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Title: As Seen By Me
Author: Bell, Lilian, -1929
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "As Seen By Me" ***

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[Illustration: THE FAMOUS RELIEF OF CLEOPATRA AT TEMPLE OF DENDERAH]


As Seen By Me

Lilian Bell

1900

       *       *       *       *       *

By LILIAN BELL.

THE INSTINCT OF STEP-FATHERHOOD. A Novel. 16mo, Cloth, $1.25.

A LITTLE SISTER TO THE WILDERNESS. A Novel. 16mo, Cloth, $1.25.

THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF AN OLD MAID. 16mo, Cloth, $1.25.

THE UNDER SIDE OF THINGS. 16mo, Cloth, $1.25.

FROM A GIRL'S POINT OF VIEW. 16mo, Cloth, $1.25.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO

THAT MOST INTERESTING SPECK OF HUMANITY, ALL PERPETUAL MOTION AND
KINDLING INTELLIGENCE AND SWEETNESS UNSPEAKABLE, MY LITTLE NEPHEW

BILLY

ABSENCE FROM WHOM RACKED MY SPIRIT WITH ITS MOST UNAPPEASABLE PANGS OF
HOMESICKNESS, AND WHOSE CONSTANT PRESENCE IN MY STUDY SINCE MY RETURN
HAS SPARED THE PUBLIC NO SMALL AMOUNT OF PAIN



AUTHOR'S APOLOGY

The frank conceit of the title to this book will, I hope, not
prejudice my friends against it, and will serve not only to excuse my
being my own Boswell, but will fasten the blame of all inaccuracies,
if such there be, upon the offender--myself. This is not a continuous
narrative of a continuous journey, but covers two years of travel over
some thirty thousand miles, and presents peoples and things, not as
you saw them, perhaps, or as they really are, but only As Seen By Me.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER

   I. FIRST LETTER--ON THE WAY

  II. LONDON

 III. PARIS

  IV. ON BOARD THE YACHT "HELA"

   V. VILNA, RUSSIA

  VI. ST. PETERSBURG

 VII. RUSSIA

VIII. MOSCOW

  IX. CONSTANTINOPLE

   X. CAIRO

  XI. THE NILE

 XII. GREECE

XIII. NAPLES

 XIV. ROME



I


FIRST LETTER--ON THE WAY

In this day and generation, when everybody goes to Europe, it is
difficult to discover the only person who never has been there. But I
am that one, and therefore the stir it occasioned in the bosom of my
amiable family when I announced that I, too, was about to join the
vast majority, is not easy to imagine. But if you think that I at once
became a person of importance it only goes to show that you do not
know the family. My mother, to be sure, hovered around me the way she
does when she thinks I am going into typhoid fever. I never have had
typhoid fever, but she is always on the watch for it, and if it ever
comes it will not catch her napping. She will meet it half-way. And
lest it elude her watchfulness, she minutely questions every pain
which assails any one of us, for fear, it may be her dreaded foe. Yet
when my sister's blessed lamb baby had it before he was a year old,
and after he had got well and I was not afraid he would be struck dead
for my wickedness, I said to her, "Well, mamma, you must have taken
solid comfort out of the first real chance you ever had at your pet
fever," she said I ought to be ashamed of myself.

My father began to explain international banking to me as his share in
my preparations, but I utterly discouraged him by asking the
difference between a check and a note. He said I reminded him of the
juryman who asked the difference between plaintiff and defendant. I
soothed him by assuring him that I knew I would always find somebody
to go to the bank with me.

"Most likely 'twill be Providence, then, as He watches over children
and fools," said my cousin, with what George Eliot calls "the brutal
candor of a near relation."

My brother-in-law lent me ten Baedekers, and offered his hampers and
French trunks to me with such reckless generosity that I had to get my
sister to stop him so that I wouldn't hurt his feelings by refusing.

My sister said, "I am perfectly sure, mamma, that if I don't go with
her, she will go about with an ecstatic smile on her face, and let
herself get cheated and lost, and she would just as soon as not tell
everybody that she had never been abroad before. She has no pride."

"Then you had better come along and take care of me and see that I
don't disgrace you," I urged.

"Really, mamma, I do think I had better go," said my sister. So she
actually consented to leave husband and baby in order to go and take
care of me. I do assure you, however, that I have bought all the
tickets, and carried the common purse, and got her through the
custom-houses, and arranged prices thus far. But she does pack my
trunks and make out the laundry lists--I will say that for her.

My brother's contribution to my comfort was in this wise: He said,
"You must have a few more lessons on your wheel before you go, and
I'll take you out for a lesson to-morrow if you'll get up and go at
six o'clock in the morning--that is, if you'll wear gloves. But you
mortify me half to death riding without gloves."

"Nobody sees me but milkmen," I said, humbly.

"Well, what will the milkmen think?" said my brother.

"Mercy on us, I never thought of that," I said. "My gloves are all
pretty tight when one has to grip one's handle-bars as fiercely as I
do. But I'll get large ones. What tint do you think milkmen care the
most for?"

He sniffed.

"Well, I'll go and I'll wear gloves," I said, "but if I fall off,
remember it will be on account of the gloves."

"You always do fall off," he said, with patient resignation. "I've
seen you fall off that wheel in more different directions than it has
spokes."

"I don't exactly fall," I explained, carefully. "I feel myself going
and then I get off."

I was ready at six the next morning, and I wore gloves.

"Now, don't ride into the holes in the street"--one is obliged to give
such instructions in Chicago--"and don't look at anything you see.
Don't be afraid. You're all right. Now, then! You're off!"

"Oh, Teddy, don't ride so close to me," I quavered.

"I'm forty feet away from you," he said.

"Then double it," I said. "You're choking me by your proximity."

"Let's cross the railroad tracks just for practice," he said, when it
was too late for me to expostulate. "Stand up on your pedals and ride
fast, and--"

"Hold on, please do," I shrieked. "I'm falling off. Get out of my way.
I seem to be turning--"

He scorched ahead, and I headed straight for the switchman's hut,
rounded it neatly, and leaned myself and my wheel against the side of
it, helpless with laughter.

A red Irish face, with a short black pipe in its mouth, thrust itself
out of the tiny window just in front of me, and a voice with a rich
brogue exclaimed:

"As purty a bit of riding as iver Oi see!"

"Wasn't it?" I cried. "You couldn't do it."

"Oi wouldn't thry! Oi'd rather tackle a railroad train going at full
spheed thin wan av thim runaway critturs."

"Get down from there," hissed my brother so close to my ear that it
made me bite my tongue.

I obediently scrambled down. Ted's face was very red.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself to enter into immediate
conversation with a man like that. What do you suppose that man
thought of you?"

"Oh, perhaps he saw my gloves and took me for a lady," I pleaded.

Ted grinned and assisted me to mount.

When I successfully turned the corner by making Ted fall back out of
sight, we rode away along the boulevard in silence for a while, for my
conversation when I am on a wheel is generally limited to shrieks,
ejaculations, and snatches of prayer. I never talk to be amusing.

"I say," said my brother, hesitatingly, "I wear a No. 8 glove and a
No. 10 stocking."

"I've always thought you had large hands and feet," I said, ignoring
the hint.

He giggled.

"No, now, really. I wish you'd write that down somewhere. You can get
those things so cheap in Paris."

"You are supposing the case of my return, or of Christmas intervening,
or--a present of some kind, I suppose."

"Well, no; not exactly. Although you know I am always broke--"

"Don't I, though?"

"And that I am still in debt--"

"Because papa insists upon your putting some money in the bank every
month--"

"Yes, and the result is that I never get my head above water. I owe
you twenty now."

"Which I never expect to recover, because you know I always get silly
about Christmas and 'forgive thee thy debts.'"

"You're awful good--" he began.

"But I'll be better if I bring you gloves and silk stockings."

"I'll give you the money!" he said, heroically. "Will you borrow it of
me or of mamma?" I asked, with a chuckle at the family financiering
which always goes on in this manner.

"Now don't make fun of me! _You_ don't know what it is to be hard up."

"Don't I, though?" I said, indignantly. "Oh--oh! Catch me!"

He seized my handle-bar and righted me before I fell off.

"See what you did by saying I never was hard up," I said. "I'll tell
you what, Teddy. You needn't give me the money. I'll bring you some
gloves and stockings!"

"Oh, I say, honest? Oh, but you're the right kind of a sister! I'll
never forget that as long as I live. You do look so nice on your
wheel. You sit so straight and--"

I saw a milkman coming. We three were the only objects in sight, yet I
headed for him.

"Get out of my way," I shrieked at him. "I'm a beginner. Turn off!"

He lashed his horse and cut down a side street.

"What a narrow escape," I sighed. "How glad I am I happened to think
of that."

I looked up pleasantly at Ted. He was biting his lips and he looked
raging.

"You are the most hopeless girl I ever saw!" he burst out. "I wish you
didn't own a wheel."

"I don't," I said. "The wheel owns me."

"You haven't the manners of--"

"Stockings," I said, looking straight ahead. "Silk stockings with
polka dots embroidered on them, No. 10."

Ted looked sheepish.

"I ride so well," I proceeded. "I sit up so straight and look so
nice."

No answer.

"Gloves," I went on, still without looking at him. "White and pearl
ones for evening, and russet gloves for the street, No. 8."

"Oh, quit, won't you? I'm sorry I said that. But if you only knew how
you mortify me."

"Cheer up, Tedcastle. I am going away, you know. And when I come back
you will either have got over caring so much or I will be more of a
lady."

"I'm sorry you are going," said my brother. "But as you are going,
perhaps you will let me use your rooms while you are gone. Your bed is
the best one I ever slept in, and your study would be bully for the
boys when they come to see me."

I was too stunned to reply. He went on, utterly oblivious of my
consternation:

"And I am going to use your wheel while you are gone, if you don't
mind, to take the girls out on. I know some awfully nice girls who can
ride, but their wheels are last year's make, and they won't ride them.
I'd rather like to be able to offer them a new wheel."

"I am not going to take all my party dresses. Have you any use for
them?" I said.

"Why, what's the matter? Won't you let me have your rooms?"

"Merciful heavens, child! I should say not!"

"Why, I haven't asked you for much," said my small, modest brother.
"You offered."

"Well, just wait till I offer the rest. But I'll tell you what I will
do, Ted. If you will promise not to go into my rooms and rummage once
while I am gone, and not to touch my wheel, I'll buy you a tandem, and
then you can take the girls on that."

"I'd rather have you bring me some things from Europe," said my
shrinking brother.

"All right. I'll do that, but let me off this thing. I am so tired I
can't move. You'll have to walk it back and give me five cents to ride
home on the car."

I crawled in to breakfast more dead than alive.

"What's the matter, dearie? Did you ride too far?" asked mamma.

"I don't know whether I rode too far or whether it was Ted's asking if
he couldn't use my rooms while I was gone, but something has made me
tired. What's that? Whom is papa talking to over the telephone?"

Papa came in fuming and fretting.

"Who was it this time?" I questioned, with anticipation. Inquiries
over the telephone were sure to be interesting to me just now.

"Somebody who wanted to know what train you were going on, but would
not give his name. He was inquiring for a friend, he said, and
wouldn't give his friend's name either."

"Didn't you tell him?" I cried, in distress.

"Certainly not. I told him nobody but an idiot would withhold his
name."

Papa calls such a variety of men idiots.

"Oh, but it was probably only flowers or candy. Why didn't you tell
him? Have you no sentiment?"

"I won't have you receiving anonymous communications," he retorted,
with the liberty fathers have a little way of taking with their
daughters.

"But flowers," I pleaded. "It is no harm to send flowers without a
card. Don't you see?" Oh, how hard it is to explain a delicate point
like that to one's father--in broad daylight! "I am supposed to know
who sent them!"

"But would you know?" asked my practical ancestor.

"Not--not exactly. But it would be almost sure to be one of them."

Ted shouted. But there was nothing funny in what I said. Boys are so
silly.

"Anyway, I am sorry you didn't tell him," I said.

"Well, I'm not," declared papa.

The rest of the day fairly flew. The last night came, and the baby was
put to bed. I undressed him, which he regarded as such a joke that he
worked himself into a fever of excitement. He loves to scrub like
Josie, the cook. I had bought him a little red pail, and I gave it to
him that night when he was partly undressed, and he was so enchanted
with it that he scampered around hugging it, and saying, "Pile!
pile!" like a little Cockney. He gave such squeals of ecstasy that
everybody came into the nursery to find him scrubbing his crib with a
nail-brush and little red pail.

"Who gave you the pretty pail, Billy?" asked Aunt Lida, who was
sitting by the crib.

"Tattah," said Billy, in a whisper. He always whispers my name.

"Then go and kiss dear auntie. She is going away on the big boat to
stay such a long time."

Billy's face sobered. Then he dropped his precious pail, and came and
licked my face like a little dog, which is his way of kissing.

I squeezed him until he yelled.

"Don't let him forget me," I wailed. "Talk to him about me every day.
And buy him a toy out of my money often, and tell him Tattah sent it
to him. Oh, oh, he'll be grown up when I come home!"

"Don't cry, dearie," said Aunt Lida, handing me her handkerchief.
"I'll see that your grave is kept green."

My sister appeared at the door. She was all ready to start. She even
had her veil on.

"What do you mean by exciting Billy so at this time of night?" she
said. "Go out, all of you. We'll lose the train. Hush, somebody's at
the telephone. Papa's talking to that same man again." I jumped up and
ran out.

"Let me answer it, papa dear! Yes, yes, yes, certainly. To-night on
the Pennsylvania. You're quite welcome. Not at all." I hung up the
telephone.

I could hear papa in the nursery:

"She actually told him--after all I said this morning! I never heard
of anything like it."

Two or three voices were raised in my defence. Ted slipped out into
the hall.

"Bully for you," he whispered. "You'll get the flowers all right at
the train. Who do you s'pose they're from? Another box just came for
you. Say, couldn't you leave that smallest box of violets in the
silver box? I want to give them to a girl, and you've got such loads
of others."

"Don't ask her for those," answered my dear sister, "they are the most
precious of all!"

"I can't give you any of mine," I said, "but I'll buy you a box for
her--a small box," I added hastily.

"The carriages have come, dears," quavered grandmamma, coming out of
the nursery, followed by the family, one after the other.

"Get her satchels, Teddy. Her hat is upstairs. Her flowers are in the
hall. She left her ulster on my bed, and her books are on the
window-sill," said mamma. She wouldn't look at me. "Remember, dearie,
your medicines are all labelled, and I put needles in your work-box
all threaded. Don't sit in draughts and don't read in a dim light.
Have a good time and study hard and come back soon. Good--bye, my
girlie. God bless you!"

By this time no handkerchief would have sufficed for my tears. I
reached out blindly, and Ted handed me a towel.

"I've got a sheet when you've sopped that," he said. Boys are such
brutes.

Aunt Lida said, "Good-bye, my dearest. You are my favorite niece. You
know I love you the best."

I giggled, for she tells my sister the same thing always.

"Nobody seems to care much that I am going," said Bee, mournfully.

"But you are coming back so soon, and she is going to stay so long,"
exclaimed grandmamma, patting Bee.

"I'll bet she doesn't stay a year," cried Ted.

"I'll expect her home by Christmas," said papa.

"I'll bet she is here to eat Thanksgiving dinner," cried my
brother-in-law.

"No, she is sure to stay as long as she has said she would," said
mamma.

Mothers are the brace of the universe. The family trailed down to the
front door. Everybody was carrying something. There were two
carriages, for they were all going to the station with us.

"For all the world like a funeral, with loads of flowers and everybody
crying," said my brother, cheerfully.

I never shall forget that drive to the station; nor the last few
moments, when Bee and I stood on the car-steps and talked to those who
were on the platform of the station. Can anybody else remember how she
felt at going to Europe for the first time and leaving everybody she
loved at home? Bee grieved because there were no flowers at the train
after all. But the next morning they appeared, a tremendous box,
arranged as a surprise.

Telegrams came popping in at all the big stations along the way,
enlivening our gloom, and at the steamer there were such loads of
things that we might almost have set up as a florist, or fruiterer, or
bookseller. Such a lapful of steamer letters and telegrams! I read a
few each morning, and some of them I read every morning!

I don't like ocean travel. They sent grapefruit and confections to my
state-room, which I tossed out of the port-hole. You know there are
some people who think you don't know what you want. I travelled
horizontally most of the way, and now people roar when I say I wasn't
ill. Well, I wasn't, you know. We--well, Teddy would not like me to be
more explicit. I own to a horrible headache which never left me. I
deny everything else. Let them laugh. I was there, and I know.

The steamer I went on allows men to smoke on all the decks, and they
all smoked in my face. It did not help me. I must say that I was
unspeakably thankful to get my foot on dry ground once more. When we
got to the dock a special train of toy cars took us through the
greenest of green landscapes, and suddenly, almost before we knew it,
we were at Waterloo Station, and knew that London was at our door.



II


LONDON

People said to me, "What are you going to London for?" I said, "To
get an English point of view." "Very well," said one of the knowing
ones, who has lived abroad the larger part of his life, "then you must
go to 'The Insular,' in Piccadilly. That is not only the smartest
hotel in London, but it is the most typically British. The rooms are
let from season to season to the best country families. There you will
find yourself plunged headlong into English life with not an American
environment to bless yourself with, and you will soon get your English
point of view."

"Ah-h," responded the simpleton who goes by my name, "that is what we
want. We will go to 'The Insular.'"

We wrote at once for rooms, and then telegraphed for them from
Southampton.

The steamer did not land her passengers until the morning of the ninth
day, which shows the vast superiority of going on a fast boat, which
gets you in fully as much as fifteen or twenty minutes ahead of the
slow ones.

Our luggage would not go on even a four-wheeler, so we took a dear
little private bus and proceeded to put our mountainous American
trunks on it. We filled the top of this bus as full as it would hold,
and put everything else inside. After stowing ourselves in there would
not have been room even for another umbrella.

In this fashion we reached "The Insular," where we were received by
four or five gorgeous creatures in livery, the head one of whom said,
"Miss Columbia?" I admitted it, and we were ushered in, where we were
met by more belonging to this tribe of gorgeousness, another of whom
said, "Miss Columbia?"

"Yes," I said, firmly, privately wondering if they were trying to trip
me into admitting that I was somebody else.

"The housekeeper will be here presently," said this person. "She is
expecting you."

Forth came the housekeeper.

"Miss Columbia?" she said.

Once again I said "Yes," patiently, standing on my other foot.

"If you will be good enough to come with me I will show you your
rooms."

A door opened outward, disclosing a little square place with two
cane-bottomed chairs. A man bounced out so suddenly that I nearly
annihilated my sister, who was back of me. I could not imagine what
this little cubbyhole was, but as there seemed to be nowhere else to
go, I went in. The others followed, then the man who had bounced out.
He closed the door and shut us in, where we stood in solemn silence.
About a quarter of an hour afterwards I thought I saw something
through the glass moving slowly downward, and then an infinitesimal
thrill in the soles of my feet led me to suspect the truth.

"Is this thing an elevator?" I whispered to my sister.

"No, they call it a lift over here," she whispered back.

"I know that," I murmured, impatiently. "But is this thing it? Are we
moving? Are we going anywhere?"

"Why, of course, my dear. They are slower than ours, that's all."

I listened to her with some misgivings, for her information is not
always to be wholly trusted, but this time it happened that she was
right, for after a while we came to the fourth floor, where our rooms
were.

I wish you could have seen the size of them. I shall not attempt to
describe them, for you would not believe me. I had engaged "two rooms
and a bath." The two rooms were there. "Where is the bath?" I said.
The housekeeper lovingly, removed a gigantic crash towel from a
hideous tin object, and proudly exposed to my vision that object which
is next dearest to his silk hat to an Englishman's heart--a hip-bath
tub. Her manner said, "Beat that if you can."

My sister prodded me in the back with her umbrella, which in our sign
language means, "Don't make a scene."

"Very well," I said, rather meekly. "Have our trunks sent up."

"Very good, madam."

She went away, and then we rang the bell and began to order what were
to us the barest necessities of life. We were tired and lame and
sleepy from a night spent at the pier landing the luggage, and we
wanted things with which to make ourselves comfortable.

There was a pocket edition of a fireplace, and they brought us a
hatful of the vilest soft coal, which peppered everything in the rooms
with soot.

We climbed over our trunks to sit by this imitation of a fire, only to
find that there was nothing to sit on but the most uncompromising of
straight-backed chairs.

We groaned as we took in the situation. To our poor, racked frames a
coal-hod would not have suggested more discomfort. We dragged up our
hampers, packed with steamer-rugs and pillows, and my sister sat on
hers while I took another turn at the bell. While the maid is
answering this bell I shall have plenty of time to tell you what we
afterwards discovered the process of bell-ringing in an English hotel
to be.

We rang our bell. Presently we heard the most horrible gong, such as
we use on our patrol wagons and fire-engines at home. This clanged
four times. Then a second bell down the hall answered it. Then feet
flew by our door. At this juncture my sister and I prepared to let
ourselves down the fire-escape. But we soon discovered that those
flying feet belonged to the poor maid, whom that gong had signalled
that she was wanted on the fourth floor. She flew to a speaking-tube
and asked who on the fourth floor wanted her. She was then given the
number of our room, when she rang a bell to signify that our call was
answered, by which time she was at liberty, and knocked at our door,
saying, in her soft English voice, "Did you ring, miss?"

We told her we wanted rocking-chairs. She said there was not one in
the house. Then easy-chairs, we said, or anything cushioned or low or
comfortable. She said the housekeeper had no easier chairs.

We sat down on our hampers, and my sister leaned against the corner of
the wardrobe with a pillow at her back to keep from being cut in two.
I propped my back against the wash-stand, which did very well, except
that the wash-stand occasionally slid away from me.

"This," said my sister, impressively, "is England."

We had been here only half an hour, but I had already got my point of
view.

"Let's go out and look up a hotel where they take Americans," I said.
"I feel the need of ice-water."

Our drinking-water at "The Insular" was on the end of the wash-stand
nearest the fire.

So, feeling a little timid and nervous, but not in the least homesick,
we went downstairs. One of our gorgeous retinue called a cab and we
entered it.

"Where shall we go?" asked my sister.

"I feel like saying to the first hotel we see," I said.

Just then we raised our eyes and they rested simultaneously upon a
sign, "The Empire Hotel for Cats and Dogs." This simple solution of
our difficulty put us in such high good humor that we said we wouldn't
look up a hotel just yet--we would take a drive.

Under these circumstances we took our first drive down Piccadilly, and
Europe to me dates from that moment. The ship, the landing, the
custom-house, the train, the hotel--all these were mere preliminaries
to the Europe, which began then. People told me in America how my
heart would swell at this, and how I would thrill at that, but it was
not so. My first real thrill came to me in Piccadilly. It went all
over me in little shivers and came out at the ends of my fingers, and
then began once more at the base of my brain and did it all over
again.

But what is the use of describing one's first view of London streets
and traffic to the initiated? Can they, who became used to it as
children, appreciate it? Can they look back and recall how it struck
them? No. When I try to tell Americans over here they look at me
curiously and say, "Dear me, how odd!" The way they say it leaves me
to draw any one of three conclusions: either they are not
impressionable, and are therefore honest in denying the feeling; or
they think it vulgar to admit it; or I am the only grown person in
America who never has been to Europe before.

But I am indifferent to their opinion. People are right in saying this
great tremendous rush of feeling can come but once. It is like being
in love for the first time. You like it and yet you don't like it. You
wish it would go away, yet you fear that it will go all too soon. It
gets into your head and makes you dizzy, and you want to shut your
eyes, but you are afraid if you do that you will miss something. You
cannot eat and you cannot sleep, and you feel that you have two
consciousnesses: one which belongs to the life you have lived
hitherto, and which still is going on, somewhere in the world,
unmindful of you, and you unmindful of it; and the other is this new
bliss which is beating in your veins and sounding in your ears and
shining before your eyes, which no one knows and no one dreams of, but
which keeps a smile on your lips--a smile which has in it nothing of
humor, nothing from the great without, but which-comes from the secret
recesses of your own inner consciousness, where the heart of the
matter lies.

I remember nothing definite about that first drive. I, for my part,
saw with unseeing eyes. My sister had seen it all before, so she had
the power of speech. Occasionally she prodded me and cried, "Look, oh!
look quickly." But I never swerved. "I can't look. If I do I shall
miss something. You attend to your own window and I'll attend to mine.
Coming back I will see your side."

When we got beyond the shops I said to the cabman:

"Do you know exactly the way you have come?"

"Yes, miss," he said.

"Then go back precisely the same way."

"Have you lost something, miss?" he inquired.

"Yes," I said, "I have lost an impression, and I must look till I find
it."

"Very good, miss," he said.

If I had said, "I have carelessly let fall my cathedral," or, "I have
lost my orang-outang. Look for him!" an imperturbable British cabby
would only touch his cap and say, "Very good, miss!"

So we followed our own trail back to "The Insular." "In this way," I
said to my sister, "we both get a complete view. To-morrow we will do
it all over again."

But we found that we could not wait for the morrow. We did it all over
again that afternoon, and that second time I was able in a measure to
detach myself from the hum and buzz and the dizzying effect of foreign
faces, and I began to locate impressions. My first distinct
recollections are of the great numbers of high hats on the men, the
ill-hanging skirts and big feet of the women, the unsteadying effect
of all those thousands of cabs, carriages, and carts all going to the
left, which kept me constantly wishing to shriek out, "Go to the right
or we'll all be killed," the absolutely perfect manner in which
traffic was managed, and the majestic authority of the London police.

I have seen the Houses of Parliament and the Tower and Westminster
Abbey, and the World's Fair, but the most impressive sight I ever
beheld is the upraised hand of a London policeman. I never heard one
of them speak except when spoken to. But let one little blue-coated
man raise his forefinger and every vehicle on wheels stops, and stops
instantly; stops in obedience to law and order; stops without swearing
or gesticulating or abuse; stops with no underhanded trying to drive
out of line and get by on the other side; just stops, that is the end
of it. And why? Because the Queen of England is behind that raised
finger. A London policeman has more power than our President.

Even the Queen's coachmen obey that forefinger. Not long ago she
dismissed one who dared to drive even the royal carriage on in
defiance of it. Understanding how to obey, that is what makes liberty.

I am the most flamboyant of Americans, the most hopelessly addicted to
my own country, but I must admit that I had my first real taste of
liberty in England.

I will tell you why. In America nobody obeys anybody. We make our
laws, and then most industriously set about studying out a plan by
which we may evade them. America is suffering, as all republics must
of necessity suffer, from liberty in the hands of the multitude. The
multitude are ignorant, and liberty in the hands of the ignorant is
always license.

In America, the land of the free, whom do we fear? The President? No,
God bless him. There is not a true American in the world who would not
stand up as a man or a woman and go into his presence without fear.
Are we afraid of our Senators, our chief rulers? No. But we are afraid
of our servants, of our street-car conductors. We are afraid of
sleeping-car porters, and the drivers of huge trucks. We are afraid
they will drive over us in the streets, and if we dare to assert our
rights and hold them in check we are afraid of what they will say to
us, in the name of liberty, and of the way they will look at us, in
the name of liberty.

English servants, I have discovered, have no more respect for
Americans than the old-time negro of the Southern aristocracy has for
Northerners. I once asked an old black mammy in Georgia why the
negroes had so little respect for the white ladies of the North. "Case
dey don' know how to treat black folks, honey." "Why don't they?" I
persisted. "Are they not kind to you?" "Umph," she responded (and no
one who has never heard a fat old negress say "Umph" knows the
eloquence of it). "Umph. Dat's it. Dey's too kin'. Dey don' know how
to mek us min'." And that is just the trouble with Americans here. An
English servant takes orders, not requests.

I had such a time to learn that. We could not understand why we were
obeyed so well at first, and presently, without any outward
disrespect, our wants were simply ignored until all the English people
had been attended to.

My sister had told me I was too polite, but one never believes one's
sister, so I questioned our sweet English friends, and they, with much
delicacy and many apologies, and the prettiest hesitation in the
world--considering the situation--told us the reason.

"But," I gasped, "if I should speak to our servants in that manner
they would leave. They would not stay over night." Our English friends
tried not to smile in a superior way, and they succeeded, only I knew
the smile was there, and said, "Oh, no, our servants never leave us.
They apologize for having done it wrong."

On the way home I plucked up courage. "I am going to try it," I said,
firmly. My sister laughed in derision.

"Now I could do it," she said, complaisantly. And so she could. My
sister never plumes herself on a quality she does not possess.

"Are you going to use the tone and everything?" I said, somewhat
timidly.

"You wait and see."

She hesitated some time, I noticed, before she rang the bell, and she
looked at herself in the glass and cleared her throat. I knew she was
bracing herself.

"I'll ring the bell if you like," I said, politely.

She gave one look at me and then rang the bell herself with a firm
hand.

"And I'll get behind you with a poker in One hand and a pitcher of hot
water in the other. Speak when you need either."

"You feel very funny when you don't have to do it yourself," she said,
witheringly.

"You'll never put it through. You'll back down and say 'please' before
you have finished," I said, and just then the maid knocked at the
door.

I never heard anything like it. My sister was superb. I doubt if
Bernhardt at her best ever inspired me with more awe. How that maid
flew around. How humble she was. How she apologized. And how, every
time my sister said, "Look sharp, now," the maid said, "Thank you." I
thought I should die. I was so much interested in the dramatic
possibilities of my cherished sister that when the door closed behind
the maid we simply looked at each other a moment, then simultaneously
made a bound for the bed, where we choked with laughter among the
pillows. Presently we sat up with flushed faces and rumpled hair. I
reached over and shook hands with her.

"How was that?" she asked.

"'Twas grand," I said. "The Queen couldn't have done it more to the
manner born."

My sister accepted my compliments complaisantly, as one who should
say, "'Tis no more than my deserts."

"How firm you were," I said, admiringly.

"Wasn't I, though?"

"How humble she was."

"Wasn't she?"

"You were quite as disagreeable and determined as a real Englishwoman
would have been."

"So I was."

A pause full of intense admiration on my part. Then she said, "You
couldn't have done it."

"I know that."

"You are so deadly civil."

"Not to everybody, only to servants." I said this apologetically.

"You never keep a steady hand. You either grovel at their feet or snap
their heads off."

"Quite true," I admitted, humbly.

"But it was grand, wasn't it?" she said.

"Unspeakably grand."

And for Americans it was.

We were still at "The Insular," when one day I took up a handful of
what had once been a tight bodice, and said to my sister:

"See how thin I've grown! I believe I am starving to death."

"No wonder," she answered, gloomily, "with this awful English cooking!
I'm nearly dead from your experiment of getting an English point of
view. I want something to eat--something that I _like_. I want a
beefsteak, with mushrooms, and some potatoes _au gratin_, like those
we have in America. I hate the stuff we get here. I wish I could never
see another chop as long as I live."

"'The Insular' is considered very good," I remarked, pensively.

"Considered!" cried she. "Whose consideration counts, I should like to
know, when you are always hungry for something you can't get?"

"I know it; and we are paying such prices, too. Who, except ostriches,
could eat their nasty preserves for breakfast when they are having
grape-fruit at home? And then their vile aspic jellies and potted
meats for luncheon, which look like sausage congealed in cold gravy,
and which taste like gum arabic."

"Let's move," said my sister. "Not into another hotel--that wouldn't
be much better. But lot's take lodgings. I've heard that they were
lovely. Then we can order what we like. Besides, it will be very much
cheaper."

"I didn't come over here to economize," I said.

"Well, I wouldn't say a word if we were getting anything for our
money, but we are not. Besides, when you get to Paris you will wish
you hadn't been so extravagant here."

"Are the Paris shops more fascinating than those in Regent Street?" I
asked.

"Much more."

"More alluring, than Bond Street?"

"More so than any in the world," she affirmed, with the religious
fervor which always characterizes her tone when she speaks of Paris.
The very leather of her purse fairly squeaks with ecstasy when she
thinks of Paris.

"Heavens!" I murmured, with awe, for whenever she won't go to Du
Maurier's grave with me, and when I won't do the crown jewels in the
Tower with her, we always compromise amiably on Bond Street, and come
home beaming with joy.

"We might go now just to look," I said. "I have the addresses of some
very good lodgings."

"We'll take a cab by the hour," said she, putting her hat on before
the mirror, and turning her head on one side to view her completed
handiwork.

"Now take off that watch and that belt and that chatelaine if you
don't want these harpies to think we are 'rich Americans' (how I have
come to hate that phrase over here!), because they will charge
accordingly."

She looked at me with genuine admiration.

"Do you know, dear, you are really clever at times?"

I colored with pleasure. It is so seldom that she finds anything
practical in me to praise.

"Now mind, we are just going to look," she cautioned, as we rang a
bell. "We must not do anything in a hurry."

We came out half an hour afterwards and got into the cab without
looking at each other.

"It was very unbusinesslike," said she, severely. "You never do
anything right."

"But it was so gloriously impudent of us," I urged. "First, we wanted
lodgings. This was a boarding-house. Second, we wanted two bed-rooms
and a drawing-room. They had only one drawing-room in the house; could
we have that? Yes, we could. So we took their whole first floor, and
made them promise to serve our breakfasts in bed, and our other meals
in their best drawing-room, and turned a boarding-house into a
lodging-house, all inside of half an hour. It was lovely!"

"It was bad business," said she. "We could have got it for less, but
you are always in such a hurry. If you like a thing, and anybody says
you may have it for fifty, you always say, 'I'll give you
seventy-five,' You're so afraid to think a thing over."

"Second thoughts are never as much fun as first thoughts," I urged.
"Second thoughts are always so sensible and reasonable and approved
of."

"How do you know?" asked my sister, witheringly. "You never waited for
any."

The next day we moved. Everybody said our rooms were charming, and
that they were cheap, for I told how much we paid, much to my sister's
disgust. She is _such_ a lady.

"We have cut down our expenses so much," I said, looking around on the
drab walls and the dun-colored carpets, "don't you think we might have
a few flowers?"

"I believe you took this place for the balcony, so that you could put
daisies around the edge and in the window-boxes!" she cried.

"No, I didn't. But the houses in London are so pretty with their
flowers. Don't you think we might have a few?"

"Well, go and get them. I've got to write the home letter to-day if it
is to catch the Southampton boat."

I came home with six huge palms, two June roses, some pink heather, a
jar of marguerites, and I had ordered the balcony and window-boxes
filled. My sister helped me to place them, but when her back was
turned I arranged them over again. I can't tie a veil on the way she
can, but I can arrange flowers to look--well, I won't boast.

Our landladies were two middle-aged, comfortable sisters. We called
them "The Tabbies," meaning no disrespect to cats, either. I thought
they took rather too violent an interest in our affairs, but I said
nothing until one day after we had been settled nearly a week. I was
seated in my own private room trying to write. My sister came in,
evidently disturbed by something.

"Do you know," she said, "that our landlady just asked me how much you
paid for those strawberries? And when I told her she said that that
made them come to fourpence apiece, and that they were very dear. Now,
how did she know that they were strawberries, or how many were in each
box, I'd like to know?"

"Probably she opened the package," I said.

"Exactly what I think. Now I won't stand that. And then she asked me
not to set things on the mahogany tables. It's just because we are
Americans! She never would dare treat English people that way. She has
not sufficient respect for us."

"Then tell her to be more respectful; tell her we are very highly
thought of at home."

"She wouldn't care for that."

"Then tell her we have a few rich relations and quite a number of
influential friends."

"Pooh!"

"And if that does not fetch her, there is nothing left to do but to be
quite rude to her, and then she will know that we belong to the very
highest society. But what do you care what a middle-class landlady
thinks, just so she lets you alone?"

My sister meditated, and I added:

"If you would just snub her once, in your most ladylike way, it would
settle her. As for me, I am satisfied to think we are paying much
less, and we are twice as comfortable as we were at the hotel; and we
get such good things to eat that our skeletons are filling out, and
once more our clothes fit."

"That is so," said she, letting her thoughts wander to the number of
hooks in her closet. "We do have more room, and I think our
drawing-room with its palms and flowers will look lovely to-morrow."

"Do you think it was wise," she added, "to ask all those men to come
at once?"

"Oh yes; let them all come together, then we can weed them out
afterwards. You never can have too many men."

"I am glad you have asked in a few women."

"Why?" I demanded. "Are you insinuating that we are not equal to a
handful of Englishmen? Recall the Boston tea-party. We will give them
the first strawberries of the season, and plenty of tea. Feed them;
that's the main thing," I said, firmly, taking up my pen and looking
steadily at her.

"I'll go," she said, hastily. "Do you have to go to the bank to-day?
You know to-morrow we must pay our weekly bill."

"It won't be much," I said, cheerfully; "I am sure I have enough."

The next day the bill came. Our landlady sent it up on the
breakfast-tray. I opened it, then shrieked for my sister. It covered
four pages of note-paper.

"For heaven's sake! what is the matter?" she cried. "Has anything
happened to Billy?"

"Billy! This thing is not an American letter. It is the bill for our
cheap lodgings. Look at it! Look at the extras--gas, coals, washing
bed--linen, washing table--linen, washing towels, kitchen fires,
service, oil for three lamps, afternoon tea, and three shillings for
sundries on the fourth page! What can sundries include? She hasn't
skipped anything but pew-rent."

My sister looked at the total, and buried her face in the pillows to
smother a groan.

"Ring the bell," I said; "I want the maid."

"What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to find out what 'sundries' are."

She gave the bell-cord such a pull that she broke the wire, and it
fell down on her head.

"That, too, will go in the bill. Wrap your handkerchief around your
hand and give the wire a jerk. Give it a good one. I don't care if it
brings the police."

The maid came.

"Martha, present my compliments to Mrs. Black, and ask her what
'sundries' include."

Martha came back smiling.

"Please, miss, Mrs. Black's compliments, and 'sundries' means that you
complained that the coffee was muddy, and after that she cleared it
with an egg. 'Sundries' means the eggs."

