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Title: A Frenchman in America - Recollections of Men and Things
Author: O'Rell, Max, 1848-1903
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 "A Frenchman in America - Recollections of Men and Things" ***


[Illustration: Max O'Rell]


Recollections of Men and Things




           NEW YORK
   104 & 106 FOURTH AVENUE

     COPYRIGHT, 1891, BY

    _All rights reserved._

        RAHWAY, N. J.


  CHAPTER.                                                         PAGE.

  I.--Departure--The Atlantic--Demoralization of the "Boarders"--
        Betting--The Auctioneer--An Inquisitive Yankee,                1

  II.--Arrival of the Pilot--First Look at American Newspapers,       11

  III.--Arrival--The Custom House--Things Look Bad--The
        Interviewers--First Visits--Things Look Brighter--"O Vanity
        of Vanities,"                                                 14

  IV.--Impressions of American Hotels,                                25

  V.--My Opening Lecture--Reflections on Audiences I Have Had--The
        Man who Won't Smile--The One who Laughs too Soon, and Many
        Others,                                                       37

  VI.--A Connecticut Audience--Merry Meriden--A Hard Pull,            48

  VII--A Tempting Offer--The Thursday Club--Bill Nye--Visit to Young
        Ladies' Schools--The Players' Club,                           52

  VIII.--The Flourishing of Coats-of-Arms in America--Reflections
        Thereon--Forefathers Made to Order--The Phonograph at
        Home--The Wealth of New York--Departure for Buffalo,          60

  IX.--Different Ways of Advertising a Lecture--American
        Impressarios and Their Methods,                               66

  X.--Buffalo--The Niagara Falls--A Frost--Rochester to the Rescue
        of Buffalo--Cleveland--I Meet Jonathan--Phantasmagoria,       74

  XI.--A Great Admirer--Notes on Railway Traveling--Is America a
        Free Nation?--A Pleasant Evening in New York,                 81

  XII.--Notes on American Women--Comparisons--How Men Treat Women
        and Vice Versa--Scenes and Illustrations,                     90

  XIII.--More about Journalism in America--A Dinner at Delmonico's--
        My First Appearance in an American Church,                   110

  XIV.--Marcus Aurelius in America--Chairmen I Have Had--American,
        English, and Scotch Chairmen--One who had Been to
        Boulogne--Talkative and Silent Chairmen--A Trying Occasion--
        The Lord is Asked to Allow the Audience to See my Points,    124

  XV.--Reflections on the Typical American,                          137

  XVI.--I am Asked to Express Myself Freely on America--I Meet Mrs.
        Blank and for the First Time Hear of Mr. Blank--Beacon
        Street Society--The Boston Clubs,                            149

  XVII.--A Lively Sunday in Boston--Lecture in the Boston Theater--
        Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes--The Booth-Modjeska Combination,   156

  XVIII--St. Johnsbury--The State of Maine--New England
        Self-control--Cold Climates and Frigid Audiences--Where is
        the Audience?--All Drunk!--A Reminiscence of a Scotch
        Audience on a Saturday Night,                                163

  XIX.--A Lovely Ride to Canada--Quebec, a Corner of Old France
        Strayed up and Lost in the Snow--The French Canadians--The
        Parties in Canada--Will the Canadians become Yankees?        172

  XX.--Montreal--The City--Mount Royal--Canadian Sports--Ottawa--
        The Government--Rideau Hall,                                 182

  XXI.--Toronto--The City--The Ladies--The Sports--Strange
        Contrasts--The Canadian Schools,                             191

  XXII.--West Canada--Relations between British and Indians--Return
        to the United States--Difficulties in the Way--Encounter
        American Custom-House Officer,                               196

  XXIII.--Chicago (First Visit)--The "Neighborhood" of Chicago--The
        with an History of Chicago--Public Servants--A Very Deaf
        Man,                                                         203

  XXIV.--St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Sister Cities--Rivalries and
        Jealousies between Large American Cities--Minnehaha
        Falls--Wonderful Interviewers--My Hat gets into Trouble
        Again--Electricity in the Air--Forest Advertisements--
        Railway Speed in America,                                    214

  XXV.--Detroit--The Town--The Detroit "Free Press"--A Lady
        Interviewer--The "Unco Guid" in Detroit--Reflections on the
        Anglo-Saxon "Unco Guid,"                                     222

  XXVI.--Milwaukee--A Well-filled Day--Reflections on the Scotch in
        America--Chicago Criticisms,                                 236

  XXVII.--The Monotony of Traveling in the States--"Manon Lescaut"
        in America,                                                  244

  XXVIII.--For the First Time I See an American Paper Abuse Me--
        Albany to New York--A Lecture at Daly's Theater--Afternoon
        Audiences,                                                   248

  XXIX.--Wanderings Through New York--Lecture at the Harmonie Club--
        Visit to the Century Club,                                   255

  XXX.--Visit to the Brooklyn Academy of Music--Rev. Dr. Talmage,    257

  XXXI.--Virginia--The Hotels--The South--I will Kill a Railway
        Conductor before I Leave America--Philadelphia--Impressions
        of the Old City,                                             263

  XXXII.--My Ideas of the State of Texas--Why I will not Go
        There--The Story of a Frontier Man,                          274

  XXXIII.--Cincinnati--The Town--The Suburbs--A German City--"Over
        the Rhine"--What is a Good Patriot?--An Impressive
        Funeral--A Great Fire--How It Appeared to Me, and How It
        Appeared to the Newspaper Reporters,                         279

  XXXIV.--A Journey if you Like--Terrible Encounter with an
        American Interviewer,                                        296

  XXXV.--The University of Indiana--Indianapolis--The Veterans of
        the Grand Army of the Republic on the Spree--A Marvelous
        Equilibrist,                                                 306

  XXXVI.--Chicago (Second Visit)--Vassili Verestchagin's
        Exhibition--The "Angelus"--Wagner and Wagnerites--
        Wanderings About the Big City--I Sit on the Tribunal,        311

  XXXVII.--Ann Arbor--The University of Michigan--Detroit
        Again--The French Out of France--Oberlin College, Ohio--
        Black and White--Are All American Citizens Equal?            322

  XXXVIII.--Mr. and Mrs. Kendal in New York--Joseph Jefferson--
        Julian Hawthorne--Miss Ada Rehan--"As You Like It" at
        Daly's Theater,                                              330

  XXXIX.--Washington--The City--Willard's Hotel--The Politicians--
        General Benjamin Harrison, U. S. President--Washington
        Society--Baltimore--Philadelphia,                            332

  XL.--Easter Sunday in New York,                                    342

  XLI.--I Mount the Pulpit and Preach on the Sabbath, in the State
        of Wisconsin--The Audience is Large and Appreciative; but I
        Probably Fail to Please One of the Congregation,             347

  XLII.--The Origin of American Humor and Its Characteristics--The
        Sacred and the Profane--The Germans and American Humor--
        My Corpse Would "Draw," in my Impressario's Opinion,         353

  XLIII.--Good-by to America--Not "Adieu," but "Au Revoir"--On
        Board the _Teutonic_--Home Again,                            361




     _On board the "Celtic," Christmas Week, 1889._

In the order of things the _Teutonic_ was to have sailed to-day, but the
date is the 25th of December, and few people elect to eat their
Christmas dinner on the ocean if they can avoid it; so there are only
twenty-five saloon passengers, and they have been committed to the brave
little _Celtic_, while that huge floating palace, the _Teutonic_,
remains in harbor.

Little _Celtic_! Has it come to this with her and her companions, the
_Germanic_, the _Britannic_, and the rest that were the wonders and the
glory of the ship-building craft a few years ago? There is something
almost sad in seeing these queens of the Atlantic dethroned, and obliged
to rank below newer and grander ships. It was even pathetic to hear the
remarks of the sailors, as we passed the _Germanic_ who, in her day, had
created even more wondering admiration than the two famous armed
cruisers lately added to the "White Star" fleet.

       *       *       *       *       *

I know nothing more monotonous than a voyage from Liverpool to New York.

Nine times out of ten--not to say ninety-nine times out of a
hundred--the passage is bad. The Atlantic Ocean has an ugly temper; it
has forever got its back up. Sulky, angry, and terrible by turns, it
only takes a few days' rest out of every year, and this always occurs
when you are not crossing.

And then, the wind is invariably against you. When you go to America, it
blows from the west; when you come back to Europe, it blows from the
east. If the captain steers south to avoid icebergs, it is sure to begin
to blow southerly.

Doctors say that sea-sickness emanates from the brain. I can quite
believe them. The blood rushes to your head, leaving your extremities
cold and helpless. All the vital force flies to the brain, and your legs
refuse to carry you. It is with sea-sickness as it is with wine. When
people say that a certain wine goes up in the head, it means that it is
more likely to go down to the feet.

There you are, on board a huge construction that rears and kicks like a
buck-jumper. She lifts you up bodily, and, after well shaking all your
members in the air several seconds, lets them down higgledy-piggledy,
leaving to Providence the business of picking them up and putting them
together again. That is the kind of thing one has to go through about
sixty times an hour. And there is no hope for you; nobody dies of it.


Under such conditions, the mental state of the boarders may easily be
imagined. They smoke, they play cards, they pace the deck like bruin
pacing a cage; or else they read, and forget at the second chapter all
they have read in the first. A few presumptuous ones try to think, but
without success. The ladies, the American ones more especially, lie on
their deck chairs swathed in rugs and shawls like Egyptian mummies in
their sarcophagi, and there they pass from ten to twelve hours a day
motionless, hopeless, helpless, speechless. Some few incurables keep to
their cabins altogether, and only show their wasted faces when it is
time to debark. Up they come, with cross, stupefied, pallid,
yellow-green-looking physiognomies, and seeming to say: "Speak to me, if
you like, but don't expect me to open my eyes or answer you, and above
all, don't shake me."

Impossible to fraternize.

The crossing now takes about six days and a half. By the time you have
spent two in getting your sea legs on, and three more in reviewing, and
being reviewed by your fellow-passengers, you will find yourself at the
end of your troubles--and your voyage.

No, people do not fraternize on board ship, during such a short passage,
unless a rumor runs from cabin to cabin that there has been some
accident to the machinery, or that the boat is in imminent danger. At
the least scare of this kind, every one looks at his neighbor with eyes
that are alarmed, but amiable, nay, even amicable. But as soon as one
can say: "We have come off with a mere scare this time," all the facial
traits stiffen once more, and nobody knows anybody.

[Illustration: "LIKE EGYPTIAN MUMMIES."]

Universal grief only will bring about universal brotherhood. We must
wait till the Day of Judgment. When the world is passing away, oh! how
men will forgive and love one another! What outpourings of good-will and
affection there will be! How touching, how edifying will be the sight!
The universal republic will be founded in the twinkling of an eye,
distinctions of creed and class forgotten. The author will embrace the
critic and even the publisher, the socialist open his arms to the
capitalist. The married men will be seen "making it up" with their
mothers-in-law, begging them to forgive and forget, and admitting that
they had not been always quite so-so, in fact, as they might have been.
If the Creator of all is a philosopher, or enjoys humor, how he will be
amused to see all the various sects of Christians, who have passed their
lives in running one another down, throw themselves into one another's
arms. It will be a scene never to be forgotten.

Yes, I repeat it, the voyage from Liverpool to New York is monotonous
and wearisome in the extreme. It is an interval in one's existence, a
week more or less lost, decidedly more than less.

One grows gelatinous from head to foot, especially in the upper part of
one's anatomy.

In order to see to what an extent the brain softens, you only need look
at the pastimes the poor passengers go in for.

A state of demoralization prevails throughout.

They bet. That is the form the disease takes.

[Illustration: THE AUCTIONEER.]

They bet on anything and everything. They bet that the sun will or will
not appear next day at eleven precisely, or that rain will fall at noon.
They bet that the number of miles made by the boat at twelve o'clock
next day will terminate with 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9. Each draws
one of these numbers and pays his shilling, half-crown, or even
sovereign. Then these numbers are put up at auction. An improvised
auctioneer, with the gift of the gab, puts his talent at the service of
his fellow-passengers. It is really very funny to see him swaying about
the smoking-room table, and using all his eloquence over each number in
turn for sale. A good auctioneer will run the bidding so smartly that
the winner of the pool next day often pockets as much as thirty and
forty pounds. On the eve of arrival in New York harbor, everybody knows
that twenty-four pilots are waiting about for the advent of the liner,
and that each boat carries her number on her sail. Accordingly,
twenty-four numbers are rolled up and thrown into a cap, and betting
begins again. He who has drawn the number which happens to be that of
the pilot who takes the steamer into harbor pockets the pool.

I, who have never bet on anything in my life, even bet with my traveling
companion, when the rolling of the ship sends our portmanteaus from one
side of the cabin to the other, that mine will arrive first.
Intellectual faculties on board are reduced to this ebb.

       *       *       *       *       *

The nearest approach to a gay note, in this concert of groans and
grumblings, is struck by some humorous and good-tempered American. He
will come and ask you the most impossible questions with an ease and
impudence perfectly inimitable. These catechisings are all the more
droll because they are done with a _naïveté_ which completely disarms
you. The phrase is short, without verb, reduced to its most concise
expression. The intonation alone marks the interrogation. Here is a

We have on board the _Celtic_ an American who is not a very shrewd
person, for it has actually taken him five days to discover that English
is not my native tongue. This morning (December 30) he found it out,
and, being seated near me in the smoke-room, has just had the following
bit of conversation with me:

"Foreigner?" said he.

"Foreigner," said I, replying in American.

"German, I guess."

"Guess again."


"Pure blood."

[Illustration: "GOING TO AMERICA?"]



"Going to America?"


"Pleasure trip?"


"On business?"

"On business, yes."

"What's your line?"

"H'm--French goods."

"Ah! what class of goods?"

"_L'article de Paris._"

"The what?"

"The _ar-ti-cle de Pa-ris_."

"Oh! yes, the _arnticle of Pahrriss_."

"Exactly so. Excuse _my_ pronunciation."

This floored him.

"Rather impertinent, your smoke-room neighbor!" you will say.

Undeceive yourself at once upon that point. It is not impertinence,
still less an intention to offend you, that urges him to put these
incongruous questions to you. It is the interest he takes in you. The
American is a good fellow; good fellowship is one of his chief
characteristic traits. Of that I became perfectly convinced during my
last visit to the United States.



     _Saturday, January 4, 1890._

We shall arrive in New York Harbor to-night, but too late to go on
shore. After sunset, the Custom House officers are not to be disturbed.
We are about to land in a country where, as I remember, everything is in
subjection to the paid servant. In the United States, he who is paid
wages commands.

We make the best of it. After having mercilessly tumbled us about for
nine days, the wind has graciously calmed down, and our last day is
going to be a good one, thanks be. There is a pure atmosphere. A clear
line at the horizon divides space into two immensities, two sheets of
blue sharply defined.

Faces are smoothing out a bit. People talk, are becoming, in fact, quite
communicative. One seems to say to another: "Why, after all, you don't
look half as disagreeable as I thought. If I had only known that, we
might have seen more of each other, and killed time more quickly."

The pilot boat is in sight. It comes toward us, and sends off in a
rowing-boat the pilot who will take us into port. The arrival of the
pilot on board is not an incident. It is an event. Does he not bring the
New York newspapers? And when you have been ten days at sea, cut off
from the world, to read the papers of the day before is to come back to
life again, and once more take up your place in this little planet that
has been going on its jog-trot way during your temporary suppression.

[Illustration: PILOT WITH PAPERS.]

The first article which meets my eyes, as I open the New York _World_,
is headed "High time for Mr. Nash to put a stop to it!" This is the

  Ten days ago, Mrs. Nash brought a boy into existence. Three days
  afterward she presented her husband with a little girl. Yesterday the
  lady was safely delivered of a third baby.

"Mrs. Nash takes her time over it" would have been another good heading.

Here we are in America. Old World ways don't obtain here. In Europe,
Mrs. Nash would have ushered the little trio into this life in one day;
but in Europe we are out of date, _rococo_, and if one came over to find
the Americans doing things just as they are done on the other side, one
might as well stay at home.

I run through the papers.

America, I see, is split into two camps. Two young ladies, Miss Nelly
Bly and Miss Elizabeth Bisland, have left New York by opposite routes to
go around the world, the former sent by the New York _World_, the latter
by the _Cosmopolitan_. Which will be back first? is what all America is
conjecturing upon. Bets have been made, and the betting is even. I do
not know Miss Bly, but last time I came over I had the pleasure of
making Miss Bisland's acquaintance. Naturally, as soon as I get on
shore, I shall bet on Miss Bisland. You would do the same yourself,
would you not?

I pass the day reading the papers. All the bits of news, insignificant
or not, given in the shape of crisp, lively stories, help pass the time.
They contain little information, but much amusement. The American
newspaper always reminds me of a shop window with all the goods ticketed
in a marvelous style, so as to attract and tickle the eye. You cannot
pass over anything. The leading article is scarcely known across the
"wet spot"; the paper is a collection of bits of gossip, hearsay, news,
scandal, the whole served _à la sauce piquante_.

