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Title: Pomona's Travels - A Series of Letters to the Mistress of Rudder Grange from her Former Handmaiden
Author: Stockton, Frank Richard, 1834-1902
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Pomona's Travels - A Series of Letters to the Mistress of Rudder Grange from her Former Handmaiden" ***

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_A Series of Letters to the Mistress of Rudder Grange from her former









_In Uniform Binding_

_Illustrated by A.B. Frost._

_Illustrated by A.B. Frost._

[Illustration: CONTENTS]

_Wanted,--a Vicarage_

_On the Four-in-hand_

_Jone overshadows the Waiter_

_The Cottage at Chedcombe_

_Pomona takes a Lodger_

_Pomona expounds Americanisms_

_The Hayfield_

_Jone teaches Young Ladies how to Rake_

_A Runaway Tricycle_

_Pomona slides Backward down the Slope of the Centuries_

_On the Moors_

_Stag-hunting on a Tricycle_

_The Green Placard_

_Pomona and her David Llewellyn_

_Hogs and the Fine Arts_

_With Dickens in London_

_Buxton and the Bath Chairs_

_Mr. Poplington as Guide_

_Angelica and Pomeroy_

_The Countess of Mussleby_

_Edinboro' Town_

_Pomona and her Gilly_

_They follow the Lady of the Lake_

_Comparisons become Odious to Pomona_

_The Family-Tree-Man_

_Searching for Dorkminsters_

_Their Country and their Custom House_


[Illustration: List of Illustrations]

_Title Page_

_Vignette Heading to Table of Contents_

_Tail piece to Table of Contents_

_Vignette Heading to List of Illustrations_

_Tail-piece to List of Illustrations_

_Heading and Initial Letter_

_"Boy, go order me a four-in-hand"_

_The Landlady with an "underdone visage"_

_"I looked at the ladder and at the top front seat"_

_"Down came a shower of rain"_

_"Ask the waiter what the French words mean"_

_Vignette Heading and Initial Letter_

_Jone giving an order_

_The Carver_

_"You Americans are the speediest people"_

_"That was our house"_

_Vignette Heading and Initial Letter_

_"The young lady who keeps the bar"_

_"I see signs of weakening in the social boom"_

_At the Abbey_

_Vignette Heading and Initial Letter_

_"There, with the bar lady and the Marie Antoinette chambermaid, was

_"At last I did get on my feet"_

_"Rise, Sir Jane Puddle"_

_Vignette Heading and initial Letter_

_"In an instant I was free"_

_"If you was a man I'd break your head"_

_"I'm a Home Ruler"_

_Vignette Heading and Initial Letter_

_"And with a screech I dashed at those hogs like a steam engine"_

_"In the winter, when the water is frozen, they can't get over"_

_"Who do you suppose we met? Mr. Poplington!"_

_Mr. Poplington looking for luggage_

_Vignette Heading and Initial Letter_

_Pomona encourages Jonas_

_"Stop, lady, and I'll get out"_

_Vignette Heading and Initial Letter_

_"Your brother is over there"_

_To the Cat and Fiddle_

_"And did you like Chedcombe?"_

_"Jone looked at him and said that was the Highland costume"_

_Vignette Heading and Initial Letter_

_"I didn't say anything, and taking the pole in both hands I gave it a
wild twirl over my head"_

_Pomona drinking it in_

_Vignette Heading and Initial Letter_

_"A person who was a family-tree-man"_

_"This might be a Dorkminster"_

_Jone didn't carry any hand-bag, and I had only a little one_


       *       *       *       *       *


This series of letters, written by Pomona of "Rudder Grange" to her
former mistress, Euphemia, may require a few words of introduction.
Those who have not read the adventures and experiences of Pomona in
"Rudder Grange" should be told that she first appeared in that story as
a very young and illiterate girl, fond of sensational romances, and
with some out-of-the-way ideas in regard to domestic economy and the
conventions of society. This romantic orphan took service in the
"Rudder Grange" family, and as the story progressed she grew up into a
very estimable young woman, and finally married Jonas, the son of a
well-to-do farmer. Even after she came into possession of a husband and
a daughter Pomona did not lose her affection for her former employers.

About a year before the beginning of the travels described in these
letters Jonas's father died and left a comfortable little property,
which placed Pomona and her husband in independent circumstances. The
ideas and ambitions of this eccentric but sensible young woman
enlarged with her fortune. As her daughter was now going to school,
Pomona was seized with the spirit of emulation, and determined as far
as was possible to make the child's education an advantage to herself.
Some of the books used by the little girl at school were carefully and
earnestly studied by her mother, and as Jonas joined with hearty
good-will in the labors and pleasures of this system of domestic study,
the family standard of education was considerably raised. In the
quick-witted and observant Pomona the improvement showed itself
principally in her methods of expression, and although she could not be
called at the time of these travels an educated woman, she was by no
means an ignorant one.

When the daughter was old enough she was allowed to accept an
invitation from her grandmother to spend the summer in the country, and
Pomona determined that it was the duty of herself and husband to avail
themselves of this opportunity for foreign travel.

Accordingly, one fine spring morning, Pomona, still a young woman, and
Jonas, not many years older, but imbued with a semi-pathetic
complaisance beyond his years, embarked for England and Scotland, to
which countries it was determined to limit their travels. The letters
which follow were written in consequence of the earnest desire of
Euphemia to have a full account of the travels and foreign impressions
of her former handmaiden. Pruned of dates, addresses, signatures, and
of many personal and friendly allusions, these letters are here
presented as Pomona wrote them to Euphemia.

_Letter Number One_



The first thing Jone said to me when I told him I was going to write
about what I saw and heard was that I must be careful of two things. In
the first place, I must not write a lot of stuff that everybody ought
to be expected to know, especially people who have travelled
themselves; and in the second place, I must not send you my green
opinions, but must wait until they were seasoned, so that I can see
what they are good for before I send them.

"But if I do that," said I, "I will get tired of them long before they
are seasoned, and they will be like a bundle of old sticks that I
wouldn't offer to anybody." Jone laughed at that, and said I might as
well send them along green, for, after all, I wasn't the kind of a
person to keep things until they were seasoned, to see if I liked them.
"That's true," said I, "there's a great many things, such as husbands
and apples, that I like a good deal better fresh than dry. Is that all
the advice you've got to give?"

"For the present," said he; "but I dare say I shall have a good deal
more as we go along."

"All right," said I, "but be careful you don't give me any of it green.
Advice is like gooseberries, that's got to be soft and ripe, or else
well cooked and sugared, before they're fit to take into anybody's

Jone was standing at the window of our sitting-room when I said this,
looking out into the street. As soon as we got to London we took
lodgings in a little street running out of the Strand, for we both want
to be in the middle of things as long as we are in this conglomerate
town, as Jone calls it. He says, and I think he is about right, that it
is made up of half a dozen large cities, ten or twelve towns, at least
fifty villages, more than a hundred little settlements, or hamlets, as
they call them here, and about a thousand country houses scattered
along around the edges; and over and above all these are the
inhabitants of a large province, which, there being no province to put
them into, are crammed into all the cracks and crevices so as to fill
up the town and pack it solid.

When we was in London before, with you and your husband, madam, and we
lost my baby in Kensington Gardens, we lived, you know, in a peaceful,
quiet street by a square or crescent, where about half the inhabitants
were pervaded with the solemnities of the past and the other half bowed
down by the dolefulness of the present, and no way of getting anywhere
except by descending into a movable tomb, which is what I always think
of when we go anywhere in the underground railway. But here we can walk
to lots of things we want to see, and if there was nothing else to keep
us lively the fear of being run over would do it, you may be sure.

But, after all, Jone and me didn't come here to London just to see the
town. We have ideas far ahead of that. When we was in London before I
saw pretty nearly all the sights, for when I've got work like that to
do I don't let the grass grow under my feet, and what we want to do on
this trip is to see the country part of England and Scotland. And in
order to see English country life just as it is, we both agreed that
the best thing to do was to take a little house in the country and live
there a while; and I'll say here that this is the only plan of the
whole journey that Jone gets real enthusiastic about, for he is a
domestic man, as you well know, and if anything swells his veins with
fervent rapture it is the idea of living in some one place continuous,
even if it is only for a month.

As we wanted a house in the country we came to London to get it, for
London is the place to get everything. Our landlady advised us, when we
told her what we wanted, to try and get a vicarage in some little
village, because, she said, there are always lots of vicars who want to
go away for a month in the summer, and they can't do it unless they
rent their houses while they are gone. And in fact, some of them, she
said, got so little salary for the whole year, and so much rent for
their vicarages while they are gone, that they often can't afford to
stay in places unless they go away.

So we answered some advertisements, and there was no lack of them in
the papers, and three agents came to see us, but we did not seem to
have any luck. Each of them had a house to let which ought to have
suited us, according to their descriptions, and although we found the
prices a good deal higher than we expected, Jone said he wasn't going
to be stopped by that, because it was only for a little while and for
the sake of experience--and experience, as all the poets, and a good
many of the prose writers besides, tell us, is always dear. But after
the agents went away, saying they would communicate with us in the
morning, we never heard anything more from them, and we had to begin
all over again. There was something the matter, Jone and I both agreed
on that, but we didn't know what it was. But I waked up in the night
and thought about this thing for a whole hour, and in the morning I had
an idea.

"Jone," said I, when we was eating breakfast, "it's as plain as A B C
that those agents don't want us for tenants, and it isn't because they
think we are not to be trusted, for we'd have to pay in advance, and so
their money's safe; it is something else, and I think I know what it
is. These London men are very sharp, and used to sizing and sorting all
kinds of people as if they was potatoes being got ready for market, and
they have seen that we are not what they call over here gentlefolks."

"No lordly airs, eh?" said Jone.

"Oh, I don't mean that," I answered him back; "lordly airs don't go
into parsonages, and I don't mean either that they see from our looks
or manners that you used to drive horses and milk cows and work in the
garden, and that I used to cook and scrub and was maid-of-all-work on a
canal-boat; but they do see that we are not the kind of people who are
in the habit, in this country, at least, of spending their evenings in
the best parlors of vicarages."

"Do you suppose," said Jone, "that they think a vicar's kitchen would
suit us better?"

"No," said I, "they wouldn't put us in a vicarage at all; there
wouldn't be no place there that would not be either too high or too low
for us. It's my opinion that what they think we belong in is a lordly
house, where you'd shine most as head butler or a steward, while I'd be
the housekeeper or a leading lady's maid."

"By George!" said Jone, getting up from the table, "if any of those
fellows would favor me with an opinion like that I'd break his head."

"You'd have a lot of heads to break," said I, "if you went through this
country asking for opinions on the subject. It's all very well for us
to remember that we've got a house of our own as good as most rectors
have over here, and money enough to hire a minor canon, if we needed
one in the house; but the people over here don't know that, and it
wouldn't make much difference if they did, for it wouldn't matter how
nice we lived or what we had so long as they knew we was retired

At this Jone just blazed up and rammed his hands into his pockets and
spread his feet wide upon the floor. "Pomona," said he, "I don't mind
it in you, but if anybody else was to call me a retired servant I'd--"

"Hold up, Jone," said I, "don't waste good, wholesome anger." Now, I
tell you, madam, it really did me good to see Jone blaze up and get red
in the face, and I am sure that if he'd get his blood boiling oftener
it would be a good thing for his dyspeptic tendencies and what little
malaria may be left in his system. "It won't do any good to flare up
here," I went on to say to him; "fact's fact, and we was servants, and
good ones, too, though I say it myself, and the trouble is we haven't
got into the way of altogether forgetting it, or, at least, acting as
if we had forgotten it."

Jone sat down on a chair. "It might help matters a little," he said,
"if I knew what you was driving at."

"I mean just this," said I, "as long as we are as anxious not to give
trouble, or as careful of people's feelings, as good-mannered to
servants, and as polite and good-natured to everybody we have anything
to do with, as we both have been since we came here, and as it is our
nature to be, I am proud to say, we're bound to be set down, at least
by the general run of people over here, as belonging to the pick of the
nobility and gentry, or as well-bred servants. It's only those two
classes that act as we do, and anybody can see we are not special
nobles and gents. Now, if we want to be reckoned anywhere in between
these two we've got to change our manners."

"Will you kindly mention just how?" said Jone.

"Yes," said I, "I will. In the first place, we've got to act as if we
had always been waited on and had never been satisfied with the way it
was done; we've got to let people think that we think we are a good
deal better than they are, and what they think about it doesn't make
the least difference; and then again we've got to live in better
quarters than these, and whatever they may be we must make people
think that we don't think they are quite good enough for us. If we do
all that, agents may be willing to let us vicarages."

"It strikes me," said Jone, "that these quarters are good enough for
us. I'm comfortable." And then he went on to say, madam, that when you
and your husband was in London you was well satisfied with just such

"That's all very well," I said, "for they never moved in the lower
paths of society, and so they didn't have to make any change, but just
went along as they had been used to go. But if we want to make people
believe we belong to that class I should choose, if I had my pick out
of English social varieties, we've got to bounce about as much above it
as we were born below it, so that we can strike somewhere near the
proper average."

"And what variety would you pick out, I'd like to know?" said Jone,
just a little red in the face, and looking as if I had told him he
didn't know timothy hay from oat straw.

"Well," said I, "it is not easy to put it to you exactly, but it's a
sort of a cross between a prosperous farmer without children and a poor
country gentleman with two sons at college and one in the British army,
and no money to pay their debts with."

"That last is not to my liking," said Jone.

"But the farmer part of the cross would make it all right," I said to
him, "and it strikes me that a mixture like that would just suit us
while we are staying over here. Now, if you will try to think of
yourself as part rich farmer and part poor gentleman, I'll consider
myself the wife of the combination, and I am sure we will get along
better. We didn't come over here to be looked upon as if we was the
bottom of a pie dish and charged as if we was the upper crust. I'm in
favor of paying a little more money and getting a lot more
respectfulness, and the way to begin is to give up these lodgings and
go to a hotel such as the upper middlers stop at. From what I've heard,
the Babylon Hotel is the one for us while we are in London. Nobody will
suspect that any of the people at that hotel are retired servants."

[Illustration: "Boy, go order me a four-in-hand"]

This hit Jone hard, as I knew it would, and he jumped up, made three
steps across the room, and rang the bell so that the people across the
street must have heard it, and up came the boy in green jacket and
buttons, with about every other button missing, and I never knew him to
come up so quick before.

"Boy," said Jone to him, as if he was hollering to a stubborn ox, "go
order me a four-in-hand."

But this letter is so long I must stop for the present.

_Letter Number Two_


When Jone gave the remarkable order mentioned in my last letter I did
not correct him, for I wouldn't do that before servants without giving
him a chance to do it himself; but before either of us could say
another word the boy was gone.

"Mercy on us," I said, "what a stupid blunder! You meant four-wheeler."

[Illustration: The Landlady with an "underdone visage"]

"Of course I did," he said; "I was a little mad and got things mixed,
but I expect the fellow understood what I meant."

"You ought to have called a hansom any way," I said, "for they are a
lot more stylish to go to a hotel in than in a four-wheeler."

"If there was six-wheelers I would have ordered one," said he. "I don't
want anybody to have more wheels than we have."

At this moment the landlady came into the room with a sarcastic glimmer
on her underdone visage, and, says she, "I suppose you don't
understand about the vehicles we have in London. The four-in-hand is
what the quality and coach people use when--" As I looked at Jone I saw
his legs tremble, and I know what that means. If I was a wanderin' dog
and saw Jone's legs tremble, the only thoughts that would fill my soul
would be such as cluster around "Home, Sweet Home." Jone was too much
riled by the woman's manner to be willing to let her think he had made
a mistake, and he stopped her short. "Look here," he said to her, "I
don't ask you to come here to tell me anything about vehicles. When I
order any sort of a trap I want it." When I heard Jone say trap my soul
lifted itself and I knew there was hope for us. The stiffness melted
right out of the landlady, and she began to look soft and gummy.

"If you want to take a drive in a four-in-hand coach, sir," she said,
"there's two or three of them starts every morning from Trafalgar
Square, and it's not too late now, sir, if you go over there

"Go?" said Jone, throwing himself into a chair, "I said, order one to
come. Where I live that sort of vehicle comes to the door for its

The woman looked at Jone with a venerative uplifting of her eyebrows.
"I can't say, sir, that a coach will come, but I'll send the boy. They
go to Dorking, and Seven Oaks, and Virginia Water--"

"I want to go to Virginia Water," said Jone, as quick as lightning.

"Now, then," said I, when the woman had gone, "what are you going to do
if the coach comes?"

"Go to Virginia Water in it," said Jone, "and when we come back we can
go to the hotel. I made a mistake, but I've got to stand by it or be
called a greenhorn."

I was in hopes the four-in-hand wouldn't come, but in less than ten
minutes there drove up to our door a four-horse coach which, not having
half enough passengers, was glad to come such a little ways to get some
more. There was a man in a high hat and red coat, who was blowing a
horn as the thing came around the corner, and just as I was looking
into the coach and thinking we'd have it all to ourselves, for there
was nobody in it, he put a ladder up against the top, and says he,
touching his hat, "There's a seat for you, madam, right next the
coachman, and one just behind for the gentleman. 'Tain't often that, on
a fine morning like this, such seats as them is left vacant on account
of a sudden case of croup in a baronet's family."

I looked at the ladder and I looked at that top front seat, and I tell
you, madam, I trembled in every pore, but I remembered then that all
the respectable seats was on top, and the farther front the nobbier,
and as there was a young woman sitting already on the box-seat, I made
up my mind that if she could sit there I could, and that I wasn't
going to let Jone or anybody else see that I was frightened by style
and fashion, though confronted by it so sudden and unexpected. So up
that ladder I went quick enough, having had practice in hay-mows, and
sat myself down between the young woman and the coachman, and when Jone
had tucked himself in behind me the horner blew his horn and away we

[Illustration: "I looked at the ladder and at the top front seat"]

I tell you, madam, that box-seat was a queer box for me. I felt as
though I was sitting on the eaves of a roof with a herd of horses
cavoorting under my feet. I never had a bird's-eye view of horses
before. Looking down on their squirming bodies, with the coachman
almost standing on his tiptoes driving them, was so different from
Jone's buggy and our tall gray horse, which in general we look up to,
that for a good while I paid no attention to anything but the danger of
falling out on top of them. But having made sure that Jone was holding
on to my dress from behind, I began to take an interest in the things
around me.

Knowing as much as I thought I did about the bigness of London, I found
that morning that I never had any idea of what an everlasting town it
is. It is like a skein of tangled yarn--there doesn't seem to be any
end to it. Going in this way from Nelson's Monument out into the
country, it was amazing to see how long it took to get there. We would
go out of the busy streets into a quiet rural neighborhood, or what
looked like it, and the next thing we knew we'd be in another whirl of
omnibuses and cabs, with people and shops everywhere; and we'd go on
and through this and then come to another handsome village with country
houses, and the street would end in another busy town; and so on until
I began to think there was no real country, at least, in the direction
we was going. It is my opinion that if London was put on a pivot and
spun round in the State of Texas until it all flew apart, it would
spread all over the State and settle up the whole country.

At last we did get away from the houses and began to roll along on the
best made road I ever saw, with a hedge on each side and the greenest
grass in the fields, and the most beautiful trees, with the very trunks
covered with green leaves, and with white sheep and handsome cattle and
pretty thatched cottages, and everything in perfect order, looking as
if it had just been sprinkled and swept. We had seen English country
before, but that was from the windows of a train, and it was very
different from this sort of thing, where we went meandering along
lanes, for that is what the roads look like, being so narrow.

Just as I was getting my whole soul full of this lovely ruralness, down
came a shower of rain without giving the least notice. I gave a jump in
my seat as I felt it on me, and began to get ready to get down as soon
as the coachman should stop for us all to get inside; but he didn't
stop, but just drove along as if the sun was shining and the balmy
breezes blowing, and then I looked around and not a soul of the eight
people on the top of that coach showed the least sign of expecting to
get down and go inside. They all sat there just as if nothing was
happening, and not one of them even mentioned the rain. But I noticed
that each of them had on a mackintosh or some kind of cape, whereas
Jone and I never thought of taking anything in the way of waterproof or
umbrellas, as it was perfectly clear when we started.

[Illustration: "DOWN CAME A SHOWER OF RAIN"]

I looked around at Jone, but he sat there with his face as placid as a
piece of cheese, looking as if he had no more knowledge it was raining
than the two Englishmen on the seat next him. Seeing he wasn't going to
let those men think he minded the rain any more than they did, I
determined that I wouldn't let the young woman who was sitting by me
have any notion that I minded it, and so I sat still, with as cheerful
a look as I could screw up, gazing at the trees with as gladsome a
countenance as anybody could have with water trickling down her nose,
her cheeks dripping, and dewdrops on her very eyelashes, while the
dampness of her back was getting more and more perceptible as each
second dragged itself along. Jone turned up the hood of my coat, and so
let down into the back of my neck what water had collected in it; but I
didn't say anything, but set my teeth hard together and fixed my mind
on Columbia, happy land, and determined never to say anything about
rain until some English person first mentioned it.

But when one of the flowers on my hat leaned over the brim and exuded
bloody drops on the front of my coat I began to weaken, and to think
that if there was nothing better to do I might get under one of the
seats; but just then the rain stopped and the sun shone. It was so
sudden that it startled me; but not one of those English people
mentioned that the rain had stopped and the sun was shining, and so
neither did Jone or I. We was feeling mighty moist and unhappy, but we
tried to smile as if we was plants in a greenhouse, accustomed to being
watered and feeling all the better for it.

I can't write you all about the coach drive, which was very delightful,
nor of that beautiful lake they call Virginia Water, and which I know
you have a picture of in your house. They tell me it is artificial, but
as it was made more than a hundred years ago, it might now be
considered natural. We dined at an inn, and when we got back to town,
with two more showers on the way, I said to Jone that I thought we'd
better go straight to the Babylon Hotel, which we intended to start out
for, although it was a long way round to go by Virginia Water, and see
about engaging a room; and as Jone agreed I asked the coachman if he
would put us down there, knowing that he'd pass near it. He agreed to
this, would be an advertisement for his coach.

When we got on the street where the Babylon Hotel was he whipped up his
horses so that they went almost on a run, and the horner blew his horn
until his eyes seemed bursting, and with a grand sweep and a clank and
a jingle we pulled up at the front of the big hotel. Out marched the
head porter in a blue uniform, and out ran two under-porters with red
coats, and down jumped the horner and put up his ladder, and Jone and I
got down, after giving the coachman half-a-crown, and receiving from
the passengers a combined gaze of differentialism which had been wholly
wanting before. The men in the red coats looked disappointed when they
saw we had no baggage, but the great doors was flung open and we went
straight up to the clerk's desk.

When we was taken to look at rooms I remembered that there was always
danger of Jone's tendency to thankful contentment getting the better of
him, and I took the matter in hand myself. Two rooms good enough for
anybody was shown us, but I was not going to take the first thing that
was offered, no matter what it was. We settled the matter by getting a
first-class room, with sofas and writing-desks and everything
convenient, for only a little more than we was charged for the other
rooms, and the next morning we went there.

When we went back to our lodgings to pack up, and I looked in the glass
and saw what a smeary, bedraggled state my hat and head was in, from
being rained on, I said to Jone, "I don't see how those people ever
let such a person as me have a room at their hotel."

"It doesn't surprise me a bit," said Jone; "nobody but a very high and
mighty person would have dared to go lording it about that hotel with
her hat feathers and flowers all plastered down over her head. Most
people can be uppish in good clothes, but to look like a scare-crow and
be uppish can't be expected except from the truly lofty."

"I hope you are right," I said, and I think he was.

We hadn't been at the Babylon Hotel, where we are now, for more than
two days when I said to Jone that this sort of thing wasn't going to
do. He looked at me amazed. "What on earth is the matter now?" he said.
"Here is a room fit for a royal duke, in a house with marble corridors
and palace stairs, and gorgeous smoking-rooms, and a post-office, and a
dining-room pretty nigh big enough for a hall of Congress, with waiters
enough to make two military companies, and the bills of fare all in
French. If there is anything more you want, Pomona--"

"Stop there" said I; "the last thing you mention is the rub. It's the
dining-room; it's in that resplendent hall that we've got to give
ourselves a social boom or be content to fold our hands and fade away

"Which I don't want to do yet," said Jone, "so speak out your trouble."

[Illustration: "Ask the waiter what the French words mean"]

"The trouble this time is you," said I, "and your awful meekness. I
never did see anybody anywhere as meek as you are in that dining-room.
A half-drowned fly put into the sun to dry would be overbearing and
supercilious compared to you. When you sit down at one of those tables
you look as if you was afraid of hurting the chair, and when the waiter
gives you the bill of fare you ask him what the French words mean, and
then he looks down on you as if he was a superior Jove contemplating a
hop-toad, and he tells you that this one means beef and the other
means potatoes, and brings you the things that are easiest to get. And
you look as if you was thankful from the bottom of your heart that he
is good enough to give you anything at all. All the airs I put on are
no good while you are so extra humble. I tell him I don't want this
French thing--when I don't know what it is--and he must bring me some
of the other--which I never heard of--and when it comes I eat it, no
matter what it turns out to be, and try to look as if I was used to it,
but generally had it better cooked. But, as I said before, it is of no
use--your humbleness is too much for me. In a few days they will be
bringing us cold victuals, and recommending that we go outside
somewhere and eat them, as all the seats in the dining-room are wanted
for other people."

"Well," said Jone, "I must say I do feel a little overshadowed when I
go into that dining-room and see those proud and haughty waiters, some
of them with silver chains and keys around their necks, showing that
they are lords of the wine-cellar, and all of them with an air of lofty
scorn for the poor beings who have to sit still and be waited on; but
I'll try what I can do. As far as I am able, I'll hold up my end of the
social boom."

You may think I break off my letters sudden, madam, like the
instalments in a sensation weekly, which stops short in the most
harrowing parts, so as to make certain the reader will buy the next
number; but when I've written as much as I think two foreign stamps
will carry--for more than fivepence seems extravagant for a letter--I
generally stop.

_Letter Number Three_



At dinner-time the day when I had the conversation with Jone mentioned
in my last letter, we was sitting in the dining-room at a little table
in a far corner, where we'd never been before. Not being considered of
any importance they put us sometimes in one place and sometimes in
another, instead of giving us regular seats, as I noticed most of the
other people had, and I was looking around to see if anybody was ever
coming to wait on us, when suddenly I heard an awful noise.

I have read about the rumblings of earthquakes, and although I never
heard any of them, I have felt a shock, and I can imagine the awfulness
of the rumbling, and I had a feeling as if the building was about to
sway and swing as they do in earthquakes. It wasn't all my imagining,
for I saw the people at the other tables near us jump, and two waiters
who was hurrying past stopped short as if they had been jerked up by a
curb bit. I turned to look at Jone, but he was sitting up straight in
his chair, as solemn and as steadfast as a gate-post, and I thought to
myself that if he hadn't heard anything he must have been struck deaf,
and I was just on the point of jumping up and shouting to him, "Fly,
before the walls and roof come down upon us!" when that awful noise
occurred again. My blood stood frigid in my veins, and as I started
back I saw before me a waiter, his face ashy pale, and his knees
bending beneath him. Some people near us were half getting up from
their chairs, and I pushed back and looked at Jone again, who had not
moved except that his mouth was open. Then I knew what it was that I
thought was an earthquake--it was Jone giving an order to the waiter.

[Illustration: Jone giving an order]

I bit my lips and sat silent; the people around kept on looking at us,
and the poor man who was receiving the shock stood trembling like a
leaf. When the volcanic disturbance, so to speak, was over, the waiter
bowed himself, as if he had been a heathen in a temple, and gasping,
"Yes, sir, immediate," glided unevenly away. He hadn't waited on us
before, and little thought, when he was going to stride proudly pass
our table, what a double-loaded Vesuvius was sitting in Jone's chair. I
leaned over the table and said to Jone that if he would stick to that
we could rent a bishopric if we wanted to, and I was so proud I could
have patted him on the back. Well, after that we had no more trouble
about being waited on, for that waiter of ours went about as if he had
his neck bared for the fatal stroke and Jone was holding the cimeter.

The head waiter came to us before we was done dinner and asked if we
had everything we wanted and if that table suited us, because if it did
we could always have it. To which Jone distantly thundered that if he
would see that it always had a clean tablecloth it would do well

[Illustration: The Carver]

Even the man who stood at the big table in the middle of the room and
carved the cold meats, with his hair parted in the middle, and who
looked as if he were saying to himself, as with a bland dexterity and
tastefulness he laid each slice upon its plate, "Now, then, the
socialistic movement in Paris is arrested for the time being, and here
again I put an end to the hopes of Russia getting to the sea through
Afghanistan, and now I carefully spread contentment over the minds of
all them riotous Welsh miners," even he turned around and bowed to us
as we passed him, and once sent a waiter to ask if we'd like a little
bit of potted beef, which was particularly good that day.

Jone kept up his rumblings, though they sounded more distant and more
deep under ground, and one day at luncheon an elderly woman, who was
sitting alone at a table near us, turned to me and spoke. She was a
very plain person, with her face all seamed and rough with exposure to
the weather, like as if she had been captain to a pilot boat, and with
a general appearance of being a cook with good recommendations, but at
present out of a place. I might have wondered at such a person being at
such a hotel, but remembering what I had been myself I couldn't say
what mightn't happen to other people.

"I'm glad to see," said she, "that you sent away that mutton, for if
more persons would object to things that are not properly cooked we'd
all be better served. I suppose that in your country most people are so
rich that they can afford to have the best of everything and have it
always. I fancy the great wealth of American citizens must make their
housekeeping very different from ours."

Now I must say I began to bristle at being spoken to like that. I'm as
proud of being an American as anybody can be, but I don't like the home
of the free thrown into my teeth every time I open my mouth. There's no
knowing what money Jone and I have lost through giving orders to London
cabmen in what is called our American accent. The minute we tell the
driver of a hansom where we want to go, that place doubles its distance
from the spot we start from. Now I think the great reason Jone's
rumbling worked so well was that it had in it a sort of Great British
chest-sound, as if his lungs was rusty. The waiter had heard that
before and knew what it meant. If he had spoken out in the clear
American fashion I expect his voice would have gone clear through the
waiter without his knowing it, like the person in the story, whose neck
was sliced through and who didn't know it until he sneezed and his head
fell off.

"Yes, ma'am," said I, answering her with as much of a wearied feeling
as I could put on, "our wealth is all very well in some ways, but it is
dreadful wearing on us. However, we try to bear up under it and be

"Well," said she, "contentment is a great blessing in every station,
though I have never tried it in yours. Do you expect to make a long
stay in London?"

