
21. "Like Master Like Man"
22. An English Invasion of the Riviera
23. A Common Weakness
24. Changing Paris
25. Contentment
26. The Climber
27. The Last of the Dandies
28. A Nation on the Wing
29. Husks
30. The Faubourg St. Germain
31. Men's Manners
32. An Ideal Hostess
33. The Introducer
34. A Question and an Answer
35. Living on Your Friends
36. American Society in Italy
37. The Newport of the Past
38. A Conquest of Europe
39. A Race of Slaves
40. Introspection




To the Reader


THERE existed formerly, in diplomatic circles, a curious custom, 
since fallen into disuse, entitled the Pele Mele, contrived 
doubtless by some distracted Master of Ceremonies to quell the 
endless jealousies and quarrels for precedence between courtiers 
and diplomatists of contending pretensions.  Under this rule no 
rank was recognized, each person being allowed at banquet, fete, or 
other public ceremony only such place as he had been ingenious or 
fortunate enough to obtain.

Any one wishing to form an idea of the confusion that ensued, of 
the intrigues and expedients resorted to, not only in procuring 
prominent places, but also in ensuring the integrity of the Pele 
Mele, should glance over the amusing memoirs of M. de Segur.

The aspiring nobles and ambassadors, harassed by this constant 
preoccupation, had little time or inclination left for any serious 
pursuit, since, to take a moment's repose or an hour's breathing 
space was to risk falling behind in the endless and aimless race.  
Strange as it may appear, the knowledge that they owed place and 
preferment more to chance or intrigue than to any personal merit or 
inherited right, instead of lessening the value of the prizes for 
which all were striving, seemed only to enhance them in the eyes of 
the competitors.

Success was the unique standard by which they gauged their fellows.  
Those who succeeded revelled in the adulation of their friends, but 
when any one failed, the fickle crowd passed him by to bow at more 
fortunate feet.

No better picture could be found of the "world" of to-day, a 
perpetual Pele Mele, where such advantages only are conceded as we 
have been sufficiently enterprising to obtain, and are strong or 
clever enough to keep - a constant competition, a daily 
steeplechase, favorable to daring spirits and personal initiative 
but with the defect of keeping frail humanity ever on the qui vive.

Philosophers tell us, that we should seek happiness only in the 
calm of our own minds, not allowing external conditions or the 
opinions of others to influence our ways.  This lofty detachment 
from environment is achieved by very few.  Indeed, the philosophers 
themselves (who may be said to have invented the art of "posing") 
were generally as vain as peacocks, profoundly pre-occupied with 
the verdict of their contemporaries and their position as regards 
posterity.

Man is born gregarious and remains all his life a herding animal.  
As one keen observer has written, "So great is man's horror of 
being alone that he will seek the society of those he neither likes 
nor respects sooner than be left to his own."  The laws and 
conventions that govern men's intercourse have, therefore, formed a 
tempting subject for the writers of all ages.  Some have labored 
hoping to reform their generation, others have written to offer 
solutions for life's many problems.

Beaumarchais, whose penetrating wit left few subjects untouched, 
makes his Figaro put the subject aside with "Je me presse de rire 
de tout, de peur d'etre oblige d'en pleurer."

The author of this little volume pretends to settle no disputes, 
aims at inaugurating no reforms.  He has lightly touched on passing 
topics and jotted down, "to point a moral or adorn a tale," some of 
the more obvious foibles and inconsistencies of our American ways.  
If a stray bit of philosophy has here and there slipped in between 
the lines, it is mostly of the laughing "school," and used more in 
banter than in blame.

This much abused "world" is a fairly agreeable place if you do not 
take it seriously.  Meet it with a friendly face and it will smile 
gayly back at you, but do not ask of it what it cannot give, or 
attribute to its verdicts more importance than they deserve.

ELIOT GREGORY

Newport, November first, 1897




CHAPTER 1 - Charm


WOMEN endowed by nature with the indescribable quality we call 
"charm" (for want of a better word), are the supreme development of 
a perfected race, the last word, as it were, of civilization; the 
flower of their kind, crowning centuries of growing refinement and 
cultivation.  Other women may unite a thousand brilliant qualities, 
and attractive attributes, may be beautiful as Astarte or witty as 
Madame de Montespan, those endowed with the power of charm, have in 
all ages and under every sky, held undisputed rule over the hearts 
of their generation.

When we look at the portraits of the enchantresses whom history 
tells us have ruled the world by their charm, and swayed the 
destinies of empires at their fancy, we are astonished to find that 
they have rarely been beautiful.  From Cleopatra or Mary of 
Scotland down to Lola Montez, the tell-tale coin or canvas reveals 
the same marvellous fact.  We wonder how these women attained such 
influence over the men of their day, their husbands or lovers.  We 
would do better to look around us, or inward, and observe what is 
passing in our own hearts.

Pause, reader mine, a moment and reflect.  Who has held the first 
place in your thoughts, filled your soul, and influenced your life?  
Was she the most beautiful of your acquaintances, the radiant 
vision that dazzled your boyish eyes?  Has she not rather been some 
gentle, quiet woman whom you hardly noticed the first time your 
paths crossed, but who gradually grew to be a part of your life - 
to whom you instinctively turned for consolation in moments of 
discouragement, for counsel in your difficulties, and whose welcome 
was the bright moment in your day, looked forward to through long 
hours of toil and worry?

In the hurly-burly of life we lose sight of so many things our 
fathers and mothers clung to, and have drifted so far away from 
their gentle customs and simple, home-loving habits, that one 
wonders what impression our society would make on a woman of a 
century ago, could she by some spell be dropped into the swing of 
modern days.  The good soul would be apt to find it rather a far 
cry from the quiet pleasures of her youth, to "a ladies' amateur 
bicycle race" that formed the attraction recently at a summer 
resort.

That we should have come to think it natural and proper for a young 
wife and mother to pass her mornings at golf, lunching at the club-
house to "save time," returning home only for a hurried change of 
toilet to start again on a bicycle or for a round of calls, an 
occupation that will leave her just the half-hour necessary to slip 
into a dinner gown, and then for her to pass the evening in dancing 
or at the card-table, shows, when one takes the time to think of 
it, how unconsciously we have changed, and (with all apologies to 
the gay hostesses and graceful athletes of to-day) not for the 
better.

It is just in the subtle quality of charm that the women of the 
last ten years have fallen away from their elder sisters.  They 
have been carried along by a love of sport, and by the set of 
fashion's tide, not stopping to ask themselves whither they are 
floating.  They do not realize all the importance of their acts nor 
the true meaning of their metamorphosis.

The dear creatures should be content, for they have at last escaped 
from the bondage of ages, have broken their chains, and vaulted 
over their prison walls.  "Lords and masters" have gradually become 
very humble and obedient servants, and the "love, honour, and obey" 
of the marriage service might now more logically be spoken by the 
man; on the lips of the women of to-day it is but a graceful "FACON 
DE PARLER," and holds only those who choose to be bound.

It is not my intention to rail against the short-comings of the 
day.  That ungrateful task I leave to sterner moralists, and 
hopeful souls who naively imagine they can stem the current of an 
epoch with the barrier of their eloquence, or sweep back an ocean 
of innovations by their logic.  I should like, however, to ask my 
sisters one question: Are they quite sure that women gain by these 
changes?  Do they imagine, these "sporty" young females in short-
cut skirts and mannish shirts and ties, that it is seductive to a 
lover, or a husband to see his idol in a violent perspiration, her 
draggled hair blowing across a sunburned face, panting up a long 
hill in front of him on a bicycle, frantic at having lost her race?  
Shade of gentle William! who said


A woman moved, is like a fountain troubled, -
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty.
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.


Is the modern girl under the impression that men will be contented 
with poor imitations of themselves, to share their homes and be the 
mothers of their children?  She is throwing away the substance for 
the shadow!

The moment women step out from the sanctuary of their homes, the 
glamour that girlhood or maternity has thrown around them cast 
aside, that moment will they cease to rule mankind.  Women may 
agitate until they have obtained political recognition, but will 
awake from their foolish dream of power, realizing too late what 
they have sacrificed to obtain it, that the price has been very 
heavy, and the fruit of their struggles bitter on their lips.

There are few men, I imagine, of my generation to whom the words 
"home" and "mother" have not a penetrating charm, who do not look 
back with softened heart and tender thoughts to fireside scenes of 
evening readings and twilight talks at a mother's knee, realizing 
that the best in their natures owes its growth to these influences.

I sometimes look about me and wonder what the word "mother" will 
mean later, to modern little boys.  It will evoke, I fear, a 
confused remembrance of some centaur-like being, half woman, half 
wheel, or as it did to neglected little Rawdon Crawley, the vision 
of a radiant creature in gauze and jewels, driving away to endless 
FETES - FETES followed by long mornings, when he was told not to 
make any noise, or play too loudly, "as poor mamma is resting."  
What other memories can the "successful" woman of to-day hope to 
leave in the minds of her children?  If the child remembers his 
mother in this way, will not the man who has known and perhaps 
loved her, feel the same sensation of empty futility when her name 
is mentioned?

The woman who proposes a game of cards to a youth who comes to pass 
an hour in her society, can hardly expect him to carry away a 
particularly tender memory of her as he leaves the house.  The girl 
who has rowed, ridden, or raced at a man's side for days, with the 
object of getting the better of him at some sport or pastime, 
cannot reasonably hope to be connected in his thoughts with ideas 
more tender or more elevated than "odds" or "handicaps," with an 
undercurrent of pique if his unsexed companion has "downed" him 
successfully.

What man, unless he be singularly dissolute or unfortunate, but 
turns his steps, when he can, towards some dainty parlor where he 
is sure of finding a smiling, soft-voiced woman, whose welcome he 
knows will soothe his irritated nerves and restore the even balance 
of his temper, whose charm will work its subtle way into his 
troubled spirit?  The wife he loves, or the friend he admires and 
respects, will do more for him in one such quiet hour when two 
minds commune, coming closer to the real man, and moving him to 
braver efforts, and nobler aims, than all the beauties and "sporty" 
acquaintances of a lifetime.  No matter what a man's education or 
taste is, none are insensible to such an atmosphere or to the grace 
and witchery a woman can lend to the simplest surroundings.  She 
need not be beautiful or brilliant to hold him in lifelong 
allegiance, if she but possess this magnetism.

Madame Recamier was a beautiful, but not a brilliant woman, yet she 
held men her slaves for years.  To know her was to fall under her 
charm, and to feel it once was to remain her adorer for life.  She 
will go down to history as the type of a fascinating woman.  Being 
asked once by an acquaintance what spell she worked on mankind that 
enabled her to hold them for ever at her feet, she laughingly 
answered:

"I have always found two words sufficient.  When a visitor comes 
into my salon, I say, 'ENFIN!' and when he gets up to go away, I 
say, 'DEJA!' "

"What is this wonderful 'charm' he is writing about?"  I hear some 
sprightly maiden inquire as she reads these lines.  My dear young 
lady, if you ask the question, you have judged yourself and been 
found wanting.  But to satisfy you as far as I can, I will try and 
define it - not by telling you what it is; that is beyond my power 
- but by negatives, the only way in which subtle subjects can be 
approached.

A woman of charm is never flustered and never DISTRAITE.  She talks 
little, and rarely of herself, remembering that bores are persons 
who insist on talking about themselves.  She does not break the 
thread of a conversation by irrelevant questions or confabulate in 
an undertone with the servants.  No one of her guests receives more 
of her attention than another and none are neglected.  She offers 
to each one who speaks the homage of her entire attention.  She 
never makes an effort to be brilliant or entertain with her wit.  
She is far too clever for that.  Neither does she volunteer 
information nor converse about her troubles or her ailments, nor 
wander off into details about people you do not know.

She is all things - to each man she likes, in the best sense of 
that phrase, appreciating his qualities, stimulating him to better 
things.


- for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness and a smile and eloquence of beauty; 
and she glides
Into his darker musings with a mild and healing sympathy that 
steals away
Their sharpness ere he is aware.




CHAPTER 2 - The Moth and the Star


THE truth of the saying that "it is always the unexpected that 
happens," receives in this country a confirmation from an unlooked-
for quarter, as does the fact of human nature being always, 
discouragingly, the same in spite of varied surroundings.  This 
sounds like a paradox, but is an exceedingly simple statement 
easily proved.

That the great mass of Americans, drawn as they are from such 
varied sources, should take any interest in the comings and goings 
or social doings of a small set of wealthy and fashionable people, 
is certainly an unexpected development.  That to read of the 
amusements and home life of a clique of people with whom they have 
little in common, whose whole education and point of view are 
different from their own, and whom they have rarely seen and never 
expect to meet, should afford the average citizen any amusement 
seems little short of impossible.

One accepts as a natural sequence that abroad (where an hereditary 
nobility have ruled for centuries, and accustomed the people to 
look up to them as the visible embodiment of all that is splendid 
and unattainable in life) such interest should exist.  That the 
home-coming of an English or French nobleman to his estates should 
excite the enthusiasm of hundreds more or less dependent upon him 
for their amusement or more material advantages; that his marriage 
to an heiress - meaning to them the re-opening of a long-closed 
CHATEAU and the beginning of a period of prosperity for the 
district - should excite his neighbors is not to be wondered at.

It is well known that whole regions have been made prosperous by 
the residence of a court, witness the wealth and trade brought into 
Scotland by the Queen's preference for "the Land of Cakes," and the 
discontent and poverty in Ireland from absenteeism and persistent 
avoidance of that country by the court.  But in this land, where 
every reason for interesting one class in another seems lacking, 
that thousands of well-to-do people (half the time not born in this 
hemisphere), should delightedly devour columns of incorrect 
information about New York dances and Lenox house-parties, winter 
cruises, or Newport coaching parades, strikes the observer as the 
"unexpected" in its purest form.

That this interest exists is absolutely certain.  During a trip in 
the West, some seasons ago, I was dumbfounded to find that the 
members of a certain New York set were familiarly spoken of by 
their first names, and was assailed with all sorts of eager 
questions when it was discovered that I knew them.  A certain young 
lady, at that time a belle in New York, was currently called SALLY, 
and a well-known sportsman FRED, by thousands of people who had 
never seen either of them.  It seems impossible, does it not?  Let 
us look a little closer into the reason of this interest, and we 
shall find how simple is the apparent paradox.

Perhaps in no country, in all the world, do the immense middle 
classes lead such uninteresting lives, and have such limited 
resources at their disposal for amusement or the passing of leisure 
hours.

Abroad the military bands play constantly in the public parks; the 
museums and palaces are always open wherein to pass rainy Sunday 
afternoons; every village has its religious FETES and local fair, 
attended with dancing and games.  All these mental relaxations are 
lacking in our newer civilization; life is stripped of everything 
that is not distinctly practical; the dull round of weekly toil is 
only broken by the duller idleness of an American Sunday.  
Naturally, these people long for something outside of themselves 
and their narrow sphere.

Suddenly there arises a class whose wealth permits them to break 
through the iron circle of work and boredom, who do picturesque and 
delightful things, which appeal directly to the imagination; they 
build a summer residence complete, in six weeks, with furniture and 
bric-a-brac, on the top of a roadless mountain; they sail in 
fairylike yachts to summer seas, and marry their daughters to the 
heirs of ducal houses; they float up the Nile in dahabeeyah, or 
pass the "month of flowers" in far Japan.

It is but human nature to delight in reading of these things.  Here 
the great mass of the people find (and eagerly seize on), the 
element of romance lacking in their lives, infinitely more 
enthralling than the doings of any novel's heroine.  It is real!  
It is taking place! and - still deeper reason - in every ambitious 
American heart lingers the secret hope that with luck and good 
management they too may do those very things, or at least that 
their children will enjoy the fortunes they have gained, in just 
those ways.  The gloom of the monotonous present is brightened, the 
patient toiler returns to his desk with something definite before 
him - an objective point - towards which he can struggle; he knows 
that this is no impossible dream.  Dozens have succeeded and prove 
to him what energy and enterprise can accomplish.

Do not laugh at this suggestion; it is far truer than you imagine.  
Many a weary woman has turned from such reading to her narrow 
duties, feeling that life is not all work, and with renewed hope in 
the possibilities of the future.

Doubtless a certain amount of purely idle curiosity is mingled with 
the other feelings.  I remember quite well showing our city sights 
to a bored party of Western friends, and failing entirely to amuse 
them, when, happening to mention as we drove up town, "there goes 
Mr. Blank," (naming a prominent leader of cotillions), my guests 
nearly fell over each other and out of the carriage in their 
eagerness to see the gentleman of whom they had read so much, and 
who was, in those days, a power in his way, and several times after 
they expressed the greatest satisfaction at having seen him.

I have found, with rare exceptions, and the experience has been 
rather widely gathered all over the country, that this interest - 
or call it what you will - has been entirely without spite or 
bitterness, rather the delight of a child in a fairy story.  For 
people are rarely envious of things far removed from their grasp.  
You will find that a woman who is bitter because her neighbor has a 
girl "help" or a more comfortable cottage, rarely feels envy 
towards the owners of opera-boxes or yachts.  Such heart-burnings 
(let us hope they are few) are among a class born in the shadow of 
great wealth, and bred up with tastes that they can neither 
relinquish nor satisfy.  The large majority of people show only a 
good-natured inclination to chaff, none of the "class feeling" 
which certain papers and certain politicians try to excite.  
Outside of the large cities with their foreign-bred, semi-
anarchistic populations, the tone is perfectly friendly; for the 
simple reason that it never entered into the head of any American 
to imagine that there WAS any class difference.  To him his rich 
neighbors are simply his lucky neighbors, almost his relations, 
who, starting from a common stock, have been able to "get there" 
sooner than he has done.  So he wishes them luck on the voyage in 
which he expects to join them as soon as he has had time to make a 
fortune.

So long as the world exists, or at least until we have reformed it 
and adopted Mr. Bellamy's delightful scheme of existence as 
described in "Looking Backward," great fortunes will be made, and 
painful contrasts be seen, especially in cities, and it would seem 
to be the duty of the press to soften - certainly not to sharpen - 
the edge of discontent.  As long as human nature is human nature, 
and the poor care to read of the doings of the more fortunate, by 
all means give them the reading they enjoy and demand, but let it 
be written in a kindly spirit so that it may be a cultivation as 
well as a recreation.  Treat this perfectly natural and honest 
taste honestly and naturally, for, after all, it is


The desire of the moth for the star,
Of the night for the morrow.
The devotion to something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow.




CHAPTER 3 - Contrasted Travelling


WHEN our parents went to Europe fifty years ago, it was the event 
of a lifetime - a tour lovingly mapped out in advance with advice 
from travelled friends.  Passports were procured, books read, wills 
made, and finally, prayers were offered up in church and solemn 
leave-taking performed.  Once on the other side, descriptive 
letters were conscientiously written, and eagerly read by friends 
at home, - in spite of these epistles being on the thinnest of 
paper and with crossing carried to a fine art, for postage was high 
in the forties.  Above all, a journal was kept.

Such a journal lies before me as I write.  Four little volumes in 
worn morocco covers and faded "Italian" writing, more precious than 
all my other books combined, their sight recalls that lost time - 
my youth - when, as a reward, they were unlocked that I might look 
at the drawings, and the sweetest voice in the world would read to 
me from them!  Happy, vanished days, that are so far away they seem 
to have been in another existence!

The first volume opens with the voyage across the Atlantic, made in 
an American clipper (a model unsurpassed the world over), which was 
accomplished in thirteen days, a feat rarely equalled now, by sail.  
Genial Captain Nye was in command.  The same who later, when a 
steam propelled vessel was offered him, refused, as unworthy of a 
seaman, "to boil a kettle across the ocean."

Life friendships were made in those little cabins, under the 
swinging lamp the travellers re-read last volumes so as to be 
prepared to appreciate everything on landing.  Ireland, England and 
Scotland were visited with an enthusiasm born of Scott, the tedium 
of long coaching journeys being beguiled by the first "numbers" of 
"Pickwick," over which the men of the party roared, but which the 
ladies did not care for, thinking it vulgar, and not to be compared 
to "Waverley," "Thaddeus of Warsaw," or "The Mysteries of Udolpho."

A circular letter to our diplomatic agents abroad was presented in 
each city, a rite invariably followed by an invitation to dine, for 
which occasions a black satin frock with a low body and a few 
simple ornaments, including (supreme elegance) a diamond cross, 
were carried in the trunks.  In London a travelling carriage was 
bought and stocked, the indispensable courier engaged, half guide, 
half servant, who was expected to explore a city, or wait at table, 
as occasion required.  Four days were passed between Havre and 
Paris, and the slow progress across Europe was accomplished, Murray 
in one hand and Byron in the other.

One page used particularly to attract my boyish attention.  It was 
headed by a naive little drawing of the carriage at an Italian inn 
door, and described how, after the dangers and discomforts of an 
Alpine pass, they descended by sunny slopes into Lombardy.  Oh! the 
rapture that breathes from those simple pages!  The vintage scenes, 
the mid-day halt for luncheon eaten in the open air, the afternoon 
start, the front seat of the carriage heaped with purple grapes, 
used to fire my youthful imagination and now recalls Madame de 
Stael's line on perfect happiness: "To be young! to be in love! to 
be in Italy!"

Do people enjoy Europe as much now?  I doubt it!  It has become too 
much a matter of course, a necessary part of the routine of life.  
Much of the bloom is brushed from foreign scenes by descriptive 
books and photographs, that St. Mark's or Mt. Blanc has become as 
familiar to a child's eye as the house he lives in, and in 
consequence the reality now instead of being a revelation is often 
a disappointment.

In my youth, it was still an event to cross.  I remember my first 
voyage on the old side-wheeled SCOTIA, and Captain Judkins in a 
wheeled chair, and a perpetual bad temper, being pushed about the 
deck; and our delight, when the inevitable female asking him (three 
days out) how far we were from land, got the answer "about a mile!"

"Indeed!  How interesting!  In which direction?"

"In that direction, madam," shouted the captain, pointing downward 
as he turned his back to her.

If I remember, we were then thirteen days getting to Liverpool, and 
made the acquaintance on board of the people with whom we travelled 
during most of that winter.  Imagine anyone now making an 
acquaintance on board a steamer!  In those simple days people 
depended on the friendships made at summer hotels or boarding-
houses for their visiting list.  At present, when a girl comes out, 
her mother presents her to everybody she will be likely to know if 
she were to live a century.  In the seventies, ladies cheerfully 
shared their state-rooms with women they did not know, and often 
became friends in consequence; but now, unless a certain deck-suite 
can be secured, with bath and sitting-room, on one or two 
particular "steamers," the great lady is in despair.  Yet our 
mothers were quite as refined as the present generation, only they 
took life simply, as they found it.

Children are now taken abroad so young, that before they have 
reached an age to appreciate what they see, Europe has become to 
them a twice-told tale.  So true is this, that a receipt for making 
children good Americans is to bring them up abroad.  Once they get 
back here it is hard to entice them away again.

With each improvement in the speed of our steamers, something of 
the glamour of Europe vanishes.  The crowds that yearly rush across 
see and appreciate less in a lifetime than our parents did in their 
one tour abroad.  A good lady of my acquaintance was complaining 
recently how much Paris bored her.

"What can you do to pass the time?" she asked.  I innocently 
answered that I knew nothing so entrancing as long mornings passed 
at the Louvre.

"Oh, yes, I do that too," she replied, "but I like the 'Bon Marche' 
best!"

A trip abroad has become a purely social function to a large number 
of wealthy Americans, including "presentation" in London and a 
winter in Rome or Cairo.  And just as a "smart" Englishman is sure 
to tell you that he has never visited the "Tower," it has become 
good form to ignore the sight-seeing side of Europe; hundreds of 
New Yorkers never seeing anything of Paris beyond the Rue de la 
Paix and the Bois.  They would as soon think of going to Cluny or 
St. Denis as of visiting the museum in our park!

Such people go to Fontainebleau because they are buying furniture, 
and they wish to see the best models.  They go to Versailles on the 
coach and "do" the Palace during the half-hour before luncheon.  
Beyond that, enthusiasm rarely carries them.  As soon as they have 
settled themselves at the Bristol or the Rhin begins the endless 
treadmill of leaving cards on all the people just seen at home, and 
whom they will meet again in a couple of months at Newport or Bar 
Harbor.  This duty and the all-entrancing occupation of getting 
clothes fills up every spare hour.  Indeed, clothes seem to pervade 
the air of Paris in May, the conversation rarely deviating from 
them.  If you meet a lady you know looking ill, and ask the cause, 
it generally turns out to be "four hours a day standing to be 
fitted."  Incredible as it may seem, I have been told of one plain 
maiden lady, who makes a trip across, spring and autumn, with the 
sole object of getting her two yearly outfits.

Remembering the hundreds of cultivated people whose dream in life 
(often unrealized from lack of means) has been to go abroad and 
visit the scenes their reading has made familiar, and knowing what 
such a trip would mean to them, and how it would be looked back 
upon during the rest of an obscure life, I felt it almost a duty to 
"suppress" a wealthy female (doubtless an American cousin of Lady 
Midas) when she informed me, the other day, that decidedly she 
would not go abroad this spring.

"It is not necessary.  Worth has my measures!"




CHAPTER 4 - The Outer and the Inner Woman


IT is a sad commentary on our boasted civilization that cases of 
shoplifting occur more and more frequently each year, in which the 
delinquents are women of education and refinement, or at least 
belong to families and occupy positions in which one would expect 
to find those qualities!  The reason, however, is not difficult to 
discover.

In the wake of our hasty and immature prosperity has come (as it 
does to all suddenly enriched societies) a love of ostentation, a 
desire to dazzle the crowd by displays of luxury and rich trappings 
indicative of crude and vulgar standards.  The newly acquired 
money, instead of being expended for solid comforts or articles 
which would afford lasting satisfaction, is lavished on what can be 
worn in public, or the outer shell of display, while the home table 
and fireside belongings are neglected.  A glance around our 
theatres, or at the men and women in our crowded thoroughfares, is 
sufficient to reveal to even a casual observer that the mania for 
fine clothes and what is costly, PER SE, has become the besetting 
sin of our day and our land.

The tone of most of the papers and of our theatrical advertisements 
reflects this feeling.  The amount of money expended for a work of 
art or a new building is mentioned before any comment as to its 
beauty or fitness.  A play is spoken of as "Manager So and So's 
thirty-thousand-dollar production!"  The fact that a favorite 
actress will appear in four different dresses during the three acts 
of a comedy, each toilet being a special creation designed for her 
by a leading Parisian house, is considered of supreme importance 
and is dwelt upon in the programme as a special attraction.

It would be astonishing if the taste of our women were different, 
considering the way clothes are eternally being dangled before 
their eyes.  Leading papers publish illustrated supplements devoted 
exclusively to the subject of attire, thus carrying temptation into 
every humble home, and suggesting unattainable luxuries.  Windows 
in many of the larger shops contain life-sized manikins loaded with 
the latest costly and ephemeral caprices of fashion arranged to 
catch the eye of the poorer class of women, who stand in hundreds 
gazing at the display like larks attracted by a mirror!  Watch 
those women as they turn away, and listen to their sighs of 
discontent and envy.  Do they not tell volumes about petty hopes 
and ambitions?

I do not refer to the wealthy women whose toilets are in keeping 
with their incomes and the general footing of their households; 
that they should spend more or less in fitting themselves out 
daintily is of little importance.  The point where this subject 
becomes painful is in families of small means where young girls 
imagine that to be elaborately dressed is the first essential of 
existence, and, in consequence, bend their labors and their 
intelligence towards this end.  Last spring I asked an old friend 
where she and her daughters intended passing their summer.  Her 
answer struck me as being characteristic enough to quote: "We 
should much prefer," she said, "returning to Bar Harbor, for we all 
enjoy that place and have many friends there.  But the truth is, my 
daughters have bought themselves very little in the way of toilet 
this year, as our finances are not in a flourishing condition.  So 
my poor girls will be obliged to make their last year's dresses do 
for another season.  Under these circumstances, it is out of the 
question for us to return a second summer to the same place."

I do not know how this anecdote strikes my readers.  It made me 
thoughtful and sad to think that, in a family of intelligent and 
practical women, such a reason should be considered sufficient to 
outweigh enjoyment, social relations, even health, and allowed to 
change the plans of an entire family.

As American women are so fond of copying English ways they should 
be willing to take a few lessons on the subject of raiment from 
across the water.  As this is not intended to be a dissertation on 
"How to Dress Well on Nothing a Year," and as I feel the greatest 
diffidence in approaching a subject of which I know absolutely 
nothing, it will be better to sheer off from these reefs and 
quicksands.  Every one who reads these lines will know perfectly 
well what is meant, when reference is made to the good sense and 
practical utility of English women's dress.

What disgusts and angers me (when my way takes me into our surface 
or elevated cars or into ferry boats and local trains) is the utter 
dissonance between the outfit of most of the women I meet and their 
position and occupation.  So universal is this, that it might 
almost be laid down as an axiom, that the American woman, no matter 
in what walk of life you observe her, or what the time or the 
place, is always persistently and grotesquely overdressed.  From 
the women who frequent the hotels of our summer or winter resorts, 
down all the steps of the social staircase to the char-woman, who 
consents (spasmodically) to remove the dust and waste-papers from 
my office, there seems to be the same complete disregard of 
fitness.  The other evening, in leaving my rooms, I brushed against 
a portly person in the half-light of the corridor.  There was a 
shimmer of (what appeared to my inexperienced eyes as) costly 
stuffs, a huge hat crowned the shadow itself, "topped by nodding 
plumes," which seemed to account for the depleted condition of my 
feather duster.

I found on inquiring of the janitor, that the dressy person I had 
met, was the char-woman in street attire, and that a closet was set 
aside in the building, for the special purpose of her morning and 
evening transformations, which she underwent in the belief that her 
social position in Avenue A would suffer, should she appear in the 
streets wearing anything less costly than seal-skin and velvet or 
such imitations of those expensive materials as her stipend would 
permit.

I have as tenants of a small wooden house in Jersey City, a bank 
clerk, his wife and their three daughters.  He earns in the 
neighborhood of fifteen hundred dollars a year.  Their rent (with 
which, by the way, they are always in arrears) is three hundred 
dollars.  I am favored spring and autumn by a visit from the ladies 
of that family, in the hope (generally futile) of inducing me to do 
some ornamental papering or painting in their residence, subjects 
on which they have by experience found my agent to be 
unapproachable.  When those four women descend upon me, I am fairly 
dazzled by the splendor of their attire, and lost in wonder as to 
how the price of all that finery can have been squeezed out of the 
twelve remaining hundreds of their income.  When I meet the father 
he is shabby to the outer limits of the genteel.  His hat has, I am 
sure, supported the suns and snowstorms of a dozen seasons.  There 
is a threadbare shine on his apparel that suggests a heartache in 
each whitened seam, but the ladies are mirrors of fashion, as well 
as moulds of form.  What can remain for any creature comforts after 
all those fine clothes have been paid for?  And how much is put 
away for the years when the long-suffering money maker will be past 
work, or saved towards the time when sickness or accident shall 
appear on the horizon?  How those ladies had the "nerve" to enter a 
ferry boat or crowd into a cable car, dressed as they were, has 
always been a marvel to me.  A landau and two liveried servants 
would barely have been in keeping with their appearance.

Not long ago, a great English nobleman, who is also famous in the 
yachting world, visited this country accompanied by his two 
daughters, high-bred and genial ladies.  No self-respecting 
American shop girl or fashionable typewriter would have 
condescended to appear in the inexpensive attire which those 
English women wore.  Wherever one met them, at dinner, FETE, or 
ball, they were always the most simply dressed women in the room.  
I wonder if it ever occurred to any of their gorgeously attired 
hostesses, that it was because their transatlantic guests were so 
sure of their position, that they contented themselves with such 
simple toilets knowing that nothing they might wear could either 
improve or alter their standing

In former ages, sumptuary laws were enacted by parental 
governments, in the hope of suppressing extravagance in dress, the 
state of affairs we deplore now, not being a new development of 
human weakness, but as old as wealth.

The desire to shine by the splendor of one's trappings is the first 
idea of the parvenu, especially here in this country, where the 
ambitious are denied the pleasure of acquiring a title, and where 
official rank carries with it so little social weight.  Few more 
striking ways present themselves to the crude and half-educated for 
the expenditure of a new fortune than the purchase of sumptuous 
apparel, the satisfaction being immediate and material.  The wearer 
of a complete and perfect toilet must experience a delight of which 
the uninitiated know nothing, for such cruel sacrifices are made 
and so many privations endured to procure this satisfaction.  When 
I see groups of women, clad in the latest designs of purple and 
fine linen, stand shivering on street corners of a winter night, 
until they can crowd into a car, I doubt if the joy they get from 
their clothes, compensates them for the creature comforts they are 
forced to forego, and I wonder if it never occurs to them to spend 
less on their wardrobes and so feel they can afford to return from 
a theatre or concert comfortably, in a cab, as a foreign woman, 
with their income would do.

There is a stoical determination about the American point of view 
that compels a certain amount of respect.  Our countrywomen will 
deny themselves pleasures, will economize on their food and will 
remain in town during the summer, but when walking abroad they must 
be clad in the best, so that no one may know by their appearance if 
the income be counted by hundreds or thousands.

While these standards prevail and the female mind is fixed on this 
subject with such dire intent, it is not astonishing that a weaker 
sister is occasionally tempted beyond her powers of resistance.  
Nor that each day a new case of a well-dressed woman thieving in a 
shop reaches our ears.  The poor feeble-minded creature is not to 
blame.  She is but the reflexion of the minds around her and is 
probably like the lady Emerson tells of, who confessed to him "that 
the sense of being perfectly well-dressed had given her a feeling 
of inward tranquillity which religion was powerless to bestow."




CHAPTER 5 - On Some Gilded Misalliances


A DEAR old American lady, who lived the greater part of her life in 
Rome, and received every body worth knowing in her spacious 
drawing-rooms, far up in the dim vastnesses of a Roman palace, used 
to say that she had only known one really happy marriage made by an 
American girl abroad.

In those days, being young and innocent, I considered that remark 
cynical, and in my heart thought nothing could be more romantic and 
charming than for a fair compatriot to assume an historic title and 
retire to her husband's estates, and rule smilingly over him and a 
devoted tenantry, as in the last act of a comic opera, when a rose-
colored light is burning and the orchestra plays the last brilliant 
chords of a wedding march.

There seemed to my perverted sense a certain poetic justice about 
the fact that money, gained honestly but prosaically, in groceries 
or gas, should go to regild an ancient blazon or prop up the 
crumbling walls of some stately palace abroad.

Many thoughtful years and many cruel realities have taught me that 
my gracious hostess of the "seventies" was right, and that marriage 
under these conditions is apt to be much more like the comic opera 
after the curtain has been rung down, when the lights are out, the 
applauding public gone home, and the weary actors brought slowly 
back to the present and the positive, are wondering how they are to 
pay their rent or dodge the warrant in ambush around the corner.

International marriages usually come about from a deficient 
knowledge of the world.  The father becomes rich, the family travel 
abroad, some mutual friend (often from purely interested motives) 
produces a suitor for the hand of the daughter, in the shape of a 
"prince" with a title that makes the whole simple American family 
quiver with delight.

After a few visits the suitor declares himself; the girl is 
flattered, the father loses his head, seeing visions of his loved 
daughter hob-nobbing with royalty, and (intoxicating thought!) 
snubbing the "swells" at home who had shown reluctance to recognize 
him and his family.

It is next to impossible for him to get any reliable information 
about his future son-in-law in a country where, as an American, he 
has few social relations, belongs to no club, and whose idiom is a 
sealed book to him.  Every circumstance conspires to keep the flaws 
on the article for sale out of sight and place the suitor in an 
advantageous light.  Several weeks' "courting" follows, 
paterfamilias agrees to part with a handsome share of his earnings, 
and a marriage is "arranged."

In the case where the girl has retained some of her self-respect 
the suitor is made to come to her country for the ceremony.  And, 
that the contrast between European ways and our simple habits may 
not be too striking, an establishment is hastily got together, with 
hired liveries and new-bought carriages, as in a recent case in 
this state.  The sensational papers write up this "international 
union," and publish "faked" portraits of the bride and her noble 
spouse.  The sovereign of the groom's country (enchanted that some 
more American money is to be imported into his land) sends an 
economical present and an autograph letter.  The act ends.  
Limelight and slow music!

In a few years rumors of dissent and trouble float vaguely back to 
the girl's family.  Finally, either a great scandal occurs, and 
there is one dishonored home the more in the world, or an 
expatriated woman, thousands of miles from the friends and 
relatives who might be of some comfort to her, makes up her mind to 
accept "anything" for the sake of her children, and attempts to 
build up some sort of an existence out of the remains of her lost 
illusions, and the father wakes up from his dream to realize that 
his wealth has only served to ruin what he loved best in all the 
world.

Sometimes the conditions are delightfully comic, as in a well-known 
case, where the daughter, who married into an indolent, happy-go-
lucky Italian family, had inherited her father's business push and 
energy along with his fortune, and immediately set about "running" 
her husband's estate as she had seen her father do his bank.  She 
tried to revive a half-forgotten industry in the district, scraped 
and whitewashed their picturesque old villa, proposed her husband's 
entering business, and in short dashed head down against all his 
inherited traditions and national prejudices, until her new family 
loathed the sight of the brisk American face, and the poor she had 
tried to help, sulked in their newly drained houses and refused to 
be comforted.  Her ways were not Italian ways, and she seemed to 
the nun-like Italian ladies, almost unsexed, as she tramped about 
the fields, talking artificial manure and subsoil drainage with the 
men.  Yet neither she nor her husband was to blame.  The young 
Italian had but followed the teachings of his family, which decreed 
that the only honorable way for an aristocrat to acquire wealth was 
to marry it.  The American wife honestly tried to do her duty in 
this new position, naively thinking she could engraft transatlantic 
"go" upon the indolent Italian character.  Her work was in vain; 
she made herself and her husband so unpopular that they are now 
living in this country, regretting too late the error of their 
ways.