     _Nine o'clock._

We are passing the bar, and going to anchor. New York is sparkling with
lights, and the Brooklyn Bridge is a thing of beauty. I will enjoy the
scene for an hour, and then turn in.

We land to-morrow morning at seven.



     _New York Harbor; January 5._

At seven o'clock in the morning the Custom House officers came on board.
One of them at once recognizing me, said, calling me by name, that he
was glad to see me back, and inquired if I had not brought Madame with
me this time. It is extraordinary the memory of many of these Americans!
This one had seen me for a few minutes two years before, and probably
had had to deal with two or three hundred thousand people since.

All the passengers came to the saloon and made their declarations one
after another, after which they swore in the usual form that they had
told the truth, and signed a paper to that effect. This done, many a
poor pilgrim innocently imagines that he has finished with the Custom
House, and he renders thanks to Heaven that he is going to set foot on a
soil where a man's word is not doubted. He reckons without his host. In
spite of his declaration, sworn and signed, his trunks are opened and
searched with all the dogged zeal of a policeman who believes he is on
the track of a criminal, and who will only give up after perfectly
convincing himself that the trunks do not contain the slightest dutiable
article. Everything is taken out and examined. If there are any objects
of apparel that appear like new ones to that scrutinizing eye, look out
for squalls.


I must say that the officer was very kind to me. For that matter, the
luggage of a man who travels alone, without Madame and her
_impedimenta_, is soon examined.

Before leaving the ship, I went to shake hands with Captain Parsell,
that experienced sailor whose bright, interesting conversation, added to
the tempting delicacies provided by the cook, made many an hour pass
right cheerily for those who, like myself, had the good fortune to sit
at his table. I thanked him for all the kind attentions I had received
at his hands. I should have liked to thank all the employees of the
"White Star" line company. Their politeness is above all praise; their
patience perfectly angelical. Ask them twenty times a day the most
absurd questions, such as, "Will the sea soon calm down?" "Shall we get
into harbor on Wednesday?" "Do you think we shall be in early enough to
land in the evening?" and so on. You find them always ready with a kind
and encouraging answer. "The barometer is going up and the sea is going
down," or, "We are now doing our nineteen knots an hour." Is it true, or
not? It satisfies you, at all events. In certain cases it is so sweet to
be deceived! Better to be left to nurse a beloved illusion than have to
give it up for a harsh reality that you are powerless against. Every one
is grateful to those kind sailors and stewards for the little innocent
fibs that they are willing to load their consciences with, in order that
they may brighten your path across the ocean a little.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Everett House. Noon._

[Illustration: CAPTAIN PARSELL, R. M. S. "MAJESTIC."]

My baggage examined, I took a cab to go to the hotel. Three dollars for
a mile and a half. A mere trifle.


It was pouring with rain. New York on a Sunday is never very gay. To-day
the city seemed to me horrible: dull, dirty, and dreary. It is not the
fault of New York altogether. I have the spleen. A horribly stormy
passage, the stomach upside down, the heart up in the throat, the
thought that my dear ones are three thousand miles away, all these
things help to make everything look black. It would have needed a
radiant sun in one of those pure blue skies that North America is so
rich in to make life look agreeable and New York passable to-day.

In ten minutes cabby set me down at the Everett House. After having
signed the register, I went and looked up my manager, whose bureau is on
the ground floor of the hotel.

The spectacle which awaited me was appalling.

There sat the unhappy Major Pond in his office, his head bowed upon his
chest, his arms hanging limp, the very picture of despair.

The country is seized with a panic. Everybody has the influenza. Every
one does not die of it, but every one is having it. The malady is not
called influenza over here, as it is in Europe. It is called "Grippe."
No American escapes it. Some have _la grippe_, others have _the grippe_,
a few, even, have _the la grippe_. Others, again, the lucky ones, think
they have it. Those who have not had it, or do not think they have it
yet, are expecting it. The nation is in a complete state of
demoralization. Theaters are empty, business almost suspended, doctors
on their backs or run off their legs.

At twelve a telegram is handed to me. It is from my friend, Wilson
Barrett, who is playing in Philadelphia. "Hearty greetings, dear friend.
Five grains of quinine and two tablets of antipyrine a day, or you get
_grippe_." Then came many letters by every post. "Impossible to go and
welcome you in person. I have _la grippe_. Take every precaution." Such
is the tenor of them all.

The outlook is not bright. What to do? For a moment I have half a mind
to call a cab and get on board the first boat bound for Europe.

I go to my room, the windows of which overlook Union Square. The sky is
somber, the street is black and deserted, the air is suffocatingly
warm, and a very heavy rain is beating against the windows.

Shade of Columbus, how I wish I were home again!

       *       *       *       *       *

Cheer up, boy, the hand-grasps of your dear New York friends will be
sweet after the frantic grasping of stair-rails and other ship furniture
for so many days.

I will have lunch and go and pay calls.

       *       *       *       *       *

Excuse me if I leave you for a few minutes. The interviewers are waiting
for me downstairs in Major Pond's office. The interviewers! a gay note
at last. The hall porter hands me their cards. They are all there:
representatives of the _Tribune_, the _Times_, the _Sun_, the _Herald_,
the _World_, the _Star_.

What nonsense Europeans have written on the subject of interviewing in
America, to be sure! To hear them speak, you would believe that it is
the greatest nuisance in the world.

A Frenchman writes in the _Figaro_: "I will go to America if my life can
be insured against that terrific nuisance, interviewing."

An Englishman writes to an English paper, on returning from America:
"When the reporters called on me, I invariably refused to see them."

Trash! Cant! Hypocrisy! With the exception of a king, or the prime
minister of one of the great powers, a man is only too glad to be
interviewed. Don't talk to me about the nuisance, tell the truth, it is
always such a treat to hear it. I consider that interviewing is a
compliment, a great compliment paid to the interviewed. In asking a man
to give you his views, so as to enlighten the public on such and such a
subject, you acknowledge that he is an important man, which is
flattering to him; or you take him for one, which is more flattering

I maintain that American interviewers are extremely courteous and
obliging, and, as a rule, very faithful reporters of what you say to

Let me say that I have a lurking doubt in my mind whether those who have
so much to say against interviewing in America have ever been asked to
be interviewed at all, or have even ever run such a danger.

I object to interviewing as a sign of decadence in modern journalism;
but I do not object to being interviewed, I like it; and, to prove it, I
will go down at once, and be interviewed.

       *       *       *       *       *


The interview with the New York reporters passed off very well. I went
through the operation like a man.

After lunch, I went to see Mr. Edmund Clarence Stedman, who had shown me
a great deal of kindness during my first visit to America. I found in
him a friend ready to welcome me.

The poet and literary critic is a man of about fifty, rather below
middle height, with a beautifully chiseled head. In every one of the
features you can detect the artist, the man of delicate, tender, and
refined feelings. It was a great pleasure for me to see him again. He
has finished his "Library of American Literature," a gigantic work of
erudite criticism and judicious compilation, which he undertook a few
years ago in collaboration with Miss Ellen Mackay Hutchinson. These
eleven volumes form a perfect national monument, a complete cyclopædia
of American literature, giving extracts from the writings of every
American who has published anything for the last three hundred years

[Illustration: THE INTERVIEWERS.]

On leaving him, I went to call on Mrs. Anna Bowman Dodd, the author of
"Cathedral Days," "Glorinda," "The Republic of the Future," and other
charming books, and one of the brightest conversationalists it has ever
been my good fortune to meet. After an hour's chat with her, I had
forgotten all about the _grippe_, and all other more or less imaginary

I returned to the Everett House to dress, and went to the Union League
Club to dine with General Horace Porter.

The general possesses a rare and most happy combination of brilliant
flashing Parisian wit and dry, quiet, American humor. This charming
_causeur_ and _conteur_ tells an anecdote as nobody I know can do; he
never misses fire. He assured me at table that the copyright bill will
soon be passed, for, he added, "we have now a pure and pious
Administration. At the White House they open their oysters with prayer."
The conversation fell on American society, or, rather, on American
Societies. The highest and lowest of these can be distinguished by the
use of _van_. "The blue blood of America put it before their names, as
_Van Nicken_; political society puts it after, as _Sullivan_."


Time passed rapidly in such delightful company.

I finished the evening at the house of Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll. If
there had been any cloud of gloom still left hanging about me, it would
have vanished at the sight of his sunny face. There was a small
gathering of some thirty people, among them Mr. Edgar Fawcett, whose
acquaintance I was delighted to make. Conversation went on briskly with
one and the other, and at half-past eleven I returned to the hotel
completely cured.

To-morrow morning I leave for Boston at ten o'clock to begin the lecture
tour in that city, or, to use an Americanism, to "open the show."

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a knock at the door.

[Illustration: HALL PORTER.]

It is the hall porter with a letter: an invitation to dine with the
members of the Clover Club at Philadelphia on Thursday next, the 16th.

I look at my list of engagements and find I am in Pittsburg on that day.

I take a telegraph form and pen the following, which I will send to my
friend, Major M. P. Handy, the president of this lively association:

  Many thanks. Am engaged in Pittsburg on the 16th. Thank God, cannot
  attend your dinner.

I remember how those "boys" cheeked me two years ago, laughed at me, sat
on me. That's my telegram to you, dear Cloverites, with my love.




     _Boston, January 6._

Arrived here this afternoon, and resumed acquaintance with American

American hotels are all alike.

Some are worse.

Describe one and you have described them all.

On the ground floor, a large entrance hall strewed with cuspidores for
the men, and a side entrance provided with a triumphal arch for the
ladies. On this floor the sexes are separated as at the public baths.

[Illustration: THE SAD-EYED CLERK.]

In the large hall, a counter behind which solemn clerks, whose business
faces relax not a muscle, are ready with their book to enter your name
and assign you a number. A small army of colored porters ready to take
you in charge. Not a salute, not a word, not a smile of welcome. The
negro takes your bag and makes a sign that your case is settled. You
follow him. For the time being you lose your personality and become No.
375, as you would in jail. Don't ask questions; theirs not to answer;
don't ring the bell to ask for a favor, if you set any value on your
time. All the rules of the establishment are printed and posted in your
bedroom; you have to submit to them. No question to ask--you know
everything. Henceforth you will have to be hungry from 7 to 9 A.M.;
from 1 to 3 P.M.; from 6 to 8 P.M. The slightest infringement of the
routine would stop the wheel, so don't ask if you could have a meal at
four o'clock; you would be taken for a lunatic, or a crank (as they call
it in America).

Between meals you will be supplied with ice-water _ad libitum_.

No privacy. No coffee-room, no smoking-room. No place where you can go
and quietly sip a cup of coffee or drink a glass of beer with a cigar.
You can have a drink at the bar, and then go and sit down in the hall
among the crowd.

Life in an American hotel is an alternation of the cellular system
during the night and of the gregarious system during the day, an
alternation of the penitentiary systems carried out at Philadelphia and
at Auburn.

It is not in the bedroom, either, that you must seek anything to cheer
you. The bed is good, but only for the night. The room is perfectly
nude. Not even "Napoleon's Farewell to his Soldiers at Fontainebleau" as
in France, or "Strafford walking to the Scaffold" as in England. Not
that these pictures are particularly cheerful, still they break the
monotony of the wall paper. Here the only oases in the brown or gray
desert are cautions.

First of all, a notice that, in a cupboard near the window, you will
find some twenty yards of coiled rope which, in case of fire, you are to
fix to a hook outside the window. The rest is guessed. You fix the rope,
and--you let yourself go. From a sixth, seventh, or eighth story, the
prospect is lively. Another caution informs you of all that you must not
do, such as your own washing in the bedroom. Another warns you that if,
on retiring, you put your boots outside the door, you do so at your own
risk and peril. Another is posted near the door, close to an electric
bell. With a little care and practice, you will be able to carry out the
instructions printed thereon. The only thing wonderful about the
contrivance is that the servants never make mistakes.

[Illustration: THE HOTEL FIRE ESCAPE.]

  Press once         for ice-water.
    "   twice         "  hall boy.
    "   three times   " fireman.
    "   four    "     " chambermaid.
    "   five    "     " hot water.
    "   six     "     " ink and writing materials.
    "   seven   "     " baggage.
    "   eight   "     " messenger.

In some hotels I have seen the list carried to number twelve.

Another notice tells you what the proprietor's responsibilities are, and
at what time the meals take place. Now this last notice is the most
important of all. Woe to you if you forget it! For if you should present
yourself one minute after the dining-room door is closed, no human
consideration would get it open for you. Supplications, arguments would
be of no avail. Not even money.

"What do you mean?" some old-fashioned European will exclaim. "When the
_table d'hôte_ is over, of course you cannot expect the _menu_ to be
served to you; but surely you can order a steak or a chop."

No, you cannot, not even an omelette or a piece of cold meat. If you
arrive at one minute past three (in small towns, at one minute past two)
you find the dining-room closed, and you must wait till six o'clock to
see its hospitable doors open again.

       *       *       *       *       *

When you enter the dining-room, you must not believe that you can go
and sit where you like. The chief waiter assigns you a seat, and you
must take it. With a superb wave of the hand, he signs to you to follow
him. He does not even turn round to see if you are behind him, following
him in all the meanders he describes, amid the sixty, eighty, sometimes
hundred tables that are in the room. He takes it for granted you are an
obedient, submissive traveler who knows his duty. Altogether I traveled
in the United States for about ten months, and I never came across an
American so daring, so independent, as to actually take any other seat
than the one assigned to him by that tremendous potentate, the head
waiter. Occasionally, just to try him, I would sit down in a chair I
took a fancy to. But he would come and fetch me, and tell me that I
could not stay there. In Europe, the waiter asks you where you would
like to sit. In America, you ask him where you may sit. He is a paid
servant, therefore a master in America. He is in command, not of the
other waiters, but of the guests. Several times, recognizing friends in
the dining-room, I asked the man to take me to their tables (I should
not have dared go by myself), and the permission was granted with a
patronizing sign of the head. I have constantly seen Americans stop on
the threshold of the dining-room door, and wait until the chief waiter
had returned from placing a guest to come and fetch them in their turn.
I never saw them venture alone, and take an empty seat, without the
sanction of the waiter.

[Illustration: THE HEAD MAN.]

The guests feel struck with awe in that dining-room, and solemnly bolt
their food as quickly as they can. You hear less noise in an American
hotel dining-room containing five hundred people, than you do at a
French _table d'hôte_ accommodating fifty people, at a German one
containing a dozen guests, or at a table where two Italians are dining

[Illustration: "LOOK LIKE DUSKY PRINCES."]

The head waiter, at large Northern and Western hotels, is a white man.
In the Southern ones, he is a mulatto or a black; but white or black, he
is always a magnificent specimen of his race. There is not a ghost of a
savor of the serving man about him; no whiskers and shaven upper lips
reminding you of the waiters of the Old World; but always a fine
mustache, the twirling of which helps to give an air of _nonchalant_
superiority to its wearer. The mulatto head-waiters in the South really
look like dusky princes. Many of them are so handsome and carry
themselves so superbly that you find them very impressive at first and
would fain apologize to them. You feel as if you wanted to thank them
for kindly condescending to concern themselves about anything so
commonplace as your seat at table.


In smaller hotels, the waiters are all waitresses. The "waiting" is done
by damsels entirely--or rather by the guests of the hotel.

If the Southern head waiter looks like a prince, what shall we say of
the head-waitress in the East, the North, and the West? No term short of
queenly will describe her stately bearing as she moves about among her
bevy of reduced duchesses. She is evidently chosen for her appearance.
She is "divinely tall," as well as "most divinely fair," and, as if to
add to her importance, she is crowned with a gigantic mass of frizzled
hair. All the waitresses have this coiffure. It is a livery, as caps are
in the Old World; but instead of being a badge of servitude it looks,
and is, alarmingly emancipated--so much so that, before making close
acquaintance with my dishes, I always examine them with great care. A
beautiful mass of hair looks lovely on the head of a woman, but _one_ in
your soup, even if it had strayed from the tresses of your beloved one,
would make the corners of your mouth go down, and the tip of your nose
go up.

A regally handsome woman always "goes well in the landscape," as the
French say, and I have seen specimens of these waitresses so handsome
and so commanding-looking that, if they cared to come over to Europe and
play the queens in London pantomimes, I feel sure they would command
quite exceptional prices, and draw big salaries and crowded houses.