As she seemed like a civil and well-meaning woman, and was the first
person who had spoken to us in a social way, I didn't mind talking to
her, and I told her we was only stopping in London until we could find
the kind of country house we wanted, and when she asked what kind that
was, I described what we wanted and how we was still answering
advertisements and going to see agents, who was always recommending
exactly the kind of house we did not care for.

"Vicarages are all very well," said she, "but it sometimes happens, and
has happened to friends of mine, that when a vicar has let his house he
makes up his mind not to waste his money in travelling, and he takes
lodgings near by and keeps an eternal eye upon his tenants. I don't
believe any independent American would fancy that."

"No, indeed," said I; and then she went on to say that if we wanted a
small country house for a month or two she knew of one which she
believed would suit us, and it wasn't a vicarage either. When I asked
her to tell me about it she brought her chair up to our table, together
with her mug of beer, her bread and cheese, and she went into
particulars about the house she knew of.

"It is situated," said she, "in the west of England, in the most
beautiful part of our country. It is near one of the quaintest little
villages that the past ages have left us, and not far away are the
beautiful waters of the Bristol Channel, with the mountains of Wales
rising against the sky on the horizon, and all about are hills and
valleys, and woods and beautiful moors and babbling streams, with all
the loveliness of cultivated rurality merging into the wild beauties of
unadorned nature." If these was not exactly her words, they express the
ideas she roused in my mind. She said the place was far enough away
from railways and the stream of travel, and among the simple peasantry,
and that in the society of the resident gentry we would see English
country life as it is, uncontaminated by the tourist or the commercial

I can't remember all the things she said about this charming cottage in
this most supremely beautiful spot, but I sat and listened, and the
description held me spell-bound, as a snake fascinates a frog; with
this difference, instead of being swallowed by the description, I
swallowed it.

When the old woman had given us the address of the person who had the
letting of the cottage, and Jone and me had gone to our room, I said to
him, before we had time to sit down:

"What do you think?"

"I think," said he, "that we ought to follow that old woman's advice
and go and look at this house."

"Go and look at it?" I exclaimed. "Not a bit of it. If we do that, we
are bound to see something or hear something that will make us hesitate
and consider, and if we do that, away goes our enthusiasm and our
rapture. I say, telegraph this minute and say we'll take the house, and
send a letter by the next mail with a postal order in it, to secure the

Jone looked at me hard, and said he'd feel easier in his mind if he
understood what I was talking about.

"Never mind understanding," I said. "Go down and telegraph we'll take
the house. There isn't a minute to lose!"

"But," said Jone, "if we find out when we get there--"

"Never mind that," said I. "If we find out when we get there it isn't
all we thought it was, and we're bound to do that, we'll make the best
of what doesn't suit us because it can't be helped; but if we go and
look at it it's ten to one we won't take it."

"How long are we to take it for?" said Jone.

"A month anyway, and perhaps longer," I told him, giving him a push
toward the door.

"All right," said he, and he went and telegraphed. I believe if Jone
was told he could go anywhere and stay for a month he'd choose that
place from among all the most enchanting spots on the earth where he
couldn't stay so long. As for me, the one thing that held me was the
romanticness of the place. From what the old woman said I knew there
couldn't be any mistake about that, and if I could find myself the
mistress of a romantic cottage near an ancient village of the olden
time I would put up with most everything except dirt, and as dirt and
me seldom keeps company very long, even that can't frighten me.

When I saw the old woman at luncheon the next day and told her what we
had done she was fairly dumfounded.

"Really! really!" she said, "you Americans are the speediest people I
ever did see. Why, an English person would have taken a week to
consider that place before taking it."

"And lost it, ten to one," said I.

She shook her head.

"Well," said she, "I suppose it's on account of your habits, and you
can't help it, but it's a poor way of doing business."

[Illustration: "You Americans are the speediest people"]

Now I began to think from this that her conscience was beginning to
trouble her for having given so fairy-like a picture of the house, and
as I was afraid that she might think it her duty to bring up some
disadvantages, I changed the conversation and got away as soon as I
could. When we once get seated at our humble board in our rural cot I
won't be afraid of any bugaboos, but I didn't want them brought up
then. I can generally depend upon Jone, but sometimes he gets a little

We didn't see this old person any more, and when I asked the waiter
about her the next day he said he was sure she had left the hotel, by
which I suppose he must have meant he'd got his half-crown. Her fading
away in this fashion made it all seem like a myth or a phantasm, but
when, the next morning, we got a receipt for the money Jone sent, and a
note saying the house was ready for our reception, I felt myself on
solid ground again, and to-morrow we start, bag and baggage, for
Chedcombe, which is the name of the village where the house is that we
have taken. I'll write to you, madam, as soon as we get there, and I
hope with all my heart and soul that when we see what's wrong with
it--and there's bound to be something--that it may not be anything bad
enough to make us give it up and go floating off in voidness, like a
spider-web blown before a summer breeze, without knowing what it's
going to run against and stick to, and, what is more, probably lose the
money we paid in advance.

_Letter Number Four_


Last winter Jone and I read all the books we could get about the rural
parts of England, and we knew that the country must be very beautiful,
but we had no proper idea of it until we came to Chedcombe. I am not
going to write much about the scenery in this part of the country,
because, perhaps, you have been here and seen it, and anyway my writing
would not be half so good as what you could read in books, which don't
amount to anything.

All I'll say is that if you was to go over the whole of England, and
collect a lot of smooth green hills, with sheep and deer wandering
about on them; brooks, with great trees hanging over them, and vines
and flowers fairly crowding themselves into the water; lanes and roads
hedged in with hawthorn, wild roses, and tall purple foxgloves; little
woods and copses; hills covered with heather; thatched cottages like
the pictures in drawing-books, with roses against their walls, and thin
blue smoke curling up from the chimneys; distant views of the sparkling
sea; villages which are nearly covered up by greenness, except their
steeples; rocky cliffs all green with vines, and flowers spreading and
thriving with the fervor and earnestness you might expect to find in
the tropics, but not here--and then, if you was to put all these points
of scenery into one place not too big for your eye to sweep over and
take it all in, you would have a country like that around Chedcombe.

I am sure the old lady was right when she said it was the most
beautiful part of England. The first day we was here we carried an
umbrella as we walked through all this verdant loveliness, but
yesterday morning we went to the village and bought a couple of thin
mackintoshes, which will save us a lot of trouble opening and shutting

When we got out at the Chedcombe station we found a man there with a
little carriage he called a fly, who said he had been sent to take us
to our house. There was also a van to carry our baggage. We drove
entirely through the village, which looked to me as if a bit of the
Middle Ages had been turned up by the plough, and on the other edge of
it there was our house, and on the doorstep stood a lady, with a
smiling eye and an umbrella, and who turned out to be our landlady.
Back of her was two other females, one of them looking like a
minister's wife, while the other one I knew to be a servant-maid, by
her cap.

[Illustration: "THAT WAS OUR HOUSE"]

The lady, whose name was Mrs. Shutterfield, shook hands with us and
seemed very glad to see us, and the minister's wife took our hand
bags from us and told the men where to carry our trunks. Mrs.
Shutterfield took us into a little parlor on one side of the hall, and
then we three sat down, and I must say I was so busy looking at the
queer, delightful room, with everything in it--chairs, tables, carpets,
walls, pictures, and flower-vases--all belonging to a bygone epoch,
though perfectly fresh, as if just made, that I could scarcely pay
attention to what the lady said. But I listened enough to know that
Mrs. Shutterfield told us that she had taken the liberty of engaging
for us two most excellent servants, who had lived in the house before
it had been let to lodgers, and who, she was quite sure, would suit us
very well, though, of course, we were at liberty to do what we pleased
about engaging them. The one that I took for the minister's wife was a
combination of cook and housekeeper, by the name of Miss Pondar, and
the other was a maid in general, named Hannah. When the lady mentioned
two servants it took me a little aback, for we had not expected to have
more than one, but when she mentioned the wages, and I found that both
put together did not cost as much as a very poor cook would expect in
America, and when I remembered we as now at work socially booming
ourselves, and that it wouldn't do to let this lady think that we had
not been accustomed to varieties of servants, I spoke up and said we
would engage the two estimable women she recommended, and was much
obliged to her for getting them.

Then we went over that house, down stairs and up, and of all the
lavender-smelling old-fashionedness anybody ever dreamed of, this
little house has as much as it can hold. It is fitted up all through
like one of your mother's bonnets, which she bought before she was
married and never wore on account of a funeral in the family, but kept
shut up in a box, which she only opens now and then to show to her
descendants. In every room and on the stairs there was a general air of
antiquated freshness, mingled with the odors of English breakfast tea
and recollections of the story of Cranford, which, if Jone and me had
been alone, would have made me dance from the garret of that house to
the cellar. Every sentiment of romance that I had in my soul bubbled to
the surface, and I felt as if I was one of my ancestors before she
emigrated to the colonies. I could not say what I thought, but I
pinched Jone's arm whenever I could get a chance, which relieved me a
little; and when Miss Pondar had come to me with a little courtesy, and
asked me what time I would like to have dinner, and told me what she
had taken the liberty of ordering, so as to have everything ready by
the time I came, and Mrs. Shutterfield had gone, after begging to know
what more she could do for us, and we had gone to our own room, I let
out my feelings in one wild scream of delirious gladness that would
have been heard all the way to the railroad station if I had not
covered my head with two pillows and the corner of a blanket.

After we had dinner, which was as English as the British lion, and much
more to our taste than anything we had had in London, Jone went out to
smoke a pipe, and I had a talk with Miss Pondar about fish, meat, and
groceries, and about housekeeping matters in general. Miss Pondar,
whose general aspect of minister's wife began to wear off when I talked
to her, mingles respectfulness and respectability in a manner I haven't
been in the habit of seeing. Generally those two things run against
each other, but they don't in her.

When she asked what kind of wine we preferred I must say I was struck
all in a heap, for wines to Jone and me is like a trackless wilderness
without compass or binnacle light, and we seldom drink them except made
hot, with nutmeg grated in, for colic; but as I wanted her to
understand that if there was any luxuries we didn't order it was
because we didn't approve of them, I told her that we was total
abstainers, and at that she smiled very pleasant and said that was her
persuasion also, and that she was glad not to be obliged to handle
intoxicating drinks, though, of course, she always did it without
objection when the family used them. When I told Jone this he looked a
little blank, for foreign water generally doesn't agree with him. I
mentioned this afterwards to Miss Pondar, and she said it was very
common in total abstaining families, when water didn't agree with any
one of them, especially if it happened to be the gentleman, to take a
little good Scotch whiskey with it; but when I told this to Jone he
said he would try to bear up under the shackles of abstinence.

This morning, when I was talking with Miss Pondar about fish, and
trying to show her that I knew something about the names of English
fishes, I said that we was very fond of whitebait. At this she looked
astonished for the first time.

"Whitebait?" said she. "We always looked upon that as belonging
entirely to the nobility and gentry." At this my back began to bristle,
but I didn't let her know it, and I said, in a tone of emphatic
mildness, that we would have whitebait twice a week, on Tuesday and
Friday. At this Miss Pondar gave a little courtesy and thanked me very
much, and said she would attend to it.

When Jone and me came back after taking a long walk that morning I saw
a pair of Church of England prayer-books, looking as if they had just
been neatly dusted, lying on the parlor table, where they hadn't been
before, for I had carefully looked over every book. I think that when
it was borne in upon Miss Pondar's soul that we was accustomed to
having whitebait as a regular thing she made up her mind we was all
right, and that nothing but the Established Church would do for us.
Before, she might have thought we was Wesleyans.

Our maid Hannah is very nice to look at, and does her work as well as
anybody could do it, and, like most other English servants, she's in a
state of never-ending thankfulness, but as I can never understand a
word she says except "Thank you very much," I asked Jone if he didn't
think it would be a good thing for me to try to teach her a little

"Now then," said he, "that's the opening of a big subject. Wait until I
fill my pipe and we'll discourse upon it." It was just after luncheon,
and we was sitting in the summer-house at the end of the garden,
looking out over the roses and pinks and all sorts of old-timey flowers
growing as thick as clover heads, with an air as if it wasn't the least
trouble in the world to them to flourish and blossom. Beyond the
flowers was a little brook with the ducks swimming in it, and beyond
that was a field, and on the other side of that field was a park
belonging to the lord of the manor, and scattered about the side of a
green hill in the park was a herd of his lordship's deer. Most of them
was so light-colored that I fancied I could almost see through them, as
if they was the little transparent bugs that crawl about on leaves.
That isn't a romantic idea to have about deers, but I can't get rid of
the notion whenever I see those little creatures walking about on the

At that time it was hardly raining at all, just a little mist, with the
sun coming into the summer-house every now and then, making us feel
very comfortable and contented.

"Now," said Jone, when he had got his pipe well started, "what I want
to talk about is the amount of reformation we expect to do while we're
sojourning in the kingdom of Great Britain."

"Reformation!" said I; "we didn't come here to reform anything."

"Well," said Jone, "if we're going to busy our minds with these
people's shortcomings and long-goings, and don't try to reform them,
we're just worrying ourselves and doing them no good, and I don't think
it will pay. Now, for instance, there's that rosy-cheeked Hannah. She's
satisfied with her way of speaking English, and Miss Pondar understands
it and is satisfied with it, and all the people around here are
satisfied with it. As for us, we know, when she comes and stands in the
doorway and dimples up her cheeks, and then makes those sounds that are
more like drops of molasses falling on a gong than anything else I know
of, we know that she is telling us in her own way that the next meal,
whatever it is, is ready, and we go to it."

"Yes," said I, "and as I do most of my talking with Miss Pondar, and as
we shall be here for such a short time anyway, it may be as well--"

"What I say about Hannah," said Jone, interrupting me as soon as I
began to speak about a short stay, "I have to say about everything else
in England that doesn't suit us. As long as Hannah doesn't try to make
us speak in her fashion I say let her alone. Of course, we shall find a
lot of things over here that we shall not approve of--we knew that
before we came--and when we find we can't stand their ways and manners
any longer we can pack up and go home, but so far as I'm concerned I'm
getting along very comfortable so far."

"Oh, so am I," I said to him, "and as to interfering with other
people's fashions, I don't want to do it. If I was to meet the most
paganish of heathens entering his temple with suitable humbleness I
wouldn't hurt his feelings on the subject of his religion, unless I was
a missionary and went about it systematic; but if that heathen turned
on me and jeered at me for attending our church at home, and told me I
ought to go down on my marrow-bones before his brazen idols, I'd whang
him over the head with a frying-pan or anything else that came handy.
That's the sort of thing I can't stand. As long as the people here
don't snort and sniff at my ways I won't snort and sniff at theirs."

"Well," said Jone, "that is a good rule, but I don't know that it's
going to work altogether. You see, there are a good many people in this
country and only two of us, and it will be a lot harder for them to
keep from sniffing and snorting than for us to do it. So it's my
opinion that if we expect to get along in a good-humored and friendly
way, which is the only decent way of living, we've got to hold up our
end of the business a little higher than we expect other people to hold
up theirs."

I couldn't agree altogether with Jone about our trying to do better
than other people, but I said that as the British had been kind enough
to make their country free to us, we wouldn't look a gift horse in the
mouth unless it kicked. To which Jone said I sometimes got my figures
of speech hind part foremost, but he knew what I meant.

We've lived in our cottage two weeks, and every morning when I get up
and open our windows, which has little panes set in strips of lead, and
hinges on one side so that it works like a door, and look out over the
brook and the meadows and the thatched roofs, and see the peasant men
with their short jackets and woollen caps, and the lower part of their
trousers tied round with twine, if they don't happen to have leather
leggings, trudging to their work, my soul is filled with welling
emotions as I think that if Queen Elizabeth ever travelled along this
way she must have seen these great old trees and, perhaps, some of
these very houses; and as to the people, they must have been pretty
much the same, though differing a little in clothes, I dare say; but,
judging from Hannah, perhaps not very much in the kind of English they

I declare that when Jone and me walk about through the village, and
over the fields, for there is a right of way--meaning a little
path--through most all of them, and when we go into the old church,
with its yew-trees, and its gravestones, and its marble effigies of two
of the old manor lords, both stretched flat on their backs, as large as
life, the gentleman with the end of his nose knocked off and with his
feet crossed to show he was a crusader, and the lady with her hands
clasped in front of her, as if she expected the generations who came to
gaze on her tomb to guess what she had inside of them, I feel like a
character in a novel.

I have kept a great many of my joyful sentiments to myself, because
Jone is too well contented as it is, and there is a great deal yet to
be seen in England. Sometimes we hire a dogcart and a black horse named
Punch, from the inn in the village, and we take long drives over roads
that are almost as smooth as bowling alleys. The country is very hilly,
and every time we get to the top of a hill we can see, spread about us
for miles and miles, the beautiful hills and vales, and lordly
residences and cottages, and steeple tops, looking as though they had
been stuck down here and there, to show where villages had been

_Letter Number Five_



This morning, when Jone was out taking a walk and I was talking to Miss
Pondar, and getting her to teach me how to make Devonshire clotted
cream, which we have for every meal, putting it on everything it will
go on, into everything it will go into, and eating it by itself when
there is nothing it will go on or into; and trying to find out why it
is that whitings are always brought on the table with their tails stuck
through their throats, as if they had committed suicide by cutting
their jugular veins in this fashion, I saw, coming along the road to
our cottage, a pretty little dogcart with two ladies in it. The horse
they drove was a pony, and the prettiest creature I ever saw, being
formed like a full-sized horse, only very small, and with as much fire
and spirit and gracefulness as could be got into an animal sixteen
hands high. I heard afterward that he came from Exmoor, which is about
twelve miles from here, and produces ponies and deers of similar size
and swiftness. They stopped at the door, and one of them got out and
came in. Miss Pondar told me she wished to see me, and that she was
Mrs. Locky, of the "Bordley Arms" in the village.

"The innkeeper's wife?" said I; to which Miss Pondar said it was, and I
went into the parlor. Mrs. Locky was a handsome-looking lady, and
wearing as stylish clothes as if she was a duchess, and extremely
polite and respectful.

She said she would have asked Mrs. Shutterfield to come with her and
introduce her, but that lady was away from home, and so she had come by
herself to ask me a very great favor.

When I begged her to sit down and name it she went on to say there had
come that morning to the inn a very large party in a coach-and-four,
that was making a trip through the country, and as they didn't travel
on Sunday they wanted to stay at the "Bordley Arms" until Monday

"Now," said she, "that puts me to a dreadful lot of trouble, because I
haven't room to accommodate them all, and even if I could get rooms for
them somewhere else they don't want to be separated. But there is one
of the best rooms at the inn which is occupied by an elderly gentleman,
and if I could get that room I could put two double beds in it and so
accommodate the whole party. Now, knowing that you had a pleasant
chamber here that you don't use, I thought I would make bold to come
and ask you if you would lodge Mr. Poplington until Monday?"

"What sort of a person is this Mr. Poplington, and is he willing to
come here?"

"Oh, I haven't asked him yet," said she, "but he is so extremely
good-natured that I know he will be glad to come here. He has often
asked me who lived in this extremely picturesque cottage."

"You must have an answer now?" said I.

"Oh, yes," said she, "for if you cannot do me this favor I must go
somewhere else, and where to go I don't know."

Now I had begun to think that the one thing we wanted in this little
home of ours was company, and that it was a great pity to have that
nice bedroom on the second floor entirely wasted, with nobody ever in
it. So, as far as I was concerned, I would be very glad to have some
pleasant person in the house, at least for a day or two, and I didn't
believe Jone would object. At any rate it would put a stop, at least
for a little while, to his eternally saying how Corinne, our daughter,
would enjoy that room, and how nice it would be if we was to take this
house for the rest of the season and send for her. Now, Corinne's as
happy as she can be at her grand-mother's farm, and her school will
begin before we're ready to come home, and, what is more, we didn't
come here to spend all our time in one place.

[Illustration: "The young lady who keeps the bar"]

While I was thinking of these things I was looking out of the window at
the lady in the dogcart who was holding the reins. She was as pretty as
a picture, and wore a great straw hat with lovely flowers in it. As I
had to give an answer without waiting for Jone to come home, and I
didn't expect him until luncheon time, I concluded to be neighborly,
and said we would take the gentleman to oblige her. Even if the
arrangement didn't suit him or us, it wouldn't matter much for that
little time. At which Mrs. Locky was very grateful indeed, and said she
would have Mr. Poplington's luggage sent around that afternoon, and
that he would come later.

As she got up to go I said to her, "Is that young lady out there one of
the party who came with the coach and four?"

"Oh, no," said Mrs. Locky, "she lives with me. She is the young lady
who keeps the bar."

I expect I opened my mouth and eyes pretty wide, for I was never so
astonished. A young lady like that keeping the bar! But I didn't want
Mrs. Locky to know how much I was surprised, and so I said nothing
about it.

When they had gone and I had stood looking after them for about a
minute, I remembered I hadn't asked whether Mr. Poplington would want
to take his meals here, or whether he would go to the inn for them. To
be sure, she only asked me to lodge him, but as the inn is more than
half a mile from here, he may want to be boarded. But this will have to
be found out when he comes, and when Jone comes home it will have to be
found out what he thinks about my taking a lodger while he's out taking
a walk.

_Letter Number Six_


When Jone came home and I told him a gentleman was coming to live with
us, he thought at first I was joking; and when he found out that I
meant what I said he looked very blue, and stood with his hands in his
pockets and his eyes on the ground, considering.

"He's not going to take his meals here, is he?"

"I don't think he expects that," I said, "for Mrs. Locky only spoke of

"Oh, well," said Jone, looking as if his clouds was clearing off a
little, "I don't suppose it will matter to us if that room is occupied
over Sunday, but I think the next time I go out for a stroll I'll take
you with me."

I didn't go out that afternoon, and sat on pins and needles until
half-past five o'clock. Jone wanted me to walk with him, but I wouldn't
do it, because I didn't want our lodger to come here and be received by
Miss Pondar. At half-past five there came a cart with the gentleman's
luggage, as they call it here, and I was glad Jone wasn't at home.
There was an enormous leather portmanteau which looked as if it had
been dragged by a boy too short to lift it from the ground, half over
the world; a hat-box, also of leather, but not so draggy looking; a
bundle of canes and umbrellas, a leather dressing-case, and a flat,
round bathing-tub. I had the things taken up to the room as quickly as
I could, for if Jone had seen them he'd think the gentleman was going
to bring his family with him.

It was nine o'clock and still broad daylight when Mr. Poplington
himself came, carrying a fishing-rod put up in parts in a canvas bag, a
fish-basket, and a small valise. He wore leather leggings and was about
sixty years old, but a wonderful good walker. I thought, when I saw him
coming, that he had no rheumatism whatever, but I found out afterward
that he had a little in one of his arms. He had white hair and white
side-whiskers and a fine red face, which made me think of a strawberry
partly covered with Devonshire clotted cream. Jone and I was sitting in
the summer-house, he smoking his pipe, and we both went to meet the
gentleman. He had a bluff way of speaking, and said he was much obliged
to us for taking him in; and after saying that it was a warm evening, a
thing which I hadn't noticed, he asked to be shown to his room. I sent
Hannah with him, and then Jone and I went back to the summer-house.

I didn't know exactly why, but I wasn't in as good spirits as I had
been, and when Jone spoke he didn't make me feel any better.

[Illustration: "I see signs of weakening in the social boom"]

"It seems to me," said he, "that I see signs of weakening in the social
boom. That man considers us exactly as we considered our lodging-house
keeper in London. Now, it doesn't strike me that that sample person you
was talking about, who is a cross between a rich farmer and a poor
gentleman, would go into the lodging-house business." I couldn't help
agreeing with Jone, and I didn't like it a bit. The gentleman hadn't
said anything or done anything that was out of the way, but there was a
benignant loftiness about him which grated on the inmost fibres of my

"I'll tell you what we'll do," said I, turning sharp on Jone, "we won't
charge him a cent. That'll take him down, and show him what we are.
We'll give him the room as a favor to Mrs. Locky, considering her in
the light of a neighbor and one who sent us a cucumber."

"All right," said Jone, "I like that way of arranging the business. Up
goes the social boom again!"

Just as we was going up to bed Miss Pondar came to me and said that the
gentleman had called down to her and asked if he could have a new-laid
egg for his breakfast, and she asked if she should send Hannah early in
the morning to see if she could get a perfectly fresh egg from one of
the cottages. "I thought, ma'am, that perhaps you might object to
buying things on Sunday."

"I do," I said. "Does that Mr. Poplington expect to have his breakfast
here? I only took him to lodge."

"Oh, ma'am," said Miss Pondar, "they always takes their breakfasts
where they has their rooms. Dinner and luncheon is different, and he
may expect to go to the inn for them."

"Indeed!" said I. "I think he may, and if he breakfasts here he can
take what we've got. If the eggs are not fresh enough for him he can
try to get along with some bacon. He can't expect that to be fresh."

Knowing that English people take their breakfast late, Jone and I got
up early, so as to get through before our lodger came down. But, bless
me, when we went to the front door to see what sort of a day it was we
saw him coming in from a walk. "Fine morning," said he, and in fact
there was only a little drizzle of rain, which might stop when the sun
got higher; and he stood near us and began to talk about the trout in
the stream, which, to my utter amazement, he called a river.

"Do you take your license by the day or week?" he said to Jone.

"License!" said Jone, "I don't fish."

"Really!" exclaimed Mr. Poplington. "Oh, I see, you are a cycler."

"No," said Jone, "I'm not that, either, I'm a pervader."

"Really!" said the old gentleman; "what do you mean by that?"

"I mean that I pervade the scenery, sometimes on foot and sometimes in
a trap. That's my style of rural pleasuring."

"But you do fish at home," I said to Jone, not wishing the English
gentleman to think my husband was a city man, who didn't know anything
about sport.

"Oh, yes," said Jone, "I used to fish for perch and sunfish."

"Sunfish?" said Mr. Poplington. "I don't know that fish at all. What
sort of a fly do you use?"

"I don't fish with any flies at all," said Jone; "I bait my hook with

Mr. Poplington's face looked as if he had poured liquid shoe-blacking
on his meat, thinking it was Worcestershire sauce. "Fancy! Worms! I'd
never take a rod in my hands if I had to use worms. Never used a worm
in my life. There's no sort of science in worm fishing."

"There's double sport," said Jone, "for first you've got to catch your
worm. Then again, I hate shams; if you have to catch fish there's no
use cheating them into the bargain."

"Cheat!" cried Mr. Poplington. "If I had to catch a whale I'd fish for
him with a fly. But you Americans are strange people. Worms, indeed!"

"We don't all use worms," said Jone; "there's lots of fly fishers in
America, and they use all sorts of flies. If we are to believe all the
Californians tell us some of the artificial flies out there must be as
big as crows."

"Really?" said Mr. Poplington, looking hard at Jone, with a little
twinkling in his eyes. "And when gentlemen fish who don't like to cheat
the fishes, what size of worms do they use?"

"Well," said Jone, "in the far West I've heard that the common black
snake is the favorite bait. He's six or seven feet long, and fishermen
that use him don't have to have any line. He's bait and line all in

Mr. Poplington laughed. "I see you are fond of a joke," said he, "and
so am I, but I'm also fond of my breakfast."

"I'm with you there," said Jone, and we all went in.

Mr. Poplington was very pleasant and chatty, and of course asked a
great many questions about America. Nearly all English people I've met
want to talk about our country, and it seems to me that what they do
know about it isn't any better, considered as useful information, than
what they don't know. But Mr. Poplington has never been to America, and
so he knows more about us than those Englishmen who come over to write
books, and only have time to run around the outside of things, and get
themselves tripped up on our ragged edges.

He said he had met a good many Americans, and liked them, but he
couldn't see for the life of him why they do some things English people
don't do, and don't do things English people do do. For instance, he
wondered why we don't drink tea for breakfast. Miss Pondar had made it
for him, knowing he'd want it, and he wonders why Americans drink
coffee when such good tea as that was comes in their reach.

Now, if I had considered Mr. Poplington as a lodger it might have
nettled me to have him tell me I didn't know what was good, but
remembering that we was giving him hospitality, and not board, and
didn't intend to charge him a cent, but was just taking care of him out
of neighborly kindness, I was rather glad to have him find a little
fault, because that would make me feel as if I was soaring still higher
above him the next morning, when I should tell him there was nothing to

So I took it all good-natured, and said to him, "Well, Americans like
to have the very best things that can be got out of every country.
We're like bees flying over the whole world, looking into every blossom
to see what sweetness there is to be got out of it. From the lily of
France we sip their coffee, from the national flower of India, whatever
it is, we take their chutney sauce, and as to those big apple tarts,
baked in a deep dish, with a cup in the middle to hold up the upper
crust, and so full of apples, and so delicious with Devonshire clotted
cream on them that if there was any one place in the world they could
be had I believe my husband would want to go and live there forever,
_they_ are what we extract from the rose of England."

Mr. Poplington laughed like anything at this, but said there was a
great many other things that he could show us and tell us about which
would be very well worth while sipping from the rose of England.

After breakfast he went to church with us, and as we was coming
home--for he didn't seem to have the least idea of going to the inn for
his luncheon--he asked if we didn't find the services very different
from those in America.

"Yes," said I, "they are about as different from Quaker services as a
squirting fountain is from a corked bottle. The Methodists and
Unitarians and Reformed Dutch and Campbellites and Hard-shell Baptists
have different services too, but in the Episcopal churches things are
all pretty much the same as they did this morning. You forget, sir,
that in our country there are religions to suit all sizes of minds. We
haven't any national religion any more than we have a national flower."

"But you ought to have," said he; "you ought to have an established

"You may be sure we'll have it," said Jone, "as soon as we agree as to
which one it ought to be."

_Letter Number Seven_


Last Sunday afternoon Mr. Poplington asked us if we would not like to
walk over to a ruined abbey about four miles away, which he said was
very interesting. It seemed to me that four miles there and four miles
back was a pretty long walk, but I wanted to see the abbey, and I
wasn't going to let him think that a young American woman couldn't walk
as far as an elderly English gentleman; so I agreed and so did Jone.
The abbey is a wonderful place, and I never thought of being tired
while wandering in the rooms and in the garden, where the old monks
used to live and preach, and give food to the poor, and keep house
without women--which was pious enough, but must have been untidy. But
the thing that surprised me the most was what Mr. Poplington told us
about the age of the place. It was not built all at once, and it's part
ancient and part modern, and you needn't wonder, madam, that I was
astonished when he said that the part called modern was finished just
three years before America was discovered. When I heard that I seemed
to shrivel up as if my country was a new-born babe alongside of a
bearded patriarch; but I didn't stay shrivelled long, for it can't be
denied that a new-born babe has a good deal more to look forward to
than a patriarch has.