Another case but little less laughable, is that of a Boston girl 
with a neat little fortune of her own, who, when married to the 
young Viennese of her choice, found that he expected her to live 
with his family on the third floor of their "palace" (the two lower 
floors being rented to foreigners), and as there was hardly enough 
money for a box at the opera, she was not expected to go, whereas 
his position made it necessary for him to have a stall and appear 
there nightly among the men of his rank, the astonished and 
disillusioned Bostonian remaining at home EN TETE-A-TETE with the 
women of his family, who seemed to think this the most natural 
arrangement in the world.

It certainly is astonishing that we, the most patriotic of nations, 
with such high opinion of ourselves and our institutions, should be 
so ready to hand over our daughters and our ducats to the first 
foreigner who asks for them, often requiring less information about 
him than we should consider necessary before buying a horse or a 
dog.

Women of no other nation have this mania for espousing aliens.  
Nowhere else would a girl with a large fortune dream of marrying 
out of her country.  Her highest ideal of a husband would be a man 
of her own kin.  It is the rarest thing in the world to find a 
well-born French, Spanish, or Italian woman married to a foreigner 
and living away from her country.  How can a woman expect to be 
happy separated from all the ties and traditions of her youth?  If 
she is taken abroad young, she may still hope to replace her 
friends as is often done.  But the real reason of unhappiness 
(greater and deeper than this) lies in the fundamental difference 
of the whole social structure between our country and that of her 
adoption, and the radically different way of looking at every side 
of life.

Surely a girl must feel that a man who allows a marriage to be 
arranged for him (and only signs the contact because its pecuniary 
clauses are to his satisfaction, and who would withdraw in a moment 
if these were suppressed), must have an entirely different point of 
view from her own on all the vital issues of life.

Foreigners undoubtedly make excellent husbands for their own women.  
But they are, except in rare cases, unsatisfactory helpmeets for 
American girls.  It is impossible to touch on more than a side or 
two of this subject.  But as an illustration the following 
contrasted stories may be cited:

Two sisters of an aristocratic American family, each with an income 
of over forty thousand dollars a year, recently married French 
noblemen.  They naturally expected to continue abroad the life they 
had led at home, in which opera boxes, saddle horses, and constant 
entertaining were matters of course.  In both cases, our 
compatriots discovered that their husbands (neither of them 
penniless) had entirely different views.  In the first place, they 
were told that it was considered "bad form" in France for young 
married women to entertain; besides, the money was needed for 
improvements, and in many other ways, and as every well-to-do 
French family puts aside at least a third of its income as DOTS for 
the children (boys as well as girls), these brides found themselves 
cramped for money for the first time in their lives, and obliged, 
during their one month a year in Paris, to put up with hired traps, 
and depend on their friends for evenings at the opera.

This story is a telling set-off to the case of an American wife, 
who one day received a windfall in the form of a check for a tidy 
amount.  She immediately proposed a trip abroad to her husband, but 
found that he preferred to remain at home in the society of his 
horses and dogs.  So our fair compatriot starts off (with his full 
consent), has her outing, spends her little "pile," and returns 
after three or four months to the home of her delighted spouse.

Do these two stories need any comment?  Let our sisters and their 
friends think twice before they make themselves irrevocably wheels 
in a machine whose working is unknown to them, lest they be torn to 
pieces as it moves.  Having the good luck to be born in the 
"paradise of women," let them beware how they leave it, charm the 
serpent never so wisely, for they may find themselves, like the 
Peri, outside the gate.





CHAPTER 6 - The Complacency of Mediocrity


FULL as small intellects are of queer kinks, unexplained turnings 
and groundless likes and dislikes, the bland contentment that buoys 
up the incompetent is the most difficult of all vagaries to account 
for.  Rarely do twenty-four hours pass without examples of this 
exasperating weakness appearing on the surface of those shallows 
that commonplace people so naively call "their minds."

What one would expect is extreme modesty, in the half-educated or 
the ignorant, and self-approbation higher up in the scale, where it 
might more reasonably dwell.  Experience, however, teaches that 
exactly the opposite is the case among those who have achieved 
success.

The accidents of a life turned by chance out of the beaten tracks, 
have thrown me at times into acquaintanceship with some of the 
greater lights of the last thirty years.  And not only have they 
been, as a rule, most unassuming men and women; but in the majority 
of cases positively self-depreciatory; doubting of themselves and 
their talents, constantly aiming at greater perfection in their art 
or a higher development of their powers, never contented with what 
they have achieved, beyond the idea that it has been another step 
toward their goal.  Knowing this, it is always a shock on meeting 
the mediocre people who form such a discouraging majority in any 
society, to discover that they are all so pleased with themselves, 
their achievements, their place in the world, and their own ability 
and discernment!

Who has not sat chafing in silence while Mediocrity, in a white 
waistcoat and jangling fobs, occupied the after-dinner hour in 
imparting second-hand information as his personal views on 
literature and art?  Can you not hear him saying once again: "I 
don't pretend to know anything about art and all that sort of 
thing, you know, but when I go to an exhibition I can always pick 
out the best pictures at a glance.  Sort of a way I have, and I 
never make mistakes, you know."

Then go and watch, as I have, Henri Rochefort as he laboriously 
forms the opinions that are to appear later in one of his "SALONS," 
realizing the while that he is FACILE PRINCEPS among the art 
critics of his day, that with a line he can make or mar a 
reputation and by a word draw the admiring crowd around an unknown 
canvas.  While Rochefort toils and ponders and hesitates, do you 
suppose a doubt as to his own astuteness ever dims the self-
complacency of White Waistcoat?  Never!

There lies the strength of the feeble-minded.  By a special 
dispensation of Providence, they can never see but one side of a 
subject, so are always convinced that they are right, and from the 
height of their contentment, look down on those who chance to 
differ with them.

A lady who has gathered into her dainty salons the fruit of many 
years' careful study and tireless "weeding" will ask anxiously if 
you are quite sure you like the effect of her latest acquisition - 
some eighteenth-century statuette or screen (flotsam, probably, 
from the great shipwreck of Versailles), and listen earnestly to 
your verdict.  The good soul who has just furnished her house by 
contract, with the latest "Louis Fourteenth Street" productions, 
conducts you complacently through her chambers of horrors, wreathed 
in tranquil smiles, born of ignorance and that smug assurance 
granted only to the - small.

When a small intellect goes in for cultivating itself and improving 
its mind, you realize what the poet meant in asserting that a 
little learning was a dangerous thing.  For Mediocrity is apt, when 
it dines out, to get up a subject beforehand, and announce to an 
astonished circle, as quite new and personal discoveries, that the 
Renaissance was introduced into France from Italy, or that Columbus 
in his day made important "finds."

When the incompetent advance another step and write or paint - 
which, alas! is only too frequent - the world of art and literature 
is flooded with their productions.  When White Waistcoat, for 
example, takes to painting, late in life, and comes to you, canvas 
in hand, for criticism (read praise), he is apt to remark modestly:

"Corot never painted until he was fifty, and I am only forty-eight.  
So I feel I should not let myself be discouraged."

The problem of life is said to be the finding of a happiness that 
is not enjoyed at the expense of others, and surely this class have 
solved that Sphinx's riddle, for they float through their days in a 
dream of complacency disturbed neither by corroding doubt nor 
harassed by jealousies.

Whole families of feeble-minded people, on the strength of an 
ancestor who achieved distinction a hundred years ago, live in 
constant thanksgiving that they "are not as other men."  None of 
the great man's descendants have done anything to be particularly 
proud of since their remote progenitor signed the Declaration of 
Independence or governed a colony.  They have vegetated in small 
provincial cities and inter-married into other equally fortunate 
families, but the sense of superiority is ever present to sustain 
them, under straitened circumstances and diminishing prestige.  The 
world may move on around them, but they never advance.  Why should 
they?  They have reached perfection.  The brains and enterprise 
that have revolutionized our age knock in vain at their doors.  
They belong to that vast "majority that is always in the wrong," 
being so pleased with themselves, their ways, and their feeble 
little lines of thought, that any change or advancement gives their 
system a shock.

A painter I know was once importuned for a sketch by a lady of this 
class.  After many delays and renewed demands he presented her one 
day, when she and some friends were visiting his studio, with a 
delightful open-air study simply framed.  She seemed confused at 
the offering, to his astonishment, as she had not lacked APLOMB in 
asking for the sketch.  After much blushing and fumbling she 
succeeded in getting the painting loose, and handing back the 
frame, remarked:

"I will take the painting, but you must keep the frame.  My husband 
would never allow me to accept anything of value from you!" - and 
smiled on the speechless painter, doubtless charmed with her own 
tact.

Complacent people are the same drag on a society that a brake would 
be to a coach going up hill.  They are the "eternal negative" and 
would extinguish, if they could, any light stronger than that to 
which their weak eyes have been accustomed.  They look with 
astonishment and distrust at any one trying to break away from 
their tiresome old ways and habits, and wonder why all the world is 
not as pleased with their personalities as they are themselves, 
suggesting, if you are willing to waste your time listening to 
their twaddle, that there is something radically wrong in any 
innovation, that both "Church and State" will be imperilled if 
things are altered.  No blight, no mildew is more fatal to a plant 
than the "complacent" are to the world.  They resent any progress 
and are offended if you mention before them any new standards or 
points of view.  "What has been good enough for us and our parents 
should certainly be satisfactory to the younger generations."  It 
seems to the contented like pure presumption on the part of their 
acquaintances to wander after strange gods, in the shape of new 
ideals, higher standards of culture, or a perfected refinement of 
surroundings.

We are perhaps wrong to pity complacent people.  It is for another 
class our sympathy should be kept; for those who cannot refrain 
from doubting of themselves and the value of their work - those 
unfortunate gifted and artistic spirits who descend too often the 
VIA DOLOROSA of discontent and despair, who have a higher ideal 
than their neighbors, and, in struggling after an unattainable 
perfection, fall by the wayside.




CHAPTER 7 - The Discontent of Talent


THE complacency that buoys up self-sufficient souls, soothing them 
with the illusion that they themselves, their towns, country, 
language, and habits are above improvement, causing them to 
shudder, as at a sacrilege, if any changes are suggested, is 
fortunately limited to a class of stay-at-home nonentities.  In 
proportion as it is common among them, is it rare or delightfully 
absent in any society of gifted or imaginative people.

Among our globe-trotting compatriots this defect is much less 
general than in the older nations of the world, for the excellent 
reason, that the moment a man travels or takes the trouble to know 
people of different nationalities, his armor of complacency 
receives so severe a blow, that it is shattered forever, the 
wanderer returning home wiser and much more modest.  There seems to 
be something fatal to conceit in the air of great centres; 
professionally or in general society a man so soon finds his level.

The "great world" may foster other faults; human nature is sure to 
develop some in every walk of life.  Smug contentment, however, 
disappears in its rarefied atmosphere, giving place to a craving 
for improvement, a nervous alertness that keeps the mind from 
stagnating and urges it on to do its best.

It is never the beautiful woman who sits down in smiling serenity 
before her mirror.  She is tireless in her efforts to enhance her 
beauty and set it off to the best advantage.  Her figure is never 
slender enough, nor her carriage sufficiently erect to satisfy.  
But the "frump" will let herself and all her surroundings go to 
seed, not from humbleness of mind or an overwhelming sense of her 
own unworthiness, but in pure complacent conceit.

A criticism to which the highly gifted lay themselves open from 
those who do not understand them, is their love of praise, the 
critics failing to grasp the fact that this passion for measuring 
one's self with others, like the gad-fly pursuing poor Io, never 
allows a moment's repose in the green pastures of success, but 
goads them constantly up the rocky sides of endeavor.  It is not 
that they love flattery, but that they need approbation as a 
counterpoise to the dark moments of self-abasement and as a 
sustaining aid for higher flights.

Many years ago I was present at a final sitting which my master, 
Carolus Duran, gave to one of my fair compatriots.  He knew that 
the lady was leaving Paris on the morrow, and that in an hour, her 
husband and his friends were coming to see and criticise the 
portrait - always a terrible ordeal for an artist.

To any one familiar with this painter's moods, it was evident that 
the result of the sitting was not entirely satisfactory.  The quick 
breathing, the impatient tapping movement of the foot, the swift 
backward springs to obtain a better view, so characteristic of him 
in moments of doubt, and which had twenty years before earned him 
the name of LE DANSEUR from his fellow-copyists at the Louvre, 
betrayed to even a casual observer that his discouragement and 
discontent were at boiling point.

The sound of a bell and a murmur of voices announced the entrance 
of the visitors into the vast studio.  After the formalities of 
introduction had been accomplished the new-comers glanced at the 
portrait, but uttered never a word.  From it they passed in a 
perfectly casual manner to an inspection of the beautiful contents 
of the room, investigating the tapestries, admiring the armor, and 
finally, after another glance at the portrait, the husband 
remarked: "You have given my wife a jolly long neck, haven't you?" 
and, turning to his friends, began laughing and chatting in 
English.

If vitriol had been thrown on my poor master's quivering frame, the 
effect could not have been more instantaneous, his ignorance of the 
language spoken doubtless exaggerating his impression of being 
ridiculed.  Suddenly he turned very white, and before any of us had 
divined his intention he had seized a Japanese sword lying by and 
cut a dozen gashes across the canvas.  Then, dropping his weapon, 
he flung out of the room, leaving his sitter and her friends in 
speechless consternation, to wonder then and ever after in what way 
they had offended him.  In their opinions, if a man had talent and 
understood his business, he should produce portraits with the same 
ease that he would answer dinner invitations, and if they paid for, 
they were in no way bound also to praise, his work.  They were 
entirely pleased with the result, but did not consider it necessary 
to tell him so, no idea having crossed their minds that he might be 
in one of those moods so frequent with artistic natures, when words 
of approbation and praise are as necessary to them, as the air we 
breathe is to us, mortals of a commoner clay.

Even in the theatrical and operatic professions, those hotbeds of 
conceit, you will generally find among the "stars" abysmal depths 
of discouragement and despair.  One great tenor, who has delighted 
New York audiences during several winters past, invariably 
announces to his intimates on arising that his "voice has gone," 
and that, in consequence he will "never sing again," and has to be 
caressed and cajoled back into some semblance of confidence before 
attempting a performance.  This same artist, with an almost 
limitless repertoire and a reputation no new successes could 
enhance, recently risked all to sing what he considered a higher 
class of music, infinitely more fatiguing to his voice, because he 
was impelled onward by the ideal that forces genius to constant 
improvement and development of its powers.

What the people who meet these artists occasionally at a private 
concert or behind the scenes during the intense strain of a 
representation, take too readily for monumental egoism and conceit, 
is, the greater part of the time, merely the desire for a 
sustaining word, a longing for the stimulant of praise.

All actors and singers are but big children, and must be humored 
and petted like children when you wish them to do their best.  It 
is necessary for them to feel in touch with their audiences; to be 
assured that they are not falling below the high ideals formed for 
their work.

Some winters ago a performance at the opera nearly came to a 
standstill because an all-conquering soprano was found crying in 
her dressing-room.  After many weary moments of consolation and 
questioning, it came out that she felt quite sure she no longer had 
any talent.  One of the other singers had laughed at her voice, and 
in consequence there was nothing left to live for.  A half-hour 
later, owing to judicious "treatment," she was singing gloriously 
and bowing her thanks to thunders of applause.

Rather than blame this divine discontent that has made man what he 
is to-day, let us glorify and envy it, pitying the while the frail 
mortal vessels it consumes with its flame.  No adulation can turn 
such natures from their goal, and in the hour of triumph the slave 
is always at their side to whisper the word of warning.  This 
discontent is the leaven that has raised the whole loaf of dull 
humanity to better things and higher efforts, those privileged to 
feel it are the suns that illuminate our system.  If on these 
luminaries observers have discovered spots, it is well to remember 
that these blemishes are but the defects of their qualities, and 
better far than the total eclipse that shrouds so large a part of 
humanity in colorless complacency.

It will never be known how many master-pieces have been lost to the 
world because at the critical moment a friend has not been at hand 
with the stimulant of sympathy and encouragement needed by an 
overworked, straining artist who was beginning to lose confidence 
in himself; to soothe his irritated nerves with the balm of praise, 
and take his poor aching head on a friendly shoulder and let him 
sob out there all his doubt and discouragement.

So let us not be niggardly or ungenerous in meting out to 
struggling fellow-beings their share, and perchance a little more 
than their share of approbation and applause, poor enough return, 
after all, for the pleasure their labors have procured us.  What 
adequate compensation can we mete out to an author for the hours of 
delight and self-forgetfulness his talent has brought to us in 
moments of loneliness, illness, or grief?  What can pay our debt to 
a painter who has fixed on canvas the face we love?

The little return that it is in our power to make for all the joy 
these gifted fellow-beings bring into our lives is (closing our 
eyes to minor imperfections) to warmly applaud them as they move 
upward, along their stony path.




CHAPTER 8 - Slouch


I SHOULD like to see, in every school-room of our growing country, 
in every business office, at the railway stations, and on street 
corners, large placards placed with "Do not slouch" printed thereon 
in distinct and imposing characters.  If ever there was a tendency 
that needed nipping in the bud (I fear the bud is fast becoming a 
full-blown flower), it is this discouraging national failing.

Each year when I return from my spring wanderings, among the 
benighted and effete nations of the Old World, on whom the 
untravelled American looks down from the height of his superiority, 
I am struck anew by the contrast between the trim, well-groomed 
officials left behind on one side of the ocean and the happy-go-
lucky, slouching individuals I find on the other.

As I ride up town this unpleasant impression deepens.  In the 
"little Mother Isle" I have just left, bus-drivers have quite a 
coaching air, with hat and coat of knowing form.  They sport 
flowers in their button-holes and salute other bus-drivers, when 
they meet, with a twist of whip and elbow refreshingly correct, 
showing that they take pride in their calling, and have been at 
some pains to turn themselves out as smart in appearance as 
finances would allow.

Here, on the contrary, the stage and cab drivers I meet seem to be 
under a blight, and to have lost all interest in life.  They lounge 
on the box, their legs straggling aimlessly, one hand holding the 
reins, the other hanging dejectedly by the side.  Yet there is 
little doubt that these heartbroken citizens are earning double 
what their London CONFRERES gain.  The shadow of the national 
peculiarity is over them.

When I get to my rooms, the elevator boy is reclining in the lift, 
and hardly raises his eye-lids as he languidly manoeuvres the rope.  
I have seen that boy now for months, but never when his boots and 
clothes were brushed or when his cravat was not riding proudly 
above his collar.  On occasions I have offered him pins, which he 
took wearily, doubtless because it was less trouble than to refuse.  
The next day, however, his cravat again rode triumphant, mocking my 
efforts to keep it in its place.  His hair, too, has been a cause 
of wonder to me.  How does he manage to have it always so long and 
so unkempt?  More than once, when expecting callers, I have bribed 
him to have it cut, but it seemed to grow in the night, back to its 
poetic profusion.

In what does this noble disregard for appearances which 
characterizes American men originate?  Our climate, as some 
suggest, or discouragement at not all being millionaires?  It more 
likely comes from an absence with us of the military training that 
abroad goes so far toward licking young men into shape.

I shall never forget the surprise on the face of a French statesman 
to whom I once expressed my sympathy for his country, laboring 
under the burden of so vast a standing army.  He answered:

"The financial burden is doubtless great; but you have others.  
Witness your pension expenditures.  With us the money drawn from 
the people is used in such a way as to be of inestimable value to 
them.  We take the young hobbledehoy farm-hand or mechanic, 
ignorant, mannerless, uncleanly as he may be, and turn him out at 
the end of three years with his regiment, self-respecting and well-
mannered, with habits of cleanliness and obedience, having acquired 
a bearing, and a love of order that will cling to and serve him all 
his life.  We do not go so far," he added, "as our English 
neighbors in drilling men into superb manikins of 'form' and 
carriage.  Our authorities do not consider it necessary.  But we 
reclaim youths from the slovenliness of their native village or 
workshop and make them tidy and mannerly citizens."

These remarks came to mind the other day as I watched a group of 
New England youths lounging on the steps of the village store, or 
sitting in rows on a neighboring fence, until I longed to try if 
even a judicial arrangement of tacks, 'business-end up,' on these 
favorite seats would infuse any energy into their movements.  I 
came to the conclusion that my French acquaintance was right, for 
the only trim-looking men to be seen, were either veterans of our 
war or youths belonging to the local militia.  And nowhere does one 
see finer specimens of humanity than West Point and Annapolis turn 
out.

If any one doubts what kind of men slouching youths develop into, 
let him look when he travels, at the dejected appearance of the 
farmhouses throughout our land.  Surely our rural populations are 
not so much poorer than those of other countries.  Yet when one 
compares the dreary homes of even our well-to-do farmers with the 
smiling, well-kept hamlets seen in England or on the Continent, 
such would seem to be the case.

If ours were an old and bankrupt nation, this air of discouragement 
and decay could not be greater.  Outside of the big cities one 
looks in vain for some sign of American dash and enterprise in the 
appearance of our men and their homes.

During a journey of over four thousand miles, made last spring as 
the guest of a gentleman who knows our country thoroughly, I was 
impressed most painfully with this abject air.  Never in all those 
days did we see a fruit-tree trained on some sunny southern wall, a 
smiling flower-garden or carefully clipped hedge.  My host told me 
that hardly the necessary vegetables are grown, the inhabitants of 
the West and South preferring canned food.  It is less trouble!

If you wish to form an idea of the extent to which slouch prevails 
in our country, try to start a "village improvement society," and 
experience, as others have done, the apathy and ill-will of the 
inhabitants when you go about among them and strive to summon some 
of their local pride to your aid.

In the town near which I pass my summers, a large stone, fallen 
from a passing dray, lay for days in the middle of the principal 
street, until I paid some boys to remove it.  No one cared, and the 
dull-eyed inhabitants would doubtless be looking at it still but 
for my impatience.

One would imagine the villagers were all on the point of moving 
away (and they generally are, if they can sell their land), so 
little interest do they show in your plans.  Like all people who 
have fallen into bad habits, they have grown to love their 
slatternly ways and cling to them, resenting furiously any attempt 
to shake them up to energy and reform.

The farmer has not, however, a monopoly.  Slouch seems ubiquitous.  
Our railway and steam-boat systems have tried in vain to combat it, 
and supplied their employees with a livery (I beg the free and 
independent voter's pardon, a uniform!), with but little effect.  
The inherent tendency is too strong for the corporations.  The 
conductors still shuffle along in their spotted garments, the cap 
on the back of the head, and their legs anywhere, while they chew 
gum in defiance of the whole Board of Directors.

Go down to Washington, after a visit to the Houses of Parliament or 
the Chamber of Deputies, and observe the contrast between the 
bearing of our Senators and Representatives and the air of their 
CONFRERES abroad.  Our law-makers seem trying to avoid every 
appearance of "smartness."  Indeed, I am told, so great is the 
prejudice in the United States against a well-turned-out man that a 
candidate would seriously compromise his chances of election who 
appeared before his constituents in other than the accustomed 
shabby frock-coat, unbuttoned and floating, a pot hat, no gloves, 
as much doubtfully white shirt-front as possible, and a wisp of 
black silk for a tie; and if he can exhibit also a chin-whisker, 
his chances of election are materially increased.

Nothing offends an eye accustomed to our native LAISSER ALLER so 
much as a well-brushed hat and shining boots.  When abroad, it is 
easy to spot a compatriot as soon and as far as you can see one, by 
his graceless gait, a cross between a lounge and a shuffle.  In 
reading-, or dining-room, he is the only man whose spine does not 
seem equal to its work, so he flops and straggles until, for the 
honor of your land, you long to shake him and set him squarely on 
his legs.

No amount of reasoning can convince me that outward slovenliness is 
not a sign of inward and moral supineness.  A neglected exterior 
generally means a lax moral code.  The man who considers it too 
much trouble to sit erect can hardly have given much time to his 
tub or his toilet.  Having neglected his clothes, he will neglect 
his manners, and between morals and manners we know the tie is 
intimate.

In the Orient a new reign is often inaugurated by the construction 
of a mosque.  Vast expense is incurred to make it as splendid as 
possible.  But, once completed, it is never touched again.  Others 
are built by succeeding sovereigns, but neither thought nor 
treasure is ever expended on the old ones.  When they can no longer 
be used, they are abandoned, and fall into decay.  The same system 
seems to prevail among our private owners and corporations.  
Streets are paved, lamp-posts erected, store-fronts carefully 
adorned, but from the hour the workman puts his finishing touch 
upon them they are abandoned to the hand of fate.  The mud may cake 
up knee-deep, wind and weather work their own sweet will, it is no 
one's business to interfere.

When abroad one of my amusements has been of an early morning to 
watch Paris making its toilet.  The streets are taking a bath, 
liveried attendants are blacking the boots of the lamp-posts and 
newspaper-KIOSQUES, the shop-fronts are being shaved and having 
their hair curled, cafe's and restaurants are putting on clean 
shirts and tying their cravats smartly before their many mirrors.  
By the time the world is up and about, the whole city, smiling 
freshly from its matutinal tub, is ready to greet it gayly.

It is this attention to detail that gives to Continental cities 
their air of cheerfulness and thrift, and the utter lack of it that 
impresses foreigners so painfully on arriving at our shores.

It has been the fashion to laugh at the dude and his high collar, 
at the darky in his master's cast-off clothes, aping style and 
fashion.  Better the dude, better the colored dandy, better even 
the Bowery "tough" with his affected carriage, for they at least 
are reaching blindly out after something better than their 
surroundings, striving after an ideal, and are in just so much the 
superiors of the foolish souls who mock them - better, even 
misguided efforts, than the ignoble stagnant quagmire of slouch 
into which we seem to be slowly descending.




CHAPTER 9 - Social Suggestion


THE question of how far we are unconsciously influenced by people 
and surroundings, in our likes and dislikes, our opinions, and even 
in our pleasures and intimate tastes, is a delicate and interesting 
one, for the line between success and failure in the world, as on 
the stage or in most of the professions, is so narrow and depends 
so often on what humor one's "public" happen to be in at a 
particular moment, that the subject is worthy of consideration.

Has it never happened to you, for instance, to dine with friends 
and go afterwards in a jolly humor to the play which proved so 
delightful that you insist on taking your family immediately to see 
it; when to your astonishment you discover that it is neither 
clever nor amusing, on the contrary rather dull.  Your family look 
at you in amazement and wonder what you had seen to admire in such 
an asinine performance.  There was a case of suggestion!  You had 
been influenced by your friends and had shared their opinions.  The 
same thing occurs on a higher scale when one is raised out of one's 
self by association with gifted and original people, a communion 
with more cultivated natures which causes you to discover and 
appreciate a thousand hidden beauties in literature, art or music 
that left to yourself, you would have failed to notice.  Under 
these circumstances you will often be astonished at the point and 
piquancy of your own conversation.  This is but too true of a 
number of subjects.

We fondly believe our opinions and convictions to be original, and 
with innocent conceit, imagine that we have formed them for 
ourselves.  The illusion of being unlike other people is a common 
vanity.  Beware of the man who asserts such a claim.  He is sure to 
be a bore and will serve up to you, as his own, a muddle of ideas 
and opinions which he has absorbed like a sponge from his 
surroundings.

No place is more propitious for studying this curious phenomenon, 
than behind the scenes of a theatre, the last few nights before a 
first performance.  The whole company is keyed up to a point of 
mutual admiration that they are far from feeling generally.  "The 
piece is charming and sure to be a success."  The author and the 
interpreters of his thoughts are in complete communion.  The first 
night comes.  The piece is a failure!  Drop into the greenroom then 
and you will find an astonishing change has taken place.  The Star 
will take you into a corner and assert that, she "always knew the 
thing could not go, it was too imbecile, with such a company, it 
was folly to expect anything else."  The author will abuse the Star 
and the management.  The whole troupe is frankly disconcerted, like 
people aroused out of a hypnotic sleep, wondering what they had 
seen in the play to admire.

In the social world we are even more inconsistent, accepting with 
tameness the most astonishing theories and opinions.  Whole circles 
will go on assuring each other how clever Miss So-and-So is, or, 
how beautiful they think someone else.  Not because these good 
people are any cleverer, or more attractive than their neighbors, 
but simply because it is in the air to have these opinions about 
them.  To such an extent does this hold good, that certain persons 
are privileged to be vulgar and rude, to say impertinent things and 
make remarks that would ostracize a less fortunate individual from 
the polite world for ever; society will only smilingly shrug its 
shoulders and say: "It is only Mr. So-and-So's way."  It is useless 
to assert that in cases like these, people are in possession of 
their normal senses.  They are under influences of which they are 
perfectly unconscious.

Have you ever seen a piece guyed?  Few sadder sights exist, the 
human being rarely getting nearer the brute than when engaged in 
this amusement.  Nothing the actor or actress can do will satisfy 
the public.  Men who under ordinary circumstances would be 
incapable of insulting a woman, will whistle and stamp and laugh, 
at an unfortunate girl who is doing her utmost to amuse them.  A 
terrible example of this was given two winters ago at one of our 
concert halls, when a family of Western singers were subjected to 
absolute ill-treatment at the hands of the public.  The young girls 
were perfectly sincere, in their rude way, but this did not prevent 
men from offering them every insult malice could devise, and making 
them a target for every missile at hand.  So little does the public 
think for itself in cases like this, that at the opening of the 
performance had some well-known person given the signal for 
applause, the whole audience would, in all probability, have been 
delighted and made the wretched sisters a success.

In my youth it was the fashion to affect admiration for the Italian 
school of painting and especially for the great masters of the 
Renaissance.  Whole families of perfectly inartistic English and 
Americans might then he heard conscientiously admiring the ceiling 
of the Sistine Chapel or Leonardo's Last Supper (Botticelli had not 
been invented then) in the choicest guide-book language.

When one considers the infinite knowledge of technique required to 
understand the difficulties overcome by the giants of the 
Renaissance and to appreciate the intrinsic qualities of their 
creations, one asks one's self in wonder what our parents admired 
in those paintings, and what tempted them to bring home and adorn 
their houses with such dreadful copies of their favorites.  For if 
they appreciated the originals they never would have bought the 
copies, and if the copies pleased them, they must have been 
incapable of enjoying the originals.  Yet all these people thought 
themselves perfectly sincere.  To-day you will see the same thing 
going on before the paintings of Claude Monet and Besnard, the same 
admiration expressed by people who, you feel perfectly sure, do not 
realize why these works of art are superior and can no more explain 
to you why they think as they do than the sheep that follow each 
other through a hole in a wall, can give a reason for their 
actions.

Dress and fashion in clothes are subjects above all others, where 
the ineptitude of the human mind is most evident.  Can it be 
explained in any other way, why the fashions of yesterday always 
appear so hideous to us, - almost grotesque?  Take up an old album 
of photographs and glance over the faded contents.  Was there ever 
anything so absurd?  Look at the top hats men wore, and at the 
skirts of the women!

The mother of a family said to me the other day: "When I recall the 
way in which girls were dressed in my youth, I wonder how any of us 
ever got a husband."

Study a photograph of the Empress Eugenie, that supreme arbiter of 
elegance and grace.  Oh! those bunchy hooped skirts!  That awful 
India shawl pinned off the shoulders, and the bonnet perched on a 
roll of hair in the nape of the neck!  What were people thinking of 
at that time?  Were they lunatics to deform in this way the 
beautiful lines of the human body which it should be the first 
object of toilet to enhance, or were they only lacking in the 
artistic sense?  Nothing of the kind.  And what is more, they were 
convinced that the real secret of beauty in dress had been 
discovered by them; that past fashions were absurd, and that the 
future could not improve on their creations.  The sculptors and 
painters of that day (men of as great talent as any now living), 
were enthusiastic in reproducing those monstrosities in marble or 
on canvas, and authors raved about the ideal grace with which a 
certain beauty draped her shawl.

Another marked manner in which we are influenced by circumambient 
suggestion, is in the transient furore certain games and pastimes 
create.  We see intelligent people so given over to this influence 
as barely to allow themselves time to eat and sleep, begrudging the 
hours thus stolen from their favorite amusement.

Ten years ago, tennis occupied every moment of our young people's 
time; now golf has transplanted tennis in public favor, which does 
not prove, however, that the latter is the better game, but simply 
that compelled by the accumulated force of other people's opinions, 
youths and maidens, old duffers and mature spinsters are willing to 
pass many hours daily in all kinds of weather, solemnly following 
an indian-rubber ball across ten-acre lots.

If you suggest to people who are laboring under the illusion they 
are amusing themselves that the game, absorbing so much of their 
attention, is not as exciting as tennis nor as clever in 
combinations as croquet, that in fact it would be quite as amusing 
to roll an empty barrel several times around a plowed field, they 
laugh at you in derision and instantly put you down in their 
profound minds as a man who does not understand "sport."

Yet these very people were tennis-mad twenty years ago and had 
night come to interrupt a game of croquet would have ordered 
lanterns lighted in order to finish the match so enthralling were 
its intricacies.

Everybody has known how to play BEZIQUE in this country for years, 
yet within the last eighteen months, whole circles of our friends 
have been seized with a midsummer madness and willingly sat glued 
to a card-table through long hot afternoons and again after dinner 
until day dawned on their folly.

Certain MEMOIRES of Louis Fifteenth's reign tell of an 
"unravelling" mania that developed at his court.  It began by some 
people fraying out old silks to obtain the gold and silver threads 
from worn-out stuffs; this occupation soon became the rage, nothing 
could restrain the delirium of destruction, great ladies tore 
priceless tapestries from their walls and brocades from their 
furniture, in order to unravel those materials and as the old stock 
did not suffice for the demand thousands were spent on new brocades 
and velvets, which were instantly destroyed, entertainments were 
given where unravelling was the only amusement offered, the entire 
court thinking and talking of nothing else for months.

What is the logical deduction to be drawn from all this?  Simply 
that people do not see with their eyes or judge with their 
understandings; that an all-pervading hypnotism, an ambient 
suggestion, at times envelops us taking from people all free will, 
and replacing it with the taste and judgment of the moment.

The number of people is small in each generation, who are strong 
enough to rise above their surroundings and think for themselves.  
The rest are as dry leaves on a stream.  They float along and turn 
gayly in the eddies, convinced all the time (as perhaps are the 
leaves) that they act entirely from their own volition and that 
their movements are having a profound influence on the direction 
and force of the current.




CHAPTER 10 - Bohemia


LUNCHING with a talented English comedian and his wife the other 
day, the conversation turned on Bohemia, the evasive no-man's-land 
that Thackeray referred to, in so many of his books, and to which 
he looked back lovingly in his later years, when, as he said, he 
had forgotten the road to Prague.

The lady remarked: "People have been more than kind to us here in 
New York.  We have dined and supped out constantly, and have met 
with gracious kindness, such as we can never forget.  But so far we 
have not met a single painter, or author, or sculptor, or a man who 
has explored a corner of the earth.  Neither have we had the good 
luck to find ourselves in the same room with Tesla or Rehan, Edison 
or Drew.  We shall regret so much when back in England and are 
asked about your people of talent, being obliged to say, 'We never 
met any of them.'  Why is it?  We have not been in any one circle, 
and have pitched our tents in many cities, during our tours over 
here, but always with the same result.  We read your American 
authors as much as, if not more than, our own.  The names of dozens 
of your discoverers and painters are household words in England.  
When my husband planned his first tour over here my one idea was, 
'How nice it will be!  Now I shall meet those delightful people of 
whom I have heard so much.'  The disappointment has been complete.  
Never one have I seen."

I could not but feel how all too true were the remarks of this 
intelligent visitor, remembering how quick the society of London is 
to welcome a new celebrity or original character, how a place is at 
once made for him at every hospitable board, a permanent one to 
which he is expected to return; and how no Continental 
entertainment is considered complete without some bright particular 
star to shine in the firmament.

"Lion-hunting," I hear my reader say with a sneer.  That may be, 
but it makes society worth the candle, which it rarely is over 
here.  I realized what I had often vaguely felt before, that the 
Bohemia the English lady was looking for was not to be found in 
this country, more's the pity.  Not that the elements are lacking.  
Far from it, (for even more than in London should we be able to 
combine such a society), but perhaps from a misconception of the 
true idea of such a society, due probably to Henry Murger's dreary 
book SCENES DE LA VIE DE BOHEME which is chargeable with the fact 
that a circle of this kind evokes in the mind of most Americans 
visions of a scrubby, poorly-fed and less-washed community, a world 
they would hardly dare ask to their tables for fear of some 
embarrassing unconventionality of conduct or dress.

Yet that can hardly be the reason, for even in Murger or Paul de 
Kock, at their worst, the hero is still a gentleman, and even when 
he borrows a friend's coat, it is to go to a great house and among 
people of rank.  Besides, we are becoming too cosmopolitan, and 
wander too constantly over this little globe, not to have learned 
that the Bohemia of 1830 is as completely a thing of the past as a 
GRISETTE or a glyphisodon.  It disappeared with Gavarni and the 
authors who described it.  Although we have kept the word, its 
meaning has gradually changed until it has come to mean something 
difficult to define, a will-o'-the-wisp, which one tries vainly to 
grasp.  With each decade it has put on a new form and changed its 
centre, the one definite fact being that it combines the better 
elements of several social layers.

Drop in, if you are in Paris and know the way, at one of Madeleine 
Lemaire's informal evenings in her studio.  There you may find the 
Prince de Ligne, chatting with Rejane or Coquelin; or Henri 
d'Orleans, just back from an expedition into Africa.  A little 
further on, Saint-Saens will be running over the keys, preparing an 
accompaniment for one of Madame de Tredern's songs.  The Princess 
Mathilde (that passionate lover of art) will surely be there, and - 
but it is needless to particularize.

Cross the Channel, and get yourself asked to one of Irving's choice 
suppers after the play.  You will find the bar, the stage, and the 
pulpit represented there, a "happy family" over which the "Prince" 
often presides, smoking cigar after cigar, until the tardy London 
daylight appears to break up the entertainment.

For both are centres where the gifted and the travelled meet the 
great of the social world, on a footing of perfect equality, and 
where, if any prestige is accorded, it is that of brains.  When you 
have seen these places and a dozen others like them, you will 
realize what the actor's wife had in her mind.

Now, let me whisper to you why I think such circles do not exist in 
this country.  In the first place, we are still too provincial in 
this big city of ours.  New York always reminds me of a definition 
I once heard of California fruit: "Very large, with no particular 
flavor."  We are like a boy, who has had the misfortune to grow too 
quickly and look like a man, but whose mind has not kept pace with 
his body.  What he knows is undigested and chaotic, while his 
appearance makes you expect more of him than he can give - hence 
disappointment.