"Martha," I said, weakly, "give me those Crown salts. No, no, I
forgot; those are Mrs. Black's salts. Take them out and tell her I
only smelled them once."

"Martha," said my sister, dragging my purse out from under my pillow,
"here is sixpence not to tell Mrs. Black anything." Then when Martha
disappeared she said, "How often have I told you not to jest with
servants?"

"I forgot," I said, humbly. "But Martha has a sense of humor, don't
you think?"

"I never thought anything about it. But what are you going to do about
that bill?"

"I'm going to argue about it, and declare I won't pay it, and then pay
it like a true American. Would you have me upset the traditions? But
I've got to go to the bank first."

I did just as I said. I argued to no avail. Mrs. Black was quite
haughty, and made me feel like a chimney-sweep. I paid her in full,
and when I came up I said:

"You are quite right. She has a poor opinion of us. When I asked her
how long it would take to drive to a house in West End, she said, 'Why
do you want to know?' I said I 'wanted to see the house.'"

"Didn't you tell her we were _invited_ there?" asked my sister,
scandalized.

"No; I said I had heard a good deal about the house, and she said it
was open to the public on Fridays. So I said we'd go then."

"I think you are horrid!" cried Bee. "The insolence of that woman! And
you actually think it is funny! You think _everything_ is funny."

I soothed her by pointing out some of the things which I considered
sad, notably English people trying to enjoy themselves. Then the men
began to drop in for tea, and that succeeded in making her forget her
troubles.

Reggie and the Duke arrived together. My sister at once took charge of
the Duke, while Reggie said to me, "I say, what sort of creature is
the old girl below?"

"Not a very good sort, I am afraid. Why? What has she done now?"

"Why, she stopped Abingdon and me and asked us to wipe our shoes."

"She asked the Duke of Abingdon to wipe his shoes?" I gasped, in a
whisper.

"Yes; and Freddie, who was just ahead of us, turned back and said, 'My
good woman, was the cab very dirty, do you think?'"

"Oh, don't tell my sister! She has almost died of Mrs. Black already
to-day; this would finish her completely."

"Well, you must give your woman a talking to--a regular going over,
d'ye know? Tell her you'll be the mistress of the whole blooming house
or you'll tear it to pieces. That's the way to talk to 'em. I told my
landlady in Edinburgh once that I'd chuck her out of the window if she
spoke to me until she was spoken to. She came up and rapped on the
door one Saturday night at ten o'clock, when I had some fellows there,
and told me to send those men home and go to bed."

"Then she isn't taking advantage of us because we are Americans, the
way the cabmen do?"

"Oh yes, I dare say she is; but you must stand up to her. They're a
set of thieves, the whole of 'em. I say, that's a pretty picture
you've got pinned up there."

"That's to hide a hole in the lace curtain," I explained,
gratuitously. Then I remembered, and glanced apprehensively at my
sister, but fortunately she had not heard me. "That is one of the
pictures from _Truth_, an American magazine. I always save the middle
picture when it is pretty, and pin it up on the wall."

"That is one thing where the States are away ahead of us--in their
illustrated magazines."

"Don't say 'the States!' I've told you before. I didn't know you ever
admitted that anything was better in America."

Reggie only smiled affably. He ignored my offer of battle, and said:

"Abingdon is asking your sister to dine. I'm asked, and Freddie and
his wife, and I think you will enjoy it."

When they were all gone I marched downstairs to Mrs. Black without
saying a word to any one. When I came up I found my sister hanging
over the banisters.

"What is the matter? What have you done? I knew you were angry by the
way you looked."

"It was lovely!" I said. "I sent for Mrs. Black, and said, 'Mrs.
Black, do you know the name of the gentleman whom you asked to wipe
his shoes to-day?' 'No,' said she. 'It was the Duke of Abingdon,' I
said, sternly, well knowing the unspeakable reverence which the
middle-class English have for a title. She turned purple. She fell
back against the wall, muttering, 'The Duke of Abingdon! The Duke of
Abingdon!' I believe she is still leaning up against the wall
muttering that holy name. A title to Mrs. Black!"

The next day both the Tabbies were curtsying in the hall when we
started out. We were going on a coach to Richmond with Julia and her
husband, and another American girl, and then Julia's husband was going
to row us up the Thames to Hampton Court for tea, and they were all
going to dine with us at Scott's when we got home.

It was a lovely day. The trees were a mass of bloom, and everybody
ought to have enjoyed himself. We were having a very good time of it
among ourselves reading the absurd signs, until we noticed the three
girls who sat opposite to us. They had serious faces, and long,
consumptive teeth, which they never succeeded in completely hiding. I
knew just how they would look when they were dead; I knew that those
two long front teeth would still-- They listened to all we said
without a flicker of the eyelashes. Occasionally they looked down at
the size of the American girl's little feet and then involuntarily
drew their own back out of sight.

Presently I espied a sign, "Funerals, for this week only, at half
price." I seized Julia's hand. "Stop, oh, stop the coach and let's get
a funeral! We may never have an opportunity to get a bargain in
funerals again. And the sale lasts only one week. Everybody told me
before I came away to get what I wanted at the moment I saw it; not to
wait, thinking I would come back. So unless we order one now we may
have to pay the full price. And a funeral would be such a good
investment; it would keep forever. You'd never feel like using it
before you actually needed it. Do let me get one now!"

Of course, Julia, my sister, and Julia's husband were in gales of
laughter; but what finished me off was to see three serious creatures
opposite rise as if pulled by one string, look in an anxious way at me
and then at the sign, while the teeth began to say to each other:
"What did she say? What does she mean? What does she want a funeral
for?"

We had a lovely day, but everybody we met on the river looked very
unhappy, and nobody seemed to be at all glad that we were there or
that we were rising to the occasion. When we got home I was too tired
to notice things, but my sister, who sees everything, whispered:

"I verily believe they've put down a new stair-carpet to-day."

The next morning such a sight met our astonished eyes. There was a new
carpet on the hall. There were new curtains in our drawing-room. All
the covers had been removed from their sacred furniture. Brass
andirons replaced the old ones. The piano had a new cover. There was a
rocking-chair for each (we had only one before), and while we were
still speechless with amazement Mrs. Black came in with our bill.

"I have been thinking this over since yesterday, and I have decided
that as long as you did not understand about the extras, it would be
no more than right that I should take them off. So I owe you this."

I took the money, and it dropped from my nerveless fingers. Mrs. Black
picked it up and put it on the table--the mahogany table.

"You see I propped your palms for you in your absence, and I repotted
four of them. I thought they would grow better. Here are some
periodicals I sent to the library for, thinking you might like to look
at them, and I put my new calendar over your writing-desk. Now, is
there any little delicacy you would like for your luncheon?"

While Bee was getting rid of her I made a few rapid mental
calculations.

"Bee," I said, "we are going to stay over here two years. Let's buy
the Duke and take him with us."

       *       *       *       *       *

The reaction has come. I knew it would. It always does. It is a
mortification to be obliged to admit it in the face of London,
and all that we have had done for us, but the fact is we are
homesick--wretchedly, bitterly homesick. I remember how, when other
people have been here and written that they were homesick, I have
sniffed with contempt and have said to myself, "What poor taste! Just
wait until _my_ turn comes to go to Europe! I'll show them what it is
to enjoy every moment of my stay!"

But now--dear me, I can remember that I have made invidious remarks
about New York, and have objected to the odors in Chicago, and have
hated the Illinois Central turnstiles. But if I could be back in
America I would not mind being caught in a turnstile all day. Dear
America! Dear Lake Michigan! Dear Chicago!

I have talked the matter over with my sister, and we have decided that
it must be the people, for certainly the novelty is not yet worn off
of this marvellous London. We like individually nearly every one whom
we have met, but as a nation the English are to me an acquired
taste--just like olives and German opera.

To explain. My friendly, volatile American feelings are constantly
being shocked at the massed and consolidated indifference of English
men and women to each other. They care for nobody but themselves. In a
certain sense this indifference to other people's opinions is very
satisfactory. It makes you feel that no matter how outrageous you
wanted to be you could not cause a ripple of excitement or
interest--unless Royalty noticed your action. Then London would tread
itself to death in its efforts to see and hear you. But if an
Englishman entered a packed theatre on his hands with his feet in the
air, and thus proceeded to make the rounds of the house, the audience
would only give one glance, just to make sure that it was nothing more
abnormal than a man in evening dress, carrying his crush-hat between
his feet and walking on his hands, and then they would return to their
exciting conversation of where they were "going to show after the
play." Even the maids who usher would not smile, but would stoop and
put his programme between his teeth for him, and turn to the next
comer.

The English mind their own business, and we Americans are so used to
interfering with each other, and minding everybody's business as well
as our own, it makes us very homesick indeed, to find that we can do
precisely as we please and be let entirely alone.

The English who have been in America, or those who have a single
blessed drop of Irish or Scotch blood in their veins, will quite
understand what I mean. Fortunately for us we have found a few of
these different sorts, and they have kept us from suicide. They warned
us of the differences we would find. One man said to me: "We English
do not understand the meaning of the word hospitality compared to you
Americans. Now in the States--"

"Stop right there, if you please," I begged, "and say 'America.' It
offends me to be called 'the States' quite as much as if you called me
'the Colonies' or 'the Provinces!'"

"You speak as if you were America," he said.

"I am," I replied.

"Now that is just it. You Americans come over here nationally. We
English travel individually."

I was so startled at this acute analysis from a man whom I had always
regarded as an Englishman that I forgot my manners and I said, "Good
heavens, you are not all English, are you?"

"My father was Irish," he said.

"I knew it!" I cried with joy. "Please shake hands with me again. I
knew you weren't entirely English after that speech!"

He laughed.

"I will shake hands with you, of course. But I am a typical Britisher.
Please believe that."

"I shall not. You are not typical. That was really a clever
distinction and quite true."

He looked as if he were going to argue the point with me, so I hurried
on. I always get the worst of an argument, so I tried to take his mind
off his injury. "Now please go on," I urged. "It sounded so
interesting."

"Well, I was only going to say that in America you are, as hosts,
quite sincere in wishing us to enjoy ourselves and to like America.
Here we will only do our duty by you if you bring letters to us, and
we don't care a hang whether you like England or not. We like it, and
that's enough."

"I see," I said, with cold chills of aversion for England as a nation
creeping over my enthusiasm.

"Now in America," he proceeded, "your host sends his carriage for you,
or calls for you, takes you with him, stays by you, introduces you to
the people he thinks you would most care to meet, and tells them who
and what you are; sees that you have everything that's going, and that
you see everything that's going, and then takes you back to your
club."

"Then he asks you if you have had a good time, and if you like
America!" I supplemented.

"Oh, Lord, yes! He asks you that all the time, and so does everybody
else," he said, with a groan.

"Now, you were unkind if you didn't tell him all he wanted you to, for
I do assure you it was pure American kindness of heart which made him
take all that trouble for you. I know, too, without your telling me,
that he introduced you to all the prettiest girls, and gave you a
chance to talk to each of them, and only hovered around waiting to
take you on to the next one, as soon as he could catch you with ease."

"He did just that. How did you know?"

"Because he was a typical American host, God bless him, and that is
the way we do things over there."

"Now here," he went on, "we consider our duty done if we take a man to
dine, and then to some reception, where we turn him loose after one or
two introductions."

"What a hateful way of doing!" I said, politely.

"It is. It must seem barbarous to you."

"It does."

"Or if you are a woman we send our carriages to let you drive where
you like. Or we send you invitations to go to needlework exhibitions
where you have to pay five shillings admission."

I said nothing, and he laughed.

"I know they have done that to you," he exclaimed. "Haven't they?"

"I have been delightfully entertained at luncheons and dinners and
teas, and I have been introduced to as charming people in London as I
ever hope to meet anywhere," I said, stolidly.

"But you won't tell about the needlework. Oh, I say, but that's jolly!
Fancy what you said when you began to get those beastly things!" And
he laughed again.

"I didn't say anything," I said. Then he roared. Yet he claimed to be
a "typical Britisher."

"We mean kindly," he went on. "You mustn't lay it up against us."

"Oh, we don't. We are having a lovely time."

There are times when the truth would be brutal.

Then this oasis of a man, this "typical Britisher," went away, and my
sister and I dressed for the theatre. A friend had sent us her box,
and assured us that it was perfectly proper for us to go alone. So we
went. Up to this time we had not hinted to each other that we were
homesick. The play was most amusing, yet we couldn't help watching the
audience. Such a bored-looking set, the women with frizzled hair held
down by invisible nets, mingling with their eyebrows, and done
hideously in the back. Low-necked gowns, exhibiting the most beautiful
shoulders in the world. Gorgeous jewels in their hair and gleaming all
over their bodices, but among half a dozen emerald, turquoise, and
diamond bracelets there would appear a silver-watch bracelet which
cost not over ten dollars, and spoiled the effect of all the others.

English women as a race are the worst-dressed women in the world. I
saw thousands of them in Piccadilly and Regent Street, and at Church
Parade in the Park, with high, French-heeled slippers over colored
stockings. And as to sizes, I should say nines were the average. There
are some smaller, but the most are larger.

The Prince of Wales was in the box opposite to ours, and when we were
not looking at him we gazed at the impassive faces of the audience.
They never smiled. They never laughed. The subtlest points in the play
went unnoticed, yet it is one which has had a record run and bids fair
to keep the boards for the rest of the season.

Suddenly my sister, although we had not spoken of the homesickness
that was weighing us down, touched my arm and said, "Look quick!
There's one!"

"Where? Where?"

"Down there just in front of the pit, talking to that bald-headed
idiot with the monocle."

"Do you think she is American?" I said, dubiously. I couldn't see her
feet. "She might be French. She talks all over."

"No. She is an American girl. See how thin she is. The French are
short and fat."

"Look at her face," I said, enviously. "How animated it is. See how it
seems to stand out among all the other faces."

"Yet she is only amusing herself. See how stolid that creature looks
that she is wasting all her vitality on."

"She has told him some joke and she is laughing at it. He has put his
monocle in his other eye in his effort to see the point. He will get
it by the next boat. Wish she'd come and tell that joke to me. I'd
laugh at it."

My sister eyed me critically.

"You don't look as if you could laugh," she said.

"I wonder what would happen if I should fall dead and drop over into
the lap of that fat elephant in pink silk with the red neck," I said,
musingly.

"She wouldn't even wink," said my sister, laughingly. "But if you
struck her just right you would bounce clear up here again and I could
catch you."

"It is just four o'clock in Chicago," I said.

My sister promptly turned her back on me.

"And Billy has just wakened from his nap, and Katy is giving him his
food," I went on. (Billy is my sister's baby.) "And then mamma will
come into the nursery presently and take him while Katy gets his
carriage out, and she will show him my picture and ask him who it is
(because she wrote me she always did it at this time), and then he
will say, 'Tattah,' which is the sweetest baby word for 'Auntie' I
ever heard from mortal lips, and then he will kiss it of his own
accord. Mamma wrote that he had blistered it with his kisses, and it's
one of the big ones, but I don't care; I'll order a dozen more if he
will blister them all. And then she will say, 'Where did mamma and
Tattah go?' and he will wave his precious little square hand and say,
'Big boat,' and she says he tries to say, 'Way off'--and, oh, dear,
we are 'way off'--"

"Stop talking, you fiend," said my sister, from the depths of her
handkerchief. "You know I look like a fright when I cry."

"Boo-hoo," was my only reply. And once started, I couldn't stop. That
deadly English atmosphere of indifference--and, oh--and everything!

Have you ever been homesick when you couldn't get home? Have you ever
wanted to see your mother so that every bone in your body ached? Have
you ever been in the state where to see the baby for five minutes you
would give everything on earth you had? That was the way I felt about
Billy that grewsome night at this amusing play in an English theatre.
I had on my best clothes, but after my handkerchief ceased to avail
the tears slopped down on my satin gown, and the blisters will remain
as a lasting tribute to the contagion of a company of English people
out enjoying themselves.

My sister's stern sense of decorum caused her to contain herself until
she got home, but I am free to confess that after I once loosed my
hold over myself and found what a relief it was, I realized the truth
of what our old negro cook used to say when I was a child in the
South, and asked her why she howled and cried in such an alarming
manner when she "got religion." She used to say, "Lawd, chile, you
don't know how soovin' it is to jest bust out awn 'casions lake dese!"

Happy negroes! Happy children, who can "bust out" when their feelings
get the better of them! Civilization robs us of many of our acutest
pleasures.

That night on the way home from the theatre I learned something.
Nobody had ever told me that it is the custom to give the cabby an
extra sixpence when one takes a cab late at night, so, on alighting in
front of our flower-trimmed lodgings, I reached up, deposited my
shilling in his hand, and was turning away, when my footsteps were
arrested by my cabby's voice.

Turning, I saw him tossing the despised shilling in his curved palm
and saying:

"A shillin'! Twelve o'clock at night! Two ladies in evenin' dress!
_You_ ought to 'a' gone in a 'bus! A cab's too expensive for _you_!
_I_ wish you'd 'a' _walked_ and I wish it had _rained_!"

With that parting shot he gathered up the lines and drove off, while I
leaned up against the door shaking with a laughter which my sister in
no wise shared with me. Poor Bee! Things like that jar her so that she
can't get any amusement out of them. To her it was terrifying
impudence. To me it was a heart-to-heart talk with a London cabby!

Oh, the sweet viciousness of that "_I_ wish it had _rained_!" I wonder
if that man beats his wife, or if he just converses with her as he
does with a recreant fare! Anyway, I loved him.

But if I have discovered nothing else in the brief time since I left
my native land, it is worth while to realize the truth of all the
poetry and song written on foreign shores about home.

To one accustomed to travel only in America, and to feel at home with
all the different varieties of one's countrymen, such sentiments are
no more than _vers de société_. _But_ now I know what _Heimweh_
is--the home-pain. I can understand that the Swiss really die of it
sometimes. The home-pain! Neuralgia, you know, and most other acute
pains, attack only one set of nerves. But _Heimweh_ hurts all over.
There is not a muscle of the body, nor the most remote fibre of the
brain, nor a tissue of the heart that does not ache with it. You can't
eat. You can't sleep. You can't read or write or talk. It begins with
the protoplasm of your soul--and reaches forward to the end of time,
and aches every step of the way along. You want to hide your face in a
pillow away from everybody and do nothing but weep, but even that does
not cure. It seems to be too private to help materially. The only
thing I can recommend is to "bust out."

Homesickness is an inexplicable thing. I have heard brides relate how
it attacked them unmercifully and without cause in the midst of their
honeymoon. Girl students, whose sole aim in life has been to come
abroad to study, and who, in finally coming, have fondly dreamed that
the gates of Paradise had swung open before their delighted eyes, have
been among its earliest and most acutely afflicted victims. No
success, no realized ambitions ward it off. Like death, it comes to
high and low alike. One woman, whose name became famous with her first
concert, told me that she spent the first year over here in tears.
Nothing that friends can do, no amount of kindness or hospitality
avails as a preventive. You can take bromides and cure insomnia. You
can take chloroform, and enough of it will prevent seasickness, but
nothing avails for _Heimweh_. And like pride, "let him that thinketh
he standeth take heed lest he fall." I have been in the midst of an
animated, recital of how homesick I had been the day before,
ridiculing myself and my malady with unctuous freedom, when suddenly
Billy's little face would seem to rise out of the flowers on the
dinner-table, or the patter of his little flying feet as they used to
sound in my ear as he fluttered down the long hall to my study, or the
darling way he used to ran towards me when I held out my arms and
said, "Come, Billy, let Tattah show you the doves," with such an
expectant face, and that little scarlet mouth opened to kiss me--oh,
it is nothing to anybody else, but it is home to me, and I was only
recalled to London and my dinner party when a fresh attack was made on
America, and I was called once more to battle for my country.

I have "fought, bled, and died" for home and country more times than I
can count since I have been here. I ought to come home with honorable
scars and the rank of field-marshal, at least. I never knew how many
objectionable features America presented to Englishmen until I became
their guest and broke bread at their tables. I cannot eat very much at
their dinner parties--I am too busy thinking how to parry their
attacks on my America, and especially my Chicago, and my West
generally. The English adore Americans, but they loathe America, and
I, for one, will not accept a divided allegiance. "Love me, love my
dog," is my motto. I go home from their dinners as hungry as a wolf,
but covered with Victoria crosses. I am puzzled to know if they really
hate Chicago more than any other spot on earth, or if they simply love
to hear me fight for it, or if their manners need improving.

I myself may complain of the horrors of our filthy streets, or of the
way we tear up whole blocks at once (here in London they only mend a
teaspoonful of pavement at a time), or of our beastly winds which tear
your soul from your body, but I hope never to sink so low as to permit
a lot of foreigners to do it. For even as a Parisian loves his Paris,
and as a New Yorker loves his London, so do I love my Chicago.



III


PARIS

It was a fortunate thing, after all, that I went to London first, and
had my first great astonishment there. It broke Paris to me gently.

For a month I have been in this city of limited republicanism; this
extraordinary example of outward beauty and inward uncleanness; this
bewildering cosmopolis of cheap luxuries and expensive necessities;
this curious city of contradictions, where you might eat your
breakfast from the streets--they are so clean--but where you must
close your eyes to the spectacles of the curbstones; this beautiful,
whited sepulchre, where exists the unwritten law, "Commit any offence
you will, provided you submerge it in poetry and flowers"; this
exponent of outward observances, where a gentleman will deliberately
push you into the street if he wishes to pass you in a crowd, but
where his action is condoned by his inexpressible manner of raising
his hat to you, and the heartfelt sincerity of his apology; where one
man will run a mile to restore a lost franc, but if you ask him to
change a gold piece he will steal five; where your eyes are ravished
with the beauty, and the greenness, and the smoothness and apparent
ease of living of all its inhabitants; where your mind is filled with
the pictures, the music, the art, the general atmosphere of culture
and wit; where the cooking is so good but so elusive, and where the
shops are so bewitching that you have spent your last dollar without
thinking, and you are obliged to cable for a new letter of credit from
home before you know it--this is Paris.

Paris is very educational. I can imagine its influence broadening some
people so much that their own country could never be ample enough to
cover them again. I can imagine it narrowing others so that they would
return to America more of Puritans than ever. It is amusing, it is
fascinating, it is exciting, it is corrupting. The French must be the
most curious people on earth. How could even heavenly ingenuity create
a more uncommon or bewildering contradiction and combination? Make up
your mind that they are as simple as children when you see their
innocent picnicking along the boulevards and in the parks with their
whole families, yet you dare not trust yourself to hear what they are
saying. Believe that they are cynical, and _fin de siècle_, and
skeptical of all women when you hear two men talk, and the next day
you hear that one of them has shot himself on the grave of his
sweetheart. Believe that politeness is the ruling characteristic of
the country because a man kisses your hand when he takes leave of you.
But marry him, and no insult as regards other women is too low for him
to heap upon you. Believe that the French men are sympathetic because
they laugh and cry openly at the theatre. But appeal to their
chivalry, and they will rescue you from one discomfort only to offer
you a worse. The French have sentimentality, but not sentiment. They
have gallantry, but not chivalry. They have vanity, but not pride.
They have religion, but not morality. They are a combination of the
wildest extravagance and the strictest parsimony. They cultivate the
ground so close to the railroad tracks that the trains almost run over
their roses, and yet they leave a Place de la Concorde in the heart of
the city.

You can buy the wing of a chicken at a butcher's and take it home to
cook it. But your bill at a restaurant will appall you. Water is the
most precious and exclusive drink you can order in Paris. Imagine
that--you who let the water run to cool it! In Paris they actually pay
for water in their houses by the quart.

Artichokes, and truffles, and mushrooms, and silk stockings, and kid
gloves are so cheap here that it makes you blink your eyes. But eggs,
and cream, and milk are luxuries. Silks and velvets are bewilderingly
inexpensive. But cotton stuffs are from America, and are
extravagances. They make them up into "costumes," and trim them with
velvet ribbon. Never by any chance could you be supposed to send
cotton frocks to be washed every week. The luxury of fresh, starched
muslin dresses and plenty of shirt-waists is unknown.

I never shall overcome the ecstasies of laughter which assail me when
I see varieties of coal exhibited in tiny shop windows, set forth in
high glass dishes, as we exploit chocolates at home. But well they may
respect it, for it is really very much cheaper to freeze to death than
to buy coal in Paris.

The reason of all this is the city tax on every chicken, every carrot,
every egg brought into Paris. Every mouthful of food is taxed. This
produces an enormous revenue, and this is why the streets are so
clean; it is why the asphalt is as smooth as a ballroom floor; it is
why the whole of Paris is as beautiful as a dream.

In fact, the city has ideas of cleanliness which its middle-class
inhabitants do not share. On a rainy day in Paris the absurdly hoisted
dresses will expose to your view all varieties of trimmed, ruffled,
and lace petticoats, which would undeniably be benefited by a bath.
All the _lingerie_ has ribbons in it, and sometimes I think they are
never intended to be taken out.

When I was at the château of a friend not long ago she overheard her
maid apologizing to two sisters of charity, for the presence of a
bath-tub in her mistress's dressing-room: "You must not blame madame
la marquise for bathing every day. She is not more untidy than I, and
I, God knows, wash myself but twice a year. It is just a habit of hers
which she caught from the English."

My friend called to her sharply, and told her she need not apologize
for her bathing, to which the maid replied, in a tone of meek
justification, "But if madame la marquise only knew how she was
regarded by the people for this habit of hers!"

I like the way the French take their amusements. At the theatre they
laugh and applaud the wit of the hero and hiss the villain. They shout
their approval of a duel and weep aloud over the death of the aged
mother. When they drive in the Bois they smile and have an air of
enjoyment quite at variance with the bored expression of English and
Americans who have enough money to own carriages. We drove in Hyde
Park in London the day before we came to Paris, and nearly wept with
sympathy for the unspoken grief in the faces of the unfortunate rich
who were at such pains to enjoy themselves.

The second day from that we had a delightful drive in the Bois in
Paris.

"How glad everybody seems to be we have come!" I said to my sister.
"See how pleased they all look."

I was enchanted at their gay faces. I felt like bowing right and left
to them, the way queens and circus girls do.

I never saw such handsome men as I saw in London. I never saw such
beautiful women as I see in Paris.

The Bois has never been so smart as it was the past season, for the
horrible fire of the Bazar de la Charité put an end to the Paris
season, and left those who were not personally bereaved no solace but
the Bois. Consequently, the costumes one saw between five and seven on
that one beautiful boulevard were enough to set one wild. I always
wished that my neck turned on a pivot and that I had eyes set like a
coronet all around my head. My sister and I were in a constant state
of ecstasy and of clutching each other's gowns, trying to see every
one who passed. But it was of no use. Although they drove slowly on
purpose to be seen, if you tried to focus your glance on each one it
seemed as if they drove like lightning, and you got only astigmatism
for your pains. I always came home from the Bois with a headache and a
stiff neck.

I never dreamed of such clothes even in my dreams of heaven. But the
French are an extravagant race. There was hardly a gown worn last
season which was not of the most delicate texture, garnished with
chiffon and illusion and tulle--the most crushable, airy, inflammable,
unserviceable material one can think of. Now, I am a utilitarian. When
I see a white gown I always wonder if it will wash. If I see lace on
the foot ruffle of a dress I think how it will sound when the wearer
steps on it going up-stairs. But anything would be serviceable to wear
driving in a victoria in the Bois between five and seven, and as that
is where I have seen the most beautiful costumes I have no right to
complain, or to thrust at them my American ideas of usefulness. This
rage of theirs for beauty is what makes a perpetual honeymoon for the
eyes of every inch of France. The way they study color and put greens
together in their landscape gardening makes one think with horror of
our prairies and sagebrush.

The eye is ravished with beauty all over Paris. The clean streets, the
walks between rows of trees for pedestrians, the lanes for bicyclists,
the paths through tiny forests, right in Paris, for equestrians, and
on each side the loveliest trees--trees everywhere except where there
are fountains--but what is the use of trying to describe a beauty
which has staggered braver pens than mine, and which, after all, you
must see to appreciate?

The Catholic observances one sees everywhere in Paris are most
interesting. When a funeral procession passes, every man takes off his
hat and stands watching it with the greatest respect.

In May the streets are full of sweet-faced little girls on their way
to their first communion. They were all in white, bareheaded, except
for their white veils, white shoes, white gloves, and the dearest look
of importance on their earnest little faces. It was most touching.

In all months, however, one sees the comical sight of a French bride
and bridegroom, in all the glory of their bridal array--white satin,
veil, and orange blossoms--driving through the streets in open cabs,
and hugging and kissing each other with an unctuous freedom which is
apt to throw a conservative American into a spasm of laughter. Indeed,
the frank and candid way that love-making goes on in public among the
lower classes is so amazing that at first you think you never in this
world will become accustomed to it, but you get accustomed to a great
many strange sights in Paris. If a kiss explodes with unusual violence
in a cab near mine it sometimes scares the horse, but it no longer
disturbs me in the least. My nervousness over that sort of thing has
entirely worn off.

I have had but one adventure, and that was of a simple and primitive
character, which seemed to excite no one but myself. They say that
there is no drunkenness in France. If that is so then this cabman of
mine had a fit of some kind. Perhaps, though, he was only a beast.
Most of the cabmen here are beasts. They beat their poor horses so
unmercifully that I spend quite a good portion of my time standing up
in the cab and arguing with them. But the only efficacious argument I
have discovered is to tell them that they will get no _pourboire_ if
they beat the horse. That seems to infuse more humanity into them than
any number of Scripture texts.

On this occasion my cabman, for no reason whatever, suddenly began to
beat his horse in the hatefulest way, leaning down with his whip and
striking the horse underneath, as we were going downhill on the Rue de
Freycinet. I screamed at him, but he pretended not to hear. The cab
rocked from side to side, the horse was galloping, and this brute
beating him like a madman. It made me wild. I was being bounced around
like corn in a popper and in imminent danger of being thrown to the
pavement.

People saw my danger, but nobody did anything--just looked, that was
all. I saw that I must save myself if there was any saving going to be
done. So with one last trial of my lungs I shrieked at the cabman, but
the cobblestones were his excuse, and he kept on. So I just stood up
and knocked his hat off with my parasol!--his big, white, glazed hat.
It was glorious! He turned around in a fury and pulled up his horse,
with a torrent of French abuse and impudence which scared me nearly to
death. I thought he might strike me.

So I pulled my twitching lips into a distortion which passed muster
with a Paris cabman for a smile, and begged his pardon so profusely
that he relented and didn't kill me.

I often blush for the cheap Americans with loud voices and provincial
speech, and general commonness, whom one meets over here; but with all
their faults they cannot approach the vulgarities at table which I
have seen in Paris. In all America we have no such vulgar institution
as their _rince-bouche_--an affair resembling a two-part finger-bowl,
with the water in a cup in the middle. At fashionable tables, men and
women in gorgeous clothes, who speak four or five languages, actually
rinse their mouths and gargle at the table, and then slop the water
thus used back into these bowls. The first time I saw this I do assure
you I would not have been more astonished if the next course had been
stomach pumps.

And as for the toothpick habit! Let no one ever tell me that that
atrocity is American! Here it goes with every course, and without the
pretended decency of holding one's _serviette_ before one's mouth,
which, in my opinion, is a mere affectation, and aggravates the
offence.

But the most shameless thing in all Europe is the marriage question.
To talk with intelligent, clever, thinking men and women, who know the
secret history of all the famous international marriages, as well as
the high contracting parties, who will relate the price paid for the
husband, and who the intermediary was, and how much commission he or
she received, is to make you turn faint and sick at the mere thought,
especially if you happen to come from a country where they once fought
to abolish the buying and selling of human beings. But our black
slaves were above buying and selling themselves or their children. It
remains for civilized Europe of our time to do this, and the highest
and proudest of her people at that.

It is not so shocking to read about it in glittering generalities. I
knew of it in a vague way, just as I knew the history of the massacre
of Saint Bartholomew. I thought it was too bad that so many people
were killed, and I also thought it a pity that Frenchmen never married
without a _dot_. But when it comes to meeting the people who had thus
bargained, and the moment their gorgeous lace and satin backs were
turned to hear some one say, "You are always so interested in that
sort of thing, have you heard what a scandal was caused by the
marriage of those two?"--then it ceases to be history; then it becomes
almost a family affair.

"How could a marriage between two unattached young people cause a
scandal?" I asked, with my stupid, primitive American ideas.

"Oh, the bride's mother refused to pay the commission to the
intermediary," was the airy reply. "It came near getting into the
papers."

At the Jubilee garden party at Lady Monson's I saw the most beautiful
French girl I have seen in Paris. She was superb. In America she would
have been a radiant, a triumphant beauty, and probably would have
acquired the insolent manners of some of our spoiled beauties. Instead
of that, however, she was modest, even timid-looking, except for her
queenly carriage. Her gown was a dream, and a dream of a dress at a
Paris garden party means something.

"What a tearing beauty!" I said to my companion. "Who is she?"

"Yes, poor girl!" he said. "She is the daughter of the Comtesse N----.
One of the prettiest girls in Paris. Not a sou, however; consequently
she will never marry. She will probably go into a convent."

"But why? Why won't she marry? Why aren't all the men crazy about her?
Why don't you marry her?"

"Marry a girl without a _dot_? Thank you, mademoiselle. I am an
expense to myself. My wife must not be an additional encumbrance."

"But surely," I said, "somebody will want to marry her, if no nobleman
will."

"Ah, yes, but she is of noble blood, and she must not marry beneath
her. No one in her own class will marry her, so"--a shrug--"the
convent! See, her chances are quite gone. She has been out five years
now."

I could have cried. Every word of it was quite true. I thought of the
dozens of susceptible and rich American men I knew who would have gone
through fire and water for her, and who, although they have no title
to give her, would have made her adoring and adorable husbands, and I
seriously thought of offering a few of them to her for consideration!
But alas, there are so many ifs and ands, and--well, I didn't.

I only sighed and said, "Well, I suppose such things are common in
France, but I do assure you such things are impossible in America."

"Such things as what, mademoiselle?"

"This cold-blooded bartering," I said. "American men are above it."

"Are American girls above selling themselves, mademoiselle? Do you see
that poor, pitifully plain little creature there, in that dress which
cost a fortune? Do you see how ill she carries it? Do you see her
unformed, uncertain manner? Her husband is the one I just had the
honor of presenting to you, who is now talking to the beauty you so
much admire."

"He shows good taste in spite of his marriage," I said.

"Certainly. But his wife is your countrywoman. That is the last famous
international marriage, and the most vulgar of the whole lot. Listen,
mademoiselle, and I will tell you the exact truth of the whole affair.

"She came over here with letters to Paris friends, and when it became
known that one of the richest heiresses in America was here, naturally
all the mammas with marriageable sons were anxious to see her. She was
invited everywhere, but as she could not speak French, and as she was
as you see her, her success could not be said to be great. No, but
that made no difference. The Duchesse de Z---- was determined that her
son should marry the rich heiress. As she expected to remain here a
year or more, and the young Duc de Z---- made a wry face, she did not
press the matter. Then the heiress went into a convent to learn
French, and the Duchesse went to see her very often and took her to
drive, and did her son's part as well as she could.

"Suddenly, to the amazement of everybody, the heiress sailed for
America without a word of warning. The Duchesse was furious. 'You must
follow her,' she said to her son. 'We cannot let so much money
escape.' The son said he would be hanged if he went to America, or if
he would marry such a monkey, and as for her money, she could go
anywhere she pleased with it, or words to that effect. So that ended
the affair of the Duc de Z----. When the other impecunious young
nobles heard that the Duchesse no longer had any claims upon the
American's money they got together and said, 'Somebody must marry her
and divide with the rest. We can't all marry her, but we can all have
a share from whoever does. Now we will draw lots to see who must go to
America and marry her.' The lot fell to the Baron de X----, but he had
no money for the journey. So all the others raised what money they
could and loaned it to him, and took his notes for it, with enormous
interest, payable after his marriage. He sailed away, and within eight
months he had married her, but he has not paid those notes because his
wife won't give him the money! And these gentlemen are furious! Good
joke, I call it."

"What a shameful thing!" I said. "I wonder if that girl knew how she
was being married!"

"Of course she knew! At least, she might have known. She was rich and
she was plain. How could she hope to gain one of the proudest titles
in France without buying it?"

"I wonder if she could have known!" I said, again.

"It would not have prevented the marriage, would it, mademoiselle, if
she had?"

"Indeed it would!" I said (but I don't know whether it would or not).
He shrugged his shoulders.

"America is very different from Europe, then, mademoiselle. Here it
would have made no difference. When a great amount of money is to be
placed, one must not have too many scruples."

"If she did know," I said, with a fervor which was lost upon him,
"believe this, whether you can understand it or not: she was not a
typical American girl."

I had, as usual, many more words which he deserved to have had said to
him, but education along this line takes too much time. I ought to
have begun this great work with his great-grandparents.

       *       *       *       *       *

What any one can see about Dinard to like is a mystery to me! Is it
possible that one who has spent a month there could ever be lured back
again? There is a beautiful journey from Paris across France
southwesterly to the coast, through odd little French villages,
vineyards, poppy-fields, and rose-gardens, across shining rivulets and
through an undulating landscape, all so lovely that it is no wonder
that one expects all this beauty to lead up to a climax. But what a
disappointment Dinard is to one's enthusiastic anticipations! This
famous watering-place has to my mind not one solitary redeeming
feature. It has no excuse for being famous. It has not even one happy
accident about it as a peg to hang its fame upon, like some writers'
first novels. Dinard simply goes on being famous, nobody knows why.
And to go there, after reading pages about it in the papers and
hearing people speak of Dinard as Mohammedans whisper sacredly of
Mecca, is like meeting celebrities. You wonder what under the
sun--what in the world--how in the name of Heaven such ugly, stupid,
uninteresting, heavy, dull, and insufferably ordinary persons are
allowed to become famous by an overruling and beneficent Providence! I
have met many celebrities, and I have been to Dinard. I have had my
share of disappointments.