[Illustration: AT THE ABBEY]

It is amazing how many things in this part of the country we'd never
have thought of if it hadn't been for Mr. Poplington. At dinner he told
us about Exmoor and the Lorna Doone country, and the wild deer hunting
that can be had nowhere else in England, and lots of other things that
made me feel we must be up and doing if we wanted to see all we ought
to see before we left Chedcombe. When I went upstairs I said to Jone
that Mr. Poplington was a very different man from what I thought he

"He's just as nice as he can be, and I'm going to charge him for his
room and his meals and for everything he's had."

Jone laughed, and asked me if that was the way I showed people I liked

"We intended to humble him by not charging him anything," I said, "and
make him feel he had been depending on our bounty; but now I wouldn't
hurt his feelings for the world, and I'll make out his bill in the
morning myself. Women always do that sort of thing in England."

As you asked me, madam, to tell you everything that happened on our
travels, I'll go on about Mr. Poplington. After breakfast on Monday
morning he went over to the inn, and said he would come back and pack
up his things; but when he did come back he told us that those
coach-and-four people had determined not to leave Chedcombe that day,
but was going to stay and look at the sights in the neighborhood, and
that they would want the room for that night. He said this had made him
very angry, because they had no right to change their minds that way
after having made definite arrangements in which other people besides
themselves was concerned; and he had said so very plainly to the
gentleman who seemed to be at the head of the party.

"I hope it will be no inconvenience to you, madam," he said, "to keep
me another night."

"Oh, dear, no," said I; "and my husband was saying this morning that he
wished you was going to stay with us the rest of our time here."

"Really!" exclaimed Mr. Poplington. "Then I'll do it. I'll go to the
inn this minute and have the rest of my luggage brought over here. If
this is any punishment to Mrs. Locky she deserves it, for she shouldn't
have told those people they could stay longer without consulting me."

In less than an hour there came a van to our cottage with the rest of
his luggage. There must have been over a dozen boxes and packages,
besides things tied up and strapped; and as I saw them being carried up
one at a time, I said to Miss Pondar that in our country we'd have two
or three big trunks, which we could take about without any trouble.

"Yes, ma'am," said she; but I could see by her face that she didn't
believe luggage would be luggage unless you could lug it, but was too
respectful to say so.

When Mr. Poplington got settled down in our spare room he blossomed out
like a full-blown friend of the family, and accordingly began to give
us advice. He said we should go as soon as we could and see Exmoor and
all that region of country, and that if we didn't mind he'd like to go
with us; to which we answered, of course, we should like that very
much, and asked him what he thought would be the best way to go. So we
had ever so much talk about that, and although we all agreed it would
be nicer not to take a public coach, but travel private, we didn't find
it easy to decide as to the manner of travel. We all agreed that a
carriage and horses would be too expensive, and Jone was rather in
favor of a dogcart for us if Mr. Poplington would like to go on
horseback; but the old gentleman said it would be too much riding for
him, and if we took a dogcart he'd have to take another one. But this
wouldn't be a very sociable way of travelling, and none of us liked it.

"Now," exclaimed Mr. Poplington, striking his hand on the table, "I'll
tell you exactly how we ought to go through that country--we ought to
go on cycles."

"Bicycles?" said I.

"Tricycles, if you like," he answered, "but that's the way to do it.
It'll be cheap, and we can go as we like and stop when we like. We'll
be as free and independent as the Stars and Stripes, and more so, for
they can't always flap when they like and stop flapping when they
choose. Have you ever tried it, madam?"

I replied that I had, a little, because my daughter had a tricycle, and
I had ridden on it for a short distance and after sundown, but as for
regular travel in the daytime I couldn't think of it.

At this Jone nearly took my breath away by saying that he thought that
the bicycle idea was a capital one, and that for his part he'd like it
better than any other way of travelling through a pretty country. He
also said he believed I could work a tricycle just as well as not, and
that if I got used to it I would think it fine.

I stood out against those two men for about a half an hour, and then I
began to give in a little, and think that it might be nice to roll
along on my own little wheels over their beautiful smooth roads, and
stop and smell the hedges and pick flowers whenever I felt like it; and
so it ended in my agreeing to do the Exmoor country on a tricycle while
Mr. Poplington and Jone went on bicycles. As to getting the machines,
Mr. Poplington said he would attend to that. There was people in London
who hired them to excursionists, and all he had to do was to send an
order and they would be on hand in a day or two; and so that matter
was settled and he wrote to London. I thought Mr. Poplington was a
little old for that sort of exercise, but I found he had been used to
doing a great deal of cycling in the part of the country where he
lives; and besides, he isn't as old as I thought he was, being not much
over fifty. The kind of air that keeps a country always green is
wonderful in bringing out early red and white in a person.

"Everything happens wonderfully well, madam," said he, coming in after
he had been to post his letter in a red iron box let into the side of
the Wesleyan chapel, "doesn't it? Now here we're not able to start on
our journey for two or three days, and I have just been told that the
great hay-making in the big meadow to the south of the village is to
begin to-morrow. They make the hay there only every other year, and
they have a grand time of it. We must be there, and you shall see some
of our English country customs."

We said we'd be sure to be in for that sort of thing.

I wish, madam, you could have seen that great hayfield. It belongs to
the lord of the manor, and must have twenty or thirty acres in it.
They've been three or four days cutting the grass on it with a machine,
and now there's been nearly two days with hardly any rain, only now and
then some drizzling, and a good, strong wind, which they think here is
better for the hay-making than sunshine, though they don't object to a
little sun. All the people in the village who had legs good enough to
carry them to that field went to help make hay. It was a regular
holiday, and as hay is clean, nearly everybody was dressed in good
clothes. Early in the morning some twenty regular farm laborers began
raking the hay at one end of the field, stretching themselves nearly
the whole way across it, and as the day went on more and more people
came, men and women, high and low. All the young women and some of the
older ones had rakes, and the way they worked them was amazing to see,
but they turned over the hay enough to dry it. As to schoolgirls and
boys, there was no end of them in the afternoon, for school let out
early. Some of them worked, but most of them played and cut up
monkey-shines on the hay. Even the little babies was brought on the
field, and nice, soft beds made for them under the trees at one side.

When Jone saw the real farm-work going on, with a chance for everybody
to turn in to help, his farmer blood boiled within him, as if he was a
war-horse and sniffed the smoke of battle, and he got himself a rake
and went to work like a good-fellow. I never saw so many men at work in
a hayfield at home, but when I looked at Jone raking I could see why it
was it didn't take so many men to get in our hay. As for me, I raked a
little, but looked about a great deal more.

Near the middle of the field was two women working together, raking as
steadily as if they had been brought up to it. One of these was young,
and even handsomer than Miss Dick, which was the name of the bar lady.
To look at her made me think of what I had read of Queen Marie
Antoinette and her court ladies playing the part of milkmaids. Her
straw hat was trimmed with delicate flowers, and her white muslin dress
and pale blue ribbons made her the prettiest picture I ever saw
out-of-doors. I could not help asking Mrs. Locky who she was, and she
told me that she was the chambermaid at the inn, and the other was the
cook. When I heard this I didn't make any answer, but just walked off a
little way and began raking and thinking. I have often wondered why it
is that English servants are so different from those we have, or, to
put it in a strictly confidential way between you and me, madam, why
the chambermaid at the "Bordley Arms," as she is, is so different from
me, as I used to be when I first lived with you. Now that young
chambermaid with the pretty hat is, as far as appearances go, as good a
woman as I am, and if Jone was a bachelor and intended to marry her I
would think it was as good a match as if he married me. But the
difference between us two is that when I got to be the kind of woman I
am I wasn't willing to be a servant, and if I had always been the kind
of young woman that chambermaid is I never would have been a servant.

I've kept a sharp eye on the young women in domestic service over here,
having a fellow-feeling for them, as you can well understand, madam,
and since I have been in the country I've watched the poor folks and
seen how they live, and it's just as plain to me as can be that the
young women who are maids and waitresses over here are the kind who
would have tried to be shop-girls and dressmakers and even
school-teachers in America, and many of the servants we have would be
working in the fields if they lived over here. The fact is, the English
people don't go to other countries to get their servants. Their way is
like a factory consuming its own smoke. The surplus young women, and
there must always be a lot of them, are used up in domestic service.

Now, if an American poor girl is good enough to be a first-class
servant, she wants to be something else. Sooner than go out to service
she will work twice as hard in a shop, or even go into a factory.

I have talked a good deal about this to Jone, and he says I'm getting
to be a philosopher; but I don't think it takes much philosophizing to
find out how this case stands. If house service could be looked upon in
the proper way, it wouldn't take long for American girls who have to
work for their living to find out that it's a lot better to live with
nice people, and cook and wait on the table, and do all those things
which come natural to women the world over, than to stand all day
behind a counter under the thumb of a floor-walker, or grind their
lives out like slaves among a lot of steam-engines and machinery. The
only reason the English have better house servants than we have is that
here any girl who has to work is willing to be a house servant, and
very good house servants they are, too.

_Letter Number Eight_



I will now finish telling you about the great hay-making day. Toward
the end of the afternoon a lot of boys and girls began playing a game
which seemed to belong to the hayfield. Each one of the bigger boys
would twist up a rope of hay and run after a girl, and when he had
thrown it over her neck he could kiss her. Girls are girls the whole
world over, and it was funny to see how some of them would run like mad
to get away from the boys, and how dreadfully troubled they would be
when they was caught, and yet, after they had been kissed and the boys
had left them, they would walk innocently back to the players as if
they never dreamed that anybody would think of disturbing them.

At five o'clock everybody--farm hands, ladies, gentlemen,
school-children, and all--took tea together. Some were seated at long
tables made of planks, with benches at the sides, and others scattered
all over the grass. Miss Pondar and our maid Hannah helped to serve the
tea and sandwiches, and I was glad to see that Hannah wore her pointed
white cap and her black dress, for I had on my woollen travelling suit,
and I didn't want too much cart-before-the-horseness in my domestic

After tea the work and the games began again, and as I think it is
always better for people to do what they can do best, I turned in and
helped clear away the tea-things, and after that I sat down by a female
person in black silk--and I am sure I didn't know whether she was the
lady of the manor or somebody else until I heard some h-words come out
in her talk, and then I knew she was the latter--and she told me ever
so much about the people in the village, and why the rector wasn't
there, on account of a dispute about the altar-cloths, and she was just
beginning to tell me about the doctor's wife sending her daughters to a
school that was much too high-priced for his practice, when I happened
to look across the field, and there, with the bar lady at the inn, with
her hat trimmed with pink, and the Marie Antoinette chambermaid, with
her hat trimmed with blue, was Jone, and they was all three raking
together, as comfortable and confiding as if they had been singing
hymns out of the same book.

Now, I thought I had been sitting still long enough, and so I snipped
off the rest of the doctor story and got myself across that field with
pretty long steps. When I reached the happy three I didn't say
anything, but went round in front of them and stood there, throwing a
sarcastic and disdainful glance upon their farming. Jone stopped
working, and wiped his face with his handkerchief, as if he was hot and
tired, but hadn't thought of it until just then, and the two girls they
stopped too.

"He's teaching us to rake, ma'am," said Miss Dick, revolving her
green-gage eyes in my direction, "and really, ma'am, it's wonderful to
see how good he does it. You Americans are so awful clever!"

As for the one with the blue trimmings, she said nothing, but stood
with her hands folded on her rake, and her chiselled features steeped
in a meek resignedness, though much too high colored, as though it had
just been borne in upon her that this world is all a fleeting show, for
man's illusion given, and such felicity as culling fragrant hay by the
side of that manly form must e'en be foregone by her, that I could
have taken a handle of a rake and given her such a punch among her blue
ribbons that her classic features would have frantically twined
themselves around one resounding howl--but I didn't. I simply remarked
to Jone, with a statuesque rigidity, that it was six o'clock and I was
going home; to which he said he was going too, and we went.


"I thought," said I, as we proceeded with rapid steps across the field,
"that you didn't come to England for the purpose of teaching the

Jone laughed a little. "That young lady put it rather strong," he said.
"She and her friend was merely trying to rake as I did. I think they
got on very well."

"Indeed!" said I--I expect with flashing eye--"but the next time you go
into the disciple business I recommend that you take boys who really
need to know something about farming, and not fine-as-fiddle young
women that you might as well be ballet-dancing with as raking with, for
all the hankering after knowledge they have."

"Oh!" said Jone, and that was all he did say, which was very wise in
him, for, considering my state of feelings, his case was like a
fish-hook in your finger--the more you pull and worry at it the harder
it is to get out.

That evening, when I was quite cooled down, and we was talking to Mr.
Poplington about the hay-making and the free-and-easy way in which
everybody came together, he was a good deal surprised that we should
think that there was anything uncommon in that, coming from a country
where everybody was free and equal. Jone was smoking his pipe, and when
it draws well and he's had a good dinner and I haven't anything
particular to say, he often likes to talk slow and preach little

"Yes, sir," said he, after considering the matter a little while,
"according to the Constitution of the United States we are all free and
equal, but there's a good many things the Constitution doesn't touch
on, and one of them is the sorting out and sizing up of the population.
Now, you people over here are like the metal types that the printers
use. You've all got your letters on one end of you, and you know just
where you belong, and if you happen to be knocked into 'pi' and mixed
all up in a pile it is easy enough to pick you out and put you all in
your proper cases; but it's different with us. According to the
Constitution we're like a lot of carpet-tacks, one just the same as
another, though in fact we're not alike, and it would not be easy if we
got mixed up, say in a hayfield, to get ourselves all sorted out again
according to the breadth of our heads and the sharpness of our points,
so we don't like to do too much mixing, don't you see?" To which Mr.
Poplington said he didn't see, and then I explained to him that what
Jone meant was that though in our country we was all equally free, it
didn't do for us to be as freely equal as the people are sometimes over
here, to which Mr. Poplington said, "Really!" but he didn't seem to be
standing in the glaring sunlight of convincement. But the shade is
often pleasant to be in, and he wound up by saying, as he bid us
good-night, that he thought it would be a great deal better for us, if
we had classes at all, to have them marked out plain, and stamped so
that there could be no mistake; to which I said that if we did that the
most of the mistakes would come in the sorting, which, according to my
reading of books and newspapers, had happened to most countries that
keep up aristocracies.

I don't know that he heard all that I said, for he was going up-stairs
with his candle at the time, but when Jone and me got up-stairs in our
own room I said to him, and he always hears everything I say, that in
some ways the girls that we have for servants at home have some
advantages over those we find here; to which Jone said, "Yes," and
seemed to be sleepy.

_Letter Number Nine_


There was still another day of hay-making, but we couldn't wait for
that, because our cycles had come from London and we was all anxious to
be off, and you would have laughed, madam, if you could have seen us
start. Mr. Poplington went off well enough, but Jone's bicycle seemed a
little gay and hard to manage, and he frisked about a good deal at
starting; but Jone had bought a bicycle long ago, when the things first
came out, and on days when the roads was good he used to go to the
post-office on it, and he said that if a man had ever ridden on top of
a wheel about six feet high he ought to be able to balance himself on
the pair of small wheels which they use nowadays. So, after getting his
long legs into working order, he went very well, though with a snaky
movement at first, and then I started.

Each one of us had a little hand-bag hung on our machine, and Mr.
Poplington said we needn't take anything to eat, for there was inns to
be found everywhere in England. Hannah started me off nicely by pushing
my tricycle until I got it going, and Miss Pondar waved her
handkerchief from the cottage door. When Hannah left me I went along
rather slow at first, but when I got used to the proper motion I began
to do better, and was very sure it wouldn't take me long to catch up
with Jone, who was still worm-fencing his way along the road. When I
got entirely away from the houses, and began to smell the hedges and
grassy banks so close to my nose, and feel myself gliding along over
the smooth white road, my spirits began to soar like a bird, and I
almost felt like singing.

The few people I met didn't seem to think it was anything wonderful for
a woman to ride on a tricycle, and I soon began to feel as proper as if
I was walking on a sidewalk. Once I came very near tangling myself up
with the legs of a horse who was pulling a cart. I forgot that it was
the proper thing in this country to turn to the left, and not to the
right, but I gave a quick twist to my helm and just missed the
cart-wheel, but it was a close scratch. This turning to the right,
instead of to the left, was a mistake Jone made two or three times when
he began to drive me in England, but he got over it, and since my
grazing the cart it's not likely I shall forget it. As I breathed a
sigh of relief after escaping this danger I took in a breath full of
the scent of wild roses that nearly covered a bit of hedge, and my
spirits rose again.

I had asked Jone and Mr. Poplington to go ahead, because I knew I could
do a great deal better if I worked along by myself for a while, without
being told what I ought to do and what I oughtn't to do. There is
nothing that bothers me so much as to have people try to teach me
things when I am puzzling them out for myself. But now I found that
although they could not be far ahead, I couldn't see them, on account
of the twists in the road and the high hedges, and so I put on steam
and went along at a fine rate, sniffing the breeze like a charger of
the battlefield. Before very long I came to a place where the road
forked, but the road to the left seemed like a lane leading to
somebody's house, so I kept on in what was plainly the main road, which
made a little turn where it forked. Looking out ahead of me, to see if
I could catch sight of the two men, I could not see a sign of them, but
I did see that I was on the top of a long hill that seemed to lead on
and down and on and down, with no end to it.

I had hardly started down this hill when my tricycle became frisky and
showed signs of wanting to run, and I got a little nervous, for I
didn't fancy going fast down a slope like that. I put on the brake, but
I don't believe I managed it right, for I seemed to go faster and
faster; and then, as the machine didn't need any working, I took my
feet off the pedals, with an idea, I think, though I can't now
remember, that I would get off and walk down the hill. In an instant
that thing took the bit in its teeth and away it went wildly tearing
down hill. I never was so much frightened in all my life. I tried to
get my feet back on the pedals, but I couldn't do it, and all I could
do was to keep that flying tricycle in the middle of the road. As far
as I could see ahead there was not anything in the way of a wagon or a
carriage that I could run into, but there was such a stretch of slope
that it made me fairly dizzy. Just as I was having a little bit of
comfort from thinking there was nothing in the way, a black woolly dog
jumped out into the road some distance ahead of me and stood there
barking. My heart fell, like a bucket into a well with the rope broken.
If I steered the least bit to the right or the left I believe I would
have bounded over the hedge like a glass bottle from a railroad train,
and come down on the other side in shivers and splinters. If I didn't
turn I was making a bee-line for the dog; but I had no time to think
what to do, and in an instant that black woolly dog faded away like a
reminiscence among the buzzing wheels of my tricycle. I felt a little
bump, but was ignorant of further particulars.

I was now going at what seemed like a speed of ninety or a hundred
miles an hour, with the wind rushing in between my teeth like water
over a mill-dam, and I felt sure that if I kept on going down that hill
I should soon be whirling through space like a comet. The only way I
could think of to save myself was to turn into some level place where
the thing would stop, but not a crossroad did I pass; but presently I
saw a little house standing back from the road, which seemed to hump
itself a little at that place so as to be nearly level, and over the
edge of the hump it dipped so suddenly that I could not see the rest of
the road at all.

"Now," thought I to myself, "if the gate of that house is open I'll
turn into it, and no matter what I run into, it would be better than
going over the edge of that rise beyond and down the awful hill that
must be on the other side of it." As I swooped down to the little house
and reached the level ground I felt I was going a little slower, but
not much. However, I steered my tricycle round at just the right
instant, and through the front gate I went like a flash.

I was going so fast, and my mind was so wound up on account of the
necessity of steering straight, that I could not pay much attention to
things I passed. But the scene that showed itself in front of me as I
went through that little garden gate I could not help seeing and
remembering. From the gate to the door of the house was a path paved
with flagstones; the door was open, and there must have been a low step
before it; back of the door was a hall which ran through the house, and
this was paved with flagstones; the back door of the hall was open, and
outside of it was a sort of arbor with vines, and on one side of this
arbor was a bench, with a young man and a young woman sitting on it,
holding each other by the hand, and looking into each other's eyes;
the arbor opened out on to a piece of green grass, with flowers of
mixed colors on the edges of it, and at the back of this bit of lawn
was a lot of clothes hung out on clothes-lines. Of course, I could not
have seen all those things at once, but they came upon me like a single
picture, for in one tick of a watch I went over that flagstone path and
into that front door and through that house and out of that back door,
and past that young man and that young woman, and head and heels both
foremost at once, dashed slam-bang into the midst of all that linen
hanging out on the lines.

[Illustration: "AT LAST I DID GET ON MY FEET"]

I heard the minglement of a groan and a scream, and in an instant I was
enveloped in a white, wet cloud of sheets, pillowcases, tablecloths,
and underwear. Some of the things stuck so close to me, and others I
grabbed with such a wild clutch, that nearly all the week's wash, lines
and all, came down on me, wrapping me up like an apple in a
dumpling--but I stopped. There was not anything in this world that
would have been better for me to run into than those lines full of wet

Where the tricycle went to I didn't know, but I was lying on the grass
kicking, and trying to get up and to get my head free, so that I could
see and breathe. At last I did get on my feet, and throwing out my arms
so as to shake off the sheets and pillowcases that were clinging all
over me I shook some of the things partly off my face, and with one
eye I saw that couple on the bench, but only for a second. With a yell
of horror, and with a face whiter than the linen I was wrapped in, that
young man bounced from the bench, dashed past the house, made one clean
jump over the hedge into the road, and disappeared. As for the young
woman, she just flopped over and went down in a faint on the floor.

As soon as I could do it I got myself free from the clothes-line and
staggered out on the grass. I was trembling so much I could scarcely
walk, but when I saw that young woman looking as if she was dead on the
ground I felt I must do something, and seeing a pail of water standing
near by, I held it over her face and poured it down on her a little at
a time, and it wasn't long before she began to squirm, and then she
opened her eyes and her mouth just at the same time, so that she must
have swallowed about as much water as she would have taken at a meal.
This brought her to, and she began to cough and splutter and look
around wildly, and then I took her by the arm and helped her up on the

"Don't you want a little something to drink?" I said. "Tell me where I
can get you something."

She didn't answer, but began looking from one side to the other. "Is he
swallowed?" said she in a whisper, with her eyes starting out of her

"Swallowed?" said I. "Who?"

"Davy," said she.

"Oh, your young man," said I. "He is all right, unless he hurt himself
jumping over the hedge. I saw him run away just as fast as he could."

"And the spirit?" said she. I looked hard at her.

"What has happened to you?" said I. "How did you come to faint?"

She was getting quieter, but she still looked wildly out of her eyes,
and kept her back turned toward the bit of grass, as if she was afraid
to look in that direction.

"What happened to you?" said I again, for I wanted to know what she
thought about my sudden appearance. It took some little time for her to
get ready to answer, and then she said:

"Was you frightened, lady? Did you have to come in here? I'm sorry you
found me swooned. I don't know how long I was swooned. Davy and me was
sitting here talking about having the banns called, and it was a sorry
talk, lady, for the vicar, he's told me four times I should not marry
Davy, because he says he is a Radical; but for all that Davy and me
wants the banns called all the same, but not knowing how we was to have
it done, for the vicar, he's so set against Davy, and Davy, he had just
got done saying to me that he was going to marry me, vicar or no vicar,
banns or no banns, come what might, when that very minute, with an
awful hiss, something flashed in front of us, dazzling my eyes so that
I shut them and screamed, and then when I opened them again, there, in
the yard back of us, was a great white spirit twice as high as the cow
stable, with one eye in the middle of its forehead, turning around like
a firework. I don't remember anything after that, and I don't know how
long I was lying here when you came and found me, lady, but I know what
it means. There is a curse on our marriage, and Davy and me will never
be man and wife." And then she fell to groaning and moaning.

I felt like laughing when I thought how much like a church ghost I must
have looked, standing there in solid white with my arms stretched out;
but the poor girl was in such a dreadful state of mind that I sat down
beside her and began to comfort her by telling her just what had
happened, and that she ought to be very glad that I had found a place
to turn into, and had not gone on down the hill and dashed myself into
little pieces at the bottom. But it wasn't easy to cheer her up.

"Oh, Davy's gone," said she. "He'll never come back for fear of the
curse. He'll be off with his uncle to sea. I'll never lay eyes on Davy

Just at that moment I heard somebody calling my name, and looking
through the house I saw Jone at the front door and two men behind him.
As I ran through the hall I saw that the two men with Jone was Mr.
Poplington and a young fellow with a pale face and trembling legs.

"Is this Davy?" said I.

"Yes," said he.

"Then go back to your young woman and comfort her," I said, which he
did, and when he had gone, not madly rushing into his loved one's arms,
but shuffling along in a timid way, as if he was afraid the ghost
hadn't gone yet, I asked Jone how he happened to think I was here, and
he told me that he and Mr. Poplington had taken the road to the left
when they reached the fork, because that was the proper one, but they
had not gone far before he thought I might not know which way to turn,
so they came back to the fork to wait for me. But I had been closer
behind them than they thought, and I must have come to the fork before
they turned back, so, after waiting a while and going back along the
road without seeing me, they thought that I must have taken the
right-hand road, and they came that way, going down the hill very
carefully. After a while Jone found my hat in the road, which up to
that moment I had not missed, and then he began to be frightened and
they went on faster.

They passed the little house, and as they was going down the hill they
saw ahead of them a man running as if something had happened, so they
let out their bicycles and soon caught up to him. This was Davy; and
when they stopped him and asked if anything was the matter he told
them that a dreadful thing had come to pass. He had been working in the
garden of a house about half a mile back when suddenly there came an
awful crash, and a white animal sprang out of the house with a bit of a
cotton mill fastened to its tail, and then, with a great peal of
thunder, it vanished, and a white ghost rose up out of the ground with
its arms stretching out longer and longer, reaching to clutch him by
the hair. He was not afraid of anything living, but he couldn't abide
spirits, so he laid down his spade and left the garden, thinking he
would go and see the sexton and have him come and lay the ghost.

Then Jone went on to say that of course he could not make head or tail
out of such a story as that, but when he heard that an awful row had
been kicked up in a garden he immediately thought that as like as not I
was in it, and so he and Mr. Poplington ran back, leaving their
bicycles against the hedge, and bringing the young man with them.

Then I told my story, and Mr. Poplington said it was a mercy I was not
killed, and Jone didn't say much, but I could see that his teeth was

We all went into the back yard, and there, on the other side of the
clothes, which was scattered all over the ground, we found my tricycle,
jammed into a lot of gooseberry bushes, and when it was dragged out we
found it was not hurt a bit. Davy and his young woman was standing in
the arbor looking very sheepish, especially Davy, for she had told him
what it was that had scared him. As we was going through the house,
Jone taking my tricycle, I stopped to say good-by to the girl.

"Now that you see there has been no curse and no ghost," said I, "I
hope that you will soon have your banns called, and that you and your
young man will be married all right."

"Thank you very much, ma'am," said she, "but I'm awful fearful about
it. Davy may say what he pleases, but my mother never will let me marry
him if the vicar's agen it; and Davy wouldn't have been here to-day if
she hadn't gone to town; and the vicar's a hard man and a strong Tory,
and he'll always be agen it, I fear."

When I went out into the front yard I found Mr. Poplington and Jone
sitting on a little stone bench, for they was tired, and I told them
about that young woman and Davy.

"Humph," said Mr. Poplington, "I know the vicar of the parish. He is
the Rev. Osmun Green. He's a good Conservative, and is perfectly right
in trying to keep that poor girl from marrying a wretched Radical."

I looked straight at him and said:

"Do you mean, sir, to put politics before matrimonial happiness?"

"No, I don't," said he, "but a girl can't expect matrimonial happiness
with a Radical."

I saw that Jone was about to say something here, but I got in ahead of

"I will tell you what it is, sir," said I, "if you think it is wrong to
be a Radical the best thing you can do is to write to your friend, that
vicar, and advise him to get those two young people married as soon as
possible, for it is easy to see that she is going to rule the roost,
and if anybody can get his Radicalistics out of him she will be the one
to do it."

Mr. Poplington laughed, and said that as the man looked as if he was a
fit subject to be henpecked it might be a good way of getting another
Tory vote.

"But," said he, "I should think it would go against your conscience,
being naturally opposed to the Conservatives, to help even by one

"Oh, my conscience is all right," said I. "When politics runs against
the matrimonial altar I stand up for the altar."

"Well," said he, "I'll think of it." And we started off, walking down
the hill, Jone holding on to my tricycle.

When we got to level ground, with about two miles to go before we would
stop for luncheon, Jone took a piece of thin rope out of his pocket--he
always carries some sort of cord in case of accidents--and he tied it
to the back part of my machine.

"Now," said he, "I'm going to keep hold of the other end of this, and
perhaps your tricycle won't run away with you."

I didn't much like going along this way, as if I was a cow being taken
to market, but I could see that Jone had been so troubled and
frightened about me that I didn't make any objection, and, in fact,
after I got started it was a comfort to think there was a tie between
Jone and me that was stronger, when hilly roads came into the question,
than even the matrimonial tie.

_Letter Number Ten_


The place we stopped at on the first night of our cycle trip is named
Porlock, and after the walking and the pushing, and the strain on my
mind when going down even the smallest hill for fear Jone's rope would
give way, I was glad to get there.

The road into Porlock goes down a hill, the steepest I have seen yet,
and we all walked down, holding our machines as if they had been fiery
coursers. This hill road twists and winds so you can only see part of
it at a time, and when we was about half-way down we heard a horn
blowing behind us, and looking around there came the mail-coach at full
speed, with four horses, with a lot of people on top. As this raging
coach passed by it nearly took my breath away, and as soon as I could
speak I said to Jone: "Don't you ever say anything in America about
having the roads made narrower so that it won't cost so much to keep
them in order, for in my opinion it's often the narrow road that
leadeth to destruction."

When we got into the town, and my mind really began to grapple with old
Porlock, I felt as if I was sliding backward down the slope of the
centuries, and liked it. As we went along Mr. Poplington told us about
everything, and said that this queer little town was a fishing village
and seaport in the days of the Saxons, and that King Harold was once
obliged to stop there for a while, and that he passed his time making
war on the neighbors.

Mr. Poplington took us to a tavern called the Ship Inn, and I simply
went wild over it. It is two hundred years old and two stories high,
and everything I ever read about the hostelries of the past I saw
there. The queer little door led into a queer little passage paved with
stone. A pair of little stairs led out of this into another little
room, higher up, and on the other side of the passage was a long,
mysterious hallway. We had our dinner in a tiny parlor, which reminded
me of a chapter in one of those old books where they use f instead of
s, and where the first word of the next page is at the bottom of the
one you are reading.