Our society is yet in knickerbockers, and has retained all sorts of 
littlenesses and prejudices which older civilizations have long 
since relegated to the mental lumber room.  An equivalent to this 
point of view you will find in England or France only in the 
smaller "cathedral" cities, and even there the old aristocrats have 
the courage of their opinions.  Here, where everything is quite 
frankly on a money basis, and "positions" are made and lost like a 
fortune, by a turn of the market, those qualities which are purely 
mental, and on which it is hard to put a practical value, are 
naturally at a discount.  We are quite ready to pay for the best.  
Witness our private galleries and the opera, but we say, like the 
parvenu in Emile Augier's delightful comedy LE GENDRE DE M. 
POIRIER, "Patronize art?  Of course!  But the artists?  Never!"  
And frankly, it would be too much, would it not, to expect a family 
only half a generation away from an iron foundry, or a mine, to be 
willing to receive Irving or Bernhardt on terms of perfect 
equality?

As it would be unjust to demand a mature mind in the overgrown boy, 
it is useless to hope for delicate tact and social feeling from the 
parvenu.  To be gracious and at ease with all classes and 
professions, one must be perfectly sure of one's own position, and 
with us few feel this security, it being based on too frail a 
foundation, a crisis in the "street" going a long way towards 
destroying it.

Of course I am generalizing and doubt not that in many cultivated 
homes the right spirit exists, but unfortunately these are not the 
centres which give the tone to our "world."  Lately at one of the 
most splendid houses in this city a young Italian tenor had been 
engaged to sing.  When he had finished he stood alone, unnoticed, 
unspoken to for the rest of the evening.  He had been paid to sing.  
"What more, in common sense, could he want?" thought the "world," 
without reflecting that it was probably not the TENOR who lost by 
that arrangement.  It needs a delicate hand to hold the reins over 
the backs of such a fine-mouthed community as artists and singers 
form.  They rarely give their best when singing or performing in a 
hostile atmosphere.

A few years ago when a fancy-dress ball was given at the Academy of 
Design, the original idea was to have it an artists' ball; the 
community of the brush were, however, approached with such a 
complete lack of tact that, with hardly an exception, they held 
aloof, and at the ball shone conspicuous by their absence.

At present in this city I know of but two hospitable firesides 
where you are sure to meet the best the city holds of either 
foreign or native talent.  The one is presided over by the wife of 
a young composer, and the other, oddly enough, by two unmarried 
ladies.  An invitation to a dinner or a supper at either of these 
houses is as eagerly sought after and as highly prized in the great 
world as it is by the Bohemians, though neither "salon" is open 
regularly.

There is still hope for us, and I already see signs of better 
things.  Perhaps, when my English friend returns in a few years, we 
may be able to prove to her that we have found the road to Prague.




CHAPTER 11 - Social Exiles


BALZAC, in his COMEDIE HUMAINE, has reviewed with a master-hand 
almost every phase of the Social World of Paris down to 1850 and 
Thackeray left hardly a corner of London High Life unexplored; but 
so great have been the changes (progress, its admirers call it,) 
since then, that, could Balzac come back to his beloved Paris, he 
would feel like a foreigner there; and Thackeray, who was among us 
but yesterday, would have difficulty in finding his bearings in the 
sea of the London world to-day.

We have changed so radically that even a casual observer cannot 
help being struck by the difference.  Among other most significant 
"phenomena" has appeared a phase of life that not only neither of 
these great men observed (for the very good reason that it had not 
appeared in their time), but which seems also to have escaped the 
notice of the writers of our own day, close observers as they are 
of any new development.  I mean the class of Social Exiles, 
pitiable wanderers from home and country, who haunt the Continent, 
and are to be found (sad little colonies) in out-of-the-way corners 
of almost every civilized country.

To know much of this form of modern life, one must have been a 
wanderer, like myself, and have pitched his tent in many queer 
places; for they are shy game and not easily raised, frequenting 
mostly quiet old cities like Versailles and Florence, or 
inexpensive watering-places where their meagre incomes become 
affluence by contrast.  The first thought on dropping in on such a 
settlement is, "How in the world did these people ever drift here?"  
It is simple enough and generally comes about in this way:

The father of a wealthy family dies.  The fortune turns out to be 
less than was expected.  The widow and children decide to go abroad 
for a year or so, during their period of mourning, partially for 
distraction, and partially (a fact which is not spoken of) because 
at home they would be forced to change their way of living to a 
simpler one, and that is hard to do, just at first.  Later they 
think it will be quite easy.  So the family emigrates, and after a 
little sight-seeing, settles in Dresden or Tours, casually at 
first, in a hotel.  If there are young children they are made the 
excuse.  "The languages are so important!"  Or else one of the 
daughters develops a taste for music, or a son takes up the study 
of art.  In a year or two, before a furnished apartment is taken, 
the idea of returning is discussed, but abandoned "for the 
present."  They begin vaguely to realize how difficult it will be 
to take life up again at home.  During all this time their income 
(like everything else when the owners are absent) has been slowly 
but surely disappearing, making the return each year more 
difficult.  Finally, for economy, an unfurnished apartment is 
taken.  They send home for bits of furniture and family belongings, 
and gradually drop into the great army of the expatriated.

Oh, the pathos of it!  One who has not seen these poor stranded 
waifs in their self-imposed exile, with eyes turned towards their 
native land, cannot realize all the sadness and loneliness they 
endure, rarely adopting the country of their residence but becoming 
more firmly American as the years go by.  The home papers and 
periodicals are taken, the American church attended, if there 
happens to be one; the English chapel, if there is not.  Never a 
French church!  In their hearts they think it almost irreverent to 
read the service in French.  The acquaintance of a few fellow-
exiles is made and that of a half-dozen English families, mothers 
and daughters and a younger son or two, whom the ferocious 
primogeniture custom has cast out of the homes of their childhood 
to economize on the Continent.

I have in my mind a little settlement of this kind at Versailles, 
which was a type.  The formal old city, fallen from its grandeur, 
was a singularly appropriate setting to the little comedy.  There 
the modest purses of the exiles found rents within their reach, the 
quarters vast and airy.  The galleries and the park afforded a 
diversion, and then Paris, dear Paris, the American Mecca, was 
within reach.  At the time I knew it, the colony was fairly 
prosperous, many of its members living in the two or three 
principal PENSIONS, the others in apartments of their own.  They 
gave feeble little entertainments among themselves, card-parties 
and teas, and dined about with each other at their respective 
TABLES D'HOTE, even knowing a stray Frenchman or two, whom the 
quest of a meal had tempted out of their native fastnesses as it 
does the wolves in a hard winter.  Writing and receiving letters 
from America was one of the principal occupations, and an epistle 
descriptive of a particular event at home went the rounds, and was 
eagerly read and discussed.

The merits of the different PENSIONS also formed a subject of vital 
interest.  The advantages and disadvantages of these rival 
establishments were, as a topic, never exhausted.  MADAME UNE TELLE 
gave five o'clock tea, included in the seven francs a day, but her 
rival gave one more meat course at dinner and her coffee was 
certainly better, while a third undoubtedly had a nicer set of 
people.  No one here at home can realize the importance these 
matters gradually assume in the eyes of the exiles.  Their slender 
incomes have to be so carefully handled to meet the strain of even 
this simple way of living, if they are to show a surplus for a 
little trip to the seashore in the summer months, that an extra 
franc a day becomes a serious consideration.

Every now and then a family stronger-minded than the others, or 
with serious reasons for returning home (a daughter to bring out or 
a son to put into business), would break away from its somnolent 
surroundings and re-cross the Atlantic, alternating between hope 
and fear.  It is here that a sad fate awaits these modern Rip Van 
Winkles.  They find their native cities changed beyond recognition.  
(For we move fast in these days.)  The mother gets out her visiting 
list of ten years before and is thunderstruck to find that it 
contains chiefly names of the "dead, the divorced, and defaulted."  
The waves of a decade have washed over her place and the world she 
once belonged to knows her no more.  The leaders of her day on 
whose aid she counted have retired from the fray.  Younger, and 
alas! unknown faces sit in the opera boxes and around the dinner 
tables where before she had found only friends.  After a feeble 
little struggle to get again into the "swim," the family drifts 
back across the ocean into the quiet back water of a continental 
town, and goes circling around with the other twigs and dry leaves, 
moral flotsam and jetsam, thrown aside by the great rush of the 
outside world.

For the parents the life is not too sad.  They have had their day, 
and are, perhaps, a little glad in their hearts of a quiet old age, 
away from the heat and sweat of the battle; but for the younger 
generation it is annihilation.  Each year their circle grows 
smaller.  Death takes away one member after another of the family, 
until one is left alone in a foreign land with no ties around her, 
or with her far-away "home," the latter more a name now than a 
reality.

A year or two ago I was taking luncheon with our consul at his 
primitive villa, an hour's ride from the city of Tangier, a ride 
made on donkey-back, as no roads exist in that sunny land.  After 
our coffee and cigars, he took me a half-hour's walk into the 
wilderness around him to call on his nearest neighbors, whose mode 
of existence seemed a source of anxiety to him.  I found myself in 
the presence of two American ladies, the younger being certainly 
not less than seventy-five.  To my astonishment I found they had 
been living there some thirty years, since the death of their 
parents, in an isolation and remoteness impossible to describe, in 
an Arab house, with native servants, "the world forgetting, by the 
world forgot."  Yet these ladies had names well known in New York 
fifty years ago.

The glimpse I had of their existence made me thoughtful as I rode 
home in the twilight, across a suburb none too safe for strangers.  
What had the future in store for those two?  Or, worse still, for 
the survivor of those two?  In contrast, I saw a certain humble 
"home" far away in America, where two old ladies were ending their 
lives surrounded by loving friends and relations, honored and 
cherished and guarded tenderly from the rude world.

In big cities like Paris and Rome there is another class of the 
expatriated, the wealthy who have left their homes in a moment of 
pique after the failure of some social or political ambition; and 
who find in these centres the recognition refused them at home and 
for which their souls thirsted.

It is not to these I refer, although it is curious to see a group 
of people living for years in a country of which they, half the 
time, do not speak the language (beyond the necessities of house-
keeping and shopping), knowing but few of its inhabitants, and 
seeing none of the society of the place, their acquaintance rarely 
going beyond that equivocal, hybrid class that surrounds rich 
"strangers" and hangs on to the outer edge of the GRAND MONDE.  One 
feels for this latter class merely contempt, but one's pity is 
reserved for the former.  What object lessons some lives on the 
Continent would be to impatient souls at home, who feel 
discontented with their surroundings, and anxious to break away and 
wander abroad!  Let them think twice before they cut the thousand 
ties it has taken a lifetime to form.  Better monotony at your own 
fireside, my friends, where at the worst, you are known and have 
your place, no matter how small, than an old age among strangers.




CHAPTER 12 - "Seven Ages" of Furniture


THE progress through life of active-minded Americans is apt to be a 
series of transformations.  At each succeeding phase of mental 
development, an old skin drops from their growing intelligence, and 
they assimilate the ideas and tastes of their new condition, with a 
facility and completeness unknown to other nations.

One series of metamorphoses particularly amusing to watch is, that 
of an observant, receptive daughter of Uncle Sam who, aided and 
followed (at a distance) by an adoring husband, gradually develops 
her excellent brain, and rises through fathoms of self-culture and 
purblind experiment, to the surface of dilettantism and 
connoisseurship.  One can generally detect the exact stage of 
evolution such a lady has reached by the bent of her conversation, 
the books she is reading, and, last but not least, by her material 
surroundings; no outward and visible signs reflecting inward and 
spiritual grace so clearly as the objects people collect around 
them for the adornment of their rooms, or the way in which those 
rooms are decorated.

A few years ago, when a young man and his bride set up housekeeping 
on their own account, the "old people" of both families seized the 
opportunity to unload on the beginners (under the pretence of 
helping them along) a quantity of furniture and belongings that had 
(as the shopkeepers say) "ceased to please" their original owners.  
The narrow quarters of the tyros are encumbered by ungainly sofas 
and arm-chairs, most probably of carved rosewood.  ETAGERES OF the 
same lugubrious material grace the corners of their tiny drawing-
room, the bits of mirror inserted between the shelves distorting 
the image of the owners into headless or limbless phantoms.  Half 
of their little dining-room is filled with a black-walnut 
sideboard, ingeniously contrived to take up as much space as 
possible and hold nothing, its graceless top adorned with a stag's 
head carved in wood and imitation antlers.

The novices in their innocence live contented amid their hideous 
surroundings for a year or two, when the wife enters her second 
epoch, which, for want of a better word, we will call the Japanese 
period.  The grim furniture gradually disappears under a layer of 
silk and gauze draperies, the bare walls blossom with paper 
umbrellas, fans are nailed in groups promiscuously, wherever an 
empty space offends her eye.  Bows of ribbon are attached to every 
possible protuberance of the furniture.  Even the table service is 
not spared.  I remember dining at a house in this stage of its 
artistic development, where the marrow bones that formed one course 
of the dinner appeared each with a coquettish little bow-knot of 
pink ribbon around its neck.

Once launched on this sea of adornment, the housewife soon loses 
her bearings and decorates indiscriminately.  Her old evening 
dresses serve to drape the mantelpieces, and she passes every spare 
hour embroidering, braiding, or fringing some material to adorn her 
rooms.  At Christmas her friends contribute specimens of their 
handiwork to the collection.

The view of other houses and other decorations before long 
introduces the worm of discontent into the blossom of our friend's 
contentment.  The fruit of her labors becomes tasteless on her 
lips.  As the finances of the family are satisfactory, the re-
arrangement of the parlor floor is (at her suggestion) confided to 
a firm of upholsterers, who make a clean sweep of the rosewood and 
the bow-knots, and retire, after some months of labor, leaving the 
delighted wife in possession of a suite of rooms glittering with 
every monstrosity that an imaginative tradesman, spurred on by 
unlimited credit, could devise.

The wood work of the doors and mantels is an intricate puzzle of 
inlaid woods, the ceilings are panelled and painted in complicated 
designs.  The "parlor" is provided with a complete set of neat, 
old-gold satin furniture, puffed at its angles with peacock-colored 
plush.

The monumental folding doors between the long, narrow rooms are 
draped with the same chaste combination of stuffs.

The dining-room blazes with a gold and purple wall paper, set off 
by ebonized wood work and furniture.  The conscientious contractor 
has neglected no corner.  Every square inch of the ceilings, walls, 
and floors has been carved, embossed, stencilled, or gilded into a 
bewildering monotony.

The husband, whose affairs are rapidly increasing on his hands, has 
no time to attend to such insignificant details as house 
decoration, the wife has perfect confidence in the taste of the 
firm employed.  So at the suggestion of the latter, and in order to 
complete the beauty of the rooms, a Bouguereau, a Toulmouche and a 
couple of Schreyers are bought, and a number of modern French 
bronzes scattered about on the multicolored cabinets.  Then, at 
last, the happy owners of all this splendor open their doors to the 
admiration of their friends.

About the time the peacock plush and the gilding begin to show 
signs of wear and tear, rumors of a fresh fashion in decoration 
float across from England, and the new gospel of the beautiful 
according to Clarence Cook is first preached to an astonished 
nation.

The fortune of our couple continuing to develop with pleasing 
rapidity, the building of a country house is next decided upon.  A 
friend of the husband, who has recently started out as an 
architect, designs them a picturesque residence without a straight 
line on its exterior or a square room inside.  This house is done 
up in strict obedience to the teachings of the new sect.  The 
dining-room is made about as cheerful as the entrance to a family 
vault.  The rest of the house bears a close resemblance to an 
ecclesiastical junk shop.  The entrance hall is filled with what 
appears to be a communion table in solid oak, and the massive 
chairs and settees of the parlor suggest the withdrawing room of 
Rowena, aesthetic shades of momie-cloth drape deep-set windows, 
where anaemic and disjointed females in stained glass pluck 
conventional roses.

To each of these successive transitions the husband has remained 
obediently and tranquilly indifferent.  He has in his heart 
considered them all equally unfitting and uncomfortable and sighed 
in regretful memory of a deep, old-fashioned arm-chair that 
sheltered his after-dinner naps in the early rosewood period.  So 
far he has been as clay in the hands of his beloved wife, but the 
anaemic ladies and the communion table are the last drop that 
causes his cup to overflow.  He revolts and begins to take matters 
into his own hands with the result that the household enters its 
fifth incarnation under his guidance, during which everything is 
painted white and all the wall-papers are a vivid scarlet.  The 
family sit on bogus Chippendale and eat off blue and white china.

With the building of their grand new house near the park the couple 
rise together into the sixth cycle of their development.  Having 
travelled and studied the epochs by this time, they can tell a 
Louis XIV. from a Louis XV. room, and recognize that mahogany and 
brass sphinxes denote furniture of the Empire.  This newly acquired 
knowledge is, however, vague and hazy.  They have no confidence in 
themselves, so give over the fitting of their principal floors to 
the New York branch of a great French house.  Little is talked of 
now but periods, plans, and elevations.  Under the guidance of the 
French firm, they acquire at vast expense, faked reproductions as 
historic furniture.

The spacious rooms are sticky with new gilding, and the flowered 
brocades of the hangings and furniture crackle to the touch.  The 
rooms were not designed by the architect to receive any special 
kind of "treatment."  Immense folding-doors unite the salons, and 
windows open anywhere.  The decorations of the walls have been 
applied like a poultice, regardless of the proportions of the rooms 
and the distribution of the spaces.

Building and decorating are, however, the best of educations.  The 
husband, freed at last from his business occupations, finds in this 
new study an interest and a charm unknown to him before.  He and 
his wife are both vaguely disappointed when their resplendent 
mansion is finished, having already outgrown it, and recognize that 
in spite of correct detail, their costly apartments no more 
resemble the stately and simple salons seen abroad than the cabin 
of a Fall River boat resembles the GALERIE DES GLACES at 
Versailles.  The humiliating knowledge that they are all wrong 
breaks upon them, as it is doing on hundreds of others, at the same 
time as the desire to know more and appreciate better the perfect 
productions of this art.

A seventh and last step is before them but they know not how to 
make it.  A surer guide than the upholsterer is, they know, 
essential, but their library contains nothing to help them.  Others 
possess the information they need, yet they are ignorant where to 
turn for what they require.

With singular appropriateness a volume treating of this delightful 
"art" has this season appeared at Scribner's.  "The Decoration of 
Houses" is the result of a woman's faultless taste collaborating 
with a man's technical knowledge.  Its mission is to reveal to the 
hundreds who have advanced just far enough to find that they can go 
no farther alone, truths lying concealed beneath the surface.  It 
teaches that consummate taste is satisfied only with a perfected 
simplicity; that the facades of a house must be the envelope of the 
rooms within and adapted to them, as the rooms are to the habits 
and requirements of them "that dwell therein;" that proportion is 
the backbone of the decorator's art and that supreme elegance is 
fitness and moderation; and, above all, that an attention to 
architectural principles can alone lead decoration to a perfect 
development.




CHAPTER 13 - Our Elite and Public Life


THE complaint is so often heard, and seems so well founded, that 
there is a growing inclination, not only among men of social 
position, but also among our best and cleverest citizens, to stand 
aloof from public life, and this reluctance on their part is so 
unfortunate, that one feels impelled to seek out the causes where 
they must lie, beneath the surface.  At a first glance they are not 
apparent.  Why should not the honor of representing one's town or 
locality be as eagerly sought after with us as it is by English or 
French men of position?  That such is not the case, however, is 
evident.

Speaking of this the other evening, over my after-dinner coffee, 
with a high-minded and public-spirited gentleman, who not long ago 
represented our country at a European court, he advanced two 
theories which struck me as being well worth repeating, and which 
seemed to account to a certain extent for this curious abstinence.

As a first and most important cause, he placed the fact that 
neither our national nor (here in New York) our state capital 
coincides with our metropolis.  In this we differ from England and 
all the continental countries.  The result is not difficult to 
perceive.  In London, a man of the world, a business man, or a 
great lawyer, who represents a locality in Parliament, can fulfil 
his mandate and at the same time lead his usual life among his own 
set.  The lawyer or the business man can follow during the day his 
profession, or those affairs on which he depends to support his 
family and his position in the world.  Then, after dinner (owing to 
the peculiar hours adopted for the sittings of Parliament), he can 
take his place as a law-maker.  If he be a London-born man, he in 
no way changes his way of life or that of his family.  If, on the 
contrary, he be a county magnate, the change he makes is all for 
the better, as it takes him and his wife and daughters up to 
London, the haven of their longings, and the centre of all sorts of 
social dissipations and advancement.

With us, it is exactly the contrary.  As the District of Columbia 
elects no one, everybody living in Washington officially is more or 
less expatriated, and the social life it offers is a poor 
substitute for the circle which most families leave to go there.

That, however, is not the most important side of the question.  Go 
to any great lawyer of either New York or Chicago, and propose 
sending him to Congress or the Senate.  His answer is sure to be, 
"I cannot afford it.  I know it is an honor, but what is to replace 
the hundred thousand dollars a year which my profession brings me 
in, not to mention that all my practice would go to pieces during 
my absence?"  Or again, "How should I dare to propose to my family 
to leave one of the great centres of the country to go and vegetate 
in a little provincial city like Washington?  No, indeed!  Public 
life is out of the question for me!"

Does any one suppose England would have the class of men she gets 
in Parliament, if that body sat at Bristol?

Until recently the man who occupied the position of Lord Chancellor 
made thirty thousand pounds a year by his profession without 
interfering in any way with his public duties, and at the present 
moment a recordership in London in no wise prevents private 
practice.  Were these gentlemen Americans, they would be obliged to 
renounce all hope of professional income in order to serve their 
country at its Capital.

Let us glance for a moment at the other reason.  Owing to our laws 
(doubtless perfectly reasonable, and which it is not my intention 
to criticise,) a man must reside in the place he represents.  Here 
again we differ from all other constitutional countries.  
Unfortunately, our clever young men leave the small towns of their 
birth and flock up to the great centres as offering wider fields 
for their advancement.  In consequence, the local elector finds his 
choice limited to what is left - the intellectual skimmed milk, of 
which the cream has been carried to New York or other big cities.  
No country can exist without a metropolis, and as such a centre by 
a natural law of assimilation absorbs the best brains of the 
country, in other nations it has been found to the interests of all 
parties to send down brilliant young men to the "provinces," to be, 
in good time, returned by them to the national assemblies.

As this is not a political article the simple indication of these 
two causes will suffice, without entering into the question of 
their reasonableness or of their justice.  The social bearing of 
such a condition is here the only side of the question under 
discussion; it is difficult to over-rate the influence that a man's 
family exert over his decisions.

Political ambition is exceedingly rare among our women of position; 
when the American husband is bitten with it, the wife submits to, 
rather than abets, his inclinations.  In most cases our women are 
not cosmopolitan enough to enjoy being transplanted far away from 
their friends and relations, even to fill positions of importance 
and honor.  A New York woman of great frankness and intelligence, 
who found herself recently in a Western city under these 
circumstances, said, in answer to a flattering remark that "the 
ladies of the place expected her to become their social leader," "I 
don't see anything to lead," thus very plainly expressing her 
opinion of the situation.  It is hardly fair to expect a woman 
accustomed to the life of New York or the foreign capitals, to look 
forward with enthusiasm to a term of years passed in Albany, or in 
Washington.

In France very much the same state of affairs has been reached by 
quite a different route.  The aristocracy detest the present 
government, and it is not considered "good form" by them to sit in 
the Chamber of Deputies or to accept any but diplomatic positions.  
They condescend to fill the latter because that entails living away 
from their own country, as they feel more at ease in foreign courts 
than at the Republican receptions of the Elysee.

There is a deplorable tendency among our self-styled aristocracy to 
look upon their circle as a class apart.  They separate themselves 
more each year from the life of the country, and affect to smile at 
any of their number who honestly wish to be of service to the 
nation.  They, like the French aristocracy, are perfectly willing, 
even anxious, to fill agreeable diplomatic posts at first-class 
foreign capitals, and are naively astonished when their offers of 
service are not accepted with gratitude by the authorities in 
Washington.  But let a husband propose to his better half some 
humble position in the machinery of our government, and see what 
the lady's answer will be.

The opinion prevails among a large class of our wealthy and 
cultivated people, that to go into public life is to descend to 
duties beneath them.  They judge the men who occupy such positions 
with insulting severity, classing them in their minds as corrupt 
and self-seeking, than which nothing can be more childish or more 
imbecile.  Any observer who has lived in the different grades of 
society will quickly renounce the puerile idea that sporting or 
intellectual pursuits are alone worthy of a gentleman's attention.  
This very political life, which appears unworthy of their attention 
to so many men, is, in reality, the great field where the nations 
of the world fight out their differences, where the seed is sown 
that will ripen later into vast crops of truth and justice.  It is 
(if rightly regarded and honestly followed) the battle-ground where 
man's highest qualities are put to their noblest use - that of 
working for the happiness of others.




CHAPTER 14 - The Small Summer Hotel


WE certainly are the most eccentric race on the surface of the 
globe and ought to be a delight to the soul of an explorer, so full 
is our civilization of contradictions, unexplained habits and 
curious customs.  It is quite unnecessary for the inquisitive 
gentlemen who pass their time prying into other people's affairs 
and then returning home to write books about their discoveries, to 
risk their lives and digestions in long journeys into Central 
Africa or to the frozen zones, while so much good material lies 
ready to their hands in our own land.  The habits of the "natives" 
in New England alone might occupy an active mind indefinitely, 
offering as interesting problems as any to be solved by penetrating 
Central Asia or visiting the man-eating tribes of Australia.

Perhaps one of our scientific celebrities, before undertaking his 
next long voyage, will find time to make observations at home and 
collect sufficient data to answer some questions that have long 
puzzled my unscientific brain.  He would be doing good work.  Fame 
and honors await the man who can explain why, for instance, sane 
Americans of the better class, with money enough to choose their 
surroundings, should pass so much of their time in hotels and 
boarding houses.  There must be a reason for the vogue of these 
retreats - every action has a cause, however remote.  I shall await 
with the deepest interest a paper on this subject from one of our 
great explorers, untoward circumstances having some time ago forced 
me to pass a few days in a popular establishment of this class.

During my visit I amused myself by observing the inmates and trying 
to discover why they had come there.  So far as I could find out, 
the greater part of them belonged to our well-to-do class, and when 
at home doubtless lived in luxurious houses and were waited on by 
trained servants.  In the small summer hotel where I met them, they 
were living in dreary little ten by twelve foot rooms, containing 
only the absolute necessities of existence, a wash-stand, a bureau, 
two chairs and a bed.  And such a bed!  One mattress about four 
inches thick over squeaking slats, cotton sheets, so nicely 
calculated to the size of the bed that the slightest move on the 
part of the sleeper would detach them from their moorings and undo 
the housemaid's work; two limp, discouraged pillows that had 
evidently been "banting," and a few towels a foot long with a 
surface like sand-paper, completed the fittings of the room.  Baths 
were unknown, and hot water was a luxury distributed sparingly by a 
capricious handmaiden.  It is only fair to add that everything in 
the room was perfectly clean, as was the coarse table linen in the 
dining room.

The meals were in harmony with the rooms and furniture, consisting 
only of the strict necessities, cooked with a Spartan disregard for 
such sybarite foibles as seasoning or dressing.  I believe there 
was a substantial meal somewhere in the early morning hours, but I 
never succeeded in getting down in time to inspect it.  By 
successful bribery, I induced one of the village belles, who served 
at table, to bring a cup of coffee to my room.  The first morning 
it appeared already poured out in the cup, with sugar and cold milk 
added at her discretion.  At one o'clock a dinner was served, 
consisting of soup (occasionally), one meat dish and attendant 
vegetables, a meagre dessert, and nothing else.  At half-past six 
there was an equally rudimentary meal, called "tea," after which no 
further food was distributed to the inmates, who all, however, 
seemed perfectly contented with this arrangement.  In fact they 
apparently looked on the act of eating as a disagreeable task, to 
be hurried through as soon as possible that they might return to 
their aimless rocking and chattering.

Instead of dinner hour being the feature of the day, uniting people 
around an attractive table, and attended by conversation, and the 
meal lasting long enough for one's food to be properly eaten, it 
was rushed through as though we were all trying to catch a train.  
Then, when the meal was over, the boarders relapsed into apathy 
again.

No one ever called this hospitable home a boarding-house, for the 
proprietor was furious if it was given that name.  He also scorned 
the idea of keeping a hotel.  So that I never quite understood in 
what relation he stood toward us.  He certainly considered himself 
our host, and ignored the financial side of the question severely.  
In order not to hurt his feelings by speaking to him of money, we 
were obliged to get our bills by strategy from a male subordinate.  
Mine host and his family were apparently unaware that there were 
people under their roof who paid them for board and lodging.  We 
were all looked upon as guests and "entertained," and our rights 
impartially ignored.

Nothing, I find, is so distinctive of New England as this graceful 
veiling of the practical side of life.  The landlady always 
reminded me, by her manner, of Barrie's description of the bill-
sticker's wife who "cut" her husband when she chanced to meet him 
"professionally" engaged.  As a result of this extreme detachment 
from things material, the house ran itself, or was run by 
incompetent Irish and negro "help."  There were no bells in the 
rooms, which simplified the service, and nothing could be ordered 
out of meal hours.

The material defects in board and lodging sink, however, into 
insignificance before the moral and social unpleasantness of an 
establishment such as this.  All ages, all conditions, and all 
creeds are promiscuously huddled together.  It is impossible to 
choose whom one shall know or whom avoid.  A horrible burlesque of 
family life is enabled, with all its inconveniences and none of its 
sanctity.  People from different cities, with different interests 
and standards, are expected to "chum" together in an intimacy that 
begins with the eight o'clock breakfast and ends only when all 
retire for the night.  No privacy, no isolation is allowed.  If you 
take a book and begin to read in a remote corner of a parlor or 
piazza, some idle matron or idiotic girl will tranquilly invade 
your poor little bit of privacy and gabble of her affairs and the 
day's gossip.  There is no escape unless you mount to your ten-by-
twelve cell and sit (like the Premiers of England when they visit 
Balmoral) on the bed, to do your writing, for want of any other 
conveniences.  Even such retirement is resented by the boarders.  
You are thought to be haughty and to give yourself airs if you do 
not sit for twelve consecutive hours each day in unending 
conversation with them.

When one reflects that thousands of our countrymen pass at least 
one-half of their lives in these asylums, and that thousands more 
in America know no other homes, but move from one hotel to another, 
while the same outlay would procure them cosy, cheerful dwellings, 
it does seem as if these modern Arabs, Holmes's "Folding Bed-
ouins," were gradually returning to prehistoric habits and would 
end by eating roots promiscuously in caves.

The contradiction appears more marked the longer one reflects on 
the love of independence and impatience of all restraint that 
characterize our race.  If such an institution had been conceived 
by people of the Old World, accustomed to moral slavery and to a 
thousand petty tyrannies, it would not be so remarkable, but that 
we, of all the races of the earth, should have created a form of 
torture unknown to Louis XI. or to the Spanish Inquisitors, is 
indeed inexplicable!  Outside of this happy land the institution is 
unknown.  The PENSION when it exists abroad, is only an exotic 
growth for an American market.  Among European nations it is 
undreamed of; the poorest when they travel take furnished rooms, 
where they are served in private, or go to restaurants or TABLE 
D'HOTES for their meals.  In a strictly continental hotel the 
public parlor does not exist.  People do not travel to make 
acquaintances, but for health or recreation, or to improve their 
minds.  The enforced intimacy of our American family house, with 
its attendant quarrelling and back-biting, is an infliction of 
which Europeans are in happy ignorance.

One explanation, only, occurs to me, which is that among New 
England people, largely descended from Puritan stock, there still 
lingers some blind impulse at self-mortification, an hereditary 
inclination to make this life as disagreeable as possible by self-
immolation.  Their ancestors, we are told by Macaulay, suppressed 
bull baiting, not because it hurt the bull, but because it gave 
pleasure to the people.  Here in New England they refused the Roman 
dogma of Purgatory and then with complete inconsistency, invented 
the boarding-house, in order, doubtless, to take as much of the joy 
as possible out of this life, as a preparation for endless bliss in 
the next.




CHAPTER 15 - A False Start


HAVING had, during a wandering existence, many opportunities of 
observing my compatriots away from home and familiar surroundings 
in various circles of cosmopolitan society, at foreign courts, in 
diplomatic life, or unofficial capacities, I am forced to 
acknowledge that whereas my countrywoman invariably assumed her new 
position with grace and dignity, my countryman, in the majority of 
cases, appeared at a disadvantage.

I take particular pleasure in making this tribute to my "sisters" 
tact and wit, as I have been accused of being "hard" on American 
women, and some half-humorous criticisms have been taken seriously 
by over-susceptible women - doubtless troubled with guilty 
consciences for nothing is more exact than the old French proverb, 
"It is only the truth that wounds."

The fact remains clear, however, that American men, as regards 
polish, facility in expressing themselves in foreign languages, the 
arts of pleasing and entertaining, in short, the thousand and one 
nothings composing that agreeable whole, a cultivated member of 
society, are inferior to their womankind.  I feel sure that all 
Americans who have travelled and have seen their compatriot in his 
social relations with foreigners, will agree with this, reluctant 
as I am to acknowledge it.

That a sister and brother brought up together, under the same 
influences, should later differ to this extent seems incredible.  
It is just this that convinces me we have made a false start as 
regards the education and ambitions of our young men.

To find the reasons one has only to glance back at our past.  After 
the struggle that insured our existence as a united nation, came a 
period of great prosperity.  When both seemed secure, we did not 
pause and take breath, as it were, before entering a new epoch of 
development, but dashed ahead on the old lines.  It is here that we 
got on the wrong road.  Naturally enough too, for our peculiar 
position on this continent, far away from the centres of 
cultivation and art, surrounded only by less successful states with 
which to compare ourselves, has led us into forming erroneous ideas 
as to the proportions of things, causing us to exaggerate the value 
of material prosperity and undervalue matters of infinitely greater 
importance, which have been neglected in consequence.

A man who, after fighting through our late war, had succeeded in 
amassing a fortune, naturally wished his son to follow him on the 
only road in which it had ever occurred to him that success was of 
any importance.  So beyond giving the boy a college education, 
which he had not enjoyed, his ambition rarely went; his idea being 
to make a practical business man of him, or a lawyer, that he could 
keep the estate together more intelligently.  In thousands of 
cases, of course, individual taste and bent over-ruled this 
influence, and a career of science or art was chosen; but in the 
mass of the American people, it was firmly implanted that the 
pursuit of wealth was the only occupation to which a reasonable 
human being could devote himself.  A young man who was not in some 
way engaged in increasing his income was looked upon as a very 
undesirable member of society, and sure, sooner or later, to come 
to harm.

Millionaires declined to send their sons to college, saying they 
would get ideas there that would unfit them for business, to 
Paterfamilias the one object of life.  Under such fostering 
influences, the ambitions in our country have gradually given way 
to money standards and the false start has been made!  Leaving 
aside at once the question of money in its relation to our politics 
(although it would be a fruitful subject for moralizing), and 
confining ourselves strictly to the social side of life, we soon 
see the results of this mammon worship.

In England (although Englishmen have been contemptuously called the 
shop-keepers of the world) the extension and maintenance of their 
vast empire is the mainspring which keeps the great machine in 
movement.  And one sees tens of thousands of well-born and 
delicately-bred men cheerfully entering the many branches of public 
service where the hope of wealth can never come, and retiring on 
pensions or half-pay in the strength of their middle age, 
apparently without a regret or a thought beyond their country's 
well-being.

In France, where the passionate love of their own land has made 
colonial extension impossible, the modern Frenchman of education is 
more interested in the yearly exhibition at the SALON or in a 
successful play at the FRANCAIS, than in the stock markets of the 
world.

Would that our young men had either of these bents!  They have 
copied from England a certain love of sport, without the English 
climate or the calm of country and garrison life, to make these 
sports logical and necessary.  As the young American millionaire 
thinks he must go on increasing his fortune, we see the anomaly of 
a man working through a summer's day in Wall Street, then dashing 
in a train to some suburban club, and appearing a half-hour later 
on the polo field.  Next to wealth, sport has become the ambition 
of the wealthy classes, and has grown so into our college life that 
the number of students in the freshman class of our great 
universities is seriously influenced by that institution's losses 
or gains at football.

What is the result of all this?  A young man starts in life with 
the firm intention of making a great deal of money.  If he has any 
time left from that occupation he will devote it to sport.  Later 
in life, when he has leisure and travels, or is otherwise thrown 
with cultivated strangers, he must naturally be at a disadvantage.  
"Shop," he cannot talk; he knows that is vulgar.  Music, art, the 
drama, and literature are closed books to him, in spite of the fact 
that he may have a box on the grand tier at the opera and a couple 
of dozen high-priced "masterpieces" hanging around his drawing-
rooms.  If he is of a finer clay than the general run of his class, 
he will realize dimly that somehow the goal has been missed in his 
life race.  His chase after the material has left him so little 
time to cultivate the ideal, that he has prepared himself a sad and 
aimless old age; unless he can find pleasure in doing as did a man 
I have been told about, who, receiving half a dozen millions from 
his father's estate, conceived the noble idea of increasing them so 
that he might leave to each of his four children as much as he had 
himself received.  With the strictest economy, and by suppressing 
out of his life and that of his children all amusements and 
superfluous outlay, he has succeeded now for many years in living 
on the income of his income.  Time will never hang heavy on this 
Harpagon's hands.  He is a perfectly happy individual, but his 
conversation is hardly of a kind to attract, and it may be doubted 
if the rest of the family are as much to be envied.

An artist who had lived many years of his life in Paris and London 
was speaking the other day of a curious phase he had remarked in 
our American life.  He had been accustomed over there to have his 
studio the meeting-place of friends, who would drop in to smoke and 
lounge away an hour, chatting as he worked.  To his astonishment, 
he tells me that since he has been in New York not one of the many 
men he knows has ever passed an hour in his rooms.  Is not that a 
significant fact?  Another remark which points its own moral was 
repeated to me recently.  A foreigner visiting here, to whom 
American friends were showing the sights of our city, exclaimed at 
last: "You have not pointed out to me any celebrities except 
millionaires.  'Do you see that man? he is worth ten millions.  
Look at that house! it cost one million dollars, and there are 
pictures in it worth over three million dollars.  That trotter cost 
one hundred thousand dollars,' etc."  Was he not right?  And does 
it not give my reader a shudder to see in black and white the 
phrases that are, nevertheless, so often on our lips?