To begin with, Dinard is not sufficiently picturesque. There are but
one or two pretty vistas and three or four points of view. Then it is
not typically French. It is inhabited partly by English families who
cross the Channel yearly from Southampton and Portsmouth, and who take
with them their nine uninteresting daughters, with long front teeth
and ill-hanging duck skirts, and partly by Americans who go to Dinard
as they go to the Eiffel Tower; not that either is particularly
interesting, but they had heard of these places before they came over.
The only really interesting thing within five miles of Dinard is that,
off St. Malo, on the island of Grand Bé, Châteaubriand is buried. But
as this really belongs more to the attractions of St. Malo than to
Dinard, and nobody who spends summers at Dinard ever mentioned
Châteaubriand in my presence, or honored his tomb by a visit, it is
pure charity on my part to ascribe this solitary point of real
interest to Dinard. For, after all, Châteaubriand does not belong to
it. Which logic reminds me forcibly of the plea entered by the defence
in a suit for borrowing a kettle: "In the first place, I never
borrowed his kettle; in the second place, it was whole when I returned
it; and, in the third place, it was cracked when I got it."

So with Châteaubriand and Dinard. Then Dinard has none of the dash and
go of other watering-places. There is nothing to do except to bathe
mornings and watch the people win or lose two francs at _petits
chevaux_ in the evenings. Not wildly exciting, that. Consequently, you
soon begin to stagnate with the rest.

You grow more and more stupid as the weeks pass, and at the end of a
month you cease to think. From that time on you do not have such a bad
time--that is to say, you do not suffer so acutely, because you have
now got down to the level of the people who go back to Dinard the next
year.

We came away. The hotels are among the worst on earth--musty,
old-fashioned, and villainously expensive--and one of the happiest
moments in my life was the day when I left Dinard for Mont St. Michel.
Mont St. Michel is one of the most out-of-the-way, un-get-at-able
places I found in all Europe; but, oh, how it rewards one who arrives!

Mont St. Michel is too well known to need a description. But to go
from Dinard requires, first of all, that one must go by boat over to
St. Malo, thence by train; change cars, and alight finally at a lonely
little station, behind which stands a sort of vehicle--a cross between
a London omnibus and a hay-wagon. You scramble to the top of this as
best you may. Nobody helps you. The Frenchman behind you crowds
forward and climbs up ahead of you and holds you back with his
umbrella while he hauls his fat wife up beside him. Then you clamber
up by the hub of the wheel and by sundry awkward means which remind
you of climbing a stone wall when you were a child. You take any seat
left, which the Frenchmen do not want, the horses are put to, and away
you go over a smooth sandy road for eleven miles, with the sea
crawling up on each side of you over the dunes.

Suddenly, without warning, you come squarely upon Mont St. Michel,
rising solidly five hundred feet from nowhere. There is a whole town
in this fortress, built upon this rock, street above street, like a
flight of stairs, and house piled up behind house, until on the very
top there is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world; and as
you thread its maze of vaulted chambers and dungeons and come to its
gigantic tower you are lost in absolute wonder at the building of it.

Where did they get the material? And when got, what human ingenuity
could raise those enormous blocks of stone to that vast height? How
those cannon swept all approach by land or sea as far as the eye could
reach! It would require superb courage in an enemy to come within
reach of that grim sentinel of France, manned by her warrior monks.
What secrets those awful dungeons might relate! Here political crimes
were avenged with all the cruelty of Siberian exile. Here prisoners
wore their lives away in black solitude, no ray of light penetrating
their darkness.

The story is told that one poor wretch was eaten alive by gigantic
rats, and they have a ghastly reproduction of it in wax, which makes
you creepy for a week after you have seen it. Nowhere in all Europe
did I see a place which impressed its wonder and its history of horror
upon me as did the cathedral dungeon of Mont St. Michel. Its situation
was so impregnable, its capacity so vast, its silence and isolation
from the outer world so absolute.

All Russia does not boast a situation so replete with possible and
probable misery and anguish such as were suggested to my mind here.

But the wonder and charm of the compact little town which clings like
a limpet to its base are more than can be expressed on the written
page. It is like climbing the uneven stairs of some vast and roofless
ancient palace, upon each floor of which dwell families who have come
in and roofed over the suites of rooms and made houses out of them.
The stairs lead you, not from floor to floor, but from bakery to
carpenter-shop, from the blacksmith's to the telegraph-office.

The streets are paved with large cobblestones, to prevent cart-wheels
from slipping, and are so narrow that I often had to stand up at
afternoon tea with my cup in one hand and my chair in the other, to
let a straining, toiling little donkey pass me, gallantly hauling his
load of fagots up an incline of forty-five degrees.

The famous inn here is kept by Madame Poularde, who can cook so
marvellously that she is one of the wonders of Normandy. Her kitchen
faces the main street; you simply step over the threshold as you hear
the beating of eggs, and there, over an immense open fire, which roars
gloriously up the chimney, are the fowls twirling on their strings and
dripping deliciously into the pans which sizzle complainingly on the
coals beneath.

Presently the roaring ceases, the fresh coals are flattened down, and
into a skillet, with a handle five feet long, is dropped the butter,
which melts almost instantly. A fat little red-faced boy pushes the
skillet back and forth to keep the butter from burning. The frantic
beating of eggs comes nearer and nearer. The shrill voice of Madame
Poularde screams voluble French at her assistants. She boxes
somebody's ears, snatches the eggs, gives them one final puffy
beating, which causes them to foam up and overflow, and at that
exciting moment out they bubble into the smoking skillet, the handle
of which she seizes at the identical moment that she lets go of the
empty bowl with one hand and pushes the red-faced boy over backward
with the other. It is legerdemain! But then, _how_ she manages that
skillet! How her red cheeks flush, her black eyes sparkle, and her
plump hands guide that ship of state!

We are all so excited that we get horribly in her way and almost fall
into the fire in our anxiety. She stirs and coaxes and coquettes with
the lovely foamy mass until it becomes as light as the yellow down on
a fledgling's wings. She calls it an omelette, but she is scrambling
those eggs! Then when it is almost done she screams at us to take our
places. The red-faced boy rings a huge bell, and we all tumble madly
up the narrow stairs to the dining-room, where a score of assorted
tourists are seated. _They_ get that first omelette because they
behaved better than we did, and were more orderly. There are half a
dozen little maids who attend us. They give us bread and bring our
wine and get our plates all ready, for, behold, we can hear below the
beating of the eggs and the sizzling of the butter, and presently
Madame Poularde's scream and slap, and we know that our omelette is on
the way!

There were scores of bridal parties there when we were, for Mont St.
Michel seems to be the Niagara of France, and really one could hardly
imagine a more charming place for a honeymoon. Indeed, for a newly
married couple, for boy and girl, for spinsters and bachelors, ay,
even for Darby and Joan, Mont St. Michel has attractions. All sorts
and conditions of men here find the most romantic and interesting spot
to be found in the whole of France.

While here we got telegrams telling us of the assembling of our
friends at a house-party at a château in the south of France which
once had belonged to Charles VII. So without waiting for anything more
we wired a joyful acceptance and set out. We did, however, stop over a
few hours at Blois, in order to see the château there. We really did
Blois in a spirit of Baedeker, for we were crazy to see Velor, in
order not to miss an inch of the good times which we knew would riot
there. But virtue was its own reward, for as we were looking into the
depths of the first real oubliette which I ever had seen, and I was
just shivering with the vision of that fiendish Catharine de' Medici
who used to drop people into these holes every morning before
breakfast, just as an appetizer, we heard a most blood-curdling
shriek, and there stood that wretched Jimmie watching us from an open
door, waving his Baedeker at us, with Mrs. Jimmie's lovely Madonna
smile seen over his shoulder.

No one who has not felt the awful pangs of homesickness abroad has any
idea of the joy with which one greets intimate friends in Europe. I
believe that travel in Europe has done more toward the riveting of
lukewarm American friendships than any other thing in the world.

The Jimmies have often appeared upon my pathway like angels of light,
and at Blois we simply loved them, for Blois is not only gloomy, but
it has a most ghastly history. The murder of the Duc de Guise and his
brother, by order of King Henry III., took place here. They show one
the rooms where the murder was committed, the door through which the
murderer entered, and the private _cabinet de travail_ where the king
waited for the news.

Here, also, Margaret of Valois married Henry of Navarre, and Charles,
Duc d'Alençon, married Margaret of Anjou. But one hardly ever thinks
of the weddings which occurred here for the horrors which overshadow
them. How fitting that Marie de' Medici should have been imprisoned
here, and my ancient enemy, Catharine, that queen-mother who perched
her children on thrones as carelessly and as easily as did Napoleon
and Queen Louise of Denmark--that Catharine should have died here,
"unregretted and unlamented," was too lovely!

Then we left the magnificent old castle and took the train for
Port-Boulet, where the Marquise met us with her little private
omnibus, holding eight, drawn by handsome American horses. They were
new horses and young, and the Marquise said that Charles found them
quite unmanageable. Jimmie watched him drive them around a moment or
two before they could be made to stand, then he broke out laughing.
The Marquise was so disgusted at the way they see-sawed that she said
she was going to sell them.

"Sell them!" cried Jimmie. "Why, all in the world that's the matter
with those poor brutes is that they don't speak French! Let _me_ drive
them!"

So the Marquise saved Charles's vanity by saying that monsieur wished
to try the new horses. Jimmie climbed upon the box, and gathered up
the reins, saying, "So, old boy, you don't like the dratted language
any better than I do. Steady now, boy! _Giddap_!" Whereat the pretty
creatures pricked up their ears, pranced a little, then sprang into
their collars, and we were off along the lovely river road at a
spanking pace and with as smooth and even a gait as the most
experienced roadsters.

We could hear Charles's polite compliments to Jimmie on his driving,
and Jimmie's awful French, as he assured Charles that the horses were
all right, "_très gentils_" and "_très jolis_." "_Ne dites jamais
'doucement' aux chevaux américains. Dites 'whoa,' et ils arrêteront,
et quand vous dites 'Giddap,' ils marcheront bien. Savez?_" At which
Charles obediently practised "Whoa!" and "Giddap!" while we felt
ourselves pulled up and started off, as the object-lesson demanded,
but amid shrieks of laughter which quite upset Charles's dignity.

Finally, we whirled in across the moat and under the great gate to the
château, and found ourselves in the billiard-room of Velor, with a big
open fire, in front of which lay a pile of dogs and around which we
all gathered shiveringly, for the day was chilly.

That charming billiard-room at Velor! It is not so grand as the rest
of the château, but everybody loves it best of all. It is on the
ground floor, and it has a writing-desk and two or three little
work-tables and several sofas and heaps of easy-chairs, and here
everybody came to read or write or sew or play billiards. And as to
afternoon tea! Not one of us could have been hired to drink it in the
salons up-stairs. In fact, so many of us insisted upon being in the
billiard-room that there never was room for a free play of one's cue,
for somebody was always in the way, and it was rather discouraging to
hear a woman doing embroidery say, "Don't hit this ball. Take some
other stroke, can't you? Your cue will strike me in the eye."

Dunham, the eighteen-year-old son of the Marquise, was teaching me
billiards, but his manners were so beautiful that he always pretended
that to stick to one's own ball was a mere arbitrary rule of the game,
so he permitted me to play with either ball, which made it easiest for
me, or which caused least discomfort to those sitting uncomfortably
near the table. A dear boy, that Dunham! He had but one fault, and
that was that he _would_ wear cerise and scarlet cravats, and his hair
was red--so uncompromisingly red, of such an obstinate and determined
red, that his mother often said, "Come here, Dunham, dear, and light
up this corner of the room with your sunny locks. It is too dark to
see how to thread my needle!" Such was his amiability that I am sure
he enjoyed it, for he always went promptly, and called her "_Mon
amour_," and slyly kissed her when he thought we were not looking.

All our remarks upon his red ties fell upon unheeding ears, until one
day I bribed his man to bring me every one of them. These I
distributed among the women guests, and when, the next morning, Dunham
came in complaining that he couldn't find any of his red ties, lo!
every woman in the room was wearing one; and to our credit be it
spoken that he failed to get any of them back, and never, to my
knowledge at least, wore a scarlet tie again.

Velor is historic. After it passed out of the hands of Charles VII.--I
have slept in his room, but I must say that he was unpleasantly short
if that bed fitted him!--it was bought by the old miser Nivelau, whose
daughter, Eugénie Belmaison, was the girl Balzac wished to marry. In a
rage at being rejected by her father he wrote _Eugénie Grandet_, and
several of the articles, such as her work-box, of which Balzac makes
mention, are in the possession of the Marquise.

Every available room in the Velor was filled with our party. Each day
we drove in the brake to visit some ancient château, such as
Azay-le-Rideau, Islette, Chinon, or the Abbey of Fontevreault, finding
the roads and scenery in Touraine the most delightful one can imagine.

Fontevreault was originally an abbey, and a most powerful one, being
presided over by daughters of kings or women of none but the highest
rank, and these noble women held the power of life and death over all
the country which was fief to Fontevreault.

Velor was once fief to Fontevreault, but the abbey is now turned into
a prison.

They took away our cameras before they allowed us to enter, but we saw
some of the prisoners, of whom there were one thousand. The real
object of our visit, however, was to see the tombs of Henry II. and of
my beloved Richard the Lion-hearted, who are both buried at
Fontevreault. To go to Fontevreault, we were obliged to cross the
river Vienne on the most curious little old ferry, which was only a
raft with the edges turned up. Charles drove the brake on to this
raft, but we preferred, after one look into the eyes of the American
horses, to climb down and trust to our own two feet.

We gave and attended breakfasts with the owners of neighboring
châteaux, drove into Saumur to the theatre or to dine with the
officers of the regiment stationed there, and had altogether a perfect
visit. I have made many visits and have been the guest of many
hostesses, most of them charming ones, hence it is no discourtesy to
them and but a higher compliment to the Marquise when I assert that
she is one of the most perfect hostesses I ever met.

A thorough woman of the world, having been presented at three courts
and speaking five languages, yet her heart is as untouched by the
taint of worldliness, her nature as unembittered by her sorrows, as if
she were a child just opening her eyes to society. One of the
cleverest of women, she is both humorous and witty, with a gift of
mimicry which would have made her a fortune on the stage.

Her servants idolize her, manage the château to suit themselves, which
fortunately means to perfection, and look upon her as a beloved child
who must be protected from all the minor trials of life. She has
rescued the most of them from some sort of discomfort, and their
gratitude is boundless. Like the majority of the nobility, the
peasants of France are royalists. The middle class, the _bourgeoisie_,
are the backbone of the republic.

The servants are stanch Catholics and long for a monarchy again. The
Marquise apologized to them for our being heretics, and told them that
while we were not Christians (Catholics), yet we tried to be good, and
in the main turned out a fair article, but she entreated their
clemency and their prayers for her guests. So we had the satisfaction
of being ardently prayed for all the time we were there, and of being
complimented occasionally by her maid, Marie, an old Normandie peasant
seventy years old, for an act on our part now and then which savored
of real Christianity. And once when we had private theatricals, and I
dressed as a nun, Marie never found out for half the evening that I
was not one of the Sisters who frequently came to the château, but
kept crossing herself whenever she saw me; and when she discovered me
she told me, with tears in her eyes, it really was a thousand pities
that I would not renounce the world and become a Christian, because I
looked so much like a "religieuse."

We went in oftenest to Chinon--always on market day; some of us on
horseback, some on wheels, while the rest drove. Chinon is the
fortress château where Jeanne d'Arc came to see Charles VII. to try to
interest him in her plans. Its ruins stand high up on a bluff
overlooking the town, and beneath it in an open square is the very
finest and most spirited equestrian statue I ever saw. It is of Jeanne
d'Arc, and I only regret that the photograph I took of it is too small
to show its fire and spirit and the mad rush of the horse, and the
glorious, generous pose of the noble martyr's outstretched arms, as
she seems to be in the act of sacrificing her life to her country.
There is the divinest patriotism in every line of it.

We saw it on a beautiful crisp day in November. It was our
Thanksgiving day at home. We drove along the lovely river-road from
Chinon to Velor, and upon our arrival we discovered that the Marquise
had arranged an American Thanksgiving dinner for us, sending even to
America for certain delicacies appropriate to the season. It was a
most gorgeous Thanksgiving dinner, for, aside from the turkey, lo!
there appeared a peacock in all its magnificent plumage, sitting there
looking so dressy with all his feathers on that we quite blushed for
the state of the turkey.

A month of Paris, and then I long for fresh fields and pastures new.
Of course there is nowhere like Paris for clothes or to eat. But when
one has got all the clothes one can afford and is no longer hungry,
having acquired a chronic indigestion from too intimate a knowledge of
Marguery's and Ledoyen's, what is there to do but to leave?

Paris is essentially a holiday town, but I get horribly tired of too
long a holiday, and after the newness is worn off one discovers that
it is the superficiality of it all that palls. The people are
superficial; their amusements are feathery--even the beauty of it all
is "only skin deep."

Therefore, after one glimpse of Poland, the pagan in my nature called
me to the East, and six months of Paris have only intensified my
longing to get away--to get to something solid; to find myself once
more with the serious thinkers of the world.

In the mean time Bee has deserted me for the more interesting society
of Billy, and now she writes me long letters so filled with his
sayings and doings that I must move on or I shall die of homesickness.
I have decided on Russia and the Nile, taking intermediate countries
by the way. This is entirely Billy's fault.

When I first decided to go to Russia, I supposed, of course, that I
could induce the Jimmies to go with me, but, to my consternation, they
revolted, and gently but firmly expressed their determination to go to
Egypt by way of Italy. So I have taken a companion, and if all goes
well we shall meet the Jimmies on the terrace of Shepheard's in
February.

I packed three trunks in my very best style, only to have Mrs. Jimmie
regard my work with a face so full of disapproval that it reminded me
of Bee's. She then proceeded to put "everything any mortal could
possibly want" into one trunk, with what seemed to me supernatural
skill and common-sense, calmly sending the other two to be stored at
Munroe's. I don't like to disparage Mrs. Jimmie's idea of what I need,
but it does seem to me that nearly everything I have wanted here in
Berlin is "stored at Munroe's."

My companion and I, with faultless arithmetic, calculated our expenses
and drew out what we considered "plenty of French money to get us to
the German frontier." Then Jimmie took my companion and Mrs. Jimmie
took me to the train.

Their cab got to the station first, and when we came up Jimmie was
grinning, and my companion looked rather sheepish.

"I didn't have enough money to pay the extra luggage," she whispered.
"I had to borrow of Mr. Jimmie."

"That's just like you," I said, severely. "Now _I_ drew more than you
did."

Just then Jimmie came up with _my_ little account.

"Forty-nine francs extra luggage," he announced.

"What?" I gasped, "on that _one_ trunk?" How grateful I was at that
moment for the two stored at Munroe's!

"Oh, Jimmie," I cried, "I haven't got _near_ enough! You'll _have_ to
lend me twenty francs!"

My companion smiled in sweet revenge, and has been almost impossible
to travel with since then, but we are one in our rage against paying
extra luggage. Just think of buying your clothes once and then paying
for them over and over again in every foreign country you travel
through! Our clothes will be priceless heirlooms by the time we get
home. We can never throw them away. They will be too valuable.

The Jimmies have been so kind to us that we nearly choked over leaving
them, but we consoled ourselves after the train left, and proceeded to
draw the most invidious comparisons between French sleeping-cars and
the rolling palaces we are accustomed to at home. I am ashamed to
think that I have made unpleasant remarks upon the discomforts of
travel in America. Oh, how ungrateful I have been for past mercies!

My companion is very patient, as a rule, but I heard her restlessly
tossing around in her berth, and I said, "What's the matter?"

"Oh, nothing much. But don't you think they have arranged the knobs in
these mattresses in very curious places?"'

Well, it _was_ a little like sleeping on a wood-pile during a
continuous earthquake. But that was nothing compared to the news
broken to us about eleven o'clock that our luggage would be examined
at the German frontier at five o'clock in the morning. That meant
being wakened at half past four. But it was quite unnecessary, for we
were not asleep.

It was cold and raining. I got up and dressed for the day. But my
companion put her seal-skin on over her dressing-gown, and perched her
hat on top of that hair of hers, and looked ready to cope with Diana
herself.

"They'll ruin my things if they unpack them," I said.

"You just keep still and let me manage things," she answered. So I
did. I made myself as small as possible and watched her. She selected
her victim and smiled on him most charmingly. He was tearing open the
trunk of a fat American got up in gray flannel and curl-papers. He
dropped her tray and hurried up to my companion.

"Have you anything to declare, madam?" he asked.

"Tell him absolutely nothing," she whispered to me. I obeyed, but he
never took his eyes from her. She was tugging at the strap of her
trunk in apparently wild eagerness to get it open. She frowned and
panted a little to show how hard it was, and he bounded forward to
help her. Then she smiled at him, and he blinked his eyes and tucked
the strap in and chalked her trunk, with a shrug. He hadn't opened it.
She kept her eye on him and pointed to my trunk, and he chalked that.
Then seven pieces of hand luggage, and he chalked them all. Then she
smiled on him again, and I thanked him, but he didn't seem to hear me,
and she nodded her thanks and pulled me down a long stone corridor to
the dining-room where we could get some coffee.

At the door I looked back. The customs officer was still looking after
my companion, but she never even saw it.

The dining-room was full of smoke, but the coffee and my first taste
of zwieback were delicious. Then we went out through a narrow doorway
to the train, where we were jostled by Frenchmen with their habitual
"_Pardon!_" (which partially reconciles you to being walked on), and
knocked into by monstrous Germans, who sent us spinning without so
much as a look of apology, and both of whom puffed their tobacco smoke
directly in our faces. It was still dark and the rain was whimpering
down on the car-roof, and, take it all in all, the situation was far
from pleasant, but we are hard to depress, and our spirits remain
undaunted.

It was so stuffy in our compartment that I stood in the doorway for a
few moments near an open window. My companion was lying down in my
berth. We still had nineteen hours of travel before us with no
prospect of sleep, for sleep in those berths and over such a rough
road was absolutely out of the question.

Near me (and spitting in the saddest manner out of the open window)
stood the meek little American husband of the gray flannel and
curl-papers, whose fury at my companion for her quick work with the
customs officer knew no bounds.

The gray flannel had gone to bed again in the compartment next to
ours.

The precision of this gentleman's aim as he expectorated through the
open window, and the marvellous rapidity with which he managed his
diversion, led me to watch him. He looked tired and cold and ill. It
was still dark outside, and the jolting of the train was almost
unbearable. He had not once looked at me, but with his gaze still on
the darkness he said, slowly,

"They can have the whole blamed country for all of me! _I_ don't want
it."

It was so exactly the way I felt that even though he said something
worse than "blamed," I gave a shriek of delight, and my companion
pounded the pillow in her cooperation of the sentiment.

"You are an American and you are Southern," I said.

"Yes'm. How did you know?"

"By your accent."

"Yes'm, I was born in Virginia. I was in the Southern army four years,
and I love my country. I hate these blamed foreigners and their
blamed churches and their infernal foreign languages. I am over
here for my health, my wife says. But I have walked more miles in
picture-galleries than I ever marched in the army. I've seen more
pictures by Raphael than he could have painted if he'd 'a' had ten
arms and painted a thousand years without stopping to eat or sleep.
I've seen more 'old masters,' as they call 'em, but _I_ call 'em
_daubs_, all varnished till they are so slick that a fly would slip on
'em and break his neck. And the stone floors are so cold that I get
cold clean up to my knees, and I don't get warm for a week. Yet I am
over here for my health! Then the way they rob you--these blamed
French! Lord, if I ever get back to America, where one price includes
everything and your hotel bill isn't sent in on a ladder, and where I
can keep warm, won't I just be _too_ thankful."

Just then the gray-flannel door banged open and a hand reached out and
jerked the poor little old man inside, and we heard him say, "But I
was only blaming the French. I ain't happy over here." And a sharp
voice said, "Well, you've said enough. Don't talk any more at all."
Then she let him out again, but he did not find me in the corridor. He
found his open window, and he leaned against our closed door and again
aimed at the flying landscape, as he pondered over the disadvantages
of Europe.

The sun was just rising over the cathedral as we reached Cologne.

"Let's get out here and have our breakfast comfortably, see the
cathedral, and take the next train to Berlin," I said to my companion.

She is the courier and I am the banker. She hastily consulted her
_indicateur_ and assented. We only had about two seconds in which to
decide.

"Let's throw these bags out of the window," she said. "I've seen other
people do it, and the porters catch them."

"Don't _throw_ them," I urged. "You will break my toilet bottles. Poke
them out gently."

She did so, and we hopped off the train just at daybreak, perfectly
delighted at doing something we had not planned.

A more lovely sight than the Cologne cathedral, with the rising sun
gilding its numerous pinnacles and spires, would be difficult to
imagine. The narrow streets were still comparatively dark, and when we
arrived we heard the majestic notes of the organ in a Bach fugue, and
found ourselves at early mass, with rows of humble worshippers
kneeling before the high altar, and the twinkle of many candles in the
soft gloom. As we stood and watched and listened, the smell of incense
floated down to us, and gradually the first rays of the sun crept
downward through the superb colored-glass windows and stained the
marble statues in their niches into gorgeous hues of purple and
scarlet and amber.

And as the priests intoned and the fresh young voices of an invisible
choir floated out and the magnificent rumble of the organ shook the
very foundation of the cathedral, we forgot that we were there to
visit a sight of Cologne, we forgot our night of discomfort, we forgot
everything but the spirit of worship, and we came away without
speaking.

       *       *       *      *      *

From Cologne to Dresden is stupid. We went through a country
punctuated with myriads of tall chimneys of factories, which reminded
us why so many things in England and America are stamped "Made in
Germany."

We arrived at Dresden at five o'clock, and decided to stop there and
go to the opera that night. The opera begins in Dresden at seven
o'clock and closes at ten. The best seats are absurdly cheap, and
whole families, whole schools, whole communities, I should say, were
there together. I never saw so many children at an opera in my life.
Coming straight from Paris, from the theatrical, vivacious,
enthusiastic French audiences, with their abominable _claqueurs_, this
first German audience seemed serious, thoughtful, appreciative, but
unenthusiastic. They use more judgment about applause than the French.
They never interrupt a scene or even a musical phrase with misplaced
applause because the soprano has executed a flamboyant cadenza or the
tenor has reached a higher note than usual. Their appreciation is slow
but hearty and always worthily disposed. The French are given to
exaggerating an emotion and to applauding an eccentricity. Even their
subtlety is overdone.

The German drama is much cleaner than the French, the family tie is
made more of, sentiment is encouraged instead of being ridiculed, as
it too often is in America; but the German point of view of Americans
is quite as much distorted as the French. That statement is severe,
but true. For instance, it would be utterly impossible for the
American girl to be more exquisitely misunderstood than by French and
German men.

Berlin is so full of electric cars that it seemed much more familiar
at first sight than Paris. It is a lovely city, although we ought to
have seen it before Paris in order fully to appreciate it. Its
Brandenburg Gate is most impressive, and I wanted to make some
demonstration every time we drove under it and realized that the
statue above it has been returned. Their statue of Victory in the
Thiergarten is so hideous, however, that I was reminded of General
Sherman's remark when he saw the Pension Office in Washington, "And
they tell me the ---- thing is fireproof!"

The streets are filled with beautiful things, mostly German officers.
The only trouble is that they themselves seem to know it only too
well, and as they will not give us any of the sidewalk, we are obliged
to admire them from the gutters. The only way you can keep Germans
from knocking you into the middle of the street is to walk sideways
and pretend you are examining the shop windows.

In the eyes of men, women are of little account in England compared to
the way we are treated in America; of less in France; and of still
less in Germany. We have not got to Russia yet.

Paris seems a city of leisure, Berlin a city of war. The streets of
Paris are quite as full of soldiers as Berlin, but French soldiers
look to me like mechanical toys. I have sent Billy a box of them for
Christmas--of mechanical soldiers, I mean. The chief difference I
noticed was that Billy's were smaller than the live ones, although
French soldiers are small enough. That portion of the French army
which I have seen--at Longchamps, Châlons-sur-Marne, Saumur, and at
various other places--are, as a rule, undersized, badly dressed, and
badly groomed. They do not look neat, nor even clean, if you want the
truth. The uniform is very ugly, and was evidently designed for men
thirteen feet high; so that on those comical little toy Frenchmen it
is grotesque in the extreme.

Their trousers are always much too long, and so ample in width that
they seem to need only a belt at the ankle to turn them into perfect
Russian blouses. But English and German soldiers not only appear, but
_are_, in perfect condition, as though they could go to war at a
moment's notice, and would be glad of the chance.

I am keeping my eyes open to see how America bears comparison with
other nations in all particulars. In point of appearance the English
army stands first, the German second, the American third, and the
French fourth. I put the American third only because our uniforms are
less impressive. In everything else, except in numbers, they might
easily stand first. But uniforms and gold lace, and bright scarlet and
waving plumes, make a vast difference in appearance, and every country
in the world recognizes this, except America. I wish that everybody in
the United States who boasts of democracy and Jeffersonian simplicity
could share my dissatisfaction in seeing our ambassadors at Court
balls and diplomatic receptions in deacons' suits of modest black,
without even a medal or decoration of any kind, except perhaps that
gorgeous and overpowering insignia known as the Loyal Legion button,
while every little twopenny kingdom of a mile square sends a
representative in a uniform as brilliant as a peony and stiff with
gold embroidery.

No matter how magnificent a man, personally, our ambassador may be, no
matter how valuable his public services, no matter how unimpeachable
his private character, I wish you could see how small and miserable
and mean is the appearance he presents at Court functions, where every
man there, except the representative of seventy millions of people, is
in some sort of uniform. If it really were Thomas Jefferson whose
administration inaugurated the disgusting simplicity which goes by his
name, I wish the words had stuck in his throat and strangled him.
"Jeffersonian simplicity!" How I despise it! Thomas Jefferson, I
believe, was the first Populist. We had had gentlemen for Presidents
before him, but he was the first one who rooted for votes with the
common herd by catering to the gutter instead of to the skyline, and
the tail end of his policy is to be seen in the mortifying appearance
of our highest officials and representatives. _Hinc illae lachrymae_!

I looked at the servant who announced our names in Paris at General
Porter's first official reception, and even he was much more gorgeous
in dress than the master of the house, the Ambassador Extraordinary
and Minister Plenipotentiary representing seventy millions of people!
Not even in his uniform of a general! The only man in the room in
plain black. The United States ought to treat her representatives
better. When Mr. White at Berlin was received by the Emperor, he, too,
was the only man in plain black.

No wonder we are taken no account of socially when we don't even give
our ambassador a house, as all the other countries do, and when his
salary is so inadequate. Every other ambassador except the American
has a furnished house given him, and a salary sufficient to entertain
as becomes the representative of a great country. All except _ours_!
Yet none of them is obliged to entertain as continuously as our
ambassador, because _only_ Americans travel unremittingly, and _only_
Americans expect their ambassador to be their host.

 "O wad some power the giftie gie us
  To see oursels as ithers see us!"

Of course I notice such things immensely more in Berlin than in Paris,
because the glory of a Court is much more than the twinkle of a
republic.

I have worked myself into such a towering rage over this subject that
there is no getting down to earth gracefully or gradually. I have not
polished off the matter by any manner of means. I have only just
started in, but a row of stars will cool me off.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before I came to Berlin I heard so much about Unter den Linden, that
magnificent street of the city, that I could scarcely wait to get to
it. I pictured it lined on both sides with magnificent linden-trees,
gigantic, imposing, impressive. I had had no intimate acquaintance
with linden-trees--and I wouldn't know one now if I should see it--but
I had an idea from the name--linden, linden--that it was grand and
waving; not so grand as an oak nor so waving as a willow, but a cross
between the two. I knew that I should see these great monarchs making
a giant arch over this broad avenue and mingling their tossing
branches overhead.

What I found when I arrived was a broad, handsome street. But those
lindens! They are consumptive, stunted little saplings without
sufficient energy to grow into real trees. They are set so far apart
that you have time to forget one before you come to another, and as to
their appearance--we have some just like them in Chicago where there
is a leak in the gas-pipes near their roots.

On the day before Christmas we felt very low in our minds. We had the
doleful prospect ahead of us of eating Christmas dinner alone in a
strange country, and in a hotel at that, so we started out shopping.
Not that we needed a thing, but it is our rule, "When you have the
blues, go shopping." It always cures you to spend money.

Berlin shop-windows are much more fascinating even than those of
Paris, because in Berlin there are so many more things that you can
afford to buy that Paris seems expensive in comparison. We became so
much interested in the Christmas display that we did not notice the
flight of time. When we had bought several heavy things to weigh our
trunks down a little more and to pay extra luggage on, I happened to
glance at the sun, and it was just above the horizon. It looked to be
about four o'clock in the afternoon, and we had had nothing to eat
since nine o'clock, and even then only a cup of coffee. I felt myself
suddenly grow faint and weak. "Heavens!" I said, "see what time it is!
We have shopped all day and we have forgotten to get our luncheon."

My companion glanced at her watch.

"It's only half past eleven o'clock by my watch. I couldn't have wound
it last night. No, it is going."

"Perhaps the hands stick. They do on mine. Whenever I wind it, I have
to hit it with the hair-brush to start it; and even then it loses time
every day."

"Let's take them both to a jeweller," she said. "We can't travel with
watches which act this way."

So we left them to be repaired, and as we came out, I said, "It will
take us half an hour to get back to the hotel. Don't you think we
ought to go in somewhere and get just a little something to sustain
us?"

"Of course we ought," she said, in a weak voice. So we went in and got
a light luncheon. Then we went back to the hotel, intending to lie
down and rest after such an arduous day.

"We must not do this again," I said, firmly. "Mamma told me
particularly not to overdo."

My companion did not answer. She was looking at the clock. It was just
noon.

"Why, _that_ clock has stopped too," she said.

But as we looked into the reading-room _that_ clock struck twelve.
Then it dawned on me, and I dropped into a chair and nearly had
hysterics.

"It's because we are so far _north_!" I cried. "Our watches were all
right and the sun's all right. That is as high as it can get!"

She was too much astonished to laugh.

"And you had to go in and get luncheon because you felt so faint," she
said, in a tone of gentle sarcasm.

"Well, you confessed to a fearful sense of goneness yourself."

"Don't tell anybody," she said.

"I should think not!" I retorted, with dignity. "I hope I have _some_
pride."

"Have you presented your letter to the ambassador?" she asked.

"Yes, but it's so near Christmas that I suppose he won't bother about
two waifs like us until after it's over."

"My! but you _are_ blue," she said. "I never heard you refer to
yourself as a waif before."

"I am a worm of the dust. I wish there wasn't such a thing as
Christmas! I wonder what Billy will say when he sees his tree."

"You might cable and find out," she said. "It only costs about three
marks a word. 'What did Billy say when he saw his tree?'--nine
words--it would cost you about eight dollars, without counting the
address."

Dead silence. I didn't think she was at all funny.

"Don't you think we ought to have champagne to-morrow?" she asked.

"What for? I hate the stuff. It makes me ill. Do _you_ want it?"

"No, only I thought that, being Christmas, and very expensive, perhaps
it would do you good to spend--"

A knock on the door made us both jump.

"His Excellency the Ambassador of the United States to see the
American ladies!"

It was, indeed, Mr. White and Mrs. White, and Lieutenant Allen, the
Military Attaché!

"Oh, those blessed angels!" I cried, buckling my belt and dashing for
the wash-stand, thereby knocking the comb and hand-glass from the
grasp of my companion.

They had come within an hour of the presentation of my letter, and
they brought with them an invitation from Mrs. Allen for us to join
them at Christmas dinner the next day, as Mrs. White said they could
not bear to think of our dining alone.

I had many beautiful things done for me during my thirty thousand
miles travel in Europe, but nothing stands out in my mind with more
distinctness than the affectionate welcome I received into the homes
of our representatives in Berlin. And, in passing, let me say this, I
am distinctly proud of them, one and all. I say this because one hears
many humiliating anecdotes of the mistakes made by the men and women
sent to foreign Courts, appointed because they had earned some
recognition for political services. Those of us who have strong
national pride and a sense of the eternal fitness of things, are
obliged to hear such things in shamed silence, and offer no retort,
for there can be no possible excuse for mortifying lapses of
etiquette. And these things will continue until our government
establishes a school of diplomacy and makes a diplomatic career
possible to a man.

As long as it is possible for an ex-coroner or sheriff to be appointed
to a secretaryship of a foreign legation--a man who does not speak the
language and whose wife understands better how to cope with croup and
measles than with wives of foreign diplomats who have been properly
trained for this vocation, just so long shall we be obliged to bear
the ridicule heaped upon us over here, which our government never
hears, and wouldn't care if it did!

Imagine the relief with which I met our Berlin representatives! At the
end of four years there will be no sly anecdotes whispered behind fans
at _their_ expense, for they have all held the same office before and
are well equipped by training, education, and native tact to bear
themselves with a proud front at one of the most difficult Courts of
Europe. I look back upon that little group of Americans with feelings
of unmixed pride.

Mr. White invited us to go with him that afternoon to see the tombs of
the kings at Charlottenburg; and when his gorgeous-liveried footman
came to announce his presence, the hotel proprietor and about forty of
his menials nearly crawled on their hands and knees before us, so
great is their deference to pomp and power.

I wish to associate Berlin with this beautiful mausoleum. It is
circular in shape, and the light falls from above through lovely
colored-glass windows upon those recumbent marble statues. The
dignity, the still, solemn beauty of those pale figures lying there in
their eternal repose, fill the soul with a sense of the great majesty
of death.

When we got back to the hotel we found that the same good fortune
which had attended us so far had ordained that the American mail
should arrive that day, and behold! there were all our Christmas
letters timed as accurately as if they had only gone from Chicago to
New York.