There was a fireplace in the room with a window one side of it, through
which you could look into the street. It was not cold, but it had begun
to rain hard, and so I made the dampness an excuse for a fire.

"This is antique, indeed," I said, when we were at the table.

"You are right there," said Mr. Poplington, who was doing his best to
carve a duck, and was a little cross about it.

When I sat before the fire that evening, and Jone was asleep on a
settee of the days of yore, and Mr. Poplington had gone to bed, being
tired, my soul went back to the olden time, and, looking out through
the little window in the fireplace, I fancied I could see William the
Conqueror and the King of the Danes sneaking along the little street
under the eaves of the thatched roofs, until I was so worked up that I
was on the point of shouting, "Fly! oh, Saxon!" when the door opened
and the maid who waited on us at the table put her head in. I took this
for a sign that the curfew bell was going to ring, and so I woke up
Jone and we went to bed.

But all night long the heroes of the past flocked about me. I had been
reading a lot of history, and I knew them all the minute my eyes fell
upon them. Charlemagne and Canute sat on the end of the bed, while
Alfred the Great climbed up one of the posts until he was stopped by
Hannibal's legs, who had them twisted about the post to keep himself
steady. When I got up in the morning I went down-stairs into the little
parlor, and there was the maid down on her knees cleaning the hearth.

"What is your name?" I said to her.

"Jane, please," said she.

"Jane what?" said I.

"Jane Puddle, please," said she.

I took a carving-knife from off the table, and standing over her I
brought it down gently on top of her head. "Rise, Sir Jane Puddle,"
said I, to which the maid gave a smothered gasp, and--would you believe
it, madam?--she crept out of the room on her hands and knees. The cook
waited on us at breakfast, and I truly believe that the landlord and
his wife breathed a sigh of relief when we left the Ship Inn, for their
sordid souls had never heard of knighthood, but knew all about

[Illustration: "Rise, Sir Jane Puddle"]

That morning we left Porlock by a hill which compared with the one we
came into it by, was like the biggest Pyramid of Egypt by the side of a
haycock. I don't suppose in the whole civilized world there is a worse
hill with a road on it than the one we went up by. I was glad we had to
go up it instead of down it, though it was very hard to walk, pushing
the tricycle, even when helped. I believe it would have taken away my
breath and turned me dizzy even to take one step face forward down such
a hill, and gaze into the dreadful depths below me; and yet they drive
coaches and fours down that hill. At the top of the hill is this
notice: "To cyclers--this hill is dangerous." If I had thought of it I
should have looked for the cyclers' graves at the bottom of it.

The reason I thought about this was that I had been reading about one
of the mountains in Switzerland, which is one of the highest and most
dangerous, and with the poorest view, where so many Alpine climbers
have been killed that there is a little graveyard nearly full of their
graves at the foot of the mountain. How they could walk through that
graveyard and read the inscriptions on the tombstones and then go and
climb that mountain is more than I can imagine.

In walking up this hill, and thinking that it might have been in front
of me when my tricycle ran away, I could not keep my mind away from the
little graveyard at the foot of the Swiss mountain.

_Letter Number Eleven_



On the third day of our cycle trip we journeyed along a lofty road,
with the wild moor on one side and the tossing sea on the other, and at
night reached Lynton. It is a little town on a jutting crag, and far
down below it on the edge of the sea was another town named Lynmouth,
and there is a car with a wire rope to it, like an elevator, which they
call The Lift, which takes people up and down from one town to another.

Here we stopped at a house very different from the Ship Inn, for it
looked as if it had been built the day before yesterday. Everything was
new and shiny, and we had our supper at a long table with about twenty
other people, just like a boardinghouse. Some of their ways reminded
me of the backwoods, and I suppose there is nothing more modern than
backwoodsism, which naturally hasn't the least alloy of the past. When
the people got through with their cups of coffee or tea, mostly the
last, two women went around the table, one with a big bowl for us to
lean back and empty our slops into, and the other with the tea or
coffee to fill up the cups. A gentleman with a baldish head, who was
sitting opposite us, began to be sociable as soon as he heard us speak
to the waiters, and asked questions about America. After he got through
with about a dozen of them he said:

"Is it true, as I have heard, that what you call native-born Americans
deteriorate in the third generation?"

I had been answering most of the questions, but now Jone spoke up
quick. "That depends," says he, "on their original blood. When
Americans are descended from Englishmen they steadily improve,
generation after generation." The baldish man smiled at this, and said
there was nothing like having good blood for a foundation. But Mr.
Poplington laughed, and said to me that Jone had served him right.

The country about Lynton is wonderfully beautiful, with rocks and
valleys, and velvet lawns running into the sea, and woods and ancestral
mansions, and we spent the day seeing all this, and also going down to
Lynmouth, where the little ships lie high and dry on the sand when the
tide goes out, and the carts drive up to them and put goods on board,
and when the tide rises the ships sail away, which is very convenient.

I wanted to keep on along the coast, but the others didn't, and the
next morning we started back to Chedcombe by a roundabout way, so that
we might see Exmoor and the country where Lorna Doone and John Ridd cut
up their didoes. I must say I liked the story a good deal better before
I saw the country where the things happened. The mind of man is capable
of soarings which Nature weakens at when she sees what she is called
upon to do. If you want a real, first-class, tooth-on-edge Doone
valley, the place to look for it is in the book. We went rolling along
on the smooth, hard roads, which are just as good here as if they was
in London, and all around us was stretched out the wild and desolate
moors, with the wind screaming and whistling over the heather, nearly
tearing the clothes off our backs, while the rain beat down on us with
a steady pelting, and the ragged sheep stopped to look at us, as if we
was three witches and they was Macbeths.

The very thought that I was out in a wild storm on a desolate moor
filled my soul with a sort of triumph, and I worked my tricycle as if I
was spurring my steed to battle. The only thing that troubled me was
the thought that if the water that poured off my mackintosh that day
could have run into our cistern at home, it would have been a glorious
good thing. Jone did not like the fierce blast and the inspiriting
rain, but I knew he'd stand it as long as Mr. Poplington did, and so I
was content, although, if we had been overtaken by a covered wagon, I
should have trembled for the result.

That night we stopped in the little village of Simonsbath at Somebody's
Arms. After dinner Mr. Poplington, who knew some people in the place,
went out, but Jone and me went to bed as quick as we could, for we was
tired. The next morning we was wakened by a tremendous pounding at the
door. I didn't know what to make of it, for it was too early and too
loud for hot water, but we heard Mr. Poplington calling to us, and Jone
jumped up to see what he wanted.

"Get up," said he, "if you want to see a sight that you never saw
before. We'll start off immediately and breakfast at Exford." The hope
of seeing a sight was enough to make me bounce at any time, and I never
dressed or packed a bag quicker than I did that morning, and Jone
wasn't far behind me.

When we got down-stairs we found our cycles waiting ready at the door,
together with the stable man and the stable boy and the boy's helper
and the cook and the chambermaid and the waiters and the other
servants, waiting for their tips. Mr. Poplington seemed in a fine
humor, and he told us he had heard the night before that there was to
be a stag hunt that day, the first of the season. In fact, it was not
one of the regular meets, but what they called a by-meet, and not known
to everybody.

"We will go on to Exford," said he, straddling his bicycle, "for though
the meet isn't to be there, there's where they keep the hounds and
horses, and if we make good speed we shall get there before they start

The three of us travelled abreast, Mr. Poplington in the middle, and on
the way he told us a good deal about stag hunts. What I remember best,
having to go so fast and having to mind my steering, was that after the
hunting season began they hunted stags until a certain day--I forget
what it was--and then they let them alone and began to hunt the does;
and that after that particular day of the month, when the stags heard
the hounds coming they paid no attention to them, knowing very well it
was the does' turn to be chased, and that they would not be bothered;
and so they let the female members of their families take care of
themselves; which shows that ungentlemanliness extends itself even into

When we got to Exford we left our cycles at the inn and followed Mr.
Poplington to the hunting stables, which are near by. I had not gone a
dozen steps from the door before I heard a great barking, and the next
minute there came around the corner a pack of hounds. They crossed the
bridge over the little river, and then they stopped. We went up to
them, and while Mr. Poplington talked to the men the whole of that pack
of hounds gathered about us as gentle as lambs. They were good big
dogs, white and brown. The head huntsman who had them in charge told me
there was thirty couple of them, and I thought that sixty dogs was
pretty heavy odds against one deer. Then they moved off as orderly as
if they had been children in a kindergarten, and we went to the stables
and saw the horses; and then the master of the hounds and a good many
other gentlemen in red coats, in all sorts of traps, rode up, and their
hunters were saddled, and the dogs barked and the men cracked their
whips to keep them together, and there was a bustle and liveliness to a
degree I can't write about, and Jone and I never thought about going in
to breakfast until all those horses, some led and some ridden, and the
men and the hounds, and even the dust from their feet, had disappeared.

I wanted to go see the hunt start off, but Mr. Poplington said it was
two or three miles distant, and out of our way, and that we'd better
move on as soon as possible so as to reach Chedcombe that night; but
he was glad, he said, that we had had a chance to see the hounds and
the horses.

As for himself, I could see he was a little down in the mouth, for he
said he was very fond of hunting, and that if he had known of this meet
he would have been there with a horse and his hunting clothes. I think
he hoped somebody would lend him a horse, but nobody did, and not being
able to hunt himself he disliked seeing other people doing what he
could not. Of course, Jone and me could not go to the hunt by
ourselves, so after we'd had our tea and toast and bacon we started
off. I will say here that when I was at the Ship Inn I had tea for my
breakfast, for I couldn't bring my mind to order coffee--a drink the
Saxons must never have heard of--in such a place; and since that we
have been drinking it because Jone said there was no use fighting
against established drinks, and that anyway he thought good tea was
better than bad coffee.

_Letter Number Twelve_


As I said in my last letter, we started out for Chedcombe, not abreast,
as we had been before, but strung along the road, and me and Mr.
Poplington pretty doleful, being disappointed and not wanting to talk.
But as for Jone, he seemed livelier than ever, and whistled a lot of
tunes he didn't know. I think it always makes him lively to get rid of
seeing sights. The sun was shining brightly, and there was no reason to
expect rain for two or three hours anyway, and the country we passed
through was so fine, with hardly any houses, and with great hills and
woods, and sometimes valleys far below the road, with streams rushing
and bubbling, that after a while I began to feel better, and I pricked
up my tricycle, and, of course, being followed by Jone, we left Mr.
Poplington, whose melancholy seemed to have gotten into his legs, a
good way behind.

We must have travelled two or three hours when all of a sudden I heard
a noise afar, and I drew up and listened. The noise was the barking of
dogs, and it seemed to come from a piece of woods on the other side of
the field which lay to the right of the road. The next instant
something shot out from under the trees and began going over the field
in ten-foot hops. I sat staring without understanding, but when I saw a
lot of brown and white spots bounce out of the wood, and saw, a long
way back in the open field, two red-coated men on horseback, the truth
flashed upon me that this was the hunt. The creature in front was the
stag, who had chosen to come this way, and the dogs and the horses was
after him, and I was here to see it all.

Almost before I got this all straight in my mind the deer was nearly
opposite me on the other side of the field, going the same way that we
were. In a second I clapped spurs into my tricycle and was off. In
front of me was a long stretch of down grade, and over this I went as
fast as I could work my pedals; no brakes or holding back for me. My
blood was up, for I was actually in a deer hunt, and to my amazement
and wild delight I found I was keeping up with the deer. I was going
faster than the men on horseback.

"Hi! Hi!" I shouted, and down I went with one eye on the deer and the
other on the road, every atom of my body tingling with fiery
excitement. When I began to go up the little slope ahead I heard Jone
puffing behind me.

"You will break your neck," he shouted, "if you go down hill that way,"
and getting close up to me he fastened his cord to my tricycle. But I
paid no attention to him or his advice.

"The stag! The stag!" I cried. "As long as he keeps near the road we
can follow him! Hi!" And having got up to the top of the next hill I
made ready to go down as fast as I had gone before, for we had fallen
back a little, and the stag was now getting ahead of us; but it made me
gnash my teeth to find that I could not go fast, for Jone held back
with all his force (and both feet on the ground, I expect), and I could
not get on at all.

"Let go of me," I cried, "we shall lose the stag. Stop holding back."
But it wasn't any use; Jone's heels must have been nearly rubbed off,
but he held back like a good fellow, and I seemed to be moving along no
faster than a worm. I could not stand this; my blood boiled and
bubbled; the deer was getting away from me; and if it had been Porlock
Hill in front of me I would have dashed on, not caring whether the road
was steep or level.

A thought flashed across my mind, and I clapped my hand into my pocket
and jerked out a pair of scissors. In an instant I was free. The world
and the stag was before me, and I was flying along with a tornado-like
swiftness that soon brought me abreast of the deer. This perfectly
splendid, bounding creature was not far away from me on the other side
of the hedge, and as the field was higher than the road I could see him
perfectly. His legs worked so regular and springy, except when he came
to a cross hedge, which he went over with a single clip, and came down
like India rubber on the other side, that one might have thought he was
measuring the grass, and keeping an account of his jumps in his head.

[Illustration: "In an instant I was free."]

For one instant I looked around for the hounds, and I saw there was not
more than half a dozen following him, and I could only see the two
hunters I had seen before, and these was still a good way back. As for
Jone, I couldn't hear him at all, and he must have been left far
behind. There was still the woods on the other side, and the deer
seemed to run to keep away from that and to cross the road, and he
came nearer and nearer until I fancied he kept an eye on me as if he
was wondering if I was of any consequence, and if I could hinder him
from crossing the road and getting away into the valley below where
there was a regular wilderness of woods and underbrush.

If he does that, I thought, he will be gone in a minute and I shall
lose him, and the hunt will be over. And for fear he would make for the
hedge and jump over it, not minding me, I jerked out my handkerchief
and shook it at him. You can't imagine how this frightened him. He
turned sharp to the right, dashed up the hill, cleared a hedge and was
gone. I gave a gasp and a scream as I saw him disappear. I believe I
cried, but I didn't stop, and glad I was that I didn't; for in less
than a minute I had come to a cross lane which led in the very
direction the deer had taken. I turned into this lane and went on as
fast as I could, and I soon found that it led through a thick wood.
Down in the hollow, which I could not see into, I heard a barking and
shouting, and I kept on just as fast as I could make that tricycle go.
Where the lane led to, or what I should ever come to, I didn't think
about. I was hunting a stag, and all I cared for was to feel my
tricycle bounding beneath me.

I may have gone a half a mile or two miles--I have not an idea how far
it was--when suddenly I came to a place where there was green grass and
rocks in an opening in the woods, and what a sight I saw! There was
that beautiful, grand, red deer half down on his knees and perfectly
quiet, and there was one of the men in red coats coming toward him with
a great knife in his hand, and a little farther back was three or four
dogs with another man, still on horseback, whipping them to keep them
back, though they seemed willing enough to lie there with their tongues
out, panting. As the man with the knife came up to the deer, the poor
creature raised its eyes to him, and didn't seem to mind whether he
came or not. It was trembling all over and fairly tired to death. When
the man got near enough he took hold of one of the deer's horns and
lifted up the hand with the knife in it, but he didn't bring it down on
that deer's throat, I can tell you, madam, for I was there and had him
by the arm.

He turned on me as if he had been struck by lightning.

"What do you mean?" he shouted. "Let go my arm."

"Don't you touch that deer," said I--my voice was so husky I could
hardly speak--"don't you see it's surrendered? Can you have the heart
to cut that beautiful throat when he is pleading for mercy?" The man's
eyes looked as if they would burst out of his head. He gave me a pull
and a push as if he would stick the knife into me, and he actually
swore at me, but I didn't mind that.


"You have got that poor creature now," said I, "and that's enough. Keep
it and tame it and bring it up with your children." I didn't have time
to say anything more, and he didn't have time to answer, for two of the
dogs who had got a little of their wind back sprang up and made a jump
at the stag; and he, having got a little of his wind back, jerked his
horn out of the hand of the man, and giving a sort of side spring
backward among the bushes and rocks, away he went, the dogs after him.

The man with the knife rushed out into the lane, and so did I, and so
did the man on horseback, almost on top of me. On the other side of the
lane was a little gorge with rocks and trees and water at the bottom of
it, and I was just in time to see the stag spring over the lane and
drop out of sight among the rocks and the moss and the vines.

The man stood and swore at me regardless of my sex, so violent was his

"If you was a man I'd break your head," he yelled.

"I'm glad I'm not," said I, "for I wouldn't want my head broken. But
what troubles me is, that I'm afraid that deer has broken his legs or
hurt himself some way, for I never saw anything drop on rocks in such a
reckless manner, and the poor thing so tired."

The man swore again, and said something about wishing somebody else's
legs had been broken; and then he shouted to the man on horseback to
call off the dogs, which was of no use, for he was doing it already.
Then he turned on me again.

"You are an American," he shouted. "I might have known that. No English
woman would ever have done such a beastly thing as that."

"You're mistaken there," I said; "there isn't a true English woman that
lives who would not have done the same thing. Your mother--"

"Confound my mother!" yelled the man.

"All right," said I; "that's all in your family and none of my
business." Then he went off raging to where he had left his horse by a

The other man, who was a good deal younger and more friendly, came up
to me and said he wouldn't like to be in my boots, for I had spoiled a
pretty piece of sport; and then he went on and told me that it had been
a bad hunt, for instead of starting only one stag, three or four of
them had been started, and they had had a bad time, for the hounds and
the hunters had been mixed up in a nasty way. And at last, when the
master of the hounds and most every one else had gone off over Dunkery
Hill, and he didn't know whether they was after two stags or one, he
and his mate, who was both whippers-in, had gone to turn part of the
pack that had broken away, and had found that these dogs was after
another stag, and so before they knew it they was in a hunt of their
own, and they would have killed that stag if it had not been for me;
and he said it was hard on his mate, for he knew he had it in mind that
he was going to kill the only stag of the day.

He went on to say, that as for himself he wasn't so sorry, for this was
Sir Skiddery Henchball's land, and when a stag was killed it belonged
to the man whose land it died on. He told me that the master of the
hunt gets the head and the antlers, and the huntsman some other part,
which I forget, but the owner of the land, no matter whether he's in
the hunt or not, gets the body of the stag. "There's a cottage not a
mile down this lane," said he, "with its thatch torn off, and my sister
and her children live there, and Sir Skiddery turned them out on
account of the rent, and so I'm glad the old skinflint didn't get the
venison." And then he went off, being called by the other man.

I didn't know what time it was, but it seemed as if it must be getting
on into the afternoon; and feeling that my deer hunt was over, I
thought I had better lose no time in hunting up Jone, so I followed on
after the men and the dogs, who was going to the main road, but keeping
a little back of them, though, for I didn't know what the older one
might do if he happened to turn and see me.

I was sure that Jone had passed the little lane without seeing it, so I
kept on the way we had been going, and got up all the speed I could,
though I must say I was dreadfully tired, and even trembling a little,
for while I had been stag hunting I was so excited I didn't know how
much work I was doing. There was sign-posts enough to tell me the way
to Chedcombe, and so I kept straight on, up hill and down hill, until
at last I saw a man ahead on a bicycle, which I soon knew to be Mr.
Poplington. He was surprised enough at seeing me, and told me my
husband had gone ahead. I didn't explain anything, and it wasn't until
we got nearly to Chedcombe that we met Jone. He had been to Chedcombe,
and was coming back.

Jone is a good fellow, but he's got a will of his own, and he said that
this would be the end of my tricycle riding, and that the next time we
went out together on wheels he'd drive. I didn't tell him anything
about the stag hunt then, for he seemed to be in favor of doing all the
talking himself; but after dinner, when we was all settled down quiet
and comfortable, I told him and Mr. Poplington the story of the chase,
and they both laughed, Mr. Poplington the most.

_Letter Number Thirteen_


It is now about a week since my stag hunt, and Jone and I have kept
pretty quiet, taking short walks, and doing a good deal of reading in
our garden whenever the sun shines into the little arbor there, and Mr.
Poplington spends most of his time fishing. He works very hard at this,
partly for the sake of his conscience, I think, for his bicycle trip
made him lose three or four days he had taken a license for.

It was day before yesterday that rheumatism showed itself certain and
plain in Jone. I had been thinking that perhaps I might have it first,
but it wasn't so, and it began in Jone, which, though I don't want you
to think me hard-hearted, madam, was perhaps better; for if it had not
been for it, it might have been hard to get him out of this comfortable
little cottage, where he'd be perfectly content to stay until it was
time for us to sail for America. The beautiful greenness which spreads
over the fields and hills, and not only the leaves of trees and vines,
but down and around trunks and branches, is charming to look at and
never to be forgotten; but when this moist greenness spreads itself to
one's bones, especially when it creeps up to the parts that work
together, then the soul of man longs for less picturesqueness and more
easy-going joints. Jone says the English take their climate as they do
their whiskey; and he calls it climate-and-water, with a very little of
the first and a good deal of the other.

Of course, we must now leave Chedcombe; and when we talked to Mr.
Poplington about it he said there was two places the English went to
for their rheumatism. One was Bath, not far from here, and the other
was Buxton, up in the north. As soon as I heard of Bath I was on pins
and needles to go there, for in all the novel-reading I've done, which
has been getting better and better in quality since the days when I
used to read dime novels on the canal-boat, up to now when I like the
best there is, I could not help knowing lots about Evelina and Beau
Brummel, and the Pump Room, and the fine ladies and young bucks, and it
would have joyed my soul to live and move where all these people had
been, and where all these things had happened, even if fictitiously.

But Mr. Poplington came down like a shower on my notions, and said that
Bath was very warm, and was the place where everybody went for their
rheumatism in winter; but that Buxton was the place for the summer,
because it was on high land and cool. This cast me down a good deal;
for if we could have gone where I could have steeped my soul in
romanticness, and at the same time Jone could have steeped himself in
warm mineral water, there would not have been any time lost, and both
of us would have been happier. But Mr. Poplington stuck to it that it
would ruin anybody's constitution to go to such a hot place in August,
and so I had to give it up.

So to-morrow we start for Buxton, which, from what I can make out, must
be a sort of invalid picnic ground. I always did hate diseases and
ailments, even of the mildest, when they go in caravan. I like to take
people's sicknesses separate, because then I feel I might do something
to help; but when they are bunched I feel as if it was sort of mean for
me to go about cheerful and singing when other people was all grunting.

But we are not going straight to Buxton. As I have often said, Jone is
a good fellow, and he told me last night if there was any bit of fancy
scenery I'd like to stop on the way to the unromantic refuge he'd be
glad to give me the chance, because he didn't suppose it would matter
much if he put off his hot soaks for a few days. It didn't take me long
to name a place I'd like to stop at--for most of my reading lately has
been in the guide books, and I had crammed myself with the descriptions
of places worth seeing, that would take us at least two years to look
at--so I said I would like to go to the River Wye, which is said to be
the most romantic stream in England, and when that is said, enough is
said for me, so Jone agreed, and we are going to do the Wye on our way

There is going to be an election here in a few days, and this morning
Jone and me hobbled into the village--that is, he hobbled in body, and
I did in mind to think of his going along like a creaky wheelbarrow.

Everybody was agog about the election, and we was looking at some
placards posted against a wall, when Mr. Locky, the innkeeper, came
along, and after bidding us good-morning he asked Jone what party he
belonged to. "I'm a Home Ruler," said Jone, "especially in the matter
of tricycles." Mr. Locky didn't understand the last part of this
speech, but I did, and he said, "I am glad you are not a Tory, sir. If
you will read that, you will see what the Tory party has done for us,"
and he pointed out some lines at the bottom of a green placard, and
these was the words: "Remember it was the Tory party that lost us the
United States of America."

"Well," said Jone, "that seems like going a long way off to get some
stones to throw at the Tories, but I feel inclined to heave a rock at
them myself for the injury that party has done to America."

"To America!" said Mr. Locky, "Did the Tories ever harm America?"

"Of course they did," said Jone; "they lost us England, a very valuable
country, indeed, and a great loss to any nation. If it had not been for
the Tory party, Mr. Gladstone might now be in Washington as a senator
from Middlesex."

[Illustration: "I'm a Home Ruler"]

Mr. Locky didn't understand one word of this, and so he asked Jone
which leg his rheumatism was in; and when Jone told him it was his left
leg he said it was a very curious thing, but if you would take a
hundred men in Chedcombe there would be at least sixty with rheumatism
in the left leg, and perhaps not more than twenty with it in the right,
which was something the doctors never had explained yet.

It is awfully hard to go away and leave this lovely little cottage with
its roses and vines, and Miss Pondar, and all its sweet-smelling
comforts; and not only the cottage, but the village, and Mrs. Locky and
her husband at the Bordley Arms, who couldn't have been kinder to us
and more anxious to know what we wanted and what they could do. The
fact is, that when English people do like Americans they go at it with
just as much vim and earnestness as if they was helping Britannia to
rule more waves.

While I was feeling badly at leaving Miss Pondar your letter came, dear
madam, and I must say it gave heavy hearts to Jone and me, to me
especially, as you can well understand. I went off into the
summer-house, and as I sat there thinking and reading the letter over
again, I do believe some tears came into my eyes; and Miss Pondar, who
was working in the garden only a little way off--for if there is
anything she likes to do it is to weed and fuss among the rose-bushes
and other flowers, which she does whenever her other work gives her a
chance--she happened to look up, and seeing that I was in trouble, she
came right to me, like the good woman she is, and asked me if I had
heard bad news, and if I would like a little gin and water.

I said that I had had bad news, but that I did not want any spirits,
and she said she hoped nothing had happened to any of my family, and I
told her not exactly; but in looking back it seemed as if it was almost
that way. I thought I ought to tell her what had happened, for I could
see that she was really feeling for me, and so I said: "Poor Lord
Edward is dead. To be sure, he was very old, and I suppose we had not
any right to think he'd live even as long as he did; and as he was
nearly blind and had very poor use of his legs it was, perhaps, better
that he should go. But when I think of what friends we used to be
before I was married, I can't help feeling badly to think that he has
gone; that when I go back to America he will not show he is glad to see
me home again, which he would be if there wasn't another soul on the
whole continent who felt that way."

Miss Pondar was now standing up with her hands folded in front of her,
and her head bowed down as if she was walking behind a hearse with
eight ostrich plumes on it. "Lord Edward," she said, in a melancholy,
respectful voice, "and will his remains be brought to England for

"Oh, no," said I, not understanding what she was talking about. "I am
sure he will be buried somewhere near his home, and when I go back his
grave will be one of the first places I will visit."

A streak of bewilderment began to show itself in Miss Pondar's
melancholy respectfulness, and she said: "Of course, when one lives in
foreign parts one may die there, but I always thought in cases like
that they were brought home to their family vaults."

It may seem strange for me to think of anything funny at a time like
this, but when Miss Pondar mentioned family vaults when talking of Lord
Edward, there came into my mind the jumps he used to make whenever he
saw any of us coming home; but I saw what she was driving at and the
mistake she had made. "Oh," I said, "he was not a member of the British
nobility; he was a dog; Lord Edward was his name. I never loved any
animal as I loved him."

I suppose, madam, that you must sometimes have noticed one of the top
candles of a chandelier, when the room gets hot, suddenly bending over
and drooping and shedding tears of hot paraffine on the candles below,
and perhaps on the table; and if you can remember what that overcome
candle looked like, you will have an idea of what Miss Pondar looked
like when she found out Lord Edward was a dog. I think that for one
brief moment she hugged to her bosom the fond belief that I was
intimate with the aristocracy, and that a noble lord, had he not
departed this life, would have been the first to welcome me home, and
that she--she herself--was in my service. But the drop was an awful
one. I could see the throes of mortified disappointment in her back, as
she leaned over a bed of pinks, pulling out young plants, I am afraid,
as well as weeds. When I looked at her, I was sorry I let her know it
was a dog I mourned. She has tried so hard to make everything all right
while we have been here, that she might just as well have gone on
thinking that it was a noble earl who died.

To-morrow morning we shall have our last Devonshire clotted cream, for
they tell me this is to be had only in the west of England, and when I
think of the beautiful hills and vales of this country I shall not
forget that.

Of course we would not have time to stay here longer, even if Jone
hadn't got the rheumatism; but if he had to have it, for which I am as
sorry as anybody can be, it is a lucky thing that he did have it just
about the time that we ought to be going away, anyhow. And although I
did not think, when we came to England, that we should ever go to
Buxton, we are thankful that there is such a place to go to; although,
for my part, I can't help feeling disappointed that the season isn't
such that we could go to Bath, and Evelina and Beau Brummel.

_Letter Number Fourteen_



We came to this queer old English town, not because it is any better
than so many other towns, but because Mr. Poplington told us it was a
good place for our headquarters while we was seeing the River Wye and
other things in the neighborhood. This hotel is the best in the town
and very well kept, so that Jone made his usual remark about its being
a good place to stay in. We are near the point where the four principal
streets of the town, called Northgate, Eastgate, Southgate, and
Westgate, meet, and if there was nothing else to see it would be worth
while to stand there and look at so much Englishism coming and going
from four different quarters.

There is another hotel here, called the New Inn, that was recommended
to us, but I thought we would not want to go there, for we came to see
old England, and I don't want to see its new and shiny things, so we
came to the Bell, as being more antique. But I have since found out
that the New Inn was built in 1450 to accommodate the pilgrims who came
to pay their respects to the tomb of Edward II. in the fine old
cathedral here. But though I should like to live in a four-hundred-and
forty-year-old house, we are very well satisfied where we are.

Two very good things come from Gloucester, for it is the well-spring of
Sunday schools and vaccination. They keep here the horns of the cow
that Dr. Jenner first vaccinated from, and not far from our hotel is
the house of Robert Raikes. This is an old-fashioned timber house, and
looks like a man wearing his skeleton outside of his skin. We are sorry
Mr. Poplington couldn't come here with us, for he could have shown us a
great many things; but he stayed at Chedcombe to finish his fishing,
and he said he might meet us at Buxton, where he goes every year for
his arm.

To see the River Wye you must go down it, so with just one handbag we
took the train for the little town of Ross, which is near the beginning
of the navigable part of the river--I might almost say the wadeable
part, for I imagine the deepest soundings about Ross are not more than
half a yard. We stayed all night at a hotel overlooking the valley of
the little river, and as the best way to see this wonderful stream is
to go down it in a rowboat, as soon as we reached Ross we engaged a
boat and a man for the next morning to take us to Monmouth, which would
be about a day's row, and give us the best part of the river. But I
must say that when we looked out over the valley the prospect was not
very encouraging, for it seemed to me that if the sun came out hot it
would dry up that river, and Jone might not be willing to wait until
the next heavy rain.