This levelling of everything to its cash value is so ingrained in 
us that we are unconscious of it, as we are of using slang or local 
expressions until our attention is called to them.  I was present 
once at a farce played in a London theatre, where the audience went 
into roars of laughter every time the stage American said, "Why, 
certainly."  I was indignant, and began explaining to my English 
friend that we never used such an absurd phrase.  "Are you sure?" 
he asked.  "Why, certainly," I said, and stopped, catching the 
twinkle in his eye.

It is very much the same thing with money.  We do not notice how 
often it slips into the conversation.  "Out of the fullness of the 
heart the mouth speaketh."  Talk to an American of a painter and 
the charm of his work.  He will be sure to ask, "Do his pictures 
sell well?" and will lose all interest if you say he can't sell 
them at all.  As if that had anything to do with it!

Remembering the well-known anecdote of Schopenhauer and the gold 
piece which he used to put beside his plate at the TABLE D'HOTE, 
where he ate, surrounded by the young officers of the German army, 
and which was to be given to the poor the first time he heard any 
conversation that was not about promotion or women, I have been 
tempted to try the experiment in our clubs, changing the subjects 
to stocks and sport, and feel confident that my contributions to 
charity would not ruin me.

All this has had the result of making our men dull companions; 
after dinner, or at a country house, if the subject they love is 
tabooed, they talk of nothing!  It is sad for a rich man (unless 
his mind has remained entirely between the leaves of his ledger) to 
realize that money really buys very little, and above a certain 
amount can give no satisfaction in proportion to its bulk, beyond 
that delight which comes from a sense of possession.  Croesus often 
discovers as he grows old that he has neglected to provide himself 
with the only thing that "is a joy for ever" - a cultivated 
intellect - in order to amass a fortune that turns to ashes, when 
he has time to ask of it any of the pleasures and resources he 
fondly imagined it would afford him.  Like Talleyrand's young man 
who would not learn whist, he finds that he has prepared for 
himself a dreadful old age!




CHAPTER 16 - A Holy Land


NOT long ago an article came under my notice descriptive of the 
neighborhood around Grant's tomb and the calm that midsummer brings 
to that vicinity, laughingly referred to as the "Holy Land."

As careless fingers wandering over the strings of a violin may 
unintentionally strike a chord, so the writer of those lines, all 
unconsciously, with a jest, set vibrating a world of tender 
memories and associations; for the region spoken of is truly a holy 
land to me, the playground of my youth, and connected with the 
sweetest ties that can bind one's thoughts to the past.

Ernest Renan in his SOUVENIRS D'ENFANCE, tells of a Brittany 
legend, firmly believed in that wild land, of the vanished city of 
"Is," which ages ago disappeared beneath the waves.  The peasants 
still point out at a certain place on the coast the site of the 
fabled city, and the fishermen tell how during great storms they 
have caught glimpses of its belfries and ramparts far down between 
the waves; and assert that on calm summer nights they can hear the 
bells chiming up from those depths.  I also have a vanished "Is" in 
my heart, and as I grow older, I love to listen to the murmurs that 
float up from the past.  They seem to come from an infinite 
distance, almost like echoes from another life.

At that enchanted time we lived during the summers in an old wooden 
house my father had re-arranged into a fairly comfortable dwelling.  
A tradition, which no one had ever taken the trouble to verify, 
averred that Washington had once lived there, which made that hero 
very real to us.  The picturesque old house stood high on a slope 
where the land rises boldly; with an admirable view of distant 
mountain, river and opposing Palisades.

The new Riverside drive (which, by the bye, should make us very 
lenient toward the men who robbed our city a score of years ago, 
for they left us that vast work in atonement), has so changed the 
neighborhood it is impossible now for pious feet to make a 
pilgrimage to those childish shrines.  One house, however, still 
stands as when it was our nearest neighbor.  It had sheltered 
General Gage, land for many acres around had belonged to him.  He 
was an enthusiastic gardener, and imported, among a hundred other 
fruits and plants, the "Queen Claude" plum from France, which was 
successfully acclimated on his farm.  In New York a plum of that 
kind is still called a "green gage."  The house has changed hands 
many times since we used to play around the Grecian pillars of its 
portico.  A recent owner, dissatisfied doubtless with its classic 
simplicity, has painted it a cheerful mustard color and crowned it 
with a fine new MANSARD roof.  Thus disfigured, and shorn of its 
surrounding trees, the poor old house stands blankly by the 
roadside, reminding one of the Greek statue in Anstey's "Painted 
Venus" after the London barber had decorated her to his taste.  
When driving by there now, I close my eyes.

Another house, where we used to be taken to play, was that of 
Audubon, in the park of that name.  Many a rainy afternoon I have 
passed with his children choosing our favorite birds in the glass 
cases that filled every nook and corner of the tumble-down old 
place, or turning over the leaves of the enormous volumes he would 
so graciously take down from their places for our amusement.  I 
often wonder what has become of those vast IN-FOLIOS, and if any 
one ever opens them now and admires as we did the glowing colored 
plates in which the old ornithologist took such pride.  There is 
something infinitely sad in the idea of a collection of books 
slowly gathered together at the price of privations and sacrifices, 
cherished, fondled, lovingly read, and then at the owner's death, 
coldly sent away to stand for ever unopened on the shelves of some 
public library.  It is like neglecting poor dumb children!

An event that made a profound impression on my childish imagination 
occurred while my father, who was never tired of improving our 
little domain, was cutting a pathway down the steep side of the 
slope to the river.  A great slab, dislodged by a workman's pick, 
fell disclosing the grave of an Indian chief.  In a low archway or 
shallow cave sat the skeleton of the chieftain, his bows and arrows 
arranged around him on the ground, mingled with fragments of an 
elaborate costume, of which little remained but the bead-work.  
That it was the tomb of a man great among his people was evident 
from the care with which the grave had been prepared and then 
hidden, proving how, hundreds of years before our civilization, 
another race had chosen this noble cliff and stately river 
landscape as the fitting framework for a great warrior's tomb.

This discovery made no little stir in the scientific world of that 
day.  Hundreds came to see it, and as photography had not then come 
into the world, many drawings were made and casts taken, and 
finally the whole thing was removed to the rooms of the Historical 
Society.  From that day the lonely little path held an awful charm 
for us.  Our childish readings of Cooper had developed in us that 
love of the Indian and his wild life, so characteristic of boyhood 
thirty years ago.  On still summer afternoons, the place had a 
primeval calm that froze the young blood in our veins.  Although we 
prided ourselves on our quality as "braves," and secretly pined to 
be led on the war-path, we were shy of walking in that vicinity in 
daylight, and no power on earth, not even the offer of the tomahawk 
or snow-shoes for which our souls longed, would have taken us there 
at night.

A place connected in my memory with a tragic association was across 
the river on the last southern slope of the Palisades.  Here we 
stood breathless while my father told the brief story of the duel 
between Burr and Hamilton, and showed us the rock stained by the 
younger man's life-blood.  In those days there was a simple iron 
railing around the spot where Hamilton had expired, but of later 
years I have been unable to find any trace of the place.  The tide 
of immigration has brought so deep a deposit of "saloons" and 
suburban "balls" that the very face of the land is changed, old 
lovers of that shore know it no more.  Never were the environs of a 
city so wantonly and recklessly degraded.  Municipalities have vied 
with millionaires in soiling and debasing the exquisite shores of 
our river, that, thirty years ago, were unrivalled the world over.

The glamour of the past still lies for me upon this landscape in 
spite of its many defacements.  The river whispers of boyish 
boating parties, and the woods recall a thousand childish hopes and 
fears, resolute departures to join the pirates, or the red men in 
their strongholds - journeys boldly carried out until twilight 
cooled our courage and the supper-hour proved a stronger temptation 
than war and carnage.

When I sat down this summer evening to write a few lines about 
happy days on the banks of the Hudson, I hardly realized how sweet 
those memories were to me.  The rewriting of the old names has 
evoked from their long sleep so many loved faces.  Arms seem 
reaching out to me from the past.  The house is very still tonight.  
I seem to be nearer my loved dead than to the living.  The bells of 
my lost "Is" are ringing clear in the silence.




CHAPTER 17 - Royalty At Play


FEW more amusing sights are to be seen in these days, than that of 
crowned heads running away from their dull old courts and 
functions, roughing it in hotels and villas, gambling, yachting and 
playing at being rich nobodies.  With much intelligence they have 
all chosen the same Republican playground, where visits cannot 
possibly be twisted into meaning any new "combination" or political 
move, thus assuring themselves the freedom from care or 
responsibility, that seems to be the aim of their existence.  
Alongside of well-to-do Royalties in good paying situations, are 
those out of a job, who are looking about for a "place."  One 
cannot take an afternoon's ramble anywhere between Cannes and 
Mentone without meeting a half-dozen of these magnates.

The other day, in one short walk, I ran across three Empresses, two 
Queens, and an Heir-apparent, and then fled to my hotel, fearing to 
be unfitted for America, if I went on "keeping such company."  They 
are knowing enough, these wandering great ones, and after trying 
many places have hit on this charming coast as offering more than 
any other for their comfort and enjoyment.  The vogue of these 
sunny shores dates from their annexation to France, - a price 
Victor Emmanuel reluctantly paid for French help in his war with 
Austria.  Napoleon III.'s demand for Savoy and this littoral, was 
first made known to Victor Emmanuel at a state ball at Genoa.  
Savoy was his birthplace and his home!  The King broke into a wild 
temper, cursing the French Emperor and making insulting allusions 
to his parentage, saying he had not one drop of Bonaparte blood in 
his veins.  The King's frightened courtiers tried to stop this 
outburst, showing him the French Ambassador at his elbow.  With a 
superhuman effort Victor Emmanuel controlled himself, and turning 
to the Ambassador, said:

"I fear my tongue ran away with me!"  With a smile and a bow the 
great French diplomatist remarked:

"SIRE, I am so deaf I have not heard a word your Majesty has been 
saying!"

The fashion of coming to the Riviera for health or for amusement, 
dates from the sixties, when the Empress of Russia passed a winter 
at Nice, as a last attempt to prolong the existence of the dying 
Tsarewitsch, her son.  There also the next season the Duke of 
Edinburgh wooed and won her daughter (then the greatest heiress in 
Europe) for his bride.  The world moves fast and a journey it 
required a matter of life and death to decide on, then, is gayly 
undertaken now, that a prince may race a yacht, or a princess try 
her luck at the gambling tables.  When one reflects that the "royal 
caste," in Europe alone, numbers some eight hundred people, and 
that the East is beginning to send out its more enterprising 
crowned heads to get a taste of the fun, that beyond drawing their 
salaries, these good people have absolutely nothing to do, except 
to amuse themselves, it is no wonder that this happy land is 
crowded with royal pleasure-seekers.

After a try at Florence and Aix, "the Queen" has been faithful to 
Cimiez, a charming site back of Nice.  That gay city is always EN 
FETE the day she arrives, as her carriages pass surrounded by 
French cavalry, one can catch a glimpse of her big face, and dowdy 
little figure, which nevertheless she can make so dignified when 
occasion requires.  The stay here is, indeed, a holiday for this 
record-breaking sovereign, who potters about her private grounds of 
a morning in a donkey-chair, sunning herself and watching her 
Battenberg grandchildren at play.  In the afternoon, she drives a 
couple of hours - in an open carriage - one outrider in black 
livery alone distinguishing her turnout from the others.

The Prince of Wales makes his headquarters at Cannes where he has 
poor luck in sailing the Brittania, for which he consoles himself 
with jolly dinners at Monte Carlo.  You can see him almost any 
evening in the RESTAURANT DE PARIS, surrounded by his own 
particular set, - the Duchess of Devonshire (who started a 
penniless German officer's daughter, and became twice a duchess); 
Lady de Grey and Lady Wolverton, both showing near six feet of 
slender English beauty; at their side, and lovelier than either, 
the Countess of Essex.  The husbands of these "Merry Wives" are 
absent, but do not seem to be missed, as the ladies sit smoking and 
laughing over their coffee, the party only breaking up towards 
eleven o'clock to try its luck at TRENTE ET QUARANTE, until a 
"special" takes them back to Cannes.

He is getting sadly old and fat, is England's heir, the likeness to 
his mamma becoming more marked each year.  His voice, too, is oddly 
like hers, deep and guttural, more adapted to the paternal German 
(which all this family speak when alone) than to his native 
English.  Hair, he has none, except a little fringe across the back 
of his head, just above a fine large roll of fat that blushes above 
his shirt-collar.  Too bad that this discovery of the microbe of 
baldness comes rather late for him!  He has a pleasant twinkle in 
his small eyes, and an entire absence of POSE, that accounts 
largely for his immense and enduring popularity.

But the Hotel Cap Martin shelters quieter crowned heads.  The 
Emperor and Empress of Austria, who tramp about the hilly roads, 
the King and Queen of Saxony and the fat Arch-duchess Stephanie.  
Austria's Empress looks sadly changed and ill, as does another lady 
of whom one can occasionally catch a glimpse, walking painfully 
with a crutch-stick in the shadow of the trees near her villa.  It 
is hard to believe that this white-haired, bent old woman was once 
the imperial beauty who from the salons of the Tuileries dictated 
the fashions of the world!  Few have paid so dearly for their brief 
hour of splendor!

Cannes with its excellent harbor is the centre of interest during 
the racing season when the Tsarewitsch comes on his yacht Czaritza.  
At the Battle of Flowers, one is pretty sure to see the Duke of 
Cambridge, his Imperial Highness, the Grand Duke Michael, Prince 
Christian of Denmark, H.R.H. the Duke of Nassau, H.R.H. the 
Archduke Ferdinand d'Este, their Serene Highnesses of Mecklenburg-
Schwerin and the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas, also H.R.H. Marie Valerie and 
the Schleswig-Holsteins, pelting each other and the public with 
CONFETTI and flowers.  Indeed, half the A1MANACH DE GOTHA, that 
continental "society list," seems to be sunning itself here and 
forgetting its cares, on bicycles or on board yachts.  It is said 
that the Crown Princess of Honolulu (whoever she may be) honors 
Mentone with her presence, and the newly deposed Queen "Ranavalo" 
of Madagascar is EN ROUTE to join in the fun.

This crowd of royalty reminds me of a story the old sea-dogs who 
gather about the "Admirals' corner" of the Metropolitan Club in 
Washington, love to tell you.  An American cockswain, dazzled by a 
doubly royal visit, with attending suites, on board the old 
"Constitution," came up to his commanding officer and touching his 
cap, said:

"Beg pardon, Admiral, but one of them kings has tumbled down the 
gangway and broke his leg."

It has become a much more amusing thing to wear a crown than it 
was.  Times have changed indeed since Marie Laczinska lived the 
fifty lonely years of her wedded life and bore her many children, 
in one bed-room at Versailles - a monotony only broken by visits to 
Fontainebleau or Marly.  Shakespeare's line no longer fits the 
case.

Beyond securing rich matches for their children, and keeping a 
sharp lookout that the Radicals at home do not unduly cut down 
their civil lists, these great ones have little but their 
amusements to occupy them.  Do they ever reflect, as they rush 
about visiting each other and squabbling over precedence when they 
meet, that some fine morning the tax-payers may wake up, and ask 
each other why they are being crushed under such heavy loads, that 
eight hundred or more quite useless people may pass their lives in 
foreign watering-places, away from their homes and their duties?  
It will be a bad day for them when the long-suffering subjects say 
to them, "Since we get on so exceedingly well during your many 
visits abroad, we think we will try how it will work without you at 
all!"

The Prince of little Monaco seems to be about the only one up to 
the situation, for he at least stays at home, and in connection 
with two other gentlemen runs an exceedingly good hotel and several 
restaurants on his estates, doing all he can to attract money into 
the place, while making the strictest laws to prevent his subjects 
gambling at the famous tables.  Now if other royalties instead of 
amusing themselves all the year round would go in for something 
practical like this, they might become useful members of the 
community.  This idea of Monaco's Prince strikes one as most 
timely, and as opening a career for other indigent crowned heads.  
Hotels are getting so good and so numerous, that without some 
especial "attraction" a new one can hardly succeed; but a 
"Hohenzollern House" well situated in Berlin, with William II. to 
receive the tourists at the door, and his fat wife at the desk, 
would be sure to prosper.  It certainly would be pleasanter for him 
to spend money so honestly earned than the millions wrested from 
half-starving peasants which form his present income.  Besides 
there is almost as much gold lace on a hotel employee's livery as 
on a court costume!

The numerous crowned heads one meets wandering about, can hardly 
lull themselves over their "games" with the flattering unction that 
they are of use, for, have they not France before them (which they 
find so much to their taste) stronger, richer, more respected than 
ever since she shook herself free of such incumbrances?  Not to 
mention our own democratic country, which has managed to hold its 
own, in spite of their many gleeful predictions to the contrary.




CHAPTER 18 - A Rock Ahead


HAVING had occasion several times during this past season, to pass 
by the larger stores in the vicinity of Twenty-third Street, I have 
been struck more than ever, by the endless flow of womankind that 
beats against the doors of those establishments.  If they were 
temples where a beneficent deity was distributing health, learning, 
and all the good things of existence, the rush could hardly have 
been greater.  It saddened me to realize that each of the eager 
women I saw was, on the contrary, dispensing something of her 
strength and brain, as well as the wearily earned stipend of the 
men of her family (if not her own), for what could be of little 
profit to her.

It occurred to me that, if the people who are so quick to talk 
about the elevating and refining influences of women, could take an 
hour or two and inspect the centres in question, they might not be 
so firm in their beliefs.  For, reluctant as I am to acknowledge 
it, the one great misfortune in this country, is the unnatural 
position which has been (from some mistaken idea of chivalry) 
accorded to women here.  The result of placing them on this 
pedestal, and treating them as things apart, has been to make women 
in America poorer helpmeets to their husbands than in any other 
country on the face of the globe, civilized or uncivilized.

Strange as it may appear, this is not confined to the rich, but 
permeates all classes, becoming more harmful in descending the 
social scale, and it will bring about a disintegration of our 
society, sooner than could be believed.  The saying on which we 
have all been brought up, viz., that you can gauge the point of 
civilization attained in a nation by the position it accords to 
woman, was quite true as long as woman was considered man's 
inferior.  To make her his equal was perfectly just; all the 
trouble begins when you attempt to make her man's superior, a 
something apart from his working life, and not the companion of his 
troubles and cares, as she was intended to be.

When a small shopkeeper in Europe marries, the next day you will 
see his young wife taking her place at the desk in his shop.  While 
he serves his customers, his smiling spouse keeps the books, makes 
change, and has an eye on the employees.  At noon they dine 
together; in the evening, after the shop is closed, are pleased or 
saddened together over the results of the day.  The wife's DOT 
almost always goes into the business, so that there is a community 
of interest to unite them, and their lives are passed together.  In 
this country, what happens?  The husband places his new wife in a 
small house, or in two or three furnished rooms, generally so far 
away that all idea of dining with her is impossible.  In 
consequence, he has a "quick lunch" down town, and does not see his 
wife between eight o'clock in the morning and seven in the evening.  
His business is a closed book to her, in which she can have no 
interest, for her weary husband naturally revolts from talking 
"shop," even if she is in a position to understand him.

His false sense of shielding her from the rude world makes him keep 
his troubles to himself, so she rarely knows his financial position 
and sulks over his "meanness" to her, in regard to pin-money; and 
being a perfectly idle person, her days are apt to be passed in a 
way especially devised by Satan for unoccupied hands.  She has 
learned no cooking from her mother; "going to market" has become a 
thing of the past.  So she falls a victim to the allurements of the 
bargain-counter; returning home after hours of aimless wandering, 
irritable and aggrieved because she cannot own the beautiful things 
she has seen.  She passes the evening in trying to win her 
husband's consent to some purchase he knows he cannot afford, while 
it breaks his heart to refuse her - some object, which, were she 
really his companion, she would not have had the time to see or the 
folly to ask for.

The janitor in our building is truly a toiler.  He rarely leaves 
his dismal quarters under the sidewalk, but "Madam" walks the 
streets clad in sealskin and silk, a "Gainsborough" crowning her 
false "bang."  I always think of Max O'Rell's clever saying, when I 
see her: "The sweat of the American husband crystallizes into 
diamond ear-rings for the American woman."  My janitress sports a 
diminutive pair of those jewels and has hopes of larger ones!  
Instead of "doing" the bachelor's rooms in the building as her 
husband's helpmeet, she "does" her spouse, and a char-woman works 
for her.  She is one of the drops in the tide that ebbs and flows 
on Twenty-third Street - a discontented woman placed in a false 
position by our absurd customs.

Go a little further up in the social scale and you will find the 
same "detached" feeling.  In a household I know of only one horse 
and a COUPE can be afforded.  Do you suppose it is for the use of 
the weary breadwinner?  Not at all.  He walks from his home to the 
"elevated."  The carriage is to take his wife to teas or the park.  
In a year or two she will go abroad, leaving him alone to turn the 
crank that produces the income.  As it is, she always leaves him 
for six months each year in a half-closed house, to the tender 
mercies of a caretaker.  Two additional words could be 
advantageously added to the wedding service.  After "for richer for 
poorer," I should like to hear a bride promise to cling to her 
husband "for winter for summer!"

Make another step up and stand in the entrance of a house at two 
A.M., just as the cotillion is commencing, and watch the couples 
leaving.  The husband, who has been in Wall Street all day, knows 
that he must be there again at nine next morning.  He is furious at 
the lateness of the hour, and dropping with fatigue.  His wife, who 
has done nothing to weary her, is equally enraged to be taken away 
just as the ball was becoming amusing.  What a happy, united pair 
they are as the footman closes the door and the carriage rolls off 
home!  Who is to blame?  The husband is vainly trying to lead the 
most exacting of double lives, that of a business man all day and a 
society man all night.  You can pick him out at a glance in a 
ballroom.  His eye shows you that there is no rest for him, for he 
has placed his wife at the head of an establishment whose working 
crushes him into the mud of care and anxiety.  Has he any one to 
blame but himself?

In England, I am told, the man of a family goes up to London in the 
spring and gets his complete outfit, down to the smallest details 
of hat-box and umbrella.  If there happens to be money left, the 
wife gets a new gown or two: if not, she "turns" the old ones and 
rejoices vicariously in the splendor of her "lord."  I know one 
charming little home over there, where the ladies cannot afford a 
pony-carriage, because the three indispensable hunters eat up the 
where-withal.

Thackeray was delighted to find one household (Major Ponto's) where 
the governess ruled supreme, and I feel a fiendish pleasure in 
these accounts of a country where men have been able to maintain 
some rights, and am moved to preach a crusade for the liberation of 
the American husband, that the poor, down-trodden creature may 
revolt from the slavery where he is held and once more claim his 
birthright.  If he be prompt to act (and is successful) he may work 
such a reform that our girls, on marrying, may feel that some 
duties and responsibilities go with their new positions; and a 
state of things be changed, where it is possible for a woman to be 
pitied by her friends as a model of abnegation, because she has 
decided to remain in town during the summer to keep her husband 
company and make his weary home-coming brighter.  Or where (as in a 
story recently heard) a foreigner on being presented to an American 
bride abroad and asking for her husband, could hear in answer: "Oh, 
he could not come; he was too busy.  I am making my wedding-trip 
without him."




CHAPTER 19 - The Grand Prix


IN most cities, it is impossible to say when the "season" ends.  In 
London and with us in New York it dwindles off without any special 
finish, but in Paris it closes like a trap-door, or the curtain on 
the last scene of a pantomime, while the lights are blazing and the 
orchestra is banging its loudest.  The GRAND PRIX, which takes 
place on the second Sunday in June, is the climax of the spring 
gayeties.  Up to that date, the social pace has been getting faster 
and faster, like the finish of the big race itself, and fortunately 
for the lives of the women as well as the horses, ends as suddenly.

In 1897, the last steeple chase at Auteuil, which precedes the 
GRAND-PRIX by one week, was won by a horse belonging to an actress 
of the THEATRE FRANCAIS, a lady who has been a great deal before 
the public already in connection with the life and death of young 
Lebaudy.  This youth having had the misfortune to inherit an 
enormous fortune, while still a mere boy, plunged into the wildest 
dissipation, and became the prey of a band of sharpers and 
blacklegs.  Mlle. Marie Louise Marsy appears to have been the one 
person who had a sincere affection for the unfortunate youth.  When 
his health gave way during his military service, she threw over her 
engagement with the FRANCAIS, and nursed her lover until his death 
- a devotion rewarded by the gift of a million.

At the present moment, four or five of the band of self-styled 
noblemen who traded on the boy's inexperience and generosity, are 
serving out terms in the state prisons for blackmailing, and the 
THEATRE FRANCAIS possesses the anomaly of a young and beautiful 
actress, who runs a racing stable in her own name.

THE GRAND PRIX dates from the reign of Napoleon III., who, at the 
suggestion of the great railway companies, inaugurated this race in 
1862, in imitation of the English Derby, as a means of attracting 
people to Paris.  The city and the railways each give half of the 
forty-thousand-dollar prize.  It is the great official race of the 
year.  The President occupies the central pavilion, surrounded by 
the members of the cabinet and the diplomatic corps.  On the 
tribunes and lawn can be seen the TOUT PARIS - all the celebrities 
of the great and half-world who play such an important part in the 
life of France's capital.  The whole colony of the RASTAQUOUERES, 
is sure to be there, "RASTAS," as they are familiarly called by the 
Parisians, who make little if any distinction in their minds 
between a South American (blazing in diamonds and vulgar clothes) 
and our own select (?) colony.  Apropos of this inability of the 
Europeans to appreciate our fine social distinctions, I have been 
told of a well-born New Yorker who took a French noblewoman rather 
to task for receiving an American she thought unworthy of notice, 
and said:

"How can you receive her?  Her husband keeps a hotel!"

"Is that any reason?" asked the French-woman; "I thought all 
Americans kept hotels."

For the GRAND PRIX, every woman not absolutely bankrupt has a new 
costume, her one idea being a CREATION that will attract attention 
and eclipse her rivals.  The dressmakers have had a busy time of it 
for weeks before.

Every horse that can stand up is pressed into service for the day.  
For twenty-four hours before, the whole city is EN FETE, and Paris 
EN FETE is always a sight worth seeing.  The natural gayety of the 
Parisians, a characteristic noticed (if we are to believe the 
historians) as far back as the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar, 
breaks out in all its amusing spontaneity.  If the day is fine, the 
entire population gives itself up to amusement.  From early morning 
the current sets towards the charming corner of the Bois where the 
Longchamps race-course lies, picturesquely encircled by the Seine 
(alive with a thousand boats), and backed by the woody slopes of 
Suresnes and St. Cloud.  By noon every corner and vantage point of 
the landscape is seized upon, when, with a blare of trumpets and 
the rattle of cavalry, the President arrives in his turnout A LA 
DAUMONT, two postilions in blue and gold, and a PIQUEUR, preceded 
by a detachment of the showy GARDES REPUBLICAINS on horseback, and 
takes his place in the little pavilion where for so many years 
Eugenie used to sit in state, and which has sheltered so many 
crowned heads under its simple roof.  Faure's arrival is the signal 
for the racing to begin, from that moment the interest goes on 
increasing until the great "event."  Then in an instant the vast 
throng of human beings breaks up and flows homeward across the 
Bois, filling the big Place around the Arc de Triomphe, rolling 
down the Champs Elysees, in twenty parallel lines of carriages.  
The sidewalks are filled with a laughing, singing, uproarious crowd 
that quickly invades every restaurant, CAFE, or chop-house until 
their little tables overflow on to the grass and side-walks, and 
even into the middle of the streets.  Later in the evening the 
open-air concerts and theatres are packed, and every little square 
organizes its impromptu ball, the musicians mounted on tables, and 
the crowd dancing gayly on the wooden pavement until daybreak.

The next day, Paris becomes from a fashionable point of view, 
"impossible."  If you walk through the richer quarters, you will 
see only long lines of closed windows.  The approaches to the 
railway stations are blocked with cabs piled with trunks and 
bicycles.  The "great world" is fleeing to the seashore or its 
CHATEAUX, and Paris will know it no more until January, for the 
French are a country-loving race, and since there has been no 
court, the aristocracy pass longer and longer periods on their own 
estates each year, partly from choice and largely to show their 
disdain for the republic and its entertainments.

The shady drives in the park, which only a day or two ago were so 
brilliant with smart traps and spring toilets, are become a cool 
wilderness, where will meet, perhaps, a few maiden ladies 
exercising fat dogs, uninterrupted except by the watering-cart or 
by a few stray tourists in cabs.  Now comes a delightful time for 
the real amateur of Paris and the country around, which is full of 
charming corners where one can dine at quiet little restaurants, 
overhanging the water or buried among trees.  You are sure of 
getting the best of attention from the waiters, and the dishes you 
order receive all the cook's attention.  Of an evening the Bois is 
alive with a myriad of bicycles, their lights twinkling among the 
trees like many-colored fire-flies.  To any one who knows how to 
live there, Paris is at its best in the last half of June and July.  
Nevertheless, in a couple of days there will not be an American in 
Paris, London being the objective point; for we love to be "in at 
the death," and a coronation, a musical festival, or a big race is 
sure to attract all our floating population.

The Americans who have the hardest time in Paris are those who try 
to "run with the deer and hunt with the hounds," as the French 
proverb has it, who would fain serve God and Mammon.  As anything 
especially amusing is sure to take place on Sunday in this wicked 
capital, our friends go through agonies of indecision, their 
consciences pulling one way, their desire to amuse themselves the 
other.  Some find a middle course, it seems, for yesterday this 
conversation was overheard on the steps of the American Church:

FIRST AMERICAN LADY: "Are you going to stop for the sermon?"

SECOND AMERICAN LADY: "I am so sorry I can't, but the races begin 
at one!"




CHAPTER 20 - "The Treadmill."


A HALF-HUMOROUS, half-pathetic epistle has been sent to me by a 
woman, who explains in it her particular perplexity.  Such letters 
are the windfalls of our profession!  For what is more attractive 
than to have a woman take you for her lay confessor, to whom she 
comes for advice in trouble? opening her innocent heart for your 
inspection!

My correspondent complains that her days are not sufficiently long, 
nor is her strength great enough, for the thousand and one duties 
and obligations imposed upon her.  "If," she says, "a woman has 
friends and a small place in the world - and who has not in these 
days? - she must golf or 'bike' or skate a bit, of a morning; then 
she is apt to lunch out, or have a friend or two in, to that meal.  
After luncheon there is sure to be a 'class' of some kind that she 
has foolishly joined, or a charity meeting, matinee, or reception; 
but above all, there are her 'duty' calls.  She must be home at 
five to make tea, that she has promised her men friends, and they 
will not leave until it is time for her to dress for dinner, 'out' 
or at home, with often the opera, a supper, or a ball to follow.  
It is quite impossible," she adds, "under these circumstances to 
apply one's self to anything serious, to read a book or even open a 
periodical.  The most one can accomplish is a glance at a paper."

Indeed, it would require an exceptional constitution to carry out 
the above programme, not to mention the attention that a woman must 
(however reluctantly) give to her house and her family.  Where are 
the quiet hours to be found for self-culture, the perusal of a 
favorite author, or, perhaps, a little timid "writing" on her own 
account?  Nor does this treadmill round fill a few months only of 
her life.  With slight variations of scene and costume, it 
continues through the year.

A painter, I know, was fortunate enough to receive, a year or two 
ago, the commission to paint a well-known beauty.  He was delighted 
with the idea and convinced that he could make her portrait the 
best work of his life, one that would be the stepping-stone to fame 
and fortune.  This was in the spring.  He was naturally burning to 
begin at once, but found to his dismay that the lady was just about 
starting for Europe.  So he waited, and at her suggestion installed 
himself a couple of months later at the seaside city where she had 
a cottage.  No one could be more charming than she was, inviting 
him to dine and drive daily, but when he broached the subject of 
"sitting," was "too busy just that day."  Later in the autumn she 
would be quite at his disposal.  In the autumn, however, she was 
visiting, never ten days in the same place.  Early winter found her 
"getting her house in order," a mysterious rite apparently attended 
with vast worry and fatigue.  With cooling enthusiasm, the painter 
called and coaxed and waited.  November brought the opera and the 
full swing of a New York season.  So far she has given him half a 
dozen sittings, squeezed in between a luncheon, which made her 
"unavoidably late," for which she is charmingly "sorry," and a 
reception that she was forced to attend, although "it breaks my 
heart to leave just as you are beginning to work so well, but I 
really must, or the tiresome old cat who is giving the tea will be 
saying all sorts of unpleasant things about me."  So she flits off, 
leaving the poor, disillusioned painter before his canvas, knowing 
now that his dream is over, that in a month or two his pretty 
sitter will be off again to New Orleans for the carnival, or 
abroad, and that his weary round of waiting will recommence.  He 
will be fortunate if some day it does not float back to him, in the 
mysterious way disagreeable things do come to one, that she has 
been heard to say, "I fear dear Mr. Palette is not very clever, for 
I have been sitting to him for over a year, and he has really done 
nothing yet."

He has been simply the victim of a state of affairs that neither of 
them were strong enough to break through.  It never entered into 
Beauty's head that she could lead a life different from her 
friends.  She was honestly anxious to have a successful portrait of 
herself, but the sacrifice of any of her habits was more than she 
could make.

Who among my readers (and I am tempted to believe they are all more 
sensible than the above young woman) has not, during a summer 
passed with agreeable friends, made a thousand pleasant little 
plans with them for the ensuing winter, - the books they were to 
read at the same time, the "exhibitions" they were to see, the 
visits to our wonderful collections in the Metropolitan Museum or 
private galleries, cosy little dinners, etc.?  And who has not 
found, as the winter slips away, that few of these charming plans 
have been carried out?  He and his friends have unconsciously 
fallen back into their ruts of former years, and the pleasant 
things projected have been brushed aside by that strongest of 
tyrants, habit.

I once asked a very great lady, whose gracious manner was never 
disturbed, who floated through the endless complications of her 
life with smiling serenity, how she achieved this Olympian calm.  
She was good enough to explain.  "I make a list of what I want to 
do each day.  Then, as I find my day passing, or I get behind, or 
tired, I throw over every other engagement.  I could have done them 
all with hurry and fatigue.  I prefer to do one-half and enjoy what 
I do.  If I go to a house, it is to remain and appreciate whatever 
entertainment has been prepared for me.  I never offer to any 
hostess the slight of a hurried, DISTRAIT 'call,' with glances at 
my watch, and an 'on-the-wing' manner.  It is much easier not to 
go, or to send a card."

This brings me around to a subject which I believe is one of the 
causes of my correspondent's dilemma.  I fear that she never can 
refuse anything.  It is a peculiar trait of people who go about to 
amuse themselves, that they are always sure the particular 
entertainment they have been asked to last is going to "be 
amusing."  It rarely is different from the others, but these people 
are convinced, that to stay away would be to miss something.  A 
weary-looking girl about 1 A.M. (at a house-party) when asked why 
she did not go to bed if she was so tired, answered, "the nights I 
go to bed early, they always seem to do something jolly, and then I 
miss it."

There is no greater proof of how much this weary round wears on 
women than the acts of the few who feel themselves strong enough in 
their position to defy custom.  They have thrown off the yoke (at 
least the younger ones have) doubtless backed up by their husbands, 
for men are much quicker to see the aimlessness of this stupid 
social routine.  First they broke down the great New-Year-call 
"grind."  Men over forty doubtless recall with a shudder, that 
awful custom which compelled a man to get into his dress clothes at 
ten A.M., and pass his day rushing about from house to house like a 
postman.  Out-of-town clubs and sport helped to do away with that 
remnant of New Amsterdam.  Next came the male revolt from the 
afternoon "tea" or "musical."  A black coat is rare now at either 
of these functions, or if seen is pretty sure to be on a back over 
fifty.  Next, we lords of creation refused to call at all, or leave 
our cards.  A married woman now leaves her husband's card with her 
own, and sisters leave the "pasteboard" of their brothers and often 
those of their brothers' friends.  Any combination is good enough 
to "shoot a card."

In London the men have gone a step further.  It is not uncommon to 
hear a young man boast that he never owned a visiting card or made 
a "duty" call in his life.  Neither there nor with us does a man 
count as a "call" a quiet cup of tea with a woman he likes, and a 
cigarette and quiet talk until dressing time.  Let the young women 
have courage and take matters into their own hands.  (The older 
ones are hopeless and will go on pushing this Juggernaut car over 
each other's weary bodies, until the end of the chapter.)  Let them 
have the courage occasionally to "refuse" something, to keep 
themselves free from aimless engagements, and bring this paste-
board war to a close.  If a woman is attractive, she will be asked 
out all the same, never fear!  If she is not popular, the few dozen 
of "egg-shell extra" that she can manage to slip in at the front 
doors of her acquaintances will not help her much.

If this matter is, however, so vastly important in women's eyes, 
why not adopt the continental and diplomatic custom and send cards 
by post or otherwise?  There, if a new-comer dines out and meets 
twenty-five people for the first time, cards must be left the next 
day at their twenty-five respective residences.  How the cards get 
there is of no importance.  It is a diplomatic fiction that the new 
acquaintance has called in person, and the call will be returned 
within twenty-four hours.  Think of the saving of time and 
strength!  In Paris, on New Year's Day, people send cards by post 
to everybody they wish to keep up.  That does for a year, and no 
more is thought about it.  All the time thus gained can be given to 
culture or recreation.

I have often wondered why one sees so few women one knows at our 
picture exhibitions or flower shows.  It is no longer a mystery to 
me.  They are all busy trotting up and down our long side streets 
leaving cards.  Hideous vision!  Should Dante by any chance 
reincarnate, he would find here the material ready made to his hand 
for an eighth circle in his INFERNO.




CHAPTER 21 - "Like Master Like Man."