Christmas letters! How they go to the heart when one is five thousand
miles away! How we tore up to our rooms, and oh! how long it seemed to
get the doors unlocked and the electric light turned up, and to plant
ourselves in the middle of the bed to read and laugh and cry and
interrupt each other, and to read out paragraphs of Billy's funny
baby-talk!

While we were still discussing them, the proprietor came up to
announce to us that there was to be a Christmas Eve entertainment in
the main dining-room that evening, and would the American ladies do
him the honor to come down? The American ladies would.

When we went down we found that the enormous dining-room was packed
with people, all standing around a table which ran around two sides of
the room. A row of Christmas trees, covered with cotton to represent
snow, occupied the middle of the room, and at one end was a space
reserved for the lady guests, and in each chair was a handsome bouquet
of violets and lilies-of-the-valley.

This entertainment was for the servants of the hotel, of whom there
were three hundred and fifty.

First they sang a Lutheran hymn, very slowly, as if it were a dirge.
Then there was a short sermon. Then another hymn. Then the manager
made a little speech and called, for three cheers for the proprietor,
and they gave them with a fervor that nearly split the ears of the
groundlings.

Then a signal was given, and in less than one minute three hundred and
fifty paper bags were produced, and three hundred and fifty plates
full of oranges, apples, buns, and sweetened breads were emptied into
them. The table looked as if a plague of grasshoppers had swept over
it.

Then each servant presented a number and received a present from the
tree, and that ended the festivity. But so typical of the fatherland,
so paternal, so like one great family!

Participating in this simple festival brought a little of the
Christmas feeling home to us and made us almost happy. We knew that
our American parcels would not be delivered until the next day, so we
had but just time to reread our precious letters when the clock struck
twelve, and with much solemnity my companion and I presented each
other with our modest Christmas present--which each had announced that
she wanted and had helped to select! But, then, who would not rather
select one's own Christmas presents, and so be sure of getting things
that one wants?

On Christmas morning registered packages began to arrive for both of
us. The first ten presents to arrive for my companion were
pocket-handkerchiefs. My first ten were all books. Evidently the dear
family had thought that American books would be most acceptable over
here, and I could see, with a feeling that warmed my heart, how
carefully they had consulted my taste, and had tried to remember to
send those I wanted. But I am of a frugal mind, and thoughts of the
extra luggage to be paid on bound books would intrude themselves.
However, I made no remark over the first ten, but before the day was
over I had received twenty-two books and one pen-wiper, and my
vocabulary was exhausted. My companion continued to receive
handkerchiefs until the room was full of them. Take it all together,
there was a good deal of sameness about our presents, but they have
been useful as dinner anecdotes ever since. Now that I have sent all
mine to be stored at Munroe's, together with all my other necessities,
I feel lighter and more buoyant both in mind and trunk.

A Christmas dinner in a foreign land, in the midst of the diplomatic
corps, is the most undiplomatic thing in the world, for that is the
one time when you can cease to be diplomatic and dare to criticise the
government and make personal remarks to your heart's content.

It was a beautiful dinner, and after it was over we were all invited
to the children's entertainment at Mrs. Squiers's. She had gathered
about fifty of the American colony for Christmas carols and a tree.
Immediately after the ambassador arrived the children marched in and
recited in chorus the verses about the birth of Christ, beginning,
"Now in the days of Herod the King." Then they sang their carols, and
then "Stille Nacht," and they sang them beautifully, in their sweet,
childish voices.

After these exercises the doors were thrown open, and the most
beautiful Christmas-tree I ever beheld burst upon the view of those
children, who nearly went wild with delight.

After everybody had gone home except "the diplomatic family," which
for the time being included us, we picnicked on the remains of the
Christmas turkey for supper, and there was as little ceremony about it
as if it had been at an army post on the frontier. We had a beautiful
time, and everybody seemed to like everybody very much and to be
excellent friends.

Then Mr. and Mrs. White escorted us back to our hotel, which wasn't at
all necessary, but which illustrates the way in which they treated us
all the time we were there.

This ended a truly beautiful Christmas, for, aside from being
unexpected and in striking contrast to the forlornness we had
anticipated, we had been taken into the families of beautiful people,
whose home life was an honor and an inspiration to share.

On New Year's day we started early and went to Potsdam to visit the
palace of Sans Souci.

A most curious and interesting little old man who had been a guide
there for thirty years showed us through the grounds, where the King's
greyhounds are buried, and where he pleaded to be buried with them.
The guide had no idea that he possessed a certain dramatic genius for
pathos, for, parrot-like, he was repeating the story he had told
perhaps a thousand times before. But when he showed us the graves of
the greyhounds which ate the poisoned food which had been prepared for
the King, he said:

"And they lie here. Not there with the other dogs, the favorites of
the King, but here, alone, disgraced, without even a headstone.
Without even their names, although they saved the great King from
death and gave their lives for his. Yet they lie here, and the others
lie there. It is the way of the world, ladies."

Then he took us to the top of the terrace facing the palace, and,
pointing to the entrance, he said:

"In the left wing were the chambers of the King's guests. In the right
wing were his own. Therefore, he placed a comma between those two
words 'Sans' and 'Souci,' to indicate that those at the left were
'without,' while with himself was--'Care.'"

While we were there the Emperor drove by and spoke to our cabman,
saying, "How is business?" Seeing how much pleasure it gave the poor
fellow to repeat it, we kept asking him to tell vis what the Kaiser
said to him.

First my companion would say:

"When was it and what happened?"

And when he had quite finished, I would say:

"It wasn't the Emperor himself, was it? It must have been the coachman
who spoke to you."

"No, not so, ladies. It was the great Kaiser himself. He said to me--"
And then we would get the whole thing over again. It was charming to
see his pleasure.

When we returned home we entered the hotel between rows of palms, and
we dropped money into each of them. It seemed to me that fifty
servants were between me and the elevators. However, it was New
Year's, and we tried not to be bored by it.

People talk so much of the expense of foreign travel, but to my mind
the greatest expenditures are in paying for extra luggage and in fees.
Otherwise, I fancy that travel is much the same if one travels
luxuriously, and that in the long run things would be about equal. The
great difference is that in America all travel luxuries are given to
you for the price of your ticket, and here you pay for each separate
necessity, to say nothing of luxury, and your ticket only permits you
to breathe. But the annoyance of this continuous habit of feeing makes
life a burden. One pays for everything. It is the custom of the
country, and no matter if you arrange to have "service included," it
is in the air, in the eyes of the servants, in the whole mental
atmosphere, and you fee, you fee, you fee until you are nearly dead
from the bother of it. In Germany they raise their hats and rise to
their feet every time you pass, even if you pass every seven minutes,
and when the time comes for you to go, you have to pay for the wear
and tear of these hats.

In Paris, at the theatre, you fee the woman who shows you to your
seat, you fee the woman who opens the door and the woman who takes
your wraps. One night in midsummer we stepped across from the Grand
Hôtel to the opera without even a scarf for a wrap, and the woman was
so disappointed that we were handed from one attendant to another some
half dozen times as "three ladies without wraps." And the next one
would look us over from head to foot and repeat the words, "Three
ladies without wraps," until we laughed in their faces.

French servants are the cleverest in the world if you want
versatility, but they are absolutely shameless in their greed, and
look at the size of your coin before they thank you. In fact, the
words in which they thank you indicate whether your fee was not
enough, only modest, or handsome.

"It is not too much, madam," or "thanks, madam," or "I thank you a
thousand times" show your status in their estimation.

If you are an American they reserve the right to rob you by the
impudence of their demands, until rather than have a scene, you give
them all they ask. I have followed in the footsteps of a French woman
and given exactly what she did, and had my money flung in derision
upon the pavement.

German servants seem to have more self-respect, for while they expect
it quite as much, they smile and thank you and never look at the coin
before your eyes. Perhaps they know from the feeling of it, but even
if you place it upon the table behind them they thank you and never
look at it or take it until you turn away.

However, you fee unmercifully here too. You fee the man at the bank
who cashes your checks, you fee the street-car conductor who takes
your fare, you fee every uniformed hireling of the government, whether
he has done anything for you or not.

The only persons whom I have neglected to fee so far are the
ambassadors.

But then, they do not wear uniforms!



IV


ON BOARD THE YACHT "HELA"

I am just able to sit up, and I couldn't think of a thing I wanted to
eat if I thought a week. I came on this yachting trip because my
friends begged me to. They said it would be an experience for me. It
has been.

The _Hela_ started out with a party of ten on board, who were on
pleasure bent. We have come up the English Channel from Dinard to
Ostend, but before we had been out an hour we struck a gale, to which
veterans on seasickness will refer for many a long day as "that
fearful time on the Channel."

On the whole, I don't know but that I myself might be considered a
veteran on seasickness. I have averaged crossing the Channel once a
month ever since I've been over here. I have got into the habit of
crossing the Channel, and I can't seem to stop. It always appears that
I am in the wrong place for whatever is going on, for just as sure as
I go to London somebody sends for me to come to Paris, and I rush for
the Channel, and I have no sooner unpacked my trunks in Paris, and
bargained that service and electric lights shall be included, than
somebody discovers that I am imperatively needed in England, and I
make for the Channel again. The Channel is like Jordan. It always
rolls between.

But even in crossing the Channel there is everything in knowing how. I
have discarded the private state-room. It is too expensive, and I am
not a bit less uncomfortable than when occupying six feet of the
settee in the ladies' cabin, with my feet in the flowers of another
woman's hat. In fact, I prefer the latter. The other woman is always
too ill to protest or to move. I have now, by long and patient
practice, proved to my own satisfaction what serves me best in case of
seasickness. I will not stay on deck. I will not eat or drink anything
to cure it. I will not take anything to prevent it. I will not sit up,
and I will not keep my hat on. When I go on board of a Channel steamer
my first act is to shake hands with my friends and to go below. There
I present the stewardess with a modest testimonial of my regard. I
also give her my ticket. Then I select the most desirable portion of
the settee, near a port-hole, from which I can get fresh air. I take
off my hat and lie down. The steamer may not start for an hour. No
matter. There I am, and there I stay. The Channel may be as smooth as
glass, but I travel better flat. Like manuscript, I am not to be
rolled. Sometimes I am not ill at all, but I freely confess that those
times are infrequent and disappointing.

Now, of course, this is always to be expected in crossing the Channel,
but my friends said in going up the Channel we would not get those
choppy waves, and that I would find that the _Hela_ swam like a duck.

In analyzing that statement since, with a view to classifying it as
truth or otherwise, I have studied my recollections of ducks, and I
have come to the conclusion that in a rough sea a duck has every right
to be seasick, for she wobbles like everything else that floats. For
real comfort, give me something that's anchored. Nevertheless, I was
persuaded to join the party.

Everybody came down at Dinard to see us off, and quite a number even
went over to St. Malo with us in the electric launch, for the _Hela_
drew too much water to enter the harbor at Dinard at low tide.

We were a merry party for the first hour on board the _Hela_--until we
struck the gale. It has seemed to me since that our evil genius was
hovering over us from the first, and simply waited until it would be
out of the question to turn back before emptying the vials of her
wrath on our devoted heads. It did not rain. The sun kept a malevolent
eye upon us all the time. It simply blew just one straight,
unrelenting, unswerving gale. And it came so suddenly. We were all
sitting on deck as happy as angels, when, without a word of warning,
the _Hela_ simply turned over on her side and threw us all out of our
chairs. I caught at a mast as I went by and clung like a limpet. There
was tar on the mast. It isn't there any more. It is on the front of my
new white serge yachting dress. Jimmie coasted across the deck, and
landed on his hands and knees against the gunwale. If he had persisted
in standing up he would have gone overboard. The women all shrieked
and remained in a tangled heap of chairs, and rugs, and petticoats,
waiting for the yacht to right herself, and for the men to come and
pick them up. But the yacht showed no intention of righting herself.
She continued to careen in the position of a cab going round
Piccadilly Circus on one wheel. The sailors were all running around
like ants on an ant-hill, and the captain was shouting orders, and
even lending a hand with the ropes himself. I don't know the nautical
terms, but they were taking down the middle sail--the mainsail, that's
it. It did not look dangerous, because the sun kept shining, and I
never thought of being frightened. I just clung to the mast, watching
the other people right themselves, and laughing, when suddenly
everything ceased to be funny. The decks of the _Hela_ took on a wavy
motion, and I blinked my eyes in order to see better, for everything
was getting very indistinct, and there were green spots on the sun.
Suddenly I realized that I was a long way from home, and that I was
even a long way from my state-room. I only had just about sense enough
left to remember that the mast was my very best friend and that I must
cling there.

After that, I remember that somebody came up behind me and pried my
hands loose from the mast.

The doctor's voice said, "Can you walk?"

I smiled feebly and said, "I used to know how." But evidently my
efforts were not highly successful, for he picked me up, white serge,
tar, green spots on the sun, and all, and carried me below, a limp and
humiliated bit of humanity.

Mrs. Jimmie and Commodore Strossi followed with more anxiety than the
occasion warranted.

Then Mrs. Jimmie sent the men away, and I felt pillows under my head,
and camphor under my nose, and hot-water bags about me; and I must
have gone to sleep or died, or something, for I don't remember
anything more until the next day.

They were very nice to me, for I was such a cheerful invalid. It
seemed to surprise them that I could even pretend to be happy. I knew
that it must be an uncommon gale from the way Commodore Strossi
studied the charts, and because even his wife, for whom the yacht was
named, was ill, and she had spent half her life on the sea. The poor
little French cabin-boy was ill, too, and went around, with a
Nile-green countenance, waiting on people, before he was obliged to
retire from active service.

The pitching of the yacht was something so terrible that it got to be
hysterically funny. It couldn't seem dangerous with the sun streaming
down the companion-way and past my state-room windows. About five
o'clock on the second day they began to tack, and then I heard shrieks
of laughter and the crash of china, and groans from the saloon settee,
where young Bashforth was lying ghastly ill.

At the first lurch my trunk tipped over, and all the bottles on the
wash-stand bounded across to the bed, and most of them struck me on
the head. It frightened me so that I shrieked, and Jimmie came running
down to see if I was killed.

As I raised my head I saw his horrified gaze fairly riveted to my
face, and I felt something softly trickling down. I touched it, and
then looked at my hand and discovered that it was wet and red.

"Good heavens, your face is all cut open," gasped Jimmie, in a voice
that revealed his terror.

Mrs. Jimmie was just behind him, and I saw her turn pale. In a flash I
saw myself disfigured for life, and probably having to be sewed up.
The pain in my face became excruciating, and I began to think yachting
rather serious business.

"Run for the doctor, Jimmie," said his wife. Jimmie obediently ran.

"Does it hurt very much, dear?" she said, sitting on the edge of the
bed.

"Awfully," I murmured.

The doctor came, followed by François, with a basin of hot water and
sponges, and a nasty-looking little case of instruments. Mrs. Jimmie
held my hand. They turned on the electric lights and opened the
windows. Jimmie had my salts. The doctor carefully wet a sponge and
tenderly bathed my cheek, and I held my breath ready to shriek if he
hurt me. Commodore Strossi stood at the door with an anxious face.
Suddenly the doctor reached for a broken bottle half hidden under my
pillow.

"Oh, what is it, doctor?" asked Mrs. Jimmie. "What makes you look so
queer?"

"This is iodine on her face. Her bottle has emptied itself. That is
all."

We gazed at each other for a moment or two, then I nearly went into
hysterics. Jimmie's face was a study.

"You said it was blood, Jimmie," I said.

"Well, you said it hurt," he retorted.

"Well, it did. When you said I was covered with blood it hurt
awfully."

The doctor went out much chagrined that he had not been called upon to
sew up a wound. I had a relapse, brought on by young Bashforth's
jeering remarks as he frantically clung to the handles of the locker
which formed the back of the settee where he lay prostrate.

I was too utterly done up to reply, for two days' violent seasickness
rather takes the mental ginger out of one's make-up. But Fate avenged
me in this wise. The door of my state-room opened into the
dining-room, and my bed faced the door. Opposite to me was the settee
on which Bashforth was coiled, and back of him was the locker for the
tinned mushrooms, sardines, lobster, shrimp, caviar, deviled ham, and
all the things which well people can eat. This locker had brass
handles let into the mahogany, and to these handles the poor fellow
clung when the yacht lurched.

His cruel words of derision had hardly left his pale lips before they
tacked again. He was not holding on, but he hastily snatched at the
handles. He was too late, however, for he was tossed from the settee
to the legs of the dining-room table (which, fortunately, were
anchored) without touching the floor at all. He described a perfect
parabola. It was just the way I should have tossed him had I been
Destiny. He gripped the table-legs like a vise, coiling himself around
them like a poor navy-blue python with a green face. He thought the
worst was over, but in his last clutch at the locker he had
accidentally opened it, and at the next lurch of the yacht all the
cans bounded out and battered his unprotected back like a shower of
grape-shot. The yacht lurched again and the cans rolled back. She
pitched forward, and again the mushrooms and deviled ham aimed for
him. The noise brought everybody, and at first nobody tried to help
him. They just couldn't see because of the tears in their eyes from
laughing. As for me, I managed to crawl to the foot of the bed and
cling to a post, so weak I couldn't wipe the tears away, but laying up
an amount of enjoyment which will enrich my old age.

Finally, Jimmie got sorry for him, and went and tried to pick him up.
But he was laughing so, he dropped him.

"Oh, Jimmie," I pleaded. "Don't drop anybody who is seasick. Drop well
people if you must. But put him on the settee carefully."

"I'll put him there," said Jimmie, wiping his eyes on his coat-sleeve.
"But I don't say I'll do it the first time I try. I'll get him there
by dinner-time--I hope."

It was dangerous to ridicule anybody in that gale, for the doctor in
the companion-way was leaning in at my window and laughing in his big
English voice, when the _Hela_ lurched and pitched him half-way into
my state-room. There he balanced with his hands on my trunk.

He was rather a tight fit, which interested Jimmie more than young
Bashforth, so he left the boy and came around and pried the doctor
back into the companion-way.

The _Hela_ was a fickle jade, for no sooner would she shake us up in
such an alarming manner than she would seem to regret her violence,
and would skim like a bird for an hour or so, with no perceptible
motion. She would not even flap her big white wings, but she cut
through the water with a whir and a rush which exhilarated me as
flying must stir the heart of a sea-gull.

She behaved so well after five o'clock that they decided to try to eat
dinner from the dinner-table--a thing they had not done since we
started. There were only four of them able to appear--Mr. and Mrs.
Jimmie, the doctor, and the Commodore.

They put the racks up and took every precaution. The only mistake they
made was in using the yacht's lovely china, which bore the Strossi
crest under the _Hela's_ private flag.

Jimmie and his wife sat opposite each other. I put three pillows under
my head, the better to watch them, when suddenly the yacht tilted Mrs.
Jimmie and her chair over backward. Jimmie saw her going and reached
to save her. But he forgot to set down his soup-plate. The result was
that she got Jimmie's soup in her face, and that he slid clear across
the table on his hands and knees, taking china and table-cloth with
him, and they all landed on top of poor Mrs. Jimmie (who, even as I
write, is in her stateroom having her hair washed).

Her chief wail, when she could speak, was not that her head ached from
the blow, or that she was half strangled with tepid soup, but that
Jimmie had broken all the china. She could not be comforted until the
Commodore proved that some of the china had been broken previously, by
showing her the fragments wrecked on the first day out.

That last catastrophe has apparently settled things. Everybody has
turned in to repair damages, and, perhaps, afterwards to sleep.

The Commodore is studying the charts on the dining-room table, and the
captain, an American, has just put his head in at the door and said:

"She's sailing twelve knots an hour under just the fores'l, sir, and
she's running like a scairt dog."

       *       *       *       *       *

Americans are so accustomed to outrageous distances that a journey of
fifty hours is mere play. But I sincerely believe that no other trait
of ours causes the European to regard our nation with such suspicion
as our utter unconcern of long journeys. Nothing short of accession to
a title or to escape being caught by the police would induce the
Continental to travel over a few hours. So when I decided to go to
Poland in order to be a member of a gorgeous house-party, I might as
well have robbed a bank and given my friends something to be
suspicious of. They never believed that I would do such a fatiguing
and unheard-of thing until I really left.

But Poland has always beckoned me like a friend--a friend which
combined all the poetry, romance, fascination, nobility, and honor of
a first love. If the Pole is proud, he has something to be proud of.
His honor has dignity. His country's sorrows touch the heart. Polish
literature has sentiment, her music has fire, her men of genius stand
out like heroes, her women are adorable. Balzac describes not only one
but a not infrequent type when he dedicates _Modeste Mignon_ "To a
Polish Lady" in the most exquisite apostrophe which ever graced the
entrance-hall to one of the noblest novels of this inimitable master.

"Daughter of an enslaved land, angel through love, witch through
fancy, child by faith, aged by experience, man in brain, woman in
heart, giant by hope, mother through sorrow, poet in thy dreams, to
Thee belongs this book, in which thy love, thy fancy, thy experience,
thy sorrow, thy hope, thy dreams, are the warp through which is shot a
woof less brilliant than the poesy of thy soul, whose expression when
it shines upon thy countenance is, to those who love thee, what the
characters of a lost language are to scholars."

Such a tribute as this would of itself be sufficient to turn the heart
expectantly towards Poland, to say nothing of the interest her history
has for the brain. The history of Poland is one long struggle for home
and country. The Pole is a patriot by inheritance. His patriotism,
goes deeper than his love.

His country comes first in his soul, and for that reason the Poles
have in me an enthusiastic ally, an ardent admirer, and a sympathetic
friend.

In speaking of the story of Poland with a cold-blooded reader of
history I expressed my appreciation of the noble proportions of their
struggles and my sympathy for their present unfortunate plight, to
which she replied: "Yes, but it is so entirely their own fault. They
are so fiery, so precipitate, so romantic. They got _themselves_ into
it! Their poesy and romance and folly make them charming as
individuals, but ridiculous as a nation. I like the Poles, but I have
no patience with Poland." How exactly the world's verdict on the
artistic temperament! There is a round hole, and, lo and behold! all
squares must be forced into it!

Suppose that everything resolved itself into the commonplace; where
would be your imagination, your fancy, your rich experience of the
heart and soul? Poland furnishes just this element in history. Her
struggles are so romantic, her follies so charmingly natural to a
high-strung nation, her despair so profound, her frequent revolutions
so buoyant in hope, that she reminds me of a brilliant woman striving
to make dull women understand her, and failing as persistently and
completely as the artistic temperament always fails.

A frog spat at a glowworm. "Why do you spit at me?" said the glowworm.
"Why do you shine so?" said the frog.

Poland's singers have voices so piercingly sweet; her novelists have
pens touched with such divine fire; her actors portray so much of the
soul; her patriots have always shown such reckless and inspiring
bravery; and now, in her desolation and subjection, there is still so
much pride, such noble dignity under her losses, that of all the
countries in the world Poland holds both the heart and mind by a
fascination of which she herself is unconscious, marking a noble
simplicity of soul which is in itself an added indication of her
queenly inheritance.

Julia Marlowe in her _Countess Valeska_ is a Pole to her finger-tips.
Her acting is superb. Cleopatra herself never felt nor inspired a
diviner passion than Valeska; but when it came to a question of her
love or her country she rose above self with an almost superhuman
effort and saved her country at the expense of her love.

No American who has not the same awful passion of patriotism; no one
who is not a lover of his country above home or friends or wife or
children; who does not love his America second only to his God; whose
blood does not prickle in his veins at the sound of "The Star-Spangled
Banner," and whose eyes do not fill with tears at the sight of "Old
Glory" floating anywhere, can understand of what patriotism the Pole
is capable.

Nor can one who has not the foolish, romantic, nervous, high-strung,
artistic temperament understand from within Poland's national history.
For that reason one is apt to find famous places in Europe which have
only an historical significance somewhat disappointing. One fails to
find in a battle fought for the sake of conquest by an overweening
ambition such soul-stirring pathos as in the leading of a forlorn hope
from the spirit of patriotism, or of a woman's pleadings where a man's
arguments have failed. For that reason Austerlitz touches one not so
nearly as the struggle around Memel. As we drew near Memel things
began to look lonely and foreign and queer, and its picturesque
features were enhanced by recollection of Napoleon and Queen Louise.

Memel is near Tilsit, and the river Niemen, or Memel, empties into the
Baltic just below here. The conference on the raft appeals to me as
one of the most thrilling and yet pitiably human events in all
history.

Its sickening anticlimax to poor Queen Louise was so exactly in
keeping with the smaller disappointments which assail her more humble
sister women in every walk of life that it takes on the air of a heart
tragedy. I tried to imagine the feelings of the Queen when _she_
journeyed to Memel to hold her famous interview with Napoleon. How her
pride must have suffered at the thought of lowering herself to plead
for her husband and her country at Napoleon's hands! How she hated him
before she saw him! How she more than hated him after she left him!
How she must have scorned the beauty upon which Napoleon commented so
idly when a nation's honor was at stake! A typical act of the emperor
of the French nation! Napoleon proved by that one episode that he was
more French than Corsican.

In the Queen's illness at Memel she was so poorly housed that long
lines of snow sifted in through the roof and fell across her bed. But
that was as nothing to her mental disquiet while the fate of her
beloved Prussia hung in the balance.

There is a bridge across the Memel at the exact spot where the famous
raft conference is said to have taken place. As we crossed this bridge
it seemed so far removed from those stormy days of strife that it was
difficult to imagine the magnificent spectacle of the immense armies
of Napoleon and Alexander drawn up on either bank, while these two
powerful monarchs were rowed out to the raft to decide the fate of
Frederick William and his lovely queen.

And although to them Prussia was the issue of the hour, how like the
history of individual lives was this conference! For Prussia's fate
was almost ignored, while the conversation originally intended to
consume but a few moments lengthened into hours, and Napoleon and
Alexander, having sworn eternal friendship, proceeded to divide up
Europe between them, and parted with mutual expressions of esteem and
admiration, having quite forgotten a trifle like the King and Queen of
Prussia and their rage of anxiety.

But all these memories of Napoleon and Prussia gave way before the
vital fact that we were to visit a lovely Polish princess and see some
of her charming home life. I had been duly informed by my friends of
the various ceremonies which I would encounter, and which, I must
confess, rendered me rather timid. I only hoped my wits would not
desert me at the crucial moment.

For instance, if the archbishop were there I must give him my hand and
then lean forward and kiss his sleeve just below the shoulder. I only
hoped my chattering teeth would not meet in his robe. So when I saw
the state carriage of the princess at the station of Memel, drawn by
four horses, and with numbers of servants in such queer liveries to
attend to my luggage, I simply breathed a prayer that I would get
through it all successfully; and if not, that they would lay any
lapses at the door of my own eccentricities, and not to the ignorance
of Americans in general, for I never wish to disgrace my native land.

The servants wore an odd flat cap, like a tam-o'-shanter with a visor.
Their coats were of bright blue, with the coat-of-arms of the princess
on the brass buttons. This coat reached nearly to their feet, and in
the back it was gathered full and stiffened with canvas, for all the
world like a woman's pannier. I thought I should die the first time I
got a side view of those men.

It was late Friday afternoon when we left the train, and we drove at a
tremendous pace through lonely forests which we were only too happy to
leave behind us. Suddenly we came upon the little village of Kretynga,
whose streets were paved with cobblestones the size of a man's two
fists.

To drive slowly over cobblestones is not a joy, but to drive four
Russian horses at a gallop over such cobblestones as those was
something to make you bite your tongue and to break your teeth and to
shake your very soul from its socket.

The town is inhabited by Polish Jews, and a filthy, greasy, nauseating
set they are, both men and women. The men wear two or three long,
oily, tight curls in front of their ears. Their noses are hooked like
a parrot's. Their countenances are sinister, and I believe they have
not washed since the Flood. The women, when they marry, shave their
heads. Then they either wear huge wigs, which they use to wipe their
hands on without the ceremony of washing them first, or else they wear
a black or white or gray satin hood-piece with a line to imitate the
parting of the hair embroidered on it.

Nothing is clean about them. I no longer wonder that Jews are expelled
from Russia. It makes one rather respect Russia as a clean country. As
it was Friday night, one window-sill in each house was filled with a
row of lighted candles representing each member of the family who was
either absent or dead.

Being so far away from home myself, this appealed to me as such a
touching custom that it made my eyes smart.

Presently a clearing in the forest revealed the famous monastery of
Kretynga--a monastery famous for being peopled with priests and monks
whom the Tzar has exiled because they took too much interest in
politics for his nerves. Then soon after passing this monastery we
entered the grounds of the castle. Still the longest part of the drive
lay before us, for this one of the many estates of the Princess lies
between the Memel and the Baltic Sea, and covers a large territory.

But finally, after driving through an avenue of trees which are worth
a dictionary of words all to themselves, we came to the castle, a huge
structure, which seemed to spread out before us interminably, for it
was too dark to see anything but its majestic outlines.

The Princess in her own home was even lovelier than she had been in
Paris, and charitably allowed us to have one night's rest before
meeting the family.

About three o'clock in the morning I was awakened by a mournful chant,
all in minor, which began beneath my windows and receded, growing
fainter and fainter, until at last it died away. It was the hymn which
the peasants always sing as they go forth to their work in the fields;
but its mournful cadence haunted me. The next morning the largeness of
the situation dawned upon me. The size of the rooms and their majestic
furnishings were almost barbaric in their splendor. The tray upon
which my breakfast was served was of massive silver. The coffee-pot,
sugar-bowl, and plates were of repoussé silver, exquisitely wrought,
but so large that one could hardly lift them.

In a great openwork basket of silver were any number of sweetened
breads and small cakes and buns, all made by the baker in the castle,
who all day long does nothing but bake bread and pastry. They do not
serve hot milk with coffee, for which I blessed them from the bottom
of my soul, but they have little brown porcelain jugs which they fill
with cream so thick that you have to take it out with a spoon--it
won't pour,--and these they heat in ovens, and so serve you hot cream
for your coffee.

I call the gods from Olympus to testify to the quality of the nectar
this combination produces. Some of those little porcelain jugs are
going on their travels soon.

Meeting the various members of the Princess's charming family and
remembering their titles was not an ordeal at all--at least it was not
after it was over. They were quite like other people, except that
their manners were unusually good. There was to be a hunt that
morning--an amusing, luxurious sort of hunt quite in my line; one
where I could go in a carriage and see the animals caught, but where I
need not see them killed.

They were to hunt a mischievous little burrowing animal something like
our badger, which is as great a pest to Poland as the rabbits are to
Australia. They destroy the crops by eating their roots, so every
little while a hunt is organized to destroy them in large numbers. The
foresters had been sent out the night before to discover a favorite
haunt of theirs, and to fill up all the entrances to their burrows; so
all that we had to do was to drive to the scene of action.

It sounds simple enough, but I most solemnly assure you that it was
anything but a simple drive to one fresh from the asphalt of Paris,
for, like Jehu, they drove furiously.

Their horses are all wild, runaway beasts, and they drive them at an
uneven gallop resembling the gait of our fire-engine horses at home,
except that ours go more slowly. Sometimes the horses fall down when
they drive across country, as they stop only for stone walls or moats.
The carriages must be built of iron, for the front wheels drop a few
feet into a burrow every now and then, and at such times an unwary
American is liable to be pitched over the coachman's head. "Hold on
with both hands, shut your eyes, and keep your tongue from between
your teeth," would be my instructions to one about to "take a drive"
in Poland.

When we came to the place we found the foresters watching the
_dachshunde_. These I discovered to be long, flat, shallow dogs with
stumpy legs--a dog which an American has described as "looking as if
he was always coming out from under a bureau." Very cautiously here
and there the foresters uncovered a burrow, and a _dachshund_
disappeared. Then from below ground came the sounds of fighting. The
_dachshunde_ had found their prey. The foresters ran about, stooping
to locate the sound. When they discovered the spot a dozen of them at
once began to dig as fast as they could.

Presently a writhing, rolling, barking bunch of fur and flying sand
came into view, when a forester with a long forked stick caught the
animal just back of its head and flung it into a coarse sack, which
was then tied up and thrown aside, and the hunt went on. After we all
went home the foresters gathered up these bags and killed the poor
little animals somehow--mercifully, I hope.

The dinner, which came at two o'clock, was so much of a function, on
account of the number of guests in the house, that it impressed itself
upon my memory.

First in the salon there were small tables set, containing _hors
d'oeuvres_. There were large decanters containing _vodke_, a liquor
something like Chinese rice-brandy. There were smoked goose, smoked
bear, and salmon, white and black bread, all sorts of sausages,
anchovies and caviar, of course. After these had been tasted largely
by the guests who were not Americans, and who knew that a formidable
dinner yet had to be discussed, we were all seated at a table in the
grand dining-room.

There were a hundred of us, and the table held enough for twice that
many. We began with a hot soup made of fermented beet-juice. This we
found to be delicious, but I seemed to be eating transparent red ink
with parsley in it. This was followed by a cold soup made of sour
cream and cucumbers, with _écrevisse_, a small and delicious lobster.
There was ice in this.

Cucumbers and sour cream! Let me see, wasn't it President Taylor who
died of eating cherries and milk?

Then came a salad of chicken and lettuce, and then huge roasts
garnished with exquisite French skill.

After the sweets came the fruit, such fruits as even our own
California cannot produce, with white raspberries of a size and taste
quite indescribable. When dinner is over comes a very pretty custom.
The hostess, whose seat is nearest the door, rises, and each guest
kisses her hand or her arm as he passes out, and thanks her in a
phrase for her hospitality. Sometimes it is only "Thank you,
princess"; sometimes "Many thanks for your beautiful dinner," or
anything you like. They speak Polish to each other and to their
servants, but they are such wonderful linguists that they always
address a guest in his own language. To their peasants, however, who
speak an unlearnable dialect, they are obliged always to have an
interpreter.

At six o'clock came tea from samovars four feet high and of the most
gorgeous repoussé silver. Melons, fruit, and all sorts of bread are
served with this. Then at eight a supper, very heavy, very sumptuous,
very luxurious.

The whole day had been charming, exhilarating, different from anything
we had ever seen before; but there was to follow something which
impressed itself upon my excitable nerves with a fascination so
bewildering that I can think of but one thing which would give me the
same amount of heavenly satisfaction. This would be to have Theodore
Thomas conduct the Chicago orchestra in the "Tannhäuser" overture in
the Court of Honor at the World's Fair some night with a full moon.

But to return. The Princess excused herself to her Protestant guests
after supper, and then her family, with the servants and all the
guests who wished, assembled in the winter garden to sing hymns to the
Virgin. The winter garden is like a gigantic conservatory four stories
high. It connects the two wings of the castle on the ground floor, and
all the windows and galleries of the floors above overlook it.

It is the most beautiful spot even in the daytime that I ever saw
connected with any house built for man. But at night to look down upon
its beauty, with its palms, its tall ferns, its growing, climbing,
waving vines and flowering shrubs, with its divine odors and
fragrances and sweet dampnesses from mosses and lovely, moist, green,
growing things, is to have one's soul filled with a poetry undreamed
of on the written page.

The candles dotting the soft gloom, the spray from the fountains
blowing in the air and tinkling into their marble basins, the tones of
the grand organ rumbling and soaring up to us, the moonlight pouring
through the great glass dome and filtering through the waving green
leaves, dimpling on the marble statues and making trembling shades and
shadows upon the earnest faces of the worshippers, the penetrating
sadness of their minor hymns--all the sights and sounds and fragrances
of this winter garden made of that hour "one to be forever marked with
a white stone."



V


VILNA, RUSSIA

We met our first real discourtesy in Berlin at the hands of a German,
and although he was only the manager of an hotel, we lay it up against
him and cannot forgive him for it. It happened in this wise:

My companion, being the courier, bought our tickets straight through
to St. Petersburg, with the privilege of stopping a week in Vilna,
where we were to be the guests of a Polish nobleman. When she sent the
porter to check our trunks she told him in faultless German to check
them only to Vilna on those tickets. But as her faultless German
generally brings us soap when she orders coffee, and hot water when
she calls for ice, I am not so severe upon the stupidity of the porter
as she is. However, when he came back and asked for fifty-five marks
extra luggage to St. Petersburg we gave a wail, and explained to the
manager, who spoke English, that we were not going to St. Petersburg,
and that we were not particularly eager to pay out fifty-five marks
for the mere fun of spending money. If the choice were left to us we
felt that we could invest it more to our satisfaction in belts and
card-cases.

He was very big and handsome, this German, and doubtless some meek
_fräulein_ loves him, but we do not, and, moreover, we pity her,
whoever and wherever she may be, for we know by experience that if
they two are ever to be made one he will be that one. He said he was
sorry, but that, doubtless, when we got to the Russian frontier we
could explain matters and get our trunks. But we could not speak
Russian, we told him, and we wanted things properly arranged then and
there. He clicked his heels together and bowed in a superb manner, and
we were sure our eloquence and our distress had fetched him, so to
speak, when to our amazement he simply reiterated his statements.

"But surely you are not going to let two American women leave your
hotel all alone at eleven o'clock at night with their luggage checked
to the wrong town?" I said, in wide-eyed astonishment.

Again he clicked those heels of his. Again that silk hat came off.
Again that superb bow. He was very sorry, but he could do nothing.
Doubtless we could arrange things at the frontier. It was within ten
minutes of train time, and we were surrounded by no fewer than thirty
German men--guests, porters, hall-boys--who listened curiously, and
offered no assistance.

I looked at my companion, and she looked at me, and ground her teeth.

"Then you absolutely refuse us the courtesy of walking across the
street with us and mending matters, do you?" I said.

Again those heels, that hat, that bow. I could have killed him. I am
sorry now that I didn't. I missed a glorious opportunity.

So off we started alone at eleven o'clock at night for Poland, with
our trunks safely checked through to St. Petersburg, and fifty-five
marks lighter in pocket.

My companion kept saying, "Well, I never!" A pause. And again, "Well,
I never!" And again, "Did you ever in all your life!" Yet there was no
sameness in my ears to her remarks, for it was all that I, too, wanted
to say. It covered the ground completely.