While we was at Chedcombe I read the "Maid of Sker," because its scenes
are laid in the Bristol Channel, about the coast near where we was, and
over in Wales. And when the next morning we went down to the boat which
we was going to take our day's trip in, and I saw the man who was to
row us, David Llewellyn popped straight into my mind.

This man was elderly, with gray hair, and a beard under his chin, with
a general air of water and fish. He was good-natured and sociable from
the very beginning. It seemed a shame that an old man should row two
people so much younger than he was, but after I had looked at him
pulling at his oars for a little while, I saw that there was no need
of pitying him.

It was a good day, with only one or two drizzles in the morning, and we
had not gone far before I found that the Wye was more of a river than I
thought it was, though never any bigger than a creek. It was just about
warm enough for a boat trip, though the old man told us there had been
a "rime" that morning, which made me think of the "Ancient Mariner."
The more the boatman talked and made queer jokes, the more I wanted to
ask him his name; and I hoped he would say David Llewellyn, or at least
David, and as a sort of feeler I asked him if he had ever seen a
coracle. "A corkle?" said he. "Oh, yes, ma'am, I've seen many a one and
rowed in them."

I couldn't wait any longer, and so I asked him his name. He stopped
rowing and leaned on his oars and let the boat drift. "Now," said he,
"if you've got a piece of paper and a pencil I wish you would listen
careful and put down my name, and if you ever know of any other people
in your country coming to the River Wye, I wish you would tell them my
name, and say I am a boatman, and can take them down the river better
than anybody else that's on it. My name is Samivel Jones. Be sure
you've got that right, please--Samivel Jones. I was born on this river,
and I rowed on it with my father when I was a boy, and I have rowed on
it ever since, and now I am sixty-five years old. Do you want to know
why this river is called the Wye? I will tell you. Wye means crooked,
so this river is called the Wye because it is crooked. Wye, the crooked

There was no doubt about the old man's being right about the
crookedness of the stream. If you have ever noticed an ant running over
the floor you will have an idea how the Wye runs through this beautiful
country. If it comes to a hill it doesn't just pass it and let you see
one side of it, but it goes as far around it as it can, and then goes
back again, and goes around some other hill or great rocky point, or a
clump of woods, or anything else that travellers might like to see. At
one place, called Symond's Yat, it makes a curve so great, that if we
was to get out of our boat and walk across the land, we would have to
walk less than half a mile before we came to the river again; but to
row around the curve as we did, we had to go five miles.

Every now and then we came to rapids. I didn't count them, but I think
there must have been about one to every mile, where the river-bed was
full of rocks, and where the water rushed furiously around and over
them. If we had been rowing ourselves we would have gone on shore and
camped when we came to the first of these rapids, for we wouldn't have
supposed our little boat could go through those tumbling, rushing
waters; but old Samivel knew exactly how the narrow channel, just deep
enough sometimes for our boat to float without bumping the bottom, runs
and twists itself among the hidden rocks, and he'd stand up in the bow
and push the boat this way and that until it slid into the quiet water
again, and he sat down to his oars. After we had been through four or
five of these we didn't feel any more afraid than if we had been
sitting together on our own little back porch.

As for the banks of this river, they got more and more beautiful as we
went on. There was high hills with some castles, woods and crags and
grassy slopes, and now and then a lordly mansion or two, and great
massive, rocky walls, bedecked with vines and moss, rising high up
above our heads and shutting us out from the world.

Jone and I was filled as full as our minds could hold with the romantic
loveliness of the river and its banks, and old Samivel was so pleased
to see how we liked it--for I believe he looked upon that river as his
private property--that he told us about everything we saw, and pointed
out a lot of things we wouldn't have noticed if it hadn't been for him,
as if he had been a man explaining a panorama, and pointing out with a
stick the notable spots as the canvas unrolled.

The only thing in his show which didn't satisfy him was two very fine
houses which had both of them belonged to noble personages in days
gone by, but which had been sold, one to a man who had made his money
in tea, and the other to a man who had made money in cotton. "Think of
that," said he; "cotton and tea, and living in such mansions as them
are, once owned by lords. They are both good men, and gives a great
deal to the poor, and does all they can for the country; but only think
of it, madam, cotton and tea! But all that happened a good while ago,
and the world is getting too enlightened now for such estates as them
are to come to cotton and tea."

Sometimes we passed houses and little settlements, but, for the most
part, the country was as wild as undiscovered lands, which, being that
to me, I felt happier, I am sure, than Columbus did when he first
sighted floating weeds. Jone was a good deal wound up too, for he had
never seen anything so beautiful as all this. We had our luncheon at a
little inn, where the bread was so good that for a time I forgot the
scenery, and then we went on, passing through the Forest of Dean,
lonely and solemn, with great oak and beech trees, and Robin Hood and
his merry men watching us from behind the bushes for all we knew.
Whenever the river twists itself around, as if to show us a new view,
old Samivel would say: "Now isn't that the prettiest thing you've seen
yet?" and he got prouder and prouder of his river every mile he rowed.

At one place he stopped and rested on his oars. "Now, then," said he,
twinkling up his face as if he was really David Llewellyn showing us a
fish with its eyes bulged out with sticks to make it look fresh, "as we
are out on a kind of a lark, suppose we try a bit of a hecho," and then
he turned to a rocky valley on his left, and in a voice like the man at
the station calling out the trains he yelled, "Hello there, sir! What
are you doing there, sir? Come out of that!" And when the words came
back as if they had been balls batted against a wall, he turned and
looked at us as proud and grinny as if the rocks had been his own baby
saying "papa" and "mamma" for visitors.

Not long after this we came to a place where there was a wide field on
one side, and a little way off we could see the top of a house among
the trees. A hedge came across the field to the river, and near the
bank was a big gate, and on this gate sat two young women, and down on
the ground on the side of the hedge nearest to us was another young
woman, and not far from her was three black hogs, two of them pointing
their noses at her and grunting, and the other was grunting around a
place where those young women had been making sketches and drawings,
and punching his nose into the easels and portfolios on the ground. The
young woman on the grass was striking at the hogs with a stick and
trying to make them go away, which they wouldn't do; and just as we
came near she dropped the stick and ran, and climbed up on the gate
beside the others, after which all the hogs went to rooting among the
drawing things.

As soon as Samivel saw what was going on he stopped his boat, and
shouted to the hogs a great deal louder than he had shouted to the
echo, but they didn't mind any more than they had minded the girl with
the stick. "Can't we stop the boat," I said, "and get out and drive off
those hogs? They will eat up all the papers and sketches."

"Just put me ashore," said Jone, "and I'll clear them out in no time;"
and old Samivel rowed the boat close up to the bank.

But when Jone got suddenly up on his feet there was such a twitch
across his face that I said to him, "Now just you sit down. If you go
ashore to drive off those hogs you'll jump about so that you'll bring
on such a rheumatism you can't sleep."

"I'll get out myself," said Samivel, "if I can find a place to fasten
the boat to. I can't run her ashore here, and the current is strong."

"Don't you leave the boat," said I, for the thought of Jone and me
drifting off and coming without him to one of those rapids sent a
shudder through me; and as the stern of the boat where I sat was close
to the shore I jumped with Jone's stick in my hand before either of
them could hinder me. I was so afraid that Jone would do it that I was
very quick about it.

The minute I left the boat Jone got ready to come after me, for he had
no notion of letting me be on shore by myself, but the boat had drifted
off a little, and old Samivel said:

"That is a pretty steep bank to get up with the rheumatism on you. I'll
take you a little farther down, where I can ground the boat, and you
can get off more steadier."

But this letter is getting as long as the River Wye itself, and I must
stop it.

_Letter Number Fifteen_


As soon as I jumped on shore, as I told you in my last, and had taken a
good grip on Jone's heavy stick, I went for those hogs, for I wanted to
drive them off before Jone came ashore, for I didn't want him to think
he must come.

I have driven hogs and cows out of lots and yards often enough, as you
know yourself, madam, so I just stepped up to the biggest of them and
hit him a whack across the head as he was rubbing his nose in among
some papers with bits of landscapes on them, as was enough to make him
give up studying art for the rest of his life; but would you believe
it, madam, instead of running away he just made a bolt at me, and gave
me such a push with his head and shoulders he nearly knocked me over? I
never was so astonished, for they looked like hogs that you might think
could be chased out of a yard by a boy. But I gave the fellow another
crack on the back, which he didn't seem to notice, but just turned
again to give me another push, and at the same minute the two others
stopped rooting among the paint-boxes and came grunting at me.

For the first time in my life I was frightened by hogs. I struck at
them as hard as I could, and before I knew what I was about I flung
down the stick, made a rush for that gate, and was on top of it in no
time, in company with the three other young women that was sitting
there already.

"Really," said the one next to me, "I fancied you was going to be gored
to atoms before our eyes. Whatever made you go to those nasty beasts?"

I looked at her quite severe, getting my feet well up out of reach of
the hogs if they should come near us.

"I saw you was in trouble, miss, and I came to help you. My husband
wanted to come, but he has the rheumatism and I wouldn't let him."

The other two young women looked at me as well as they could around the
one that was near me, and the one that was farthest off said:

"If the creatures could have been driven off by a woman, we could have
done it ourselves. I don't know why you should think you could do it
any better than we could."

I must say, madam, that at that minute I was a little humble-minded,
for I don't mind confessing to you that the idea of one American woman
plunging into a conflict that had frightened off three English women,
and coming out victorious, had a good deal to do with my trying to
drive away those hogs; and now that I had come out of the little end
of the horn, just as the young women had, I felt pretty small, but I
wasn't going to let them see that.

"I think that English hogs," said I, "must be savager than American
ones. Where I live there is not any kind of a hog that would not run
away if I shook a stick at him." The young woman at the other end of
the gate now spoke again.

"Everything British is braver than anything American," said she; "and
all you have done has been to vex those hogs, and they are chewing up
our drawing things worse than they did before."

Of course I fired up at this, and said, "You are very much mistaken
about Americans." But before I could say any more she went on to tell
me that she knew all about Americans; she had been in America, and such
a place she could never have fancied.

"Over there you let everybody trample over you as much as they please.
You have no conveniences. One cannot even get a cab. Fancy! Not a cab
to be had unless one pays enough for a drive in Hyde Park."

I must say that the hogs charging down on me didn't astonish me any
more than to find myself on top of a gate with a young woman charging
on my country in this fashion, and it was pretty hard on me to have her
pitch into the cab question, because Jone and me had had quite a good
deal to say about cabs ourselves, comparing New York and London,
without any great fluttering of the stars and stripes; but I wasn't
going to stand any such talk as that, and so I said:

"I know very well that our cab charges are high, and it is not likely
that poor people coming from other countries are able to pay them; but
as soon as our big cities get filled up with wretched, half-starved
people, with the children crying for bread at home, and the father glad
enough that he's able to get people to pay him a shilling for a drive,
and that he's not among the hundreds and thousands of miserable men who
have not any work at all, and go howling to Hyde Park to hold meetings
for blood or bread, then we will be likely to have cheap cabs as you

"How perfectly awful!" said the young woman nearest me; but the one at
the other end of the gate didn't seem to mind what I said, but shifted
off on another track.

"And then there's your horses' tails," said she; "anything nastier
couldn't be fancied. Hundreds of them everywhere with long tails down
to their heels, as if they belong to heathens who had never been

"Heathens?" said I. "If you call the Arabians heathens, who have the
finest horses in the world, and wouldn't any more think of cutting off
their tails than they would think of cutting their legs off; and if
you call the cruel scoundrels who torture their poor horses by sawing
their bones apart so as to get a little stuck-up bob on behind, like a
moth-eaten paint-brush--if you call them Christians, then I suppose
you're right. There is a law in some parts of our country against the
wickedness of chopping off the tails of live horses, and if you had
such a law here you'd be a good deal more Christian-like than you are,
to say nothing of getting credit for decent taste."

By this time I had forgotten all about what Jone and I had agreed upon
as to arguing over the differences between countries, and I was just as
peppery as a wasp. The young woman at the other end of the gate was
rather waspy too, for she seemed to want to sting me wherever she could
find a spot uncovered; and now she dropped off her horses' tails, and
began to laugh until her face got purple.

"You Americans are so awfully odd," she said. "You say you raise your
corn and your plants instead of growing them. It nearly makes me die
laughing when I hear one of you Americans say raise when you mean

Now Jone and me had some talk about growing and raising, and the
reasons for and against our way of using the words; but I was ready to
throw all this to the winds, and was just about to tell the impudent
young woman that we raised our plants just the same as we raised our
children, leaving them to do their own growing, when the young woman
in the middle of the three, who up to this time hadn't said a word,
screamed out:


"Oh, dear! Oh, dear! He's pulled out my drawing of Wilton Bridge. He'll
eat it up. Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Whatever shall I do?"

Instead of speaking I turned quick and looked at the hogs, and there,
sure enough, one of them had rooted open a portfolio and had hold of
the corners of a colored picture, which, from where I sat, I could see
was perfectly beautiful. The sky and the trees and the water was just
like what we ourselves had seen a little while ago, and in about half a
minute that hog would chew it up and swallow it.

The young woman next to me had an umbrella in her hand. I made a snatch
at this and dropped off that gate like a shot. I didn't stop to think
about anything except that beautiful picture was on the point of being
swallowed up, and with a screech I dashed at those hogs like a steam
engine. When they saw me coming with my screech and the umbrella they
didn't stop a second, but with three great wiggles and three scared
grunts they bolted as fast as they could go. I picked up the picture of
the bridge, together with the portfolio, and took them to the young
woman who owned them. As the hogs had gone, all three of the women was
now getting down from the gate.

"Thank you very much," she said, "for saving my drawings. It was
awfully good of you, especially--"

"Oh, you are welcome," said I, cutting her off short; and, handing the
other young woman her umbrella, I passed by the impudent one without so
much as looking at her, and on the other side of the hedge I saw Jone
coming across the grass. I jerked open the gate, not caring who it
might swing against, and walked to meet Jone. When I was near enough I
called out to know what on earth had become of him that he had left me
there so long by myself, forgetting that I hadn't wanted him to come at
all; and he told me that he had had a hard time getting on shore,
because they found the banks very low and muddy, and when he had landed
he was on the wrong side of a hedge, and had to walk a good way around

"I was troubled," said he, "because I thought you might come to grief
with the hogs."

"Hogs!" said I, so sarcastic, that Jone looked hard at me, but I didn't
tell him anything more till we was in the boat, and then I just said
right out what had happened. Jone couldn't help laughing.

"If I had known," said he, "that you was on top of a gate discussing
horses' tails and cabs I wouldn't have felt in such a hurry to get to

"And you would have made a mistake if you hadn't," I said, "for hogs
are nothing to such a person as was on that gate."

Old Samivel was rowing slow and looking troubled, and I believe at that
minute he forgot the River Wye was crooked.

"That was really hard, madam," he said, "really hard on you; but it was
a woman, and you have to excuse women. Now if they had been three
Englishmen sitting on that gate they would never have said such things
to you, knowing that you was a stranger in these parts and had come on
shore to do them a service. And now, madam, I'm glad to see you are
beginning to take notice of the landscapes again. Just ahead of us is
another bend, and when we get around that you'll see the prettiest
picture you've seen yet. This is a crooked river, madam, and that's how
it got its name. Wye means crooked."

After a while we came to a little church near the river bank, and here
Samivel stopped rowing, and putting his hands on his knees he laughed

"It always makes me laugh," he said, "whenever I pass this spot. It
seems to me like such an awful good joke. Here's that church on this
side of the river, and away over there on the other side of the river
is the rector and the congregation."

"And how do they get to church?" said I.

"In the summer time," said he, "they come over with a ferry-boat and a
rope; but in the winter, when the water is frozen, they can't get over
at all. Many's the time I've lain in bed and laughed and laughed when
I thought of this church on one side of the river, and the whole
congregation and the rector on the other side, and not able to get

Toward the end of the day, and when we had rowed nearly twenty miles,
we saw in the distance the town of Monmouth, where we was going to stop
for the night.

[Illustration: "In the winter, when the water is frozen, they can't get

Old Samivel asked us what hotel we was going to stop at, and when we
told him the one we had picked out he said he could tell us a better

"If I was you," he said, "I'd go to the Eyengel." We didn't know what
this name meant, but as the old man said he would take us there we
agreed to go.

"I should think you would have a lonely time rowing back by yourself,"
I said.

"Rowing back?" said he. "Why, bless your soul, lady, there isn't
nobody who could row this boat back agen that current and up them
rapids. We take the boats back with the pony. We put the boat on a
wagon and the pony pulls it back to Ross; and as for me, I generally go
back by the train. It isn't so far from Monmouth to Ross by the road,
for the road is straight and the river winds and bends."

The old man took us to the inn which he recommended, and we found it
was the Angel. It was a nice, old-fashioned, queer English house. As
far as I could see, they was all women that managed it, and it couldn't
have been managed better; and as far as I could see, we was the only
guests, unless there was "commercial gents," who took themselves away
without our seeing them.

We was sorry to have old Samivel leave us, and we bid him a most
friendly good-by, and promised if we ever knew of anybody who wanted to
go down the River Wye we would recommend them to ask at Ross for
Samivel Jones to row them.

We found the landlady of the Angel just as good to us as if we had been
her favorite niece and nephew. She hired us a carriage the next day,
and we was driven out to Raglan Castle, through miles and miles of
green and sloping ruralness. When we got there and rambled through
those grand old ruins, with the drawbridge and the tower and the
courtyard, my soul went straight back to the days of knights and
ladies, and prancing steeds, and horns and hawks, and pages and
tournaments, and wild revels and vaulted halls.

The young man who had charge of the place seemed glad to see how much
we liked it, as is natural enough, for everybody likes to see us
pleased with the particular things they have on hand.

"You haven't anything like this in your country," said he. But to this
I said nothing, for I was tired of always hearing people speak of my
national denomination as if I was something in tin cans, with a label
pasted on outside; but Jone said it was true enough that we didn't have
anything like it, for if we had such a noble edifice we would have
taken care of it, and not let it go to rack and ruin in this way.

Jone has an idea that it don't show good sense to knock a bit of
furniture about from garret to cellar until most of its legs are
broken, and its back cracked, and its varnish all peeled off, and then
tie ribbons around it, and hang it up in the parlor, and kneel down to
it as a relic of the past. He says that people who have got old ruins
ought to be very thankful that there is any of them left, but it's no
use in them trying to fill up the missing parts with brag.

We took the train and went to Chepstow, which is near the mouth of the
Wye, and as the railroad ran near the river nearly all the way we had
lots of beautiful views, though, of course, it wasn't anything like as
good as rowing along the stream in a boat. The next day we drove to the
celebrated Tintern Abbey, and on the way the road passed two miles and
a half of high stone wall, which shut in a gentleman's place. What he
wanted to keep in or keep out by means of a wall like that, we couldn't
imagine; but the place made me think of a lunatic asylum.

The road soon became shady and beautiful, running through woods along
the river bank and under some great crags called the Wyndcliffe, and
then we came to the Abbey and got out.

Of all the beautiful high-pointed archery of ancient times, this ruined
Abbey takes the lead. I expect you've seen it, madam, or read about it,
and I am not going to describe it; but I will just say that Jone, who
had rather objected to coming out to see any more old ruins, which he
never did fancy, and only came because he wouldn't have me come by
myself, was so touched up in his soul by what he saw there, and by
wandering through this solemn and beautiful romance of bygone days, he
said he wouldn't have missed it for fifty dollars.

We came back to Gloucester to-day, and to-morrow we are off for Buxton.
As we are so near Stratford and Warwick and all that, Jone said we'd
better go there on our way, but I wouldn't agree to it. I am too
anxious to get him skipping round like a colt, as he used to, to stop
anywhere now, and when we come back I can look at Shakespeare's tomb
with a clearer conscience.

       *       *       *       *       *


After all, the weather isn't the only changeable thing in this world,
and this letter, which I thought I was going to send to you from
Gloucester, is now being finished in London. We was expecting to start
for Buxton, but some money that Jone had ordered to be sent from London
two or three days before didn't come, and he thought it would be wise
for him to go and look after it. So yesterday, which was Saturday, we
started off for London, and came straight to the Babylon Hotel, where
we had been before.

Of course we couldn't do anything until Monday, and this morning when
we got up we didn't feel in very good spirits, for of all the doleful
things I know of, a Sunday in London is the dolefullest. The whole town
looks as if it was the back door of what it was the day before, and if
you want to get any good out of it, you feel as if you had to sneak in
by an alley, instead of walking boldly up the front steps.

Jone said we'd better go to Westminster Abbey to church, because he
believed in getting the best there was when it didn't cost too much,
but I wouldn't do it.

[Illustration: "Who do you suppose we met? Mr. Poplington!"]

"No," said I. "When I walk in that religious nave and into the hallowed
precincts of the talented departed, the stone passages are full of
cloudy forms of Chaucers, Addisons, Miltons, Dickenses, and all those
great ones of the past; and I would hate to see the place filled up
with a crowd of weekday lay people in their Sunday clothes, which would
be enough to wipe away every feeling of romantic piety which might rise
within my breast."

As we didn't go to the Abbey, and was so long making up our minds where
we should go, it got too late to go anywhere, and so we stayed in the
hotel and looked out into a lonely and deserted street, with the wind
blowing the little leaves and straws against the tight-shut doors of
the forsaken houses. As I stood by that window I got homesick, and at
last I could stand it no longer, and I said to Jone, who was smoking
and reading a paper:

"Let's put on our hats and go out for a walk, for I can't mope here
another minute."

So down we went, and coming up the front steps of the front entrance
who do you suppose we met? Mr. Poplington! He was stopping at that
hotel, and was just coming home from church, with his face shining like
a sunset on account of the comfortableness of his conscience after
doing his duty.

_Letter Number Sixteen_


When I mentioned Mr. Poplington in my last letter in connection with
the setting sun I was wrong; he was like the rising orb of day, and he
filled London with effulgent light. No sooner had we had a talk, and we
had told him all that had happened, and finished up by saying what a
doleful morning we had had, than he clapped his hand on his knees and
said, "I'll tell you what we will do. We will spend the afternoon among
the landmarks." And what we did was to take a four-wheeler and go
around the old parts of London, where Mr. Poplington showed us a lot of
soul-awakening spots which no common stranger would be likely to find
for himself.

If you are ever steeped in the solemnness of a London Sunday, and you
can get a jolly, red-faced, middle-aged English gentleman, who has made
himself happy by going to church in the morning, and is ready to make
anybody else happy in the afternoon, just stir him up in the mixture,
and then you will know the difference between cod-liver oil and
champagne, even if you have never tasted either of them. The afternoon
was piled-up-and-pressed-down joyfulness for me, and I seemed to be
walking in a dream among the beings and the things that we only see in

Mr. Poplington first took us to the old Watergate, which was the river
entrance to York House, where Lord Bacon lived, and close to the gate
was the small house where Peter the Great and David Copperfield lived,
though not at the same time; and then we went to Will's old
coffee-house, where Addison, Steele, and a lot of other people of that
sort used to go to drink and smoke before they was buried in
Westminster Abbey, and where Charles and Mary Lamb lived afterward, and
where Mary used to look out of the window to see the constables take
the thieves to the Old Bailey near by. Then we went to Tom-all-alone's,
and saw the very grating at the head of the steps which led to the old
graveyard where poor Joe used to sweep the steps when Lady Dedlock came
there, and I held on to the very bars that the poor lady must have
gripped when she knelt on the steps to die.

Not far away was the Black Jack Tavern, where Jack Sheppard and all the
great thieves of the day used to meet. And bless me! I have read so
much about Jack Sheppard that I could fairly see him jumping out of the
window he always dropped from when the police came. After that we saw
the house where Mr. Tulkinghorn, Lady Dedlock's lawyer, used to live,
and also the house where old Krook was burned up by spontaneous
combustion. Then we went to Bolt Court, where old Samuel Johnson lived,
walked about, and talked, and then to another court where he lived when
he wrote the dictionary, and after that to the "Cheshire Cheese" Inn,
where he and Oliver Goldsmith often used to take their meals together.

Then we saw St. John's Gate, where the Knights Templars met, and the
yard of the Court of Chancery, where little Miss Flite used to wait for
the Day of Judgment; and as we was coming home he showed us the church
of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, where every other Friday the bells are
rung at five o'clock in the afternoon, most people not knowing what it
is for, but really because the famous Nell Gwynn, who was far from
being a churchwoman, left a sum of money for having a merry peal of
bells rung every Friday until the end of the world. I got so wound up
by all this, that I quite forgot Jone, and hardly thought of Mr.
Poplington, except that he was telling me all these things, and
bringing back to my mind so much that I had read about, though
sometimes very little.

When we got back to the hotel and had gone up to our room, Jone said to

"That was all very fine and interesting from top to toe, but it does
seem to me as if things were dreadfully mixed. Dr. Johnson and Jack
Sheppard, I suppose, was all real and could live in houses; but when
it comes to David Copperfields and Lady Dedlocks and little Miss
Flites, that wasn't real and never lived at all, they was all talked
about in just the same way, and their favorite tramping grounds pointed
out, and I can't separate the real people from the fancy folk, if we've
got to have the same bosom heaving for the whole of them."

"Jone," said I, "they are all real, every one of them. If Mr. Dickens
had written history I expect he'd put Lady Dedlock and Miss Flite and
David Copperfield into it; and if the history writers had written
stories they would have been sure to get Dr. Johnson and Lord Bacon and
Peter the Great into them; and the people in the one kind of writing
would have been just as real as the people in the other. At any rate,
that's the way they are to me."

On the Monday after our landmark expedition with Mr. Poplington, which
I shall never forget, Jone settled up his business matters, and the
next day we started for Buxton and the rheumatism baths. To our great
delight Mr. Poplington said he would go with us, not all the way, for
he wanted to stop at a little place called Rowsley, where he would stay
for a few days and then go on to Buxton; but we was very glad to have
him with us during the greater part of the way, and we all left the
hotel in the same four-wheeler.

When we got to the station Jone got first-class tickets, for we have
found out that if you want to travel comfortable in England, and have
porters attend to your baggage and find an empty carriage for you, and
have the guard come along and smile in the window and say he'll try to
let you have that carriage all to yourselves if he's able--the ableness
depending a good deal on what you give him--and for everybody to do
their best to make your journey pleasant, you must travel first class.
Mr. Poplington also bought a first-class ticket, for there was no
seconds on this line. As we was walking along by the platform Jone and
I gave a sort of a jump, for there was a regular Pullman car, which
made us think we might be at home. We stopped and looked at it, and
then the guard, who was standing by, stepped up to us and touched his
hat, and asked us if we would like to take the Pullman, and when Jone
asked what the extra charge was, he said nothing at all for first-class
passengers. We didn't have to stop to think a minute, but said right
off that we would go in it, but Mr. Poplington would not come with us.
He said English people wasn't accustomed to that, they wanted to be
more private; and, although he'd like to be with us, he could not
travel in a caravan like that, and so he went off by himself, and we
got into the Pullman.

The guard said we could take any seats we pleased; and when we got in
we found there was only two or three people in it, and we chose two
nice armchairs, hung up our wraps, and made ourselves comfortable and

We expected that the people who engaged seats would soon come crowding
in, but when the train started there was only four people besides
ourselves in that beautiful car, which was a first-class one, built in
the United States, with all sorts of comforts and conveniences. There
was a porter who laid himself out to make us happy, and about one
o'clock we had a nice lunch on a little table which was set up between
us, with two waiters to attend to us, and then Jone went and had a
smoke in a small room at one end of the car.

We thought it was strange that there should be so few people travelling
on this train, but when we came to a town where we made a long stop
Jone got out to talk to Mr. Poplington, supposing it likely that he'd
have a carriage to himself; but he was amazed to see that the train was
jammed and crowded, and he found Mr. Poplington squeezed up in a
carriage with seven other people, four of them one side and four the
other, each row staring into the faces of the other. Some of them was
eating bread and cheese out of paper parcels, and a big fat man was
reading a newspaper, which he spread out so as to partly cover the two
people sitting next to him, and all of them seemed anxious to find
some way of stretching their legs so as not to strike against the legs
of somebody else.

Mr. Poplington was sitting by the window, and Jone couldn't help
laughing when he said:

"Is this what you call being private, sir? I think you would find a
caravan more pleasant. Don't you want to come to the Pullman with us?
There are plenty of seats there, nice big armchairs that you can turn
around and sit any way you like, and look at people or not look at
them, just as you please, and there's plenty of room to walk about and
stretch yourself a little if you want to. There's a smoking-room, too,
that you can go to and leave whenever you like. Come and try it."

"Thank you very much," said Mr. Poplington, "but I really couldn't do
that. I am not prejudiced at all, and I have a good many democratic
ideas, but that is too much for me. An Englishman's house is his
castle, and when he's travelling his railway carriage is his house. He
likes privacy and dislikes publicity."

"This is a funny kind of privacy you have here," said Jone. "And how
about your big clubs? Would you like to have them all divided up into
little compartments with half a dozen men in each one, generally
strangers to each other?"

"Oh, a club is a very different thing," said Mr. Poplington.

Jone was going to talk more about the comfort of the Pullman cars, but
they began to shut the carriage doors, and he had to come back to me.

We like English railway carriages very well when we can have one to
ourselves, but if even one stranger gets in and has to sit looking at
us for all the rest of the trip you don't feel anything like as private
as if you was walking along a sidewalk in London.

But Jone and I both agreed we wouldn't find any fault with English
people for not liking Pullman cars, so long as they put them on their
trains for Americans who do like them. And one thing is certain, that
if our railroad conductors and brakes-men and porters was as polite and
kind as they are in England, tips or no tips, we'd be a great deal
better off than we are.

Whenever we stopped at a station the people would come and look through
the windows at us, as if we was some sort of a travelling show. I don't
believe most of them had ever seen a comfortable room on wheels before.
The other people in our car was all men, and looked as if they hadn't
their families with them, and was glad to get a little comfort on the
sly. When we got to Rowsley we saw Mr. Poplington on the platform,
running about, collecting all his different bits of luggage, and
counting them to see that they was all there, and then, as we had a
window open and was looking out, he came and bid us good-by; and when
I asked him to, he looked into our car.