A FREQUENT and naive complaint one hears, is of the 
unsatisfactoriness of servants generally, and their ingratitude and 
astonishing lack of affection for their masters, in particular.  
"After all I have done for them," is pretty sure to sum up the long 
tale of a housewife's griefs.  Of all the delightful 
inconsistencies that grace the female mind, this latter point of 
view always strikes me as being the most complete.  I artfully lead 
my fair friend on to tell me all about her woes, and she is sure to 
be exquisitely one-sided and quite unconscious of her position.  
"They are so extravagant, take so little interest in my things, and 
leave me at a moment's notice, if they get an idea I am going to 
break up.  Horrid things!  I wish I could do without them!  They 
cause me endless worry and annoyance."  My friend is very nearly 
right, - but with whom lies the fault?

The conditions were bad enough years ago, when servants were kept 
for decades in the same family, descending like heirlooms from 
father to son, often (abroad) being the foster sisters or brothers 
of their masters, and bound to the household by an hundred ties of 
sympathy and tradition.  But in our day, and in America, where 
there is rarely even a common language or nationality to form a 
bond, and where households are broken up with such facility, the 
relation between master and servant is often so strained and so 
unpleasant that we risk becoming (what foreigners reproach us with 
being), a nation of hotel-dwellers.  Nor is this class-feeling 
greatly to be wondered at.  The contrary would be astonishing.  
From the primitive household, where a poor neighbor comes in as 
"help," to the "great" establishment where the butler and 
housekeeper eat apart, and a group of plush-clad flunkies imported 
from England adorn the entrance-hall, nothing could be better 
contrived to set one class against another than domestic service.

Proverbs have grown out of it in every language.  "No man is a hero 
to his valet," and "familiarity breeds contempt," are clear enough.  
Our comic papers are full of the misunderstandings and absurdities 
of the situation, while one rarely sees a joke made about the other 
ways that the poor earn their living.  Think of it for a moment!  
To be obliged to attend people at the times of day when they are 
least attractive, when from fatigue or temper they drop the mask 
that society glues to their faces so many hours in the twenty-four; 
to see always the seamy side of life, the small expedients, the 
aids to nature; to stand behind a chair and hear an acquaintance of 
your master's ridiculed, who has just been warmly praised to his 
face; to see a hostess who has been graciously urging her guests 
"not to go so soon," blurt out all her boredom and thankfulness 
"that those tiresome So-and-So's" are "paid off at last," as soon 
as the door is closed behind them, must needs give a curious bent 
to a servant's mind.  They see their employers insincere, and copy 
them.  Many a mistress who has been smilingly assured by her maid 
how much her dress becomes her, and how young she is looking, would 
be thunderstruck to hear herself laughed at and criticised (none 
too delicately) five minutes later in that servant's talk.

Servants are trained from their youth up to conceal their true 
feelings.  A domestic who said what she thought would quickly lose 
her place.  Frankly, is it not asking a good deal to expect a maid 
to be very fond of a lady who makes her sit up night after night 
until the small hours to unlace her bodice or take down her hair; 
or imagine a valet can be devoted to a master he has to get into 
bed as best he can because he is too tipsy to get there unaided?  
Immortal "Figaro" is the type!  Supple, liar, corrupt, intelligent, 
- he aids his master and laughs at him, feathering his own nest the 
while.  There is a saying that "horses corrupt whoever lives with 
them."  It would be more correct to say that domestic service 
demoralizes alike both master and man.

Already we are obliged to depend on immigration for our servants 
because an American revolts from the false position, though he 
willingly accepts longer hours or harder work where he has no one 
around him but his equals.  It is the old story of the free, hungry 
wolf, and the well-fed, but chained, house-dog.  The foreigners 
that immigration now brings us, from countries where great class 
distinctions exist, find it natural to "serve."  With the increase 
in education and consequent self-respect, the difficulty of getting 
efficient and contented servants will increase with us.  It has 
already become a great social problem in England.  The trouble lies 
beneath the surface.  If a superior class accept service at all, it 
is with the intention of quickly getting money enough to do 
something better.  With them service is merely the means to an end.  
A first step on the ladder!

Bad masters are the cause of so much suffering, that to protect 
themselves, the great brother-hood of servants have imagined a 
system of keeping run of "places," and giving them a "character" 
which an aspirant can find out with little trouble.  This 
organization is so complete, and so well carried out, that a 
household where the lady has a "temper," where the food is poor, or 
which breaks up often, can rarely get a first-class domestic.  The 
"place" has been boycotted, a good servant will sooner remain idle 
than enter it.  If circumstances are too much for him and he 
accepts the situation, it is with his eyes open, knowing infinitely 
more about his new employers and their failings than they dream of, 
or than they could possibly find out about him.

One thing never can be sufficiently impressed on people, viz.: that 
we are forced to live with detectives, always behind us in caps or 
dress-suits, ready to note every careless word, every incautious 
criticism of friend or acquaintance - their money matters or their 
love affairs - and who have nothing more interesting to do than to 
repeat what they have heard, with embroideries and additions of 
their own.  Considering this, and that nine people out of ten talk 
quite oblivious of their servants' presence, it is to be wondered 
at that so little (and not that so much) trouble is made.

It always amuses me when I ask a friend if she is going abroad in 
the spring, to have her say "Hush!" with a frightened glance 
towards the door.

"I am; but I do not want the servants to know, or the horrid things 
would leave me!"

Poor, simple lady!  They knew it before you did, and had discussed 
the whole matter over their "tea" while it was an almost unuttered 
thought in your mind.  If they have not already given you notice, 
it is because, on the whole your house suits them well enough for 
the present, while they look about.  Do not worry your simple soul, 
trying to keep anything from them.  They know the amount of your 
last dressmaker's bill, and the row your husband made over it.  
They know how much you would have liked young "Croesus" for your 
daughter, and the little tricks you played to bring that marriage 
about.  They know why you are no longer asked to dine at Mrs. 
Swell's, which is more than you know yourself.  Mrs. Swell 
explained the matter to a few friends over her lunch-table 
recently, and the butler told your maid that same evening, who was 
laughing at the story as she put on your slippers!

Before we blame them too much, however, let us remember that they 
have it in their power to make great trouble if they choose.  And 
considering the little that is made in this way, we must conclude 
that, on the whole, they are better than we give them credit for 
being, and fill a trying situation with much good humor and 
kindliness.  The lady who is astonished that they take so little 
interest in her, will perhaps feel differently if she reflects how 
little trouble she has given herself to find out their anxieties 
and griefs, their temptations and heart-burnings; their material 
situation; whom they support with their slowly earned wages, what 
claims they have on them from outside.  If she will also reflect on 
the number of days in a year when she is "not herself," when 
headaches or disappointments ruffle her charming temper, she may 
come to the conclusion that it is too much to expect all the 
virtues for twenty dollars a month.

A little more human interest, my good friends, a little more 
indulgence, and you will not risk finding yourself in the position 
of the lady who wrote me that last summer she had been obliged to 
keep open house for "'Cook' tourists!"




CHAPTER 22 - An English Invasion of the Riviera


WHEN sixty years ago Lord Brougham, EN ROUTE for Italy, was thrown 
from his travelling berline and his leg was broken, near the 
Italian hamlet of Cannes, the Riviera was as unknown to the polite 
world as the centre of China.  The GRAND TOUR which every young 
aristocrat made with his tutor, on coming of age, only included 
crossing from France into Italy by the Alps.  It was the occurrence 
of an unusually severe winter in Switzerland that turned Brougham 
aside into the longer and less travelled route VIA the Corniche, 
the marvellous Roman road at that time fallen into oblivion, and 
little used even by the local peasantry.

During the tedious weeks while his leg was mending, Lord Brougham 
amused himself by exploring the surrounding country in his 
carriage, and was quick to realize the advantages of the climate, 
and appreciate the marvellous beauty of that coast.  Before the 
broken member was whole again, he had bought a tract of land and 
begun a villa.  Small seed, to furnish such a harvest!  To the 
traveller of to-day the Riviera offers an almost unbroken chain of 
beautiful residences from Marseilles to Genoa.

A Briton willingly follows where a lord leads, and Cannes became 
the centre of English fashion, a position it holds to-day in spite 
of many attractive rivals, and the defection of Victoria who comes 
now to Cimiez, back of Nice, being unwilling to visit Cannes since 
the sudden death there of the Duke of Albany.  A statue of Lord 
Brougham, the "discoverer" of the littoral, has been erected in the 
sunny little square at Cannes, and the English have in many other 
ways, stamped the city for their own.

No other race carry their individuality with them as they do.  They 
can live years in a country and assimilate none of its customs; on 
the contrary, imposing habits of their own.  It is just this that 
makes them such wonderful colonizers, and explains why you will 
find little groups of English people drinking ale and playing golf 
in the shade of the Pyramids or near the frozen slopes of 
Foosiyama.  The real inwardness of it is that they are a dull race, 
and, like dull people despise all that they do not understand.  To 
differ from them is to be in the wrong.  They cannot argue with 
you; they simply know, and that ends the matter.

I had a discussion recently with a Briton on the pronunciation of a 
word.  As there is no "Institute," as in France, to settle matters 
of this kind, I maintained that we Americans had as much authority 
for our pronunciation of this particular word as the English.  The 
answer was characteristic.

"I know I am right," said my Island friend, "because that is the 
way I pronounce it!"

Walking along the principal streets of Cannes to-day, you might 
imagine yourself (except for the climate) at Cowes or Brighton, so 
British are the shops and the crowd that passes them.  Every 
restaurant advertises "afternoon tea" and Bass's ale, and every 
other sign bears a London name.  This little matter of tea is 
particularly characteristic of the way the English have imposed a 
taste of their own on a rebellious nation.  Nothing is further from 
the French taste than tea-drinking, and yet a Parisian lady will 
now invite you gravely to "five o'clocker" with her, although I can 
remember when that beverage was abhorred by the French as a 
medicine; if you had asked a Frenchman to take a cup of tea, he 
would have answered:

"Why?  I am not ill!"

Even Paris (that supreme and undisputed arbiter of taste) has 
submitted to English influence; tailor-made dresses and low-heeled 
shoes have become as "good form" in France as in London.  The last 
two Presidents of the French Republic have taken the oath of office 
dressed in frock-coats instead of the dress clothes to which French 
officials formerly clung as to the sacraments.

The municipalities of the little Southern cities were quick to 
seize their golden opportunity, and everything was done to detain 
the rich English wandering down towards Italy.  Millions were spent 
in transforming their cramped, dirty, little towns.  Wide 
boulevards bordered with palm and eucalyptus spread their sunny 
lines in all directions, being baptized PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS or 
BOULEVARD VICTORIA, in artful flattery.  The narrow mountain roads 
were widened, casinos and theatres built and carnival FETES 
organized, the cities offering "cups" for yacht- or horse-races, 
and giving grounds for tennis and golf clubs.  Clever Southern 
people!  The money returned to them a hundredfold, and they lived 
to see their wild coast become the chosen residence of the 
wealthiest aristocracy in Europe, and the rocky hillsides blossom 
into terrace above terrace of villa gardens, where palm and rose 
and geranium vie with the olive and the mimosa to shade the white 
villas from the sun.  To-day, no little town on the coast is 
without its English chapel, British club, tennis ground, and golf 
links.  On a fair day at Monte Carlo, Nice, or Cannes, the 
prevailing conversation is in English, and the handsome, well-
dressed sons of Albion lounge along beside their astonishing 
womankind as thoroughly at home as on Bond Street.

Those wonderful English women are the source of unending marvel and 
amusement to the French.  They can never understand them, and small 
wonder, for with the exception of the small "set" that surrounds 
the Prince of Wales, who are dressed in the Parisian fashion, all 
English women seem to be overwhelmed with regret at not being born 
men, and to have spent their time and ingenuity since, in trying to 
make up for nature's mistake.  Every masculine garment is twisted 
by them to fit the female figure; their conversation, like that of 
their brothers, is about horses and dogs; their hats and gloves are 
the same as the men's; and when with their fine, large feet in 
stout shoes they start off, with that particular swinging gait that 
makes the skirt seem superfluous, for a stroll of twenty miles or 
so, Englishwomen do seem to the uninitiated to have succeeded in 
their ambition of obliterating the difference between the sexes.

It is of an evening, however, when concealment is no longer 
possible, that the native taste bursts forth, the Anglo-Saxon 
standing declared in all her plainness.  Strong is the contrast 
here, where they are placed side by side with all that Europe holds 
of elegant, and well-dressed Frenchwomen, whether of the "world" or 
the "half-world," are invariably marvels of fitness and freshness, 
the simplest materials being converted by their skilful touch into 
toilettes, so artfully adapted to the wearer's figure and 
complexion, as to raise such "creations" to the level of a fine 
art.

An artist feels, he must fix on canvas that particular combination 
of colors or that wonderful line of bust and hip.  It is with a 
shudder that he turns to the British matron, for she has probably, 
for this occasion, draped herself in an "art material," - 
principally "Liberty" silks of dirty greens and blues (aesthetic 
shades!).  He is tempted to cry out in his disgust: "Oh, Liberty!  
Liberty!  How many crimes are committed in thy name!"  It is one of 
the oddest things in the world that the English should have elected 
to live so much in France, for there are probably nowhere two 
peoples so diametrically opposed on every point, or who so 
persistently and wilfully misunderstand each other, as the English 
and the French.

It has been my fate to live a good deal on both sides of the 
Channel, and nothing is more amusing than to hear the absurdities 
that are gravely asserted by each of their neighbors.  To a Briton, 
a Frenchman will always be "either tiger or monkey" according to 
Voltaire; while to the French mind English gravity is only 
hypocrisy to cover every vice.  Nothing pleases him so much as a 
great scandal in England; he will gleefully bring you a paper 
containing the account of it, to prove how true is his opinion.  It 
is quite useless to explain to the British mind, as I have often 
tried to do, that all Frenchmen do not pass their lives drinking 
absinthe on the boulevards; and as Englishmen seem to leave their 
morals in a valise at Dover when off for a visit to Paris, to be 
picked up on their return, it is time lost to try to make a Gaul 
understand what good husbands and fathers the sons of Albion are.

These two great nations seem to stand in the relation to each other 
that Rome and Greece held.  The English are the conquerors of the 
world, and its great colonizers; with a vast capital in which 
wealth and misery jostle each other on the streets; a hideous 
conglomeration of buildings and monuments, without form and void, 
very much as old Rome must have been under the Caesars, enormous 
buildings without taste, and enormous wealth.  The French have 
inherited the temperament of the Greeks.  The drama, painting, and 
sculpture are the preoccupation of the people.  The yearly 
exhibitions are, for a month before they open, the unique subject 
of conversation in drawing-room or club.  The state protects the 
artist and buys his work.  Their CONSERVATOIRES form the singers, 
and their schools the painters and architects of Europe and 
America.

The English copy them in their big way, just as the Romans copied 
the masterpieces of Greek art, while they despised the authors.  It 
is rare that a play succeeds in Paris which is not instantly 
translated and produced in London, often with the adapter's name 
printed on the programme in place of the author's, the French-man, 
who only wrote it, being ignored.  Just as the Greeks faded away 
and disappeared before their Roman conquerors, it is to be feared 
that in our day this people of a finer clay will succumb.  The 
"defects of their qualities" will be their ruin.  They will stop at 
home, occupied with literature and art, perfecting their dainty 
cities; while their tougher neighbors are dominating the globe, 
imposing their language and customs on the conquered peoples or the 
earth.  One feels this on the Riviera.  It reminds you of the 
cuckoo who, once installed in a robin's nest, that seems to him 
convenient and warmly located in the sunshine, ends by kicking out 
all the young robins.




CHAPTER 23 - A Common Weakness


GOVERNMENTS may change and all the conditions of life be modified, 
but certain ambitions and needs of man remain immutable.  Climates, 
customs, centuries, have in no way diminished the craving for 
consideration, the desire to be somebody, to bear some mark 
indicating to the world that one is not as other men.

For centuries titles supplied the want.  This satisfaction has been 
denied to us, so ambitious souls are obliged to seek other means to 
feed their vanity.

Even before we were born into the world of nations, an attempt was 
made amongst the aristocratically minded court surrounding our 
chief magistrate, to form a society that should (without the name) 
be the beginning of a class apart.

The order of the Cincinnati was to have been the nucleus of an 
American nobility.  The tendencies of this society are revealed by 
the fact that primogeniture was its fundamental law.  Nothing could 
have been more opposed to the spirit of the age, nor more at 
variance with the declaration of our independence, than the 
insertion of such a clause.  This fact was discovered by the far-
seeing eye of Washington, and the society was suppressed in the 
hope (shared by almost all contemporaries) that with new forms of 
government the nature of man would undergo a transformation and 
rise above such puerile ambitions.

Time has shown the fallacy of these dreams.  All that has been 
accomplished is the displacement of the objective point; the 
desire, the mania for a handle to one's name is as prevalent as 
ever.  Leave the centres of civilization and wander in the small 
towns and villages of our country.  Every other man you meet is 
introduced as the Colonel or the Judge, and you will do well not to 
inquire too closely into the matter, nor to ask to see the title-
deeds to such distinctions.  On the other hand, to omit his prefix 
in addressing one of these local magnates, would be to offend him 
deeply.  The women-folk were quick to borrow a little of this 
distinction, and in Washington to-day one is gravely presented to 
Mrs. Senator Smith or Mrs. Colonel Jones.  The climax being reached 
by one aspiring female who styles herself on her visiting cards, 
"Mrs. Acting-Assistant-Paymaster Robinson."  If by any chance it 
should occur to any one to ask her motive in sporting such an 
unwieldy handle, she would say that she did it "because one can't 
be going about explaining that one is not just ordinary Mrs. 
Robinson or Thompson, like the thousand others in town."  A woman 
who cannot find an excuse for assuming such a prefix will sometime 
have recourse to another stratagem, to particularize an ordinary 
surname.  She remembers that her husband, who ever since he was 
born has been known to everybody as Jim, is the proud possessor of 
the middle name Ivanhoe, or Pericles (probably the result of a 
romantic mother's reading); so one fine day the young couple bloom 
out as Mr. and Mrs. J. Pericles Sparks, to the amusement of their 
friends, their own satisfaction, and the hopeless confusion of 
their tradespeople.

Not long ago a Westerner, who went abroad with a travelling show, 
was received with enthusiasm in England because it was thought "The 
Honorable" which preceded his name on his cards implied that 
although an American he was somehow the son of an earl.  As a 
matter of fact he owed this title to having sat, many years before 
in the Senate of a far-western State.  He will cling to that 
"Honorable" and print it on his cards while life lasts.  I was told 
the other day of an American carpet warrior who appeared at court 
function abroad decorated with every college badge, and football 
medal in his possession, to which he added at the last moment a 
brass trunk check, to complete the brilliancy of the effect.  This 
latter decoration attracted the attention of the Heir Apparent, who 
inquired the meaning of the mystic "416" upon it.  This would have 
been a "facer" to any but a true son of Uncle Sam.  Nothing 
daunted, however, our "General" replied "That, Sir, is the number 
of pitched battles I have won."

I have my doubts as to the absolute veracity of this tale.  But 
that the son of one of our generals, appeared not long ago at a 
public reception abroad, wearing his father's medals and 
decorations, is said to be true.  Decorations on the Continent are 
official badges of distinction conferred and recognized by the 
different governments.  An American who wears, out of his own 
country, an army or college badge which has no official existence, 
properly speaking, being recognized by no government, but which is 
made intentionally to look as much as possible like the "Legion 
d'Honneur," is deliberately imposing on the ignorance of 
foreigners, and is but little less of a pretentious idiot than the 
owners of the trunk check and the borrowed decorations.

There seems no end to the ways a little ambitious game can be 
played.  One device much in favor is for the wife to attach her own 
family name to that of her husband by means of a hyphen.  By this 
arrangement she does not entirely lose her individuality; as a 
result we have a splendid assortment of hybrid names, such as Van 
Cortland-Smith and Beekman-Brown.  Be they never so incongruous 
these double-barrelled cognomens serve their purpose and raise 
ambitious mortals above the level of other Smiths and Browns.  
Finding that this arrangement works well in their own case, it is 
passed on to the next generation.  There are no more Toms and Bills 
in these aspiring days.  The little boys are all Cadwalladers or 
Carrolls.  Their school-fellows, however, work sad havoc with these 
high-sounding titles and quickly abbreviate them into humble "Cad" 
or "Rol."

It is surprising to notice what a number of middle-aged gentlemen 
have blossomed out of late with decorations in their button-holes 
according to the foreign fashion.  On inquiry I have discovered 
that these ornaments designate members of the G.A.R., the Loyal 
Legion, or some local Post, for the rosettes differ in form and 
color.  When these gentlemen travel abroad, to reduce their waists 
or improve their minds, the effects on the hotel waiters and cabmen 
must be immense.  They will be charged three times the ordinary 
tariff instead of only the double which is the stranger's usual 
fate at the hands of simple-minded foreigners.  The satisfaction 
must be cheap, however, at that price.

Even our wise men and sages do not seem to have escaped the 
contagion.  One sees professors and clergymen (who ought to set a 
better example) trailing half a dozen letters after their names, 
initials which to the initiated doubtless mean something, but which 
are also intended to fill the souls of the ignorant with envy.  I 
can recall but one case of a foreign decoration being refused by a 
compatriot.  He was a genius and we all know that geniuses are 
crazy.  This gentleman had done something particularly gratifying 
to an Eastern potentate, who in return offered him one of his 
second-best orders.  It was at once refused.  When urged on him a 
second time our countryman lost his temper and answered, "If you 
want to give it to somebody, present it to my valet.  He is most 
anxious to be decorated."  And it was done!

It does not require a deeply meditative mind to discover the 
motives of ambitious struggles.  The first and strongest illusion 
of the human mind is to believe that we are different from our 
fellows, and our natural impulse is to try and impress this belief 
upon others.

Pride of birth is but one of the manifestations of the universal 
weakness - invariably taking stronger and stronger hold of the 
people, who from the modest dimension of their income, or other 
untoward circumstances, can find no outward and visible form with 
which to dazzle the world.  You will find that a desire to shine is 
the secret of most of the tips and presents that are given while 
travelling or visiting, for they can hardly be attributed to pure 
spontaneous generosity.

How many people does one meet who talk of their poor and 
unsuccessful relatives while omitting to mention rich and powerful 
connections?  We are told that far from blaming such a tendency we 
are to admire it.  That it is proper pride to put one's best foot 
forward and keep an offending member well out of sight, that the 
man who wears a rosette in the button-hole of his coat and has half 
the alphabet galloping after his name, is an honor to his family.

Far be it from me to deride this weakness in others, for in my 
heart I am persuaded that if I lived in China, nothing would please 
me more than to have my cap adorned with a coral button, while if 
fate had cast my life in the pleasant places of central Africa, a 
ring in my nose would doubtless have filled my soul with joy.  The 
fact that I share this weakness does not, however, prevent my 
laughing at such folly in others.




CHAPTER 24 - Changing Paris


PARIS is beginning to show signs of the coming "Exhibition of 
1900," and is in many ways going through a curious stage of 
transformation, socially as well as materially.  The PALAIS DE 
L'INDUSTRIE, familiar to all visitors here, as the home of the 
SALONS, the Horse Shows, and a thousand gay FETES and merry-
makings, is being torn down to make way for the new avenue leading, 
with the bridge Alexander III., from the Champs Elysees to the 
Esplanade des Invalides.  This thoroughfare with the gilded dome of 
Napoleon's tomb to close its perspective is intended to be the 
feature of the coming "show."

Curious irony of things in this world!  The PALAIS DE L'INDUSTRIE 
was intended to be the one permanent building of the exhibition of 
1854.  An old "Journal" I often read tells how the writer saw the 
long line of gilded coaches (borrowed from Versailles for the 
occasion), eight horses apiece, led by footmen - horses and men 
blazing in embroidered trappings - leave the Tuileries and proceed 
at a walk to the great gateway of the now disappearing palace.  
Victoria and Albert who were on an official visit to the Emperor 
were the first to alight; then Eugenie in the radiance of her 
perfect beauty stepped from the coach (sad omen!) that fifty years 
before had taken Josephine in tears to Malmaison.

It may interest some ladies to know how an Empress was dressed on 
that spring morning forty-four years ago.  She wore rose-colored 
silk with an over-dress (I think that is what it is called) of 
black lace flounces, immense hoops, and a black CHANTILLY lace 
shawl.  Her hair, a brilliant golden auburn, was dressed low on the 
temples, covering the ears, and hung down her back in a gold net 
almost to her waist; at the extreme back of her head was placed a 
black and rose-colored bonnet; open "flowing" sleeves showed her 
bare arms, one-buttoned, straw-colored gloves, and ruby bracelets; 
she carried a tiny rose-colored parasol not a foot in diameter.

How England's great sovereign was dressed the writer of the journal 
does not so well remember, for in those days Eugenie was the 
cynosure of all eyes, and people rarely looked at anything else 
when they could get a glimpse of her lovely face.

It appears, however, that the Queen sported an India shawl, hoops, 
and a green bonnet, which was not particularly becoming to her red 
face.  She and Napoleon entered the building first; the Empress 
(who was in delicate health) was carried in an open chair, with 
Prince Albert walking at her side, a marvellously handsome couple 
to follow the two dowdy little sovereigns who preceded them.  The 
writer had by bribery succeeded in getting places in an ENTRESOL 
window under the archway, and was greatly impressed to see those 
four great ones laughing and joking together over Eugenie's trouble 
in getting her hoops into the narrow chair!

What changes have come to that laughing group!  Two are dead, one 
dying in exile and disgrace; and it would be hard to find in the 
two rheumatic old ladies whom one sees pottering about the Riviera 
now, any trace of those smiling wives.  In France it is as if a 
tidal wave had swept over Napoleon's court.  Only the old palace 
stood severely back from the Champs Elysees, as if guarding its 
souvenirs.  The pick of the mason has brought down the proud 
gateway which its imperial builder fondly imagined was to last for 
ages.  The Tuileries preceded it into oblivion.  The Alpha and 
Omega of that gorgeous pageant of the fifties vanished like a 
mirage!

It is not here alone one finds Paris changing.  A railway is being 
brought along the quais with its depot at the Invalides.  Another 
is to find its terminus opposite the Louvre, where the picturesque 
ruin of the Cour des Comptes has stood half-hidden by the trees 
since 1870.  A line of electric cars crosses the Rond Point, in 
spite of the opposition of all the neighborhood, anxious to keep, 
at least that fine perspective free from such desecration.  And, 
last but not least, there is every prospect of an immense system of 
elevated railways being inaugurated in connection with the coming 
world's fair.  The direction of this kind of improvement is 
entirely in the hands of the Municipal Council, and that body has 
become (here in Paris) extremely radical, not to say communistic; 
and takes pleasure in annoying the inhabitants of the richer 
quarters of the city, under pretext of improvements and facilities 
of circulation.

It is easy to see how strong the feeling is against the 
aristocratic class.  Nor is it much to be wondered at!  The 
aristocracy seem to try to make themselves unpopular.  They detest 
the republic, which has shorn them of their splendor, and do 
everything in their power (socially and diplomatically their power 
is still great) to interfere with and frustrate the plans of the 
government.  Only last year they seized an opportunity at the 
funerals of the Duchesse d'Alencon and the Duc d'Aumale to make a 
royalist manifestation of the most pronounced character.  The young 
Duchesse d'Orleans was publicly spoken of and treated as the "Queen 
of France;" at the private receptions given during her stay in 
Paris the same ceremonial was observed as if she had been really on 
the throne.  The young Duke, her husband, was not present, being in 
exile as a pretender, but armorial bearings of the "reigning 
family," as their followers insist on calling them, were hung 
around the Madeleine and on the funeral-cars of both the 
illustrious dead.

The government is singularly lenient to the aristocrats.  If a poor 
man cries "Long live the Commune!" in the street, he is arrested.  
The police, however, stood quietly by and let a group of the old 
nobility shout "Long live the Queen!" as the train containing the 
young Duchesse d'Orleans moved out of the station.  The secret of 
this leniency toward the "pretenders" to the throne, is that they 
are very little feared.  If it amuses a set of wealthy people to 
play at holding a court, the strong government of the republic 
cares not one jot.  The Orleans family have never been popular in 
France, and the young pretender's marriage to an Austrian 
Archduchess last year has not improved matters.

It is the fashion in the conservative Faubourg St. Germain, to 
ridicule the President, his wife and their bourgeois surroundings, 
as forty years ago the parents of these aristocrats affected to 
despise the imperial PARVENUS.  The swells amused themselves during 
the official visit of the Emperor and Empress of Russia last year 
(which was gall and wormwood to them) by exaggerating and repeating 
all the small slips in etiquette that the President, an 
intelligent, but simple-mannered gentleman, was supposed to have 
made during the sojourn of his imperial guests.

Both M. and Mme. Faure are extremely popular with the people, and 
are heartily cheered whenever they are seen in public.  The 
President is the despair of the lovers of routine and etiquette, 
walking in and out of his Palais of the Elysee, like a private 
individual, and breaking all rules and regulations.  He is fond of 
riding, and jogs off to the Bois of a morning with no escort, and 
often of an evening drops in at the theatres in a casual way.  The 
other night at the Francais he suddenly appeared in the FOYER DES 
ARTISTES (A beautiful greenroom, hung with historical portraits of 
great actors and actresses, one of the prides of the theatre) in 
this informal manner.  Mme. Bartet, who happened to be there alone 
at the time, was so impressed at such an unprecedented event that 
she fainted, and the President had to run for water and help revive 
her.  The next day he sent the great actress a beautiful vase of 
Sevres china, full of water, in souvenir.

To a lover of old things and old ways any changes in the Paris he 
has known and loved are a sad trial.  Henri Drumont, in his 
delightful MON VIEUX PARIS, deplores this modern mania for reform 
which has done such good work in the new quarters but should, he 
thinks, respect the historic streets and shady squares.

One naturally feels that the sights familiar in youth lose by being 
transformed and doubts the necessity of such improvements.

The Rome of my childhood is no more!  Half of Cairo was ruthlessly 
transformed in sixty-five into a hideous caricature of modern 
Paris.  Milan has been remodelled, each city losing in charm as it 
gained in convenience.

So far Paris has held her own.  The spirit of the city has not been 
lost, as in the other capitals.  The fair metropolis of France, in 
spite of many transformations, still holds her admirers with a 
dominating sway.  She pours out for them a strong elixir that once 
tasted takes the flavor out of existence in other cities and makes 
her adorers, when in exile, thirst for another draught of the 
subtle nectar.




CHAPTER 25 - Contentment


AS the result of certain ideal standards adopted among us when this 
country was still in long clothes, a time when the equality of man 
was the new "fad" of many nations, and the prizes of life first 
came within the reach of those fortunate or unscrupulous enough to 
seize them, it became the fashion (and has remained so down to our 
day) to teach every little boy attending a village school to look 
upon himself as a possible future President, and to assume that 
every girl was preparing herself for the position of first lady in 
the land.  This is very well in theory, and practice has shown 
that, as Napoleon said, "Every private may carry a marshal's baton 
in his knapsack."  Alongside of the good such incentive may 
produce, it is only fair, however, to consider also how much harm 
may lie in this way of presenting life to a child's mind.

As a first result of such tall talking we find in America, more 
than in any other country, an inclination among all classes to 
leave the surroundings where they were born and bend their energies 
to struggling out of the position in life occupied by their 
parents.  There are not wanting theorists who hold that this is a 
quality in a nation, and that it leads to great results.  A 
proposition open to discussion.

It is doubtless satisfactory to designate first magistrates who 
have raised themselves from humble beginnings to that proud 
position, and there are times when it is proper to recall such 
achievements to the rising generation.  But as youth is 
proverbially over-confident it might also be well to point out, 
without danger of discouraging our sanguine youngsters, that for 
one who has succeeded, about ten million confident American youths, 
full of ambition and lofty aims, have been obliged to content 
themselves with being honest men in humble positions, even as their 
fathers before them.  A sad humiliation, I grant you, for a self-
respecting citizen, to end life just where his father did; often 
the case, nevertheless, in this hard world, where so many fine 
qualities go unappreciated, - no societies having as yet been 
formed to seek out "mute, inglorious Miltons," and ask to crown 
them!

To descend abruptly from the sublime, to very near the ridiculous, 
- I had need last summer of a boy to go with a lady on a trap and 
help about the stable.  So I applied to a friend's coachman, a 
hard-working Englishman, who was delighted to get the place for his 
nephew - an American-born boy - the child of a sister, in great 
need.  As the boy's clothes were hardly presentable, a simple 
livery was made for him; from that moment he pined, and finally 
announced he was going to leave.  In answer to my surprised 
inquiries, I discovered that a friend of his from the same 
tenement-house in which he had lived in New York had appeared in 
the village, and sooner than be seen in livery by his play-fellow 
he preferred abandoning his good place, the chance of being of aid 
to his mother, and learning an honorable way to earn his living.  
Remonstrances were in vain; to the wrath of his uncle, he departed.  
The boy had, at his school, heard so much about everybody being 
born equal and every American being a gentleman by right of 
inheritance, that he had taken himself seriously, and despised a 
position his uncle was proud to hold, preferring elegant leisure in 
his native tenement-house to the humiliation of a livery.

When at college I had rooms in a neat cottage owned by an American 
family.  The father was a butcher, as were his sons.  The only 
daughter was exceedingly pretty.  The hard-worked mother conceived 
high hopes for this favorite child.  She was sent to a boarding-
school, from which she returned entirely unsettled for life, having 
learned little except to be ashamed of her parents and to play on 
the piano.  One of these instruments of torture was bought, and a 
room fitted up as a parlor for the daughter's use.  As the family 
were fairly well-to-do, she was allowed to dress out of all keeping 
with her parents' position, and, egged on by her mother, tried her 
best to marry a rich "student."  Failing in this, she became 
discontented, unhappy, and finally there was a scandal, this poor 
victim of a false ambition going to swell the vast tide of a city's 
vice.  With a sensible education, based on the idea that her 
father's trade was honorable and that her mission in life was to 
aid her mother in the daily work until she might marry and go to 
her husband, prepared by experience to cook his dinner and keep his 
house clean, and finally bring up her children to be honest men and 
women, this girl would have found a happy future waiting for her, 
and have been of some good in her humble way.

It is useless to multiply illustrations.  One has but to look about 
him in this unsettled country of ours.  The other day in front of 
my door the perennial ditch was being dug for some gas-pipe or 
other.  Two of the gentlemen who had consented to do this labor 
wore frock-coats and top hats - or what had once been those 
articles of attire - instead of comfortable and appropriate 
overalls.  Why?  Because, like the stable-boy, to have worn any 
distinctive dress would have been in their minds to stamp 
themselves as belonging to an inferior class, and so interfered 
with their chances of representing this country later at the Court 
of St. James, or presiding over the Senate, - positions (to judge 
by their criticism of the present incumbents) they feel no doubt as 
to their ability to fill.

The same spirit pervades every trade.  The youth who shaves me is 
not a barber; he has only accepted this position until he has time 
to do something better.  The waiter who brings me my chop at a 
down-town restaurant would resign his place if he were requested to 
shave his flowing mustache, and is secretly studying law.  I lose 
all patience with my countrymen as I think over it!  Surely we are 
not such a race of snobs as not to recognize that a good barber is 
more to be respected than a poor lawyer; that, as a French saying 
goes, IL N'Y A PAS DE SOT METIER.  It is only the fool who is 
ashamed of his trade.

But enough of preaching.  I had intended - when I took up my pen 
to-day - to write on quite another form of this modern folly, this 
eternal struggle upward into circles for which the struggler is 
fitted neither by his birth nor his education; the above was to 
have been but a preface to the matter I had in mind, viz., "social 
climbers," those scourges of modern society, the people whom no 
rebuffs will discourage and no cold shoulder chill, whose efforts 
have done so much to make our countrymen a byword abroad.

As many philosophers teach that trouble only is positive, happiness 
being merely relative; that in any case trouble is pretty equally 
distributed among the different conditions of mankind; that, 
excepting the destitute and physically afflicted, all God's 
creatures have a share of joy in their lives, would it not be more 
logical, as well as more conducive to the general good, if a little 
more were done to make the young contented with their lot in life, 
instead of constantly suggesting to a race already prone to be 
unsettled, that nothing short of the top is worthy of an American 
citizen?




CHAPTER 26 - The Climber


THAT form of misplaced ambition, which is the subject of the 
preceding chapter, can only be regarded seriously when it occurs 
among simple and sincere people, who, however derided, honestly 
believe that they are doing their duty to themselves and their 
families when they move heaven and earth to rise a few steps in the 
world.  The moment we find ambition taking a purely social form, it 
becomes ridiculous.  The aim is so paltry in comparison with the 
effort, and so out of proportion with the energy-exerted to attain 
it, that one can only laugh and wonder!  Unfortunately, signs of 
this puerile spirit (peculiar to the last quarter of the nineteenth 
century) can be seen on all hands and in almost every society.

That any man or woman should make it the unique aim and object of 
existence to get into a certain "set," not from any hope of profit 
or benefit, nor from the belief that it is composed of brilliant 
and amusing people, but simply because it passes for being 
exclusive and difficult of access, does at first seem incredible.

That humble young painters or singers should long to know 
personally the great lights of their professions, and should strive 
to be accepted among them is easily understood, since the aspirants 
can reap but benefit, present and future, from such companionship.  
That a rising politician should deem it all-important to be on 
friendly terms with the "bosses" is not astonishing, for those 
magnates have it in their power to make or mar his fortune.  But in 
a MILIEU as fluctuating as any social circle must necessarily be, 
shading off on all sides and changing as constantly as light on 
water, the end can never be considered as achieved or the goal 
attained.

Neither does any particular result accompany success, more 
substantial than the moral one which lies in self-congratulation.  
That, however, is enough for a climber if she is bitten with the 
"ascending" madness.  (I say "she," because this form of ambition 
is more frequent among women, although by no means unknown to the 
sterner sex.)