I was speechless with surprise. It kept recurring to my mind that my
friends in America who had lived in Germany had told me that I need
expect nothing at the hands of German men on account of being a woman.
I couldn't seem to get it through my head. But now that it had
happened to me--now that a man had deliberately refused to cross the
street--no farther, mind you!--to get us out of such a mess! Why, in
America, there isn't a man from the President to a chimney-sweep, from
a major-general to the blackest nigger in the cotton fields, who
wouldn't do ten times that much for _any_ woman!

I shall never get over it.

With the courage of despair I accosted every man and woman on the
platform with the words, "Do you speak English?" But not one of them
did. Nor French either. So with heavy hearts we got on the train, feed
the porter four marks for getting us into this dilemma (and
incidentally carrying our hand-luggage), and when he had the
impertinence to demand more I turned on him and assured him that if he
dared to speak another word to us we would report him to His
Excellency the American Ambassador, who was on intimate terms with the
Kaiser; and that I would use my influence to have him put in prison
for life. He fled in dismay, although I know he did not understand one
word. My manner, however, was not affable. Then I cast myself into my
berth in a despairing heap, and broke two of the wings in my hat.

My companion was almost in tears. "Never mind," she said. "It was all
my fault. But we may get our trunks, anyway. And if not, perhaps we
can get along without them."

"Impossible!" I said. "How can we spend a week as guests in a house
without a change of clothes?"

In order not to let her know how worried I was, I told her that if we
couldn't get our trunks off the train at Vilna we would give up our
visit and telegraph our excuses and regrets to our expectant hostess,
or else come back from St. Petersburg after we had got our precious
trunks once more within our clutches.

All the next day we tried to find some one who spoke English or
French, but to no avail. We spent, therefore, a dreary day. By letting
my companion manage the customs officers in patomime we got through
the frontier without having to unlock anything, although it is
considered the most difficult one in Europe.

The trains in Russia fairly crawl. Instead of coal they use wood in
their engines, which sends back thousands of sparks like the tail of a
comet. It grew dark about two o'clock in the afternoon, and we found
ourselves promenading through the bleakest of winter landscapes. Tiny
cottages, emitting a bright red glow from infinitesimal windows,
crouched in the snow, and silent fir-trees silhouetted themselves
against the moonlit sky. It only needed the howl of wolves to make it
the loneliest picture the mind could conceive.

When we were within an hour of Vilna I heard in the distance my
companion's familiar words, "Pardon me, sir, but do you speak
English?" And a deep voice, which I knew without seeing him came from
a big man, replied in French, "For the first time in my life I regret
that I do not."

At the sound of French I hurried to the door of our compartment, and
there stood a tall Russian officer in his gray uniform and a huge
fur-lined pelisse which came to his feet.

When my companion wishes to be amusing she says that as soon as I
found that the man spoke French I whirled her around by the arm and
sent her spinning into the corner among the valises. But I don't
remember even touching her. I only remembered that here was some one
to whom I could talk, and in two minutes this handsome Russian had
untangled my incoherent explanations, had taken our luggage receipt,
and had assured us that he himself would not pause until he had seen
our trunks taken from the train at Vilna. If I should live a thousand
years I never shall forget nor cease to be grateful to that superb
Russian. He was so very much like an American gentleman.

We were met at the station by our Polish friends, our precious trunks
were put into sledges, we were stowed into the most comfortable of
equipages, and in an hour we were installed in one of the most
delightful homes it was ever my good fortune to enter.

I never realized before what people can suffer at the hands of a
conquering government, and were it not that the young Tzar of Russia
has done away, either by public ukase or private advice, with the
worst of the wrongs his father permitted to be put upon the Poles, I
could not bear to listen to their recitals.

Politics, as a rule, make little impression upon me. Guide-books are a
bore, and histories are unattractive, they are so dry and accurate. My
father's grief at my lack of essential knowledge is perennial and
deep-seated. But, somehow, facts are the most elusive things I have to
contend with. I can only seem to get a firm grasp on the imaginary. Of
course, I know the historical facts in this case, but it does not
sound personally pathetic to read that Russia, Prussia, and Austria
divided Poland between them.

But to be here in Russia, in what was once Poland, visiting the
families of the Polish nobility; to see their beautiful home-life,
their marvellous family affection, the respect they pay to their
women; to feel all the charm of their broad culture and noble
sympathy for all that makes for the general good, and then to hear the
story of their oppression, is to feel a personal ache in the heart for
their national burdens.

It does not sound as if a grievous hardship were being put upon a
conquered people to read in histories or guide-books that Prussia is
colonizing her part of Poland with Germans--selling them land for
almost nothing in order to infuse German blood, German language,
German customs into a conquered land. It does not touch one's
sympathies very much to know that Austria is the only one of the three
to give Poland the most of her rights, and in a measure to restore her
self-respect by allowing her representation in the Reichstag and by
permitting Poles to hold office.

But when you come to Russian Poland and know that in the province of
Lithuania--which was a separate and distinct province until a prince
of Lithuania fell in love with and married a queen of Poland, and the
two countries were joined--Poles are not allowed to buy one foot of
land in the country where they were born and bred, are not permitted
to hold office even when elected, are prohibited from speaking their
own language in public, are forbidden to sing their Polish hymns, or
to take children in from the streets and teach them in anything but
Russian, and that every one is taught the Greek religion, then this
colonization becomes a burning question. Then you know how to
appreciate America, where we have full, free, and unqualified liberty.

The young Tzar has greatly endeared himself to his Polish subjects by
several humane and generous acts. One was to remove the tax on all
estates (over and above the ordinary taxes), which Poles were obliged
to pay annually to the Russian government. Another was to release
school-children from the necessity of attending the Greek church on
all Russian feast-days. These two were by public ukase, and as the
Poles are passionately grateful for any act of kindness, one hears
nothing but good words for the Tzar, and there is the utmost feeling
of loyalty to him among them. I hear it constantly said that if he
continue in this generous policy Russia need never apprehend another
Polish revolution. And while by a revolution they could never hope to
accomplish anything, there being now but fourteen million Poles to
contend against these three powerful nations, still, as long as they
have one about every thirty-five years, perhaps it is a wise
precaution on the part of the young Tzar to begin with his kindness
promptly, as it is about time for another one!

Another recent thing which the Poles attribute to the Tzar was the
removal from the street corners, the shops, the railroad stations, and
the clubs, of the placards forbidding the Polish language to be spoken
in public.

Thus the Poles hope much from the young Tzar in the future, and
believe that he would do more were he not held back by Russian public
opinion. For example, the other day two Russians were overheard in the
train to say: "For thirty years we have tried to force our religion on
the Poles, our language on the Poles, and our customs on the Poles,
but now here comes 'The Little Colonel' (the young Tzar), and in a
moment he sweeps away all the progress we had made."

To call him "The Little Colonel" is a term of great endearment, and
the name arose from the fact that by some strange oversight he was
never made a General by his father, but remained at the death of the
late Tzar only a Colonel. When urged by his councillors to make
himself General, as became a Tzar of all the Russias, he said: "No.
The power which should have made me a General is no more. Now that I
am at the head of the government I surely could not be so conceited as
to promote myself."

The misery among the poor in Poland is almost beyond belief, yet all
charities for them must be conducted secretly, for the government
stills forbids the establishment of kindergartens or free schools
where Polish children would be taught in the Polish language. I have
been questioned very closely about our charities in America,
especially in Chicago, and I have given them all the working plans of
the college settlements, the kindergartens, and the sewing-schools.
The Poles are a wonderfully sympathetic and warm-hearted people, and
are anxious to ameliorate the bitter poverty which exists here to an
enormous extent. They sigh in vain for the freedom with which we may
proceed, and regard Americans as seated in the very lap of a luxurious
government because we are at liberty to give our money to any cause
without being interfered with.

One of the noblest young women I have ever met is a Polish countess,
wealthy, beautiful, and fascinating, who has turned her back upon
society and upon the brilliant marriage her family had hoped for her,
and has taken a friend who was at the head of a London training-school
for nurses to live with her upon her estates, and these two have
consecrated their lives to the service of the poor. They will educate
Polish nurses to use in private charity. With no garb, no creed, no
blare of trumpet, they have made themselves into "Little Sisters of
the Poor."

I could not fail to notice the difference in the young girls as soon
as I crossed the Russian frontier and came into the land of the Slav.
Here at once I found individuality. Polish girls are more like
American girls. If you ask a young English girl what she thinks of
Victor Hugo she tells you that her mamma does not allow her to read
French novels. If you ask a French girl how she likes to live in Paris
she tells you that she never went down town alone in her life.

But the Polish girls are different. They are individual. They all have
a personality. When you have met one you never feel as if you had met
all. In this respect they resemble American girls, but only in this
respect, for whereas there is a type of Polish young girl--and a
charming type she is--I never in my life saw what I considered a
really typical American girl. You cannot typify the psychic charm of
the young American girl. It is altogether beyond you.

These Polish girls who have titles are as simple and unaffected as
possible. I had no difficulty in calling their mothers Countess and
Princess, etc., but I tripped once or twice with the young girls,
whereat they begged me in the sweetest way to call them by their first
names without any prefix. They were charming. They taught us the
Polish mazurka--a dance which has more go to it than any dance I ever
saw. It requires the Auditorium ball-room to dance it in, and enough
breath to play the trombone in an orchestra. The officers dance with
their spurs on, which jingle and click in an exciting manner, and to
my surprise never seem to catch in the women's gowns.

The home life of the Poles is very beautiful; and, in particular, the
deference paid to the father and mother strikes my American
sensibilities forcibly. I never tire of watching the entrance into the
salon of the married sons of the Countess when each comes to pay his
daily visit to his mother. They are all four tall, impressive, and
almost majestic, with a curious hawk-like quality in their glance,
which may be an inheritance from their warrior forefathers. Count
Antoine comes in just before going home to dine, while we are all
assembled and dressed for dinner. He flings the door open, and makes
his military bow to the room, then making straight for his mother's
chair, he kneels at her feet, kisses her hand and then her brow, and
sometimes again her hand. Then he passes the others, and kisses his
sister on the cheek, and after thus saluting all the members of his
family, he turns to us, the guests, and speaks to us.

The Poles are the most individual and interesting people I have yet
encountered. The men in particular are fascinating, and a man who is
truly fascinating in the highest sense of the word; one whose
character is worth study, and whose friendship would repay cultivating
as sincerely as many of the Poles I know, is a boon to thank God for.

Before I came to Poland it always surprised me to realize that so many
men and women of world-wide genius came from so small a nation. But
now that I have had the opportunity of knowing them intimately and of
studying their characteristics, both nationally and individually, I
see why.

Poland is the home of genius by right. Her people, even if they never
write or sing or act or play, have all the elements in their character
which go to make up that complex commodity known as genius, whether it
ever becomes articulate or not. You feel that they could all do things
if they tried. They are a sympathetic, interesting, interested, and,
above all, a magnetic people. This forms the top soil for a nation
which has put forth so much of wonder and sweetness to enrich the
world, but the reason which lies deep down at the root of the matter
for the _soul_ which thrills through all this melody of song and story
is in the sorrowful and tragic history of this nation.

The Poles are a race of burning patriots. To-day they are as keen over
national sufferings and national wrongs as on that unfortunate clay
when they went into a fiercely unwilling and resentful captivity.
Their pride, their courage, their bitterness of spirit, their longing
for revenge now no longer find an outlet on the battlefield. Yet it
smoulders continually in their innermost being. You must crush the
heart, you must subdue a people, you must be no stranger to anguish
and loss if you would discover the singer and the song. And so
Poland's fierce and unrelenting patriotism has placed the divine spark
of a genius which thrills a world in souls whose sweetest song is a
cry wrung from a patriot's heart.



VI


ST. PETERSBURG

It behooves one to be good in Russia, for no matter how excellent your
reputation at home, no matter how long you have been a member in good
and regular standing of the most orthodox church, no matter how
innocent your heart may be of anarchy, nihilism, or murder, you
travel, you rest, you eat, sleep, wake, or dream, tracked by the
Russian police.

They snatch your passport the moment you arrive at a hotel, and
register you, and if you change your hotel every day, every day your
passport is taken, and you are requested to fill out a blank with your
name, age, religion, nationality, and the name and hotel of the town
where you were last.

When we entered our Russian hotel--when we had entirely entered, I
mean, for we passed through six or eight swinging doors with moujiks
to open and shut each one, and bow and scrape at our feet--we found
ourselves in a stiflingly hot corridor, where the odor was a
combination of smoke and people whose furs needed airing.

It would be an excellent idea if Americans who live in cold climates
dressed as sensibly as Russians do. They keep their houses about as
warm as we keep ours, but they wear thin clothing indoors and put on
their enormous furs for the street. On entering any house, church,
shop, or theatre, the chuba and overshoes are removed, and although
they spend half their lives putting them on and taking them off, yet
the other half is comfortable.

The women seem to have no pride about the appearance of their feet,
for now the doctors are ordering them to wear the common gray felt
boot of the peasants, with the top of it reaching to the knee. It is
without doubt the most hideous and unshapely object the mind can
conceive, being all made of one piece and without any regard to the
shape of the foot.

St. Petersburg can hardly be called a typical Russian city. It is too
near other countries, but to us, before we had seen Moscow and Kiev,
it was Russia itself. We arrived one bitterly cold day, and went first
to the hotel to which we had been recommended by our friends.

I shall never forget the wave of longing for home and country which
settled down upon me as we saw our rooms in this hotel. It must have
been built in Peter the Great's time. No electric lights; not even
lamps. Candles! Now, if there is one thing more than another which
makes me frantic with homesickness, it is the use of candles. I would
rather be in London on Sunday than to dress by the light of candles.

Even an excellent luncheon did not raise my spirits. Our rooms were as
dark and gloomy and silent as a mausoleum. Indeed, many a mausoleum I
have seen has been much more cheerful. It was at the time of year also
when we had but three hours of daylight--from eleven until two. Our
salon was furnished in a dreary drab, with a gigantic green stove in
the corner which reached to the ceiling. Then we entered what looked
like a long, narrow corridor, down which we blindly felt our way, and
at the extreme end of which were hung dark red plush curtains, as if
before a shrine. We pulled aside these trappings of gloom, and there
were two iron cots, not over a foot and a half wide, about the shape
and feeling of an ironing-board, covered with what appeared to be gray
army blankets, I looked to see "U.S." stamped on them. I have seen
them in museums at home.

I gazed at my companion in perfect dismay. "I shall not present a
single letter of introduction," I wailed. "I'm going to Moscow
to-morrow."

Instead of going to Moscow in the morning, we went out and decided to
present just the one letter to our ambassador. He was at the Hôtel
d'Europe, and we went there. Behold! electric lights everywhere. Heaps
of Americans. And the entire Legation there. My companion and I simply
looked at each other, and our whole future grew brighter. We would not
go to Moscow, but we would move at once. We would introduce
electricity into our sombre lives, and look forward with hope into the
great unknown. We rushed around and presented all the rest of our
letters, and went back to spend a wretched evening with eight candles
and a smoky lamp.

The next day we called for our bill and prepared to move. To my
disgust, I found an item of two rubles for the use of that lamp. I had
serious thoughts of opening up communication with the Standard Oil
Company by cable. But we were so delighted with our new accommodations
in prospect that we left the hotel in a state of exhilaration that
nothing could dampen.

To our great disappointment we found a number of Americans leaving St.
Petersburg for Moscow because the Hermitage was closed. Now, the
Hermitage and the ceremony of the Blessing of the Waters of the Neva
were what I most wished to see, but we were informed at the Legation
that we could have neither wish gratified. However, my spirit was
undaunted. It was only the American officials who had pronounced it
impossible. My lucky star had gone with me so far, and had opened so
many unaccustomed doors, that I did not despair. I said I would see
what our letters of introduction brought forth.

We did not have to wait long. No sooner had we presented our letters
than people came to see us, and placed themselves at our disposal for
days and even weeks at a time. Their kindness and hospitality were too
charming for mere words to express.

Although the Winter Palace was closed to visitors, preparatory to the
arrival on the next day of the Tzar and Tzarina, it was opened for us
through the influence of the daughter of the Commodore of the late
Tzar's private yacht, Mademoiselle de Falk, who took us through it. It
was simply superb, and was, of course, in perfect readiness for the
arrival of the imperial family, with all the gorgeous crimson velvet
carpets spread, and the plants and flowers arranged in the Winter
Garden.

Then, through this same influential friend, the Hermitage--the second
finest and the very richest museum in all Europe--was opened for us,
and--well, I kept my head going through the show palaces in London,
and Paris, and Berlin, and Dresden, and Potsdam, but I lost it
completely in the Hermitage. Then and there I absolutely went crazy. A
whole guide-book devoted simply to the Hermitage could give no sort of
idea of the barbaric splendor of its belongings. Its riches are beyond
belief. Even the presents given by the Emir of Bokhara to the Tzar are
splendid enough to dazzle one like a realization of the Arabian
Nights. But to see the most valuable of all, which are kept in the
Emperor's private vaults, is to be reduced to a state of bewilderment
bordering on idiocy.

It is astonishing enough, to one who has bought even one Russian belt
set with turquoise enamel, to think of all the trappings of a
horse--bit, bridle, saddle-girth, saddlecloth, and all, made of cloth
of gold and set in solid turquoise enamel; with the sword hilt,
scabbard, belts, pistol handle and holster made of the same. Well,
these are there by the dozen. Then you come to the private jewels, and
you see all these same accoutrements made of precious stones--one of
solid diamonds; another of diamonds, emeralds, topazes, and rubies.
And the size of these stones! Why, you never would believe me if I
should tell you how large they are. Many of them are uncut and badly
set, from an English stand-point. But in quantity and size--well, I
was glad to get back to my three-ruble-a-day room and to look at my
one trunk, and to realize that my own humble life would go on just the
same, and my letter of credit would not last any longer for all the
splendors which exist for the Tzar of all the Russias.

The churches in St. Petersburg are so magnificent that they, too, go
to your head. We did nothing but go to mass on Christmas Eve and
Christmas Day, for although we spent our Christmas in Berlin, we
arrived in St. Petersburg in time for the Russian Christmas, which
comes twelve days later than ours. St. Isaac's, the Kazan, and Sts.
Peter and Paul dazed me. The icons or images of the Virgin are set
with diamonds and emeralds worth a king's ransom. They are only under
glass, which is kept murky from the kisses which the people press upon
the hands and feet.

The interiors of the cathedrals, with their hundreds of silver
_couronnes_, and battle-flags, and trophies of conquests, look like
great bazaars. Every column is covered clear to the dome. The tombs of
the Tzars are always surrounded by people, and candles burn the year
round. Upon the tomb of Alexander II., under glass, is the exquisite
laurel wreath placed there by President Faure. It is of gold, and was
made by Falize, one of the most famous carvers of gold in Europe.

The famous mass held on Christmas Eve in the cathedral of St. Isaac
was one of the most beautiful services I ever attended. In the first
place, St. Isaac's is the richest church in all Russia. It has, too,
the most wonderful choir, for the Tzar loves music, and wherever in
all his Empire a beautiful voice is found, the boy is brought to St.
Petersburg and educated by the State to enter the Emperor's choir.
When we entered the church the service had been in progress for five
hours. That immense church was packed to suffocation. In the Greek
church every one stands, no matter how long the service. In fact, you
cannot sit down unless you sit on the floor, for there are no seats.

By degrees we worked our way towards the space reserved for the
Diplomatic Corps, where we were invited to enter. Our wraps were taken
and chairs were given to us. We found ourselves on the platform with
the priest, just back of the choir. What heavenly voices! What
wonderful voices! The bass holds on to the last note, and the rumble
and echo of it rolls through those vaulted domes like the tones of an
organ. The long-haired priest, too, had a wonderful resonant voice for
intoning. He passed directly by us in his gorgeous cloth of gold
vestments, as he went out.

The instant he had finished, the little choir boys began to pinch each
other and thrust their tapers in each other's faces, and behaved quite
like ordinary boys. The great crowd scattered and huge ladders were
brought in to put out the hundreds of candles in the enormous
chandeliers. Religion was over, and the world began again.

The other art which is maintained at the government expense is the
ballet. We went several times, and it was very gorgeous. It is all
pantomime--not a word is spoken--but so well done that one does not
tire of it.

Every one sympathized so with us because we could not see the ceremony
of the Blessing of the Waters of the Neva, and our ambassador
apologized for not being able to arrange it, and we said, "Not at
all," and "Pray, do not mention it," at the same time secretly hoping
that our Russian friends, who were putting forth strenuous efforts on
our behalf, would be able to manage it.

On the morning of the 18th of January a note came from a Russian
officer who was on duty at the Winter Palace, saying that Baron
Elsner, the Secretary of the Prefect of Police, would call for us with
his carriage at ten o'clock, and we would be conducted to the private
space reserved just in front of the Winter Palace, where the best view
of everything could be obtained. My companion and I fell into each
other's arms in wild delight, for it had been most difficult to
manage, and we had not been sure until that very moment.

Now, the person of the Tzar is so sacred that it is forbidden by law
even to represent him on the stage, and as to photographing him--a
Russian faints at the mere thought. Nevertheless, we wished very much
to photograph this pageant, so we determined, if possible, to take our
camera. Everything else that we wanted had been done for us ever since
we started, and our faith was strong that we would get this. At first
the stout heart of Baron Elsner quailed at our suggestion. Then he
said to take the camera with us, which we did with joy. His card
parted the crowd right and left, and our carriage drove through long
lines of soldiers, and between throngs of people held in check by
mounted police, and by rows of infantry, who locked arms and made of
themselves a living wall, against which the crowd surged.

To our delight we found our places were not twenty feet from the
entrance to the Winter Palace. We noticed Baron Elsner speaking to
several officials, and we heard the word "Americanski," which had so
often opened hearts and doors to us, for Russia honestly likes
America, and presently the Baron said, in a low tone, "When the
Emperor passes out you may step down here; these soldiers will
surround you, and you may photograph him."

I could scarcely believe my ears. I was so excited that I nearly
dropped the camera.

The procession moves only about one hundred feet--a crimson carpet
being laid from the entrance of the Winter Palace, across the street,
and up into a pavilion which is built out over the Neva.

First came the metropolitans and the priests; then the Emperor's
celebrated choir of about fifty voices; then a detachment of picked
officers bearing the most important battle-flags from the time of
Peter the Great, which showed the marks of sharp conflict; then the
Emperor's suite, and then--the Emperor himself. They all marched with
bared heads, even the soldiers.

My companion had the opera-glasses, I had the camera. "Tell me when,"
I gasped. They passed before me in a sort of haze. I heard the band in
the Winter Palace and the singing of the choir. I heard the splash of
the cross which the Archbishop plunged into the opening that had been
cut in the ice. I heard the priests intone, and the booming of the
guns firing the imperial salute. I saw that the wind was blowing the
candles out. Then came a breathless pause, and then she said, "Now!" A
little click. It was done; I had photographed Nicholas II., the Tzar
of all the Russias!



VII


RUSSIA

Yesterday we had our first Russian experience in the shape of a troika
ride. Russians, as a rule, do not troika except at night. In fact,
from my experience, they reverse the established order of things and
turn night into day.

A troika is a superb affair. It makes the tiny sledges which take the
place of cabs, and are used for all ordinary purposes, look even more
like toys than usual. But the sledges are great fun, and so cheap that
it is an extravagance to walk. A course costs only twenty kopecks--ten
cents. The sledges are set so low that you can reach out and touch the
snow with your hand, and they are so small that the horse is in your
lap and the coachman in your pocket. He simply turns in his seat to
hook the fur robe to the back of your seat--only it has no back. If
you fall, you fall clear to the ground.

The horse is far, far above you in your humble position, and there is
so little room that two people can with difficulty stow themselves in
the narrow seat. If a brother and sister or a husband and wife drive
together, the man, in sheer self-defence, is obliged to put his arm
around the woman, no matter how distasteful it may be. Not that she
would ever be conscious of whether he did it or not, for the amount of
clothes one is obliged to wear in Russia destroys any sense of touch.

The idvosjik, or coachman, is so bulky from this same reason that you
cannot see over him. You are obliged to crane your neck to one side.
His head is covered with a Tartar cap. He wears his hair down to his
collar, and then chopped off in a straight line. His pelisse is of a
bluish gray, fits tightly to the waist, and comes to the feet. But the
skirt of it is gathered on back and front, giving him an irresistibly
comical pannier effect, like a Dolly Varden polonaise. The Russian
idvosjik guides his horse curiously. He coaxes it forward by calling
it all sorts of pet names--"doushka," darling, etc. Then he beats it
with a toy whip, which must feel like a fly on its woolly coat, for
all the little fat pony does is to kick up its heels and fly along
like the wind, missing the other sledges by a hair's-breadth. It is
ghostly to see the way they glide along without a sound, for the
sledges wear no bells.

One may drive with perfect safety at a breakneck pace, for they all
drive down on one side of the street and up on the other. Nor will an
idvosjik hesitate to use his whip about the head and face of another
idvosjik who dares to turn without crossing the street.

He stops his horse with a guttural trill, as if one should say
"Tr-r-r-r-r" in the back of the throat. It sounds like a gargle.

The horses are sharp-shod, but in a way quite different from ours. The
spikes on their shoes are an inch long, and dig into the ice with
perfect security, but it makes the horses look as if they wore French
heels. Even over ice like sheer glass they go at a gallop and never
slip. It is wonderful, and the exhilaration of it is like driving
through an air charged with champagne, like the wine-caves of Rintz.

Our troika was like a chariot in comparison with these sledges. It was
gorgeously upholstered in red velvet, and held six--three on each
seat. The robes also were red velvet, bordered and lined with black
bear fur. There were three horses driven abreast. The middle horse was
much larger than the other two, and wore a high white wooden collar,
which stood up from the rest of the harness, and was hung with bells
and painted with red flowers and birds.

To my delight the horses were wild, and stood on their hind legs and
bit each other, and backed us off the road, and otherwise acted like
Tartar horses in books. It seemed almost too good to be true. It was
like driving through the Black Forest and seeing the gnomes and the
fairies one has read about. I told my friends very humbly that I had
never done anything in my life to deserve the good fortune of having
those beautiful horses act in such a satisfactory and historical
manner. We had to get out twice and let the idvosjik calm them down.
But even when ploughing my way out of snow up to my knees I breathed
an ecstatic sigh of gratitude and joy. I could not understand the
men's annoyance. It was too ideal to complain about.

We drove out to the Island for luncheon, and on the way we stopped and
coasted in a curious Russian sledge from the top of a high place,
something like our toboggan-slides, only this sledge was guided from
behind by a peasant on skates.

A Russian meal always begins with a side-table of _hors d'oeuvres_,
called "zakouska." That may not be spelled right, but no Russian would
correct me, because the language is phonetic, and they spell the same
word in many different ways. Their alphabet has thirty-eight letters
in it, besides the little marks to tell you whether to make a letter
hard or soft.

Even proper names take on curious oddities of spelling, and a husband
and wife or two brothers will spell their name differently when using
the Latin letters. If you complain about it, and ask which is correct,
they make that famous Russian reply which Bismarck once had engraved
in his ring, and which he believed brought him such good luck, "Neechy
voe," "It is nothing," or "Never mind." You can spell with your eyes
shut in Russian, and you simply cannot make a mistake, for the
Russians spell with all the abandonment of French dancing.

This zakouska is so delicious and so varied and so tempting that one
not accustomed to it eats too much without realizing. At a dinner an
American looked at my loaded plate and said, with delicious
impertinence, "Confidentially, I don't mind telling you that dinner is
_coming_."

As we came back, the full delight of troika-riding came over us, for
driving in the country we could not tell how fast we were going. But
in town, whizzing past other carriages, hearing the shouts of the
idvosjik, "Troika!" and seeing the people scatter and the sledges turn
out (for a troika has the right of way), we realized at what a pace we
were going. We dashed across the frozen Neva, with its tramway built
right on the ice; past the Winter Palace, along the quai, where all
the embassies are, into the Grand Morskaia, and from there into the
Nevski, with the snow flying and our bells ringing, and the middle
horse trotting and the outer horses galloping, sending clouds of steam
from their heaving flanks and palpitating nostrils, and the biting air
making our blood tingle, and the reiterated shout of the idvosjik,
"Troika! troika!" taking our breath away.

We had one more excitement before we reached home, which was seeing a
Russian fire-engine. We passed it in a run. The engine was on one
sledge, and following it were five other sledges carrying hogsheads of
water.

I am glad we came to Russia in winter, for by so doing we have met the
Russian people, the most fascinating that any country can boast, with
the charm of the French, the courage of the English, the sentiment of
the Germans, the sincerity and hospitality of the Americans. Their
courtesy to each other is a never-ending pleasure to me. Poles and
Russians treat their women more nearly the way our American men treat
us than any nation we have encountered so far. They are the most
marvellous linguists in the world. We have met no one in Russia who
speaks fewer than three languages, and we have met several who speak
twelve. They are not arrogant even concerning their military strength.
They are quite modest about their learning and their not
inconsiderable literary and artistic achievements, and they hold
themselves, both nationally and individually, in the plastic state
where they are willing to learn from any nation or any master who can
teach what they wish to know. There is a marvellous future for Russia,
for their riches and resources are as vast and inestimable as their
possessions. They themselves do not realize how mighty they are.

Here is France grovelling at their feet, spending millions of francs
to entertain the Tzar--France, a nation which must see a prospect of
double her money returned before she parts with a sou; with the
cathedrals filled with _couronnes_ sent by the French press; with no
compliment to Russia too fulsome for French gallantry to invent
finding space in the foremost French newspapers; hoping, praying,
beseeching the help of Russia, when Germany makes up her mind to
gobble France, yet dealing Russian achievement a backhanded slap by
hinting what a compliment it is for a cultivated, accomplished,
over-cultured race like the French to beg the assistance of a
barbarous country like Russia.

I believe that Russia is the only country in the world which feels
nationally friendly and individually interested in America. I used to
think France was, and I held Lafayette firmly and proudly in my memory
to prove it. But I was promptly undeceived as to their individual
interest, and when I still clung to Lafayette as a proof of the former
I was laughed to scorn and told that France as a nation had nothing to
do with that; that Lafayette went to America as a soldier of fortune.
He would just as soon have gone to Madagascar or Timbuctoo, but
America was accommodating enough to have a war on just in time to
serve his ambition. If that is true, I wish they had not told me. I
would like to come home with a few ideals left--if they will permit
me.

When I was in Berlin I asked our ambassador, Mr. White, what Germany
thought of America. He replied, "Just what Thackeray thought of
Tupper. When some one asked Thackeray what he thought of Tupper, he
replied, 'I don't think of him at all.'"

But in Russia I have a sore throat all the time from answering
questions about America. I think I am not exaggerating when I say I
have answered a million in a single evening. My companion at first was
disgusted with my wearing myself out in such a manner, but I said, "I
am so grateful to them for _caring_, after the indifference of all
these other self-sufficient countries, that I am willing to sacrifice
myself at it if necessary."

We never realized how little we knew about America until we discovered
the Russian capacity for asking unexpected questions. I bought an
American history in Russia, and sat up nights trying to remember what
my father had tried to instil into my sieve-like brain. After a week
of witnessing my feverish enthusiasm, even my companion's dormant
national pride was roused. She, too, was ashamed to say, "I don't
know," when they asked us these terrible questions. When we get into
the clutches of a party of women we trust to luck that they cannot
remember our statistics long enough to tell their husbands and
brothers (I have a horror of men's accuracy in figures), and we calmly
guess at the answers when our exact knowledge gives out.

One night they attacked my companion on the school question. Now, she
does not know one solitary thing about the public-school system, but,
to my utter amazement, I heard her giving the number of children
between the ages of eight and ten who were in the public schools in
the State of Illinois, and then running them off by counties. I was
afraid she would soon begin to call the roll of their names from
memory, so I rescued her and took her home. I suppose we must have an
air of intelligence which successfully masks our colossal ignorance of
occult facts and defunct dates, because they rely on us to inform them
off-hand concerning everything social, political, historical, sacred
and profane, spirituous and spiritual, from the protoplasm of the
cliff-dwellers to the details of the Dingley bill, not skipping
accurate information on the process of whiskey-making in Kentucky, a
crocodile-hunt in Florida, suffrage in Wyoming, a lynching-bee in
Texas, polygamy in Utah, prune-drying in California, divorces in
Dakota, gold-mining in Colorado, cotton-spinning in Georgia,
tobacco-raising in Alabama, marble-quarrying in Tennessee, the number
of Quakers in Philadelphia, one's sensations while being scalped by
Sioux, how marriages are arranged, what a man says when he proposes,
the details of a camp-meeting, a description of a negro baptism, and
the main arguments on the silver question.

They get some curious ideas in their heads concerning us, but they are
so amazingly well informed about America that their specific
misinformation never irritated me. The small use they have for their
English sometimes accounts for the queer things they say.

The official costume for men who have no particular uniform is
regulation evening dress, which they are obliged to wear all day. They
become so tired of it that this is the reason, they tell me, why so
many men, even in smart society, go to the opera or even dinners in
frock-coats. One one occasion a most intelligent man said to me, "I am
told that in America the ladies always wear décolleté costumes at
dinners, and the men are always in night-dress."

For one hysterical moment my mind's eye pictured a dinner-table on
Prairie Avenue with alternately a low-necked gown and a pair of
pajamas, and I choked. Then I happened to think that he meant "evening
dress," and I recovered sufficiently to explain.

The Tzarina has made English the Court language, and since her
coronation no state balls take place on Sunday.

Russian hospitality is delightful. We could remain a year in Russia
and not exhaust our invitations to visit at their country-houses.
Russia must be beautiful in summer, but if you wish to go into
society, to know the best of the people, to see their sweet home life,
and to understand how they live and enjoy themselves, you must go in
the winter. I cannot think what any one would find of national life in
summer in Russia, for everybody has a country-house and everybody goes
to it and leaves the city to tourists.

Russia, in spite of her vast riches, has not arrived at
supercivilization, where there is corruption in the very atmosphere.
She is an undeveloped and a young country, and while the Tzar is wise
and kind and beneficent, and an excellent Tzar as Tzars go, still
Russians, even the best and most enlightened of them, are slaves. I
have met a number of the gentlest and cleverest men who had been
exiled to Siberia, and pardoned. Their picture-galleries bear witness
to this underlying sadness of knowing that in spite of everything they
are not _free_. All their actions are watched, their every word
listened to, spies are everywhere, the police are omnipresent, and
over all their gayety and vivacity and mirth and spontaneity there is
the constant fear of the awful hand in whose complete power they are.
His clemency, his fatherhood to his people, his tremendous
responsibility for their welfare are all appreciated, but the thought
is in every mind, "When will this kindness fail? Upon whose head will
the lightning descend next?"

Title and gentle birth and the long and faithful service of one's
ancestors to the Tzars are of small avail if the evidence should go
against one in Russia. I have heard princes say less than I have said
here, but say it in whispers and with furtive looks at the nearest man
or woman. I have seen their starts of surprise at the frank impudence
of our daring to criticise our administration in their midst, and I
felt as if I were in danger of being bombarded from the back.

In Russia you may spell as you please, but you must have a care how
you criticise the government. In America you may criticise the
government as you will, but you must have a care how you spell.



VIII


MOSCOW

I thought St. Petersburg interesting, but it is modern compared to
Moscow. Everything is so strange and curious here. The churches, the
chimes, the palace, the coronation chapel, and the street scenes are
enough to drive one mad with interest.

Moscow is said to have sixteen hundred churches, and I really think we
did not skip one. They are almost as magnificent as those in St.
Petersburg, and they impressed--overpowered us, in fact, with the same
unspeakable riches of the Greek Church.

The name of our hotel was so curious that I cannot forbear repeating
it, "The Slavansky Bazaar," and they call their smartest restaurant
"The Hermitage." I felt as if I could be sold at auction in "The
Bazaar," and as if I ought to fast and pray in "The Hermitage."

"The Slavansky Bazaar" was one of the dirtiest hotels it ever was my
lot to see. The Russians of the middle class--to say nothing of the
peasants, who are simply unspeakable--are not a clean set, so one
cannot blame a hotel for not living above the demands of its
_clientèle_. There were some antique specimens of cobwebs in our
rooms, which made restful corner ornaments with dignified festoons,
which swung slowly to and fro with such fascinating solemnity that I
could not leave off looking at them. The hotel is built up hill and
down dale, and each corridor smells more musty than the other. It has
a curious arrangement for supplying water in the rooms which I never
can recall with any degree of pleasure. One evening after I had
dressed I went to the wash-stand and discovered that there was no
water. I was madly ringing for the chambermaid when my companion
called from her room, and said, "Put your foot on that brass thing.
There is plenty of water."

I looked down, and near the floor was a brass pedal, like that of a
piano. Sure enough, there was a reservoir above and a faucet with the
head of a dragon on it peering up into my face, which I never had
noticed before. Now, the pedal of my piano works hard, so I bent all
my strength to this one, and lo! from that impudent dragon's mouth I
got a mighty stream of water straight in my unconscious face, and
enough to put out a fire. I fell back with a shriek of astonishment
and indignation, and my companion laughed--nay, she roared. She laughs
until she cries even now every time she thinks of it, although I had
to change my gown. How was _I_ going to know that I was leaning over a
waterspout, I should like to know!

In this same hotel when I asked for a blotter they brought me a box of
sand. I tried to use it, but my hand was not very steady, and none of
it went on the letter. Some got in my shoe, however.

But our environments were more than compensated for by the exceeding
kindness that we received from the most delightful people that it ever
was my good fortune to meet, and their attentions to us were so
charming that we shall remember them as long as we live.