"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" he said. "What a public apartment! I could not
travel like that, you know. Good-by; I will see you at Buxton in a few

[Illustration: Mr. Poplington looking for the luggage]

We talked a good deal with Mr. Poplington about the hotels of Buxton,
and we had agreed to go to one called the Old Hall, where we are now.
There was a good many reasons why we chose this house, one being that
it was not as expensive as some of the others, though very nice; and
another, which had a good deal of force with me, was, that Mary Queen
of Scots came here for her rheumatism, and the room she used to have is
still kept, with some words she scratched with her diamond ring on the
window-pane. Sometimes people coming to this hotel can get this room,
and I was mighty sorry we couldn't do it, but it was taken. If I could
have actually lived and slept in a room which had belonged to the
beautiful Mary Queen of Scots, I would have been willing to have just
as much rheumatism as she had when she was here.

Of course, modern rheumatisms are not as interesting as the rheumatisms
people of the past ages had; but from what I have seen of this town, I
think I am going to like it very much.

_Letter Number Seventeen_



When we were comfortably settled here, Jone went to see a doctor, who
is a nice, kind old gentleman, who looks as if he almost might have
told Mary Queen of Scots how hot she ought to have the water in her
baths. He charges four times as much as the others, and has about a
quarter as many patients, which makes it all the same to him, and a
good deal better for the rheumatic ones who come to him, for they have
more time to go into particulars. And if anything does good to a person
who has something the matter with him, it's being able to go into
particulars about it. It's often as good as medicine, and always more

We unpacked our trunks and settled ourselves down for a three weeks'
stay here, for no matter how much rheumatism you have or how little,
you've got to take Buxton and its baths in three weeks' doses.

Besides taking the baths Jone has to drink the waters, and as I cannot
do much else to help him, I am encouraging him by drinking them too.
There are two places where you can get the lukewarm water that people
come here to drink. One is the public well, where there is a pump free
to everybody, and the other is in the pump-room just across the street
from the well, where you pay a penny a glass for the same water, which
three doleful old women spend all their time pumping for visitors.

[Illustration: Pomona encourages Jonas]

People are ordered to drink this water very carefully. It must be done
at regular times, beginning with a little, and taking more and more
each day until you get to a full tumbler, and then if it seems to be
too strong for you, you must take less. So far as I can find out there
is nothing particular about it, except that it is lukewarm water,
neither hot enough nor cold enough to make it a pleasant drink. It
didn't seem to agree with Jone at first, but after he kept at it three
or four days it began to suit him better, so that he could take nearly
a tumbler without feeling badly. Two or three times I felt it might be
better for my health if I didn't drink it, but I wanted to stand by
Jone as much as I could, and so I kept on.

We have been here a week now, and this morning I found out that all the
water we drink at this hotel is brought from the well of St. Ann, where
the public pump is, and everybody drinks just as much of it as they
want whenever they want to, and they never think of any such thing as
feeling badly or better than if it was common water. The only
difference is, that it isn't quite as lukewarm when we get it here as
it is at the well. When I was told this I was real mad, after all the
measuring and fussing we had had when taking the water as a medicine,
and then drinking it just as we pleased at the table. But the people
here tell me that it is the gas in it which makes it medicinal, and
when that floats out it is just like common water. That may be; but if
there's a penny's worth of gas in every tumbler of water sold in the
pump-room, there ought to be some sort of a canopy put over the town to
catch what must escape in the pourings and pumpings, for it's too
valuable to be allowed to get away. If it's the gas that does it, a
rheumatic man anchored in a balloon over Buxton, and having the gas
coming up unmixed to him, ought to be well in about two days.

When Jone told me his first bath was to be heated up to ninety-four
degrees I said to him that he'd be boiled alive, but he wasn't; and
when he came home he said he liked it. Everything is very systematic in
the great bathing-house. The man who tends to Jone hangs up his watch
on a little stand on the edge of the bathtub, and he stays in just so
many minutes, and when he's ready to come out he rings a bell, and then
he's wrapped up in about fourteen hot towels, and sits in an armchair
until he's dry. Jone likes all this, and says so much about it that it
makes me want to try it too; though as there isn't any reason for it I
haven't tried them yet.

This is an awfully queer, old-fashioned town, and must have been a good
deal like Bath in the days of Evelina. There is a long line of high
buildings curved like a half moon, which is called the Crescent, and at
one end of this is a pump-room, and at the other are the natural baths,
where the water is just as warm as when it comes out of the ground,
which is eighty-two degrees. This is said to chill people; but from
what I remember about summer time I don't see how eighty-two degrees
can be cold.

Opposite the Crescent is a public park called The Slopes, and farther
on there are great gardens with pavilions, and a band of music every
day, and a theatre, and a little river, and tennis courts, and all
sorts of things for people who haven't anything to do with their time,
which is generally the case with folks at rheumatic watering-places.
Opposite to our hotel is a bowling court, which they say has been
there for hundreds of years, and is just as hard and smooth as a boy's
slate. The men who play bowls here are generally those who have got
over the rheumatism of their youth, and whose joints have not been very
much stiffened up yet by old age. The people who are yet too young for
rheumatism, and have come here with their families, play tennis.

The baths take such a little time, not over six or seven minutes for
them each day, and every third day skipped, that there is a good deal
of time left on the hands of the people here; and those who can't play
tennis or bowl, and don't want to spend the whole time in the pavilion
listening to the music, go about in bath-chairs, which, so far as I can
see, are just as important as the baths. I don't know whether you ever
saw a bath-chair, madam, but it's a comfortable little cab on three
wheels, pulled by a man. They take people everywhere, and all the
streets are full of them.

As soon as I saw these nice little traps I said to Jone, "Now this is
the very thing for you. It hurts you to walk far, and you want to see
all over this town, and one of these bath-chairs will take you into
lots of places where you couldn't go in a carriage."

"Take me!" said Jone. "I should say not. You don't catch me being
hauled about in one of those things as if I was in a sort of
wheelbarrow ambulance being taken to the hospital, with you walking
along by my side like a trained nurse. No, indeed! I have not gone so
far as that yet."

I told him this was all stuff and nonsense, and if he wanted to get the
good out of Buxton he'd better go about and see it, and he couldn't go
about if he didn't take a bath-chair; but all he said to that was, that
he could see it without going about, and he was satisfied. But that
didn't count anything with me, for the trouble with Jone is, that he's
too easy satisfied.

It's true that there is a lot to be seen in Buxton without going about.
The Slopes are just across the street from the hotel, and when it
doesn't happen to be raining we can go and sit there on a bench and see
lively times enough. People are being trundled about in their
bath-chairs in every direction; there is always a crowd at St. Ann's
well, where the pump is; all sorts of cabs and carts are being driven
up and down just as fast as they can go, for the streets are as smooth
as floors, and in the morning and evening there are about half a dozen
coaches with four horses, and drivers and horn-blowers in red coats,
the horses prancing and whips cracking as they start out for country
trips or come back again. And as for the people on foot, they just
swarm like bees, and rain makes no difference, except that then they
wear mackintoshes, and when it's fine they don't. Some of these people
step along as brisk as if they hadn't anything the matter with them,
but a good many of them help out their legs with canes and crutches. I
begin to think I can tell how long a man has been at Buxton by the
number of sticks he uses.

One day we was sitting on a bench in The Slopes, enjoying a bit of
sunshine that had just come along, when a middle-aged man, with a very
high collar and a silk hat, came and sat down by Jone. He spoke civilly
to us, and then went on to say that if ever we happened to take a house
near Liverpool he'd be glad to supply us with coals, because he was a
coal merchant. Jone told him that if he ever did take a house near
Liverpool he certainly would give him his custom. Then the man gave us
his card. "I come here every year," he said, "for the rheumatism in my
shoulder, and if I meet anybody that lives near Liverpool, or is likely
to, I try to get his custom. I like it here. There's a good many 'otels
in this town. You can see a lot of them from here. There's St. Ann's,
that's a good house, but they charge you a pound a day; and then
there's the Old Hall. That's good enough, too, but nobody goes there
except shopkeepers and clergymen. Of course, I don't mean bishops; they
go to St. Ann's."

I wondered which the man would think Jone was, if he knew we was
stopping at the Old Hall; but I didn't ask him, and only said that
other people besides shopkeepers and clergymen went to the Old Hall,
for Mary Queen of Scots used to stop at that house when she came to
take the waters, and her room was still there, just as it used to be.

"Mary Queen of Scots!" said he. "At the Old Hall?"

"Yes," said I, "that's where she used to go; that was her hotel."

"Queen Mary, Queen of the Scots!" he said again. "Well, well, I
wouldn't have believed it. But them Scotch people always was
close-fisted. Now if it had been Queen Elizabeth, she wouldn't have
minded a pound a day;" and then, after asking Jone to excuse him for
forgetting his manners and not asking where his rheumatism was, and
having got his answer, he went away, wondering, I expect, how Mary
Queen of Scots could have been so stingy.

But although we could see so much sitting on benches, I didn't give up
Jone and the bath-chairs, and day before yesterday I got the better of
him. "Now," said I, "it is stupid for you to be sitting around in this
way as if you was a statue of a public benefactor carved by
subscription and set up in a park. The only sensible thing for you to
do is to take a bath-chair and go around and see things. And if you are
afraid people will think you are being taken to a hospital, you can put
down the top of the thing, and sit up straight and smoke your pipe.
Patients in ambulances never smoke pipes. And if you don't want me
walking by your side like a trained nurse, I'll take another chair and
be pulled along with you."

The idea of a pipe, and me being in another chair, rather struck his
fancy, and he said he would consider it; and so that afternoon we went
to the hotel door and looked at the long line of bath-chairs standing
at the curbstone on the other side of the street, with the men waiting
for jobs. The chairs was all pretty much alike and looked very
comfortable, but the men was as different as if they had been horses.
Some looked gay and spirited, and others tired and worn out, as if they
had belonged to sporting men and had been driven half to death. And
then again there was some that looked fat and lazy, like the old horses
on a farm, that the women drive to town.

Jone picked out a good man, who looked as if he was well broken and not
afraid of locomotives and able to do good work in single harness. When
I got Jone in the bath-chair, with the buggy-top down, and his pipe
lighted, and his hat cocked on one side a little, so as to look as if
he was doing the whole thing for a lark, I called another chair, not
caring what sort of one it was, and then we told the men to pull us
around for a couple of hours, leaving it to them to take us to
agreeable spots, which they said they would do.

After we got started Jone seemed to like it very well, and we went
pretty much all over the town, sometimes stopping to look in at the
shop windows, for the sidewalks are so narrow that it is no trouble to
see the things from the street. Then the men took us a little way out
of the town to a place where there was a good view for us, and a bench
where they could go and sit down and rest. I expect all the chair men
that work by the hour manage to get to this place with a view as soon
as they can.

After they had had a good rest we started off to go home by a different
route. Jone's man was a good strong fellow and always took the lead,
but my puller was a different kind of a steed, and sometimes I was left
pretty far behind. I had not paid much attention to the man at first,
only noticing that he was mighty slow; but going back a good deal of
the way was uphill, and then all his imperfections came out plain, and
I couldn't help studying him. If he had been a horse I should have said
he was spavined and foundered, with split frogs and tonsilitis; but as
he was a man, it struck me that he must have had several different
kinds of rheumatism and been sent to Buxton to have them cured, but not
taking the baths properly, or drinking the water at times when he ought
not to have done it, his rheumatisms had all run together and had
become fixed and immovable. How such a creaky person came to be a
bath-chair man I could not think, but it may be that he wanted to stay
in Buxton for the sake of the loose gas which could be had for nothing,
and that bath-chairing was all he could get to do.

I pitied the poor old fellow, who, if he had been a horse, would have
been no more than fourteen hands high, and as he went puffing along,
tugging and grunting as if I was a load of coal, I felt as if I
couldn't stand it another minute, and I called out to him to stop. It
did seem as if he would drop before he got me back to the hotel, and I
bounced out in no time, and then I walked in front of him and turned
around and looked at him. If it is possible for a human hack-horse to
have spavins in two joints in each leg, that man had them; and he
looked as if he couldn't remember what it was to have a good feed.

He seemed glad to rest, but didn't say anything, standing and looking
straight ahead of him like an old horse that has been stopped to let
him blow. He did look so dreadful feeble that I thought it would be a
mercy to take him to some member of the Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals and have him chloroformed. "Look here," said I, "you
are not fit to walk. Get into that bath-chair, and I'll pull you back
to your stand."

"Lady," said he, "I couldn't do that. If you dunno mind walking home,
and will pay me for the two hours all the same, I will be right
thankful for that. I'm poorly to-day."

"Get into the chair," said I, "and I'll pull you back. I'd like to do
it, for I want some exercise."

"Oh, no, no!" said he. "That would be a sin; and besides I was engaged
to pull you two hours, and I must be paid for that."

"Get into that chair," I said, "and I'll pay you for your two hours and
give you a shilling besides."

He looked at me for a minute, and then he got into the chair, and I
shut him up.

"Now, lady," said he, "you can pull me a little way if you want
exercise, and as soon as you are tired you can stop, and I'll get out,
but you must pay me the extra shilling all the same."

"All right," said I, and taking hold of the handle I started off. It
was real fun; the bath-chair rolled along beautifully, and I don't
believe the old man weighed much more than my Corinne when I used to
push her about in her baby carriage. We were in a back street, where
there was hardly anybody; and as for Jone and his bath-chair, I could
just see them ever so far ahead, so I started to catch up, and as the
street was pretty level now I soon got going at a fine rate. I hadn't
had a bit of good exercise for a long time, and this warmed me up and
made me feel gay.

[Illustration: "STOP, LADY, AND I'LL GET OUT"]

We was not very far behind Jone when the man began to call to me in a
sort of frightened fashion, as if he thought I was running away.
"Stop, lady!" he said; "we are getting near the gardens, and the people
will laugh at me. Stop, lady, and I'll get out." But I didn't feel a
bit like stopping; the idea had come into my head that it would be
jolly to beat Jone. If I could pass him and sail on ahead for a little
while, then I'd stop and let my old man get out and take his bath-chair
home. I didn't want it any more.

Just as I got close up behind Jone, and was about to make a rush past
him, his man turned into a side street. Of course I turned too, and
then I put on steam, and, giving a laugh as I turned around to look at
Jone, I charged on, intending to stop in a minute and have some fun in
hearing what Jone had to say about it; but you may believe, ma'am, that
I was amazed when I saw only a little way in front of me the bath-chair
stand where we had hired our machines! And all the bath-chair men were
standing there with their mouths wide open, staring at a woman running
along the street, pulling an old bath-chair man in a bath-chair! For a
second I felt like dropping the handle I held and making a rush for the
front door of the hotel, which was right ahead of me; and then I
thought, as now I was in for it, it would be a lot better to put a good
face on the matter, and not look as if I had done anything I was
ashamed of, and so I just slackened speed and came up in fine style at
the door of the Old Hall. Four or five of the bath-chair men came
running across the street to know if anything had happened to the old
party I was pulling, and he got out looking as ashamed as if he had
been whipped by his wife.

"It's a lark, mates," said he; "the lady's to pay me two shillings
extra for letting her pull me."

"Two shillings?" said I. "I only promised you one."

"That would be for pulling me a little way," he said; "but you pulled
me all the way back, and I couldn't do it for less than two shillings."

Jone now came up and got out quick.

"What's the meaning of all this, Pomona?" said he.

"Meaning?" said I. "Look at that dilapidated old bag of bones. He
wasn't fit to pull me, and so I thought it would be fun to pull him;
but, of course, I didn't know when I turned the corner I would be here
at the stand."

Jone paid the men, including the two extra shillings, and when we went
up to our room he said, "The next time we go out in two bath-chairs, I
am going to have a chain fastened to yours, and I'll have hold of the
other end of it."

_Letter Number Eighteen_


I have begun to take the baths. There really is so little to do in this
place that I couldn't help it, and so, while Jone was off tending to
his hot soaks, I thought I might as well try the thing myself. At any
rate it would fill up the time when I was alone. I find I like this
sort of bathing very much, and I wish I had begun it before. It reminds
me of a kind of medicine for colds that you used to make for me, madam,
when I first came to the canal-boat. It had lemons and sugar in it, and
it was so good I remember I used to think that I would like to go into
a lingering consumption, so that I could have it three times a day,
until I finally passed away like a lily on a snowbank.

Jone's been going about a good deal in a bath-chair, and doesn't mind
my walking alongside of him. He says it makes him feel easier in his
mind, on the whole.

Mr. Poplington came two or three days ago, and he is stopping at our
hotel. We three have hired a carriage together two or three times and
have taken drives into, the country. Once we went to an inn, the Cat
and Fiddle, about five miles away, on a high bit of ground called Axe
Edge. It is said to be the highest tavern in England, and it's lucky
that it is, for that's the only recommendation it's got. The sign in
front of the house has on it a cat on its hind-legs playing a fiddle,
with a look on its face as if it was saying, "It's pretty poor, but
it's the best I can do for you."

Inside is another painting of a cat playing a fiddle, and truly that
one might be saying, "Ha! Ha! You thought that that picture on the sign
was the worst picture you ever saw in your life, but now you see how
you are mistaken."

Up on that high place you get the rain fresher than you do in Buxton,
because it hasn't gone so far through the air, and it's mixed with more
chilly winds than anywhere else in England, I should say. But everybody
is bound to go to the Cat and Fiddle at least once, and we are glad we
have been there, and that it is over. I like the places near the town a
great deal better, and some of them are very pretty. One day we two and
Mr. Poplington took a ride on top of a stage to see Haddon Hall and

Haddon Hall is to me like a dream of the past come true. Lots of other
old places have seemed like dreams, but this one was right before my
eyes, just as it always was. Of course, you must have read all about
it, madam, and I am not going to tell it over again. But think of it; a
grand old baronial mansion, part of it built as far back as the eleven
hundreds, and yet in good condition and fit to live in. That is what I
thought as I walked through its banqueting hall and courts and noble
chambers. "Why," said I to Jone, "in that kitchen our meals could be
cooked; at that table we could eat them; in these rooms we could sleep;
in these gardens and courts we could roam; we could actually live
here!" We haven't seen any other romance of the past that we could say
that about, and to this minute it puzzles me how any duke in this world
could be content to own a house like this and not live in it. But I
suppose he thinks more of water-pipes and electric lights than he does
of the memories of the past and time-hallowed traditions.

As for me, if I had been Dorothy Vernon, there's no man on earth, not
even Jone, that could make me run away from such a place as Haddon
Hall. They show the stairs down which she tripped with her lover when
they eloped; but if it had been me, it would have been up those stairs
I would have gone. Mr. Poplington didn't agree a bit with me about the
joy of living in this enchanting old house, and neither did Jone, I am
sure, although he didn't say so much. But then, they are both men, and
when it comes to soaring in the regions of romanticism you must not
expect too much of men.

After leaving Haddon Hall, which I did backward, the coach took us to
Chatsworth, which is a different sort of a place altogether. It is a
grand palace, at least it was built for one, but now it is an enormous
show place, bright and clean and sleek, and when we got there we saw
hundreds of visitors waiting to go in. They was taken through in squads
of about fifty, with a man to lead them, which he did very much as if
they was a drove of cattle.

The man who led our squad made us step along lively, and I must say
that never having been in a drove before, Jone and I began to get
restive long before we got through. As for the show, I like the British
Museum a great deal better. There is ever so much more to see there,
and you have time to stop and look at things. At Chatsworth they charge
you more, give you less, and treat you worse. When it came to taking us
through the grounds, Jone and I struck. We left the gang we was with,
and being shown where to find a gate out of the place, we made for that
gate and waited until our coach was ready to take us back to Buxton.

It is a lot of fun going to the theatre here. It doesn't cost much, and
the plays are good and generally funny, and a rheumatic audience is a
very jolly one. The people seemed glad to forget their backs, their
shoulders, and their legs, and they are ready to laugh at things that
are only half comic, and keep up a lively chattering between the acts.
It's fun to see them when the play is over. The bath-chairs that have
come after some of them are brought right into the building, and are
drawn up just like carriages after the theatre. The first time we went I
wanted Jone to stop a while and see if we didn't hear somebody call
out, "Mrs. Barchester's bath-chair stops the way!" but he said I
expected too much, and would not wait.

We sit about so much in the gardens, which are lively when it is clear,
and not bad even in a little drizzle, that we've got to know a good
many of the people; and although Jone's a good deal given to reading, I
like to sit and watch them and see what they are doing.

When we first came here I noticed a good-looking young woman who was
hauled about in a bath-chair, generally with an open book in her lap,
which she never seemed to read much, because she was always gazing
around as if she was looking for something. Before long I found out
what she was looking for, for every day, sooner or later, generally
sooner, there came along a bath-chair with a good-looking young man in
it. He had a book in his lap too, but he was never reading it when I
saw him, because he was looking for the young woman; and as soon as
they saw each other they began to smile, and as they passed they always
said something, but didn't stop. I wondered why they didn't give their
pullers a rest and have a good talk if they knew each other, but before
long I noticed not very far behind the young lady's bath-chair was
always another bath-chair with an old gentleman in it with a
bottle-nose. After a while I found out that this was the young lady's
father, because sometimes he would call to her and have her stop, and
then she generally seemed to get some sort of a scolding.

Of course, when I see anything of this kind going on, I can't help
taking one side or the other, and as you may well believe, madam, I
wouldn't be likely to take that of the old bottle-nosed man's side. I
had not been noticing these people for more than two or three days when
one morning, when Jone and me was sitting under an umbrella, for there
was a little more rain than common, I saw these two young people in
their bath-chairs, coming along side by side, and talking just as hard
as they could. At first I was surprised, but I soon saw how things was:
the old gentleman couldn't come out in the rain. It was plain enough
from the way these two young people looked at each other that they was
in love, and although it most likely hurt them just as much to come out
into the rain as it would the old man, love is all-powerful, even over

Pretty soon the clouds cleared away without notice, as they do in this
country, and it wasn't long before I saw, away off, the old man's
bath-chair coming along lively. His bottle-nose was sticking up in the
air, and he was looking from one side to the other as hard as he could.
The two lovers had turned off to the right and gone over a little
bridge and I couldn't see them; but by the way that old nose shook as
it got nearer and nearer to me, I saw they had reason to tremble,
though they didn't know it.

When the old father reached the narrow path he did not turn down it,
but kept straight on, and I breathed a sigh of deep relief. But the
next instant I remembered that the broad path turned not far beyond,
and that the little one soon ran into it, and so it could not be long
before the father and the lovers would meet. I like to tell Jone
everything I am going to do, when I am sure that he'll agree with me
that it is right; but this time I could not bother with explanations,
and so I just told him to sit still for a minute, for I wanted to see
something, and I walked after the young couple as fast as I could. When
I got to them, for they hadn't gone very far, I passed the young
woman's bath-chair, and then I looked around and I said to her, "I beg
your pardon, miss, but there is an old gentleman looking for you; but
as I think he is coming round this way, you'll meet him if you keep on
this path." "Oh, my!" said she unintentionally; and then she thanked me
very much, and I went on and turned a corner and went back to Jone, and
pretty soon the young man's bath-chair passed us going toward the
gate, he looking three-quarters happy, and the other quarter
disappointed, as lovers are if they don't get the whole loaf.

From that day until yesterday, which was a full week, I came into the
gardens every morning, sometimes even when Jone didn't want to come,
because I wanted to see as much of this love business as I could. For
my own use in thinking of them I named the young man Pomeroy and the
young woman Angelica, and as for the father, I called him Snortfrizzle,
being the worst name I could think of at the time. But I must wait
until my next letter to tell you the rest of the story of the lovers,
and I am sure you will be as much interested in them as I was.

_Letter Number Nineteen_



I have a good many things to tell you, for we leave Buxton to-morrow,
but I will first finish the story of Angelica and Pomeroy. I think the
men who pulled the bath-chairs of the lovers knew pretty much how
things was going, for whenever they got a chance they brought their
chairs together, and I often noticed them looking out for the old
father, and if they saw him coming they would move away from each other
if they happened to be together.

If Snortfrizzle's puller had been one of the regular bath-chair men
they might have made an agreement with him so that he would have kept
away from them; but he was a man in livery, with a high hat, who walked
very regular, like a high-stepping horse, and who, it was plain enough
to see, never had anything to do with common bath-chair men. Old
Snortfrizzle seemed to be smelling a rat more and more--that is, if it
is proper to liken Cupid to such an animal--and his nose seemed to get
purpler and purpler. I think he would always have kept close to
Angelica's chair if it hadn't been that he had a way of falling asleep,
and whenever he did this his man always walked very slow, being
naturally lazy. Two or three times I have seen Snortfrizzle wake up,
shout to his man, and make him trot around a clump of trees and into
some narrow path where he thought his daughter might have gone.

Things began to look pretty bad, for the old man had very strong
suspicions about Pomeroy, and was so very wide awake when he was awake,
that I knew it couldn't be long before he caught the two together, and
then I didn't believe that Angelica would ever come into these gardens

It was yesterday morning that I saw old Snortfrizzle with his chin down
on his shirt bosom, snoring so steady that his hat heaved, being very
slowly pulled along a shady walk, and then I saw his daughter, who was
not far ahead of him, turn into another walk, which led down by the
river. I knew very well that she ought not to turn into that walk,
because it didn't in any way lead to the place where Pomeroy was
sitting in his bath-chair behind a great clump of bushes and flowers,
with his face filled with the most lively emotions, but overspread
ever and anon by a cloudlet of despair on account of the approach of
the noontide hour, when Angelica and Snortfrizzle generally went home.

[Illustration: "Your brother is over there"]

The time was short, and I believed that love's young dream must be put
off until the next day if Angelica could not be made aware where
Pomeroy was sitting, or Pomeroy where Angelica was going; so I got
right up and made a short cut down a steep little path, and, sure
enough, I met her when I got to the bottom. "I beg your pardon very
much, miss," said I, "but your brother is over there in the entrance to
the cave, and I think he has been looking for you." "My brother?" said
she, turning as red as her ribbons was blue. "Oh, thank you very much!
Robertson, you may take me that way."

It wasn't long before I saw those two bath-chairs alongside of each
other, and covered from general observation by masses of blooming
shrubbery. As I had been the cause of bringing them together I thought
I had a right to look at them a little while, as that would be the only
reward I'd be likely to get, and so I did it. It was as I thought;
things was coming to a climax; the bath-chair men standing with much
consideration with their backs to their vehicles, and, united for the
time being by their clasped hands, the lovers grew tender to a degree
which I would have fain checked, had I been nearer, for fear of notice
by passers-by.

But now my blood froze within my veins. I would never have believed
that a man in a high hat and livery a size too small for him could run,
but Snortfrizzle's man did, and at a pace which ought to have been
prohibited by law. I saw him coming from an unsuspected quarter, and
swoop around that clump of flowers and foliage. Regardless of
consequences I approached nearer. There was loud voices; there was
exclamations; there was a rattling of wheels; there was the sundering
of tender ties!

In a moment Pomeroy, who had backed off but a little way, began to
speak, but his voice was drowned in the thunder of Snortfrizzle's
denunciations. Angelica wept, and her head fell upon her lovely bosom,
and I am sure I heard her implore her man to remove her from the scene.
Pomeroy remained, his face firm, his eyes undaunted, but Snortfrizzle
shook his fist in unison with his nose, and, hurling an anathema at
him, followed his daughter, probably to incarcerate her in her

All was over, and I returned to Jone with a heavy heart and faltering
step. I could not but feel that I had brought about the sad end of this
tender chapter in the lives of Pomeroy and Angelica. If I had let them
alone they would not have met and they would not have been discovered
together. I didn't tell Jone what had happened, because he does not
always sympathize with me in my interest in others, and for hours my
heart was heavy.

It was about a half an hour before dinner that day when I thought that
a little walk might raise my spirits, and I wandered into the gardens,
for which we each have a weekly ticket, and there, to my amazement, not
far from the gate I saw Angelica in tears and her bath-chair. Her man
was not with her, and she was alone. When she saw me she looked at me
for a minute, and then she beckoned to me to come to her. I flew. There
were but few people in the gardens, and we was alone.

"Madam," said she, "I think you must be very kind. I believe you knew
that gentleman was not my brother. He is not."

"My dear miss," said I--I was almost on the point of calling her
Angelica--"I knew that. I know that he is something nearer and dearer
than even a brother."

She blushed. "Yes," said she, "you are right, and we are in great

"Oh, what is it? Tell me quick. What can I do to help you?"

"My father is very angry," said she, "and has forbidden me ever to see
him again, and he is going to take me home to-morrow. But we have
agreed to fly together to-day. It is our only chance, but he is not
here. Oh, dear! I do not know what I shall do."

"Where are you going to fly to?" said I.

"We want to take the Edinburgh train this evening if there is one," she
said, "and we get off at Carlisle, and from there it is only a little
way to Gretna Green."

"Gretna Green!" I cried. "Oh, I will help you! I will help you! Why
isn't the gentleman here, and where has he gone?"

"He has gone to see about the trains," she said, almost crying, "and I
don't see what keeps him. I could not get away until father went into
his room to dress for dinner, and as soon as he is ready he will call
for me. Where can he be? I have sent my man to look for him."

"Oh, I'll go look for him! You wait here," I cried, forgetting that
she would have to, and away I went.

As I was hurrying out of the gates of the gardens I looked in the
direction of the railroad station, and there I saw Pomeroy pulled by
one bath-chair man and the other one talking to him. In twenty bounds I
reached him. "Go back for your young lady," I cried to Robertson,
Angelica's man, "and bring her here on the run. She sent me for you."
Away went Robertson, and then I said to the astonished Pomeroy, "Sir,
there is no time for explanations. Your lady-love will be with you in a
minute. My husband and I are going to Edinburgh to-morrow, and I have
looked up all the trains. There is one which leaves here at twenty
minutes past six. If she comes soon you will have time to catch it.
Have you your baggage ready?"

He looked at me as if he wondered who on earth I was, but I am sure he
saw my soul in my face and trusted me.

"Yes," he said, "she has a little bag in her bath-chair, and mine is

"Here she comes," said I, "and you must fly to the station."

In a moment Angelica was with us, her face beaming with delight.

"Oh, thank you, thank you!" she cried, but I would not listen to her
gratitude. "Hurry!" I said, "or you will be too late. Joy go with

They hastened off, and I walked back to the gardens. I looked at my
watch, and to my horror I saw it was five minutes past six. Fifteen
minutes left yet. Fifteen minutes in which they might be overtaken. I
stopped for a moment irresolutely. What should I do? I thought of
running after them to the station. I thought in some way I might help
them--buy their tickets or do something. But while I was thinking I
heard a rattle, and down the street came the man in livery, and
Snortfrizzle's bottle-nose like a volcano behind him. The minute they
reached me, and there was nobody else in the street, the old man
shouted, "Hi! Have you seen two bath-chairs with a young man and a
young woman in them?"