It amuses me vastly to sit in my corner and watch one of these FIN-
DE-SIECLE diplomatists work out her little problem.  She generally 
comes plunging into our city from outside, hot for conquest, making 
acquaintances right and left, indiscriminately; thus falling an 
easy prey to the wolves that prowl around the edges of society, 
waiting for just such lambs to devour.  Her first entertainments 
are worth attending for she has ingeniously contrived to get 
together all the people she should have left out, and failed to 
attract the social lights and powers of the moment.  If she be a 
quick-witted lady, she soon sees the error of her ways and begins a 
process of "weeding" - as difficult as it is unwise, each rejected 
"weed" instantly becoming an enemy for life, not to speak of the 
risk she, in her ignorance, runs of mistaking for "detrimentals" 
the FINES FLEURS of the worldly parterre.  Ah! the way of the 
Climber is hard; she now begins to see that her path is not strewn 
with flowers.

One tactful person of this kind, whose gradual "unfolding" was 
watched with much amusement and wonder by her acquaintances, 
avoided all these errors by going in early for a "dear friend."  
Having, after mature reflection, chosen her guide among the most 
exclusive of the young matrons, she proceeded quietly to pay her 
court EN REGLE.  Flattering little notes, boxes of candy, and 
bunches of flowers were among the forms her devotion took.  As a 
natural result, these two ladies became inseparable, and the most 
hermetically sealed doors opened before the new arrival.

A talent for music or acting is another aid.  A few years ago an 
entire family were floated into the desired haven on the waves of 
the sister's voice, and one young couple achieved success by the 
husband's aptitude for games and sports.  In the latter case it was 
the man of the family who did the work, dragging his wife up after 
him.  A polo pony is hardly one's idea of a battle-horse, but in 
this case it bore its rider on to success.

Once climbers have succeeded in installing themselves in the 
stronghold of their ambitions, they become more exclusive than 
their new friends ever dreamed of being, and it tries one's self-
restraint to hear these new arrivals deploring "the levelling 
tendencies of the age," or wondering "how nice people can be 
beginning to call on those horrid So-and-Sos.  Their father sold 
shoes, you know."  This ultra-exclusiveness is not to be wondered 
at.  The only attraction the circle they have just entered has for 
the climbers is its exclusiveness, and they do not intend that it 
shall lose its market value in their hands.  Like Baudelaire, they 
believe that "it is only the small number saved that makes the 
charm of Paradise."  Having spent hard cash in this investment, 
they have every intention of getting their money's worth.

In order to give outsiders a vivid impression of the footing on 
which they stand with the great of the world, all the women they 
have just met become Nellys and Jennys, and all the men Dicks and 
Freds - behind their backs, BIEN ENTENDU - for Mrs. "Newcome" has 
not yet reached that point of intimacy which warrants using such 
abbreviations directly to the owners.

Another amiable weakness common to the climber is that of knowing 
everybody.  No name can be mentioned at home or abroad but Parvenu 
happens to be on the most intimate terms with the owner, and when 
he is conversing, great names drop out of his mouth as plentifully 
as did the pearls from the pretty lips of the girl in the fairy 
story.  All the world knows how such a gentleman, being asked on 
his return from the East if he had seen "the Dardanelles," 
answered, "Oh, dear, yes!  I dined with them several times!" thus 
settling satisfactorily his standing in the Orient!

Climbing, like every other habit, soon takes possession of the 
whole nature.  To abstain from it is torture.  Napoleon, we are 
told, found it impossible to rest contented on his successes, but 
was impelled onward by a force stronger than his volition.  In some 
such spirit the ambitious souls here referred to, after "the 
Conquest of America" and the discovery that the fruit of their 
struggles was not worth very much, victory having brought the 
inevitable satiety in its wake, sail away in search of new fields 
of adventure.  They have long ago left behind the friends and 
acquaintances of their childhood.  Relations they apparently have 
none, which accounts for the curious phenomenon that a parvenu is 
never in mourning.  As no friendships bind them to their new 
circle, the ties are easily loosened.  Why should they care for one 
city more than for another, unless it offer more of the sport they 
love?  This continent has become tame, since there is no longer any 
struggle, while over the sea vast hunting grounds and game worthy 
of their powder, form an irresistible temptation - old and 
exclusive societies to be besieged, and contests to be waged 
compared to which their American experiences are but light 
skirmishes.  As the polo pony is supposed to pant for the fray, so 
the hearts of social conquerors warm within them at the prospect of 
more brilliant victories.

The pleasure of following them on their hunting parties abroad will 
have to be deferred, so vast is the subject, so full of thrilling 
adventure and, alas! also of humiliating defeat.




CHAPTER 27 - The Last of the Dandies


SO completely has the dandy disappeared from among us, that even 
the word has an old-time look (as if it had strayed out of some 
half-forgotten novel or "keepsake"), raising in our minds the 
picture of a slender, clean-shaven youth, in very tight 
unmentionables strapped under his feet, a dark green frock-coat 
with a collar up to the ears and a stock whose folds cover his 
chest, butter-colored gloves, and a hat - oh! a hat that would 
collect a crowd in two minutes in any neighborhood!  A gold-headed 
stick, and a quizzing glass, with a black ribbon an inch wide, 
complete the toilet.  In such a rig did the swells of the last 
generation stroll down Pall Mall or drive their tilburys in the 
Bois.

The recent illness of the Prince de Sagan has made a strange and 
sad impression in many circles in Paris, for he has always been a 
favorite, and is the last surviving type of a now extinct species.  
He is the last Dandy!  No understudy will be found to fill his role 
- the dude and the swell are whole generations away from the dandy, 
of which they are but feeble reflections - the comedy will have to 
be continued now, without its leading gentleman.  With his head of 
silvery hair, his eye-glass and his wonderful waistcoats, he held 
the first place in the "high life" of the French capital.

No first night or ball was complete without him, Sagan.  The very 
mention of his name in their articles must have kept the wolf from 
the door of needy reporters.  No DEBUTANTE, social or theatrical, 
felt sure of her success until it had received the hall-mark of his 
approval.  When he assisted at a dress rehearsal, the actors and 
the managers paid him more attention than Sarcey or Sardou, for he 
was known to be the real arbiter of their fate.  His word was law, 
the world bowed before it as before the will of an autocrat.  
Mature matrons received his dictates with the same reverence that 
the Old Guard evinced for Napoleon's orders.  Had he not led them 
on to victory in their youth?

On the boulevards or at a race-course, he was the one person always 
known by sight and pointed out.  "There goes Sagan!"  He had become 
an institution.  One does not know exactly how or why he achieved 
the position, which made him the most followed, flattered, and 
copied man of his day.  It certainly was unique!

The Prince of Sagan is descended from Maurice de Saxe (the natural 
son of the King of Saxony and Aurora of Koenigsmark), who in his 
day shone brilliantly at the French court and was so madly loved by 
Adrienne Lecouvreur.  From his great ancestor, Sagan inherited the 
title of Grand Duke Of Courland (the estates have been absorbed 
into a neighboring empire).  Nevertheless, he is still an R.H., and 
when crowned heads visit Paris they dine with him and receive him 
on a footing of equality.  He married a great fortune, and the 
daughter of the banker Selliere.  Their house on the Esplanade des 
Invalides has been for years the centre of aristocratic life in 
Paris; not the most exclusive circle, but certainly the gayest of 
this gay capital, and from the days of Louis Philippe he has given 
the keynote to the fast set.

Oddly enough, he has always been a great favorite with the lower 
classes (a popularity shared by all the famous dandies of history).  
The people appear to find in them the personification of all 
aspirations toward the elegant and the ideal.  Alcibiades, 
Buckingham, the Duc de Richelieu, Lord Seymour, Comte d'Orsay, 
Brummel, Grammont-Caderousse, shared this favor, and have remained 
legendary characters, to whom their disdain for everything vulgar, 
their worship of their own persons, and many costly follies gave an 
ephemeral empire.  Their power was the more arbitrary and despotic 
in that it was only nominal and undefined, allowing them to rule 
over the fashions, the tastes, and the pastimes of their 
contemporaries with undivided sway, making them envied, obeyed, 
loved, but rarely overthrown.

It has been asserted by some writers that dandies are necessary and 
useful to a nation (Thackeray admired them and pointed out that 
they have a most difficult and delicate role to play, hence their 
rarity), and that these butterflies, as one finds them in the 
novels of that day, the de Marsys, the Pelhams, the Maxime de 
Trailles, are indispensable to the perfection of society.  It is a 
great misfortune to a country to have no dandies, those supreme 
virtuosos of taste and distinction.  Germany, which glories in 
Mozart and Kant, Goethe and Humboldt, the country of deep thinkers 
and brave soldiers, never had a great dandy, and so has remained 
behind England or France in all that constitutes the graceful side 
of life, the refinements of social intercourse, and the art of 
living.  France will perceive too late, after he has disappeared, 
the loss she has sustained when this Prince, Grand Seigneur, has 
ceased to embellish by his presence her race-courses and "first 
nights."  A reputation like his cannot be improvised in a moment, 
and he has no pupils.

Never did the aristocracy of a country stand in greater need of 
such a representation, than in these days of tramcars and "fixed-
price" restaurants.  An entire "art" dies with him.  It has been 
whispered that he has not entirely justified his reputation, that 
the accounts of his exploits as a HAUT VIVEUR have gained in the 
telling.  Nevertheless he dominated an epoch, rising above the 
tumultuous and levelling society of his day, a tardy Don Quixote, 
of the knighthood of pleasures, FETES, loves and prodigalities, 
which are no longer of our time.  His great name, his grand manner, 
his elderly graces, his serene carelessness, made him a being by 
himself.  No one will succeed this master of departed elegances.  
If he does not recover from his attack, if the paralysis does not 
leave that poor brain, worn out with doing nothing, we can honestly 
say that he is the last of his kind.

An original and independent thinker has asserted that 
civilizations, societies, empires, and republics go down to 
posterity typified for the admiration of mankind, each under the 
form of some hero.  Emerson would have given a place in his 
Pantheon to Sagan.  For it is he who sustained the traditions and 
became the type of that distinguished and frivolous society, which 
judged that serious things were of no importance, enthusiasm a 
waste of time, literature a bore; that nothing was interesting and 
worthy of occupying their attention except the elegant distractions 
that helped to pass their days-and nights!  He had the merit (?) in 
these days of the practical and the commonplace, of preserving in 
his gracious person all the charming uselessness of a courtier in a 
country where there was no longer a court.

What a strange sight it would be if this departing dandy could, 
before he leaves for ever the theatre of so many triumphs, take his 
place at some street corner, and review the shades of the 
companions his long life had thrown him with, the endless 
procession of departed belles and beaux, who, in their youth, had, 
under his rule, helped to dictate the fashions and lead the sports 
of a world.




CHAPTER 28 - A Nation on the Wing


ON being taken the other day through a large and costly residence, 
with the thoroughness that only the owner of a new house has the 
cruelty to inflict on his victims, not allowing them to pass a 
closet or an electric bell without having its particular use and 
convenience explained, forcing them to look up coal-slides, and 
down air-shafts and to visit every secret place, from the cellar to 
the fire-escape, I noticed that a peculiar arrangement of the rooms 
repeated itself on each floor, and several times on a floor.  I 
remarked it to my host.

"You observe it," he said, with a blush of pride, "it is my wife's 
idea!  The truth is, my daughters are of a marrying age, and my 
sons starting out for themselves; this house will soon be much too 
big for two old people to live in alone.  We have planned it so 
that at any time it can be changed into an apartment house at a 
nominal expense.  It is even wired and plumbed with that end in 
view!"

This answer positively took my breath away.  I looked at my host in 
amazement.  It was hard to believe that a man past middle age, who 
after years of hardest toil could afford to put half a million into 
a house for himself and his children, and store it with beautiful 
things, would have the courage to look so far into the future as to 
see all his work undone, his home turned to another use and himself 
and his wife afloat in the world without a roof over their wealthy 
old heads.

Surely this was the Spirit of the Age in its purest expression, the 
more strikingly so that he seemed to feel pride rather than 
anything else in his ingenious combination.

He liked the city he had built in well enough now, but nothing 
proved to him that he would like it later.  He and his wife had 
lived in twenty cities since they began their brave fight with 
Fortune, far away in a little Eastern town.  They had since changed 
their abode with each ascending rung of the ladder of success, and 
beyond a faded daguerreotype or two of their children and a few 
modest pieces of jewelry, stored away in cotton, it is doubtful if 
they owned a single object belonging to their early life.

Another case occurs to me.  Near the village where I pass my 
summers, there lived an elderly, childless couple on a splendid 
estate combining everything a fastidious taste could demand.  One 
fine morning this place was sold, the important library divided 
between the village and their native city, the furniture sold or 
given away, - everything went; at the end the things no one wanted 
were made into a bon-fire and burned.

A neighbor asking why all this was being done was told by the lady, 
"We were tired of it all and have decided to be 'Bohemians' for the 
rest of our lives."  This couple are now wandering about Europe and 
half a dozen trunks contain their belongings.

These are, of course, extreme cases and must be taken for what they 
are worth; nevertheless they are straws showing which way the wind 
blows, signs of the times that he who runs may read.  I do not run, 
but I often saunter up our principal avenue, and always find myself 
wondering what will be the future of the splendid residences that 
grace that thoroughfare as it nears the Park; the ascending tide of 
trade is already circling round them and each year sees one or more 
crumble away and disappear.

The finer buildings may remain, turned into clubs or restaurants, 
but the greater part of the newer ones are so ill-adapted to any 
other use than that for which they are built that their future 
seems obscure.

That fashion will flit away from its present haunts there can be 
little doubt; the city below the Park is sure to be given up to 
business, and even the fine frontage on that green space will 
sooner or later be occupied by hotels, if not stores; and he who 
builds with any belief in the permanency of his surroundings must 
indeed be of a hopeful disposition.

A good lady occupying a delightful corner on this same avenue, 
opposite a one-story florist's shop, said:

"I shall remain here until they build across the way; then I 
suppose I shall have to move."

So after all the man who is contented to live in a future apartment 
house, may not be so very far wrong.

A case of the opposite kind is that of a great millionaire, who, 
dying, left his house and its collections to his eldest son and his 
grandson after him, on the condition that they should continue to 
live in it.

Here was an attempt to keep together a home with its memories and 
associations.  What has been the result?  The street that was a 
charming centre for residences twenty years ago has become a 
"slum;" the unfortunate heirs find themselves with a house on their 
hands that they cannot live in and are forbidden to rent or sell.  
As a final result the will must in all probability be broken and 
the matter ended.

Of course the reason for a great deal of this is the phenomenal 
growth of our larger cities.  Hundreds of families who would gladly 
remain in their old homes are fairly pushed out of them by the 
growth of business.

Everything has its limits and a time must come when our cities will 
cease to expand or when centres will be formed as in London or 
Paris, where generations may succeed each other in the same homes.  
So far, I see no indications of any such crystallization in this 
our big city; we seem to be condemned like the "Wandering Jew" or 
poor little "Joe" to be perpetually "moving on."

At a dinner of young people not long ago a Frenchman visiting our 
country, expressed his surprise on hearing a girl speak of "not 
remembering the house she was born in."  Piqued by his manner the 
young lady answered:

"We are twenty-four at this table.  I do not believe there is one 
person here living in the house in which he or she was born."  This 
assertion raised a murmur of dissent around the table; on a census 
being taken it proved, however, to be true.

How can one expect, under circumstances like these, to find any 
great respect among young people for home life or the conservative 
side of existence?  They are born as it were on the wing, and on 
the wing will they live.

The conditions of life in this country, although contributing 
largely to such a state of affairs, must not be held, however, 
entirely responsible.  Underlying our civilization and culture, 
there is still strong in us a wild nomadic strain inherited from a 
thousand generations of wandering ancestors, which breaks out so 
soon as man is freed from the restraint incumbent on bread-winning 
for his family.  The moment there is wealth or even a modest income 
insured, comes the inclination to cut loose from the dull routine 
of business and duty, returning instinctively to the migratory 
habits of primitive man.

We are not the only nation that has given itself up to globe-
trotting; it is strong in the English, in spite of their 
conservative education, and it is surprising to see the number of 
formerly stay-at-home French and Germans one meets wandering in 
foreign lands.

In 1855, a Londoner advertised the plan he had conceived of taking 
some people over to visit the International Exhibition in Paris.  
For a fixed sum paid in advance he offered to provide everything 
and act as courier to the party, and succeeded with the greatest 
difficulty in getting together ten people.  From this modest 
beginning has grown the vast undertaking that to-day covers the 
globe with tourists, from the frozen seas where they "do" the 
midnight sun, to the deserts three thousand miles up the Nile.

As I was returning a couple of years ago VIA Vienna from 
Constantinople, the train was filled with a party of our 
compatriots conducted by an agency of this kind - simple people of 
small means who, twenty years ago, would as soon have thought of 
leaving their homes for a trip in the East as they would of 
starting off in balloons en route for the inter-stellar spaces.

I doubted at the time as to the amount of information and 
appreciation they brought to bear on their travels, so I took 
occasion to draw one of the thin, unsmiling women into 
conversation, asking her where they intended stopping next.

"At Buda-Pesth," she answered.  I said in some amusement:

"But that was Buda-Pesth we visited so carefully yesterday."

"Oh, was it," she replied, without any visible change on her face, 
"I thought we had not got there yet."  Apparently it was enough for 
her to be travelling; the rest was of little importance.  Later in 
the day, when asked if she had visited a certain old city in 
Germany, she told me she had but would never go there again: "They 
gave us such poor coffee at the hotel."  Again later in speaking to 
her husband, who seemed a trifle vague as to whether he had seen 
Nuremberg or not, she said:

"Why, you remember it very well; it was there you bought those nice 
overshoes!"

All of which left me with some doubts in my mind as to the 
cultivating influences of foreign travel on their minds.

You cannot change a leopard's spots, neither can you alter the 
nature of a race, and one of the strongest characteristics of the 
Anglo-Saxon, is the nomadic instinct.  How often one hears people 
say:

"I am not going to sit at home and take care of my furniture.  I 
want to see something of the world before I am too old."  Lately, a 
sprightly maiden of uncertain years, just returned from a long trip 
abroad, was asked if she intended now to settle down.

"Settle down, indeed!  I'm a butterfly and I never expect to settle 
down."

There is certainly food here for reflection.  Why should we be more 
inclined to wander than our neighbors?  Perhaps it is in a measure 
due to our nervous, restless temperament, which is itself the 
result of our climate; but whatever the cause is, inability to 
remain long in one place is having a most unfortunate influence on 
our social life.  When everyone is on the move or longing to be, it 
becomes difficult to form any but the most superficial ties; strong 
friendships become impossible, the most intimate family relations 
are loosened.

If one were of a speculative frame of mind and chose to take as the 
basis for a calculation the increase in tourists between 1855, when 
the ten pioneers started for Paris, and the number "personally 
conducted" over land and sea today, and then glance forward at what 
the future will be if this ratio of increase is maintained the 
result would be something too awful for words.  For if ten have 
become a million in forty years, what will be the total in 1955?  
Nothing less than entire nations given over to sight-seeing, 
passing their lives and incomes in rushing aimlessly about.

If the facilities of communication increase as they undoubtedly 
will with the demand, the prospect becomes nearer the idea of a 
"Walpurgis Night" than anything else.  For the earth and the sea 
will be covered and the air filled with every form of whirling, 
flying, plunging device to get men quickly from one place to 
another.

Every human being on the globe will be flying South for the cold 
months and North for the hot season.

As personally conducted tours have been so satisfactory, agencies 
will be started to lead us through all the stages of existence.  
Parents will subscribe on the birth of their children to have them 
personally conducted through life and everything explained as it is 
done at present in the galleries abroad; food, lodging and reading 
matter, husbands and wives will be provided by contract, to be 
taken back and changed if unsatisfactory, as the big stores do with 
their goods.  Delightful prospect!  Homes will become superfluous, 
parents and children will only meet when their "tours" happen to 
cross each other.  Our great-grandchildren will float through life 
freed from every responsibility and more perfectly independent than 
even that delightful dreamer, Bellamy, ventured to predict.




CHAPTER 29 - Husks


AMONG the Protestants driven from France by that astute and 
liberal-minded sovereign Louis XIV., were a colony of weavers, who 
as all the world knows, settled at Spitalfields in England, where 
their descendants weave silk to this day.

On their arrival in Great Britain, before the looms could be set up 
and a market found for their industry, the exiles were reduced to 
the last extremity of destitution and hunger.  Looking about them 
for anything that could be utilized for food, they discovered that 
the owners of English slaughter-houses threw away as worthless, the 
tails of the cattle they killed.  Like all the poor in France, 
these wanderers were excellent cooks, and knew that at home such 
caudal appendages were highly valued for the tenderness and flavor 
of the meat.  To the amazement and disgust of the English villagers 
the new arrivals proceeded to collect this "refuse" and carry it 
home for food.  As the first principle of French culinary art is 
the POT-AU-FEU, the tails were mostly converted into soup, on which 
the exiles thrived and feasted.

Their neighbors, envious at seeing the despised French indulging 
daily in savory dishes, unknown to English palates, and tempted 
like "Jack's" giant by the smell of "fresh meat," began to inquire 
into the matter, and slowly realized how, in their ignorance, they 
had been throwing away succulent and delicate food.  The news of 
this discovery gradually spreading through all classes, "ox-tail" 
became and has remained the national English soup.

If this veracious tale could be twisted into a metaphor, it would 
serve marvellously to illustrate the position of the entire Anglo-
Saxon race, and especially that of their American descendants as 
regards the Latin peoples.  For foolish prodigality and reckless, 
ignorant extravagance, however, we leave our English cousins far 
behind.

Two American hotels come to my mind, as different in their 
appearance and management as they are geographically asunder.  Both 
are types and illustrations of the wilful waste that has recently 
excited Mr. Ian Maclaren's comment, and the woeful want (of good 
food) that is the result.  At one, a dreary shingle construction on 
a treeless island, off our New England coast, where the ideas of 
the landlord and his guests have remained as unchanged and 
primitive as the island itself, I found on inquiry that all 
articles of food coming from the first table were thrown into the 
sea; and I have myself seen chickens hardly touched, rounds of 
beef, trays of vegetables, and every variety of cake and dessert 
tossed to the fish.

While we were having soups so thin and tasteless that they would 
have made a French house-wife blush, the ingredients essential to 
an excellent "stock" were cast aside.  The boarders were paying 
five dollars a day and appeared contented, the place was packed, 
the landlord coining money, so it was foolish to expect any 
improvement.

The other hotel, a vast caravansary in the South, where a fortune 
had been lavished in providing every modern convenience and luxury, 
was the "fad" of its wealthy owner.  I had many talks with the 
manager during my stay, and came to realize that most of the 
wastefulness I saw around me was not his fault, but that of the 
public, to whose taste he was obliged to cater.  At dinner, after 
receiving your order, the waiter would disappear for half an hour, 
and then bring your entire meal on one tray, the over-cooked meats 
stranded in lakes of coagulated gravy, the entrees cold and the 
ices warm.  He had generally forgotten two or three essentials, but 
to send back for them meant to wait another half-hour, as his other 
clients were clamoring to be served.  So you ate what was before 
you in sulky disgust, and got out of the room as quickly as 
possible.

After one of these gastronomic races, being hungry, flustered, and 
suffering from indigestion, I asked mine host if it had never 
occurred to him to serve a TABLE D'HOTE dinner (in courses) as is 
done abroad, where hundreds of people dine at the same moment, each 
dish being offered them in turn accompanied by its accessories.

"Of course, I have thought of it," he answered.  "It would be the 
greatest improvement that could be introduced into American hotel-
keeping.  No one knows better than I do how disastrous the present 
system is to all parties.  Take as an example of the present way, 
the dinner I am going to give you to-morrow, in honor of Christmas.  
Glance over this MENU.  You will see that it enumerates every 
costly and delicate article of food possible to procure and a long 
list of other dishes, the greater part of which will not even be 
called for.  As no number of CHEFS could possibly oversee the 
proper preparation of such a variety of meats and sauces, all will 
be carelessly cooked, and as you know by experience, poorly served.

"People who exact useless variety," he added, "are sure in some way 
to be the sufferers; in their anxiety to try everything, they will 
get nothing worth eating.  Yet that meal will cost me considerably 
more than my guests pay for their twenty-four hours' board and 
lodging."

"Why do it, you ask?  Because it is the custom, and because it will 
be an advertisement.  These bills of fare will be sown broadcast 
over the country in letters to friends and kept as souvenirs.  If, 
instead of all this senseless superfluity, I were allowed to give a 
TABLE D'HOTE meal to-morrow, with the CHEF I have, I could provide 
an exquisite dinner, perfect in every detail, served at little 
tables as deftly and silently as in a private house.  I could also 
discharge half of my waiters, and charge two dollars a day instead 
of five dollars, and the hotel would become (what it has never been 
yet) a paying investment, so great would he the saving."

"Only this morning," he continued, warming to his subject, "while 
standing in the dining room, I saw a young man order and then send 
away half the dishes on the MENU.  A chicken was broiled for him 
and rejected; a steak and an omelette fared no better.  How much do 
you suppose a hotel gains from a guest like that?"

"The reason Americans put up with such poor viands in hotels is, 
that home cooking in this country is so rudimentary, consisting 
principally of fried dishes, and hot breads.  So little is known 
about the proper preparation of food that tomorrow's dinner will 
appear to many as the NE PLUS ULTRA of delicate living.  One of the 
charms of a hotel for people who live poorly at home, lies in this 
power to order expensive dishes they rarely or never see on their 
own tables."

"To be served with a quantity of food that he has but little desire 
to eat is one of an American citizen's dearest privileges, and a 
right he will most unwillingly relinquish.  He may know as well as 
you and I do, that what he calls for will not be worth eating; that 
is of secondary importance, he has it before him, and is 
contented."

"The hotel that attempted limiting the liberty of its guests to the 
extent of serving them a TABLE D'HOTE dinner, would be emptied in a 
week."

"A crowning incongruity, as most people are delighted to dine with 
friends, or at public functions, where the meal is invariably 
served A LA RUSSE (another name for a TABLE D'HOTE), and on these 
occasions are only too glad to have their MENU chosen for them.  
The present way, however, is a remnant of 'old times' and the 
average American, with all his love of change and novelty, is very 
conservative when it comes to his table."

What this manager did not confide to me, but what I discovered 
later for myself, was that to facilitate the service, and avoid 
confusion in the kitchens, it had become the custom at all the 
large and most of the small hotels in this country, to carve the 
joints, cut up the game, and portion out vegetables, an hour or two 
before meal time.  The food, thus arranged, is placed in vast steam 
closets, where it simmers gayly for hours, in its own, and fifty 
other vapors.

Any one who knows the rudiments of cookery, will recognize that 
with this system no viand can have any particular flavor, the 
partridges having a taste of their neighbor the roast beef, which 
in turn suggests the plum pudding it has been "chumming" with.

It is not alone in a hotel that we miss the good in grasping after 
the better.  Small housekeeping is apparently run on the same 
lines.

A young Frenchman, who was working in my rooms, told me in reply to 
a question regarding prices, that every kind of food was cheaper 
here than abroad, but the prejudice against certain dishes was so 
strong in this country that many of the best things in the markets 
were never called for.  Our nation is no longer in its "teens" and 
should cease to act like a foolish boy who has inherited (what 
appears to him) a limitless fortune; not for fear of his coming, 
like his prototype in the parable, to live on "husks" for he is 
doing that already, but lest like the dog of the fable, in grasping 
after the shadow of a banquet he miss the simple meal that is 
within his reach.

One of the reasons for this deplorable state of affairs lies in the 
foolish education our girls receive.  They learn so little 
housekeeping at home, that when married they are obliged to begin 
all over again, unless they prefer, like a majority of their 
friends, to let things as go at the will and discretion of the 
"lady" below stairs.

At both hotels I have referred to, the families of the men 
interested considered it beneath them to know what was taking 
place.  The "daughter" of the New England house went semi-weekly to 
Boston to take violin lessons at ten dollars each, although she had 
no intention of becoming a professional, while the wife wrote 
poetry and ignored the hotel side of her life entirely.

The "better half" of the Florida establishment hired a palace in 
Rome and entertained ambassadors.  Hotels divided against 
themselves are apt to be establishments where you pay for riotous 
living and are served only with husks.

We have many hard lessons ahead of us, and one of the hardest will 
be for our nation to learn humbly from the thrifty emigrants on our 
shores, the great art of utilizing the "tails" that are at this 
moment being so recklessly thrown away.

As it is, in spite of markets overflowing with every fish, 
vegetable, and tempting viand, we continue to be the worst fed, 
most meagrely nourished of all the wealthy nations on the face of 
the earth.  We have a saying (for an excellent reason unknown on 
the Continent) that Providence provides us with food and the devil 
sends the cooks!  It would be truer to say that the poorer the food 
resources of a nation, the more restricted the choice of material, 
the better the cooks; a small latitude when providing for the table 
forcing them to a hundred clever combinations and mysterious 
devices to vary the monotony of their cuisine and tempt a palate, 
by custom staled.

Our heedless people, with great variety at their disposition, are 
unequal to the situation, wasting and discarding the best, and 
making absolutely nothing of their advantages.

If we were enjoying our prodigality by living on the fat of the 
land, there would be less reason to reproach ourselves, for every 
one has a right to live as he pleases.  But as it is, our foolish 
prodigals are spending their substance, while eating the husks!




CHAPTER 30 - The Faubourg of St. Germain


THERE has been too much said and written in the last dozen years 
about breaking down the "great wall" behind which the aristocrats 
of the famous Faubourg, like the Celestials, their prototypes, have 
ensconced themselves.  The Chinese speak of outsiders as 
"barbarians."  The French ladies refer to such unfortunates as 
being "beyond the pale."  Almost all that has been written is 
arrant nonsense; that imaginary barrier exists to-day on as firm a 
foundation, and is guarded by sentinels as vigilant as when, forty 
years ago, Napoleon (third of the name) and his Spanish spouse 
mounted to its assault.

Their repulse was a bitter humiliation to the PARVENUE Empress, 
whose resentment took the form (along with many other curious 
results) of opening the present Boulevard St. Germain, its line 
being intentionally carried through the heart of that quarter, 
teeming with historic "Hotels" of the old aristocracy, where 
beautiful constructions were mercilessly torn down to make way for 
the new avenue.  The cajoleries which Eugenie first tried and the 
blows that followed were alike unavailing.  Even her worship of 
Marie Antoinette, between whom and herself she found imaginary 
resemblances, failed to warm the stony hearts of the proud old 
ladies, to whom it was as gall and wormwood to see a nobody crowned 
in the palace of their kings.  Like religious communities, 
persecution only drew this old society more firmly together and 
made them stand by each other in their distress.  When the Bois was 
remodelled by Napoleon and the lake with its winding drive laid 
out, the new Court drove of an afternoon along this water front.  
That was enough for the old swells!  They retired to the remote 
"Allee of the Acacias," and solemnly took their airing away from 
the bustle of the new world, incidentally setting a fashion that 
has held good to this day; the lakeside being now deserted, and the 
"Acacias" crowded of an afternoon, by all that Paris holds of 
elegant and inelegant.

Where the brilliant Second Empire failed, the Republic had little 
chance of success.  With each succeeding year the "Old Faubourg" 
withdrew more and more into its shell, going so far, after the fall 
of Mac Mahon, as to change its "season" to the spring, so that the 
balls and FETES it gave should not coincide with the "official" 
entertainments during the winter.

The next people to have a "shy" at the "Old Faubourg's" Gothic 
battlements were the Jews, who were victorious in a few light 
skirmishes and succeeded in capturing one or two illustrious 
husbands for their daughters.  The wily Israelites, however, 
discovered that titled sons-in-law were expensive articles and 
often turned out unsatisfactorily, so they quickly desisted.  The 
English, the most practical of societies, have always left the 
Faubourg alone.  It has been reserved for our countrywomen to lay 
the most determined siege yet recorded to that untaken stronghold.

It is a characteristic of the American temperament to be unable to 
see a closed door without developing an intense curiosity to know 
what is behind; or to read "No Admittance to the Public" over an 
entrance without immediately determining to get inside at any 
price.  So it is easy to understand the attraction an hermetically 
sealed society would have for our fair compatriots.  Year after 
year they have flung themselves against its closed gateways.  
Repulsed, they have retired only to form again for the attack, but 
are as far away to-day from planting their flag in that citadel as 
when they first began.  It does not matter to them what is inside; 
there may be (as in this case) only mouldy old halls and a group of 
people with antiquated ideas and ways.  It is enough for a certain 
type of woman to know that she is not wanted in an exclusive 
circle, to be ready to die in the attempt to get there.  This point 
of view reminds one of Mrs. Snob's saying about a new arrival at a 
hotel: "I am sure she must be 'somebody' for she was so rude to me 
when I spoke to her;" and her answer to her daughter when the girl 
said (on arriving at a watering-place) that she had noticed a very 
nice family "who look as if they wanted to know us, Mamma:"

"Then, my dear," replied Mamma Snob, "they certainly are not people 
we want to meet!"

The men in French society are willing enough to make acquaintance 
with foreigners.  You may see the youth of the Faubourg dancing at 
American balls in Paris, or running over for occasional visits to 
this country.  But when it comes to taking their women-kind with 
them, it is a different matter.  Americans who have known well-born 
Frenchmen at school or college are surprised, on meeting them 
later, to be asked (cordially enough) to dine EN GARCON at a 
restaurant, although their Parisian friend is married.  An 
Englishman's or American's first word would be on a like occasion:

"Come and dine with me to-night.  I want to introduce you to my 
wife."  Such an idea would never cross a Frenchman's mind!

One American I know is a striking example of this.  He was born in 
Paris, went to school and college there, and has lived in that city 
all his life.  His sister married a French nobleman.  Yet at this 
moment, in spite of his wealth, his charming American wife, and 
many beautiful entertainments, he has not one warm French friend, 
or the ENTREE on a footing of intimacy to a single Gallic house.

There is no analogy between the English aristocracy and the French 
nobility, except that they are both antiquated institutions; the 
English is the more harmful on account of its legislative power, 
the French is the more pretentious.  The House of Lords is the most 
open club in London, the payment of an entrance-fee in the shape of 
a check to a party fund being an all-sufficient sesame.  In France, 
one must be born in the magic circle.  The spirit of the Emigration 
of 1793 is not yet extinct.  The nobles live in their own world 
(how expressive the word is, seeming to exclude all the rest of 
mankind), pining after an impossible RESTAURATION, alien to the 
present day, holding aloof from politics for fear of coming in 
touch with the masses, with whom they pride themselves on having 
nothing in common.

What leads many people astray on this subject is that there has 
formed around this ancient society a circle composed of rich 
"outsiders," who have married into good families; and of eccentric 
members of the latter, who from a love of excitement or for 
interested motives have broken away from their traditions.  Newly 
arrived Americans are apt to mistake this "world" for the real 
thing.  Into this circle it is not difficult for foreigners who are 
rich and anxious to see something of life to gain admission.  To be 
received by the ladies of this outer circle, seems to our 
compatriots to be an achievement, until they learn the real 
standing of their new acquaintances.

No gayer houses, however, exist than those of the new set.  At 
their city or country houses, they entertain continually, and they 
are the people one meets toward five o'clock, on the grounds of the 
Polo Club, in the Bois, at FETES given by the Island Club of 
Puteaux, attending the race meetings, or dining at American houses.  
As far as amusement and fun go, one might seek much further and 
fare worse.

It is very, very rare that foreigners get beyond this circle.  
Occasionally there is a marriage between an American girl and some 
Frenchman of high rank.  In these cases the girl is, as it were, 
swallowed up.  Her family see little of her, she rarely appears in 
general society, and, little by little, she is lost to her old 
friends and relations.  I know of several cases of this kind where 
it is to be doubted if a dozen Americans outside of the girls' 
connections know that such women exist.  The fall in rents and land 
values has made the French aristocracy poor; it is only by the 
greatest economy (and it never entered into an American mind to 
conceive of such economy as is practised among them) that they 
succeed in holding on to their historical chateaux or beautiful 
city residences; so that pride plays a large part in the isolation 
in which they live.

The fact that no titles are recognized officially by the French 
government (the most they can obtain being a "courtesy" 
recognition) has placed these people in a singularly false 
position.  An American girl who has married a Duke is a good deal 
astonished to find that she is legally only plain "Madame So and 
So;" that when her husband does his military service there is no 
trace of the high-sounding title to be found in his official 
papers.  Some years ago, a colonel was rebuked because he allowed 
the Duc d'Alencon to be addressed as "Monseigneur" by the other 
officers of his regiment.  This ought to make ambitious papas 
reflect, when they treat themselves to titled sons-in-law.  They 
should at least try and get an article recognized by the law.

Most of what is written here is perfectly well known to resident 
Americans in Paris, and has been the cause of gradually splitting 
that once harmonious settlement into two perfectly distinct camps, 
between which no love is lost.  The members of one, clinging to 
their countrymen's creed of having the best or nothing, have been 
contented to live in France and know but few French people, 
entertaining among themselves and marrying their daughters to 
Americans.  The members of the other, who have "gone in" for French 
society, take what they can get, and, on the whole, lead very jolly 
lives.  It often happens (perhaps it is only a coincidence) that 
ladies who have not been very successful at home are partial to 
this circle, where they easily find guests for their entertainments 
and the recognition their souls long for.

What the future of the "Great Faubourg" will be, it is hard to say.  
All hope of a possible RESTAURATION appears to be lost.  Will the 
proud necks that refused to bend to the Orleans dynasty or the two 
"empires" bow themselves to the republican yoke?  It would seem as 
if it must terminate in this way, for everything in this world must 
finish.  But the end is not yet; one cannot help feeling sympathy 
for people who are trying to live up to their traditions and be 
true to such immaterial idols as "honor" and "family" in this 
discouragingly material age, when everything goes down before the 
Golden Calf.  Nor does one wonder that men who can trace their 
ancestors back to the Crusades should hesitate to ally themselves 
with the last rich PARVENU who has raised himself from the gutter, 
or resent the ardor with which the latest importation of American 
ambition tries to chum with them and push its way into their life.




CHAPTER 31 - Men's Manners


NOTHING makes one feel so old as to wake up suddenly, as it were, 
and realize that the conditions of life have changed, and that the 
standards you knew and accepted in your youth have been raised or 
lowered.  The young men you meet have somehow become uncomfortably 
polite, offering you armchairs in the club, and listening with a 
shade of deference to your stories.  They are of another 
generation; their ways are not your ways, nor their ambitions those 
you had in younger days.  One is tempted to look a little closer, 
to analyze what the change is, in what this subtle difference 
consists, which you feel between your past and their present.  You 
are surprised and a little angry to discover that, among other 
things, young men have better manners than were general among the 
youths of fifteen years ago.