Americans, even though we are as hospitable as any nation on earth,
might well take a lesson from the Russians in regard to the respect
they pay to a letter of introduction. The English send word when you
can be received, and you pay each other frosty formal calls, and then
are asked to five-o'clock tea or some other wildly exciting function
of similar importance. The French are great sticklers for etiquette,
but they are more spontaneous, and you are asked to dine at once.
After that it is your own fault if you are not asked again. But in
Russia it is different. I think that the men must have accompanied my
messenger home, and the women to whom I presented letters early in the
afternoon were actually waiting for me when I returned from presenting
the last ones. In Moscow they came and waited hours for my return. I
was mortified that there were not four of me to respond to all the
beauties of their friendship, for hospitality in Russia includes even
that.

They placed themselves, their carriages, their servants, at our
disposal for whatever we had to do--sight-seeing, shopping, or idling.
Mademoiselle Yermoloff, lady-in-waiting to the two empresses, simply
took us upon her hands to show us Russian society life. She came with
her sledge in the morning, and kept us with her all day long, taking
us to see the most interesting people and places in Moscow. She showed
us the coronation-robes, the embroideries upon which were from her own
beautiful designs. The Empress presented her with an emerald and
diamond brooch in recognition of this important service, for
undoubtedly the coronation-robe of the present Tzarina is much
handsomer and in better taste than any of the others. The designs are
so artistically sketched that they all have a special significance.

Here we visited the charming Princess Golitzine, a most beautiful and
accomplished woman. Her house, we were told, De Lesseps, the father of
the Suez De Lesseps, used as his headquarters during the French
occupation of Moscow.

Mademoiselle Yermoloff's sledge was a very beautiful one, but it was
quite as low-set as all the others, and her footman stood behind. As
there was no back to the seat of her sledge, and her horses were
rather fiery and unmanageable, every time they halted without warning
this solemn flunky pitched forward into our backs, a performance which
would have upset the dignity of an English footman, but which did not
seem to disturb him in the least.

Mademoiselle Yermoloff took us to see Madame Chabelskoi, whose
contributions to the World's Fair were of so much value. I never saw a
private collection of anything so rich, so varied, and of such
historical value as her collection of all the provincial costumes of
the peasants of Finland and Big and Little Russia. In addition to
these she has the fête-day toilets as well. The Kokoshniks are all
embroidered in seed-pearls and gold ornaments, and if she were not a
fabulously rich woman she could never have got all these, for each one
is authentic and has actually been worn. They are not copies.

But Moscow seems to take a peculiar national pride in preserving the
historical monuments of her country. There is a museum there, with a
complete set of all these costumes on wax figures, and they range all
the way from the grotesque to the lovely.

Madame Chabelskoi is now doing a very pretty as well as a valuable and
historical work. She has two accomplished daughters, and these young
girls spend all their time in selecting peasant women with typical
features, dressing them in these costumes, photographing them, and
then coloring these photographs in water-colors. They are making ten
copies of each, to make ten magnificent albums, which are to be
presented to the ten greatest museums in the world. The Hermitage in
St. Petersburg is to have one, the British Museum another, and so on.
Only one was to go to America, and to my metropolitan dismay I found
that it was _not_ to go to Chicago. I shall not say where it was
intended to go; I shall only say that with characteristic modesty I
asked, in my most timid voice, why she did not present it to a museum
in the city which she had already benefited so royally with her
generosity, and which already held her name in affectionate
veneration. It seemed to strike her for the first time that Chicago
_was_ the proper city in which to place that album, so she promised it
to us! I thanked her with sincere gratitude, and retired from the
field with a modest flush of victory on my brow. I cannot forbear a
wicked chuckle, however, when I think of that other museum!

We dined many times at "The Hermitage," which is one of the smartest
restaurants in Europe. The costumes of the waiters were too
extraordinary not to deserve a passing mention. They consisted of a
white cotton garment belted at the waist, with no collar, and a pair
of flapping white trousers. They are always scrupulously clean--which
is a wonder for Russian peasants--for they are made to change their
clothes twice a day. They have a magnificent orchestrion instead of an
orchestra here, and I could scarcely eat those beautiful dinners for
listening to the music. We became so well acquainted with the
répertoire that our friends, knowing our taste, ordered the music to
match the courses. So instead of sherry with the soup, they ordered
the intermezzo from "Cavalleria Rusticana." With the fish we had the
overture to "William Tell." With the _entrecôte_ we had a pot-pourri
from "Faust." With the fowl we had "Demon and Tamar," the Russian
opera. With the rest we began on Wagner and worked up to that
thrilling "Tannhäuser" overture, until I was ready to go home a
nervous wreck from German music, as I always am.

A very interesting incident occurred while we were in Moscow. The Tzar
decorated a non-commissioned officer for an act of bravery which well
deserved it. He was in charge of the powder-magazines just outside of
Moscow, and from the view I had of them I should say that the
gunpowder is stored in pits in the ground.

Something caught fire right on top of one of these pits, and this
young officer saw it. He had no time to send for water, and if he
delayed, at any moment the whole magazine might explode; one pit would
communicate with another, and perhaps the whole city would be
endangered; so without a second's hesitation he and his men sprang
into the fire and literally trod it out with their feet, running the
risk of an explosion by concussion, as well as by a spark of fire. It
was a superb act of courage, and the Tzar decorated this young
sergeant with the order of Vladimir--one of the rarest decorations in
all Russia. I am told that not over six living men possess it to-day.
It was a beautiful thing for the Tzar thus to recognize this heroic
deed.

When we left Moscow we were having our first real taste of Russian
winter, for, strange to say, although so much farther south, the
climate is much more severe than that of St. Petersburg.

My companion complained bitterly that we were not seeing anything of
Russia because we came down from St. Petersburg at night, so we
abandoned the courier train, and took the slow day-train for Kiev, the
old capital of Russia, that she might see more of the country.

But now I come to my reward and her chagrin. Between Moscow and Kiev
we were snowed in for sixteen hours. It was between stations, the food
gave out--I mean it gave out because we did not have any to start
with--the train became bitterly cold, and we came near freezing and
starving to death. That made our Russian experiences quite complete.
We had foolishly started without even fruit, and there was nothing to
be had on board the train except the tea which the conductors make in
a samovar and serve to you at the slightest provocation. But even the
tea was exhausted at last, and then the fire gave out, because all the
wood had been used up.

There we were, penned up, wrapped in our seal-skins and steamer-rugs
and with nubias over our heads, so cold that our teeth chattered, and
so hungry we could have eaten anything. The conductor came and spoke
to us several times, but whether he was inviting us to lunch or
quoting Scripture we could never tell. There was no one on the train
who spoke English or French, and nobody else in our car to speak
anything at all--owing to our having come on this particular train, in
order for my companion to "see Russia." I am delighted to record the
fact that not only the outside but the inside windows were frosted so
thickly that they had to light the sickly tallow candle in a tin box
over the door of the compartment, so she never got a peep at Russia or
anything else the whole way.

We consoled each other and kept up our spirits as best we could all
day, but we arrived at Kiev so exhausted with cold and hunger that
although we were received at the train by one of the most charming men
I ever met, we both cried with relief at the sight of a friendly face
and some one to whom we could speak and tell our woes. I have since
wondered what he thought to be met by two forlorn women in tears!
Whatever he thought, like all the Russians, he was courtesy itself,
and we were soon whisked away to the inexpressible comfort of being
thawed and fed.

Such a beautiful city as this is! Whitelaw Reid has declared Kiev to
be one of the four picturesque cities in Europe; certainly it lies in
a heavenly place, all up and down hills, with such vistas down the
streets to where a mosque raises its gilded dome, or where an historic
bronze statue stands out against the horizon. If Kiev had been planned
by the French, it could not be more utterly beautiful. The domes of
the cathedrals are blue, studded with gold stars; or else pale green
or all gold, and the most exquisite churches in all Russia are in
Kiev. A terrible monastery, where you take candles and go down into
the bowels of the earth to see where monks martyred themselves, is
here; and poor simple-minded pilgrims walk many hundred miles to kiss
these tombs. Their devotion is pathetic. We had to walk in a
procession of them, and I know that each of them had his own
particular disease and his own special brand of dirt. The beggars
surrounding the gate of this monastery are too awful to mention, yet
it is reputed to be the richest monastery in all Russia.

In Kiev we heard "Hamlet" in Russian, and the man who played Hamlet
was wonderfully good, surprisingly good. You don't know how strange it
sounded to hear "To be or not to be" in Russian! The acting was so
familiar, the words so strange. The audience went crazy over him, as
Russian audiences always do. We watched him come out and bow
thirty-nine times, and when we came away the noise was still
deafening.

They make a sort of candy in Kiev which goes far and away above any
sweets I ever have seen. It is a sort of candied rose. The whole rose
is there. It is a solid soft pink mass, and it tastes just as a
tea-rose smells. It is simply celestial.

We dearly love Kiev, it is so hauntingly beautiful. You can't forget
it. Your mind keeps returning to it, but it is the sort of beauty that
you can't describe satisfactorily. It is like your mother's face. You
can see the beauty for yourself, but no one else can see it as you do,
for the love which is behind it.

In Odessa we began to leave Russia behind us. Odessa is all sorts of a
place. It is commercial, and not beautiful, but, as usual, our Russian
friends made us forget the town and its sights, and remember only
their sweet hospitality and friendliness.

We wished to catch the Russian steamer for Constantinople, but we were
told that the police would not permit us to leave on such short
notice. We felt that this was hard, for we had tried so consistently
to be good in Russia that I was determined to go if possible. So I
took an interpreter and drove to the police headquarters myself. To my
amazement and delight my man told me that it could all be arranged by
the payment of a few rubles. But that "few rubles" mounted up into
many before I got my passports duly viséd. I discovered that our
American police are not so _very_ different from Russian police after
all, even if they _are_ Irish!

We caught the steamer--the dear, clean, lovely _Nickolai II._, with
the stewardess a Greek named Aspasia, and I persisted in calling the
steward Pericles, just to have things match.

Then we crunched our way out of the harbor through the ice into the
Black Sea, and sailed away for Constantinople.



IX


CONSTANTINOPLE

Constantinople had three different effects upon me. The first was to
make me utterly despise it for its sickening dirt; the second was when
I forgot all about the mud and garbage, and went crazy over its
picturesque streets with their steep slopes, odd turns, and bewitching
vistas, and the last was to make me dread Cairo for fear it would seem
tame in comparison, for Constantinople is enchanting. If I were a
painter I would never leave off painting its delights and spreading
its fascinations broadcast; and then I would take all the money I got
for my pictures and spend it in the bazaars, and if I regretted my
purchases I would barter them for others, because Constantinople is
the beginning of the Orient, and if you remain long you become
thoroughly metamorphosed, and you bargain, trade, exchange, and haggle
until you forget that you ever were a Christian. The hour of our
arrival in Constantinople was an accident. The steamer _Nickolai II._
was late, and as no one may land there after sunset, we were forced to
lie in the Bosphorus all night.

It was dark when we sighted the city, but it was one of those clear
darks where without any apparent light you can see everything.
_Surely_ no other city in the world has so beautiful an approach! Our
great black steamer threaded her way between men-of-war, sail-boats,
and all sorts of shipping, and if there were a thousand lights
twinkling in the water there were a million from the city. It lies on
a series of hills curved out like a monster amphitheatre, and it
stretches all the way around. I looked up into the heavens, and it
seemed to me that I never had seen so many stars in my life. Our sky
at home has not so many. Yet there were no more than the yellow points
of flame which flickered in every part of that sleeping city. Three
tall minarets pierced above the horizon, and each of these wore
circles of light which looked like necklaces and girdles of fire.
Patches of black now and then showed where there were trees or marked
a graveyard. Occasionally we heard a shrill cry or the barking of
dogs, but these sounds came faintly, and seemed a part of the
fairy-picture. It looked so much like a scene from an opera that I
half expected to see the curtain go down and the lights flare up, and
I feared the applause which always spoils the dream.

But nothing spoiled this dream. All night we lay in the beautiful
Bosphorus, and all night at intervals I looked out of my porthole at
that lovely sleeping princess. It never grew any less lovely. Its
beauty and charm increased.

But in the morning everything was changed. A band of howling,
screaming, roaring, fighting pirates came alongside in dirty
row-boats, and to our utter consternation we found these bloodthirsty
brigands were to row us to land. Not one word could we understand in
all that fearful uproar. We were watching them in a terror too abject
to describe, when, to our joy, an English voice said, "I am the guide
for the two American ladies, and here is the kavass which the American
minister sent down to meet you. The consul at Odessa cabled your
arrival."

Oh, how glad we were! We loaded them with thanks and hand-luggage, and
scrambled down the stairway at the side of the steamer. A dozen dirty
hands were stretched out to receive us. We clutched at their sleeves
instead, and pitched into the boat, and our trunks came tumbling after
us, and away we went over the roughest of seas, which splashed us and
made us feel a little queer; and then we landed at the dirtiest,
smelliest quay, and picked our way through a filthy custom-house,
where, in spite of bribery and corruption, they opened my trunk and
examined all the photographs of the family, which happened to be on
top, and made remarks about them in Turkish which made the other men
laugh. The mud came up over our overshoes as we stood there, so that
altogether we were quite heated in temper when we found ourselves in
an alley outside, filled with garbage which had been there forever,
and learned that this alley was a street, and a very good one for
Constantinople, too.

The porters in Turkey are marvels of strength. They wear a sort of
cushioned saddle on their backs, and to my amazement two men tossed my
enormous trunk on this saddle. I saw it leave their hands before it
reached his poor bent back; he staggered a little, gave it a hitch to
make it more secure, then started up the hill on a trot.

I never saw so much mud, such unspeakably filthy streets, and so many
dogs as Constantinople can boast. You drive at a gallop up streets
slanting at an angle of forty-five degrees, and you nearly fall out of
the back of the carriage. Then presently you come to the top of that
hill and start down the other side, still at a gallop, and you brace
your feet to keep from pitching over the driver's head. You would
notice the dogs first were it not for the smells. But as it is, you
cannot even see until you get your salts to your nose. The odors are
so thick that they darken the air. You are disappointed in the dogs,
however. There are quite as many of them as you expected. You have not
been misled as to the number of them, but nowhere have I seen them
described in a satisfactory way--so that you knew what to expect, I
mean. In the first place, they hardly look like dogs. They have woolly
tails like sheep. Their eyes are dull, sleepy, and utterly devoid of
expression. Constantinople dogs have neither masters nor brains. No
brains because no masters. Perhaps no masters because no brains.
Nobody wants to adopt an idiot. They are, of course, mongrels of the
most hopeless type. They are yellowish, with thick, short, woolly
coats, and much fatter than you expect to find them. They walk like a
funeral procession. Never have I seen one frisk or even wag his tail.
Everybody turns out for them. They sleep--from twelve to twenty of
them--on a single pile of garbage, and never notice either men or each
other unless a dog which lives in the next street trespasses. Then
they eat him up, for they are jackals as well as dogs, and they are no
more epicures than ostriches. They never show interest in anything.
They are _blasé_. I saw some mother dogs asleep, with tiny puppies
swarming over them like little fat rats, but the mothers paid no
attention to them. Children seem to bore them quite as successfully as
if they were women of fashion.

We went sailing up the Golden Horn to the Skutari cemetery, one of the
loveliest spots of this thrice-fascinating Constantinople. As we were
descending that steep hill upon which it is situated we met a darling
little baby Turk in a fez riding on a pony which his father was
leading. This child of a different race, and six thousand miles away,
looked so much like our Billy that I wanted to eat him up--dirt and
all. I contented myself with giving him backsheesh, while my companion
photographed him. Such an afternoon as that was on that lovely golden
river, with the sun just setting, and our picturesque boatmen sending
the boat through thousands upon thousands of sea-gulls just to make
them fly, until the air grew dark with their wings, and the sunlight
on their white breasts looked like a great glistening snow-storm!

One night we went to a masked ball given for the benefit of a new
hospital which is situated upon the Golden Horn. It was given by Mr.
Levy, one of the Turkish Commissioners at the World's Fair, and the
decorations were something marvellous. The walls were hung with
embroideries which drove us the next day to the bazaars and nearly
bankrupted us. Every street of Constantinople looks like a masked
ball, so this one merely continued the illusion. We could distinguish
the Mohammedan women from the others because they all went home before
midnight without unmasking.

This ball is interesting because it is called "The Engagement Ball."
We were told that only at a subscription ball given for a charity in
which their parents are interested and feel under moral obligation to
support by their presence are the young people of Constantinople
allowed to meet each other. The fathers and mothers occupy the boxes,
and thus, under their very eyes, and masked, can love affairs be
brought to a conclusion. During the week which followed no fewer than
ten important engagements were duly heralded in the columns of the
newspapers.

The most exciting things in Constantinople are the earthquakes. We
were afraid they would not have any while we were there, but they
accommodated us with a very satisfactory one! It upset my ink-bottle
and broke the lamp and rattled everything in the room until I was
delighted. When my companion came in she was indignant to think that I
had enjoyed the earthquake all to myself, for she was in the rooms of
the American Bible Society, and being thus protected, did not feel it.
But I told her that that was her punishment for trying to prove that a
missionary had cheated her, for she was not in that place for a godly
purpose.

At another time, however, we met with better success in obtaining a
sensation of a different sort. We visited, in company with our Turkish
friend, a small but wonderfully beautiful mosque not often seen by
ordinary tourists, and afterwards went up on Galata tower to get the
fine view of Constantinople which may be had there. It was just before
sunset again, and I am quite unable to make you see the utter
loveliness of it. We crawled out on the narrow ledge which surrounds
the top, and I had just got a capital picture of my companion as she
clutched the Turk to prevent being blown off, for the wind was
something terrible, when suddenly the keepers rushed to the windows
and jabbered excitedly in Turkish and ran up a flag, and behold, there
was a fire! Galata tower is the fire observatory. By the flags they
hoist you can tell where the fire is. I never was at a fire in my
life. Even when our stables burned down I was away from home. So here
was my opportunity. The way we drove down those narrow streets was
enough to make one think that we were the fire department itself. But
when we arrived we found to our grief that it was our dear little
mosque which was burning. Undoubtedly we were the last visitors to
enter it.

We went back to the hotel for dinner, and about nine o'clock, hearing
that the fire was spreading, we drove down again with our Turk, who
regarded it as no unusual thing to take American women to two fires in
the same day. We found the tenement-houses burning. Our carriage gave
us no vantage-ground, so our friend, who speaks twelve languages,
obtained permission to enter a house and go up on the roof. We never
stopped to think that we might catch all sorts of diseases; we were so
pleased at the courtesy of the poor souls. They had all their poor
belongings packed ready to remove if the fire crept any nearer, but
they ran ahead and lighted us up the dark stairway with candles, and
told us in Turkish what an honor we were doing their house, all of
which touched me deeply. I wondered how many people I would have
assisted up to _our_ roof if _my_ clothes were tied up in sheets in
the hall, with the fire not a square away!

Fortunately, it came no nearer, and from that high, flat roof we
watched the seething mass of yellow flames grow less and less and then
go completely under control. It was Providence which did it, however,
and not the Constantinople fire department, with its little streams of
water the size of slate-pencils!

The dogs were one of the sights we were anxious to see; the Sultan was
the other. We found the bazaars more fascinating than either. But we
wanted to photograph the Sultan--chiefly, I think, because it was
forbidden. I have an ever-present unruly desire to do everything which
these foreign countries absolutely forbid. But everybody said we could
not. So we very meekly went to see him go to prayers, and left our
cameras with the kavass. We had, with our customary good fortune, a
window directly in front of the Sultan's gate, not twenty feet from
the door of the mosque.

"If I had that camera here I could get him, and _nobody_ would know!"
I declared.

"But there are so many spies," our Turkish friend said. "It would be
too dangerous."

We waited, and waited, and waited. Never have the hours seemed so
mortally long as they seemed to us as we watched the hands of the
clock crawl past luncheon-time, hours and hours later than the Sultan
was announced to pray, and still no Sultan. His little six-and
seven-year old sons, in the uniform of colonels, were mounted on
superb Arabian horses. These horses had tails so long that servants
held them up going through the mud, as if they were ladies' trains.
The children were dear things, with clear olive complexions and soft,
dark eyes--Italian eyes. Then they grew tired of waiting, and
dismounted, and came up to where we were, and shook hands in the
sweetest manner. My companion was for coaxing the little one into her
lap, but she looked somewhat staggered when I reminded her that she
would be trotting the colonel of the regiment on her knee.

Then more cavalry came, and more bands, playing a little the worst of
any that I ever heard, and we impatiently thrust our heads out of the
window, thinking, of course, the Sultan was coining, but he was not.
Then some infantry with white leggings and stiff knee-joints, with
coils of green gas-pipe on their heads, like our student-lamps,
marched by with a gait like a battalion of horses with the
string-halt, and we shrieked with laughter. Our friend said they
called that the German step. Germany would declare war with Turkey if
she ever heard that.

By this time we were so tired and hungry and disgusted that we were
about to go home and give up the Sultan when we saw no fewer than
fifty men come toiling up the hill with carpet-bags, as if they had
brought their clothes, and intended to see the Sultan if it took a
week. I do not know who or what they were, and I do not want to know.
They served their purpose with us in that they put us into
instantaneous good humor, and just then there was a commotion, and
everybody straightened up and craned their necks; and then, preceded
by his body-guard, the Sultan drove slowly down, looked directly up at
our window (and we groaned), and then turned in at the gate. Opposite
to him sat Osman Pasha, the hero of Plevna. The ladies of the harem
were driven into the court-yard surrounded by eunuchs, the horses were
taken from their carriages, and there the ladies sat, guarded like
prisoners, until the Sultan came out again. He then mounted into a
superb gold chariot drawn by two beautiful white horses, and he
himself drove out. Everybody salaamed, and he raised his hand in
return as if it was all the greatest possible bore.

While he was driving into the court-yard the priest came out on the
minaret and called men to prayer, and an English girl who sat at the
next window informed her mother that he was announcing the names of
the important persons in the procession! Her mother trained her
glasses on him--a mere speck against the sky--and said, "Fancy!"

The Sultan is not a beauty. If he were in America his sign would be
that of the three golden balls.

We went to see the mosques, and the officials and priests and boatmen
were so cross and surly on account of the fast of Ramazan that they
would not let us take photographs without a fight. During Ramazan they
neither eat nor drink between sunrise and sunset.

On the fifteenth day of Ramazan the Sultan goes to the mosque of Eyoob
to buckle on the sword of Mohammed in order to remind himself that the
power of that sword has descended to himself. He does not announce his
route, therefore the whole city is in a commotion, and they spread
miles of streets with sand for fear he might take it into his head to
go by some unusual way. It passes my comprehension why they should
ever put any more dirt in the streets even for a Sultan. But sand is a
mark of respect in Russia and Turkey, and it really cleans the streets
a little. At least it absorbs the mud. Just as we were about to start
for a balcony beneath which he was almost sure to pass, our Turkish
friend whispered to us that if we wore capes we might take our
cameras. Imagine our delight, for it was so dangerous. But the capes!
Ours were not half long enough to conceal the camera properly. It was
growing late. So in a perfect frenzy I dragged out my long pale blue
_sortie du bal_, ripped the white velvet capes from it, pinned a short
sable cape to the top of it with safety-pins, and enveloped myself in
this gorgeousness at eleven o'clock in the morning. We made a curious
trio. Our Turk was in English tweeds with a fez. My companion wore a
smart tailor gown, and I was got up as if for a fancy-dress ball, but
in the streets of Constantinople no one gave me a second glance. I was
in mourning compared to some of the others.

On the balcony with us were two small boys with projecting ears, of
whom I stood in deadly terror, for if their boyish interest centred in
that camera of mine I was lost. Presently, however, with a tremendous
clatter, the Sultan's advance-guard came galloping down the street. I
got them, turned the film, and was ready for the next--the carriages
of the state officials. I aimed well, and got them, but I was growing
nervous. The boys writhed closer. I shoved them a little when their
mother was not looking.

"Don't try to take so many," said our Turk. "Here comes the Sultan.
Aim low, and don't fire until you see the whites of his eyes."

Again he looked up directly at us, and I snapped the shutter promptly.
It was done. I had succeeded in photographing the Sultan! To be sure,
it was an offense against the state, punishable by fine and
imprisonment, but nobody had caught me. The little boy next to me, who
had walked on my dress and ground his elbows into me, craned his neck
and stared at the Sultan with round eyes. He had been in my way ever
since we arrived, but in an exuberance of tenderness I patted his
head.

But when we had those negatives developed I discovered to my disgust
that instead of the Sultan I had taken an excellent photograph of that
wretched little boy's ear.



X


CAIRO

I need not have been afraid that the charms of Constantinople would
spoil Cairo for me, although at first I was disappointed. Most places
have to be lived up to, especially one like Cairo, whose attractions
are vaunted by every tourist, every woman of fashion, every scholar,
every idle club-man, everybody, either with brains or without. I
wondered how it _could_ be all things to all men. I simply thought it
was the fashion to rave about it, and I was sick of the very sound of
its name before I came. It was too perfect. It aroused the spirit of
antagonism in me.

First of all, when you arrive in Cairo you find that it is very, very
fashionable. You can get everything here, and yet it is practically
the end of the world. Nearly everybody who comes here turns around and
goes back. Few go on. Even when you go up the Nile you must come back
to Cairo. There is really nowhere else to go.

You drive through smart English streets, and when you find yourself at
Shepheard's you are at the most famous hotel in the world; yet,
strange to say, in spite of its size, in spite of the thousands of
learned, famous, titled, and distinguished people who have been here,
in spite of its smartness and fashion, it is the most homelike hotel I
ever was in. Everybody seems to know about you and to take an interest
in what you are doing, and all the servants know your name and the
number of your room, and when you go out into the great corridor, or
when you sit on the terrace, there is not a trace of the supercilious
scrutiny which takes a mental inventory of your clothes and your looks
and your letter of credit, which so often spoils the sunset for you at
similar hotels.

Ghezireh Palace is even more fashionable than Shepheard's. Here we
have baronets and counts and a few earls. But there they have dukes
and kings and emperors, yet there is a gold-and-alabaster mantelpiece
which takes your mind even from royalty, it is so beautiful. Ghezireh
is situated on the Nile, half an hour's drive away, so that in spite
of its royal atmosphere it never will take the place of Shepheard's.
Here you see all the interesting people you have heard of in your
life. You trip over the easels of famous artists in an angle of the
narrow street, and many famous authors, scientists, archaeologists,
and scholars are here working or resting.

Yesterday I was told that four Americans who stood talking together on
the terrace represented two hundred millions of dollars. At dinner the
red coats of the officers make brilliant spots of color among all the
black of the other men, and at first sight it does seem too odd to see
evening dress consist of black trousers and a bright-red coat which
stops off short at the waist. But if you think that looks odd, what
will you say to the officers of the Highland regiments? _Their_ full
dress is almost as immodest in a different way as that of some
women, and one of the most exquisite paradoxes of British custom
is that a Highland undress uniform consists of the addition of
long-trousers--more clothes than they wear in dress uniform.

Cairo is cosmopolitan. You may ride a smart cob, a camel, or a donkey,
and nobody will even look twice at you. You will see harem carriages
with closed blinds; coupés with the syces running before them (and
there is nothing in Cairo more beautiful than some of these men and
the way they run); you will see the Khedive driving with his
body-guard of cavalry; you will see fat Egyptian nurses out in basket
phaëton with little English children; you will see tiny boys, no
bigger than our Billy, in a fever of delight over riding on a live
donkey, and attended by a syce; you will see emancipated Egyptian
women trying to imitate European dress and manners, and making a mess
of it; you will see gamblers, adventurers, and savants all mixed
together, with all the hues of the rainbow in their costumes; you will
see water-carriers carrying drinking-water in nasty-looking dried
skins, which still retain the outlines of the animals, only swollen
out of shape, and unspeakably revolting; you will see native women
carrying their babies astride their shoulders, with the little things
resting their tiny brown hands on their mothers' heads, and often
laying their little black heads down, too, and going fast to sleep,
while these women walk majestically through the streets with only
their eyes showing; you will see all sorts of hideous cripples, and
more blind and cross-eyed people than you ever saw in all your life
before; you will see venders of fly-brushes, turquoises, amber,
ostrich-feathers, bead necklaces from Nubia, scarabaei and antiquities
which bear the hall-marks of the manufacturers as clearly as if
stamped "Made in Germany"; you will see sore-eyed children sitting in
groups in doorways, with numberless flies on each eye, making no
effort to dislodge them; and you will visit mosques and bazaars which
you feel sure call for insect-powder; you will see Arabian men
knitting stockings in the street, and thinking it no shame; you will
see countless eunuchs with their coal-black, beardless faces, their
long, soft, nerveless hands, long legs, and the general make-up of a
mushroom-boy who has outgrown his strength; you will hear the cawing
of countless rooks and crows, and if you leave your window open these
rascals will fly in and eat your fruit and sweets; you will see and
hear the picturesque lemonade-vendor selling his vile-tasting acid
from a long, beautiful brass vessel of irregular shape, and you never
can get away from the horrible jangling noise he makes from two brass
bowls to call attention to his wares; you will see tiny boys in tights
doing acrobatic feats on the sidewalk, walking on their hands in front
of you for a whole square as you take your afternoon stroll, and then
pleading with you for backsheesh; you will see hideous monkeys of a
sort you never saw before, trained to do the same thing, so that you
cannot walk out in Cairo without being attended with some sort of a
bodyguard, either monkey, acrobat, cripple, or the beggar-girls with
their sweet, plaintive voices, their pretty smiles, and their eternal
hunger, to coax the piasters from your open purse. But you accept
these sights and sounds as a part of this wonderful old city, and each
day the fascination will grow on you until you will be obliged to go
to a series of afternoon teas in order to cool your enthusiasm.

In passing, the flies of Egypt deserve a tribute to their peculiar
qualities. A plague of American flies would be a luxury compared to
the visit of one fly from Egypt. For untold centuries they have been
in the habit of crawling over thick-skinned faces and bodies, and not
being dislodged. They can stay all day if they like. Consequently, if
they see an American eye, and they light on it, not content with that,
they try to crawl in. You attempt to brush them off, but they only
move around to the other side, until you nearly go mad with
nervousness from their sticky feet. If they find out your ear they
crawl in and walk around. You cannot discourage them. They craze you
with their infuriating persistence. If _I_ had been the Egyptians, the
Israelites would have been escorted out of the country in state at the
arrival of the first fly.

England has done a marvellous good to Egypt by her training. She has
taken a lot of worthless rascals and educated them to work at
something, no matter if it does take five of them to call a cab. She
has trained them to make good soldiers, well drilled because drilled
by English officers, and making a creditable showing. She has made
fairly dependable policemen of them, but their legs are the most
wabbly and crooked of any that ever were seen. These policemen are
armed. One carries a pistol and the other the cartridges. If they
happened to be together they could be very dangerous to criminals. She
has developed all the resources of the country, and made it fat and
productive, but she never can give the common people brains.

It poured rain this morning, and there is no drainage; consequently,
rivers of water were rushing down the gutters, making crossings
impassable and traffic impossible. They called out the fire-engines to
pump the water up in the main thoroughfare, but on a side street I
stopped the carriage for half an hour and watched four Arabs working
at the problem. One walked in with a broom and swept the water down
the gutter to another man who had a dust-pan. With this dustpan he
scooped up as much as a pint of water at a time, and poured it into a
tin pail, which gave occupation to the third Arab, who stood in a bent
position and urged him on. The fourth Arab then took this pail of
water, ran out, and emptied it into the middle of the street, and the
water beat him running back to the gutter. I said to them, "Why don't
you use a sieve? It would take longer." And they said, "No speak
English."

I watched them until I grew tired, and then I went to the ostrich-farm
as a sort of distraction, and I really think that an ostrich has more
brains than an Arab.

This farm is very large, and the ostrich-pens are built of mud. I
never had seen ostriches before, and I had no idea how hideous, how
big, and how enchanting they are. They have the most curious
agate-colored eyes--colorless, cold, yet intelligent eyes. But they
are the eyes of a bird without a conscience. They have no soul, as
camels have. An ostrich looks as if he would really enjoy villainy, as
if he could commit crime after crime from pure love of it, and never
know remorse; yet there is a fascination about the old birds, and they
have their good points. The father is domestic in spite of looking as
if he belonged to all the clubs, and, much to my delight, I saw one
sitting on the eggs while the mother walked out and took the air.
Ostriches and Arabs do women's work with an admirable disregard of
Mrs. Grundy. Ostriches have an irresistible way of waving their lovely
plumy wings, and one old fellow twenty-five years old actually
imitates the dervishes. The keeper says to him, "Dance," and although
he is about ten feet tall, he sits down with his scaly legs spread out
on each side of him, and, shutting his eyes, he throws his long, ugly
red neck from side to side, making a curious grunting noise, and
waving his wings in billowy line like a skirt-dancer. It was too
wonderful to see him, and it was almost as revolting as a real
dervish.

We saw these dervishes once; nothing could persuade us to go
twice--they were too nasty. The night the Khedive goes to the Citadel,
to the mosque of Mohammed Ali, to pray for his heart's desire (for on
that night all prayers of the faithful are sure to be answered), the
dervishes in great numbers are performing their rites. They are called
the howling dervishes, but they do not howl; they only make a horrible
grunting noise. They have long, dirty, greasy hair, and as they throw
their bodies backward and forward this hair flies, and sometimes
strikes the careless observer in the face. They work themselves up to
a perfect passion of religious ecstasy to the monotonous sound of Arab
music, and never have I heard or seen anything more revolting. The
negroes in the South when they "get the power" are not nearly so
repulsive.

It is England's wise policy in all her colonies to have her army take
part in the national religious ceremonies, so when the Sacred Carpet
started from the Citadel on its journey to Mecca there was a
magnificent military display.

It is an odd thing to call it a carpet, for it not only is not a
carpet in itself, but it is not the shape of a carpet, it is not used
for a carpet, and does not look like a carpet.

We were among the fortunate ones who were invited to the private view
of it the night before, when the faithful were dedicating it. They sat
on the floor, these Mohammedans, rocking themselves back and forth,
and chanting the Koran. I believe the reason nearly all Arabs have
crooked legs is because they squat so much. One cannot have straight
legs when one uses one's legs to sit down on for hours at a time. They
always sit in the sun, too, and that must bake them into their
crookedness.

The "carpet" is a black velvet embroidered solidly in silver and gold.
It is shaped like an old-fashioned Methodist church, only there are
minarets at the four corners. It looks like a pall. Every year they
send a new one to Mecca, and then the old one is cut into tiny bits
and distributed among the faithful, who wear it next their hearts.

This carpet was about six feet long, and was railed in so that no one
could touch it. A man stood by and sprayed attar of roses on you as
you passed, but I do not know what he did it for, unless it was to
turn sensitive women faint with the heaviness of the perfume.

But the next morning the procession formed, and amid the wildest
enthusiasm, the bowing and salaaming of the men, and the shouting and
running of the children, and the singing of the Arabs who bore the
carpet, it was placed upon the most magnificent camel I ever saw,
which was covered from head to foot with cloth of gold, and whose very
gait seemed more majestic because of his sacred burden, and thus, led
by scores of enthusiastic Arabs, he moved slowly down the street,
following the covering for the tomb, and in turn being followed by one
scarcely less magnificent destined to cover the sacred carpet in its
camel journey to Mecca. That was absolutely all there was to it, yet
the Khedive was there with a fine military escort, and all Cairo
turned out at the unearthly hour of eight o'clock in the morning to
see it.

As we drove back we saw the streets for blocks around a certain house
hung with colored-glass lanterns, and thousands upon thousands of
small Turkey-red banners with white Arabic letters on them strung on
wires on each side of the street. These we knew were the decorations
for the famous wedding which was to occur that night, and to which we
had fortunately been bidden. It was in very smart society. The son of
a pasha was to marry the daughter of a pasha, and the presents were
said to be superb.

We wore our best clothes. We had ordered our bouquets beforehand, for
one always presents the bride with a bouquet, and they were really
very beautiful. It was a warm night, with no wind, and the heavens
were twinkling with millions of stars. Such big stars as they have in
Egypt!

When we arrived we were taken in charge by a eunuch so black that I
had to feel my way up-stairs. There were, perhaps, fifty other eunuchs
standing guard in the ante-chamber, and our dragoman took the men who
brought us around to another door, where all the men had to wait while
we women visited the bride.

A motley throng of women were in the outer room--fat black women with
waists two yards around, canary-colored women laced into low-cut
European evening dresses, brown women in native dress; a babel of
voices, chattering in curious French, Arabic, Turkish, and Greek. All
the women were terribly out of shape from every point of view, and not
a pretty one among them. One attendant snatched my bouquet without
even a "Thank you" (I had been wondering to whom I should give it, but
I need not have worried), and patted me on the back as she pushed me
into the room where the bride sat on a throne amid piles upon piles of
bouquets. She had a heavy, pale face covered with powder, eyes and
eyebrows blackened, nails stained with henna, and a figure much too
fat. She wore a garment made of something which looked like
mosquito-netting heavily embroidered in gold, which hung like a rag.
Her jewels were magnificent, but the effect of all this gorgeousness
was rather spoiled to the artistic eye by her grotesque surroundings.

After we had visited the bride we were approached by a little yellow
woman in blue satin, who asked me in French if I would not like to see
the _chambre à coucher_, and I said I would. We were then conducted to
a room all hung in blue satin embroidered in red. Lambrequins,
chair-covers, bed-covers, pillows, bed-hangings--all the careful work
of the bride. Then we were invited to inspect the presents in another
room, which were all in glass cabinets. Dozens of amber and jewelled
cigarette-holders and ornaments of every description, most
magnificent, but of no earthly use--as wedding presents sometimes are.

Then we came down-stairs, and had all sorts of things at a banquet,
and heard Arab music, and sat around in the room, where our men met
us, and feeling rather bored, we decided to go home. There we were
wise, for we met quite by accident the procession of the bridegroom.
He was escorted through the streets by a band, and two rows of young
men carrying candelabra under glass shades. We turned and drove along
beside him and watched him, but he was so nervous we felt that it was
rather a mean thing to do. He was a handsome fellow, but never have I
seen a man who looked so unhappy and ill at ease. When he entered the
house he proceeded to the door of the bride's room, where he threw
down silver and gold as backsheesh until her women were satisfied;
then he was permitted to enter.