       *       *       *       *       *

The thing which strikes me most disagreeably, in the American hotel
dining-room, is the sight of the tremendous waste of food that goes on
at every meal. No European, I suppose, can fail to be struck with this;
but to a Frenchman it would naturally be most remarkable. In France,
where, I venture to say, people live as well as anywhere else, if not
better, there is a horror of anything like waste of good food. It is to
me, therefore, a repulsive thing to see the wanton manner in which some
Americans will waste at one meal enough to feed several hungry

In the large hotels, conducted on the American plan, there are rarely
fewer than fifty different dishes on the _menu_ at dinner-time. Every
day, and at every meal, you may see people order three times as much of
this food as they could under any circumstances eat, and, after picking
it and spoiling one dish after another, send the bulk away uneaten. I am
bound to say that this practice is not only to be observed in hotels
where the charge is so much per day, but in those conducted on the
European plan, that is, where you pay for every item you order. There I
notice that people proceed in much the same wasteful fashion. It is
evidently not a desire to have more than is paid for, but simply a bad
and ugly habit. I hold that about five hundred hungry people could be
fed out of the waste that is going on at such large hotels as the Palmer
House or the Grand Pacific Hotel of Chicago--and I have no doubt that
such five hundred hungry people could easily be found in Chicago every

       *       *       *       *       *

I think that many Europeans are prevented from going to America by an
idea that the expense of traveling and living there is very great. This
is quite a delusion. For my part I find that hotels are as cheap in
America as in England at any rate, and railway traveling in Pullman cars
is certainly cheaper than in European first-class carriages, and
incomparably more comfortable. Put aside in America such hotels as
Delmonico's, the Brunswick in New York; the Richelieu in Chicago; and in
England such hotels as the Metropôle, the Victoria, the Savoy; and take
the good hotels of the country, such as the Grand Pacific at Chicago;
the West House at Minneapolis, the Windsor at Montreal, the Cadillac at
Detroit. I only mention those I remember as the very best. In these
hotels, you are comfortably lodged and magnificently fed for from three
to five dollars a day. In no good hotel of England, France, Germany,
Italy, Switzerland, would you get the same amount of comfort, or even
luxury, at the same price, and those who require a sitting-room get it
for a little less than they would have to pay in a European hotel.

The only very dear hotels I have come across in the United States are
those of Virginia. There I have been charged as much as two dollars a
day, but never in my life did I pay so dear for what I had, never in my
life did I see so many dirty rooms or so many messes that were unfit for
human food.

But I will just say this much for the American refinement of feeling to
be met with, even in the hotels of Virginia, even in the "lunch" rooms
in small stations, you are supplied, at the end of each meal, with a
bowl of water--to rinse your mouth.




     _Boston, January 7._

Began my second American tour under most favorable auspices last night,
in the Tremont Temple. The huge hall was crowded with an audience of
about 2500 people--a most kind, warm, keen, and appreciative audience. I
was a little afraid of the Bostonians; I had heard so much about their
power of criticism that I had almost come to the conclusion that it was
next to impossible to please them. The Boston newspapers this morning
give full reports of my lecture. All of them are kind and most
favorable. This is a good start, and I feel hopeful.

The subject of my lecture was "A National Portrait Gallery of the
Anglo-Saxon Races," in which I delineated the English, the Scotch, and
the American characters. Strange to say, my Scotch sketches seemed to
tickle them most. This, however, I can explain to myself. Scotch "wut"
is more like American humor than any kind of wit I know. There is about
it the same dryness, the same quaintness, the same preposterousness, the
same subtlety.

[Illustration: BOSTON.]

My Boston audience also seemed to enjoy my criticisms of America and the
Americans, which disposes of the absurd belief that the Americans will
not listen to the criticism of their country. There are Americans and
Americans, as there is criticism and criticism. If you can speak of
people's virtues without flattery; if you can speak of their weaknesses
and failings with kindness and good humor, I believe you can criticise
to your heart's content without ever fearing to give offense to
intelligent and fair-minded people. I admire and love the Americans. How
could they help seeing it through all the little criticisms that I
indulged in on the platform? On the whole, I was delighted with my
Boston audience, and, to judge from the reception they gave me, I
believe I succeeded in pleasing them. I have three more engagements in
Boston, so I shall have the pleasure of meeting the Bostonians again.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have never been able to lecture, whether in England, in Scotland, in
Ireland or in America, without discovering, somewhere in the hall, after
speaking for five minutes or so, an old gentleman who will not smile. He
was there last night, and it is evident that he is going to favor me
with his presence every night during this second American tour. He
generally sits near the platform, and not unfrequently on the first row.
There is a horrible fascination about that man. You cannot get your eyes
off him. You do your utmost to "fetch him"--you feel it to be your duty
not to send him home empty-headed; your conscience tells you that he has
not to please you, but that _you_ are paid to please him, and you
struggle on. You would like to slip into his pocket the price of his
seat and have him removed, or throw the water bottle at his face and
make him show signs of life. As it is, you try to look the other way,
but you know he is there, and that does not improve matters.

Now this man, who will not smile, very often is not so bad as he looks.
You imagine that you bore him to death, but you don't. You wonder how it
is he does not go, but the fact is he actually enjoys himself--inside.
Or, maybe, he is a professional man himself, and no conjuror has ever
been known to laugh at another conjuror's tricks. A great American
humorist relates that, after speaking for an hour and a half without
succeeding in getting a smile from a certain man in the audience, he
sent some one to inquire into the state of his mind.

"Excuse me, sir, did you not enjoy the lecture that has been delivered

"Very much indeed," said the man, "it was a most clever and entertaining

"But you never smiled----"

"Oh, no--I'm a liar myself."

       *       *       *       *       *

Sometimes there are other reasons to explain the unsmiling man's

One evening I had lectured in Birmingham. On the first row there sat the
whole time an old gentleman, with his umbrella standing between his
legs, his hands crossed on the handle, and his chin resting on his
hands. Frowning, his mouth gaping, and his eyes perfectly vacant, he
remained motionless, looking at me, and for an hour and twenty minutes
seemed to say to me: "My poor fellow, you may do what you like, but you
won't 'fetch' me to-night, I can tell you." I looked at him, I spoke to
him, I winked at him, I aimed at him; several times even I paused so as
to give him ample time to see a point. All was in vain. I had just
returned, after the lecture, to the secretary's room behind the
platform, when he entered.

"Oh, that man again!" I cried, pointing to him.

He advanced toward me, took my hand, and said:

"Thank you very much for your excellent lecture, I have enjoyed it very

"Have you?" said I.


"Would you be kind enough to give me your autograph?" And he pulled out
of his pocket a beautiful autograph book.

"Well," I said to the secretary in a whisper, "this old gentleman is
extremely kind to ask for my autograph, for I am certain he has not
enjoyed my lecture."

"What makes you think so?"

"Why, he never smiled once."

"Oh, poor old gentleman," said the secretary; "he is stone deaf."

Many a lecturer must have met this man.

It would be unwise, when you discover that certain members of the
audience will not laugh, to give them up at once. As long as you are on
the platform there is hope.

I was once lecturing in the chief town of a great hunting center in
England. On the first row sat half a dozen hair-parted-in-the-middle,
single-eye-glass young swells. They stared at me unmoved, and never
relaxed a muscle except for yawning. It was most distressing to see how
the poor fellows looked bored. How I did wish I could do something for
them! I had spoken for nearly an hour when, by accident, I upset the
tumbler on my table. The water trickled down the cloth. The young men
laughed, roared. They were happy and enjoying themselves, and I had
"fetched" them at last. I have never forgotten this trick, and when I
see in the audience an apparently hopeless case, I often resort to it,
generally with success.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are other people who do not much enjoy your lecture: your own.


Of course you must forgive your wife. The dear creature knows all your
lectures by heart; she has heard your jokes hundreds of times. She comes
to your lectures rather to see how you are going to be received than to
listen to you. Besides, she feels that for an hour and a half you do not
belong to her. When she comes with you to the lecture hall, you are both
ushered into the secretary's room. Two or three minutes before it is
time to go on the platform, it is suggested to her that it is time she
should take her seat among the audience. She looks at the secretary and
recognizes that for an hour and a half her husband is the property of
this official, who is about to hand him over to the tender mercies of
the public. As she says, "Oh, yes, I suppose I must go," she almost
feels like shaking hands with her husband, as Mrs. Baldwin takes leave
of the Professor before he starts on his aerial trip. But, though she
may not laugh, her heart is with you, and she is busy watching the
audience, ever ready to tell them, "Now, don't you think this is a very
good point? Well, then, if you do, why don't you laugh and cheer?" She
is part and parcel of yourself. She is not jealous of your success, for
she is your helpmate, your kind and sound counselor, and I can assure
you that if an audience should fail to be responsive, it would never
enter her head to lay the blame on her husband; she would feel the most
supreme contempt for "that stupid audience that was unable to appreciate
you." That's all.

But your other own folk! You are no hero to them. To judge the effect of
anything, you must be placed at a certain distance, and your own folks
are too near you.

One afternoon I had given a lecture to a large and fashionable audience
in the South of England. A near relative of mine, who lived in the
neighborhood, was in the hall. He never smiled. I watched him from the
beginning to the end. When the lecture was over he came to the little
room behind the platform to take me to his house. As he entered the room
I was settling the money matters with my _impresario_. I will let you
into the secret. There was fifty-two pounds in the house, and my share
was two-thirds of the gross receipts, that is about thirty-four pounds.
My relative heard the sum. As we drove along in his dog-cart he nudged
me and said:

"Did you make thirty-four pounds this afternoon?"

"Oh, did you hear?" I said. "Yes, that was my part of the takings. For a
small town I am quite satisfied."

"I should think you were!" he replied. "If you had made thirty-four
shillings you would have been well paid for your work!"

Nothing is more true to life than the want of appreciation the
successful man encounters from relatives and also from former friends.
Nothing is more certain than when a man has lived on terms of perfect
equality and familiarity with a certain set of men, he can never hope to
be anything but "plain John" to them, though by his personal efforts he
may have obtained the applause of the public. Did he not rub shoulders
with them for years in the same walk of life? Why these bravos? What was
there in him more than in them? Even though they may have gone so far as
to single him out as a "rather clever fellow," while he was one of
theirs, still the surprise at the public appreciation is none the less
keen, his advance toward the front an unforgivable offense, and they are
immediately seized with a desire to rush out in the highways and
proclaim that he is only "Jack," and not the "John" that his admirers
think him. I remember that, in the early years of my life in England,
when I had not the faintest idea of ever writing a book on John Bull, a
young English friend of mine did me the honor of appreciating highly all
my observations on British life and manners, and for years urged me hard
and often to jot them down to make a book of. One day the book was
finished and appeared in print. It attracted a good deal of public
attention, but no one was more surprised than this man, who, from a kind
friend, was promptly transformed into the most severe and unfriendly of
my critics, and went about saying that the book and the amount of public
attention bestowed upon it were both equally ridiculous. He has never
spoken to me since.

[Illustration: THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.]

A successful man is very often charged with wishing to turn his back on
his former friends. No accusation is more false. Nothing would please
him more than to retain the friends of more modest times, but it is they
who have changed their feelings. They snub him, and this man, who is in
constant need of moral support and _pick-me-up_, cannot stand it.

       *       *       *       *       *

But let us return to the audience.

The man who won't smile is not the only person who causes you some

There is the one who laughs too soon; who laughs before you have made
your points, and who thinks, because you have opened your lecture with a
joke, that everything you say afterward is a joke. There is another
rather objectionable person; it is the one who explains your points to
his neighbor, and makes them laugh aloud just at the moment when you
require complete silence to fire off one of your best remarks.

There is the old lady who listens to you frowning, and who does not mind
what you are saying, but is all the time shaking for fear of what you
are going to say next. She never laughs before she has seen other people
laugh. Then she thinks she is safe.

All these I am going to have in America again; that is clear. But I am
now a man of experience. I have lectured in concert rooms, in lecture
halls, in theaters, in churches, in schools. I have addressed embalmed
Britons in English health resorts, petrified English mummies at
hydropathic establishments, and lunatics in private asylums.

I am ready for the fray.



     _From Meriden, January 8._

A Connecticut audience was a new experience to me. Yesterday I had a
crowded room at the Opera House in Meriden; but if you had been behind
the scenery, when I made my appearance on the stage, you would not have
suspected it, for not one of the audience treated me to a little
applause. I was frozen, and so were they. For a quarter of an hour I
proceeded very cautiously, feeling the ground, as it were, as I went on.
By that time, the thaw set in, and they began to smile. I must say that
they had been very attentive from the beginning, and seemed very
interested in the lecture. Encouraged by this, I warmed too. It was
curious to watch that audience. By twos and threes the faces lit up with
amusement till, by and by, the house wore quite an animated aspect.
Presently there was a laugh, then two, then laughter more general. All
the ice was gone. Next, a bold spirit in the stalls ventured some
applause. At his second outburst he had company. The uphill work was
nearly over now, and I began to feel better. The infection spread up to
the circles and the gallery, and at last there came a real good hearty
round of applause. I had "fetched" them after all. But it was tough
work. When once I had them in hand, I took good care not to let them go.

       *       *       *       *       *

I visited several interesting establishments this morning. Merry Meriden
is famous for its manufactories of electro-plated silverware.
Unfortunately I am not yet accustomed to the heated rooms of America,
and I could not stay in the show-rooms more than a few minutes. I should
have thought the heat was strong enough to melt all the goods on view.
This town looks like a bee-hive of activity, with its animated streets,
its electric cars. Dear old Europe! With the exception of a few large
cities, the cars are still drawn by horses, like in the time of
Sesostris and Nebuchadnezzar.

       *       *       *       *       *

On arriving at the station a man took hold of my bag and asked to take
care of it until the arrival of the train. I do not know whether he
belonged to the hotel where I spent the night, or to the railroad
company. Whatever he was, I felt grateful for this wonderful show of

"I heard you last night at the Opera House," he said to me.

"Why, were you at the lecture?"

"Yes, sir, and I greatly enjoyed it."

"Well, why didn't you laugh sooner?" I said.

"I wanted to very much!"

"Why didn't you?"


"Well, sir, I couldn't very well laugh before the rest."

"Why didn't you give the signal?"

"You see, sir," he said, "we are in Connecticut."

"Is laughter prohibited by the Statute Book in Connecticut?" I remarked.

"No, sir, but if you all laugh at the same time, then----"

"I see, nobody can tell who is the real criminal."

The train arrived. I shook hands with my friend, after offering him half
a dollar for holding my bag--which he refused--and went on board.

In the parlor car, I met my kind friend Colonel Charles H. Taylor,
editor of that very successful paper, the Boston _Globe_. We had
luncheon together in the dining car, and time passed delightfully in his
company till we reached the Grand Central station, New York, when we
parted. He was kind enough to make me promise to look him up in Boston
in a fortnight's time, when I make my second appearance in the City of




     _New York, January 9._

On returning here, I found a most curious letter awaiting me. I must
tell you that in Boston, last Monday, I made the following remarks in my

"The American is, I believe, on the road to the possession of all that
can contribute to the well-being and success of a nation, but he seems
to me to have missed the path that leads to real happiness. To live in a
whirl is not to live well. The little French shopkeeper who locks his
shop-door from half-past one, so as not to be disturbed while he is
having his dinner with his wife and family, has come nearer to solving
the great problem of life, 'How to be happy,' than the American who
sticks on his door: 'Gone to dinner, shall be back in five minutes.' You
eat too fast, and I understand why your antidyspeptic pill-makers cover
your walls, your forests even, with their advertisements."

And I named the firm of pill-makers.

The letter is from them. They offer me $1000 if I will repeat the
phrase at every lecture I give during my tour in the United States.


You may imagine if I will be careful to abstain in the future.

       *       *       *       *       *

I lectured to-night before the members of the Thursday Club--a small,
but very select audience, gathered in the drawing-room of one of the
members. The lecture was followed by a _conversazione_. A very pleasant

I left the house at half-past eleven. The night was beautiful. I walked
to the hotel, along Fifth Avenue to Madison Square, and along Broadway
to Union Square.

What a contrast to the great thoroughfares of London! Thousands of
people here returning from the theaters and enjoying their walks,
instead of being obliged to rush into vehicles to escape the sights
presented at night by the West End streets of London. Here you can walk
at night with your wife and daughter, without the least fear of their
coming into contact with flaunting vice.

       *       *       *       *       *

Excuse a reflection on a subject of a very domestic character. My
clothes have come from the laundress with the bill.

Now let me give you a sound piece of advice.

When you go to America, bring with you a dozen shirts. No more. When
these are soiled, buy a new dozen, and so on. You will thus get a supply
of linen for many years to come, and save your washing bills in America,
where the price of a shirt is much the same as the cost of washing it.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _January 10._

I was glad to see Bill Nye again. He turned up at the Everett House this
morning. I like to gaze at his clean-shaven face, that is seldom broken
by a smile, and to hear his long, melancholy drawl. His lank form, and
his polished dome of thought, as he delights in calling his joke box,
help to make him so droll on the platform. When his audience begins to
scream with laughter, he stops, looks at them in astonishment; the
corners of his mouth drop and an expression of sadness comes over his
face. The effect is irresistible. They shriek for mercy. But they don't
get it. He is accompanied by his own manager, who starts with him for
the north to-night. This manager has no sinecure. I don't think Bill Nye
has ever been found in a depot ready to catch a train. So the manager
takes him to the station, puts him in the right car, gets him out of his
sleeping berth, takes him to the hotel, sees that he is behind the
platform a few minutes before the time announced for the beginning of
the lecture, and generally looks after his comfort. Bill is due in Ohio
to-morrow night, and leaves New York to-night by the Grand Central

"Are you sure it's by the Grand Central?" he said to me.