Anyone over forty can remember three epochs in men's manners.  When 
I was a very young man, there were still going about in society a 
number of gentlemen belonging to what was reverently called the 
"old school," who had evidently taken Sir Charles Grandison as 
their model, read Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son with 
attention, and been brought up to commence letters to their 
fathers, "Honored Parent," signing themselves "Your humble servant 
and respectful son."  There are a few such old gentlemen still to 
be found in the more conservative clubs, where certain windows are 
tacitly abandoned to these elegant-mannered fossils.  They are 
quite harmless unless you happen to find them in a reminiscent 
mood, when they are apt to be a little tiresome; it takes their 
rusty mental machinery so long to get working!  Washington 
possesses a particularly fine collection among the retired army and 
navy officers and ex-officials.  It is a fact well known that no 
one drawing a pension ever dies.

About 1875, a new generation with new manners began to make its 
appearance.  A number of its members had been educated at English 
universities, and came home burning to upset old ways and teach 
their elders how to live.  They broke away from the old clubs and 
started smaller and more exclusive circles among themselves, 
principally in the country.  This was a period of bad manners.  
True to their English model, they considered it "good form" to be 
uncivil and to make no effort towards the general entertainment 
when in society.  Not to speak more than a word or two during a 
dinner party to either of one's neighbors was the supreme CHIC.  As 
a revolt from the twice-told tales of their elders they held it to 
be "bad form" to tell a story, no matter how fresh and amusing it 
might be.  An unfortunate outsider who ventured to tell one in 
their club was crushed by having his tale received in dead silence.  
When it was finished one of the party would "ring the bell," and 
the circle order drinks at the expense of the man who had dared to 
amuse them.  How the professional story-teller must have shuddered 
- he whose story never was ripe until it had been told a couple of 
hundred times, and who would produce a certain tale at a certain 
course as surely as clock-work.

That the story-telling type was a bore, I grant.  To be grabbed on 
entering your club and obliged to listen to Smith's last, or to 
have the conversation after dinner monopolized by Jones and his 
eternal "Speaking of coffee, I remember once," etc. added an 
additional hardship to existence.  But the opposite pose, which 
became the fashion among the reformers, was hardly less wearisome.  
To sit among a group of perfectly mute men, with an occasional word 
dropping into the silence like a stone in a well, was surely little 
better.

A girl told me she had once sat through an entire cotillion with a 
youth whose only remark during the evening had been (after absorbed 
contemplation of the articles in question), "How do you like my 
socks?"

On another occasion my neighbor at table said to me:

"I think the man on my right has gone to sleep.  He is sitting with 
his eyes closed!"  She was mistaken.  He was practising his newly 
acquired "repose of manner," and living up to the standard of his 
set.

The model young man of that period had another offensive habit, his 
pose of never seeing you, which got on the nerves of his elders to 
a considerable extent.  If he came into a drawing-room where you 
were sitting with a lady, he would shake hands with her and begin a 
conversation, ignoring your existence, although you may have been 
his guest at dinner the night before, or he yours.  This was also a 
tenet of his creed borrowed from trans-Atlantic cousins, who, by 
the bye, during the time I speak of, found America, and especially 
our Eastern states, a happy hunting-ground, - all the clubs, 
country houses, and society generally opening their doors to the 
"sesame" of English nationality.  It took our innocent youths a 
good ten years to discover that there was no reciprocity in the 
arrangement; it was only in the next epoch (the list of the three 
referred to) that our men recovered their self-respect, and assumed 
towards foreigners in general the attitude of polite indifference 
which is their manner to us when abroad.  Nothing could have been 
more provincial and narrow than the ideas of our "smart" men at 
that time.  They congregated in little cliques, huddling together 
in public, and cracking personal old jokes; but were speechless 
with MAUVAISE HONTE if thrown among foreigners or into other 
circles of society.  All this is not to be wondered at considering 
the amount of their general education and reading.  One charming 
little custom then greatly in vogue among our JEUNESSE DOREE was to 
remain at a ball, after the other guests had retired, tipsy, and 
then break anything that came to hand.  It was so amusing to throw 
china, glass, or valuable plants, out of the windows, to strip to 
the waist and box or bait the tired waiters.

I look at the boys growing up around me with sincere admiration, 
they are so superior to their predecessors in breeding, in 
civility, in deference to older people, and in a thousand other 
little ways that mark high-bred men.  The stray Englishman, of no 
particular standing at home no longer finds our men eager to 
entertain him, to put their best "hunter" at his disposition, to 
board, lodge, and feed him indefinitely, or make him honorary 
member of all their clubs.  It is a constant source of pleasure to 
me to watch this younger generation, so plainly do I see in them 
the influence of their mothers - women I knew as girls, and who 
were so far ahead of their brothers and husbands in refinement and 
culture.  To have seen these girls marry and bring up their sons so 
well has been a satisfaction and a compensation for many 
disillusions.  Woman's influence will always remain the strongest 
lever that can be brought to bear in raising the tone of a family; 
it is impossible not to see about these young men a reflection of 
what we found so charming in their mothers.  One despairs at times 
of humanity, seeing vulgarity and snobbishness riding triumphantly 
upward; but where the tone of the younger generation is as high as 
I have lately found it, there is still much hope for the future.




CHAPTER 32 - An Ideal Hostess


THE saying that "One-half of the world ignores how the other half 
lives" received for me an additional confirmation this last week, 
when I had the good fortune to meet again an old friend, now for 
some years retired from the stage, where she had by her charm and 
beauty, as well as by her singing, held all the Parisian world at 
her pretty feet.

Our meeting was followed on her part by an invitation to take 
luncheon with her the next day, "to meet a few friends, and talk 
over old times."  So half-past twelve (the invariable hour for the 
"second breakfast," in France) the following day found me entering 
a shady drawing-room, where a few people were sitting in the cool 
half-light that strayed across from a canvas-covered balcony 
furnished with plants and low chairs.  Beyond one caught a glimpse 
of perhaps the gayest picture that the bright city of Paris offers, 
- the sweep of the Boulevard as it turns to the Rue Royale, the 
flower market, gay with a thousand colors in the summer sunshine, 
while above all the color and movement, rose, cool and gray, the 
splendid colonnade of the Madeleine.  The rattle of carriages, the 
roll of the heavy omnibuses and the shrill cries from the street 
below floated up, softened into a harmonious murmur that in no way 
interfered with our conversation, and is sweeter than the finest 
music to those who love their Paris.

Five or six rooms EN SUITE opening on the street, and as many more 
on a large court, formed the apartment, where everything betrayed 
the ARTISTE and the singer.  The walls, hung with silk or tapestry, 
held a collection of original drawings and paintings, a fortune in 
themselves; the dozen portraits of our hostess in favorite roles 
were by men great in the art world; a couple of pianos covered with 
well-worn music and numberless photographs signed with names that 
would have made an autograph-fiend's mouth water.

After a gracious, cooing welcome, more whispered than spoken, I was 
presented to the guests I did not know.  Before this ceremony was 
well over, two maids in black, with white caps, opened a door into 
the dining-room and announced luncheon.  As this is written on the 
theme that "people know too little how their neighbors live," I 
give the MENU.  It may amuse my readers and serve, perhaps, as a 
little object lesson to those at home who imagine that quantity and 
not quality is of importance.

Our gracious hostess had earned a fortune in her profession (and I 
am told that two CHEFS preside over her simple meals); so it was 
not a spirit of economy which dictated this simplicity.  At first, 
HORS D'OEUVRES were served, - all sorts of tempting little things, 
- very thin slices of ham, spiced sausages, olives and caviar, and 
eaten - not merely passed and refused.  Then came the one hot dish 
of the meal.  "One!"  I think I hear my reader exclaim.  Yes, my 
friend, but that one was a marvel in its way.  Chicken A 
L'ESPAGNOLE, boiled, and buried in rice and tomatoes cooked whole - 
a dish to be dreamed of and remembered in one's prayers and 
thanksgivings!  After at least two helpings each to this CHEF-
D'OEUVRE, cold larded fillet and a meat pate were served with the 
salad.  Then a bit of cheese, a beaten cream of chocolate, fruit, 
and bon-bons.  For a drink we had the white wine from which 
champagne is made (by a chemical process and the addition of many 
injurious ingredients); in other words, a pure BRUT champagne with 
just a suggestion of sparkle at the bottom of your glass.  All the 
party then migrated together into the smoking-room for cigarettes, 
coffee, and a tiny glass of LIQUEUR.

These details have been given at length, not only because the meal 
seemed to me, while I was eating it, to be worthy of whole columns 
of print, but because one of the besetting sins of our dear land is 
to serve a profusion of food no one wants and which the hostess 
would never have dreamed of ordering had she been alone.

Nothing is more wearisome than to sit at table and see course after 
course, good, bad, and indifferent, served, after you have eaten 
what you want.  And nothing is more vulgar than to serve them; for 
either a guest refuses a great deal of the food and appears 
uncivil, or he must eat, and regret it afterwards.  If we ask 
people to a meal, it should be to such as we eat, as a general 
thing, ourselves, and such as they would have at home.  Otherwise 
it becomes ostentation and vulgarity.  Why should one be expelled 
to eat more than usual because a friend has been nice enough to ask 
one to take one's dinner with him, instead of eating it alone?  It 
is the being among friends that tempts, not the food; the fact at 
skilful waiters have been able to serve a dozen varieties of fish, 
flesh, and fowl during the time you were at table has added little 
to any one's pleasure.  On the contrary!  Half the time one eats 
from pure absence of mind, a number of most injurious mixtures and 
so prepares an awful to-morrow and the foundation of many 
complicated diseases.

I see Smith and Jones daily at the club, where we dine cheerfully 
together on soup, a cut of the joint, a dessert, and drink a pint 
of claret.  But if either Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Jones asks me to 
dinner, we have eight courses and half as many wines, and Smith 
will say quite gravely to me, "Try this '75 'Perrier Jouet'," as if 
he were in the habit of drinking it daily.  It makes me smile, for 
he would as soon think of ordering a bottle of that wine at the 
club as he would think of ordering a flask of nectar.

But to return to our "mutton."  As we had none of us eaten too much 
(and so become digesting machines), we were cheerful and sprightly.  
A little music followed and an author repeated some of his poetry.  
I noticed that during the hour before we broke up our hostess 
contrived to have a little talk with each of her guests, which she 
made quite personal, appearing for the moment as though the rest of 
the world did not exist for her, than which there is no more subtle 
flattery, and which is the act of a well-bred and appreciative 
woman.  Guests cannot be treated EN MASSE any more than food; to 
ask a man to your house is not enough.  He should be made to feel, 
if you wish him to go away with a pleasant remembrance of the 
entertainment, that his presence has in some way added to it and 
been a personal pleasure to his host.

A good soul that all New York knew a few years ago, whose 
entertainments were as though the street had been turned into a 
SALON for the moment, used to go about among her guests saying, 
"There have been one hundred and seventy-five people here this 
Thursday, ten more than last week," with such a satisfied smile, 
that you felt that she had little left to wish for, and found 
yourself wondering just which number you represented in her mind.  
When you entered she must have murmured a numeral to herself as she 
shook your hand.

There is more than one house in New York where I have grave doubts 
if the host and hostess are quite sure of my name when I dine 
there; after an abstracted welcome, they rarely put themselves out 
to entertain their guests.  Black coats and evening dresses 
alternate in pleasing perspective down the long line of their 
table.  Their gold plate is out, and the CHEF has been allowed to 
work his own sweet will, so they give themselves no further 
trouble.

Why does not some one suggest to these amphitrions to send fifteen 
dollars in prettily monogrammed envelopes to each of their friends, 
requesting them to expend it on a dinner.  The compliment would be 
quite as personal, and then the guests might make up little parties 
to suit themselves, which would be much more satisfactory than 
going "in" with some one chosen at hazard from their host's 
visiting list, and less fatiguing to that gentleman and his family.




CHAPTER 33 - The Introducer


WE all suffer more or less from the perennial "freshness" of 
certain acquaintances - tiresome people whom a misguided Providence 
has endowed with over-flowing vitality and an irrepressible love of 
their fellowmen, and who, not content with looking on life as a 
continual "spree," insist on making others happy in spite of 
themselves.  Their name is legion and their presence ubiquitous, 
but they rarely annoy as much as when disguised under the mask of 
the "Introducer."  In his clutches one is helpless.  It is 
impossible to escape from such philanthropic tyranny.  He, in his 
freshness, imagines that to present human beings to each other is 
his mission in this world and moves through life making these 
platonic unions, oblivious, as are other match-makers, of the 
misery he creates.

If you are out for a quiet stroll, one of these genial gentlemen is 
sure to come bounding up, and without notice or warning present you 
to his "friend," - the greater part of the time a man he has met 
only an hour before, but whom he endows out of the warehouse of his 
generous imagination with several talents and all the virtues.  In 
order to make the situation just one shade more uncomfortable, this 
kindly bore proceeds to sing a hymn of praise concerning both of 
you to your faces, adding, in order that you may both feel quite 
friendly and pleasant:

"I know you two will fancy each other, you are so alike," - a 
phrase neatly calculated to nip any conversation in the bud.  You 
detest the unoffending stranger on the spot and would like to kill 
the bore.  Not to appear an absolute brute you struggle through 
some commonplace phrases, discovering the while that your new 
acquaintance is no more anxious to know you, than you are to meet 
him; that he has not the slightest idea who you are, neither does 
he desire to find out.  He classes you with the bore, and his one 
idea, like your own, is to escape.  So that the only result of the 
Introducer's good-natured interference has been to make two fellow-
creatures miserable.

A friend was telling me the other day of the martyrdom he had 
suffered from this class.  He spoke with much feeling, as he is the 
soul of amiability, but somewhat short-sighted and afflicted with a 
hopelessly bad memory for faces.  For the last few years, he has 
been in the habit of spending one or two of the winter months in 
Washington, where his friends put him up at one club or another.  
Each winter on his first appearance at one of these clubs, some 
kindly disposed old fogy is sure to present him to a circle of the 
members, and he finds himself indiscriminately shaking hands with 
Judges and Colonels.  As little or no conversation follows these 
introductions to fix the individuality of the members in his mind, 
he unconsciously cuts two-thirds of his newly acquired circle the 
next afternoon, and the following winter, after a ten-months' 
absence, he innocently ignores the other third.  So hopelessly has 
he offended in this way, that last season, on being presented to a 
club member, the latter peevishly blurted out:

"This is the fourth time I have been introduced to Mr. Blank, but 
he never remembers me," and glared coldly at him, laying it all 
down to my friend's snobbishness and to the airs of a New Yorker 
when away from home.  If instead of being sacrificed to the 
introducer's mistaken zeal my poor friend had been left quietly to 
himself, he would in good time have met the people congenial to him 
and avoided giving offence to a number of kindly gentlemen.

This introducing mania takes an even more aggressive form in the 
hostess, who imagines that she is lacking in hospitality if any two 
people in her drawing-room are not made known to each other.  No 
matter how interested you may be in a chat with a friend, you will 
see her bearing down upon you, bringing in tow the one human being 
you have carefully avoided for years.  Escape seems impossible, but 
as a forlorn hope you fling yourself into conversation with your 
nearest neighbor, trying by your absorbed manner to ward off the 
calamity.  In vain!  With a tap on your elbow your smiling hostess 
introduces you and, having spoiled your afternoon, flits off in 
search of other prey.

The question of introductions is one on which it is impossible to 
lay down any fixed rules.  There must constantly occur situations 
where one's acts must depend upon a kindly consideration for other 
people's feelings, which after all, is only another name for tact.  
Nothing so plainly shows the breeding of a man or woman as skill in 
solving problems of this kind without giving offence.

Foreigners, with their greater knowledge of the world, rarely fall 
into the error of indiscriminate introducing, appreciating what a 
presentation means and what obligations it entails.  The English 
fall into exactly the contrary error from ours, and carry it to 
absurd lengths.  Starting with the assumption that everybody knows 
everybody, and being aware of the general dread of meeting 
"detrimentals," they avoid the difficulty by making no 
introductions.  This may work well among themselves, but it is 
trying to a stranger whom they have been good enough to ask to 
their tables, to sit out the meal between two people who ignore his 
presence and converse across him; for an Englishman will expire 
sooner than speak to a person to whom he has not been introduced.

The French, with the marvellous tact that has for centuries made 
them the law-givers on all subjects of etiquette and breeding, have 
another way of avoiding useless introductions.  They assume that 
two people meeting in a drawing-room belong to the same world and 
so chat pleasantly with those around them.  On leaving the SALON 
the acquaintance is supposed to end, and a gentleman who should at 
another time or place bow or speak to the lady who had offered him 
a cup of tea and talked pleasantly to him over it at a friend's 
reception, would commit a gross breach of etiquette.

I was once present at a large dinner given in Cologne to the 
American Geographical Society.  No sooner was I seated than my two 
neighbors turned towards me mentioning their names and waiting for 
me to do the same.  After that the conversation flowed on as among 
friends.  This custom struck me as exceedingly well-bred and 
calculated to make a foreigner feel at his ease.

Among other curious types, there are people so constituted that 
they are unhappy if a single person can be found in the room to 
whom they have not been introduced.  It does not matter who the 
stranger may be or what chance there is of finding him congenial.  
They must be presented; nothing else will content them.  If you are 
chatting with a friend you feel a pull at your sleeve, and in an 
audible aside, they ask for an introduction.  The aspirant will 
then bring up and present the members of his family who happen to 
be near.  After that he seems to be at ease, and having absolutely 
nothing to say will soon drift off.  Our public men suffer terribly 
from promiscuous introductions; it is a part of a political career; 
a good memory for names and faces and a cordial manner under fire 
have often gone a long way in floating a statesman on to success.

Demand, we are told, creates supply.  During a short stay in a 
Florida hotel last winter, I noticed a curious little man who 
looked like a cross between a waiter and a musician.  As he spoke 
to me several times and seemed very officious, I asked who he was.  
The answer was so grotesque that I could not believe my ears.  I 
was told that he held the position of official "introducer," or 
master of ceremonies, and that the guests under his guidance became 
known to each other, danced, rode, and married to their own and 
doubtless to his satisfaction.  The further west one goes the more 
pronounced this mania becomes.  Everybody is introduced to 
everybody on all imaginable occasions.  If a man asks you to take a 
drink, he presents you to the bar-tender.  If he takes you for a 
drive, the cab-driver is introduced.  "Boots" makes you acquainted 
with the chambermaid, and the hotel proprietor unites you in the 
bonds of friendship with the clerk at the desk.  Intercourse with 
one's fellows becomes one long debauch of introduction.  In this 
country where every liberty is respected, it is a curious fact that 
we should be denied the most important of all rights, that of 
choosing our acquaintances.




CHAPTER 34 - A Question and an Answer


DEAR IDLER:

I HAVE been reading your articles in The Evening Post.  They are 
really most amusing!  You do know such a lot about people and 
things, that I am tempted to write and ask you a question on a 
subject that is puzzling me.  What is it that is necessary to 
succeed - socially?  There!  It is out!  Please do not laugh at me.  
Such funny people get on and such clever, agreeable ones fail, that 
I am all at sea.  Now do be nice and answer me, and you will have a 
very grateful

ADMIRER.


The above note, in a rather juvenile feminine hand, and breathing a 
faint perfume of VIOLETTE DE PARME, was part of the morning's mail 
that I found lying on my desk a few days ago, in delightful 
contrast to the bills and advertisements which formed the bulk of 
my correspondence.  It would suppose a stoicism greater than I 
possess, not to have felt a thrill of satisfaction in its perusal.  
There was, then, some one who read with pleasure what I wrote, and 
who had been moved to consult me on a question (evidently to her) 
of importance.  I instantly decided to do my best for the 
edification of my fair correspondent (for no doubt entered my head 
that she was both young and fair), the more readily because that 
very question had frequently presented itself to my own mind on 
observing the very capricious choice of Dame "Fashion" in the 
distribution of her favors.

That there are people who succeed brilliantly and move from success 
to success, amid an applauding crowd of friends and admirers, while 
others, apparently their superiors in every way, are distanced in 
the race, is an undeniable fact.  You have but to glance around the 
circle of your acquaintances and relations to be convinced of this 
anomaly.  To a reflecting mind the question immediately presents 
itself, Why is this?  General society is certainly cultivated 
enough to appreciate intelligence and superior endowments.  How 
then does it happen that the social favorites are so often lacking 
in the qualities which at a first glance would seem indispensable 
to success?

Before going any further let us stop a moment, and look at the 
subject from another side, for it is more serious than appears to 
be on the surface.  To be loved by those around us, to stand well 
in the world, is certainly the most legitimate as well as the most 
common of ambitions, as well as the incentive to most of the 
industry and perseverance in life.  Aside from science, which is 
sometimes followed for itself alone, and virtue, which we are told 
looks for no other reward, the hope which inspires a great deal of 
the persistent efforts we see, is generally that of raising one's 
self and those one loves by one's efforts into a sphere higher than 
where cruel fate had placed them; that they, too, may take their 
place in the sunshine and enjoy the good things of life.  This 
ambition is often purely disinterested; a life of hardest toil is 
cheerfully borne, with the hope (for sole consolation) that dear 
ones will profit later by all the work, and live in a circle the 
patient toiler never dreams of entering.  Surely he is a stern 
moralist who would deny this satisfaction to the breadwinner of a 
family.

There are doubtless many higher motives in life, more elevated 
goals toward which struggling humanity should strive.  If you 
examine the average mind, however, you will be pretty sure to find 
that success is the touchstone by which we judge our fellows and 
what, in our hearts, we admire the most.  That is not to be 
wondered at, either, for we have done all we can to implant it 
there.  From a child's first opening thought, it is impressed upon 
him that the great object of existence is to succeed.  Did a parent 
ever tell a child to try and stand last in his class?  And yet 
humility is a virtue we admire in the abstract.  Are any of us 
willing to step aside and see our inferiors pass us in the race?  
That is too much to ask of poor humanity.  Were other and higher 
standards to be accepted, the structure of civilization as it 
exists to-day would crumble away and the great machine run down.

In returning to my correspondent and her perfectly legitimate 
desire to know the road to success, we must realize that to a large 
part of the world social success is the only kind they understand.  
The great inventors and benefactors of mankind live too far away on 
a plane by themselves to be the object of jealousy to any but a 
very small circle; on the other hand, in these days of equality, 
especially in this country where caste has never existed, the 
social world seems to hold out alluring and tangible gifts to him 
who can enter its enchanted portals.  Even politics, to judge by 
the actions of some of our legislators, of late, would seem to be 
only a stepping-stone to its door!

"But my question," I hear my fair interlocutor saying.  "You are 
not answering it!"

All in good time, my dear.  I am just about to do so.  Did you ever 
hear of Darwin and his theory of "selection?"  It would be a slight 
to your intelligence not to take it for granted that you had.  
Well, my observations in the world lead me to believe that we 
follow there unconsciously, the same rules that guide the wild 
beasts in the forest.  Certain individuals are endowed by nature 
with temperaments which make them take naturally to a social life 
and shine there.  In it they find their natural element.  They 
develop freely just where others shrivel up and disappear.  There 
is continually going on unseen a "natural selection," the 
discarding of unfit material, the assimilation of new and congenial 
elements from outside, with the logical result of a survival of the 
fittest.  Aside from this, you will find in "the world," as 
anywhere else, that the person who succeeds is generally he who has 
been willing to give the most of his strength and mind to that one 
object, and has not allowed the flowers on the hillside to distract 
him from his path, remembering also that genius is often but the 
"capacity for taking infinite pains."

There are people so constituted that they cheerfully give the 
efforts of a lifetime to the attainment of a brilliant social 
position.  No fatigue is too great, and no snubs too bitter to be 
willingly undergone in pursuit of the cherished object.  You will 
never find such an individual, for instance, wandering in the 
flowery byways that lead to art or letters, for that would waste 
his time.  If his family are too hard to raise, he will abandon the 
attempt and rise without them, for he cannot help himself.  He is 
but an atom working as blindly upward as the plant that pushes its 
mysterious way towards the sun.  Brains are not necessary.  Good 
looks are but a trump the more in the "hand."  Manners may help, 
but are not essential.  The object can be and is attained daily 
without all three.  Wealth is but the oil that makes the machinery 
run more smoothly.  The all-important factor is the desire to 
succeed, so strong that it makes any price seem cheap, and that can 
pay itself by a step gained, for mortification and weariness and 
heart-burnings.

There, my dear, is the secret of success!  I stop because I feel 
myself becoming bitter, and that is a frame of mind to be carefully 
avoided, because it interferes with the digestion and upsets one's 
gentle calm!  I have tried to answer your question.  The answer 
resolves itself into these two things; that it is necessary to be 
born with qualities which you may not possess, and calls for 
sacrifices you would doubtless be unwilling to make.  It remains 
with you to decide if the little game is worth the candle.  The 
delightful common sense I feel quite sure you possess reassures me 
as to your answer.

Take gayly such good things as may float your way, and profit by 
them while they last.  Wander off into all the cross-roads that 
tempt you.  Stop often to lend a helping hand to a less fortunate 
traveller.  Rest in the heat of the day, as your spirit prompts 
you.  Sit down before the sunset and revel in its beauty and you 
will find your voyage through life much more satisfactory to look 
back to and full of far sweeter memories than if by sacrificing any 
of these pleasures you had attained the greatest of "positions."




CHAPTER 35 - Living on your Friends


THACKERAY devoted a chapter in "Vanity Fair" to the problem "How to 
Live Well on Nothing a Year."  It was neither a very new nor a very 
ingenious expedient that "Becky" resorted to when she discounted 
her husband's position and connection to fleece the tradespeople 
and cheat an old family servant out of a year's rent.  The author 
might more justly have used his clever phrase in describing "Major 
Pendennis's" agreeable existence.  We have made great progress in 
this, as in almost every other mode of living, in the latter half 
of the Victorian era; intelligent individuals of either sex, who 
know the ropes, can now as easily lead the existence of a multi-
millionaire (with as much satisfaction to themselves and their 
friends) as though the bank account, with all its attendant 
worries, stood in their own names.  This subject is so vast, its 
ramifications so far-reaching and complicated, that one hesitates 
before launching into an analysis of it.  It will be better simply 
to give a few interesting examples, and a general rule or two, for 
the enlightenment and guidance of ingenious souls.

Human nature changes little; all that our educational and social 
training has accomplished is a smoothing of the surface.  One of 
the most striking proofs of this is, that here in our primitive 
country, as soon as accumulation of capital allowed certain 
families to live in great luxury, they returned to the ways of 
older aristocracies, and, with other wants, felt the necessity of a 
court about them, ladies and gentlemen in waiting, pages and 
jesters.  Nature abhors a vacuum, so a class of people immediately 
felt an irresistible impulse to rush in and fill the void.  Our 
aristocrats were not even obliged to send abroad to fill these 
vacancies, as they were for their footmen and butlers; the native 
article was quite ready and willing and, considering the little 
practice it could have had, proved wonderfully adapted to the work.

When the mania for building immense country houses and yachts (the 
owning of opera boxes goes a little further back) first attacked 
this country, the builders imagined that, once completed, it would 
be the easiest, as well as the most delightful task to fill them 
with the pick of their friends, that they could get all the 
talented and agreeable people they wanted by simply making a sign.  
To their astonishment, they discovered that what appeared so simple 
was a difficult, as well as a thankless labor.  I remember asking a 
lady who had owned a "proscenium" at the old Academy, why she had 
decided not to take a box in the (then) new opera-house.

"Because, having passed thirty years of my life inviting people to 
sit in my box, I intend now to rest."  It is very much the same 
thing with yachts.  A couple who had determined to go around the 
world, in their lately finished boat, were dumbfounded to find 
their invitations were not eagerly accepted.  After exhausting the 
small list of people they really wanted, they began with others 
indifferent to them, and even then filled out their number with 
difficulty.  A hostess who counts on a series of house parties 
through the autumn months, must begin early in the summer if she is 
to have the guests she desires.

It is just here that the "professional," if I may be allowed to use 
such an expression, comes to the front.  He is always available.  
It is indifferent to him if he starts on a tour around the world or 
for a winter spree to Montreal.  He is always amusing, good-
humored, and can be counted on at the last moment to fill any 
vacant place, without being the least offended at the tardy 
invitation, for he belongs to the class who have discovered "how to 
live well on nothing a year."  Luxury is as the breath of his 
nostrils, but his means allow of little beyond necessities.  The 
temptation must be great when everything that he appreciates most 
(and cannot afford) is urged upon him.  We should not pose as too 
stern moralists, and throw stones at him; for there may enter more 
"best French plate" into the composition of our own houses than we 
imagine.

It is here our epoch shows its improvement over earlier and cruder 
days.  At present no toad-eating is connected with the acceptance 
of hospitality, or, if occasionally a small "batrachian" is 
offered, it is so well disguised by an accomplished CHEF, and 
served on such exquisite old Dresden, that it slips down with very 
little effort.  Even this rarely occurs, unless the guest has 
allowed himself to become the inmate of a residence or yacht.  Then 
he takes his chance with other members of the household, and if the 
host or hostess happens to have a bad temper as a set-off to their 
good table, it is apt to fare ill with our friend.

So far, I have spoken of this class in the masculine, which is an 
error, as the art is successfully practised by the weaker sex, with 
this shade of difference.  As an unmarried woman is in less general 
demand, she is apt to attach herself to one dear friend, always 
sure to be a lady in possession of fine country and city houses and 
other appurtenances of wealth, often of inferior social standing; 
so that there is give and take, the guest rendering real service to 
an ambitious hostess.  The feminine aspirant need not be handsome.  
On the contrary, an agreeable plainness is much more acceptable, 
serving as a foil.  But she must be excellent in all games, from 
golf to piquet, and willing to play as often and as long as 
required.  She must also cheerfully go in to dinner with the blue 
ribbon bore of the evening, only asked on account of his pretty 
wife (by the bye, why is it that Beauty is so often flanked by the 
Beast?), and sit between him and the "second prize" bore.  These 
two worthies would have been the portion of the hostess fifteen 
years ago; she would have considered it her duty to absorb them and 
prevent her other guests suffering.  MAIS NOUS AVONS CHANGE TOUT 
CELA.  The lady of the house now thinks first of amusing herself, 
and arranges to sit between two favorites.

Society has become much simpler, and especially less expensive, for 
unmarried men than it used to be.  Even if a hostess asks a favor 
in return for weeks of hospitality, the sacrifice she requires of a 
man is rarely greater than a cotillion with an unattractive 
debutante whom she is trying to launch; or the sitting through a 
particularly dull opera in order to see her to the carriage, her 
lord and master having slipped off early to his club and a quiet 
game of pool.  Many people who read these lines are old enough to 
remember that prehistoric period when unmarried girls went to the 
theatre and parties, alone with the men they knew.  This custom 
still prevails in our irrepressible West.  It was an arrangement by 
which all the expenses fell on the man - theatre tickets, carriages 
if it rained, and often a bit of supper after.  If a youth asked a 
girl to dance the cotillion, he was expected to send a bouquet, 
sure to cost between twenty and twenty-five dollars.  What a 
blessed change for the impecunious swell when all this went out of 
fashion!  New York is his paradise now; in other parts of the world 
something is still expected of him.  In France it takes the form of 
a handsome bag of bon-bons on New Year's Day, if he has accepted 
hospitality during the past year.  While here he need do absolutely 
nothing (unless he wishes to), the occasional leaving of a card 
having been suppressed of late by our JEUNESSE DOREE, five minutes 
of their society in an opera box being estimated (by them) as ample 
return for a dinner or a week in a country house.

The truth of it is, there are so few men who "go out" (it being 
practically impossible for any one working at a serious profession 
to sit up night after night, even if he desired), and at the same 
time so many women insist on entertaining to amuse themselves or 
better their position, that the men who go about get spoiled and 
almost come to consider the obligation conferred, when they dine 
out.  There is no more amusing sight than poor paterfamilias 
sitting in the club between six and seven P.M. pretending to read 
the evening paper, but really with his eve on the door; he has been 
sent down by his wife to "get a man," as she is one short for her 
dinner this evening.  He must be one who will fit in well with the 
other guests; hence papa's anxious look, and the reason the 
editorial gets so little of his attention!  Watch him as young 
"professional" lounges in.  There is just his man - if he only 
happens to be disengaged!  You will see "Pater" cross the room and 
shake hands, then, after a few minutes' whispered conversation, he 
will walk down to his coupe with such a relieved look on his face.  
Young "professional," who is in faultless evening dress, will ring 
for a cocktail and take up the discarded evening paper to pass the 
time till eight twenty-five.

Eight twenty-five, advisedly, for he will be the last to arrive, 
knowing, clever dog, how much eCLAT it gives one to have a room 
full of people asking each other, "Whom are we waiting for?" when 
the door opens, and he is announced.  He will stay a moment after 
the other guests have gone and receive the most cordial pressures 
of the hand from a grateful hostess (if not spoken words of thanks) 
in return for eating an exquisitely cooked dinner, seated between 
two agreeable women, drinking irreproachable wine, smoking a cigar, 
and washing the whole down with a glass of 1830 brandy, or some 
priceless historic madeira.

There is probably a moral to be extracted from all this.  But 
frankly my ethics are so mixed that I fail to see where the blame 
lies, and which is the less worthy individual, the ostentatious 
axe-grinding host or the interested guest.  One thing, however, I 
see clearly, viz., that life is very agreeable to him who starts in 
with few prejudices, good manners, a large amount of well-concealed 
"cheek" and the happy faculty of taking things as they come.




CHAPTER 36 - American Society in Italy


THE phrase at the head of this chapter and other sentences, such as 
"American Society in Paris," or London, are constantly on the lips 
of people who should know better.  In reality these societies do 
not exist.  Does my reader pause, wondering if he can believe his 
eyes?  He has doubtless heard all his life of these delightful 
circles, and believes in them.  He may even have dined, EN PASSANT, 
at the "palace" of some resident compatriot in Rome or Florence, 
under the impression that he was within its mystic limits.  
Illusion!  An effect of mirage, making that which appears quite 
tangible and solid when viewed from a distance dissolve into thin 
air as one approaches; like the mirage, cheating the weary 
traveller with a vision of what he most longs for.

Forty, even fifty years ago, there lived in Rome a group of very 
agreeable people; Story and the two Greenoughs and Crawford, the 
sculptor (father of the brilliant novelist of today); Charlotte 
Cushman (who divided her time between Rome and Newport), and her 
friend Miss Stebbins, the sculptress, to whose hands we owe the 
bronze fountain on the Mall in our Park; Rogers, then working at 
the bronze doors of our capitol, and many other cultivated and 
agreeable people.  Hawthorne passed a couple of winters among them, 
and the tone of that society is reflected in his "Marble Faun."  He 
took Story as a model for his "Kenyon," and was the first to note 
the exotic grace of an American girl in that strange setting.  They 
formed as transcendental and unworldly a group as ever gathered 
about a "tea" table.  Great things were expected of them and their 
influence, but they disappointed the world, and, with the exception 
of Hawthorne, are being fast forgotten.

Nothing could be simpler than life in the papal capital in those 
pleasant days.  Money was rare, but living as delightfully 
inexpensive.  It was about that time, if I do not mistake, that a 
list was published in New York of the citizens worth one hundred 
thousand dollars; and it was not a long one!  The Roman colony took 
"tea" informally with each other, and "received" on stated evenings 
in their studios (when mulled claret and cakes were the only 
refreshment offered; very bad they were, too), and migrated in the 
summer to the mountains near Rome or to Sorrento.  In the winter 
months their circle was enlarged by a contingent from home.  Among 
wealthy New Yorkers, it was the fashion in the early fifties to 
pass a winter in Rome, when, together with his other dissipations, 
paterfamilias would sit to one of the American sculptors for his 
bust, which accounts for the horrors one now runs across in dark 
corners of country houses, - ghostly heads in "chin whiskers" and 
Roman draperies.

The son of one of these pioneers, more rich than cultivated, 
noticed the other day, while visiting a friend of mine, an 
exquisite eighteenth-century bust of Madame de Pompadour, the pride 
of his hostess's drawing-room.  "Ah!" said Midas, "are busts the 
fashion again?  I have one of my father, done in Rome in 1850.  I 
will bring it down and put it in my parlor."

The travellers consulted the residents in their purchases of copies 
of the old masters, for there were fashions in these luxuries as in 
everything else.  There was a run at that time on the "Madonna in 
the Chair;" and "Beatrice Cenci" was long prime favorite.  
Thousands of the latter leering and winking over her everlasting 
shoulder, were solemnly sent home each year.  No one ever dreamed 
of buying an original painting!  The tourists also developed a 
taste for large marble statues, "Nydia, the Blind Girl of Pompeii" 
(people read Bulwer, Byron and the Bible then) being in such demand 
that I knew one block in lower Fifth Avenue that possessed seven 
blind Nydias, all life-size, in white marble, - a form of 
decoration about as well adapted to those scanty front parlors as a 
steam engine or a carriage and pair would have been.  I fear 
Bulwer's heroine is at a discount now, and often wonder as I see 
those old residences turning into shops, what has become of the 
seven white elephants and all their brothers and sisters that our 
innocent parents brought so proudly back from Italy!  I have 
succeeded in locating two statues evidently imported at that time.  
They grace the back steps of a rather shabby villa in the country, 
- Demosthenes and Cicero, larger than life, dreary, funereal 
memorials of the follies of our fathers.

The simple days we have been speaking of did not, however, outlast 
the circle that inaugurated them.  About 1867 a few rich New 
Yorkers began "trying to know the Italians" and go about with them.  
One family, "up to snuff" in more senses than one, married their 
daughter to the scion of a princely house, and immediately a large 
number of her compatriots were bitten with the madness of going 
into Italian society.

In 1870, Rome became the capital of united Italy.  The court 
removed there.  The "improvements" began.  Whole quarters were 
remodelled, and the dear old Rome of other days, the Rome of 
Hawthorne and Madame de Stael, was swept away.  With this new state 
of things came a number of Americo-Italian marriages more or less 
successful; and anything like an American society, properly so-
called, disappeared.  To-day families of our compatriots passing 
the winter months in Rome are either tourists who live in hotels, 
and see sights, or go (as far as they can) into Italian society.