As we drove away for the second time I remembered that they were
having "torchlight tattoo" at the barracks, and we decided to stop for
a moment.

"It won't seem bad to see some soldiers who can march, for the English
soldiers are magnificently trained," I said, as we stopped to buy our
tickets. A young officer whom I had met heard my remark, and smiled
and saluted.

"The English soldiers _are_ the best in the world, _aren't_ they?" he
said, teasingly.

"Undoubtedly," I replied, tranquilly.

He looked a little staggered. He had encountered my belligerent spirit
before, and he did not expect me to agree with him.

"You--you, an American, admit _that_?" he said.

"Surely," I replied. "But why?" he persisted, most unwisely, for it
gave me my chance.

"Because the Americans are the only ones who ever whipped them!
American soldiers can beat even the best!"

It is now six weeks since I said that, but as yet he has made no
reply.



XI


THE NILE

In travelling abroad there are some things which you wish to do more
than others. There are certain treasures you particularly desire to
see, certain scenes your mind has pictured, until the dream has almost
become a reality. The ascent of the Nile was one of my Meccas, and now
that it is over the reality has almost become a dream.

In Egypt the weather is so nearly perfect during the season that it
was no surprise to find the day of our departure a cloudless one. I
seldom worry myself to arrange beforehand for the creature comforts of
a journey, trusting to the beneficent star which seems to hover over
the unworthy to shine upon my pathway. But this time I had so dreamed
of and brooded over and longed for the Nile that I went so far as to
investigate the different lines of boats, and we chose the moonlight
time of the month, and we hurried through Russia and Turkey and Greece
with but one aim in view, and that was to have our feet on the deck of
the _Mayflower_ on the 19th of February. And we succeeded.

Ah, it was a dream well worth realizing! Twenty-one days of rest.
Three glorious weeks of smooth sailing over calm waters. Three weeks
of warmth and sunshine by day, and of poetry and starlight by night.
Three weeks of drifting in the romance which surrounds the name of
that great sorceress, that wonderful siren, that consummate coquette,
that most fascinating woman the world has ever known. Three weeks of
steeping one's soul in the oldest, most complete and satisfactory
ruins on the face of the earth. Here, in delving into the past, we
would have no use for the comparative word "hundreds." We could boldly
use the superlative word "thousands." What memories! what dreams! what
fragments of half-forgotten history and romance came floating through
the brain! I have, generally, little use for guide-books except,
afterwards, to verify what I have seen. But I admit that I had an
especial longing to reach the temple of Denderah, which was said to
contain the most famous relief of Cleopatra extant. I was anxious to
see if her beauty or her charm or anything which accounted for her
sorceries were reproduced. "If Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the
whole history of the world would have been changed." How far away she
seemed! How near she would become!

On the terrace at Shepheard's the morning of our departure you could
see by people's faces how they were going to make this journey. Some
had Stanley helmets on, and were laden with cushions and
steamer-chairs and fruits as if for an ocean voyage. Others were
clutching their Baedeker, and their Amelia Edwards, and their
"Kismet," and their note-books, and wore a do-or-die expression of
countenance. One or two others floated around aimlessly, with dreamy
eyes, as if they were already lost in the past which now pressed so
closely at hand. Then the coach from the Gehzireh Palace rolled by in
a cloud of dust, and people hurried down the steps of Shepheard's and
took their places in _our_ coach, and the dragomans in their gorgeous
costumes followed with wraps, and the porters bustled about stowing
away hand-luggage, and Arabs crowded near, thrusting their violets and
roses and amber necklaces and beaded fly-brushes into your very face,
and the old man who sells turquoises made his last effort to sell you
a set for shirt-studs, and the Egyptians and East-Indians from the
bazaars opposite came to the door and looked on with the perennial
interest and friendliness of the Orient, and a swarm of beggars
pleaded, with the excitement of a last chance, for backsheesh, and
there was a babel of tongues--French, English, Italian, German, and
Arabic, all hurtling about your ears like so many verbal bullets in a
battle, when suddenly the door slammed, the driver cracked his whip,
the coach lurched forward, the children scattered--and we were off.

Everybody knows when a boat starts up the Nile, and everybody is
interested and nods and waves to everybody else. There was a short
drive to the river amid polite calls of "good-bye" and "_bon voyage_,"
and there lay the _Mayflower_, like a great white bird with
comfortably folded wings. Nobody seemed to hurry much, for a Nile boat
does not start until her passengers are all on board. An hour or so
makes no difference.

You go down the bank of the Nile to go on board a boat upon steps cut
in the earth, and if your hands are full and you cannot hold up your
dress, you sweep some three inches of fine yellow dust after you. But
you don't care. The man ahead scuffed his dust in your face, and the
woman behind you is sneezing in yours, and everything and everybody
are a little yellowish from it, but nobody stops to brush it off. It
is too exciting to hurry up on deck and place your steamer-chair and
fling your things into your stateroom and rush out again for fear that
you will miss something. There were Italians, French, English, Poles,
Swedes, and Americans on board. Some of them had titles. Some had only
bad manners, with nothing to excuse them. But, after all, everybody
was nice, I got through the whole three weeks without hating anybody
and with only wanting to drown one passenger. What better record of
amiability could you ask?

But one thing marred the start. This Anglo-American line of boats is
the only line in Egypt which flies the American flag. That was the
final inducement they offered which decided my choice of the
_Mayflower_. But while we knew that she was obliged to fly the
British flag also, we were indignant beyond words to see a huge Union
Jack floating at the top of the forward flagstaff and beneath it a
toy American flag about the size of a cigar-box. _Beneath_ the
English flag! I nearly wept with rage. The owner of the line was
at hand, and I did not wait to draw up a petition or to consult my
fellow-Americans. I just said: "Have the goodness to haul down that
infant American flag, will you? I have no objection to sailing under
both, but I do object to such an insulting disparity in size. Besides
that, you seem to have forgotten that the American flag never flies
_below_ any other flag on God's green earth!"

He made some apologies, and gave the order at once. The baby was
hauled down amid the smiles of the English passengers. But at Assiout
we were avenged when an enormous American flag arrived by rail and was
hoisted to the main flagstaff, twenty feet higher than the British.
When I came out on deck that Sunday morning, and saw that blessed flag
waving above me, everything blurred before my eyes, and I do assure
you that it was the most beautiful sight I saw in all of that European
continent. You may talk about your temples and your ruins and your old
masters! Have _you_ ever seen "Old Glory" flying straight out from a
flagstaff in a foreign country seven thousand miles away from home?

The Nile is much broader than I expected to find it, and, like the
Missouri and the Golden Horn, it is always muddy. The _Mayflower_
carries only fifty passengers, which is of the greatest advantage for
donkey-rides and for seeing the ruins, a larger party being unwieldy.
She draws but two feet of water, having been built expressly for Nile
service, so we had the proud satisfaction of seeing one of the big
Rameses boats stuck on a sand-bank for eighteen hours, while we tooted
past her blowing whistles of defiance and derision. Whenever we felt
ourselves going aground on a sand-bank we just reversed the engines
and backed off again, or else put on extra steam and ground our way
through it. In the whole three weeks we were not aground five minutes,
although we passed one wreck settling in the water, with the bedding
and stores piled up on the bank, and the passengers sailing away in
the swallow-winged feluccas, which had swooped down to their rescue
like so many compassionate birds.

Afternoon tea on the Nile is an unforgetable function. Everybody comes
on deck and sits under the awning and watches the sun go down. Each
day the sunsets grow more beautiful. Each day they differ from all the
rest. Such yellows and purples! Such violet shadows on the golden
water! Such a marvellously sudden sinking of the sun in a crimson
flame behind the flat brown hills! And then the stillness of the Nile
in the opal aftermath! Those sunsets are something to carry in the
memory forever and a day.

At night the sailors lower the side awnings, crawling along the
railings with their naked prehensile feet. The captain, a Nubian, on a
salary of eighty-five cents a day, selects a suitable spot on the bank
where the boat may remain all night. Then the bow of the boat heads
for the shore and digs her nose in the soft mud. The sailors pitch the
stakes and mallets out on to the bank and spring ashore. Then with
Arab songs which they always sing when rowing, hauling ropes,
scrubbing the decks, or doing any sort of work, the stern is gradually
hauled alongside the bank, and there we stay until morning in a
stillness so absolute that even the cry of the jackals seems in
harmony with the loneliness of it.

I dreaded the first excursion. It was to Memphis and Sakhara, eighteen
miles in all, and I never had been on a donkey in my life. I am not
afraid of horses, but donkeys are so much like mules. My friends
encouraged me all they could. They said that I would have a donkey-boy
all to myself, that the donkey never went out of a walk, and wound up
by the cheerful assurance that if he did pitch me over his head I
would not have far to fall.

The donkey-boys of the Nile deserve a book all to themselves. Such
craft! Such flattery! Such knowledge of human nature! With unerring
sagacity they discover your nationality and give your donkey names
famous in your own country. Never will an Englishman find himself
astride "Yankee Doodle" or "Uncle Sam," or an American upon "John
Bull." They pick you up in their arms to put you on or take you from
your donkey as if you were a baby. They run beside you holding your
umbrella with one hand, and with the other arm holding you on if you
are timid. Staid, dignified women who teach Sunday-school classes at
home, who would not permit a white manservant to touch them, lean on
their donkey-boys as if they were human balustrades.

My first donkey-boy was an enchanting rascal. He looked like a
handsome bronze statue. My donkey was a pale, drab little beast,
woolly and dejected. He looked as though if you hurled contemptuous
epithets at him for a week they would all fit his case. My companion's
was more jaunty. He had been clipped in patterns. His legs were all
done in hieroglyphics, and he held his ears up while mine trailed his
in the sand.

Nevertheless, I was so deadly afraid of him that I saw my forty-nine
fellow-passengers leave me, one after the other, while I still
hesitated and eyed him suspiciously. Perhaps I never would have
mounted had not Imam, the dragoman, with the frank unceremoniousness
of the East, caught me up in his arms and landed me on my donkey
before I could protest. And in the face of his childish smile of
confidence I could only gasp. We moved off with the majesty of a
funeral procession.

"What's the name of my donkey?" asked my companion.

"Cleveland," came the answer like a flash.

We were enchanted.

"And what's the name of mine?" I asked.

"McKinley!"

Then we shouted. You have no idea how funny it sounded to hear those
two familiar names in such strange surroundings. We nearly tumbled off
in our delight, and so quick are those clever little donkey-boys to
watch your face and divine your mood that in a second they gave that
Weird, long-drawn donkey call, "Oh-h-ah-h!" and my companion's donkey
swung into a gentle trot, with her donkey-boy running behind, beating
him with a stick and pinching him in the legs.

At that McKinley, not to be outdone by any Democratic donkey, pricked
up his ears. I heard a terrific commotion behind me. The string of
bells around McKinley's neck deafened me, and I remember then and
there losing all confidence in the administration, for McKinley was a
Derby winner. He was a circus donkey. He broke into a crazy gallop,
then into a mad run. I shrieked but my donkey-boy thought it was a
sound of joy, and only prodded him the more. In less than two minutes
I had shot past every one of the party; and for the whole day McKinley
and I headed the procession. I only saw my companion at a distance
through a cloud of dust, and she does not trust me any more. Thus have
I to bear the sins of Mohammed Ali, my perfidious donkey-boy, who
forced me to lead the van on that dreadful first day at Sakhara.

Everywhere you go you hear the insistent, importunate cry for
backsheesh. Old men, women, children, dragomans, guides, merchants,
and street-venders--all sorts and conditions of men beg for it. They
teach even babies to take hold of your dress and cry for it. And to
toss backsheesh over to the crowd on the bank as the steamer moves
away is to see every one of them roll over in the dirt and fight and
scratch like cats over half a piaster. There is no such thing as
self-respect among the natives. They are governed by blows and curses,
and even the eyes of sheiks and native police glisten at the word
"backsheesh."

At Assiout one night we heard some one calling from the bank in
English: "Lady, lady, give me some English books. I am a Christian. I
can read English. Give me a Bible. I go to the American college. I
want to be a preacher." I leaned over the railing and discerned a very
black boy, whose name, he said, was Solomon. I was so surprised to
hear "Bible" instead of "backsheesh" that I investigated. He said his
mother and father were dead; that he had only been to college a year;
that he wanted to be a preacher, and that he would pray God for me if
I would give him a Bible. I was touched. He spelled America, and I
gave him backsheesh. He told me the population of the United States,
and I gave him more backsheesh. He sang "Upidee" with an accent which
threw me into such ecstasies that it brought the whole boat to hear
him, and we all gave him backsheesh. But his piety was what captivated
us. I heard afterwards that no fewer than ten of us privately resolved
to give him Bibles. He begged us to visit the college; so the next day
eight of us gave up the tombs and went to the American college, which
was floating the Stars and Stripes because it was Washington's
birthday. We spoke to Dr. Alexander, the president, of our friend
Solomon. He told us that he was an absolute fraud, but one of the
cleverest boys in the college. He was not an orphan. His father took a
new wife every year, and his mother also had an assorted collection of
husbands. He had been to school five years instead of one. He had no
end of Bibles. People gave them to him and he sold them. He had been
in jail for stealing, and on the whole his showing was not such as to
encourage us to help him to preach. Such was Solomon, a typical
Egyptian, an equally accurate type of the Arab. They are the cleverest
and most consummate liars in the world. I wonder that the noble men
and women who are giving their lives to teaching in that wonderful
mission college have the courage to go on with it, the material is so
unpromising. Yet Arabic acuteness makes it interesting, after all. A
pretty little water-carrier named Fatima, who wore a blue bead in the
hole bored in her nose, and only one other garment besides, ran beside
me at Denderah, calling me "beautiful princess," and kissing my hand
until she made my glove sticky. None of us were too old or too hideous
in our Nile costumes to be called beautiful and good. My donkey-boy at
Karnak assured me that I was his father and his mother. He touched his
forehead to my hand, then showed me how his dress was "broken," and
begged his new father-and-mother to give him a new one.

They are creatures of a different race. You treat them as you would
treat affectionate dogs. You beat them if they pick your pockets, as
they do every chance they get, and then they offer to show you the boy
who did it. I never got to the point of personally beating mine, but
Imam beat a few of them every day. On one occasion my donkey-boy,
Hassan, was angry with me because I would not let him buy feed for the
donkey, Ammon Ra, and refused to bring him up when I wanted to mount.
I called to the dragoman, and said:

"Imam, Hassan won't bring up my donkey."

Imam looked at him a moment in silence, then with a lightning slap on
the cheek he laid him flat in the sand. I was horrified. But to my
amazement Hassan hopped up and began to kiss my sleeve and to
apologize, saying, "Very good lady. Bad donkey-boy. Hassan sorry. Very
good lady."

We have had three Christmases this year. The first was in Berlin, the
second in Russia, and the third on the Nile--the day after the fast of
Ramazan is ended. Ramazan lasts only thirty days instead of forty,
like our Lent. The thirty-first is a holiday. They present each other
with gifts, do no work, and picnic in the graveyards.

Between Esneh and Luxor we passed a steamer with some English officers
on board, and their steamer was towing two flat-boats containing their
regiments, all going to Kitchener in the Soudan. I used the
field-glass on-them, while my companion photographed them. We waved to
them, and they waved to us and swung their hats and saluted. At Edfou
they caught up with us, and passed so close to our boat that the
gentlemen talked to them and asked what their regiments were. They
said the Twenty-first Lancers and the Seaforth and Cameron
Highlanders. Then their boat was gone. How could we know that those
gallant officers of the Twenty-first Lancers would so soon lead that
daring cavalry charge at Omdurman, and possibly one of those who
saluted so gayly was the one killed on the awful day? It touched us
very much, however, to think that they might be going to their death,
and we were glad they did not belong to us, little dreaming that the
blowing-up of the _Maine_, of which we had just heard, would so soon
plunge our own dear country into war, and that our own fathers and
brothers and friends would be marching and sailing away to defend that
same "Old Glory" whose stars and stripes were floating over our heads,
and whose gallant colors would succor the oppressed and avenge insult
with equal promptness and equal dignity.

The temple of Denderah is not, to my mind, more beautiful than those
of Luxor and Karnak; in fact, both of those are more majestic, but the
mural decorations of Denderah are in a state of marvellous
preservation. I own, after seeing that in some places even the
original colors remained, that I quite held my breath as we approached
the famous figure of Cleopatra. The sorceress of the Nile! The
favorite of the goddess Hathor herself! The siren who could tempt an
emperor to forsake his empire or a general to renounce fame and honor
more easily than a modern woman could persuade a man to break an
engagement to dine with her rival! Queen of the Lotus! Empress of the
Pyramids! What grace, what charm I anticipated! I wondered if she
would be portrayed floating down to meet Antony, with her purple and
perfumed sails, her cloth of gold garments, her peacocks, her ibex,
her lotus-blooms, and if all her mysterious fascinations would be
spread before the delighted gaze of her humble worshipper.

What I found is shown in the frontispiece to this volume. Beauty
unadorned with a vengeance! From this time on I shall question the
taste of Antony. I only wish he could have lived to see some American
girls I know.

We saw Karnak and Philae by moonlight, and we lunched in the tombs of
the kings, with hieroglyphics thousands of years old looking down upon
our pickled onions and cold fowl, and we ploughed through the sands at
Assouan and saw the naked Nubians, with a silver ear-ring in the top
of their left ear, shoot the rapids of the first cataract. We stood,
too, in the temple of Luxor, before the altar of Hathor, with the
sunset on one side and the moonrise on the other, and heard what her
votaries say to the Goddess of Beauty. It was so mystical that we
almost joined in the worship of the Egyptian Venus Aphrodite. It was
so still, so majestic, so aloof from everything modern and new.

The Nile is essentially a river of silence and mystery. The ibis is
always to be seen, standing alone, seemingly absorbed in meditation.
The camels turn their beautiful soft eyes upon you as if you were
intruding upon their silence and reserve. Never were the eyes in a
human head so beautiful as a camel's. There is a limpid softness, an
appealing plaintiveness in their expression which drags at your
sympathies like the look in the eyes of a hunchback. It means that,
with your opportunities, you might have done more with your life. Your
mother looks at you that way sometimes in church, when the sermon
touches a particularly raw nerve in your spiritual make-up. I always
feel like apologizing when a camel looks at me.

One moonlight night was so bright that our boat started about three
o'clock instead of waiting for daylight, and the start swung my
state-room door open. It was so warm that I let it remain, and lay
there hearing the gentle swish of the water curling against the side
of the steamer, and seeing the soft moonlight form a silver pathway
from the yellow bank across the river to my cabin door. The machinery
made no noise. There was no more vibration than on a sail-boat. And
there was the whole panorama of the Nile spread before my eyes, with
all its romance and all its mystery bathed in an enchanting radiance.
Occasionally a raven croaked. Sometimes a jackal howled. An obelisk
made an exclamation-point against the sky, or the ruins of a temple
fretted the horizon. It was the land of Ptolemy, of Rameses, of
Hathor, of Horus, of Isis and Osiris, of Herodotus and Cleopatra, of
Pharaoh's daughter and Moses. It was the silence of the ages which
fell upon me, and then and there, in that hour of absolute stillness
and solitude and beauty unspeakable, all my dreams of the Nile came
true.



XII


GREECE

After our ship left Smyrna, where the camels are the finest in the
world, and where the rugs set you crazy, we came across to the
Piraeus, and arrived so late that very few of the passengers dared to
land for fear the ship would sail without them. It was blowing a
perfect gale, the sea was rough, and the captain too cross to tell us
how long we would have on shore. I looked at my companion and she
looked at me. In that one glance we decided that we would see the
Acropolis or die in the attempt. A Cook's guide was watching our
indecision with hungry eyes. We have since named him Barabbas, for
reasons known to every unfortunate who ever fell into his hands. But
he was clever. He said that we might cut his head off if he did not
get us back to the boat in time. We assured him that we would gladly
avail ourselves of his permission if that ship sailed without us. Then
we scuttled down the heaving stairway at the ship's side, and away we
went over (or mostly through) the waves to the Piraeus. There we took
a carriage, and at the maddest gallop it ever was my lot to travel we
raced up that lovely smooth avenue, between rows of wild pepper-trees
which met overhead, to Athens; through Athens at a run, and reached
the Acropolis, blown almost to pieces ourselves, and with the horses
in a white foam.

Up to that time the Acropolis had been but a name to me. I landed
because it was a sight to see, and I thought an hour or so would be
better than to miss it altogether. But when I climbed that hill and
set my foot within that majestic ruin, something awful clutched at my
heart. I could not get my breath. The tears came into my eyes, and all
at once I was helpless in the grasp of the most powerful emotion which
ever has come over me in all Europe. I could not understand it, for I
came in an idle mood, no more interested in it than in scores of other
wonders I was thirsting to see; Luxor, Karnak, Philae, Denderah--all
of those invited me quite as much as the Acropolis, but here I was
speechless with surprise at my own emotion, I can imagine that such
violence of feeding might turn a child into a woman, a boy into a man.
All at once I saw the whole of Greek art in its proper setting. The
Venus of Milo was no longer in the Louvre against its red background,
where French taste has placed it, the better to set it off. Its cold,
proud beauty was here again in Greece; the Hermes at Olympia; the
Wingless Victory from the temple of Niké Apteros, made wingless that
victory might never depart from Athens; the lovelier Winged Victory
from the Louvre, with her electric poise, the most exhilarating, the
most inspiring, the most intoxicating Victory the world has ever
known, was loosed from her marble prison, and was again breathing the
pure air of her native hills. Their white figures came crowding into
my mind.

The learning of the philosophers of Greece; the "plain living and high
thinking" they taught; the unspeakable purity of her art; the
ineffable manner in which her masters reproduced the idea of the
stern, cold pride of aloofness in these sublime types of perfect men,
wrung my heart with a sense of personal loss. I can imagine that
Pygmalion felt about Galatea as I felt that first hour in the
Acropolis. I can imagine that a woman who had loved with the passion
of her life a man of matchless integrity, of superb pride, of lofty
ideals, and who had lost that love irretrievably through a fault of
her own, whose gravity she first saw through his eyes when it was too
late, might have felt as I felt in that hour. All the agony of a
hopeless love for an art which never can return; all the sense of
personal loss for the purity which I was completely realizing for the
first time when it was too late; all the intense longing to have the
dead past live again, that I might prove myself more worthy of it,
assailed me with as mighty a force as ever the human heart could
experience and still continue to beat. The piteous fragments of this
lost art which remained--a few columns, the remnants of an immortal
frieze, the long lines of drapery from which the head and figure were
gone, the cold brow of the Hermes, the purity of his profile, the
proud curve of his lips, the ineffable wanness of his smile--I could
have cast myself at the foot of the Parthenon and wept over the
personal disaster which befell me in that hour of realization.

I never again wish to go through such an agony of emotion. The
Acropolis made the whole of Europe seem tawdry. I felt ashamed of the
gorgeous sights I had seen, of the rich dinners I had eaten, of the
luxuries I had enjoyed. I felt as if I would like to have the whole of
my past life fall away from me as a cast-off garment, and that if I
could only begin over I could do so much better with my life. I could
have knelt and beat my hands together in a wild, impotent prayer for
the past to be given into my keeping for just one more trial, one more
opportunity to live up to the beauty and holiness and purity I had
missed. When I looked up and saw the naked columns of the Parthenon
silhouetted against the sky, bereft of their capitals, ragged,
scarred, battered with the war of wind and weather and countless ages,
all about me the ruins seemed to say, "Your appreciation is in vain;
it is too late, too late!"

I have an indistinct recollection of stumbling into the carriage, of
driving down a steep road, of having the Pentelikon pointed out to me,
of knowing that near that mountain lay Marathon, of seeing the statue
of "Greece crowning Byron," but I heard with unhearing ears, I saw
with unseeing eyes. I had left my heart and all my senses in the
Acropolis. I believe that one who had left her loved one in the
churchyard, on the way home for the first time to her empty house, has
felt that dazed, unrealizing yet dumb heartache that I felt for days
after leaving the Parthenon.

It grew worse the farther I went away from it, and for two months I
have longed for Athens, Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis. I wanted to
stand and feast my soul upon the glories which were such living
memories, All through Egypt and up the Nile my one wish was to live
long enough and for the weeks to fly fast enough for me to get back to
Athens. Now I am here for the second time, and for as long as I wish
to remain.

We came sailing into the harbor just at sunset. Such a sunset! Such
blue in the Mediterranean! Such a soft haze on the purple hills! How
the gods must have loved Athens to place her in the garden spot of all
the earth; to pour into her lap such treasures of art, and to endow
her masters with power to create such an art! The approach is so
beautiful. Our big black Russian ship cut her way in utter silence
through the bluest of blue seas, with scarcely a ripple on the sunlit
waters, between amethyst islands studded with emerald fields, making
straight for that which was at one time the bravest, noblest, most
courageous, most beautiful country on earth.

 "The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
    Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
  Where grew the arts of war and peace,
    Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!
  Eternal summer gilds them yet,
  But all except their sun is set."

Byron's statue stands in the square, surrounded by evergreens; his
picture is in the École Polytechnique, and his memory and his songs
are revered throughout all Greece. How her beauty tore at his soul!
How her love for freedom met with an echo in his own heart! No wonder
he sang, with such a theme! It was enough to give a stone song and the
very rocks utterance.

It was Sunday, and as we drove through the clean, white streets,
feeling absolutely hushed with the beauty which assailed us on every
side, suddenly we heard the sound of music, mournful as a dirge--a
martial dirge. And presently we saw approaching us the saddest, most
touching yet awful procession I ever beheld. It was a military
funeral. First came the band; then came two men bearing aloft the
cover to the casket, wreathed in flowers and streaming with crape.
Then, borne in an open coffin by four young officers of his staff,
with bands of crape on their arms and knots of crape on their swords,
was the dead officer, an old, gray-haired general, dressed in the full
uniform of the Greek army, with his browned, wrinkled, deep-lined
hands crossed over his sword. The casket was shallow, and thus he was
exposed to the view of the gaping multitude, without even a glass lid
to cover his bronzed face, and with the glaring sun beating down upon
his closed eyes and noble gray head. Just behind him they led his
riderless black horse, with his master's boots reversed in the
stirrups and the empty saddle knotted with crape. It was at once
majestic, heartrending, and terrible. It unnerved me, and yet it was
not surprising to have such a moving spectacle greet me on my return
to Greece.

We drove over the same road from the Piraeus to Athens, but in the two
months of our absence they had mended a worn place in this road and
had unearthed a most beautiful sarcophagus, which they placed in the
national museum. The cement which held it on its pedestal was not yet
dry when we saw it. They do not know its date, nor the hand of the
sculptor who carved it, yet it needs no name to proclaim its beauty.

I have now seen Athens as I wanted to see it. I have seen it
consecutively. It was beautiful to begin with the Acropolis and to
take all day to examine just the frieze of the Parthenon. We had to
have written permission, which we received through the American
minister, to allow us to climb up on the scaffolding and get a near
view of it. But we did it, and we were close enough to touch it, to
lay our hands on it, and we waited hours for the sun to sink low
enough to creep between the giant beams and touch the metopes so that
we could photograph them. Of course, we could have bought photographs
of them, but it seemed more like possessing them to take them with our
own little cameras.

The central metope is the most beautiful and in the best state of
preservation of all this marvel from the hand of Phidias; yet the work
of destruction goes on, as only last year the head of the rider fell
and broke into a thousand pieces, so that only the horse, the figure,
and the electric splendor of his wind-blown garments floating out
behind him remain. There is so little of this frieze left that it
requires the full scope of the imagination, as one stands and looks at
it, to picture this triumphal procession of Pan-Athenians which every
four years formed at the Acropolis and wound majestically down through
the Sacred Way to the Temple of Mysteries to sacrifice to the goddess
in honor of Marathon and Salamis.

But we followed this road ourselves. We, too, took the Sacred Way. On
the loveliest day imaginable we drove along this smooth white road; we
saw the Bay of Salamis; we wound around the sweetheart curve of her
shore; the purple hills forming the cup which holds her translucent
waters are the background to this famous battle-ground; and beyond,
set on the brow of one of these hills like a diadem, is all that
remains of the Temple of Mysteries. Broken columns are there,
pedestals, fragments of proud arches, now shattered and trodden under
foot. Its majesty is that of a sleeping goddess, so still, so
tranquil, proud even, in its ruins; yet in such utter silence it lies.
In the cracks of the marble floors, in the crannies of the walls,
springing from beneath the broken statue, voiceless yet persistent,
grow scarlet poppies--the sleep flowers of the world, yielding to this
yellowing Temple of Mysteries the quieting influence of their
presence.

The next day, almost in the spirit of worship, we went to Marathon. If
Salamis was my Holy Grail, then Marathon was my Mecca. We started out
quite early in the morning, with relays of horses to meet us on the
way. It tried to rain once or twice, but it seemed not to have the
heart to spoil my crusade, for presently the sun struggled through the
ragged clouds and shed a hazy half light through their edges, which
completely destroyed the terrible, blinding glare and made the day
simply perfect.

The road to Marathon led through orchards of cherry-trees white with
blossoms, through green vineyards, past groves of olive-trees which
look old enough to have seen the Persian hosts, through groups of
cypress-trees, such noble sentinels of deathless evergreen; through
fields of wild-cabbage blooms, making the air as sweet as the
alfalfa-fields of the West; across the Valanaris by a little bridge,
and suddenly an isolated farmhouse with a wine-press, and
then--Marathon!

 "The mountains look on Marathon,
    And Marathon looks on the sea,
  And musing there an hour alone,
    I dreamed that Greece might still be free;
  For standing by the Persian's grave,
  I could not deem myself a slave!"

Marathon is only a vast plain, but what a plain! It has only a small
mound in the centre to break its smoothness, but what courage, what
patriotism, what nobility that mound covers! It was there, many
authorities say, that all the Athenians were buried who fell at
Marathon, although Byron claims that it covers the Persian dead.

How Greece has always loved freedom! In the École Polytechnique are
three Turkish battle-flags and some shells and cannon-balls from a war
so recent that the flags have scarcely had time to dry or the shells
to cool. What a pity, what an unspeakable pity, that all the glory of
Greece lies in the past, and that the time of her power has gone
forever! Nothing but her brave, undaunted spirit remains, and never
can she live again the glories of her Salamis, her Marathon, her
Thermopylae.

We have seen Athens in all her guises, the Acropolis in all her moods,
at sunrise, in a thunder-storm, in the glare of mid-day, at sunset,
and yet we saved the best for the climax. On the last night we were in
Athens we saw the Acropolis by moonlight. We nearly upset the whole
Greek government to accomplish this, for the King has issued an edict
that only one night in the month may visitors be admitted, and that is
the night of the full moon. But I had returned to Athens with this one
idea in my mind, and if I had been obliged to go to the King myself I
would have done so, and I know that I would have come away victorious.
He never could have had the heart to refuse me.

It is impossible. I utterly abandon the idea of making even my nearest
and dearest see what I saw and hear what I heard and think what I
thought on that matchless night. There was just a breath of wind. The
mountains and hills rose all around us, Lykabettos, Kolonos--the home
of Sophocles--Hymettos, and Pentelikon with its marble quarries, made
an undulating line of gray against the horizon, while away at the left
was the Hill of Mars. How still it was! How wonderful! The rows of
lights from the city converged towards the foot of the Acropolis like
the topaz rays in a queen's diadem. The blue waters of the harbor
glittered in the pale light. A chime of bells rang out the hour,
coming faintly up to us like an echo. And above us, bathed, shrouded,
swimming in silver light, was the Parthenon. The only flowers that
grow at the foot of the Parthenon are the marguerites, the
white-petaled, golden-hearted daisies, and even in the moonlight these
starry flowers bend their tender gaze upon their god.

I leaned against one of the caryatides of the Erechtheion and looked
beyond the Parthenon to the Hill of Mars, where Paul preached to the
Athenians, and I believe that he must have seen the Acropolis by
moonlight when he wrote, "Wherefore, when we could no longer forbear,
we thought it good to be left in Athens _alone_!"

What a week we have had in Athens! If I were obliged to go home
to-morrow, if Greece ended Europe for me, I could go home satisfied,
filled too full of bliss to complain or even to tell what I felt. I
have lived out the fullest enjoyment of my soul; I have reached the
limit of my heart's desire. Athens is the goddess of my idolatry. I
have turned pagan and worshipped.

In all my travels I have divided individual trips into two
classes--those which would make ideal wedding journeys and those which
would not. But the greatest difficulty I have encountered is how to
get my happy wedded pair over here in order to _begin_. I have not the
heart to ask them to risk their happiness by crossing the ocean, for
the Atlantic, even by the best of ships, is ground for divorce (if you
go deep enough) in itself. I have not yet tried the Pacific, but I am
told that, like most people who are named Theodosia and Constance and
Winifred, the Pacific does not live up to its name. However, if I
could transport my people, chloroformed and by rapid transit, to
Greece, I would beg of them to journey from Athens to Patras by rail;
and if that exquisite experience did not smooth away all trifling
difficulties and make each wish to be the one to apologize first, then
I would mark them as doomed from the beginning, by their own insensate
and unappreciative natures, as destined to finish their honeymoon by
separate maintenance and alimony.

How I hate descriptions of scenery! How murderous I feel when the
conventional novelist interrupts the most impassioned love-scene to
tell how the moonlight filtered through the ragged clouds, or how the
wind sighed through the naked branches of the trees, just as if
anybody cared what nature was doing when human nature held the stage!
And yet so marvellous is the fascination of Greece, so captivating the
scenes which meet the eye from the uninviting window of a plain little
foreign railroad train, that I cannot forbear to risk similar
maledictions by saying that it is too heavenly for common words to
express.

Now, I abominate railroads and I loathe ships. The only things I
really enjoy are a rocking-chair and a book. But much as I detest the
smell of car-smoke, and to find my face spotted with soot, and ill as
it makes me to ride backward, I would willingly travel every month of
the year over the road from Athens to Patras. The mountains are not so
high as to startle, the gulf not so vast as to shock. But with
gentleness you are drawn more and more into the net of its fascination
until the tears well to your eyes and there is a positive physical
ache in your heart.

Greece is considerate. I have seen landscapes so continuously and
overpoweringly beautiful that they bored me. I know how to sympatize
with Alfred Vargrave when he says to the Duc de Luvois:

 "Nature is here too pretentious; her mien
  Is too haughty. One likes to be coaxed, not compelled,
  To the notice such beauty resents if withheld.
  She seems to be saying too plainly, 'Admire me;'
  And I answer, 'Yes, madam, I do; but you tire me.'"

Not so with Greece, for when you become almost intoxicated with her
wonderful blues and greens and purples, and you move your head
restlessly and beg a breathing-space, she compassionately recognizes
your mood and lowers a silver veil over her brilliant beauty, so that
you see her through a gauzy mist, which presently tantalizes you into
blinking your tired eyes and wondering what she is so deftly
concealing. It is like the feeling which assails you when you see a
veiled statue. You long for the sculptor to chisel away the marble
gauze and reveal the features. And when the craving becomes
intolerable, lo! Greece, the past mistress of the art of beauty,
grants your desire, and with the regal gift of a goddess brings your
soul into its fruition. Cleopatra would have tantalized and left your
heart to eat itself out in hopeless longing. But Cleopatra was only a
queen; Venus was a goddess.

Names which were but names to you before become living realities now.
We are crossing the Attic plain, and from that we find ourselves in
the Thracian plain. What girl has not heard her brother spout
concerning these names, famous in Greek history? Then we are in
Megara, on the lovely blue Bay of Salamis. From Megara the Bay of
Salamis becomes Saronic Gulf, and after an hour or two of its
unspeakable beauty we cross over to Corinth and find, if possible,
that the blues of the Gulf of Corinth are even more sapphire, that its
purples are even more amethyst, that its greens are more emerald than
the blues and purples and greens of Salamis.

From Corinth the road skirts the sea, and all these white plains are
devoted to the drying of currants. At Sikyon, called "cucumber town,"
but originally, with the mystic beauty of the ancient Greeks, called
"poppy town," the American school at Athens has made some wonderful
excavations. It has discovered the supports of the stage of the famous
theatre there. Then, still with the sea before us, we are at Aegium, a
name full of memories of ancient Greece. It has olive, currant, grape,
and mulberry plantations, and lies shrouded and bedded in beauty and
romance. There, over a high iron bridge, we cross a rushing mountain
torrent and are at Patras, in the moonlight, with our big ship waiting
to take us across the Adriatic Sea to Brindisi.

It was with real pain that we left Greece. I would like to go back
to-morrow. But there were reasons for reaching Italy without further
delay, and we hurried through Corfu with only a day there to see its
loveliness, instead of a week, as we would have liked. The Empress of
Austria's villa lies tucked up on a hill-side, in a mass of orange,
lemon, cypress, and magnolia trees. Such an enchanting picture as it
presents, and such wonderful beauty as it encloses. But all that is
modern. What fascinates me in Corfu is that opposite the entrance to
the old Hyllaean harbor lies the isle of Pontikonisi (Mouse Island),
with a small chapel and clergy-house. Tradition says that it is the
Phaeacian ship which brought Ulysses to Ithaka, and which was
afterwards turned into stone by the angry Poseidon (Neptune). The
brook Kressida at the point where it enters the lake is also pointed
out as the spot where Ulysses was cast ashore and met the Princess
Nausicaa. A seasick sort of name, that!

I feel an inexplicable delight in letting my imagination run riot in
the Greek traditions of their gods and goddesses. Their heroes are
more real to me than Caesar and Xerxes and Alexander. And Hermes and
Venus and the dwellers of Olympus have been such intimate friends
since my childhood that the scenes of their exploits are of much more
moment to me than Waterloo and Austerlitz. I cannot forbear laughing
at myself, however, for my holy rage over Greek mythology, as founded
upon no better ground than that upon which Mark Twain apologized for
his admiration for Fenimore Cooper's Indians, for he admitted that
they were a defunct race of beings which never had existed!