"Why, of course, corner of Forty-second Street, a five or ten minutes'
ride from here."

You should have seen the expression on his face, as he drawled away:

"How--shall--I--get--there, I--wonder?"

       *       *       *       *       *

This afternoon I paid a most interesting visit to several girls'
schools. The pupils were ordered by the head-mistress, in each case, to
gather in the large room. There they arrived, two by two, to the sound
of a march played on the piano by one of the under-mistresses. When
they had all reached their respective places, two chords were struck on
the instrument, and they all sat down with the precision of the best
drilled Prussian regiment. Then some sang, others recited little poems,
or epigrams--mostly at the expense of men. When, two years ago, I
visited the Normal School for girls in the company of the President of
the Education Board and Colonel Elliott F. Shepard, it was the
anniversary of George Eliot's birth. The pupils, one by one, recited a
few quotations from her works, choosing all she had written against man.

When the singing and the recitations were over, the mistress requested
me to address a few words to the young ladies. An American is used from
infancy to deliver a speech on the least provocation. I am not. However,
I managed to congratulate these young American girls on their charming
appearance, and to thank them for the pleasure they had afforded me.
Then two chords were struck on the piano and all stood up; two more
chords, and all marched off in double file to the sound of another
march. Not a smile, not a giggle. All these young girls, from sixteen to
twenty, looked at me with modesty, but complete self-assurance,
certainly with far more assurance than I dared look at them.

Then the mistress asked me to go to the gymnasium. There the girls
arrived and, as solemnly as before, went through all kinds of muscular
exercises. They are never allowed to sit down in the class rooms more
than two hours at a time. They have to go down to the gymnasium every
two hours.

I was perfectly amazed to see such discipline. These young girls are the
true daughters of a great Republic: self-possessed, self-confident,
dignified, respectful, law-abiding.

I also visited the junior departments of those schools. In one of them,
eight hundred little girls from five to ten years of age were gathered
together, and, as in the other departments, sang and recited to me.
These young children are taught by the girls of the Normal School, under
the supervision of mistresses. Here teaching is learned by teaching. A
good method. Doctors are not allowed to practice before they have
attended patients in hospitals. Why should people be allowed to teach
before they have attended schools as apprentice teachers?

I had to give a speech to these dear little ones. I wish I had been able
to give them a kiss instead.

In my little speech I had occasion to remark that I had arrived in
America only a week before. After I left, it appears that a little girl,
aged about six, went to her mistress and said to her:

"He's only been here a week! And how beautifully he speaks English

       *       *       *       *       *

I have been "put up" at the Players' Club by Mr. Edmund Clarence
Stedman, and dined with him there to-night.


This club is the snuggest house I know in New York. Only a few months
old, it possesses treasures such as few clubs a hundred years old
possess. It was a present from Mr. Edwin Booth, the greatest actor
America has produced. He bought the house in Twentieth Street, facing
Gramercy Park, furnished it handsomely and with the greatest taste, and
filled it with all the artistic treasures that he has collected during
his life: portraits of celebrated actors, most valuable old engravings,
photographs with the originals' autographs, china, curios of all sorts,
stage properties, such as the sword used by Macready in _Macbeth_, and
hundreds of such beautiful and interesting souvenirs. On the second
floor is the library, mostly composed of works connected with the drama.

This club is a perfect gem.

When in New York, Mr. Booth occupies a suite of rooms on the second
floor, which he has reserved for himself; but he has handed over the
property to the trustees of the club, who, after his death, will become
the sole proprietors of the house and of all its priceless contents. It
was a princely gift, worthy of the prince of actors. The members are all
connected with literature, art, and the drama, and number about one




     _New York, January 11._

There are in America, as in many other countries of the world, people
who have coats-of-arms, and whose ancestors had no arms to their coats.

This remark was suggested by the reading of the following paragraph in
the New York _World_ this morning:

  There is growing in this country the rotten influence of rank, pride
  of station, contempt for labor, scorn of poverty, worship of caste,
  such as we verily believe is growing in no country in the world. What
  are the ideals that fill so large a part of the day and generation?
  For the boy it is riches; for the girl the marrying of a title. The
  ideal of this time in America is vast riches and the trappings of
  rank. It is good that proper scorn should be expressed of such ideals.

American novelists, journalists, and preachers are constantly upbraiding
and ridiculing their countrywomen for their love of titled foreigners;
but the society women of the great Republic only love the foreign lords
all the more; and I have heard some of them openly express their
contempt of a form of government whose motto is one of the clauses of
the great Declaration of Independence: "All men are created equal." I
really believe that if the society women of America had their own way,
they would set up a monarchy to-morrow, in the hope of seeing an
aristocracy established as the sequel of it.

[Illustration: A TITLE.]

President Garfield once said that the only real coats-of-arms in America
were shirt-sleeves. The epigram is good, but not based on truth, as
every epigram should be. Labor in the States is not honorable for its
own sake, but only if it brings wealth. President Garfield's epigram
"fetched" the crowd, no doubt, as any smart democratic or humanitarian
utterance will anywhere, whether it be emitted from the platform, the
stage, the pulpit, or the hustings; but if any American philosopher
heard it, he must have smiled.

A New York friend who called on me this morning, and with whom I had a
chat on this subject, assured me that there is now such a demand in the
States for pedigrees, heraldic insignia, mottoes, and coronets, that it
has created a new industry. He also informed me that almost every
American city has a college of heraldry, which will provide unbroken
lines of ancestors, and make to order a new line of forefathers "of the
most approved pattern, with suitable arms, etc."

Addison's prosperous foundling, who ordered at the second-hand
picture-dealer's "a complete set of ancestors," is, according to my
friend, a typical personage to be met with in the States nowadays.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bah! after all, every country has her snobs. Why should America be an
exception to the rule? When I think of the numberless charming people I
have met in this country, I may as well leave it to the Europeans who
have come in contact with American snobs to speak about them, inasmuch
as the subject is not particularly entertaining.

What amuses me much more here is the effect of democracy on what we
Europeans would call the lower classes.

A few days ago, in a hotel, I asked a porter if my trunk had arrived
from the station and had been taken to my room.

"I don't know," he said majestically; "you ask that gentleman."

The gentleman pointed out to me was the negro who looks after the
luggage in the establishment.

In the papers you may read in the advertisement columns: "Washing wanted
by a lady at such and such address."

[Illustration: THE NEW YORK CABMAN.]

The cabman will ask, "If you are the _man_ as wants a _gentleman_ to
drive him to the _deepo_."

During an inquiry concerning the work-house at Cambridge, Mass., a
witness spoke of the "ladies' cells," as being all that should be

Democracy, such is thy handiwork!

       *       *       *       *       *

I went to the Stock Exchange in Wall Street at one o'clock. I thought
that Whitechapel, on Saturday night, was beyond competition as a scene
of rowdyism. I have now altered this opinion. I am still wondering
whether I was not guyed by my pilot, and whether I was not shown the
playground of a madhouse, at the time when all the most desperate
lunatics are let loose.

After lunch I went to Falk's photograph studio to be taken, and read the
first page of "Jonathan and His Continent," into his phonograph.
Marvelous, this phonograph! I imagine Mr. Falk has the best collection
of cylinders in the world. I heard a song by Patti, the piano played by
Von Bülow, speeches, orchestras, and what not! The music is reproduced
most faithfully. With the voice the instrument is not quite so
successful. Instead of your own voice, you fancy you hear an imitation
of it by Punch. All the same, it seems to me to be the wonder of the

After paying a few calls, and dining quietly at the Everett House, I
went to the Metropolitan Opera House, and saw "The Barber of Bagdad."
Cornelius's music is Wagnerian in aim, but I did not carry away with me
a single bar of all I heard. After all, this is perhaps the aim of
Wagnerian music.

What a sight is the Metropolitan Opera House, with its boxes full of
lovely women, arrayed in gorgeous garments, and blazing with diamonds!
What luxury! What wealth is gathered there!

How interesting it would be to know the exact amount of wealth of which
New York can boast! In this morning's papers I read that land on Fifth
Avenue has lately sold for $115 a square foot. In an acre of land there
are 43,560 square feet, which at $115 a foot would be $5,009,400 an
acre. Just oblige me by thinking of it!

       *       *       *       *       *

     _January 12._

Went to the Catholic Cathedral at eleven. A mass by Haydn was splendidly
rendered by full orchestra and admirable chorus. The altar was a blaze
of candles. The yellow of the lights and the plain mauve of two
windows, one on each side of the candles, gave a most beautiful
crocus-bed effect. I enjoyed the service.

In the evening I dined with Mr. Lloyd Bryce, editor of the _North
American Review_, at the splendid residence of his father-in-law, Mr.
Cooper, late Mayor of New York. Mrs. Lloyd Bryce is one of the
handsomest American women I have met, and a most charming and graceful
hostess. I reluctantly left early so as to prepare for my night journey
to Buffalo.




     _Buffalo, January 13._

When you intend to give a lecture anywhere, and you wish it to be a
success, it is a mistake to make a mystery of it.

On arriving here this morning, I found that my coming had been kept
perfectly secret.

Perhaps my impresario wishes my audience to be very select, and has sent
only private circulars to the intelligent, well-to-do inhabitants of the
place--or, I said to myself, perhaps the house is all sold, and he has
no need of any further advertisements.

I should very much like to know.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sometimes, however, it is a mistake to advertise a lecture too widely.
You run the risk of getting the wrong people.

A few years ago, in Dundee, a little corner gallery, placed at the end
of the hall where I was to speak, was thrown open to the public at
sixpence. I warned the manager that I was no attraction for the sixpenny
public; but he insisted on having his own way.

The hall was well filled, but not the little gallery, where I counted
about a dozen people. Two of these, however, did not remain long, and,
after the lecture, I was told that they had gone to the box-office and
asked to have their money returned to them. "Why," they said, "it's a
d---- swindle; it's only a man talking."

The man at the box-office was a Scotchman, and it will easily be
understood that the two sixpences remained in the hands of the

       *       *       *       *       *

I can well remember how startled I was, two years ago, on arriving in an
American town where I was to lecture, to see the walls covered with
placards announcing my lecture thus: "He is coming, ah, ha!" And after I
had arrived, new placards were stuck over the old ones: "He has arrived,
ah, ha!"

In another American town I was advertised as "the best paying platform
celebrity in the world." In another, in the following way: "If you would
grow fat and happy, go and hear Max O'Rell to-night."

One of my Chicago lectures was advertised thus: "Laughter is restful. If
you desire to feel as though you had a vacation for a week, do not fail
to attend this lecture."

I was once fortunate enough to deal with a local manager who, before
sending it to the newspapers, submitted to my approbation the following
advertisement, of which he was very proud. I don't know whether it was
his own literary production, or whether he had borrowed it of a showman
friend. Here it is:


  Will put two inches of solid fat even upon the ribs of the most
  cadaverous old miser. Everybody shouts peals of laughter as the rays
  of fun are emitted from this famous son of merry-makers.

[Illustration: AS JOHN BULL.]

I threatened to refuse to appear if the advertisement was inserted in
the papers. This manager later gave his opinion that, as a lecturer, I
was good, but that as a man, I was a little bit "stuck-up."

When you arrive in an American town to lecture, you find the place
flooded with your pictures, huge lithographs stuck on the walls, on the
shop windows, in your very hotel entrance hall. Your own face stares at
you everywhere, you are recognized by everybody. You have to put up with
it. If you love privacy, peace, and quiet, don't go to America on a
lecturing tour. That is what your impresario will tell you.

       *       *       *       *       *

In each town where you go, you have a local manager to "boss the show";
as he has to pay you a certain fee, which he guarantees, you cannot find
fault with him for doing his best to have a large audience. He runs
risks; you do not. Suppose, for instance, you are engaged, not by a
society for a fee, but by a manager on sharing terms, say sixty per
cent. of the gross receipts for you and forty for himself. Suppose his
local expenses amount to $200; he has to bring $500 into the house
before there is a cent for himself. You must forgive him if he goes
about the place beating the big drum. If you do not like it, there is a
place where you can stay--home.

       *       *       *       *       *

An impresario once asked me if I required a piano, and if I would bring
my own accompanist. Another wrote to ask the subject of my

[Illustration: AS SANDY.]

I wrote back to say that my lecture was generally found entertaining,
but that I objected to its being called an entertainment. I added that
the lecture was composed of four character sketches, viz., John Bull,
Sandy, Pat, and Jonathan.

[Illustration: AS PAT.]

In his answer to this, he inquired whether I should change my dress four
times during the performance, and whether it would not be a good thing
to have a little music during the intervals.

Just fancy my appearing on the platform successively dressed as John,
Sandy, Pat, and Jonathan!

       *       *       *       *       *

A good impresario is constantly on the look out for anything that may
draw the attention of the public to his entertainment. Nothing is sacred
for him. His eyes and ears are always open, all his senses on the alert.

One afternoon I was walking with my impresario over the beautiful
Clifton Suspension Bridge. I was to lecture at the Victoria Hall,
Bristol, in the evening. We leaned on the railings, and grew pensive as
we looked at the scenery and the abyss under us.

My impresario sighed.

"What are you thinking about?" I said to him.

[Illustration: AS JONATHAN.]

"Last year," he replied, "a girl tried to commit suicide and jumped over
this bridge; but the wind got under her skirt, made a parachute of it,
and she descended to the bottom of the valley perfectly unhurt."

[Illustration: THE WOULD-BE SUICIDE.]

And he sighed again.

"Well," said I, "why do you sigh?"

"Ah! my dear fellow, if you could do the same this afternoon, there
would be 'standing room only' in the Victoria Hall to-night."

I left that bridge in no time.



     _Buffalo, January 14._

This town is situated twenty-seven miles from Niagara Falls. The
Americans say that the Buffalo people can hear the noise of the
water-fall quite distinctly. I am quite prepared to believe it. However,
an hour's journey by rail and then a quarter of an hour's sleigh ride
will take you from Buffalo within sight of this, perhaps the grandest
piece of scenery in the world. Words cannot describe it. You spend a
couple of hours visiting every point of view. You are nailed, as it
were, to the ground, feeling like a pigmy, awestruck in the presence of
nature at her grandest. The snow was falling thickly, and though it made
the view less clear, it added to the grandeur of the scene.

I went down by the cable car to a level with the rapids and the place
where poor Captain Webb was last seen alive; a presumptuous pigmy, he,
to dare such waters as these. His widow keeps a little bazaar near the
falls and sells souvenirs to the visitors.

It was most thrilling to stand within touching distance of that great
torrent of water, called the Niagara Falls, in distinction to the
Horseshoe Falls, to hear the roar of it as it fell. The idea of force it
gives one is tremendous. You stand and wonder how many ages it has been
roaring on, what eyes besides your own have gazed awestruck at its
mighty rushing, and wonder if the pigmies will ever do what they say
they will; one day make those columns of water their servants to turn
wheels at their bidding.

[Illustration: SHOOTING THE RAPIDS.]

We crossed the bridge over to the Canadian side, and there we had the
whole grand panorama before our eyes.

It appears that it is quite a feasible thing to run the rapids in a
barrel. Girls have done it, and it may become the fashionable sport for
American girls in the near future. It has been safely accomplished
plenty of times by young fellows up for an exciting day's sport.

On the Canadian shore was a pretty villa where Princess Louise stayed
while she painted the scene. Some of the pretty houses were fringed all
round the roofs and balconies in the loveliest way, with icicles a yard
long, and loaded with snow. They looked most beautiful.

On the way back we called at Prospect House, a charming hotel which I
hope, if ever I go near Buffalo again, I shall put up at for a day or
two, to see the neighborhood well.

Two years ago I was lucky enough to witness a most curious sight. The
water was frozen under the falls, and a natural bridge, formed by the
ice, was being used by venturesome people to cross the Niagara River on.
This occurs very seldom.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have had a fizzle to-night. I almost expected it. In a hall that could
easily have accommodated fifteen hundred people, I lectured to an
audience of about three hundred. Fortunately they proved so intelligent,
warm, and appreciative that I did not feel at all depressed; but my
impresario did. However, he congratulated me on having been able to do
justice to the _causerie_, as if I had had a bumper house.

I must own that it is much easier to be a tragedian than a light
comedian before a $200 house.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Cleveland, O., January 15._

The weather is so bad that I shall be unable to see anything of this
city, which, people tell me, is very beautiful.

On arriving at the Weddell House, I met a New York friend.