I was on the point of saying No, but changed my mind like a flash. "Did
the young lady wear a hat with blue ribbons?" I asked.

"Yes!" he roared. "Which way did they go?"

"And did the young man with her wear eyeglasses and a brown moustache?"

"With her, was he?" screamed Snortfrizzle. "That's the rascal. Which
way did they go? Tell me instantly."

When I was a very little girl I knew an old woman who told me that if a
person was really good at heart, the holy angels would allow that
person, in the course of her life, twelve fibs without charge, provided
they was told for the good of somebody and not to do harm. Now at
such a moment as this I could not remember how many fibs of that kind I
had left over to my credit, but I knew there must be at least one, and
so I didn't hesitate a second. "They have gone to the Cat and Fiddle,"
said I. "I heard them tell their bath-chair men so, as they urged them
forward at the top of their speed. They stopped for a second here, sir,
and I heard the gentleman send a cabman for a clergyman, post haste, to
meet them at the Cat and Fiddle."

[Illustration: TO THE CAT AND FIDDLE]

If the sky had been lighted up by the eruption of Snortfrizzle's nose I
should not have been surprised.

"The fools! They can't! Cat and Fiddle! But they can't be half way
there. Martin, to the Cat and Fiddle!"

The man touched his hat. "But I couldn't do that, sir. I couldn't run
to the Cat and Fiddle. It's long miles, sir. Shall I get a carriage?"

"Carriage!" cried the old man, and then he began to look about him.

Horror struck me. Perhaps they would go to the station for one! Just
then a boy driving a pony and a grocery cart came up.

"There you are, sir," I cried. "Hire that boy to tow you. Your butler
can sit in the back of the cart and hold the handle of your bath-chair.
It may take long to get a carriage, and the cart will go much faster.
You may overtake them in a mile."

Old Snortfrizzle never so much as thanked me or looked at me. He yelled
to the boy in the cart, offered him ten shillings and sixpence to give
him a tow, and in less time than I could take to write it, that flunky
with a high hat was sitting in the tail of the cart, the pony was going
at full gallop, and the old man's bath-chair was spinning on behind it
at a great rate.

I did not leave that spot--standing statue-like and looking along both
roads--until I heard the rumble of the departing train, and then I
repaired to the Old Hall, my soul uplifted. I found Jone in an awful
fluster about my being out so late; but I do stay pretty late sometimes
when I walk by myself, and so he hadn't anything new to say.

_Letter Number Twenty_


We have been here five or six days now, but the first thing I must
write is the rest of the story of the lovers. We left Buxton the next
day after their flight, and I begged Jone to stop at Carlisle and let
us make a little trip to Gretna Green. I wanted to see the place that
has been such a well-spring of matrimonial joys, and besides, I thought
we might find Pomeroy and Angelica still there.

I had not seen old Snortfrizzle again, but late that night I had heard
a row in the hotel, and I expect it was him back from the Cat and
Fiddle. Whether he was inquiring for me or not I don't know, or what he
was doing, or what he did.

Jone thought I had done a good deal of meddling in other people's
business, but he agreed to go to Gretna Green, and we got there in the
afternoon. I left Jone to take a smoke at the station, because I
thought this was a business it would be better for me to attend to
myself, and I started off to look up the village blacksmith and ask him
if he had lately wedded a pair; but, will you believe it, madam, I had
not gone far on the main road of the village when, a little ahead of
me, I saw two bath-chairs coming toward me, one of them pulled by
Robertson, and the other by Pomeroy's man, and in these two chairs was
the happy lovers, evidently Mr. and Mrs.! Their faces was filled with
light enough to take a photograph, and I could almost see their hearts
swelling with transcendent joy. I hastened toward them, and in an
instant our hands was clasped as if we had been old friends.

They told me their tale. They had reached the station in plenty of
time, and Robertson had got a carriage for them, and he and the other
man had gone with them third class, with the bath-chairs in the goods
carriages. They had reached Gretna Green that morning, and had been
married two hours. Then I told my tale. The eyes of both of them was
dimmed with tears, hers the most, and again they clasped my hands.
"Poor father," said Angelica, "I hope he didn't go all the way to the
Cat and Fiddle, and that the night air didn't strike into his joints;
but he cannot separate us now." And she looked confiding at the other

"What are you going to do?" said I, and they said they had just been
making plans. I saw, though, that their minds was in too exalted a
state to do this properly for themselves, and so I reflected a minute.
"How long have you been in Buxton?"

"I have been there two weeks and two days," said she, "and my
husband"--oh, the effulgence that filled her countenance as she said
this--"has been there one day longer."

"Then," said I, "my advice to you is to go back to Buxton and stay
there five days, until you both have taken the waters and the baths for
the full three weeks. It won't be much to bear the old gentleman's
upbraiding for five days, and then, blessed with health and love, you
can depart. No matter what you do afterward, I'd stick it out at Buxton
for five days."

"We'll do it," said they; and then, after more gratitude and
congratulations, we parted.

And now I must tell you about ourselves. When Jone had been three weeks
at Buxton, and done all the things he ought to do, and hadn't done
anything he oughtn't to do, he hadn't any more rheumatism in him than a
squirrel that jumps from bough to bough. But will you believe it,
madam, I had such a rheumatism in one side and one arm that it made me
give little squeaks when I did up my back hair, and it all came from my
taking the baths when there wasn't anything the matter with me; for I
found out, but all too late, that while the waters of Buxton will cure
rheumatism in people that's got it, they will bring it out in people
who never had it at all. We was told that we ought not to do anything
in the bathing line without the advice of a doctor; but those little
tanks in the floors of the bathrooms, all lined with tiles and filled
with warm, transparent water, that you went down into by marble steps,
did seem so innocent, that I didn't believe there was no need in asking
questions about them. Jone wanted me to stay three weeks longer until I
was cured, but I wouldn't listen to that. I was wild to get to
Scotland, and as my rheumatism did not hinder me from walking, I didn't
mind what else it did.

And there is another thing I must tell you. One day when I was sitting
by myself on The Slopes waiting for Jone, about lunch time, and with a
reminiscence floating through my mind of the Devonshire clotted cream
of the past, never perhaps to return, I saw an elderly woman coming
along, and when she got near she stopped and spoke. I knew her in an
instant. She was the old body we met at the Babylon Hotel, who told us
about the cottage at Chedcombe. I asked her to sit down beside me and
talk, because I wanted to tell her what good times we had had, and how
we liked the place, but she said she couldn't, as she was obliged to go

"And did you like Chedcombe?" said she. "I hope you and your husband
kept well."

I said yes, except Jone's rheumatism, we felt splendid; for my aches
hadn't come on then, and I was going on to gush about the lovely
country she had sent us to, but she didn't seem to want to listen.

"Really," said she, "and your husband had the rheumatism. It was a
wise thing for you to come here. We English people have reason to be
proud of our country. If we have our banes, we also have our antidotes;
and it isn't every country that can say that, is it?"

[Illustration: "And did you like Chedcombe?"]

I wanted to speak up for America, and tried to think of some good
antidote with the proper banes attached; but before I could do it she
gave her head a little wag, and said, "Good morning; nice weather,
isn't it?" and wobbled away. It struck me that the old body was a
little lofty, and just then Mr. Poplington, who I hadn't noticed, came

"Really," said he, "I didn't know you was acquainted with the

"The which?" said I.

"The Countess of Mussleby," said he, "that you was just talking to."

"Countess!" I cried. "Why, that's the old person who recommended us to
go to Chedcombe."

"Very natural," said he, "for her to do that, for her estates lie south
of Chedcombe, and she takes a great interest in the villages around
about, and knows all the houses to let."

I parted from him and wandered away, a sadness stealing o'er my soul.
Gone with the recollections of the clotted cream was my visions of
diamond tiaras, tossing plumes, and long folds of brocades and laces
sweeping the marble floors of palaces. If ever again I read a novel
with a countess in it, I shall see the edge of a yellow flannel
petticoat and a pair of shoes like two horse-hair bags, which was the
last that I saw of this thunderbolt into the middle of my visions of

Jone and me got to like Buxton very much. We met many pleasant people,
and as most of them had a chord in common, we was friendly enough. Jone
said it made him feel sad in the smoking-room to see the men he'd got
acquainted with get well and go home, but that's a kind of sadness that
all parties can bear up under pretty well.

I haven't said a word yet about Scotland, though we have been here a
week, but I really must get something about it into this letter. I was
saying to Jone the other day that if I was to meet a king with a crown
on his head I am not sure that I should know that king if I saw him
again, so taken up would I be with looking at his crown, especially if
it had jewels in it such as I saw in the regalia at the Tower of
London. Now Edinburgh seems to strike me in very much the same way.
Prince Street is its crown, and whenever I think of this city it will
be of this magnificent street and the things that can be seen from it.

It is a great thing for a street to have one side of it taken away and
sunk out of sight so that there is a clear view far and wide, and
visitors can stand and look at nearly everything that is worth seeing
in the whole town, as if they was in the front seats of the balcony in
a theatre, and looking on the stage. You know I am very fond of the
theatre, madam, but I never saw anything in the way of what they call
spectacular representation that came near Edinburgh as seen from Prince

But as I said in one of my first letters, I am not going to write about
things and places that you can get much better description of in books,
and so I won't take up any time in telling how we stand at the window
of our room at the Royal Hotel, and look out at the Old Town standing
like a forest of tall houses on the other side of the valley, with the
great castle perched up high above them, and all the hills and towers
and the streets all spread out below us, with Scott's monument right in
front, with everybody he ever wrote about standing on brackets, which
stick out everywhere from the bottom up to the very top of the
monument, which is higher than the tallest house, and looks like a
steeple without a church to it. It is the most beautiful thing of the
kind I ever saw, and I have made out, or think I have, nearly every one
of the figures that's carved on it.

I think I shall like the Scotch people very much, but just now there is
one thing about them that stands up as high above their other good
points as the castle does above the rest of the city, and that is the
feeling they have for anybody who has done anything to make his
fellow-countrymen proud of him. A famous Scotchman cannot die without
being pretty promptly born again in stone or bronze, and put in some
open place with seats convenient for people to sit and look at him. I
like this; glory ought to begin at home.

_Letter Number Twenty-one_


Jone being just as lively on his legs as he ever was in his life,
thanks to the waters of Buxton, and I having the rheumatism now only in
my arm, which I don't need to walk with, we have gone pretty much all
over Edinburgh, and a great place it is to walk in, so far as variety
goes. Some of the streets are so steep you have to go up steps if you
are walking, and about a mile around if you are driving. I never get
tired wandering about the Old Town with its narrow streets and awfully
tall houses, with family washes hanging out from every story.

The closes are queer places. They are very like little villages set
into the town as if they was raisins in a pudding. You get to them by
alleys or tunnels, and when you are inside you find a little
neighborhood that hasn't anything more to do with the next close, a
block away, than one country village has with another.

We went to see John Knox's house, and although Mr. Knox was pretty hard
on vanities and frivolities, he didn't mind having a good house over
his head, with woodwork on the walls and ceilings that wasn't any more
necessary than the back buttons on his coat.

We have been reading hard since we have been in Edinburgh, and whenever
Mr. Knox and Mary Queen of Scots come together, I take Mary's side
without asking questions. I have no doubt Mr. Knox was a good man, but
if meddling in other people's business gave a person the right to have
a monument, the top of his would be the first thing travellers would
see when they come near Edinburgh.

When we went to Holyrood Palace it struck me that Mary Queen of Scots
deserved a better house. Of course, it wasn't built for her, but I
don't care very much for the other people who lived in it. The rooms
are good enough for an ordinary household's use, although the little
room that she had her supper party in when Rizzio was killed, wouldn't
be considered by Jone and me as anything like big enough for our family
to eat in. But there is a general air about the place as if it belonged
to a royal family that was not very well off, and had to abstain from a
good deal of grandeur.

If Mary Queen of Scots could come to life again, I expect the Scotch
people would give her the best palace that money could buy, for they
have grown to think the world of her, and her pictures blossom out all
over Edinburgh like daisies in a pasture field.

The first morning after we got here I was as much surprised as if I had
met Mary Queen of Scots walking along Prince Street with a parasol over
her head. We were sitting in the reading-room of the hotel, and on the
other side of the room was a long desk at which people was sitting,
writing letters, all with their backs to us. One of these was a young
man wearing a nice light-colored sack coat, with a shiny white collar
sticking above it, and his black derby hat was on the desk beside him.
When he had finished his letter he put a stamp on it and got up to mail
it. I happened to be looking at him, and I believe I stopped breathing
as I sat and stared. Under his coat he had on a little skirt of green
plaid about big enough for my Corinne when she was about five years
old, and then he didn't wear anything whatever until you got down to
his long stockings and low shoes. I was so struck with the feeling that
he was an absent-minded person that I punched Jone and whispered to him
to go quick and tell him. Jone looked at him and laughed, and said that
was the Highland costume.

Now if that man had had his martial plaid wrapped around him, and had
worn a Scottish cap with a feather in it and a long ribbon hanging down
his back, with his claymore girded to his side, I wouldn't have been
surprised; for this is Scotland, and that would have been like the
pictures I have seen of Highlanders. But to see a man with the upper
half of him dressed like a clerk in a dry goods store and the lower
half like a Highland chief, was enough to make a stranger gasp.

[Illustration: "Jone looked at him and said that was the Highland

But since then I have seen a good many young men dressed that way. I
believe it is considered the tip of the fashion. I haven't seen any of
the bare-legged dandies yet with a high silk hat and an umbrella, but I
expect it won't be long before I meet one. We often see the Highland
soldiers that belong to the garrison at the castle, and they look
mighty fine with their plaid shawls and their scarfs and their
feathers; but to see a man who looks as if one half of him belonged to
London Bridge and the other half to the Highland moors, does look to
me like a pretty bad mixture.

I am not so sure, either, that the whole Highland dress isn't better
suited to Egypt, where it doesn't often rain, than to Scotland. Last
Saturday we was at St. Giles's Church, and the man who took us around
told us we ought to come early next morning and see the military
service, which was something very fine; and as Jone gave him a shilling
he said he would be on hand and watch for us, and give us a good place
where we could see the soldiers come in. On Sunday morning it rained
hard, but we was both at the church before eight o'clock, and so was a
good many other people, but the doors was shut and they wouldn't let us
in. They told us it was such a bad morning that the soldiers could not
come out, and so there would be no military service that day. I don't
know whether those fine fellows thought that the colors would run out
of their beautiful plaids, or whether they would get rheumatism in
their knees; but it did seem to me pretty hard that soldiers could not
come out in the weather that lots of common citizens didn't seem to
mind at all. I was a good deal put out, for I hate to get up early for
nothing, but there was no use saying anything, and all we could do was
to go home, as all the other people with full suits of clothes did.

Jone and I have got so much more to see before we go home, that it is
very well we are both able to skip around lively. Of course there are
ever and ever so many places that we want to go to, but can't do it,
but I am bound to see the Highlands and the country of the "Lady of the
Lake." We have been reading up Walter Scott, and I think more than I
ever did that he is perfectly splendid. While we was in Edinburgh we
felt bound to go and see Melrose Abbey and Abbotsford. I shall not say
much about these two places, but I will say that to go into Sir Walter
Scott's library and sit in the old armchair he used to sit in, at the
desk he used to write on, and see his books and things around me, gave
me more a feeling of reverentialism than I have had in any cathedral

As for Melrose Abbey, I could have walked about under those towering
walls and lovely arches until the stars peeped out from the lofty
vaults above; but Jone and the man who drove the carriage were of a
different way of thinking, and we left all too soon. But one thing I
did do: I went to the grave of Michael Scott the wizard, where once was
shut up the book of awful mysteries, with a lamp always burning by it,
though the flagstone was shut down tight on top of it, and I got a
piece of moss and a weed. We don't do much in the way of carrying off
such things, but I want Corinne to read the "Lady of the Lake," and
then I shall give her that moss and that weed, and tell where I got
them. I believe that, in the way of romantics, Corinne is going to be
more like me than like Jone.

To-morrow we go to the Highlands, and we shall leave our two big trunks
in the care of the man in the red coat, who is commander-in-chief at
the Royal Hotel, and who said he would take as much care of them as if
they was two glass jars filled with rubies; and we believed him, for he
has done nothing but take care of us since we came to Edinburgh, and
good care, too.

_Letter Number Twenty-two_



It happened that the day we went north was a very fine one, and as soon
as we got into the real Highland country there was nothing to hinder me
from feeling that my feet was on my native heath, except that I was in
a railway carriage, and that I had no Scotch blood in me, but the joy
of my soul was all the same. There was an old gentleman got into our
carriage at Perth, and when he saw how we was taking in everything our
eyes could reach, for Jone is a good deal more fired up by travel than
he used to be--I expect it must have been the Buxton waters that made
the change--he began to tell us all about the places we were passing
through. There didn't seem to be a rock or a stream that hadn't a bit
of history to it for that old gentleman to tell us about.

We got out at a little town called Struan, and then we took a carriage
and drove across the wild moors and hills for thirteen miles till we
came to this village at the end of Loch Rannoch. The wind blew strong
and sharp, but we knew what we had to expect, and had warm clothes on.
And with the cool breeze, and remembering "Scots wha ha' wi' Wallace
bled," it made my blood tingle all the way.

We are going to stay here at least a week. We shall not try to do
everything that can be done on Scottish soil, for we shall not stalk
stags or shoot grouse; and I have told Jone that he may put on as many
Scotch bonnets and plaids as he likes, but there is one thing he is not
going to do, and that is to go bare-kneed, to which he answered, he
would never do that unless he could dip his knees into weak coffee so
that they would be the same color as his face.

There is a nice inn here with beautiful scenery all around, and the
lovely Loch Rannoch stretches away for eleven miles. Everything is just
as Scotch as it can be. Even the English people who come here put on
knickerbockers and bonnets. I have never been anywhere else where it is
considered the correct thing to dress like the natives, and I will say
here that it is very few of the natives that wear kilts. That sort of
thing seems to be given up to the fancy Highlanders.

Nearly all the talk at the inn is about, shooting and fishing.
Stag-hunting here is very different from what it is in England in more
ways than one. In the first place, stags are not hunted with horses and
hounds. In the second place, the sport is not free. A gentleman here
told Jone that if a man wanted to shoot a stag on these moors it would
cost him one rifle cartridge and six five pound notes; and when Jone
did not understand what that meant, the man went on and told him about
how the deer-stalking was carried on here. He said that some of the big
proprietors up here owned as much as ninety thousand acres of moorland,
and they let it out mostly to English people for hunting and fishing.
And if it is stag-hunting the tenant wants, the price he pays is
regulated by the number of stags he has the privilege of shooting. Each
stag he is allowed to kill costs him thirty pounds. So if he wants the
pleasure of shooting thirty stags in the season, his rent will be nine
hundred pounds. This he pays for the stag-shooting, but some kind of a
house and about ten thousand acres are thrown in, which he has a
perfect right to sit down on and rest himself on, but he can't shoot a
grouse on it unless he pays extra for that. And, what is more, if he
happens to be a bad shot, or breaks his leg and has to stay in the
house, and doesn't shoot his thirty stags, he has got to pay for them
all the same.

When Jone told me all this, I said I thought a hundred and fifty
dollars a pretty high price to pay for the right to shoot one deer. But
Jone said I didn't consider all the rest the man got. In the first
place, he had the right to get up very early in the morning, in the
gloom and drizzle, and to trudge through the slop and the heather until
he got far away from the neighborhood of any human being, and then he
could go up on some high piece of ground and take a spyglass and search
the whole country round for a stag. When he saw one way off in the
distance snuffing the morning air, or hunting for his breakfast among
the heather, he had the privilege of walking two or three miles over
the moor so as to get that stag between the wind and himself, so that
it could not scent him or hear him. Then he had the glorious right to
get his rifle all ready, and steal and creep toward that stag to cut
short his existence. He has to be as careful and as sneaky as if he was
a snake in the grass, going behind little hills and down into gullies,
and sometimes almost crawling on his stomach where he goes over an open
place, and doing everything he can to keep that stag from knowing his
end is near. Sometimes he follows his victim all day, and the sun goes
down before he has the glorious right of standing up and lodging a
bullet in its unsuspecting heart. "So you see," said Jone, "he gets a
lot for his hundred and fifty dollars."

"They do get a good deal more for their money than I thought they did,"
said I; "but I wonder if those rich sportsmen ever think that if they
would take the money that they pay for shooting thirty or forty stags
in one season, they might buy a rhinoceros, which they could set up on
a hill and shoot at every morning if they liked. A game animal like
that would last them for years, and if they ever felt like it, they
could ask their friends to help them shoot without costing them

Jone is pretty hard on sport with killing in it. He does not mind
eating meat, but he likes to have the butcher do the killing. But I
reckon he is a little too tender-hearted. But, as for me, I like sport
of some kinds, especially when you don't have your pity or your
sympathies awakened by seeing your prey enjoying life when you are
seeking to encompass his end. Of course, by that I mean fishing.

There are a good many trout in the lake, and people can hire the
privilege of fishing for them; and I begged Jone to let me go out in a
boat and fish. He was rather in favor of staying ashore and fishing in
the little river, but I didn't want to do that. I wanted to go out and
have some regular lake fishing. At last Jone agreed, provided I would
not expect him to have anything to do with the fishing. "Of course I
don't expect anything like that," said I; "and it would be a good deal
better for you to stay on shore. The landlord says a gilly will go
along to row the boat and attend to the lines and rods and all that,
and so there won't be any need for you at all, and you can stay on
shore with your book, and watch if you like."

"And suppose you tumble overboard," said Jone.

"Then you can swim out," I said, "and perhaps wade a good deal of the
way. I don't suppose we need go far from the bank."

Jone laughed, and said he was going too.

"Very well," said I; "but you have got to stay in the bow, with your
back to me, and take an interesting book with you, for it is a long
time since I have done any fishing, and I am not going to do it with
two men watching me and telling me how I ought to do it and how I
oughtn't to. One will be enough."

"And that one won't be me," said Jone, "for fishing is not one of the
branches I teach in my school."

I would have liked it better if Jone and me had gone alone, he doing
nothing but row; but the landlord wouldn't let his boat that way, and
said we must take a gilly, which, as far as I can make out, is a sort
of sporting farmhand. That is the way to do fishing in these parts.

Well, we started, and Jone sat in the front, with his back to me, and
the long-legged gilly rowed like a good fellow. When we got to a good
place to fish he stopped, and took a fishing-rod that was in pieces and
screwed them together, and fixed the line all right so that it would
run along the rod to a little wheel near the handle, and then he put on
a couple of hooks with artificial flies on them, which was so small I
couldn't imagine how the fish could see them. While he was doing all
this I got a little fidgety, because I had never fished except with a
straight pole and line with a cork to it, which would bob when the fish
bit; but this was altogether a different sort of a thing. When it was
all ready he handed me the pole, and then sat down very polite to look
at me.

Now, if he had handed me the rod, and then taken another boat and gone
home, perhaps I might have known what to do with the thing after a
while, but I must say that at that minute I didn't. I held the rod out
over the water and let the flies dangle down into it, but do what I
would, they wouldn't sink; there wasn't weight enough on them.

"You must throw your fly, madam," said the gilly, always very polite.
"Let me give it a throw for you," and then he took the rod in his hand
and gave it a whirl and a switch which sent the flies out ever so far
from the boat; then he drew it along a little, so that the flies
skipped over the top of the water.


I didn't say anything, and taking the pole in both hands I gave it a
wild twirl over my head, and then it flew out as if I was trying to
whip one of the leaders in a four-horse team. As I did this Jone gave a
jump that took him pretty near out of the boat, for two flies swished
just over the bridge of his nose, and so close to his eyes as he was
reading an interesting dialogue, and not thinking of fish or even of
me, that he gave a jump sideways, which, if it hadn't been for the
gilly grabbing him, would have taken him overboard. I was frightened
myself, and said to him that I had told him he ought not to come in the
boat, and it would have been a good deal better for him to have stayed
on shore.

He didn't say anything, but I noticed he turned up his collar and
pulled down his hat over his eyes and ears. The gilly said that perhaps
I had too much line out, and so he took the rod and wound up a good
deal of the line. I liked this better, because it was easier to whip
out the line and pull it in again. Of course, I would not be likely to
catch fish so much nearer the boat, but then we can't have everything
in this world. Once I thought I had a bite, and I gave the rod such a
jerk that the line flew back against me, and when I was getting ready
to throw it out again, I found that one of the little hooks had stuck
fast in my thumb. I tried to take it out with the other hand, but it
was awfully awkward to do, because the rod wobbled and kept jerking on
it. The gilly asked me if there was anything the matter with the flies,
but I didn't want him to know what had happened, and so I said, "Oh,
no," and turning my back on him I tried my best to get the hook out
without his helping me, for I didn't want him to think that the first
thing I caught was myself, after just missing my husband--he might be
afraid it would be his turn next. You cannot imagine how bothersome it
is to go fishing with a gilly to wait on you. I would rather wash
dishes with a sexton to wipe them and look for nicks on the edges.

At last--and I don't know how it happened--I did hook a fish, and the
minute I felt him I gave a jerk, and up he came. I heard the gilly say
something about playing, but I was in no mood for play, and if that
fish had been shot up out of the water by a submarine volcano it
couldn't have ascended any quicker than when I jerked it up. Then as
quick as lightning it went whirling through the air, struck the pages
of Jone's book, turning over two or three of them, and then wiggled
itself half way down Jone's neck, between his skin and his collar,
while the loose hook swung around and nipped him in his ear.

"Don't pull, madam," shouted the gilly, and it was well he did, for I
was just on the point of giving an awful jerk to get the fish loose
from Jone. Jone gave a grab at the fish, which was trying to get down
his back, and pulling him out threw him down; but by doing this he
jerked the other hook into his ear, and then a yell arose such as I
never before heard from Jone. "I told you you ought not to come in this
boat," said I; "you don't like fishing, and something is always
happening to you."

"Like fishing!" cried Jone. "I should say not," and he made up such a
comical face that even the gilly, who was very polite, had to laugh as
he went to take the hook out of his ear.

When Jone and the fish had been got off my line, Jone turned to me and
said, "Are you going to fish any more?"

"Not with you in the boat," I answered; and then he said he was glad to
hear that, and told the man he could row us ashore.

I can assure you, madam, that fishing in a rather wobbly boat with a
husband and a gilly in it, is not to my taste, and that was the end of
our sporting experiences in Scotland, but it did not end the glorious
times we had by that lake and on the moors.

We hired a little pony trap and drove up to the other end of the lake,
and not far beyond that is the beginning of Rannoch Moor, which the
books say is one of the wildest and most desolate places in all Europe.
So far as we went over the moor we found that this was truly so, and I
know that I, at least, enjoyed it ever so much more because it was so
wild and desolate. As far as we could see, the moors stretched away in
every direction, covered in most places by heather, now out of blossom,
but with great rocks standing out of the ground in some places, and
here and there patches of grass. Sometimes we could see four or five
lochs at once, some of them two or three miles long, and down through
the middle of the moor came the maddest and most harum-scarum little
river that could be imagined. It actually seemed to go out of its way
to find rocks to jump over, just as if it was a young calf, and some of
the waterfalls were beautiful. All around us was melancholy mountains,
all of them with "Ben" for their first names, except Schiehallion,
which was the best shaped of any of them, coming up to a point and
standing by itself, which was what I used to think mountains always
did; but now I know they run into each other so that you can hardly
tell where one ends and the other begins.

For three or four days we went out on these moors, sometimes when the
sun was shining, and sometimes when there was a heavy rain and the wind
blew gales, and I think I liked this last kind of weather the best, for
it gave me an idea of lonely desolation which I never had in any part
of the world I have ever been in before. There is often not a house to
be seen, not even a crofter's hut, and we seldom met anybody. Sometimes
I wandered off by myself behind a hillock or rocks where I could not
even see Jone, and then I used to try to imagine how Eve would have
felt if she had early become a widow, and to put myself in her place.
There was always clouds in the sky, sometimes dark and heavy ones
coming down to the very peaks of the mountains, and not a tree was to
be seen, except a few rowan trees or bushes close to the river. But by
the side of Lock Rannoch, on our way back to the village, we passed
along the edge of a fine old forest called the "Black Woods of
Rannoch." There are only three of these ancient forests left in
Scotland, and some of the trees in this one are said to be eight
hundred years old.

[Illustration: Pomona drinking it in]

The last time we was out on the Rannoch Moor there was such a savage
and driving wind, and the rain came down in such torrents, that my
mackintosh was blown nearly off of me, and I was wet from my head to my
heels. But I would have stayed out hours longer if Jone had been
willing, and I never felt so sorry to leave these Grampian Hills, where
I would have been glad to have had my father feed his flocks, and where
I might have wandered away my childhood, barefooted over the heather,
singing Scotch songs and drinking in deep draughts of the pure mountain
air, instead of--but no matter.

To-morrow we leave the Highlands, but as we go to follow the shallop of
the "Lady of the Lake," I should not repine.

_Letter Number Twenty-three_



It would seem to be the easiest thing in the world, when looking on the
map, to go across the country from Loch Rannoch over to Katrine and all
those celebrated parts, but we found we could not go that way, and so
we went back to Edinburgh and made a fresh start. We stopped one night
at the Royal Hotel, and there we found a letter from Mr. Poplington. We
had left him at Buxton, and he said he was not going to Scotland this
season, but would try to see us in London before we sailed.

He is a good man, and he wrote this letter on purpose to tell me that
he had had a letter from his friend, the clergyman in Somersetshire,
who had forbidden the young woman whose wash my tricycle had run into
to marry her lover because he was a Radical. This letter was in answer
to one Mr. Poplington wrote to him, in which he gave the minister my
reasons for thinking that the best way to convert the young man from
Radicalism was to let him marry the young woman, who would be sure to
bring him around to her way of thinking, whatever that might be.

I didn't care about the Radicalism. All I wanted was to get the two
married, and then it would not make the least difference to me what
their politics might be; if they lived properly and was sober and
industrious and kept on loving each other, I didn't believe it would
make much difference to them. It was a long letter that the clergyman
wrote, but the point of it was, that he had concluded to tell the young
woman that she might marry the fellow if she liked, and that she must
do her best to make him a good Conservative, which, of course, she
promised to do. When I read this I clapped my hands, for who could have
suspected that I should have the good luck to come to this country to
spend the summer and make two matches before I left it!