We arrived at Brindisi at four o'clock in the morning. Brindisi at
four o'clock in the morning is not pleasant, nor would any other city
be on the face of this green footstool. We were in quarantine, and we
had to cope with a cross stewardess, who declared that we demanded too
much service, and that she would _not_ bring us our coffee in bed, and
who then went and did it like an angel, so that we patted her on the
back and told her in French that she was "well amiable," although at
that hour in the morning we would have preferred to throttle her for
her impertinence, and then to throw her in the Adriatic Sea as a neat
little finish. Such, however, is our diplomatic course of travel.

We walked in line under the doctor's eye, and he pronounced us
sanitary and permitted us to land. We were four hours late, but we
scalded ourselves with a second cup of coffee and tried for the
six-o'clock train for Naples, missed it, sent a telegram to Cook to
send our letters to the train to meet us, and then went back to the
ship to endure with patience and commendable fortitude the jeers of
our fellow-passengers. Virtue was its own reward, however, for soon,
under the rays of the rising sun, which we did not get up to see, and
did not want to see, there steamed into the harbor alongside of us the
P. & O. ship _Sutly_, six hours ahead of time (did you ever hear of
such a thing?), bearing our belated friends, the Jimmies, from
Alexandria. They had been booked for the _China_, which was wrecked,
so the _Sutly_ took her passengers. The Jimmies had bought their
passage for Venice, but we teased them to throw it up and come with
us, and such is our fascination that they yielded. The love which
reaches the purse is love indeed. So in a fever of joy we all caught
the nine-o'clock train for Naples.

They have a sweet little way on Italian railroads of making no
provision for you to eat. We did not know this, and our knowledge of
Italian was limited to _Quanto tempo?_ (How much time?) and _Quanto
costa?_ (How much is it?) So we punctuated the lovely journey among
the Italian hills, and between their admirable waterways, by hopping
off the train for coffee every time they said "Cinque minuti." It was
like a picnic train. Half the passengers were from the P. & O., and
knew the Jimmies, and the other half were from our Austrian Lloyd, and
knew us, so it was perfectly delicious to see every compartment door
fly open and everybody's friend appear with tea-kettles for hot water
in one hand and tea-caddies in the other, and to see people who hated
boiled eggs buying them, because they were about all that looked
clean; and to see staid Englishmen in knickerbockers and monocles with
loops of Italian bread over each tweed arm, and in both hands flasks
of cheap red Italian wine--oh, so good! and only costing fifty
centimes, but put up in those lovely straw-woven decanters which cost
us a real pang to fling out of the window after they were emptied. And
it was anything but conventional to hear one friend shout to another,
"Don't pay a lira for those mandarins; I got twice that many from this
pirate!" And then the five minutes would be up, and the guard would
come along and call "Pronto," which is much prettier than "All
aboard," but which means about the same thing; and then two
ear-splitting whistles and a jangling of bells, and the doors would
slam, and we were off again.

It was moonlight when we skirted the Bay of Naples--the same moonlight
which lighted the Acropolis for us at Athens, which shed its silver
loveliness upon the Adriatic Sea, where we had no one whose soul
shared its beauty with us, and which we found again glittering upon
the Bay of Naples. We stood at the car-window and watched it for an
hour, for all that time our train was winding its way around the shore
into Naples.

That curve of the shore, that sheet of rippling sapphire, the glint of
the moon on the water, the train trailing its slow length around the
bay, are associated in my mind with one of those emotional upheavals
which travellers must often experience in passing from one phase of
civilization to another. It marks one of the mile-stones in my inner
life. I was leaving the East, the pagan East, with its mysterious
influence, and I was getting back to Cooks' tourists and Italy. My
mind was in a whirl. Which was best? Why should I so love one, and why
did the other bore me? I was afraid to follow the yearnings of my own
soul, and yet I knew that only there lay happiness. To make up one's
mind to be true to one's love--even if it be only the love of
beauty--requires courage. And the trial of my bravery came to me on
that curve of the Bay of Naples. I dared. I am daring now. I am still
true to the Orient.

As I look back I remember that the phrase, "See Naples and die," gave
me the hazy idea that it must be very beautiful, but just how I did
not know, and did not particularly care. I knew the bay would be
lovely; I only hoped it would be as lovely as I expected. Celebrated
beauties are so apt to be disappointing. I imagined that all
Neapolitan boys wore their shirt-collars open and that a wavy lock of
coal-black hair was continually blowing across their brown foreheads.
That eternal porcelain miniature has maddened me with its omnipresence
ever since I was a child. But aside from these half-thoughts and dim
expectations I had no hopes at all. I was prepared to be gently and
tranquilly pleased; not wildly excited, but satisfied; not happy, but
contented with its beauty. But I have found more. The bay is more
lovely than I anticipated, and I have discovered that Italian hair is
not coal-black; it begins to be black at the roots, and evidently had
every intention of being black when it started out, but it grew weary
of so much energy, and ended in sundry shades of russet brown and
sunburned tans. It generally has these two colors, black and tan, like
the silky coat of a fine terrier, and it waves in lovely little
tendrils, and is much prettier than hair either all black or all
brown.

But I am ahead of my narrative. I am trying to decide whether Naples
is more beautifully situated than Constantinople. Constantinople,
being Oriental, fascinates me more. Western Europe begins to seem a
little tame and conventional to me, because the pagan in my nature is
so highly developed. I detest civilization except for my own selfish
bodily comfort. When I eat and sleep I want the creature comforts.
Otherwise I love those thieving Arab servants in Cairo (who would
steal the very shoes off your feet if you dropped off for your forty
winks) because of their uncivilization and unconventionality.
Civilization has not yet spoiled them. I bought rugs in Cairo, and
often when I went unexpectedly into my room I found my Arab
man-servant on his knees studying their patterns and feeling their
silkiness. I had everything locked up, or perhaps he would have made
worse use of his time; but somehow the childishness of the East
appeals to me.

Constantinople is so delightfully dirty and old. Mrs. Jimmie sniffs at
me because I can stop the peasants who lead their cows through the
streets of Naples, and because I can drink a glass of warm milk; Mrs.
Jimmie wants hers strained. But if I can eat "Turkish Delight" in
Constantinople, buying it in the bazaars, seeing it cut off the huge
sticky mass with rusty lamp-scissors, perhaps dropped on the
dirt-floor, and in a moment of abstraction polished off on the Turk's
trousers and rolled in soft sugar to wrap the real in the ideal--if I
can cope with _that_ problem, surely a trifle like drinking unstrained
milk, with the consoling satisfaction of stopping the carriage in an
adorable spot, with the blue waters of the bay curling up on its shore
down below on the right, and a sheer cliff covered with moss and
clinging vines and surmounted by a superb villa on the left, is
nothing. For to eat or to drink amid such romantic surroundings, even
if it were unstrained milk, was an experience not to be despised.

Yet here are two cities situated like amphitheatres upon the convex
curve of two ideally beautiful harbors. How do you compare them? Each
according to your own temper and humor. You have seen hundreds of
colored photographs both of Naples and Constantinople. But of the two
you will find only Naples exactly like the pictures. Everybody agrees
about Naples. People disagree delightfully about Constantinople. Some
can never get beyond the dirt and smells and thievery. Some never get
used to the delicious thrills of surprise which every turn and every
corner and every vista and every night and every morning hold for the
beauty-lover. Nothing could be more heterodox, more _bizarre_, more
unconventional than Constantinople scenes. Nothing could be more
orthodox than the views of Naples. To be sure, poets have written
reams of poetry about it, travellers have sent home pages of
rhapsodies about it, tourists have conscientiously "done" the town,
with their heads cocked on one side and their forefingers on a
paragraph in Baedeker; but just _because_ of this, _because_ everybody
on earth who ever has been to Naples--man or woman, Jew or Gentile,
black or white, bond or free--_has_ wept and gurgled and had hysteria
over its mild and placid beauty, is one reason why I find it somewhat
tame. Italian scenery seems to me laid out by a landscape-gardener.
Its beauty is absolutely conventional. Nobody will blame you if you
admire it. To rave over it is like going to church--it is the proper
thing to do. People will raise their eyebrows if you don't, and watch
what you eat, and speculate on your ancestry, and wonder about your
politics.

The beauty of Italy is so proper and Church of England that you are
looked upon as a dissenter if you do not rhapsodize about it. But it
disappoints me to feel obliged to follow the multitude like a flock of
sheep and to take the dust of those feeble-minded tourists who have
preceded me and set the pace. There is nothing in the scenery of all
Italy to shock your love of beauty from the staid to the original.
There is nothing to give your sensitive soul little shivers of
surprise. There is nothing to make you hesitate for fear you ought not
to admire; you _know_ you ought. You feel obliged to do so because
everybody has done it before you, and you will be thought queer if you
don't. There is a gentle, pretty-pretty haze of romance over Italian
scenery which is like reading fairy-tales after having devoured
Carlyle. It is like hearing Verdi after Wagner. The East has my real
love. I find that I cannot rave over a pink and white china
shepherdess when I have worshipped the Venus of Milo.



XIII


NAPLES

The point of view is always the pivot of recollection. How ought one
to remember a place? There are a dozen ways of enjoying Naples, and
twenty ways of being miserable in America. Or turn it the other way,
it makes no difference. It depends upon one's self and the state of
the spleen. Before I came to Europe I remember often to have been
disgusted with persons who recalled Germany by its beer and Spain by
its fleas, or those who said: "Cologne! Oh yes; I remember we got such
a good breakfast there."

Ah, ha! It is so easy to sniff when one is mooning in imagination over
cathedrals, but I have since taken back all those sniffs. I did not
realize then the misery of standing on one foot all the morning in
tombs, and on the other all the afternoon in museums, and then of
going home to sleep on an ironing-board. Now I, too, think gratefully
of the Bay of Naples as being near that good bed, and of the Pyramids
as being near the excellent table of Shepheard's. Why not? Can one
rave over Vesuvius on an empty stomach, or get all the beauty out of
Sorrento with a backache? One must be well and have good spirits when
one travels. It is not so essential merely to be comfortable, although
that helps wonderfully. But even to get soaking wet could not utterly
spoil the road to Posilipo. What a heavenly drive! Although I think
with more fondness of scaling the heights of Capri in a trembling
little Italian cab, not because both views were not divinely
beautiful, but because when in Capri my clothes were not damply
sticking to me, and I had no puddle of water in each shoe. As I look
back I believe I could write specific directions from personal
experience on "How to be Happy when Miserable." Jimmie always bewails
the fact that the American girl lives on her nerves. "Goes on her
uppers" is his choice phrase. Nevertheless, it pulled us through many
a mental bog while travelling so continuously.

Therefore, from a dozen different recollections of Naples, eleven of
which you may read in your red-covered Baedeker, or _Recollections of
Italy_, or _Leaves from my Note-Book_, or _Memories of Blissful
Hours_, and similar productions, I have most poignantly to remember
our shopping experiences in Naples. But before launching my battleship
I owe an apology to the worshippers of Italy. I can appreciate their
rapturous memories. I share in a measure their enthusiasm. To a
certain temper Italy would be adorable for a honeymoon or to return to
a second or a fifth time. But it is not in human nature, after having
come from Russia, Egypt, and Greece, to have one's pristine enthusiasm
to pour out in torrents over the ladylike beauty of Italy, because
these other countries are so much more unfrequented, more pagan, and
more fascinating. But in daring to say that, I again pull my forelock
to Italy's worshippers.

To begin with, we were robbed all through Italy; not robbed in a
common way, but, to the honor of the Italians let me say, robbed in a
highly interesting and somewhat exciting manner.

Somebody has said, "What a beautiful country Italy would be if it were
not for the Italians!" We are used to having our things stolen, and to
being overcharged for everything just because we are Americans, but we
are not used to the utter brigandage of Italy. On the Russian ship
coming from Odessa to Constantinople some of the second-cabin
passengers got into our state-rooms during dinner and went through our
hand-baggage, which we had left unlocked, and stole my ulster. And, of
course, in Constantinople they warned us not to trust the Greeks, for
it is their form of comparison to say, "He lies like a Greek," while
in Greece the worst thing they can say is that "He steals like a
Turk." In Cairo it was not necessary to warn us, for everybody knows
what liars and thieves Arabs are. Not a day went by on those donkey
excursions on the Nile that the men did not have their pockets picked.
The passengers on the _Mayflower_ lost enough silk handkerchiefs to
start a haberdasher's shop, and every woman lost money. In Cairo,
whether you go to the bazaars or to a mosque to see the faithful at
their prayers, your dragoman tells you not to have anything of value
in your pockets, and not to carry your purse in your hand.

But we had not even got through the custom-house at Brindisi, when
Gaze's man recommended us to have our trunks corded and sealed, for
they are sometimes broken open on the train. We thought this rather a
useless precaution, but Jimmie has travelled so much that he made us
do it. It seems that the King has admitted that he is powerless to
stop these outrages, and so he begs foreign travellers to protect
themselves, inasmuch as he is unable to protect them.

We stayed at the smartest hotel in Naples, but we had not been there
two days before Jimmie's valises were broken open, and all his studs
and forty pounds in money were stolen. That frightened us almost to
death, but something worse happened. One day at three o'clock in the
afternoon my companion was sitting in her room writing a letter, and
she happened to look up just in time to see the handle of the door
turn slowly and softly.

Then the door opened a crack, still without a sound, and a man with a
black beard put in his head. As he met her eyes fixed squarely upon
him he closed the door as silently as a shadow. She hurried after him
and looked out, and ran up the corridor peering into every possible
corner, but no man could she see. He had disappeared as completely as
if he had been a ghost. She reported it to the proprietor, but he
shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Madam must have imagined it!"

By this time we were all feeling rather creepy. However, as Jimmie
says when we are all tired out and hungry and cross, "Cheer up. The
worst is yet to come."

One day my companion and Mrs. Jimmie and I went to one of the best
shops in all Italy, to buy a ring. Mrs. Jimmie was getting it for her
husband's birthday.

Now, Mrs. Jimmie's own rings are extremely beautiful, and her very
handsomest consists of a band of blue-white matched diamonds which
exactly fills the space between her two fingers, and is so heavy and
so fine that only Tiffany could duplicate it. The band of the ring is
merely a fine wire. To try on Jimmie's ring, Mrs. Jimmie took off all
hers and laid them on the counter. Now, mind you, this was a famous
jeweller's where this happened. But when she had decided to take the
new ring, and turned to put on her own again, lo! this especial ring
was gone. We searched everywhere. We told the clerk, but he said she
had not worn such a ring. This was the first thing which made us
suspect that something was wrong. We insisted, and he reiterated.
Finally, I made up my mind. I said to my companion: "You stand at the
front door and have Mrs. Jimmie stand at the side door. Don't you
permit any one either to enter or leave, while I rush around to Cook's
office and find out what can be done." Both women turned pale, but
obeyed me. One clerk started for the back door, but we called him and
told him that no one was to move until we could get the police there.
Then such a scurrying and _such_ a begging as there was! Would madam
wait just one moment? Would madam permit them to call the proprietor?
(Anybody would have thought it was _my_ ring, for Mrs. Jimmie's calm
was not even ruffled, while _I_ was in a white heat, and all their
impassioned appeals were addressed to me!) I said they could call the
proprietor if they could call him without leaving the room. They
called him in Italian. He came, a little, smooth, brown man, with
black, shoe-button eyes. We explained to him just what had taken
place, Mrs. Jimmie with her back against one door, and my companion
braced against the side door, like Ajax defying the lightning.

He rubbed his hands, and listened to a torrent of excited Italian from
no fewer than ten crazy clerks. Then I stated the case in English. The
proprietor turned to Mrs. Jimmie, and said if madam was so sure that
she had worn a ring, which all his clerks assured him she had not
worn, then, for the honor of his house, he must beg madam to choose
another ring, of whatever value she liked, and it should be a present
from him!

Now, Mrs. Jimmie is a very Madonna of calmness, but at that she
ignited. She told him that Tiffany had been six months matching those
stones, and that not in all his shop--not in the whole of Italy--could
he find a duplicate. At that another search took place, and I, just to
make things pleasant, started for the American ambassador's. (I had
risen a peg from Cook's!) Such pleading! Such begging! Two of the
clerks actually wept--Italian tears. When lo! a shout of triumph, and
from a remote corner of the shop, quite forty feet from us, in a place
where we had not been, under a big vase, they found that ring! If it
had had the wings of a swallow it could not have flown there. If it
had had the legs of a centipede it could not have crawled there. The
proprietor was radiant in his unctuous satisfaction. "It had rolled
there!" Rolled! That ring! It had no more chance of rolling than a
loaded die! We all sniffed, and sniffed publicly. Mrs. Jimmie, I
regret to say, was weak enough to buy the ring she had ordered for
Jimmie in spite of this occurrence. But I think I don't blame her. I
am weak myself about buying things. But _that_ is a sample of Italian
honesty, and in a shop which would rank with our very best in New York
or Chicago. Heaven help Italy!

Italian politeness is very cheap, very thin-skinned, and, like the
French, only for the surface. They pretend to trust you with their
whole shop; they shower you with polite attentions; you are the Great
and Only while you are buying. But I am of the opinion that you are
shadowed by a whole army of spies if you owe a cent, and that for lack
of plenty of suspicion and prompt action to recover I am sure that
neither the Italians nor the French ever lost a sou.

We went into the best tortoise-shell shop in all Naples to buy one
dozen shell hair-pins, but such was the misery we experienced at
leaving any of the treasures we encountered that we bought three
hundred dollars' worth before we left, and of course did not have
enough money to pay for them. So we said to lay the things aside for
us, and we would draw some money at our banker's, and pay for them
when we came to fetch them.

Not for the world, declared this Judas Iscariot, this Benedict Arnold
of an Italian Jew! We must take the things with us. Were we not
Americans, and by Americans did he not live? Behold, he would take the
articles with his own hands to our carriage. And he did, despite our
protests. But the villain drew on us through our banker before we were
out of bed the next morning! I felt like a horse-thief.

However, I confess to a weakness for the overwhelmingly polite
attentions one receives from Italian and French shopkeepers. One gets
none of it in Germany, and in America I am always under the deepest
obligations if the haughty "sales-ladies" and "sales-gentlemen" will
wait on the men and women who wish to buy. I am accustomed to the
ignominy of being ignored, and to the insult of impudence if I
protest; but why, oh, why, do politeness and honesty so seldom go
together?

There is a decency about Puritan America which appeals to me quite as
much as the rugged honesty of American shopkeepers. The unspeakable
street scenes of Europe would be impossible in America. In Naples all
the mysteries of the toilet are in certain quarters of the city public
property, and the dressing-room of children in particular is bounded
by north, east, south, and west, and roofed by the sky.

I have seen Italians comb their beards over their soup at dinner. I
have seen every Frenchman his own manicure at the opera. I have seen
Germans take out their false teeth at the _table d'hôte_ and rinse
them in a glass of water, but it remains for Naples to cap the climax
for Sunday-afternoon diversions.

A curious thing about European decency is that it seems to be forced
on people by law, and indulged in only for show. The Gallic nations
are only veneered with decency. They have, almost to a man, none of it
naturally, or for its own sake. Take, for example, the sidewalks of
Paris after dark. The moment public surveillance wanes or the sun goes
down the Frenchman becomes his own natural self.

The Neapolitan's acceptation of dirt as a portion of his inheritance
is irresistibly comic to a pagan outsider. To drive down the Via di
Porto is to see a mimic world. All the shops empty themselves into the
street. They leave only room for your cab to drive through the maze of
stalls, booths, chairs, beds, and benches. At nightfall they light
flaring torches, which, viewed from the top of the street, make the
descent look like a witch scene from an opera.

It is the street of the very poor, but one is struck by the excellent
diet of these same very poor. They eat as a staple roasted
artichokes--a great delicacy with us. They cook macaroni with tomatoes
in huge iron kettles over charcoal fires, and sell it by the plateful
to their customers, often hauling it out of the kettles with their
hands, like a sailor's hornpipe, pinching off the macaroni if it
lengthens too much, and blowing on their fingers to cool them. They
have roasted chestnuts, fried fish, boiled eggs, and long loops of
crisp Italian bread strung on a stake. There are scores of these
booths in this street, the selling conducted generally by the father
and grown sons, while the wife sits by knitting in the smoke and glare
of the torches, screaming in peasant Italian to her neighbor across
the way, commenting quite openly upon the people in the cabs, and
wondering how much their hats cost. The bambinos are often hung upon
pegs in the front of the house, where they look out of their little
black, beady eyes like pappooses. I unhooked one of these babies once,
and held it awhile. Its back and little feet were held tightly against
a strip of board so that it was quite stiff from its feet to its
shoulders. It did not seem to object or to be at all uncomfortable,
and as it only howled while I was holding it I have an idea that,
except when invaded by foreigners, the bambino's existence is quite
happy. Babies seem to be no trouble in Italy, and one cannot but be
struck by the number of them. One can hardly remember seeing many
French babies, for the reason that there are so few to remember--so
few, indeed, that the French government has put a premium upon them;
but in Naples the pretty mothers with their pretty babies, playing at
bo-peep with each other like charming children, are some of the most
delightful scenes in this fascinating Street of the Door.

These bambinos hooked against the wall look down upon curious scenes.
Their mothers bring their wash-tubs into the street, wash the clothes
in plain view of everybody, hang them on clothes-lines strung between
two chairs, while a diminutive charcoal-stove, with half a dozen irons
leaning against its sides, stands in the doorway ready to perform its
part in the little scene. I saw a boy cooking two tiny smelts over a
tailor's goose. The handle was taken off, and the fish were frying so
merrily over the glowing coals, and they looked so good, and the odor
which steamed from them was so ravishing, that I wanted to ask him if
I might not join him and help him cook two more.

In point of fact, Naples seems like a holiday town, with everybody
merely playing at work, or resting from even that pretence. The
Neapolitans are so essentially an out-of-door people and a leisurely
people that it seems a crime to hurry. The very goats wandering
aimlessly through the streets, nibbling around open doorways, add an
element of imbecile helplessness to a childish people.

Did you ever examine a goat's expression of face? For utter asininity
a donkey cannot approach him. Nothing can, except, perhaps, an Irish
farce-comedian.

Beautiful cows are driven through the streets, often attended by the
owner's family. The mother milks for the passing customers, the father
fetches it all lovely and foaming and warm to your cab, and the
pretty, big-eyed children caper around you, begging for a "macaroni"
instead of a "pourboire."

Then, instead of dining at your smart hotel, it is so much more
adorable to drop in at some charming restaurant with tables set in the
open air, and to hear the band play, and to eat all sorts of delicious
unknowable dishes, and to drink a beautiful golden wine called
"Lachrima Christi" (the tears of Christ), and to watch the people--the
people--the people!



XIV


ROME

On Easter Sunday I had my first view of Rome, my first view of St.
Peter's. The day was as soft and mild as one of our own spring days,
and there was even that little sharp tang in the air which one feels
in the early spring in America. The wind was sweet and balmy, yet now
and then it had a sharp edge to it as it cut around a curve, as if to
remind one that the frost was not yet all out of the ground, and that
the sun was still only the heir-apparent to the throne and had not yet
been crowned king. It was the sort of day that one has at home a
little later, when one still likes the feel of the fur around the
neck, while the trees are still bare, when the eager spring wind
brings a tingle to the blood and the smell of rich, black earth and
early green springing things to the nostrils; when the eye is ravished
with the sight of purple hyacinths thrusting their royal chalices up
through the reluctant soil; when the sun-colored jonquil and the
star-eyed narcissus lift their scented heads above the sombre ground,
as if unconscious of the patches of snow here and there, forming one
of the contradictions of life, but a contradiction always welcome,
because it is in itself a promise of better things to come.

Not in the full fruition of a rose-laden June or in the golden days
of Indian summer or the ruddy autumn or the white holiness of
Christmas-tide--not in the beauties of the whole year is there
anything so exhilarating, so thrilling, so intoxicating as these first
days of spring, which always come with a delicious shock of surprise,
before one suspects their approach or has time to grow weary with
waiting. Nothing, nothing in the world smells like a spring wind! It
is full of youth and promise and inspiration. One forgets all the
falseness of its promises last year, all the disappointment of the
past summer, and, charged with its bewildering electricity, one builds
a thousand air-castles as to what _this_ year will bring forth, based
on no surer a foundation than the smell of melting snow and fresh
black earth and yellow and purple spring flowers which are blown
across one's ever-hopeful soul by a breath of eager, tingling spring
wind.

I shall never forget that first drive in Rome on such a day as this,
which brought my own beloved country so forcibly to my mind. There
were rumors of war in the air, and my heart was heavy for my country,
but I forgot all my forebodings as we drew up before the majestic
steps of St. Peter's, for I felt that something would happen to avert
disaster from our shores and keep my country safe and victorious.

St. Peter's had a curious effect upon me. It was too big and too
secular and too boastful for a church, too poor in art treasures for a
successful museum, the music too inadequate to suit me with the echoes
of the Tzar's choir still ringing in my ears, and the lack of pomp
compared to the Greek churches left me with a longing to hunt up more
gold lace and purple velvet. There was nothing like the devoutness of
the Russians in the worshippers I saw in Rome. I stood a long time by
the statue of the Pope. His toe was nearly kissed off, but every one
carefully wiped off the last kiss before placing his or her own,
thereby convincing me of the universal belief in the microbe theory.
The whole attitude of the Roman mind is different. Here it is a
religious duty. In Russia it is a sacrament.

There were thousands of people in St. Peter's, many of whom--the
best-dressed and the worst-behaved--were Americans. It seemed very
homelike and intimate to hear my own language spoken again, even if it
were sometimes sadly mutilated. But I remember St. Peter's that Easter
Sunday chiefly because I had with me a sympathetic companion; one who
knew that St. Peter's was not a place to talk; one who knew enough to
absorb in silence; one, in fact, who understood! Such comprehensive
silence was to my ragged spirit balm and healing.

Beware, oh, beware with whom you travel! One uncongenial person in the
party--one man who sneers at sentiment, one woman whose point of view
is material--can ruin the loveliest journey and dampen one's
heavenliest enthusiasm.

In order to travel properly, one ought to be in vein. It is as bad to
begin a journey with a companion who gets on one's nerves as it is to
sit down to a banquet and quarrel through the courses. The effect is
the same. One can digest neither. People seem to select travelling
companions as recklessly as they marry. They generally manage to start
with the wrong one. I often shudder to hear two women at a luncheon
say, "Why not arrange to go to Europe together next year?" And yet I
solace myself with the thought, "Why not? If you considered! your list
of friends for a month, and selected the most desirable, you would
probably make even a worse mistake, for travelling develops hatred
more than any other one thing I know of; so, in addition to spoiling
your journey, you would also lose your friend--or wish you _could_
lose her!"

George Eliot has said that there was no greater strain on friendship
than a dissimilarity of taste in jests. But I am inclined to believe
George Eliot never travelled extensively, else, without disturbing
that statement, she would have added, "or a dissimilarity in point of
view with one's travelling companion."

It makes no difference which one's view is the loftier. It is the
dissimilarity which rasps and grates. Doubtless the material is as
much irritated by the spiritual as the poetic is fretted by the
prosaic. It is worse than to be at a Wagner matinee with a woman who
cares only for Verdi. One wishes to nudge her arm and feel a
sympathetic pressure which means, "Yes, yes, so do I!" It is awful not
to be able to nudge! Speech is seldom imperative, but understanding
signals is as necessary to one's soul-happiness as air to the lungs.
So Greece with one who has but a Baedeker knowledge of art, or Rome to
one who remembers her history vaguely as something that she "took" at
school, is simply maddening to one who forgets the technicalities of
dates and formulas, and rapturously breathes it in, scarcely knowing
whence came the love or knowledge of it, but realizing that one has at
last come into one's kingdom.

I was singularly fortunate from time to time in discovering these
kindred, sympathetic spirits. I met one party of three in Egypt, and
found them again in Greece, and crossed to Italy with them. It was a
mother and son and a lovely girl. They will never know, unless they
happen across this page, how much they were to me on the Adriatic, and
what a void they filled in Athens.

I found another such at Capri and Pompeii, and those beautiful days
stand out in my mind more for the company I was in than even the
wonders we went to see. That statement is strong but true. Yet my
various other fellow-travellers who were lacking in the one essential
of soul would never believe it, inasmuch as a person without a soul
cannot miss what she never had, and will not believe what she cannot
comprehend. I met one ill-assorted couple of that kind once. They were
two young women--sisters. One had imagination, soul, fire, poetry, and
all that goes to make up genius; but lacking as she did executive
ability and perseverance, her genius was inarticulate. The impersonal
world would never know her beauties, but her friends were rich in her
acquaintance. Her sister was a walking Baedeker--red cover, gold
letters, and all. She was "doing Europe." She read her guide-book, she
saw nothing beyond, and the only time that she really blossomed was
when dressing for _table d'hôte_ dinners. I found them at the Grand
Hôtel at Rome--one of the most beautiful and well-kept hotels, and one
admirably adapted to display the tourist who tours on principle.

This gorgeous hotel on Easter week is a sight for gods and men. We
engaged our rooms here while we were on the Nile, two months before,
and reminded them once a week all during that time that we were
coming; otherwise, on account of its extreme popularity in the
fashionable world, they might not have been able to hold them for us.
We reached there late on the Saturday evening before Easter, and dined
in our own apartments. But the next day, and indeed until war broke
out and we fled from Rome, the Grand Hôtel was as delightful as it was
possible to make a gorgeous, luxurious, and fashionable hotel. The
palm-room, where the band plays for afternoon tea, and where one
always comes for one's coffee, is between the entrance and the grand
dining-room, so that on entering the hotel one comes upon a most
beautiful vista of a series of huge glass doors and lovely green
waving palms, with nothing but a glass roof between one and the blue
Italian sky.

Most of the smart Americans go there, and a very beautiful front they
presented. I had not seen any American clothes for a year, but on
Easter Sunday at luncheon I saw the most bewitching array of smart
street-gowns worn by the inimitable American woman, who is as far
beyond the women of every other race on earth in her selection of
clothes and the way she holds up her head and her shoulders back and
walks off in them as grand opera is above a hand-organ. Even the
French woman does not combine the good sense with good taste as the
American does. And there I found these sisters, each lovely in her own
way--the pretty one listening to the raptures of the poetic one with a
palpable sneer which said plainly: "I not only have no part in these
vain imaginings, but I do not think that you yourself believe them.
You are posing for the world, and I am the only one who knows it. Have
I not been with you everywhere, and have I, with my two eyes, which
certainly are as good as yours--have I seen these things you
describe?" It was pathetic, for the muse of the poet soon felt the
mire in which it daily trod. The fire faded from the girl's eye, her
radiance disappeared, her noble enthusiasms paled, her fantastic and
brilliant imagination dulled, and soon she sat listlessly in our
midst, a tired, patient smile upon her delicate face, while her sister
discoursed volubly upon clothes. Alas, the old fable of the iron pot
and the porcelain kettle drifting down the stream together! At the end
of the journey the iron pot had not even a scratch upon its thick
sides, but the porcelain was broken to pieces. How I longed to take
that wounded imagination, that whimsical wit, under my wing and
explore Rome with her! But circumstances held the two together, and I
took instead my guide, Seraphino Malespina. Seraphino deserves a
chapter by himself. His observations upon human nature were of much
more value to me than his knowledge of Rome, accurate and worthy as
that was. He was the best guide I ever had. I had heard of him, so
when we arrived I simply wrote to him and engaged him by the week. He
took us everywhere, never wasted our money (which is a wonder in a
guide), and, while I may forget some of his dates and statistics, I
shall never forget his shrewdness in understanding human nature. His
disquisitions on the ordinary tourist, and his acute analysis of the
two sisters I have described, were so accurate that I determined then
and there that Seraphino was a philosopher. The interest I took in his
narratives pleased him to such an extent that he was unwearied in
searching out interesting material. I taught him to use the camera,
and he photographed us in the Colosseum and in front of the Arch of
Constantine.

He persuaded me to coax the poet away from her sister one day and to
take her with me instead of my companion. I did so, and to this day I
thank my guide for his wisdom, for once out from under the sister's
depressing influence, that whimsical genius, worthy of being classed
with the most famous of wits, blossomed under my appreciative laughter
like a rose in the sunlight.

We saw, too, the magnificent statue of Garibaldi--a superb thing,
which overlooks the whole city of Rome. We tossed pennies into the
fountain of the Trevi, and drank some of the water, which is a sure
sign, if you wish it at the time you drink, that you will return to
Rome.

It was on the day that we went to Tivoli that I heard the first war
news from America which I regarded final. We were on the Nile when the
_Maine_ was blown up, and all through Egypt and Greece news was slow
to travel. When we got to Italy we were dependent upon London for
despatches. I waited until I received my own papers before I knew the
truth. Finally, on our departure for Tivoli, my American mail was
handed to me, and I found what preparations were being made--that my
brother was going! I remember Tivoli as in a haze of war-clouds.
America arming herself for war once more! Some of my family--my very
own--preparing to go! How much do you think I cared for the Emperor
Hadrian and his villa, which was a whole town in itself, and his
waterfalls and his wonderful objects of art?

At any other time how I would have revelled in the idea of his two
theatres, his schools, his libraries, his statues pillaged from my
beautiful Greece, his philosopher's wall--a huge wall built only for
shade, so that his friends who came to discourse philosophy with him
could walk in its west shadow mornings, and in its east shadow
afternoons; all these things would have driven me wild with
enthusiasm. But on that day I saw instead the Flying Squadron in
Hampton Roads, painted black. I saw the President and his secretaries,
with anxious faces, consulting with their generals; I saw how awful
must be the sacrifice to the country in every way--money, commerce,
health, the very lives of the dear soldiers of _our_ army, who fight
from choice, and not because law compels their enlistment. My
companion ridiculed my anxiety and rallied me on my inattention to
Hadrian. Hadrian! What was Hadrian to me when I thought of the
volunteers in America?

Not two days later war was formally declared, and although Rome was
yet practically unexplored, although we had been there only three
weeks, we rushed post-haste to Paris, spent one day gathering up our
trunks from Munroe's, and left that same night for London.

Once in London, however, we found ourselves blocked. The American Line
steamships had been requisitioned by the government, and were no
longer at our disposal. With changed names they were turned into war
vessels, and few, indeed, were the women who would go aboard them in
the near future. The North German Lloyd promised us the new _Kaiser
Friedrich_, and every place was taken. We went to the Cecil Hotel and
waited. Day after day passed, and the sailing-day was postponed once,
then twice. I was frantic with impatience. The truth was the _Kaiser
Friedrich_ was not quite finished. Evidently it is the same with a
ship as with dress-makers. They promise to finish your gown and send
it home for Thanksgiving, whereas you are in luck if you get it by
Christmas.

The only thing that consoled me was being at the Cecil. To be sure, it
was filled with Americans, but I was not avoiding them then. I had
finished my journeyings. I had got my point of view. I was going HOME!

How I wished for poor Bee! What an awful time she had with me at "The
Insular"! (which, of course, is not its real name; but I dare not tell
it, because it is so smart, and I would shock its worshippers). How
she hated our lodgings! Now she will not believe me when I tell her
that the Cecil is as good as an American hotel; that its elevators
(lifts) really move; that its cuisine is as delicious as Paris; that
its service is excellent. Bee is polite but incredulous. To be sure, I
tell her that the hotel is as ugly as _only_ an English architect
could make it; that the blue tiles in the dining-room would make of it
a fine natatorium, if they would only shut the doors and turn in the
water--nothing convinces her that English hotels are not jellied
nightmares. But as for me, I recall the Cecil with feelings of the
liveliest appreciation. I was comfortable there, for the first time in
England. If it had not been for the war I would have been happy.

The hotels in London which the English consider the best I consider
the worst. If an American wishes to be comfortable let him eschew all
other gods and cleave to the Cecil. The Cecil! I wish my cab was
turning in at the entrance this very minute!

Finally the _Kaiser Friedrich_ burst something important in her
interior, and they gave her up and put on the _Trave_. Instantly there
was a maddened rush for the Liverpool steamer. The Cunard office was
besieged. Within two hours after the North German Lloyd bulletined the
_Trave_ every berth was taken on the _Etruria_. I arrived too late,
so, in company with the most of the _Kaiser Friedrich's_ passengers, I
resigned myself to the _Trave_.

We were eight days at sea, and some of those I remained in my berth. I
was happier there, and yet in spite of private woes I still think of
that delightful captain and that darling stewardess with affection.
The steamship company literally outdid themselves in their efforts to
console their disappointed passengers. They put the town of
Southampton at our disposal, and the _Trave's_ steady and
spinster-like behavior did the rest.

I held receptions in my state-room every day. The captain called every
morning, and so did the charming wife of the returning German
Ambassador, Mr. Uhl. The girls came down and sat on my steamer-trunk,
and told me of the flirtations going on on deck. And every night that
dear stewardess would come and tuck me in, and turn out the light, and
say, "Good-night, fräulein; I hope you feel to-morrow better."

When the pilot reached us we were at luncheon, and every man in the
dining-room bolted. American newspapers after eight days of suspense!
One man stood up and read the news aloud. Dewey and the battle of
Manila Bay! We did not applaud. It was too far off and too unreal. But
we women wept.

As we drove through the streets of New York I said to the people who
came to meet me, "For Heaven's sake, what are all these flags out for?
Is it Washington's birthday? I have lost count of time!"

My cousin looked at me pityingly.

"My poor child," she said, "I am glad you have come back to God's
country, where you can learn something. We have a war on!"

I gave a gasp. That shows how unreal the war seemed to me over there.
I never saw so many flags as I saw in Jersey City and New York. I was
horrified to find Chicago, nay, even my own house, lacking in that
respect.

But I am proud to relate that two hours after my return--directly I
had done kissing Billy, in fact--the largest flag on the whole street
was floating from my study window.


THE END





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