"Well," said he, "how are you getting on? Where do you come from?"

"From Buffalo," said I, pulling a long face.

"What is the matter? Don't you like the Buffalo people?"

"Yes; I liked those I saw. I should have liked to extend my love to a
larger number. I had a fizzle; about three hundred people. Perhaps I
drew all the brain of Buffalo."

"How many people do you say you had in the hall?" said my friend.

"About three hundred."

"Then you must have drawn a good many people from Rochester, I should
think," said he quite solemnly.

In reading the Buffalo newspapers this morning, I noticed favorable
criticisms of my lecture; but while my English was praised, so far as
the language went, severe comments were passed on my pronunciation. In
England, where the English language is spoken with a decent
pronunciation, I never once read a condemnation of my pronunciation of
the English language.

I will not appear again in Buffalo until I feel much improved.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "GOING TO PITTSBURG, I GUESS."]

     _En route to Pittsburg, January 16._

The American railway stations have special waiting rooms for
ladies--not, as in England, places furnished with looking-glasses, where
they can go and arrange their bonnets, etc. No, no. Places where they
can wait for the trains, protected against the contamination of man, and
where they are spared the sight of that eternal little round piece of
furniture with which the floors of the whole of the United States are

At Cleveland Station, this morning, I met Jonathan, such as he is
represented in the comic papers of the world. A man of sixty, with long
straight white hair falling over his shoulders; no mustache, long
imperial beard, a razor-blade-shaped nose, small keen eyes, and high
prominent cheek-bones, the whole smoking the traditional cigar; the
Anglo-Saxon indianized--Jonathan. If he had had a long swallow-tail coat
on, a waistcoat ornamented with stars, and trowsers with stripes, he
might have sat for the cartoons of _Puck_ or _Judge_.

In the car, Jonathan came and sat opposite me. A few minutes after the
train had started, he said:

"Going to Pittsburg, I guess."

"Yes," I replied.

"To lecture?"

"Oh, you know I lecture?"

"Why, certainly; I heard you in Boston ten days ago."

He offered me a cigar, told me his name--I mean his three names--what he
did, how much he earned, where he lived, how many children he had; he
read me a poem of his own composition, invited me to go and see him, and
entertained me for three hours and a half, telling me the history of his
life, etc. Indeed, it was Jonathan.

       *       *       *       *       *

All the Americans I have met have written a poem (pronounced _pome_).
Now I am not generalizing. I do not say that all the Americans have
written a poem, I say _all the Americans I have met_.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Pittsburg (same day later)._

I lecture here to-night under the auspices of the Press Club of the
town. The president of the club came to meet me at the station, in order
to show me something of the town.

I like Pittsburg very much. From the top of the hill, which you reach in
a couple of minutes by the cable car, there is a most beautiful sight to
contemplate: one never to be forgotten.

On our way to the hotel, my kind friend took me to a fire station, and
asked the man in command of the place to go through the performance of a
fire-call for my own edification.

Now, in two words, here is the thing.

You touch the fire bell in your own house. That causes the name of your
street and the number of your house to appear in the fire station; it
causes all the doors of the station to open outward. Wait a minute--it
causes whips which are hanging behind the horses, to lash them and send
them under harnesses that fall upon them and are self-adjusting; it
causes the men, who are lying down on the first floor, to slide down an
incline and fall on the box and steps of the cart. And off they gallop.
It takes about two minutes to describe it as quickly as possible. It
only takes fourteen seconds to do it. It is the nearest approach to
phantasmagoria that I have yet seen in real life.



     _In the vestibule train from Pittsburg to New York, January 17._

This morning, before leaving the hotel in Pittsburg, I was approached by
a young man who, after giving me his card, thanked me most earnestly for
my lecture of last night. In fact, he nearly embraced me.

"I never enjoyed myself so much in my life," he said.

I grasped his hand.

"I am glad," I replied, "that my humble effort pleased you so much.
Nothing is more gratifying to a lecturer than to know he has afforded
pleasure to his audience."

"Yes," he said, "it gave me immense pleasure. You see, I am engaged to
be married to a girl in town. All her family went to your show, and I
had the girl at home all to myself. Oh! I had such a good time! Thank
you so much! Do lecture here again soon."

And, after wishing me a pleasant journey, he left me. I was glad to
know I left at least one friend and admirer behind me in Pittsburg.

       *       *       *       *       *

I had a charming audience last night, a large and most appreciative one.
I was introduced by Mr. George H. Welshons, of the Pittsburg _Times_, in
a neat little speech, humorous and very gracefully worded. After the
lecture, I was entertained at supper in the rooms of the Press Club, and
thoroughly enjoyed myself with the members. As I entered the Club, I was
amused to see two journalists, who had heard me at the lecture discourse
on chewing, go to a corner of the room, and there get rid of their
_wads_, before coming to shake hands with me.

       *       *       *       *       *

If you have not journeyed in a vestibule train of the Pennsylvania
Railroad Company, you do not know what it is to travel in luxurious
comfort. Dining saloon, drawing room, smoking room, reading room with
writing tables, supplied with the papers and a library of books, all
furnished with exquisite taste and luxury. The cookery is good and well

The day has passed without adventures, but in comfort. We left Pittsburg
at seven in the morning. At nine we passed Johnstown. The terrible
calamity that befell that city two years ago was before my mind's eye;
the town suddenly inundated, the people rushing on the bridge, and there
caught and burnt alive. America is the country for great disasters.
Everything here is on a huge scale. Toward noon, the country grew hilly,
and, for an hour before we reached Harrisburg, it gave me great
enjoyment, for in America, where there is so much sameness in the
landscapes, it is a treat to see the mountains of Central Pennsylvania
breaking the monotony of the huge flat stretch of land.

The employees (I must be careful not to say "servants") of the
Pennsylvania Railroad are polite and form an agreeable contrast to those
of the other railway companies. Unhappily, the employees whom you find
on board the Pullman cars are not in the control of the company.

       *       *       *       *       *

The train will reach Jersey City for New York at seven to-night. I shall
dine at my hotel.

About 5.30 it occurred to me to go to the dining-room car and ask for a
cup of tea. Before entering the car I stopped at the lavatory to wash my
hands. Some one was using the basin. It was the conductor, the autocrat
in charge of the dining car, a fat, sleek, chewing, surly, frowning,
snarling cur.

He turned round.

"What do you want?" said he.

"I should very much like to wash my hands," I timidly ventured.

"You see very well I am using the basin. You go to the next car."

I came to America this time with a large provision of philosophy, and
quite determined to even enjoy such little scenes as this. So I quietly
went to the next lavatory, returned to the dining-car, and sat down at
one of the tables.

"Will you, please, give me a cup of tea?" I said to one of the colored

"I can't do dat, sah," said the negro. "You can have dinnah."

"But I don't want _dinnah_," I replied; "I want a cup of tea."

"Den you must ask dat gem'man if you can have it," said he, pointing to
the above mentioned "gentleman."

I went to him.

"Excuse me," said I, "are you the nobleman who runs this show?"

He frowned.

"I don't want to dine; I should like to have a cup of tea."

He frowned a little more, and deigned to hear my request to the end.

"Can I?" I repeated.

He spoke not; he brought his eyebrows still lower down, and solemnly
shook his head.

"Can't I really?" I continued.

At last he spoke.

"You can," quoth he, "for a dollar."

And, taking the bill of fare in his hands, without wasting any more of
his precious utterances, he pointed out to me:

"Each meal one dollar."

The argument was unanswerable.

I went back to my own car, resumed my seat, and betook myself to

What I cannot, for the life of me, understand is why, in a train which
has a dining car and a kitchen, a man cannot be served with a cup of
tea, unless he pays the price of a dinner for it, and this
notwithstanding the fact of his having paid five dollars extra to enjoy
the extra luxury of this famous vestibule train.

[Illustration: "WELL, WHAT DO YOU WANT?"]

After all, this is one out of the many illustrations one could give to
show that whatever Jonathan is, he is not the master in his own house.

The Americans are the most docile people in the world. They are the
slaves of their servants, whether these are high officials, or the
"reduced duchesses" of domestic service. They are so submitted to their
lot that they seem to find it quite natural.

The Americans are lions governed by bull-dogs and asses.

They have given themselves a hundred thousand masters, these folks who
laugh at monarchies, for example, and scorn the rule of a king, as if it
were better to be bullied by a crowd than by an individual.

In America, the man who pays does not command the paid. I have already
said it; I will maintain the truth of the statement that, in America,
the paid servant rules. Tyranny from above is bad; tyranny from below is

Of my many first impressions that have deepened into convictions, this
is one of the firmest.

When you arrive at an English railway station, all the porters seem to
say: "Here is a customer, let us treat him well." And it is who shall
relieve you of your luggage, or answer any questions you may be pleased
to ask. They are glad to see you.

In America, you may have a dozen parcels, not a hand will move to help
you with them. So Jonathan is obliged to forego the luxury of hand
baggage, so convenient for long journeys.

When you arrive at an American station, the officials are all frowning
and seem to say: "Why the deuce don't you go to Chicago by some other
line instead of coming here to bother us?"


This subject reminds me of an interesting fact, told me by Mr. Chauncey
M. Depew on board the _Teutonic_. When tram-cars were first used in the
States, it was a long time before the drivers and conductors would
consent to wear any kind of uniform, so great is the horror of anything
like a badge of paid servitude. Now that they do wear some kind of
uniform, they spend their time in standing sentry at the door of their
dignity, and in thinking that, if they were polite, you would take their
affable manners for servility.

[Illustration: THE RAILWAY PORTER.]

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Everett House, New York. (Midnight.)_

So many charming houses have opened their hospitable doors to me in New
York that, when I am in this city, I have soon forgotten the little
annoyances of a railway journey or the hardships of a lecture tour.

After dining here, I went to spend the evening at the house of Mr.
Richard Watson Gilder, the poet, and editor of the _Century Magazine_,
that most successful of all magazines in the world. A circulation of
nearly 300,000 copies--just think of it! But it need not excite wonder
in any one who knows this beautiful and artistic periodical, to which
all the leading _littérateurs_ of America lend their pens, and the best
artists their pencils.

Mrs. Richard Watson Gilder is one of the best and most genial hostesses
in New York. At her Fridays, one meets the cream of intellectual
society, the best known names of the American aristocracy of talent.

To-night I met Mr. Frank R. Stockton, the novelist, Mr. Charles Webb,
the humorist, Mr. Frank Millet, the painter, and his wife, and a galaxy
of celebrities and beautiful women, all most interesting and delightful
people to meet. Conversation went on briskly all over the rooms till

The more I see of the American women, the more confirmed I become in my
impression that they are typical; more so than the men. They are like no
other women I know. The brilliancy of their conversation, the animation
of their features, the absence of affectation in their manners, make
them unique. There are no women to compare to them in a drawing-room.
There are none with whom I feel so much at ease. Their beauty,
physically speaking, is great; but you are still more struck by their
intellectual beauty, the frankness of their eyes, and the naturalness of
their bearing.

I returned to the Everett House, musing all the way on the difference
between the American women and the women of France and England. The
theme was attractive, and, remembering that to-morrow would be an
off-day for me, I resolved to spend it in going more fully into this
fascinating subject with pen and ink.



     _New York, January 18._

A man was one day complaining to a friend that he had been married
twenty years without being able to understand his wife. "You should not
complain of that," remarked the friend. "I have been married to my wife
two years only, and I understand her perfectly."

The leaders of thought in France have long ago proclaimed that woman was
the only problem it was not given to man to solve. They have all tried,
and they have all failed. They all acknowledge it--but they are trying

Indeed, the interest that woman inspires in every Frenchman is never
exhausted. Parodying Terence, he says to himself, "I am a man, and all
that concerns woman interests me." All the French modern novels are
studies, analytical, dissecting studies, of woman's heart.

To the Anglo-Saxon mind, this may sometimes appear a trifle puerile, if
not also ridiculous. But to understand this feeling, one must remember
how a Frenchman is brought up.

In England, boys and girls meet and play together; in America and
Canada, they sit side by side on the same benches at school, not only as
children of tender age, but at College and in the Universities. They get
accustomed to each other's company; they see nothing strange in being in
contact with one another, and this naturally tends to reduce the
interest or curiosity one sex takes in the other. But in France they are
apart, and the ball-room is the only place where they can meet when they
have attained the age of twenty!

Strange to reflect that young people of both sexes can meet in
ball-rooms without exciting their parents' suspicions, and that they
cannot do so in class-rooms!

When I was a boy at school in France, I can well remember how we boys
felt on the subject. If we heard that a young girl, say the sister of
some school-fellow, was with her mother in the common parlor to see her
brother, why, it created a commotion, a perfect revolution in the whole
establishment. It was no use trying to keep us in order. We would climb
on the top of the seats or of the tables to endeavor to see something of
her, even if it were but the top of her hat, or a bit of her gown across
the recreation yard at the very end of the building. It was an event.
Many of us would even immediately get inspired and compose verses
addressed to the unknown fair visitor. In these poetical effusions we
would imagine the young girl carried off by some miscreant, and we would
fly to her rescue, save her, and throw ourselves at her feet to receive
her hand as our reward. Yes, we would get quite romantic or, in plain
English, quite silly. We could not imagine that a woman was a reasoning
being with whom you can talk on the topics of the day, or have an
ordinary conversation on any ordinary subject. To us a woman was a being
with whom you can only talk of love, or fall in love, or, maybe, for
whom you may die of love.

This manner of training young men goes a long way toward explaining the
position of woman in France as well as her ways. It explains why a
Frenchman and a Frenchwoman, when they converse together, seldom can
forget that one is a man and the other a woman. It does not prove that a
Frenchwoman must necessarily be, and is, affected in her relations with
men; but it explains why she does not feel, as the American woman does,
that a man and woman can enjoy a _tête-à-tête_ free from all those
commonplace flatteries, compliments, and platitudes that
badly-understood gallantry suggests. Many American ladies have made me
forget, by the easiness of their manner and the charm and naturalness of
their conversation, that I was speaking with women, and with lovely
ones, too. This I could never have forgotten in the company of French

On account of this feeling, and perhaps also of the difference which
exists between the education received by a man and that received by a
woman in France, the conversation will always be on some light topics,
literary, artistic, dramatic, social, or other. Indeed, it would be most
unbecoming for a man to start a very serious subject of conversation
with a French lady to whom he had just been introduced. He would be
taken for a pedant or a man of bad breeding.

In America, men and women receive practically the same education, and
this of course enlarges the circle of conversation between the sexes. I
shall always remember a beautiful American girl, not more than twenty
years of age, to whom I was once introduced in New York, as she was
giving to a lady sitting next to her a most detailed description of the
latest bonnet invented in Paris, and who, turning toward me, asked me
point-blank if I had read M. Ernest Renan's "History of the People of
Israel." I had to confess that I had not yet had time to read it. But
she had, and she gave me, without the remotest touch of affectation or
pedantry, a most interesting and learned analysis of that remarkable
work. I related this incident in "Jonathan and his Continent." On
reading it, some of my countrymen, critics and others, exclaimed: "We
imagine the fair American girl had a pair of gold spectacles on."

"No, my dear compatriots, nothing of the sort. No gold spectacles, no
guy. It was a beautiful girl, dressed with most exquisite taste and
care, and most charming and womanly."

An American woman, however learned she may be, is a sound politician,
and she knows that the best thing she can make of herself is a woman,
and she remains a woman. She will always make herself as attractive as
she possibly can. Not to please men--I believe she has a great contempt
for them--but to please herself. If, in a French drawing-room, I were to
remark to a lady how clever some woman in the room looked, she would
probably closely examine that woman's dress to find out what I thought
was wrong about it. It would probably be the same in England, but not
in America.

A Frenchwoman will seldom be jealous of another woman's cleverness. She
will far more readily forgive her this qualification than beauty. And in
this particular point, it is probable that the Frenchwoman resembles all
the women in the Old World.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of all the ladies I have met, I have no hesitation in declaring that the
American ones are the least affected. With them, I repeat it, I feel at
ease as I do with no other women in the world.

With whom but an _Américaine_ would the following little scene have been

I was in Boston. It was Friday, and knowing it to be the reception day
of Mrs. X., an old friend of mine and my wife's, I thought I would call
upon her early, before the crowd of visitors had begun to arrive. So I
went to the house about half-past three in the afternoon. Mrs. X.
received me in the drawing-room, and we were soon talking on the hundred
and one topics that old friends have on their tongue tips. Presently the
conversation fell on love and lovers. Mrs. X. drew her chair up a little
nearer to the fire, put the toes of her little slippers on the fender
stool, and with a charmingly confidential, but perfectly natural,
manner, said:

"You are married and love your wife; I am married and love my husband;
we are both artists, let's have our say out."

And we proceeded to have our say out.