When we left Edinburgh to gradually wend our way to this place, which
is on the west coast of Scotland, the first town we stopped at was
Stirling, where the Scotch kings used to live. Of course we went to the
castle, which stands on the rocks high above the town; but before we
started to go there Jone inquired if the place was a ruin or not, and
when he was told it was not, and that soldiers lived there, he said it
was all right, and we went. He now says he must positively decline to
visit any more houses out of repair. He is tired of them; and since he
has got over his rheumatism he feels less like visiting ruins than he
ever did. I tell him the ruins are not any more likely to be damp than
a good many of the houses that people live in; but this didn't shake
him, and I suppose if we come to any more vine-covered and shattered
remnants of antiquity I shall be obliged to go over them by myself.

The castle is a great place, which I wouldn't have missed for the
world; but the spot that stirred my soul the most was in a little
garden, as high in the air as the top of a steeple, where we could look
out over the battlefield of Bannockburn. Besides this, we could see the
mountains of Ben-Lomond, Ben-Venue, Ben-A'an, Benledi, and ever so much
Scottish landscape spreading out for miles upon miles. There is a
little hole in the wall here called the Ladies' Look-Out, where the
ladies of the court could sit and see what was going on in the country
below without being seen themselves, but I stood up and took in
everything over the top of the wall.

I don't know whether I told you that the mountains of Scotland are
"Bens," and the mouths of rivers are "abers," and islands are
"inches." Walking about the streets of Stirling, and I didn't have time
to see half as much as I wanted to, I came to the shop of a "flesher."
I didn't know what it was until I looked into the window and saw that
it was a butcher shop.

I like a language just about as foreign as the Scotch is. There are a
good many words in it that people not Scotch don't understand, but that
gives a person the feeling that she is travelling abroad, which I want
to have when I am abroad. Then, on the other hand, there are not enough
of them to hinder a traveller from making herself understood. So it is
natural for me to like it ever so much better than French, in which,
when I am in it, I simply sink to the bottom if no helping hand is held
out to me.

I had some trouble with Jone that night at the hotel, because he had a
novel which he had been reading for I don't know how long, and which he
said he wanted to get through with before he began anything else. But
now I told him he was going to enter on the wonderful country of the
"Lady of the Lake," and that he ought to give up everything else and
read that book, because if he didn't go there with his mind prepared
the scenery would not sink into his soul as it ought to. He was of the
opinion that when my romantic feeling got on top of the scenery it
would be likely to sink into his soul as deep as he cared to have it,
without any preparation, but that sort of talk wouldn't do for me. I
didn't want to be gliding o'er the smooth waters of Loch Katrine, and
have him asking me who the girl was who rowed her shallop to the silver
strand, and the end of it was that I made him sit up until a quarter of
two o'clock in the morning while I read the "Lady of the Lake" to him.
I had read it before and he had not, but I hadn't got a quarter through
before he was just as willing to listen as I was to read. And when I
got through I was in such a glow that Jone said he believed that all
the blood in my veins had turned to hot Scotch.

I didn't pay any attention to this, and after going to the window and
looking out at the Gaelic moon, which was about half full and rolling
along among the clouds, I turned to Jone and said, "Jone, let's sing
'Scots wha ha',' before we go to bed."

"If we do roar out that thing," said Jone, "they will put us out on the
curbstone to spend the rest of the night."

"Let's whisper it, then," said I; "the spirit of it is all I want. I
don't care for the loudness."

"I'd be willing to do that," said Jone, "if I knew the tune and a few
of the words."

"Oh, bother!" said I; and when I got into bed I drew the clothes over
my head and sang that brave song all to myself. Doing it that way the
words and tune didn't matter at all, but I felt the spirit of it, and
that was all I wanted, and then I went to sleep.

The next morning we went to Callander by train, and there we took a
coach for Trossachs. It is hardly worth while to say we went on top,
because the coaches here haven't any inside to them, except a hole
where they put the baggage. We drove along a beautiful road with
mountains and vales and streams, and the driver told us the name of
everything that had a name, which he couldn't help very well, being
asked so constant by me. But I didn't feel altogether satisfied, for we
hadn't come to anything quotable, and I didn't like to have Jone sit
too long without something happening to stir up some of the "Lady of
the Lake" which I had pumped into his mind the day before, and so keep
it fresh.

Before long, however, the driver pointed out the ford of Coilantogle.
The instant he said this I half jumped up, and, seizing Jone by the
arm, I cried, "Don't you remember? This is the place where the Knight
of Snowdoun, James Fitz-James, fought Roderick Dhu!" And then without
caring who else heard me, I burst out with:

    "'His back against a rock he bore,
      And firmly placed his foot before:
      "Come one, come all! This rock shall fly
      From its firm base as soon as I."'"

"No, madam," said the driver, politely touching his hat, "that was a
mile farther on. This place is:

    "'And here his course the chieftain staid,
      Threw down his target and his plaid.'"

"You are right," said I; and then I began again:

    "'Then each at once his falchion drew,
      Each on the ground his scabbard threw,
      Each look'd to sun, and stream, and plain,
      As what they ne'er might see again;
      Then foot, and point, and eye opposed,
      In dubious strife they darkly closed.'"

I didn't repeat any more of the poem, though everybody was listening
quite respectful without thinking of laughing, and as for Jone, I could
see by the way he sat and looked about him that his tinder had caught
my spark; but I knew that the thing for me to do here was not to give
out but take in, and so, to speak in figures, I drank in the whole of
Lake Vannachar, as we drove along its lovely marge until we came to the
other end, and the driver said we would now go over the Brigg of Turk.
At this up I jumped and said:

    "'And when the Brigg of Turk was won,
      The headmost horseman rode alone.'"

I had sense enough not to quote the next two lines, because when I had
read them to Jone he said that it was a shame to use a horse that way.

We now came to Loch Achray, at the other end of which is the
Trossachs, where we stopped for the night, and when the driver told me
the mountain we saw before us was Ben-Venue, I repeated the lines:

    "'The hunter marked that mountain high,
      The lone lake's western boundary,
      And deem'd the stag must turn to bay,
      Where that huge rampart barr'd the way.'"

At last we reached the Trossachs Hotel, which stands near the wild
ravines filled with bristling woods where the stag was lost, with the
lovely lake in front and Ben-Venue towering up on the other side. I was
so excited I could scarcely eat, and no wonder, because for the greater
part of the day I had breathed nothing but the spirit of Scott's
poetry. I forgot to say that from the time we left Callander until we
got to the hotel the rain poured down steadily, but that didn't make
any difference to me. A human being soaked with the "Lady of the Lake"
is rain-proof.

_Letter Number Twenty-four_


I was sorry to stop my last letter right in the middle of the "Lady of
the Lake" country, but I couldn't get it all in, and the fact is, I
can't get all I want to say in any kind of a letter. The things I have
seen and want to write about are crowded together like the Scottish

On the day after we got to Trossachs Hotel, and I don't know any place
I would rather spend weeks at than there, Jone and I walked through the
"darksome glen" where the stag,

    "Soon lost to hound and hunter's ken,
     In the deep Trossachs' wildest nook
     His solitary refuge took."

And then we came out on the far-famed Loch Katrine. There was a little
steamboat there to take passengers to the other end, where a coach was
waiting, but it wasn't time for that to start, and we wandered on the
banks of that song-gilded piece of water. It didn't lie before us like
"one burnished sheet of living gold," as it appeared to James
Fitz-James but my soul could supply the sunset if I chose. There, too,
was the island of the fair Ellen, and beneath our very feet was the
"silver strand" to which she rowed her shallop. I am sorry to say there
isn't so much of the silver strand as there used to be, because, in
this world, as I have read, and as I have seen, the spirit of
realistics is always crowding and trampling on the toes of the
romantics, and the people of Glasgow have actually laid water-pipes
from their town to this lovely lake, and now they turn the faucets in
their back kitchens and out spouts the tide which kissed

    "With whispering sound and slow
     The beach of pebbles bright as snow."

This wouldn't have been so bad, because the lake has enough and to
spare of its limpid wave; but in order to make their water-works the
Glasgow people built a dam, and that has raised the lake a good deal
higher, so that it overflows ever so much of the silver strand. But I
can pick out the real from a scene like that as I can pick out and
throw away the seeds of an orange, and gazing o'er that enchanted scene
I felt like the Knight of Snowdoun himself, when he first beheld the
lake and said:

    "How blithely might the bugle horn
     Chide, on the lake, the lingering morn!"

and then I went on with the lines until I came to

    "Blithe were it then to wander here!
     But now--beshrew yon nimble deer"--

"You'd better beshrew that steamboat bell," said Jone, and away we went
and just caught the boat. Realistics come in very well sometimes when
they take the form of legs.

The steamboat took us over nearly the whole of Lake Katrine, and I must
say that I was so busy fitting verses to scenery that I don't remember
whether it rained or the sun shone. When we left the boat we took a
coach to Inversnaid on Loch Lomond, and, as we rode along, it made my
heart almost sink to feel that I had to leave my poetry behind me, for
I didn't know any that suited this region. But when we got in sight of
Loch Lomond a Scotch girl who was on the seat behind me, and had
several friends with her, began to sing a song about Lomond, of which I
only remember, "You take the high road and I'll take the low road, and
I'll get to Scotland afore you."

I am sure I must have Scotch blood in me, for when I heard that song it
wound up my feelings to such a pitch that I believe if that girl had
been near enough I should have given her a hug and a kiss. As for Jone,
he seemed to be nearly as much touched as I was, though not in the same
way, of course.

We took a boat on Loch Lomond to Ardlui, another little town, and then
we drove nine miles to the railroad. This was through a wild and solemn
valley, and by the side of a rushing river, full of waterfalls and deep
and diresome pools. When we reached the railroad we found a train
waiting, and we took it and went to Oban, which we reached about six
o'clock. Even this railroad trip was delightful, for we went by the
great Lake Awe, with another rushing river and mountains and black
precipices. We had a carriage all to ourselves until an old lady got in
at a station, and she hadn't been sitting in her corner more than ten
minutes before she turned to me and said:

"You haven't any lakes like this in your country, I suppose."

Now I must say that, in the heated condition I had been in ever since I
came into Scotland, a speech like that was like a squirt of cold water
into a thing full of steam. For a couple of seconds my boiling stopped,
but my fires was just as blazing as ever, and I felt as if I could turn
them on that old woman and shrivel her up for plastering her
comparisons on me at such a time.

"Of course, we haven't anything just like this," I said, "but it takes
all sorts of scenery to make up a world."

"That's very true, isn't it?" said she. "But, really, one couldn't
expect in America such a lake as that, such mountains, such grandeur!"

Now I made up my mind if she was going to keep up this sort of thing
Jone and me would change carriages when we stopped at the next station,
for comparisons are very different from poetry, and if you try to mix
them with scenery you make a mess that is not fit for a Christian. But
I thought first I would give her a word back:

"I have seen to-day," I said, "the loveliest scenery I ever met with;
but we've got grand cañons in America where you could put the whole of
that scenery without crowding, and where it wouldn't be much noticed by
spectators, so busy would they be gazing at the surrounding wonders."

"Fancy!" said she.

"I don't want to say anything," said I, "against what I have seen
to-day, and I don't want to think of anything else while I am looking
at it; but this I will say, that landscape with Scott is very different
from landscape without him."

"That is very true, isn't it?" said she; and then she stopped making
comparisons, and I looked out of the window.

Oban is a very pretty place on the coast, but we never should have gone
there if it had not been the place to start from for Staffa and Iona.
When I was only a girl I saw pictures of Fingal's Cave, and I have read
a good deal about it since, and it is one of the spots in the world
that I have been longing to see, but I feel like crying when I tell
you, madam, that the next morning there was such a storm that the boat
for Staffa didn't even start; and as the people told us that the storm
would most likely last two or three days, and that the sea for a few
days more would be so rough that Staffa would be out of the question,
we had to give it up, and I was obliged to fall back from the reality
to my imagination. Jone tried to comfort me by telling me that he would
be willing to bet ten to one that my fancy would soar a mile above the
real thing, and that perhaps it was very well I didn't see old Fingal's
Cave and so be disappointed.

"Perhaps it is a good thing," said I, "that you didn't go, and that you
didn't get so seasick that you would be ready to renounce your
country's flag and embrace Mormonism if such things would make you feel
better." But that is the only thing that is good about it, and I have a
cloud on my recollection which shall never be lifted until Corinne is
old enough to travel and we come here with her.

But although the storm was so bad, it was not bad enough to keep us
from making our water trip to Glasgow, for the boat we took did not
have to go out to sea. It was a wonderfully beautiful passage we made
among the islands and along the coast, with the great mountains on the
mainland standing up above everything else. After a while we got to the
Crinan Canal, which is in reality a short cut across the field. It is
nine miles long and not much wider than a good-sized ditch, but it
saves more than a hundred miles of travel around an island. We was on a
sort of a toy steamboat which went its way through the fields and
bushes and grass so close we could touch them; and as there was eleven
locks where the boat had to stop, we got out two or three times and
walked along the banks to the next lock. That being the kind of a ride
Jone likes, he blessed Buxton. At the other end of the canal we took a
bigger steamboat which carried us to Glasgow.

In the morning it hailed, which afterward turned to rain, but in the
afternoon there was only showers now and then, so that we spent most of
the time on deck. On this boat we met a very nice Englishman and his
wife, and when they had heard us speak to each other they asked us if
we had ever been in this part of the world before, and when we said we
hadn't they told us about the places we passed. If we had been an
English couple who had never been there before they wouldn't have said
a word to us.

As we got near the Clyde the gentleman began to talk about
ship-building, and pretty soon I saw in his face plain symptoms that he
was going to have an attack of comparison making. I have seen so much
of this disorder that I can nearly always tell when it is coming on a
person. In about a minute the disease broke out on him, and he began to
talk about the differences between American and English ships. He told
Jone and me about a steamship that was built out in San Francisco which
shook three thousand bolts out of herself on her first voyage. It
seemed to me that that was a good deal like a codfish shaking his
bones out through swimming too fast. I couldn't help thinking that that
steamship must have had a lot of bolts so as to have enough left to
keep her from scattering herself over the bottom of the ocean.

I expected Jone to say something in behalf of his country's ships, but
he didn't seem to pay much attention to the boat story, so I took up
the cudgels myself, and I said to the gentleman that all nations, no
matter how good they might be at ship-building, sometimes made
mistakes, and then to make a good impression on him I whanged him over
the head with the "Great Eastern," and asked him if there ever was a
vessel that was a greater failure than that.

He said, "Yes, yes, the 'Great Eastern' was not a success," and then he
stopped talking about ships.

When we got fairly into the Clyde and near Glasgow the scene was
wonderful. It was nearly night, and the great fires of the factories
lit up the sky, and we saw on the stocks a great ship being built.

We stayed in Glasgow one day, and Jone was delighted with it, because
he said it was like an American city. Now, on principle, I like
American cities, but I didn't come to Scotland to see them; and the
greatest pleasure I had in Glasgow was standing with a tumbler of water
in my hand, repeating to myself as much of the "Lady of the Lake" as I
could remember.

_Letter Number Twenty-five_


Here we are in this wonderful town, where, if you can't see everything
you want to see, you can generally see a sample of it, even if your fad
happens to be the ancientnesses of Egypt. We are at the Babylon Hotel,
where we shall stay until it is time to start for Southampton, where we
shall take the steamer for home. What we are going to do between here
and Southampton I don't know yet; but I do know that Jone is all on
fire with joy because he thinks his journeys are nearly over, and I am
chilled with grief when I think that my journeys are nearly over.

We left Edinburgh on the train called the "Flying Scotsman," and it
deserved its name. I suppose that in the days of Wallace and Bruce and
Rob Roy the Scots must often have skipped along in a lively way; but I
am sure if any of them had ever invaded England at the rate we went
into it, the British lion would soon have been living on thistles
instead of roses.

The speed of this train was sometimes a mile a minute, I think; and I
am sure I was never on any railroad in America where I was given a
shorter time to get out for something to eat than we had at York. Jone
and I are generally pretty quick about such things, but we had barely
time to get back to our carriage before that "Flying Scotsman" went off
like a streak of lightning.

On the way we saw a part of York Minster, and had a splendid, view of
Durham Cathedral, standing high in the unreachable--that is, as far as
I was concerned. Peterborough Cathedral we also saw the outside of, and
I felt like a boy looking in at a confectioner's window with no money
to buy anything. It wasn't money that I wanted; it was time, and we had
very little of that left.

The next day, after we reached London, I set out to attend to a piece
of business that I didn't want Jone to know anything about. My business
was to look up my family pedigree. It seemed to me that it would be a
shame if I went away from the home of my ancestors without knowing
something about those ancestors and about the links that connected me
with them. So I determined to see what I could do in the way of making
up a family tree.

By good luck, Jone had some business to attend to about money and rooms
on the steamer, and so forth, and so I could start out by myself
without his even asking me where I was going. Now, of course, it would
be a natural thing for a person to go and seek out his ancestors in the
ancient village from which they sprang, and to read their names on
the tombstones in the venerable little church, but as I didn't know
where this village was, of course I couldn't go to it. But in London is
the place where you can find out how to find out such things.


As far back as when we was in Chedcombe I had had a good deal of talk
with Miss Pondar about ancestors and families. I told her that my
forefathers came from this country, which I was very sure of, judging
from my feelings; but as I couldn't tell her any particulars, I didn't
go into the matter very deep. But I did say there was a good many
points that I would like to set straight, and asked her if she knew
where I could find out something about English family trees. She said
she had heard there was a big heraldry office in London, but if I
didn't want to go there, she knew of a person who was a
family-tree-man. He had an office in London, and his business was to go
around and tend to trees of that kind which had been neglected, and to
get them into shape and good condition. She gave me his address, and I
had kept the thing quiet in my mind until now.

I found the family-tree-man, whose name was Brandish, in a small room
not too clean, over a shop not far from St. Paul's Churchyard. He had
another business, which related to patent poison for flies, and at
first he thought I had come to see him about that, but when he found
out I wanted to ask him about my family tree his face brightened up.

When I told Mr. Brandish my business the first thing he asked me was my
family name. Of course I had expected this, and I had thought a great
deal about the answer I ought to give. In the first place, I didn't
want to have anything to do with my father's name. I never had anything
much to do with him, because he died when I was a little baby, and his
name had nothing high-toned about it, and it seemed to me to belong to
that kind of a family that you would be better satisfied with the less
you looked up its beginnings; but my mother's family was a different
thing. Nobody could know her without feeling that she had sprung from
good roots. It might have been from the stump of a tree that had been
cut down, but the roots must have been of no common kind to send up
such a shoot as she was. It was from her that I got my longings for the

She used to tell me a good deal about her father, who must have been a
wonderful man in many ways. What she told me was not like a sketch of
his life, which I wish it had been, but mostly anecdotes of what he
said and did. So it was my mother's ancestral tree I determined to
find, and without saying whether it was on my mother's or father's side
I was searching for ancestors, I told Mr. Brandish that Dork was the
family name.

"Dork," said he; "a rather uncommon name, isn't it? Was your father
the eldest son of a family of that name?"

Now I was hoping he wouldn't say anything about my father.

"No, sir," said I; "it isn't that line that I am looking up. It is my
mother's. Her name was Dork before she was married."

"Really! Now I see," said he, "you have the paternal line all correct,
and you want to look up the line on the other side. That is very
common; it is so seldom that one knows the line of ancestors on one's
maternal side. Dork, then, was the name of your maternal grandfather."

It struck me that a maternal grandfather must be a grandmother, but I
didn't say so.

"Can you tell me," said he, "whether it was he who emigrated from this
country to America, or whether it was his father or his grandfather?"

Now I hadn't said anything about the United States, for I had learned
there was no use in wasting breath telling English people I had come
from America, so I wasn't surprised at his question, but I couldn't
answer it.

"I can't say much about that," I said, "until I have found out
something about the English branches of the family."

"Very good," said he. "We will look over the records," and he took down
a big book and turned to the letter D. He ran his finger down two or
three pages, and then he began to shake his head.

"Dork?" said he. "There doesn't seem to be any Dork, but here is
Dorkminster. Now if that was your family name we'd have it all here. No
doubt you know all about that family. It's a grand old family, isn't
it? Isn't it possible that your grandfather or one of his ancestors may
have dropped part of the name when he changed his residence to

Now I began to think hard; there was some reason in what the
family-tree-man said. I knew very well that the same family name was
often different in different countries, changes being made to suit
climates and people.

"Minster has a religious meaning, hasn't it?" said I.

"Yes, madam," said he; "it relates to cathedrals and that sort of

Now, so far as I could remember, none of the things my mother had ever
told me about her father was in any ways related to religion. They was
mostly about horses; and although there is really no reason for the
disconnection between horses and religion, especially when you consider
the hymns with heavenly chariots in them must have had horses, it
didn't seem to me that my grandfather could have made it a point of
being religious, and perhaps he mightn't have cared for the cathedral
part of his name, and so might have dropped it for convenience in
signing, probably being generally in a hurry, judging from what my
mother had told me. I said as much to Mr. Brandish, and he answered
that he thought it was likely enough, and that that sort of thing was
often done.

"Now, then," said he, "let us look into the Dorkminster line and trace
out your connection with that. From what place did your ancestors

It seemed to me that he was asking me a good deal more than he was
telling me, and I said to him: "That is what I want to find out. What
is the family home of the Dorkminsters?"

"Oh, they were a great Hampshire family," said he. "For five hundred
years they lived on their estates in Hampshire. The first of the name
was Sir William Dorkminster, who came over with the Conqueror, and most
likely was given those estates for his services. Then we go on until we
come to the Duke of Dorkminster, who built a castle, and whose brother
Henry was made bishop and founded an abbey, which I am sorry to say
doesn't now exist, being totally destroyed by Oliver Cromwell."

You cannot imagine how my blood leaped and surged within me as I
listened to those words. William the Conqueror! An ancestral abbey! A
duke! "Is the family castle still standing?" said I.

"It fell into ruins," said he, "during the reign of Charles I., and
even its site is now uncertain, the park having been devoted to
agricultural purposes. The fourth Duke of Dorkminster was to have
commanded one of the ships which destroyed the Spanish Armada, but was
prevented by a mortal fever which cut him off in his prime; he died
without issue, and the estates passed to the Culverhams of Wilts."

"Did that cut off the line?" said I, very quick.

"Oh, no," said the family-tree man, "the line went on. One of the
duke's younger sisters must have married a man on condition that he
took the old family name, which is often done, and her descendants must
have emigrated somewhere, for the name no longer appears in Hampshire;
but probably not to America, for that was rather early for English

"Do you suppose," said I, "that they went to Scotland?"

"Very likely," said he, after thinking a minute; "that would be
probable enough. Have you reason to suppose that there was a Scotch
branch in your family?"

"Yes," said I, for it would have been positively wrong in me to say
that the feelings that I had for the Scotch hadn't any meaning at all.

"Now then," said Mr. Brandish, "there you are, madam. There is a line
all the way down from the Conqueror to the end of the sixteenth
century, scarcely one man's lifetime before the Pilgrims landed on
Plymouth Rock."

I now began to calculate in my mind. I was thirty years old; my mother,
most likely, was about as old when I was born; that made sixty years.
Then my grandfather might have been forty when my mother was born, and
there was a century. As for my great-grandfather and his parents, I
didn't know anything about them. Of course, there must have been such
persons, but I didn't know where they came from or where they went to.

"I can go back a century," said I, "but that doesn't begin to meet the
end of the line you have marked out. There's a gap of about two hundred

"Oh, I don't think I would mind that," said Mr. Brandish. "Gaps of that
kind are constantly occurring in family trees. In fact, if we was to
allow gaps of a century or so to interfere with the working out of
family lines, it would cut off a great many noble ancestries from
families of high position, especially in the colonies and abroad. I beg
you not to pay any attention to that, madam."

My nerves was tingling with the thought of the Spanish Armada, and
perhaps Bannockburn (which then made me wish I had known all this
before I went to Stirling, but which battle, now as I write, I know
must have been fought a long time before any of the Dorks went to
Scotland), and I expect my eyes flashed with family pride, for do what
I would I couldn't sit calm and listen to what I was hearing. But,
after all, that two hundred years did weigh upon my mind. "If you make
a family tree for me," said I, "you will have to cut off the trunk and
begin again somewhere up in the air."

"Oh, no," said he, "we don't do that. We arrange the branches so that
they overlap each other, and the dotted lines which indicate the
missing portions are not noticed. Then, after further investigation and
more information, the dots can be run together and the tree made
complete and perfect."

Of course, I had nothing more to say, and he promised to send me the
tree the next morning, though, of course, requesting me to pay him in
advance, which was the rule of the office, and you would be amazed,
madam, if you knew how much that tree cost. I got it the next morning,
but I haven't shown it to Jone yet. I am proud that I own it, and I
have thrills through me whenever my mind goes back to its Norman roots;
but I am bound to say that family trees sometimes throw a good deal of
shade over their owners, especially when they have gaps in them, which
seems contrary to nature, but is true to fact.

_Letter Number Twenty-six_


To-morrow our steamer sails, and this is the last letter I write on
English soil; and although I haven't done half that I wanted to, there
are ever so many things I have done that I can't write you about.

I had seen so few cathedrals that on the way down here I was bound to
see at least one good one, and so we stopped at Winchester. It was
while walking under the arches of that venerable pile that the thought
suddenly came to me that we were now in Hampshire, and that, perhaps,
in this cathedral might be some of the tombs of my ancestors. Without
saying what I was after I began at one of the doors, and I went clean
around that enormous church, and read every tablet in the walls and on
the floor.

Once I had a shock. There was a good many small tombs with roofs over
them, and statues of people buried within, lying on top of the tombs,
and some of them had their faces and clothes colored so as to make them
look almost as natural as life. They was mostly bishops, and had been
lying there for centuries. While looking at these I came to a tomb
with an opening low down on the side of it, and behind some iron bars
there lay a stone figure that made me fairly jump. He was on his back
with hardly any clothes on, and was actually nothing but skin and
bones. His mouth was open, as if he was gasping for his last breath. I
never saw such an awful sight, and as I looked at the thing my blood
began to run cold, and then it froze. The freezing was because I
suddenly thought to myself that this might be a Dorkminster, and that
that horrible object was my ancestor. I was actually afraid to look at
the inscription on the tombstone for fear that this was so, for if it
was, I knew that whenever I should think of my family tree this bag of
bones would be climbing up the trunk, or sitting on one of the
branches. But I must know the truth, and trembling so that I could
scarcely read, I stooped down to look at the inscription and find out
who that dreadful figure had been. It was not a Dorkminster, and my
spirits rose.

[Illustration: "This might be a Dorkminster"]

We got here three days ago, and we have made a visit to the Isle of
Wight. We went straight down to the southern coast, and stopped all
night at the little town of Bonchurch. It was very lovely down there
with roses and other flowers blooming out-of-doors as if it was summer,
although it is now getting so cold everywhere else. But what pleased me
most was to stand at the top of a little hill, and look out over the
waters of the English Channel, and feel that not far out of eyeshot was
the beautiful land of France with its lower part actually touching

You know, madam, that when we was here before, we was in France, and a
happy woman was I to be there, although so much younger than now I
couldn't properly enjoy it; but even then France was only part of the
road to Italy, which, alas, we never got to. Some day, however, I shall
float in a gondola and walk amid the ruins of ancient Rome, and if Jone
is too sick of travel to go with me, it may be necessary for Corinne to
see the world, and I shall take her.

Now I must finish this letter and bid good-by to beautiful Britain,
which has made us happy and treated us well in spite of some
comparisons in which we was expected to be on the wrong side, but which
hurt nobody, and which I don't want even to think of at such a moment
as this.

_Letter Number Twenty-seven_


I send you this, madam, to let you know that we arrived here safely
yesterday afternoon, and that we are going to-day to Jone's mother's
farm where Corinne is.

I liked sailing from Southampton because when I start to go to a place
I like to go, and when we went home before and had to begin by going
all the way up to Liverpool by land, and then coming all the way back
again by water, and after a couple of days of this to stop at
Queenstown and begin the real voyage from there, I did not like it,
although it was a good deal of fun seeing the bumboat women come aboard
at Queenstown and telescope themselves into each other as they hurried
up the ladder to get on deck and sell us things.

We had a very good voyage, with about enough rolling to make the dining
saloon look like some of the churches we've seen abroad on weekdays
where there was services regular, but mighty small congregations.

When we got in sight of my native shore, England, Scotland, and even
the longed-for Italy, with her palaces and gondolas, faded from my
mind, and my every fibre tingled with pride and patriotism. We reached
our dock about six o'clock in the afternoon, and I could scarcely stand
still, so anxious was I to get ashore. There was a train at eight which
reached Rockbridge at half-past nine, and there we could take a
carriage and drive to the farm in less than an hour, and then Corinne
would be in my arms, so you may imagine my state of mind--Corinne
before bedtime! But a cloud blacker than the heaviest fog came down
upon me, for while we was standing on the deck, expecting every minute
to land, a man came along and shouted at the top of his voice that no
baggage could be examined by the custom-house officers after six
o'clock, and the passengers could take nothing ashore with them but
their hand-bags, and must come back in the morning and have their
baggage examined. When I heard this my soul simply boiled within me! I
looked at Jone, and I could see he was boiling just as bad.

"Jone," said I, "don't say a word to me."

"I am not going to say a word," said he, and he didn't. All our
belongings was in our trunks. Jone didn't carry any hand-bag, and I had
only a little one which had in it three newspapers, which we bought
from the pilot, a tooth-brush, a spool of thread and some needles, and
a pair of scissors with one point broken off. With these things we had
to go to a hotel and spend the night, and in the morning we had to go
back to have our trunks examined, which, as there was nothing in them
to pay duty on, was waste time for all parties, no matter when it was

[Illustration: "Jone didn't carry any hand-bag, and I had only a little

That night, when I was lying awake thinking about this welcome to our
native land, I don't say that I hauled down the stars and stripes, but
I did put them at half mast. When we arrived in England we got ashore
about twelve o'clock at night, but there was the custom-house officers
as civil and obliging as any people could be, ready to tend to us and
pass us on. And when I thought of them, and afterward of the lordly
hirelings who met us here, I couldn't help feeling what a glorious
thing it would be to travel if you could get home without coming back.

Jone tried to comfort me by telling me that we ought to be very glad we
don't like this sort of thing. "In many foreign countries," said he,
"people are a good deal nagged by their governments and they like it;
we don't like it, so haul up your flag."

I hauled it up, and it's flying now from the tiptop of my tallest mast.
In an hour our train starts, and I shall see Corinne before the sun
goes down.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Pomona's Travels - A Series of Letters to the Mistress of Rudder Grange from her Former Handmaiden" ***

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