The Queen of Italy, who speaks excellent English, developed a 
PENCHANT for Americans, and has attached several who married 
Italians to her person in different court capacities; indeed, the 
old "Black" society, who have remained true to the Pope, when they 
wish to ridicule the new "White" or royal circle, call it the 
"American court!"  The feeling is bitter still between the "Blacks" 
and "Whites," and an American girl who marries into one of these 
circles must make up her mind to see nothing of friends or 
relatives in the opposition ranks.  It is said that an amalgamation 
is being brought about, but it is slow work; a generation will have 
to die out before much real mingling of the two courts will take 
place.  As both these circles are poor, very little entertainment 
goes on.  One sees a little life in the diplomatic world, and the 
King and Queen give a ball or two during the winter, but since the 
repeated defeats of the Italian arms in Africa, and the heavy 
financial difficulties (things these sovereigns take very seriously 
to heart), there has not been much "go" in the court 
entertainments.

The young set hope great things of the new Princess of Naples, the 
bride of the heir-apparent, a lady who is credited with being full 
of fun and life; it is fondly imagined that she will set the ball 
rolling again.  By the bye, her first lady-in-waiting, the young 
Duchess del Monte of Naples, was an American girl, and a very 
pretty one, too.  She enjoyed for some time the enviable 
distinction of being the youngest and handsomest duchess in Europe, 
until Miss Vanderbilt married Marlborough and took the record from 
her.  The Prince and Princess of Naples live at their Neapolitan 
capital, and will not do much to help things in Rome.  Besides 
which he is very delicate and passes for not being any too fond of 
the world.

What makes things worse is that the great nobles are mostly "land 
poor," and even the richer ones burned their fingers in the craze 
for speculation that turned all Rome upside down in the years 
following 1870 and Italian unity, when they naively imagined their 
new capital was to become again after seventeen centuries the 
metropolis of the world.  Whole quarters of new houses were run up 
for a population that failed to appear; these houses now stand 
empty and are fast going to ruin.  So that little in the way of 
entertaining is to be expected from the bankrupts.  They are a 
genial race, these Italian nobles, and welcome rich strangers and 
marry them with much enthusiasm - just a shade too much, perhaps - 
the girl counting for so little and her DOT for so much in the 
matrimonial scale.  It is only necessary to keep open house to have 
the pick of the younger ones as your guests.  They will come to 
entertainments at American houses and bring all their relations, 
and dance, and dine, and flirt with great good humor and 
persistency; but if there is not a good solid fortune in the 
background, in the best of securities, the prettiest American 
smiles never tempt them beyond flirtation; the season over, they 
disappear up into their mountain villas to wait for a new 
importation from the States.

In Rome, as well as in the other Italian cities, there are, of 
course, still to be found Americans in some numbers (where on the 
Continent will you not find them?), living quietly for study or 
economy.  But they are not numerous or united enough to form a 
society; and are apt to be involved in bitter strife among 
themselves.

Why, you ask, should Americans quarrel among themselves?

Some years ago I was passing the summer months on the Rhine at a 
tiny German watering-place, principally frequented by English, who 
were all living together in great peace and harmony, until one 
fatal day, when an Earl appeared.  He was a poor Irish Earl, very 
simple and unoffending, but he brought war into that town, heart-
burnings, envy, and backbiting.  The English colony at once divided 
itself into two camps, those who knew the Earl and those who did 
not.  And peace fled from our little society.  You will find in 
every foreign capital among the resident Americans, just such a 
state of affairs as convulsed that German spa.  The native "swells" 
have come to be the apple of discord that divides our good people 
among themselves.  Those who have been successful in knowing the 
foreigners avoid their compatriots and live with their new friends, 
while the other group who, from laziness, disinclination, or 
principle (?) have remained true to their American circle, cannot 
resist calling the others snobs, and laughing (a bit enviously, 
perhaps) at their upward struggles.

It is the same in Florence.  The little there was left of an 
American society went to pieces on that rock.  Our parents forty 
years ago seem to me to have been much more self-respecting and 
sensible.  They knew perfectly well that there was nothing in 
common between themselves and the Italian nobility, and that those 
good people were not going to put themselves out to make the 
acquaintance of a lot of strangers, mostly of another religion, 
unless it was to be materially to their advantage.  So they left 
them quietly alone.  I do not pretend to judge any one's motives, 
but confess I cannot help regarding with suspicion a foreigner who 
leaves his own circle to mingle with strangers.  It resembles too 
closely the amiabilities of the wolf for the lamb, or the sudden 
politeness of a school-boy to a little girl who has received a box 
of candies.




CHAPTER 37 - The Newport of the Past


FEW of the "carriage ladies and gentlemen" who disport themselves 
in Newport during the summer months, yachting and dancing through 
the short season, then flitting away to fresh fields and pastures 
new, realize that their daintily shod feet have been treading 
historic ground, or care to cast a thought back to the past.  Oddly 
enough, to the majority of people the past is a volume rarely 
opened.  Not that it bores them to read it, but because they, like 
children, want some one to turn over its yellow leaves and point 
out the pictures to them.  Few of the human motes that dance in the 
rays of the afternoon sun as they slant across the little Park, 
think of the fable which asserts that a sea-worn band of 
adventurous men, centuries before the Cabots or the Genoese 
discoverer thought of crossing the Atlantic, had pushed bravely out 
over untried seas and landed on this rocky coast.  Yet one apparent 
evidence of their stay tempts our thoughts back to the times when 
it is said to have been built as a bower for a king's daughter.  
Longfellow, in the swinging verse of his "Skeleton in Armor," 
breathing of the sea and the Norseman's fatal love, has thrown such 
a glamour of poetry around the tower, that one would fain believe 
all he relates.  The hardy Norsemen, if they ever came here, 
succumbed in their struggle with the native tribes, or, discouraged 
by death and hardships, sailed away, leaving the clouds of oblivion 
to close again darkly around this continent, and the fog of 
discussion to circle around the "Old Mill."

The little settlement of another race, speaking another tongue, 
that centuries later sprang up in the shadow of the tower, quickly 
grew into a busy and prosperous city, which, like New York, its 
rival, was captured and held by the English.  To walk now through 
some of its quaint, narrow streets is to step back into 
Revolutionary days.  Hardly a house has changed since the time when 
the red coats of the British officers brightened the prim 
perspectives, and turned loyal young heads as they passed.

At the corner of Spring and Pelham Streets, still stands the 
residence of General Prescott, who was carried away prisoner by his 
opponents, they having rowed down in whale-boats from Providence 
for the attack.  Rochambeau, our French ally, lodged lower down in 
Mary Street.  In the tower of Trinity, one can read the epitaph of 
the unfortunate Chevalier de Ternay, commander of the sea forces, 
whose body lies near by.  Many years later his relative, the Duc de 
Noailles, when Minister to this country, had this simple tablet 
repaired and made a visit to the spot.

A long period of prosperity followed the Revolution, during which 
Newport grew and flourished.  Our pious and God-fearing "forbears," 
having secured personal and religious liberty, proceeded to 
inaugurate a most successful and remunerative trade in rum and 
slaves.  It was a triangular transaction and yielded a three-fold 
profit.  The simple population of that day, numbering less than ten 
thousand souls, possessed twenty distilleries; finding it a 
physical impossibility to drink ALL the rum, they conceived the 
happy thought of sending the surplus across to the coast of Africa, 
where it appears to have been much appreciated by the native 
chiefs, who eagerly exchanged the pick of their loyal subjects for 
that liquid.  These poor brutes were taken to the West Indies and 
exchanged for sugar, laden with which, the vessels returned to 
Newport.

Having introduced the dusky chieftains to the charms of delirium 
tremens and their subjects to life-long slavery, one can almost see 
these pious deacons proceeding to church to offer up thanks for the 
return of their successful vessels.  Alas! even "the best laid 
schemes of mice and men" come to an end.  The War of 1812, the 
opening of the Erie Canal and sundry railways struck a blow at 
Newport commerce, from which it never recovered.  The city sank 
into oblivion, and for over thirty years not a house was built 
there.

It was not until near 1840 that the Middletons and Izzards and 
other wealthy and aristocratic Southern families were tempted to 
Newport by the climate and the facilities it offered for bathing, 
shooting and boating.  A boarding-house or two sufficed for the 
modest wants of the new-comers, first among which stood the 
Aquidneck, presided over by kind Mrs. Murray.  It was not until 
some years later, when New York and Boston families began to 
appreciate the place, that the first hotels were built, - the 
Atlantic on the square facing the old mill, the Bellevue and 
Fillmore on Catherine Street, and finally the original Ocean House, 
destroyed by fire in 1845 and rebuilt as we see it to-day.  The 
croakers of the epoch considered it much too far out of town to be 
successful, for at its door the open fields began, a gate there 
separating the town from the country across which a straggling, 
half-made road, closed by innumerable gates, led along the cliffs 
and out across what is now the Ocean Drive.  The principal roads at 
that time led inland; any one wishing to drive seaward had to 
descend every two or three minutes to open a gate.  The youth of 
the day discovered a source of income in opening and closing these 
for pennies.

Fashion had decreed that the correct hour for dancing was 11 A.M., 
and MATINEES DANSANTES were regularly given at the hotels, our 
grandmothers appearing in DECOLLETE muslin frocks adorned with 
broad sashes, and disporting themselves gayly until the dinner 
hour.  Low-neck dresses were the rule, not only for these informal 
entertainments, but as every-day wear for young girls, - an old 
lady only the other day telling me she had never worn a "high-body" 
until after her marriage.  Two o'clock found all the beauties and 
beaux dining.  How incredulously they would have laughed if any one 
had prophesied that their grandchildren would prefer eight forty-
five as a dinner hour!

The opening of Bellevue Avenue marked another epoch in the history 
of Newport.  About that time Governor Lawrence bought the whole of 
Ochre Point farm for fourteen thousand dollars, and Mr. de Rham 
built on the newly opened road the first "cottage," which stands 
to-day modestly back from the avenue opposite Perry Street.  If 
houses have souls, as Hawthorne averred, and can remember and 
compare, what curious thoughts must pass through the oaken brain of 
this simple construction as it sees its marble neighbors rearing 
their vast facades among trees.  The trees, too, are an innovation, 
for when the de Rham cottage was built and Mrs. Cleveland opened 
her new house at the extreme end of Rough Point (the second summer 
residence in the place) it is doubtful if a single tree broke the 
rocky monotony of the landscape from the Ocean House to Bateman's 
Point.

Governor Lawrence, having sold one acre of his Ochre Point farm to 
Mr. Pendleton for the price he himself had paid for the whole, 
proceeded to build a stone wall between the two properties down to 
the water's edge.  The population of Newport had been accustomed to 
take their Sunday airings and moonlight rambles along "the cliffs," 
and viewed this obstruction of their favorite walk with dismay.  So 
strong was their feeling that when the wall was completed the young 
men of the town repaired there in the night and tore it down.  It 
was rebuilt, the mortar being mixed with broken glass.  This 
infuriated the people to such an extent that the whole populace, in 
broad daylight, accompanied by the summer visitors, destroyed the 
wall and threw the materials into the sea.  Lawrence, bent on 
maintaining what he considered his rights, called the law to his 
aid.  It was then discovered that an immemorial riverain right gave 
the fishermen and the public generally, access to the shore for 
fishing, and also to collect seaweed, - a right of way that no one 
could obstruct.

This was the beginning of the long struggle between the cliff-
dwellers and the townspeople; each new property-owner, disgusted at 
the idea that all the world can stroll at will across his well-kept 
lawns, has in turn tried his hand at suppressing the now famous 
"walk."  Not only do the public claim the liberty to walk there, 
but also the right to cross any property to get to the shore.  At 
this moment the city fathers and the committee of the new buildings 
at Bailey's Beach are wrangling as gayly as in Governor Lawrence's 
day over a bit of wall lately constructed across the end of 
Bellevue Avenue.  A new expedient has been hit upon by some of the 
would-be exclusive owners of the cliffs; they have lowered the 
"walk" out of sight, thus insuring their own privacy and in no way 
interfering with the rights of the public.

Among the gentlemen who settled in Newport about Governor 
Lawrence's time was Lord Baltimore (Mr. Calvert, he preferred to 
call himself), who remained there until his death.  He was shy of 
referring to his English peerage, but would willingly talk of his 
descent through his mother from Peter Paul Rubens, from whom had 
come down to him a chateau in Holland and several splendid 
paintings.  The latter hung in the parlor of the modest little 
dwelling, where I was taken to see them and their owner many years 
ago.  My introducer on this occasion was herself a lady of no 
ordinary birth, being the daughter of Stuart, our greatest portrait 
painter.  I have passed many quiet hours in the quaint studio (the 
same her father had used), hearing her prattle - as she loved to do 
if she found a sympathetic listener - of her father, of Washington 
and his pompous ways, and the many celebrities who had in turn 
posed before Stuart's easel.  She had been her father's companion 
and aid, present at the sittings, preparing his brushes and colors, 
and painting in backgrounds and accessories; and would willingly 
show his palette and explain his methods and theories of color, his 
predilection for scrumbling shadows thinly in black and then 
painting boldly in with body color.  Her lessons had not profited 
much to the gentle, kindly old lady, for the productions of her own 
brush were far from resembling her great parent's work.  She, 
however, painted cheerfully on to life's close, surrounded by her 
many friends, foremost among whom was Charlotte Cushman, who also 
passed the last years of her life in Newport.  Miss Stuart was over 
eighty when I last saw her, still full of spirit and vigor, 
beginning the portrait of a famous beauty of that day, since the 
wife and mother of dukes.

Miss Stuart's death seems to close one of the chapters in the 
history of this city, and to break the last connecting link with 
its past.  The world moves so quickly that the simple days and 
modest amusements of our fathers and grandfathers have already 
receded into misty remoteness.  We look at their portraits and 
wonder vaguely at their graceless costumes.  We know they trod 
these same streets, and laughed and flirted and married as we are 
doing to-day, but they seem to us strangely far away, like 
inhabitants of another sphere!

It is humiliating to think how soon we, too, shall have become the 
ancestors of a new and careless generation; fresh faces will 
replace our faded ones, young voices will laugh as they look at our 
portraits hanging in dark corners, wondering who we were, and 
(criticising the apparel we think so artistic and appropriate) how 
we could ever have made such guys of ourselves.




CHAPTER 38 - A Conquest of Europe


THE most important event in modern history is the discovery of 
Europe by the Americans.  Before it, the peoples of the Old World 
lived happy and contented in their own countries, practising the 
patriarchal virtues handed down to them from generations of 
forebears, ignoring alike the vices and benefits of modern 
civilization, as understood on this side of the Atlantic.  The 
simple-minded Europeans remained at home, satisfied with the rank 
in life where they had been born, and innocent of the ways of the 
new world.

These peoples were, on the whole, not so much to be pitied, for 
they had many pleasing crafts and arts unknown to the invaders, 
which had enabled them to decorate their capitals with taste in a 
rude way; nothing really great like the lofty buildings and 
elevated railway structures, executed in American cities, but 
interesting as showing what an ingenious race, deprived of the 
secrets of modern science, could accomplish.

The more aesthetic of the newcomers even affected to admire the 
antiquated places of worship and residences they visited abroad, 
pointing out to their compatriots that in many cases marble, bronze 
and other old-fashioned materials had been so cleverly treated as 
to look almost like the superior cast-iron employed at home, and 
that some of the old paintings, preserved with veneration in the 
museums, had nearly the brilliancy of modern chromos.  As their 
authors had, however, neglected to use a process lending itself to 
rapid reproduction, they were of no practical value.  In other 
ways, the continental races, when discovered, were sadly behind the 
times.  In business, they ignored the use of "corners," that 
backbone of American trade, and their ideas of advertising were but 
little in advance of those known among the ancient Greeks.

The discovery of Europe by the Americans was made about 1850, at 
which date the first bands of adventurers crossed the seas in 
search of amusement.  The reports these pioneers brought back of 
the NAIVETE, politeness, and gullibility of the natives, and the 
cheapness of existence in their cities, caused a general exodus 
from the western to the eastern hemisphere.  Most of the Americans 
who had used up their credit at home and those whose incomes were 
insufficient for their wants, immediately migrated to these happy 
hunting grounds, where life was inexpensive and credit unlimited.

The first arrivals enjoyed for some twenty years unique 
opportunities.  They were able to live in splendor for a pittance 
that would barely have kept them in necessaries on their own side 
of the Atlantic, and to pick up valuable specimens of native 
handiwork for nominal sums.  In those happy days, to belong to the 
invading race was a sufficient passport to the good graces of the 
Europeans, who asked no other guarantees before trading with the 
newcomers, but flocked around them, offering their services and 
their primitive manufactures, convinced that Americans were all 
wealthy.

Alas!  History ever repeats itself.  As Mexicans and Peruvians, 
after receiving their conquerors with confidence and enthusiasm, 
came to rue the day they had opened their arms to strangers, so the 
European peoples, before a quarter of a century was over, realized 
that the hordes from across the sea who were over-running their 
lands, raising prices, crowding the native students out of the 
schools, and finally attempting to force an entrance into society, 
had little to recommend them or justify their presence except 
money.  Even in this some of the intruders were unsatisfactory.  
Those who had been received into the "bosom" of hotels often forgot 
to settle before departing.  The continental women who had provided 
the wives of discoverers with the raiment of the country (a luxury 
greatly affected by those ladies) found, to their disgust, that 
their new customers were often unable or unwilling to offer any 
remuneration.

In consequence of these and many other disillusions, Americans 
began to be called the "Destroyers," especially when it became 
known that nothing was too heavy or too bulky to be carried away by 
the invaders, who tore the insides from the native houses, the 
paintings from the walls, the statues from the temples, and 
transported this booty across the seas, much in the same way as the 
Romans had plundered Greece.  Elaborate furniture seemed especially 
to attract the new arrivals, who acquired vast quantities of it.

Here, however, the wily natives (who were beginning to appreciate 
their own belongings) had revenge.  Immense quantities of worthless 
imitations were secretly manufactured and sold to the travellers at 
fabulous prices.  The same artifice was used with paintings, said 
to be by great masters, and with imitations of old stuffs and bric-
a-brac, which the ignorant and arrogant invaders pretended to 
appreciate and collect.

Previous to our arrival there had been an invasion of the Continent 
by the English about the year 1812.  One of their historians, 
called Thackeray, gives an amusing account of this in the opening 
chapters of his "Shabby Genteel Story."  That event, however, was 
unimportant in comparison with the great American movement, 
although both were characterized by the same total disregard of the 
feelings and prejudices of indigenous populations.  The English 
then walked about the continental churches during divine service, 
gazing at the pictures and consulting their guide-books as 
unconcernedly as our compatriots do to-day.  They also crowded into 
theatres and concert halls, and afterwards wrote to the newspapers 
complaining of the bad atmosphere of those primitive establishments 
and of the long ENTR'ACTES.

As long as the invaders confined themselves to such trifles, the 
patient foreigners submitted to their overbearing and uncouth ways 
because of the supposed benefit to trade.  The natives even went so 
far as to build hotels for the accommodation and delight of the 
invaders, abandoning whole quarters to their guests.

There was, however, a point at which complacency stopped.  The 
older civilizations had formed among themselves restricted and 
exclusive societies, to which access was almost impossible to 
strangers.  These sanctuaries tempted the immigrants, who offered 
their fairest virgins and much treasure for the privilege of 
admission.  The indigenous aristocrats, who were mostly poor, 
yielded to these offers and a few Americans succeeded in forcing an 
entrance.  But the old nobility soon became frightened at the 
number and vulgarity of the invaders, and withdrew severely into 
their shells, refusing to accept any further bribes either in the 
form of females or finance.

From this moment dates the humiliation of the discoverers.  All 
their booty and plunder seemed worthless in comparison with the 
Elysian delights they imagined were concealed behind the closed 
doors of those holy places, visions of which tortured the women 
from the western hemisphere and prevented their taking any pleasure 
in other victories.  To be received into those inner circles became 
their chief ambition.  With this end in view they dressed 
themselves in expensive costumes, took the trouble to learn the 
"lingo" spoken in the country, went to the extremity of copying the 
ways of the native women by painting their faces, and in one or two 
cases imitated the laxity of their morals.

In spite of these concessions, our women were not received with 
enthusiasm.  On the contrary, the very name of an American became a 
byword and an abomination in every continental city.  This 
prejudice against us abroad is hardly to be wondered at on 
reflecting what we have done to acquire it.  The agents chosen by 
our government to treat diplomatically with the conquered nations, 
owe their selection to political motives rather than to their tact 
or fitness.  In the large majority of cases men are sent over who 
know little either of the habits or languages prevailing in Europe.

The worst elements always follow in the wake of discovery.  Our 
settlements abroad gradually became the abode of the compromised, 
the divorced, the socially and financially bankrupt.

Within the last decade we have found a way to revenge the slights 
put upon us, especially those offered to Americans in the capital 
of Gaul.  Having for the moment no playwrights of our own, the men 
who concoct dramas, comedies, and burlesques for our stage find, 
instead of wearying themselves in trying to produce original 
matter, that it is much simpler to adapt from French writers.  This 
has been carried to such a length that entire French plays are now 
produced in New York signed by American names.

The great French playwrights can protect themselves by taking out 
American copyright, but if one of them omits this formality, the 
"conquerors" immediately seize upon his work and translate it, 
omitting intentionally all mention of the real author on their 
programmes.  This season a play was produced of which the first act 
was taken from Guy de Maupassant, the second and third "adapted" 
from Sardou, with episodes introduced from other authors to 
brighten the mixture.  The piece thus patched together is signed by 
a well-known Anglo-Saxon name, and accepted by our moral public, 
although the original of the first act was stopped by the Parisian 
police as too immoral for that gay capital.

Of what use would it be to "discover" a new continent unless the 
explorers were to reap some such benefits?  Let us take every 
advantage that our proud position gives us, plundering the foreign 
authors, making penal settlements of their capitals, and ignoring 
their foolish customs and prejudices when we travel among them!  In 
this way shall we effectually impress on the inferior races across 
the Atlantic the greatness of the American nation.




CHAPTER 39 - A Race of Slaves


IT is all very well for us to have invaded Europe, and awakened 
that somnolent continent to the lights and delights of American 
ways; to have beautified the cities of the old world with graceful 
trolleys and illuminated the catacombs at Rome with electricity.  
Every true American must thrill with satisfaction at these 
achievements, and the knowledge that he belongs to a dominating 
race, before which the waning civilization of Europe must fade away 
and disappear.

To have discovered Europe and to rule as conquerors abroad is well, 
but it is not enough, if we are led in chains at home.  It is 
recorded of a certain ambitious captain whose "Commentaries" made 
our school-days a burden, that "he preferred to be the first in a 
village rather than second at Rome."  Oddly enough, WE are 
contented to be slaves in our villages while we are conquerors in 
Rome.  Can it be that the struggles of our ancestors for freedom 
were fought in vain?  Did they throw off the yoke of kings, cross 
the Atlantic, found a new form of government on a new continent, 
break with traditions, and sign a declaration of independence, only 
that we should succumb, a century later, yielding the fruits of 
their hard-fought battles with craven supineness into the hands of 
corporations and municipalities; humbly bowing necks that refuse to 
bend before anointed sovereigns, to the will of steamboat 
subordinates, the insolence of be-diamonded hotel-clerks, and the 
captious conductor?

Last week my train from Washington arrived in Jersey City on time.  
We scurried (like good Americans) to the ferry-boat, hot and tired 
and anxious to get to our destination; a hope deferred, however, 
for our boat was kept waiting forty long minutes, because, 
forsooth, another train from somewhere in the South was behind 
time.  Expostulations were in vain.  Being only the paying public, 
we had no rights that those autocrats, the officials, were bound to 
respect.  The argument that if they knew the southern train to be 
so much behind, the ferry-boat would have plenty of time to take us 
across and return, was of no avail, so, like a cargo of "moo-cows" 
(as the children say), we submitted meekly.  In order to make the 
time pass more pleasantly for the two hundred people gathered on 
the boat, a dusky potentate judged the moment appropriate to scrub 
the cabin floors.  So, aided by a couple of subordinates, he 
proceeded to deluge the entire place in floods of water, obliging 
us to sit with our feet tucked up under us, splashing the ladies' 
skirts and our wraps and belongings.

Such treatment of the public would have raised a riot anywhere but 
in this land of freedom.  Do you suppose any one murmured?  Not at 
all.  The well-trained public had the air of being in church.  My 
neighbors appeared astonished at my impatience, and informed me 
that they were often detained in that way, as the company was short 
of boats, but they hoped to have a new one in a year or two.  This 
detail did not prevent that corporation advertising our train to 
arrive in New York at three-thirteen, instead of which we landed at 
four o'clock.  If a similar breach of contract had happened in 
England, a dozen letters would have appeared in the "Times," and 
the grievance been well aired.

Another infliction to which all who travel in America are subjected 
is the brushing atrocity.  Twenty minutes before a train arrives at 
its destination, the despot who has taken no notice of any one up 
to this moment, except to snub them, becomes suspiciously attentive 
and insists on brushing everybody.  The dirt one traveller has been 
accumulating is sent in clouds into the faces of his neighbors.  
When he is polished off and has paid his "quarter" of tribute, the 
next man gets up, and the dirt is then brushed back on to number 
one, with number two's collection added.

Labiche begins one of his plays with two servants at work in a 
salon.  "Dusting," says one of them, "is the art of sending the 
dirt from the chair on the right over to the sofa on the left."  I 
always think of that remark when I see the process performed in a 
parlor car, for when it is over we are all exactly where we began.  
If a man should shampoo his hair, or have his boots cleaned in a 
salon, he would be ejected as a boor; yet the idea apparently never 
enters the heads of those who soil and choke their fellow-
passengers that the brushing might be done in the vestibule.

On the subject of fresh air and heat we are also in the hands of 
officials, dozens of passengers being made to suffer for the 
caprices of one of their number, or the taste of some captious 
invalid.  In other lands the rights of minorities are often 
ignored.  With us it is the contrary.  One sniffling school-girl 
who prefers a temperature of 80 degrees can force a car full of 
people to swelter in an atmosphere that is death to them, because 
she refuses either to put on her wraps or to have a window opened.

Street railways are torture-chambers where we slaves are made to 
suffer in another way.  You must begin to reel and plunge towards 
the door at least two blocks before your destination, so as to leap 
to the ground when the car slows up; otherwise the conductor will 
be offended with you, and carry you several squares too far, or 
with a jocose "Step lively," will grasp your elbow and shoot you 
out.  Any one who should sit quietly in his place until the vehicle 
had come to a full stop, would be regarded by the slave-driver and 
his cargo as a POSEUR who was assuming airs.

The idea that cars and boats exist for the convenience of the 
public was exploded long ago.  We are made, dozens of times a day, 
to feel that this is no longer the case.  It is, on the contrary, 
brought vividly home to us that such conveyances are money making 
machines in the possession of powerful corporations (to whom we, in 
our debasement, have handed over the freedom of our streets and 
rivers), and are run in the interest and at the discretion of their 
owners.

It is not only before the great and the powerful that we bow in 
submission.  The shop-girl is another tyrant who has planted her 
foot firmly on the neck of the nation.  She respects neither sex 
nor age.  Ensconced behind the bulwark of her counter, she scorns 
to notice humble aspirants until they have performed a preliminary 
penance; a time she fills up in cheerful conversation addressed to 
other young tyrants, only deciding to notice customers when she 
sees their last grain of patience is exhausted.  She is often of a 
merry mood, and if anything about your appearance or manner strikes 
her critical sense as amusing, will laugh gayly with her companions 
at your expense.

A French gentleman who speaks our language correctly but with some 
accent, told me that he found it impossible to get served in our 
stores, the shop-girls bursting with laughter before he could make 
his wants known.

Not long ago I was at the Compagnie Lyonnaise in Paris with a stout 
American lady, who insisted on tipping her chair forward on its 
front legs as she selected some laces.  Suddenly the chair flew 
from under her, and she sat violently on the polished floor in an 
attitude so supremely comic that the rest of her party were 
inwardly convulsed.  Not a muscle moved in the faces of the well-
trained clerks.  The proprietor assisted her to rise as gravely as 
if he were bowing us to our carriage.

In restaurants American citizens are treated even worse than in the 
shops.  You will see cowed customers who are anxious to get away to 
their business or pleasure sitting mutely patient, until a waiter 
happens to remember their orders.  I do not know a single 
establishment in this city where the waiters take any notice of 
their customers' arrival, or where the proprietor comes, toward the 
end of the meal, to inquire if the dishes have been cooked to their 
taste.  The interest so general on the Continent or in England is 
replaced here by the same air of being disturbed from more 
important occupations, that characterizes the shop-girl and 
elevator boy.

Numbers of our people live apparently in awe of their servants and 
the opinion of the tradespeople.  One middle-aged lady whom I 
occasionally take to the theatre, insists when we arrive at her 
door on my accompanying her to the elevator, in order that the 
youth who presides therein may see that she has an escort, the 
opinion of this subordinate apparently being of supreme importance 
to her.  One of our "gilded youths" recently told me of a thrilling 
adventure in which he had figured.  At the moment he was passing 
under an awning on his way to a reception, a gust of wind sent his 
hat gambolling down the block.  "Think what a situation," he 
exclaimed.  "There stood a group of my friends' footmen watching 
me.  But I was equal to the situation and entered the house as if 
nothing had happened!"  Sir Walter Raleigh sacrificed a cloak to 
please a queen.  This youth abandoned a new hat, fearing the 
laughter of a half-dozen servants.

One of the reasons why we have become so weak in the presence of 
our paid masters is that nowhere is the individual allowed to 
protest.  The other night a friend who was with me at a theatre 
considered the acting inferior, and expressed his opinion by 
hissing.  He was promptly ejected by a policeman.  The man next me 
was, on the contrary, so pleased with the piece that he encored 
every song.  I had paid to see the piece once, and rebelled at 
being obliged to see it twice to suit my neighbor.  On referring 
the matter to the box-office, the caliph in charge informed me that 
the slaves he allowed to enter his establishment (like those who in 
other days formed the court of Louis XIV.) were permitted to 
praise, but were suppressed if they murmured dissent.  In his 
MEMOIRES, Dumas, PERE, tells of a "first night" when three thousand 
people applauded a play of his and one spectator hissed.  "He was 
the only one I respected," said Dumas, "for the piece was bad, and 
that criticism spurred me on to improve it."

How can we hope for any improvement in the standard of our 
entertainments, the manners of our servants or the ways of 
corporations when no one complains?  We are too much in a hurry to 
follow up a grievance and have it righted.  "It doesn't pay," "I 
haven't got the time," are phrases with which all such subjects are 
dismissed.  We will sit in over-heated cars, eat vilely cooked 
food, put up with insolence from subordinates, because it is too 
much trouble to assert our rights.  Is the spirit that prompted the 
first shots on Lexington Common becoming extinct?  Have the floods 
of emigration so diluted our Anglo-Saxon blood that we no longer 
care to fight for liberty?  Will no patriot arise and lead a revolt 
against our tyrants?

I am prepared to follow such a leader, and have already marked my 
prey.  First, I will slay a certain miscreant who sits at the 
receipt of customs in the box-office of an up-town theatre.  For 
years I have tried to propitiate that satrap with modest politeness 
and feeble little jokes.  He has never been softened by either, but 
continues to "chuck" the worst places out to me (no matter how 
early I arrive, the best have always been given to the 
speculators), and to frown down my attempts at self-assertion.

When I have seen this enemy at my feet, I shall start down town 
(stopping on the way to brain the teller at my bank, who is 
perennially paring his nails, and refuses to see me until that 
operation is performed), to the office of a night-boat line, where 
the clerk has so often forced me, with hundreds of other weary 
victims, to stand in line like convicts, while he chats with a 
"lady friend," his back turned to us and his leg comfortably thrown 
over the arm of his chair.  Then I will take my blood-stained way - 
but, no!  It is better not to put my victims on their guard, but to 
abide my time in silence!  Courage, fellow-slaves, our day will 
come!




CHAPTER 40 - Introspection *


THE close of a year must bring even to the careless and the least 
inclined toward self-inspection, an hour of thoughtfulness, a 
desire to glance back across the past, and set one's mental house 
in order, before starting out on another stage of the journey for 
that none too distant bourne toward which we all are moving.

* December thirty-first, 1888.

Our minds are like solitary dwellers in a vast residence, whom 
habit has accustomed to live in a few only of the countless 
chambers around them.  We have collected from other parts of our 
lives mental furniture and bric-a-brac that time and association 
have endeared to us, have installed these meagre belongings 
convenient to our hand, and contrived an entrance giving facile 
access to our living-rooms, avoiding the effort of a long detour 
through the echoing corridors and disused salons behind.  No 
acquaintances, and but few friends, penetrate into the private 
chambers of our thoughts.  We set aside a common room for the 
reception of visitors, making it as cheerful as circumstances will 
allow and take care that the conversation therein rarely turns on 
any subject more personal than the view from the windows or the 
prophecies of the barometer.

In the old-fashioned brick palace at Kensington, a little suite of 
rooms is carefully guarded from the public gaze, swept, garnished 
and tended as though the occupants of long ago were hourly expected 
to return.  The early years of England's aged sovereign were passed 
in these simple apartments and by her orders they have been kept 
unchanged, the furniture and decorations remaining to-day as when 
she inhabited them.  In one corner, is assembled a group of dolls, 
dressed in the quaint finery of 1825.  A set of miniature cooking 
utensils stands near by.  A child's scrap-books and color-boxes lie 
on the tables.  In one sunny chamber stands the little white-draped 
bed where the heiress to the greatest crown on earth dreamed her 
childish dreams, and from which she was hastily aroused one June 
morning to be saluted as Queen.  So homelike and livable an air 
pervades the place, that one almost expects to see the lonely 
little girl of seventy years ago playing about the unpretending 
chambers.

Affection for the past and a reverence for the memory of the dead 
have caused the royal wife and mother to preserve with the same 
care souvenirs of her passage in other royal residences.  The 
apartments that sheltered the first happy months of her wedded 
life, the rooms where she knew the joys and anxieties of maternity, 
have become for her consecrated sanctuaries, where the widowed, 
broken old lady comes on certain anniversaries to evoke the 
unforgotten past, to meditate and to pray.

Who, as the year is drawing to its close, does not open in memory 
some such sacred portal, and sit down in the familiar rooms to live 
over again the old hopes and fears, thrilling anew with the joys 
and temptations of other days?  Yet, each year these pilgrimages 
into the past must become more and more lonely journeys; the 
friends whom we can take by the hand and lead back to our old homes 
become fewer with each decade.  It would be a useless sacrilege to 
force some listless acquaintance to accompany us.  He would not 
hear the voices that call to us, or see the loved faces that people 
the silent passages, and would wonder what attraction we could find 
in the stuffy, old-fashioned quarters.

Many people have such a dislike for any mental privacy that they 
pass their lives in public, or surrounded only by sporting trophies 
and games.  Some enjoy living in their pantries, composing for 
themselves succulent dishes, and interested in the doings of the 
servants, their companions.  Others have turned their salons into 
nurseries, or feel a predilection for the stable and the dog-
kennels.  Such people soon weary of their surroundings, and move 
constantly, destroying, when they leave old quarters, all the 
objects they had collected.

The men and women who have thus curtailed their belongings are, 
however, quite contented with themselves.  No doubts ever harass 
them as to the commodity or appropriateness of their lodgements and 
look with pity and contempt on friends who remain faithful to old 
habitations.  The drawback to a migratory existence, however, is 
the fact that, as a French saying has put it, CEUX QUI SE REFUSENT 
LES PENSEES SERIEUSES TOMBENT DANS LES IDEES NOIRES.  These people 
are surprised to find as the years go by that the futile amusements 
to which they have devoted themselves do not fill to their 
satisfaction all the hours of a lifetime.  Having provided no books 
nor learned to practise any art, the time hangs heavily on their 
hands.  They dare not look forward into the future, so blank and 
cheerless does it appear.  The past is even more distasteful to 
them.  So, to fill the void in their hearts, they hurry out into 
the crowd as a refuge from their own thoughts.

Happy those who care to revisit old abodes, childhood's remote 
wing, and the moonlit porches where they knew the rapture of a 
first-love whisper.  Who can enter the chapel where their dead lie, 
and feel no blush of self-reproach, nor burning consciousness of 
broken faith nor wasted opportunities?  The new year will bring to 
them as near an approach to perfect happiness as can be attained in 
life's journey.  The fortunate mortals are rare who can, without a 
heartache or regret, pass through their disused and abandoned 
dwellings; who dare to open every door and enter all the silent 
rooms; who do not hurry shudderingly by some obscure corners, and 
return with a sigh of relief to the cheerful sunlight and murmurs 
of the present.

Sleepless midnight hours come inevitably to each of us, when the 
creaking gates of subterranean passages far down in our 
consciousness open of themselves, and ghostly inhabitants steal out 
of awful vaults and force us to look again into their faces and 
touch their unhealed wounds.

An old lady whose cheerfulness under a hundred griefs and 
tribulations was a marvel and an example, once told a man who had 
come to her for counsel in a moment of bitter trouble, that she had 
derived comfort when difficulties loomed big around her by writing 
down all her cares and worries, making a list of the subjects that 
harassed her, and had always found that, when reduced to material 
written words, the dimensions of her troubles were astonishingly 
diminished.  She recommended her procedure to the troubled youth, 
and prophesied that his anxieties would dwindle away in the clear 
atmosphere of pen and paper.

Introspection, the deliberate unlatching of closed wickets, has the 
same effect of stealing away the bitterness from thoughts that, if 
left in the gloom of semi-oblivion, will grow until they overshadow 
a whole life.  It is better to follow the example of England's pure 
Queen, visiting on certain anniversaries our secret places and 
holding communion with the past, for it is by such scrutiny only


THAT MEN MAY RISE ON STEPPING-STONES
OF THEIR DEAD SELVES TO HIGHER THINGS.


Those who have courage to perform thoroughly this task will come 
out from the silent chambers purified and chastened, more lenient 
to the faults and shortcomings of others, and better fitted to take 
up cheerfully the burdens of a new year.





End of the Project Gutenberg eText Worldly Ways and Byways


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