But all at once I noticed that about half an inch of the seam of her
black silk bodice was unsewn. We men, when we see a lady with something
awry in her toilette, how often do we long to say to her: "Excuse me,
madam, but perhaps you don't know that you have a hairpin sticking out
two inches just behind your ear," or "Pardon me, Miss, I'm a married
man, there is something wrong there behind, just under your waist belt."

Now I felt for Mrs. X., who was just going to receive a crowd of callers
with a little rent in one of her bodice seams, and tried to persuade
myself to be brave and tell her of it. Yet I hesitated. People take
things so differently. The conversation went on unflagging. At last I
could not stand it any longer.

"Mrs. X.," said I, all in a breath, "you are married and love your
husband; I am married and love my wife; we are both artists; there is a
little bit of seam come unsewn, just there by your arm, run and get it
sewn up!"

The peals of laughter that I heard going on upstairs, while the damage
was being repaired, proved to me that there was no resentment to be
feared, but, on the contrary, that I had earned the gratitude of Mrs. X.

       *       *       *       *       *

In many respects I have often been struck with the resemblance which
exists between French and American women. When I took my first walk on
Broadway, New York, on a fine afternoon some two years and a half ago, I
can well remember how I exclaimed: "Why, this is Paris, and all these
ladies are _Parisiennes_!" It struck me as being the same type of face,
the same animation of features, the same brightness of the eyes, the
same self-assurance, the same attractive plumpness in women over thirty.
To my mind, I was having a walk on my own Boulevards (every Parisian
_owns_ that place). The more I became acquainted with American ladies,
the more forcibly this resemblance struck me. This was not a mere first
impression. It has been, and is still, a deep conviction; so much so
that whenever I returned to New York from a journey of some weeks in the
heart of the country, I felt as if I was returning home.

After a short time, a still closer resemblance between the women of the
two countries will strike a Frenchman most forcibly. It is the same
_finesse_, the same suppleness of mind, the same wonderful adaptability.
Place a little French milliner in a good drawing-room for an hour, and
at the end of that time she will behave, talk, and walk like any lady in
the room. Suppose an American, married below his _status_ in society, is
elected President of the United States, I believe, at the end of a week,
this wife of his would do the honors of the White House with the ease
and grace of a highborn lady.

In England it is just the contrary.

Of course good society is good society everywhere. The ladies of the
English aristocracy are perfect queens; but the Englishwoman, who was
not born a lady, will seldom become a lady, and I believe this is why
_mésalliances_ are more scarce in England than in America, and
especially in France. I could name many Englishmen at the head of their
professions, who cannot produce their wives in society because these
women have not been able to raise themselves to the level of their
husbands' station in life. The Englishwoman, as a rule, has no faculty
for fitting herself for a higher position than the one she was born in;
like a rabbit, she will often taste of the cabbage she fed on. And I am
bound to add that this is perhaps a quality, and proves the truthfulness
of her character. She is no actress.

In France, the _mésalliance_, though not relished by parents, is not
feared so much, because they know the young woman will observe and
study, and very soon fit herself for her new position.

And while on this subject of _mésalliance_, why not try to destroy an
absurd prejudice that exists in almost every country on the subject of

It is, I believe, the firm conviction of foreigners that Frenchmen marry
for money, that is to say, that all Frenchmen marry for money. As a
rule, when people discuss foreign social topics, they have a wonderful
faculty for generalization.

The fact that many Frenchmen do marry for money is not to be denied, and
the explanation of it is this: We have in France a number of men
belonging to a class almost unknown in other countries, small
_bourgeois_ of good breeding and genteel habits, but relatively poor,
who occupy posts in the different Government offices. Their name is
legion and their salary something like two thousand francs ($400). These
men have an appearance to keep up, and, unless a wife brings them enough
to at least double their income, they cannot marry. These young men are
often sought after by well-to-do parents for their daughters, because
they are steady, cultured, gentlemanly, and occupy an honorable
position, which brings them a pension for their old age. With the wife's
dowry, the couple can easily get along, and lead a peaceful, uneventful,
and happy jog-trot life, which is the great aim of the majority of the
French people.

But, on the other hand, there is no country where you will see so many
cases of _mésalliance_ as France, and this alone should dispose of the
belief that Frenchmen marry for money. Indeed, it is a most common thing
for a young Frenchman of good family to fall in love with a girl of a
much lower station of life than his own, to court her, at first with
perhaps only the idea of killing time or of starting a _liaison_, to
soon discover that the girl is highly respectable, and to finally marry
her. This is a most common occurrence. French parents frown on this sort
of thing, and do their best to discourage it, of course; but rather than
cross their son's love, they give their consent, and trust to that
adaptability of Frenchwomen, of which I was speaking just now, to raise
herself to her husband's level and make a wife he will never be ashamed

       *       *       *       *       *

The Frenchman is the slave of his womankind, but not in the same way as
the American is. The Frenchman is brought up by his mother, and remains
under her sway till she dies. When he marries, his wife leads him by the
nose (an operation which he seems to enjoy), and when, besides, he has a
daughter, on whom he generally dotes, this lady soon joins the other two
in ruling this easy-going, good-humored man. As a rule, when you see a
Frenchman, you behold a man who is kept in order by three generations
of women: mother, wife, and daughter.

The American will lavish attention and luxury on his wife and daughters,
but he will save them the trouble of being mixed in his affairs. His
business is his, his office is private. His womankind is the sun and
glory of his life, whose company he will hasten to enjoy as soon as he
can throw away the cares of his business. In France, a wife is a
partner, a cashier who takes care of the money, even an adviser on stock
and speculations. In the mercantile class, she is both cashier and
bookkeeper. Enter a shop in France, Paris included, and behind "Pay
Here," you will see Madame, smiling all over as she pockets the money
for the purchase you have made. When I said she is a partner, I might
safely have said that she is the active partner, and, as a rule, by far
the shrewder of the two. She brings to bear her native suppleness, her
fascinating little ways, her persuasive manners, and many a customer
whom her husband was allowing to go away without a purchase, has been
brought back by the wife, and induced to part with his cash in the shop.
Last year I went to Paris, on my way home from Germany, to spend a few
days visiting the Exposition. One day I entered a shop on the Boulevards
to buy a white hat. The new-fashioned hats, the only hats which the man
showed me, were narrow-brimmed, and I declined to buy one. I was just
going to leave, when the wife, who, from the back parlor, had listened
to my conversation with her husband, stepped in and said: "But, Adolphe,
why do you let Monsieur go? Perhaps he does not care to follow the
fashion. We have a few white broad-brimmed hats left from last year
that we can let Monsieur have _à bon compte_. They are upstairs, go and
fetch them." And, sure enough, there was one which fitted and pleased
me, and I left in that shop a little sum of twenty-five francs, which
the husband was going to let me take elsewhere, but which the wife
managed to secure for the firm.

[Illustration: MADAM IS THE CASHIER.]

No one who has lived in France has failed to be struck with the
intelligence of the women, and there exist few Frenchmen who do not
readily admit how intellectually inferior they are to their
countrywomen, chiefly among the middle and lower classes. And this is
not due to any special training, for the education received by the women
of that class is of the most limited kind; they are taught to read,
write, and reckon, and their education is finished. Shrewdness is inborn
in them, as well as a peculiar talent for getting a hundred cents' worth
for every dollar they spend. How to make a house look pretty and
attractive with small outlay; how to make a dress or turn out a bonnet
with a few knick-knacks; how to make a savory dish out of a small
remnant of beef, mutton, and veal; all that is a science not to be
despised when a husband, in receipt of a four or five hundred dollar
salary, wants to make a good dinner, and see his wife look pretty. No
doubt the aristocratic inhabitants of Mayfair and Belgravia in London,
and the plutocracy of New York, may think all this very small, and these
French people very uninteresting. They can, perhaps, hardly imagine that
such people may live on such incomes and look decent. But they do live,
and live very happy lives, too. And I will go so far as to say that
happiness, real happiness, is chiefly found among people of limited
income. The husband, who perhaps for a whole year has put quietly by a
dollar every week, so as to be able to give his dear wife a nice present
at Christmas, gives her a far more valuable, a far better appreciated
present, than the millionaire who orders Tiffany to send a diamond
_rivière_ to his wife. That quiet young French couple, whom you see at
the upper circle of a theater, and who have saved the money to enable
them to come and hear such and such a play, are happier than the
occupants of the boxes on the first tier. If you doubt it, take your
opera glasses, and "look on this picture, and on this."

[Illustration: THE UPPER CIRCLE.]

In observing nations, I have always taken more interest in the
"million," who differ in every country, than in the "upper ten," who are
alike all over the world. People who have plenty of money at their
disposal generally discover the same way of spending it, and adopt the
same mode of living. People who have only a small income show their
native instincts in the intelligent use of it. All these differ, and
these only are worth studying, unless you belong to the staff of a
"society" paper. (As a Frenchman, I am glad to say we have no "society"
papers. England and America are the only two countries in the world
where these official organs of Anglo-Saxon snobbery can be found, and I
should not be surprised to hear that Australia possessed some of these

       *       *       *       *       *


The source of French happiness is to be found in the thrift of the
women, from the best middle class to the peasantry. This thrift is also
the source of French wealth. A nation is really wealthy when the
fortunes are stable, however small. We have no railway kings, no oil
kings, no silver kings, but we have no tenement houses, no Unions, no
Work-houses. Our lower classes do not yet ape the upper class people,
either in their habits or dress. The wife of a peasant or of a mechanic
wears a simple snowy cap, and a serge or cotton dress. The wife of a
shopkeeper does not wear any jewelry because she cannot afford to buy
real stones, and her taste is too good to allow of her wearing false
ones. She is not ashamed of her husband's occupation; she does not play
the fine lady while he is at work. She saves him the expense of a
cashier or of an extra clerk by helping him in his business. When the
shutters are up, she enjoys life with him, and is the companion of his
pleasures as well as of his hardships. Club life is unknown in France,
except among the upper classes. Man and wife are constantly together,
and France is a nation of Darbys and Joans. There is, I believe, no
country where men and women go through life on such equal terms as in

       *       *       *       *       *

In England (and here again I speak of the masses only), the man thinks
himself a much superior being to the woman. It is the same in Germany.
In America, I should feel inclined to believe that a woman looks down
upon a man with a certain amount of contempt. She receives at his hands
attentions of all sorts, but I cannot say, as I have remarked before,
that I have ever discovered in her the slightest trace of gratitude to

I have often tried to explain to myself this gentle contempt of American
ladies for the male sex; for, contrasting it with the lovely devotion of
Jonathan to his womankind, it is a curious enigma. Have I found the
solution at last? Does it begin at school? In American schools, boys and
girls, from the age of five, follow the same path to learning, and sit
side by side on the same benches. Moreover, the girls prove themselves
capable of keeping pace with the boys. Is it not possible that those
girls, as they watched the performances of the boys in the study,
learned to say, "Is that all?" While the young lords of creation, as
they have looked on at what "those girls" can do, have been fain to
exclaim: "Who would have thought it!" And does not this explain the two
attitudes: the great respect of men for women, and the mild contempt of
women for men?

Very often, in New York, when I had time to saunter about, I would go up
Broadway and wait until a car, well crammed with people, came along.
Then I would jump on board and stand near the door. Whenever a man
wanted to get out, he would say to me "Please," or "Excuse me," or just
touch me lightly to warn me that I stood in his way. But the women! Oh,
the women! why, it was simply lovely. They would just push me away with
the tips of their fingers, and turn up such disgusted and haughty noses!
You would have imagined it was a heap of dirty rubbish in their way.

       *       *       *       *       *

Would you have a fair illustration of the respective positions of woman
in France, in England, and in America?

Go to a hotel, and watch the arrival of couples in the dining-room.

Now don't go to the Louvre, the Grand Hotel, or the Bristol, in Paris.
Don't go to the Savoy, the Victoria, or the Metropole, in London. Don't
go to the Brunswick, in New York, because in all these hotels you will
see that all behave alike. Go elsewhere and, I say, watch.

In France, you will see the couples arrive together, walk abreast toward
the table assigned to them, very often arm in arm, and smiling at each
other--though married.

[Illustration: IN FRANCE.]

In England, you will see John Bull leading the way. He does not like to
be seen eating in public, and thinks it very hard that he should not
have the dining-room all to himself. So he enters, with his hands in
his pockets, looking askance at everybody right and left. Then, meek and
demure, with her eyes cast down, follows Mrs. John Bull.

[Illustration: IN ENGLAND.]

In America, behold the dignified, nay, the majestic entry of Mrs.
Jonathan, a perfect queen going toward her throne, bestowing a glance on
her subjects right and left--and Jonathan behind!

[Illustration: IN AMERICA.]

They say in France that Paris is the paradise of women. If so, there is
a more blissful place than paradise; there is another word to invent to
give an idea of the social position enjoyed by American ladies.

If I had to be born again, and might choose my sex and my birthplace, I
would shout at the top of my voice:

"Oh, make me an American woman!"




     _New York, Sunday Night, January 19._

Have been spending the whole day in reading the Sunday papers.

I am never tired of reading and studying the American newspapers. The
whole character of the nation is there: Spirit of enterprise,
liveliness, childishness, inquisitiveness, deep interest in everything
that is human, fun and humor, indiscretion, love of gossip, brightness.

Speak of electric light, of phonographs and graphophones, if you like;
speak of those thousand and one inventions which have come out of the
American brain; but if you wish to mention the greatest and most
wonderful achievement of American activity, do not hesitate for a moment
to give the palm to American journalism; it is simply the _ne plus

You will find some people, even in America, who condemn its loud tone;
others who object to its meddling with private life; others, again, who
have something to say of its contempt for statements which are not in
perfect accordance with strict truth. I even believe that a French
writer, whom I do not wish to name, once said that very few statements
to be found in an American paper were to be relied upon--beyond the
date. People may say this and may say that about American journalism; I
confess that I like it, simply because it will supply you with
twelve--on Sundays with thirty--pages that are readable from the first
line to the last. Yes, from the first line to the last, including the

The American journalist may be a man of letters, but, above all, he must
possess a bright and graphic pen, and his services are not wanted if he
cannot write a racy article or paragraph out of the most trifling
incident. He must relate facts, if he can, but if he cannot, so much the
worse for the facts; he must be entertaining and turn out something that
is readable.

Suppose, for example, a reporter has to send to his paper the account of
a police-court proceeding. There is nothing more important to bring to
the office than the case of a servant girl who has robbed her mistress
of a pair of diamond earrings. The English reporter will bring to his
editor something in the following style:

  Mary Jane So-and-So was yesterday charged before the magistrate with
  stealing a pair of diamond earrings from her mistress. It appears
  [always _it appears_, that is the formula] that, last Monday, as Mrs.
  X. went to her room to dress for dinner, she missed a pair of diamond
  earrings, which she usually kept in a little drawer in her bedroom. On
  questioning her maid on the subject, she received incoherent answers.
  Suspicion that the maid was the thief arose in her mind,  and----

A long paragraph in this dry style will be published in the _Times_, or
any other London morning paper.

Now, the American reporter will be required to bring something a little
more entertaining if he hopes to be worth his salt on the staff of his
paper, and he will probably get up an account of the case somewhat in
the following fashion:

  Mary Jane So-and-so is a pretty little brunette of some twenty
  summers. On looking in the glass at her dainty little ears, she
  fancied how lovely a pair of diamond earrings would look in them. So
  one day she thought she would try on those of her mistress. How lovely
  she looked! said the looking-glass, and the Mephistopheles that is
  hidden in the corner of every man or woman's breast suggested that she
  should keep them. This is how Mary Jane found herself in trouble,
  etc., etc.

The whole will read like a little story, probably entitled something
like "Another Gretchen gone wrong through the love of jewels."

The heading has to be thought of no less than the paragraph. Not a line
is to be dull in a paper sparkling all over with eye-ticklers of all
sorts. Oh! those delicious headings that would resuscitate the dead, and
make them sit up in their graves!

A Tennessee paper which I have now under my eyes announces the death of
a townsman with the following heading:

"At ten o'clock last night Joseph W. Nelson put on his angel plumage."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Racy, catching advertisements supplied to the trade," such is the
announcement that I see in the same paper. I understand the origin of
such literary productions as the following, which I cull from a Colorado

  This morning our Saviour summoned away the jeweler William T. Sumner,
  of our city, from his shop to another and a better world. The
  undersigned, his widow, will weep upon his tomb, as will also his two
  daughters, Maud and Emma, the former of whom is married, and the other
  is open to an offer. The funeral will take place to-morrow. Signed.
  His disconsolate widow, Mathilda Sumner.

  _P. S._--This bereavement will not interrupt our business, which will
  be carried on as usual, only our place of business will be removed
  from Washington Street to No. 17 St. Paul Street, as our grasping
  landlord has raised our rent.--M. S.

The following advertisement probably emanates from the same firm:

  PERSONAL--HIS LOVE SUDDENLY RETURNED.--Recently they had not been on
  the best of terms, owing to a little family jar occasioned by the wife
  insisting on being allowed to renovate his wearing apparel, and which,
  of course, was done in a bungling manner; in order to prevent the
  trouble, they agreed to send all their work hereafter to D., the
  tailor, and now everything is lovely, and peace and happiness again
  reign in their household.

All this is lively. Never fail to read the advertisements of an American
paper, or you will not have got out of it all the fun it supplies.

Here are a few from the Cincinnati _Enquirer_, which tell different

  1. The young MADAME J. C. ANTONIA, just arrived from Europe, will
  remain a short time; tells past, present, and future; tells by the
  letters in hand who the future husband or wife will be; brings back
  the husband or lover in so many days, and guarantees to settle family
  troubles; can give good luck and success; ladies call at once; also
  cures corns and bunions. Hours 10 A. M. and 9 P. M.

"Also cures corns and bunions" is a poem!

  2. The acquaintance desired of lady passing along Twelfth Street at
  three o'clock Sunday afternoon, by blond gent standing at corner.
  Address LOU K., 48, _Enquirer_ Office.

  3. Will the three ladies that got on the electric car at the Zoo
  Sunday afternoon favor three gents that got off at Court and Walnut
  Streets with their address? Address ELECTRIC CAR, _Enquirer_ Office.

  4. Will two ladies on Clark Street car, that noticed two gents in
  front of Grand Opera House about seven last evening, please address
  JANDS, _Enquirer_ Office.

       *       *       *       *       *

A short time ago a man named Smith was bitten by a rattlesnake and
treated with whisky at a New York hospital. An English paper would have
just mentioned the fact, and have the paragraph headed: "A Remarkable
Cure"; or, "A Man Cured of a Rattlesnake Bite by Whisky"; but a kind
correspondent sends me the headings of this bit of intelligence in five
New York papers. They are as follows:

1. "Smith Is All Right!"

2. "Whisky Does It!"

3. "The Snake Routed at all Points!"

4. "The Reptile is Nowhere!"

5. "Drunk for Three Days and Cured."

Let a batch of officials be dismissed. Do not suppose that an American
editor will accept the news with such a heading as "Dismissal of
Officials." The reporter will have to bring some label that will fetch
the attention. "Massacre at the Custom House," or, "So Many Heads in the
Basket," will do. Now, I maintain that it requires a wonderful
imagination--something little short of genius, to be able, day after
day, to hit on a hundred of such headings. But the American journalist
does it.


An American paper is a collection of short stories. The Sunday edition
of the New York _World_, the New York _Herald_, the Boston _Herald_, the
Boston _Globe_, the Chicago _Tribune_, the Chicago _Herald_, and many
others, is something like ten volumes of miscellaneous literature, and I
do not know of any achievement to be compared to it.

I cannot do better than compare an American paper to a large store,
where the goods, the articles, are labeled so as to immediately strike
the customer.

A few days ago, I heard my friend, Colonel Charles H. Taylor, editor of
the Boston _Globe_, give an interesting summary of an address on
journalism which he is to deliver next Saturday before the members of
the New England Club of Boston. He maintained that the proprietor of a
newspaper has as much right to make his shop-window attractive to the
public as any tradesman. If the colonel is of opinion that journalism is
a trade, and the journalist a mere tradesman, I agree with him. If
journalism is not to rank among the highest and noblest of professions,
and is to be nothing more than a commercial enterprise, I agree with

Now, if we study the evolution of journalism for the last forty or fifty
years, we shall see that daily journalism, especially in a democracy,
has become a commercial enterprise, and that journalism, as it was
understood forty years ago, has become to-day monthly journalism. The
dailies have now no other object than to give the news--the latest--just
as a tradesman that would succeed must give you the latest fashion in
any kind of business. The people of a democracy like America are
educated in politics. They think for themselves, and care but little for
the opinions of such and such a journalist on any question of public
interest. They want news, not literary essays on news. When I hear some
Americans say that they object to their daily journalism, I answer that
journalists are like other people who supply the public--they keep the
article that is wanted.

A free country possesses the government it deserves, and the journalism
it wants. A people active and busy as the Americans are, want a
journalism that will keep their interest awake and amuse them; and they
naturally get it. The average American, for example, cares not a pin for
what his representatives say or do in Washington; but he likes to be
acquainted with what is going on in Europe, and that is why the American
journalist will give him a far more detailed account of what is going on
in the Palace at Westminster than of what is being said in the Capitol.

In France, journalism is personal. On any great question of the day,
domestic or foreign, the Frenchman will want to read the opinion of John
Lemoinne in the _Journal des Débats_, or the opinion of Edouard Lockroy
in the _Rappel_, or maybe that of Paul de Cassagnac or Henri Rochefort.
Every Frenchman is more or less led by the editor of the newspaper which
he patronizes. But the Frenchman is only a democrat in name and
aspirations, not in fact. France made the mistake of establishing a
republic before she made republicans of her sons. A French journalist
signs his articles, and is a leader of public opinion, so much so that
every successful journalist in France has been, is now, and ever will
be, elected a representative of the people.

In America, as in England, the journalist has no personality outside the
literary classes. Who, among the masses, knows the names of Bennett,
Dana, Whitelaw Reid, Medill, Childs, in the United States? Who, in
England, knows the names of Lawson, Mudford, Robinson, and other editors
of the great dailies? If it had not been for his trial and imprisonment,
Mr. W. T. Stead himself, though a most brilliant journalist, would
never have seen his name on anybody's lips.

A leading article in an American or an English newspaper will attract no
notice at home. It will only be quoted on the European Continent.

It is the monthly and the weekly papers and magazines that now play the
part of the dailies of bygone days. An article in the _Spectator_ or
_Saturday Review_, or especially in one of the great monthly magazines,
will be quoted all over the land, and I believe that this relatively new
journalism, which is read only by the cultured, has now for ever taken
the place of the old one.

In a country where everybody reads, men as well as women; in a country
where nobody takes much interest in politics outside of the State and
the city in which he lives, the journalist has to turn out every day all
the news he can gather, and present them to the reader in the most
readable form. Formerly daily journalism was a branch of literature; now
it is a news store, and is so not only in America. The English press
shows signs of the same tendency, and so does the Parisian press. Take
the London _Pall Mall Gazette_ and _Star_, and the Paris _Figaro_, as
illustrations of what I advance.

As democracy makes progress in England, journalism will become more and
more American, although the English reporter will have some trouble in
succeeding to compete with his American _confrère_ in humor and

Under the guidance of political leaders, the newspapers of Continental
Europe direct public opinion. In a democracy, the newspapers follow
public opinion and cater to the public taste; they are the servants of
the people. The American says to his journalists: "I don't care a pin
for your opinions on such a question. Give me the news and I will
comment on it myself. Only don't forget that I am an overworked man, and
that before, or after, my fourteen hours' work, I want to be

So, as I have said elsewhere, the American journalist must be spicy,
lively, and bright. He must know how, not merely to report, but to
relate in a racy, catching style, an accident, a trial, a conflagration,
and be able to make up an article of one or two columns upon the most
insignificant incident. He must be interesting, readable. His eyes and
ears must be always open, every one of his five senses on the alert, for
he must keep ahead in this wild race for news. He must be a good
conversationalist on most subjects, so as to bring back from his
interviews with different people a good store of materials. He must be a
man of courage, to brave rebuffs. He must be a philosopher, to pocket
abuse cheerfully.

He must be a man of honor, to inspire confidence in the people he has to
deal with. Personally I can say this of him, that wherever I have begged
him, for instance, to kindly abstain from mentioning this or that which
might have been said in conversation with him, I have invariably found
that he kept his word.

But if the matter is of public interest, he is, before and above all,
the servant of the public; so, never challenge his spirit of enterprise,
or he will leave no stone unturned until he has found out your secret
and exhibited it in public.

I do not think that American journalism needs an apology.

It is the natural outcome of circumstances and the democratic times we
live in. The Théâtre-Français is not now, under a Republic, and probably
never again will be, what it was when it was placed under the patronage
and supervision of the French Court. Democracy is the form of government
least of all calculated to foster literature and the fine arts. To that
purpose, Monarchy, with its Court and its fashionable society, is the
best. This is no reason to prefer a monarchy to a republic. Liberty,
like any other luxury, has to be paid for.

Journalism cannot be now what it was when papers were read by people of
culture. In a democracy, the stage and journalism have to please the
masses of the people. As the people become better and better educated,
the stage and journalism will rise with them. What the people want, I
repeat it, is news, and journals are properly called _news_ papers.

Speaking of American journalism, no man need use apologetic language.

Not when the proprietor of an American paper will not hesitate to spend
thousands of dollars to provide his readers with the minutest details
about some great European event.

Not when an American paper will, at its own expense, send Henry M.
Stanley to Africa in search of Livingstone.

Not so long as the American press is vigilant, and keeps its thousand
eyes open on the interests of the American people.

       *       *       *       *       *


Dined this evening with Richard Mansfield at Delmonico's. I sat between
Mr. Charles A. Dana, the first of American journalists, and General
Horace Porter, and had what my American friends would call "a mighty
elegant time." The host was delightful, the dinner excellent, the wine
"extra dry," the speeches quite the reverse. "Speeches" is rather a big
word for what took place at dessert. Every one supplied an anecdote, a
story, a reminiscence, and contributed to the general entertainment of
the guests.

The Americans have too much humor to spoil their dinners with toasts to
the President, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the army, the
navy, the militia, the volunteers, and the reserved forces.

I once heard Mr. Chauncey M. Depew referring to the volunteers, at some
English public dinner, as "men invincible--in peace, and invisible--in
war." After dinner I remarked to an English peer:

"You have heard to-night the great New York after-dinner speaker; what
do you think of his speech?"

"Well," he said, "it was witty; but I think his remark about our
volunteers was not in very good taste."

I remained composed, and did not burst.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Newburgh, N. Y., January 21._

I lectured in Melrose, near Boston, last night, and had the
satisfaction of pleasing a Massachusetts audience for the second time.
After the lecture, I had supper with Mr. Nat Goodwin, a very good actor,
who is now playing in Boston in a new play by Mr. Steele Mackaye. Mr.
Nat Goodwin told many good stories at supper. He can entertain his
friends in private as well as he can the public.

       *       *       *       *       *

To-night I have appeared in a church, in Newburgh. The minister, who
took the chair, had the good sense to refrain from opening the lecture
with prayer. There are many who have not the tact necessary to see that
praying before a humorous lecture is almost as irreverent as praying
before a glass of grog. It is as an artist, however, that I resent that
prayer. After the audience have said _Amen_, it takes them a full
quarter of an hour to realize that the lecture is not a sermon; that
they are in a church, but not at church; and the whole time their minds
are in that undecided state, all your points fall flat and miss fire.
Even without the preliminary prayer, I dislike lecturing in a church.
The very atmosphere of a church is against the success of a light,
humorous lecture, and many a point, which would bring down the house in
a theater, will be received only with smiles in a lecture hall, and in
respectful silence in a church. An audience is greatly influenced by

Now, I must say that the interior of an American church, with its lines
of benches, its galleries, and its platform, does not inspire in one
such religious feelings as the interior of a European Catholic church.
In many American towns, the church is let for meetings, concerts,
exhibitions, bazaars, etc., and so far as you can see, there is nothing
to distinguish it from an ordinary lecture hall.

Yet it is a church, and both lecturer and audience feel it.




     _New York, January 22._

There are indeed very few Americans who have not either tact or a sense
of humor. They make the best of chairmen. They know that the audience
have not come to hear them, and that all that is required of them is to
introduce the lecturer in very few words, and to give him a good start.
Who is the lecturer that would not appreciate, nay, love, such a
chairman as Dr. R. S. MacArthur, who introduced me yesterday to a New
York audience in the following manner?

"Ladies and Gentlemen," said he, "the story goes that, last summer, a
party of Americans staying in Rome paid a visit to the famous
Spithöver's bookshop in the Piazza di Spagna. Now Spithöver is the most
learned of bibliophiles. You must go thither if you need artistic and
archæological works of the profoundest research and erudition. But one
of the ladies in this tourists' party only wanted the lively travels in
America of Max O'Rell, and she asked for the book at Spithöver's. There
came in a deep guttural voice--an Anglo-German voice--from a spectacled
clerk behind a desk, to this purport: 'Marcus Aurelius vos neffer in te
Unided Shtaates!' But, ladies and gentlemen, he is now, and here he is."

With such an introduction, I was immediately in touch with my audience.

What a change after English chairmen!

A few days before lecturing in any English town, under the auspices of a
Literary Society or Mechanics' Institute, the lecturer generally
receives from the secretary a letter running somewhat as follow:


  I have much pleasure in informing you that our Mr. Blank, one of our
  vice-presidents and a well-known resident here, will take the chair at
  your lecture.

Translated into plain English, this reads:

  My poor fellow, I am much grieved to have to inform you that a
  chairman will be inflicted upon you on the occasion of your lecture
  before the members of our Society.

In my few years' lecturing experience, I have come across all sorts and
conditions of chairmen, but I can recollect very few that "have helped
me." Now, what is the office, the duty, of a chairman on such occasions?
He is supposed to introduce the lecturer to the audience. For this he
needs to be able to make a neat speech. He has to tell the audience who
the lecturer is, in case they should not know it, which is seldom the
case. I was once introduced to an audience who knew me, by a chairman
who, I don't think, had ever heard of me in his life. Before going on
the platform he asked me whether I had written anything, next whether I
was an Irishman or a Frenchman, etc.


Sometimes the chairman is nervous; he hems and haws, cannot find the
words he wants, and only succeeds in fidgeting the audience. Sometimes,
on the other hand, he is a wit. There is danger again. I was once
introduced to a New York audience by General Horace Porter. Those of my
readers who know the delightful general and have heard him deliver one
of those little gems of speeches in his own inimitable manner, will
agree with me that certainly there was danger in that; and they will not
be surprised when I tell them that after his delightfully witty and
graceful little introduction, I felt as if the best part of the show was

Sometimes the chair has to be offered to a magnate of the neighborhood,
though he may be noted for his long, prosy orations--which annoy the
public; or to a very popular man in the locality who gets all the
applause--which annoys the lecturer.

"Brevity is the soul of wit," should be the motto of chairmen, and I
sympathize with a friend of mine who says that chairmen, like little
boys and girls, should be seen and not heard.

Of those chairmen who can and do speak, the Scotch ones are generally
good. They have a knack of starting the evening with some droll Scotch
anecdote, told with that piquant and picturesque accent of theirs, and
of putting the audience in a good humor. Occasionally they will also
make _apropos_ and equally droll little speeches at the close. One
evening, in talking of America, I had mentioned the fact that American
banquets were very lively, and that I thought the fact of Americans
being able to keep up such a flow of wit for so many hours, was perhaps
due to their drinking Apollinaris water instead of stronger things after
dessert. At the end of the lecture, the chairman rose and said he had
greatly enjoyed it, but that he must take exception to one statement the
lecturer had made, for he thought it "fery deeficult to be wutty on
Apollinaris watter."

Another kind of chairman is the one who kills your finish, and stops all
the possibility of your being called back for applause, by coming
forward, the very instant the last words are out of your mouth, to
inform the audience that the next lecture will be given by Mr.
So-and-So, or to make a statement of the Society's financial position,
concluding by appealing to the members to induce their friends to join.

Then there is the chairman who does not know what you are going to talk
about, but thinks it his duty to give the audience a kind of summary of
what he imagines the lecture is going to be. He is terrible. But he is
nothing to the one who, when the lecture is over, will persist in
summing it up, and explaining your own jokes, especially the ones he has
not quite seen through. This is the dullest, the saddest chairman yet

Some modest chairmen apologize for standing between the lecturer and the
audience, and declare they cannot speak, but do. Others promise to speak
a minute only, but don't.

[Illustration: THE CHAIRMAN.]

"What shall I speak about?" said a chairman to me one day, after I had
been introduced to him in the little back room behind the platform.

"If you will oblige me, sir," I replied, "kindly speak about--one

Once I was introduced to the audience as the promoter of good feelings
between France and England.

"Sometimes," said the chairman, "we see clouds of misunderstanding arise
between the French--between the English--between the two. The lecturer
of this evening makes it his business to disperse these clouds--these
clouds--to--to---- But I will not detain you any longer. His name is
familiar to all of us. I'm sure he needs no introduction to this
audience. We all know him. I have much pleasure in introducing to you
Mr.--Mosshiay--Mr. ----" Then he looked at me in despair.

It was evident he had forgotten my name.

"Max O'Rell is, I believe, what you are driving at," I whispered to him.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most objectionable chairmen in England are, perhaps, local men
holding civic honors. Accustomed to deliver themselves of a speech
whenever and wherever they get a chance, aldermen, town councilors,
members of local boards, and school boards, never miss an opportunity of
getting upon a platform to address a good crowd. Not long ago, I was
introduced to an audience in a large English city by a candidate for
civic honors. The election of the town council was to take place a
fortnight afterward, and this gentleman profited by the occasion to air
all his grievances against the sitting council, and to assure the
citizens that if they would only elect him, there were bright days in
store for them and their city. This was the gist of the matter. The
speech lasted twenty minutes.


Once the chair was taken by an alderman in a Lancashire city, and the
hall was crowded. "What a fine house!" I remarked to the chairman as we
sat down on the platform.

"Very fine indeed," he said; "everybody in the town knew I was going to
take the chair."

I was sorry I had spoken.

More than once, when announced to deliver a lecture on France and the
French, I have been introduced by a chairman who, having spent his
holidays in that country once or twice, opened the evening's proceedings
by himself delivering a lecture on France. I have felt very tempted to
imitate a _confrère_, and say to the audience: "Ladies and Gentlemen, as
one lecture on France is enough for an evening, perhaps you would rather
I spoke about something else now." The _confrère_ I have just mentioned
was to deliver a lecture on Charles Dickens one evening. The chairman
knew something of Charles Dickens and, for quite a quarter of an hour,
spoke on the great English novelist, giving anecdotes, extracts of his
writings, etc. When the lecturer rose, he said: "Ladies and Gentlemen,
two lectures on Charles Dickens are perhaps more than you expected to
hear to-night. You have just heard a lecture on Charles Dickens. I am
now going to give you one on Charles Kingsley."

Sometimes I get a little amusement, however (as in the country town of
X.), out of the usual proceedings of the society before whose members I
am engaged to appear. At X., the audience being assembled and the time
up, I was told to go on the platform alone and, being there, to
immediately sit down. So I went on, and sat down. Some one in the room
then rose and proposed that Mr. N. should take the chair. Mr. N., it
appeared, had been to Boulogne (_to B'long_), and was particularly
fitted to introduce a Frenchman. In a speech of about five minutes
duration, all Mr. N.'s qualifications for the post of chairman that
evening were duly set forth. Then some one else rose and seconded the
proposition, re-enumerating most of these qualifications. Mr. N. then
marched up the hall, ascended the platform, and proceeded to return
thanks for the kind manner in which he had been proposed for the chair
and for the enthusiasm (a few friends had applauded) with which the
audience had sanctioned the choice. He said it was true that he had been
in France, and that he greatly admired the country and the people, and
he was glad to have this opportunity to say so before a Frenchman. Then
he related some of his traveling impressions in France. A few people
coughed, two or three more bold stamped their feet, but he took no heed
and, for ten minutes, he gave the audience the benefit of the
information he had gathered in Boulogne. These preliminaries over, I
gave my lecture, after which Mr. N. called upon a member of the audience
to propose a vote of thanks to the lecturer "for the most amusing and
interesting discourse, etc."

Now a paid lecturer wants his check when his work is over, and although
a vote of thanks, when it is spontaneous, is a compliment which he
greatly appreciates, he is more likely to feel awkwardness than pleasure
when it is a mere red-tape formality. The vote of thanks, on this
particular occasion, was proposed in due form. Then it was seconded by
some one who repeated two or three of my points and spoiled them. By
this time I began to enter into the fun of the thing, and, after having
returned thanks for the vote of thanks and sat down, I stepped forward
again, filled with a mild resolve to have the last word:

"Ladies and Gentlemen," I said, "I have now much pleasure in proposing
that a hearty vote of thanks be given Mr. N. for the able manner in
which he has filled the chair. I am proud to have been introduced to you
by an Englishman who knows my country so well." I went again through the
list of Mr. N.'s qualifications, not forgetting the trip to Boulogne and
the impressions it had left on him. Somebody rose and seconded this. Mr.
N. delivered a speech to thank the audience once more, and then those
who had survived went home.

Some Nonconformist societies will engage a light or humorous lecturer,
put him in their chapel, and open his mouth with prayer. Prayer is good,
but I would as soon think of saying grace before dancing as of beginning
my lecture with a prayer. This kind of experience has been mine several
times. A truly trying experience it was, on the first occasion, to be
accompanied to the platform by the minister, who, motioning me to sit
down, advanced to the front, lowered his head, and said in solemn
accents: "Let us pray." After I got started, it took me fully ten
minutes to make the people realize that they were not at church. This
experience I have had in America as well as in England. Another
experience in this line was still worse, for the prayer was supplemented
by the singing of a hymn of ten or twelve verses. You may easily imagine
that my first remark fell dead flat.

I have been introduced to audiences as Mossoo, Meshoe, and Mounzeer
O'Reel, and other British adaptations of our word _Monsieur_, and found
it very difficult to bear with equanimity a chairman who maltreated a
name which I had taken some care to keep correctly spelt before the
public. Yet this man is charming when compared with the one who, in the
midst of his introductory remarks, turns to you, and in a stage whisper
perfectly audible all over the hall, asks: "How do you pronounce your

Passing over chairman chatty and chairman terse, chairman eloquent and
chairman the reverse, I feel decidedly most kindly toward the silent
chairman. He is very rare, but he does exist and, when met with, is
exceedingly precious. Why he exists, in some English Institutes, I have
always been at a loss to imagine. Whether he comes on to see that the
lecturer does not run off before his time is up, or with the water
bottle, which is the only portable thing on the platform generally;
whether he is a successor to some venerable deaf and dumb founder of his
Society; or whether he goes on with the lecturer to give a lesson in
modesty to the public, as who should say: "I could speak an if I would,
but I forbear." Be his _raison d'être_ what it may, we all love him. To
the nervous novice he is a kind of quiet support, to the old stager he
is as a picture unto the eye and as music unto the ear.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I pause. I want to collect my thoughts. Does my memory serve me? Am
I dreaming, or worse still, am I on the point of inventing? No, I could
not invent such a story, it is beyond my power.

I was once lecturing to the students of a religious college in America.
Before I began, a professor stepped forward, and offered a prayer, in
which he asked the Lord to allow the audience to see my points.

Now, I duly feel the weight of responsibility attaching to such a
statement, and in justice to myself I can do no less than give the
reader the petition just as it fell on my astonished ears:

"Lord, Thou knowest that we work hard for Thee, and that recreation is
necessary in order that we may work with renewed vigor. We have to-night
with us a gentleman from France [excuse my recording a compliment too
flattering], whose criticisms are witty and refined, _but subtle_, and
we pray Thee to so prepare our minds that we may thoroughly understand
and enjoy them."

"_But subtle!_"

I am still wondering whether my lectures are so subtle as to need
praying over, or whether that audience was so dull that they needed
praying for.

Whichever it was, the prayer was heard, for the audience proved warm,
keen, and thoroughly appreciative.




     _New York, January 23._

I was asked to-day by the editor of the _North American Review_ to write
an article on the typical American.

The typical American!

In the eyes of my beloved compatriots, the typical American is a man
with hair falling over his shoulders, wearing a sombrero, a red shirt,
leather leggings, a pair of revolvers in his belt, spending his life on
horseback, and able to shoot a fly off the tip of your nose without for
a moment endangering your olfactory organ; and, since Buffalo Bill has
been exhibiting his Indians and cowboys to the Parisians, this
impression has become a deep conviction.

I shall never forget the astonishment I caused to my mother when I first
broke the news to her that I wanted to go to America. My mother had
practically never left a lovely little provincial town of France. Her
face expressed perfect bewilderment.

"You don't mean to say you want to go to America?" she said. "What for?"

"I am invited to give lectures there."

"Lectures? in what language?"

"Well, mother, I will try my best in English."

"Do they speak English out there?"

"H'm--pretty well, I think."

We did not go any further on the subject that time. Probably the good
mother thought of the time when the Californian gold-fields attracted
all the scum of Europe, and, no doubt, she thought that it was strange
for a man who had a decent position in Europe, to go and "seek fortune"
in America.

Later on, however, after returning to England, I wrote to her that I had
made up my mind to go.

Her answer was full of gentle reproaches, and of sorrow at seeing that
she had lost all her influence over her son. She signed herself "always
your loving mother," and indulged in a postscript. Madame de Sévigné
said that the gist of a woman's letter was to be found in the

My mother's was this:

"P.S.--I shall not tell any one in the town that you have gone to

This explains why I still dare show my face in my little native town.

       *       *       *       *       *

The typical American!

First of all, does he exist? I do not think so. As I have said
elsewhere, there are Americans in plenty, but _the_ American has not
made his appearance yet. The type existed a hundred years ago in New
England. He is there still; but he is not now a national type, he is
only a local one.


I was talking one day with two eminent Americans on the subject of the
typical American, real or imaginary. One of them was of opinion that he
was a taciturn being; the other, on the contrary, maintained that he was
talkative. How is a foreigner to dare decide, where two eminent natives
find it impossible to agree?

In speaking of the typical American, let us understand each other. All
the civilized nations of the earth are alike in one respect; they are
all composed of two kinds of men, those that are gentlemen, and those
that are not. America is no exception to this rule. Fifth Avenue does
not differ from Belgravia and Mayfair. A gentleman is everywhere a
gentleman. As a type, he belongs to no particular country, he is

When the writer of some "society" paper, English or American, reproaches
a sociologist for writing about the masses instead of the classes,
suggesting that "he probably never frequented the best society of the
nation he describes," that writer writes himself down an ass.

In the matters of feeling, conduct, taste, culture, I have never
discovered the least difference between a gentleman from America and a
gentleman from France, England, Russia, or any other country of
Europe--including Germany. So, if we want to find a typical American, it
is not in good society that we must search for him, but among the mass
of the population.

Well, it is just here that our search will break down. We shall come
across all sorts and conditions of Americans, but not one that is really


A little while ago, the _Century Magazine_ published specimens of
composite photography. First, there was the portrait of one person, then
that of this same face with another superposed, then another containing
three faces blended, and so on up to eight or nine. On the last page the
result was shown. I can only compare the typical American to the last of
those. This appears to me the process of evolution through which the
American type is now going. What it will be when this process of
evolution is over, no one, I imagine, can tell. The evolution will be
complete when immigration shall have ceased, and all the different types
have been well mixed and assimilated. While the process of assimilation
is still going on, the result is suspended, and the type is incomplete.

But, meanwhile, are there not certain characteristic traits to be found
throughout almost all America? That is a question much easier to answer.

Is it necessary to repeat that I put aside good society and confine
myself merely to the people?

Nations are like individuals: when they are young, they have the
qualities and the defects of children. The characteristic trait of
childhood is curiosity. It is also that of the American. I have never
been in Australia, but I should expect to find this trait in the

Look at American journalism. What does it live on? Scandal and gossip.
Let a writer, an artist, or any one else become popular in the States,
and the papers will immediately tell the public at what time he rises
and what he takes for breakfast. When any one of the least importance
arrives in America, he is quickly beset by a band of reporters who ask
him a host of preposterous questions and examine him minutely from head
to foot, in order to tell the public next day whether he wears laced,
buttoned, or elastic boots, enlighten them as to the cut of his coat and
the color of his trowsers, and let them know if he parts his hair in the
middle or not.


Every time I went into a new town to lecture I was interviewed, and the
next day, besides an account of the lecture, there was invariably a
paragraph somewhat in this style:

  The lecturer is a man of about forty, whose cranium is getting visible
  through his hair. He wears a double eye-glass, with which he plays
  while talking to his audience. His handkerchief was black-bordered. He
  wore the regulation patent leather shoes, and his shirt front was
  fastened with a single stud. He spoke without effort or pretension,
  and often with his hands in his pockets, etc.

A few days ago, on reading the morning papers in a town where I had
lectured the night before, I found, in one of them, about twenty lines
consecrated to my lecture, and half a column to my hat.

I must tell you that this hat was brown, and all the hats in America are
black. If you wear anything that is not exactly like what Americans
wear, you are gazed at as if you were a curious animal. The Americans
are as great _badauds_ as the Parisians. In London, you may go down
Regent Street or Piccadilly got up as a Swiss admiral, a Polish general,
or even a Highlander, and nobody will take the trouble to look at you.
But, in America, you have only to put on a brown hat or a pair of light
trowsers, and you will become the object of a curiosity which will not
fail very promptly to bore you, if you are fond of tranquility, and like
to go about unremarked.

I was so fond of that poor brown hat, too! It was an incomparably
obliging hat. It took any shape, and adapted itself to any
circumstances. It even went into my pocket on occasions. I had bought it
at Lincoln & Bennett's, if you please. But I had to give it up. To my
great regret, I saw that it was imperative: its popularity bid fair to
make me jealous. Twenty lines about me, and half a column about that
hat! It was time to come to some determination. It was not to be put up
with any longer. So I took it up tenderly, smoothed it with care, and
laid it in a neat box which was then posted to the chief editor of the
paper with the following note:


  I see by your estimable paper that my hat has attracted a good deal of
  public attention during its short sojourn in your city. I am even
  tempted to think that it has attracted more of it than my lecture. I
  send you the interesting headgear, and beg you will accept it as a
  souvenir of my visit, and with my respectful compliments.

A citizen of the Great Republic knows how to take a joke. The worthy
editor inserted my letter in the next number of his paper, and informed
his readers that my hat fitted him to a nicety, and that he was going to
have it dyed and wear it. He further said, "Max O'Rell evidently thinks
the song, 'Where did you get that hat?' was specially written to annoy
him," and went on to the effect that "Max O'Rell is not the only man who
does not care to tell where he got his hat."

Do not run away with the idea that such nonsense as this has no interest
for the American public. It has.

American reporters have asked me, with the most serious face in the
world, whether I worked in the morning, afternoon, or evening, and what
color paper I used (_sic_). One actually asked me whether it was true
that M. Jules Claretie used white paper to write his novels on, and blue
paper for his newspaper articles. Not having the honor of a personal
acquaintance with the director of the Comédie-Française, I had to
confess my inability to gratify my amiable interlocutor.

Look at the advertisements in the newspapers. There you have the
bootmaker, the hatter, the traveling quack, publishing their portraits
at the head of their advertisements. Why are those portraits there, if
it be not to satisfy the curiosity of customers?

The mass of personalities, each more trumpery than the other, those
details of people's private life, and all the gossip daily served up in
the newspapers, are they not proof enough that curiosity is a
characteristic trait of the American?

This curiosity, which often shows itself in the most impossible
questions, gives immense amusement to Europeans. Unhappily, it amuses
them at the expense of well-bred Americans--people who are as innocent
of it as the members of the stiffest aristocracy in the world could be.
The English, especially, persist in not distinguishing Americans who are
gentlemen from Americans who are not.

       *       *       *       *       *

And even that easy-going American _bourgeois_, with his childish but
good-humored nature, they often fail to do justice to. They too often
look at his curiosity as impertinence and ill-breeding, and will not
admit that, in nine cases out of ten, the freedom he uses with you is
but a show of good feeling, an act of good-fellowship.

Take, for instance, the following little story:

An American is seated in a railway carriage, and opposite him is a lady
in deep mourning, and looking a picture of sadness; a veritable _mater

"Lost a father?" begins the worthy fellow.

"No, sir."

"A mother, maybe?"

"No, sir."

"Ah! a child then?"

"No, sir; I have lost my husband."

"Your husband! Ah! Left you comfortable?"

The lady, rather offended, retires to the other end of the car, and cuts
short the conversation.

"Rather stuck up, this woman," remarks the good Yankee to his neighbor.

The intention was good, if the way of showing it was not. He had but
wanted to show the poor lady the interest he took in her.

After having seen you two or three times, the American will suppress
"Mr." and address you by your name without any handle to it. Do not say
that this is ill placed familiarity; it is meant as an act of
good-fellowship, and should be received by you as such.

If you are stiff, proud, and stuck-up, for goodness' sake, never go to
America; you will never get on there. On the contrary, take over a stock
of simple, affable manners and a good temper, and you will be treated as
a friend everywhere, fêted, and well looked after.

In fact, try to deserve a certificate of good-fellowship, such as the
Clover Club, of Philadelphia, awards to those who can sit at its
hospitable table without taking affront at the little railleries leveled
at them by the members of that lively association. With people of
refinement who have humor, you can indulge in a joke at their expense.
So says La Bruyère. Every visitor to America, who wants to bring back a
pleasant recollection of his stay there, should lay this to heart.

Such are the impressions that I formed of the American during my first
trip to his country, and the more I think over the matter, the more sure
I am that they were correct. Curiosity is his chief little failing, and
good-fellowship his most prominent quality. This is the theme I will
develop and send to the Editor of the _North American Review_. I will
profit by having a couple of days to spend in New York to install myself
in a cosy corner of that cosiest of clubs, the "Players," and there
write it.

It seems that, in the same number of this magazine, the same subject is
to be treated by Mr. Andrew Lang. He has never seen Jonathan at home,
and it will be interesting to see what impressions he has formed of him
abroad. In the hands of such a graceful writer, the "typical American"
is sure to be treated in a pleasant and interesting manner.




     _Boston, January 25._

It amuses me to notice how the Americans to whom I have the pleasure of
being introduced, refrain from asking me what I think of America. But
they invariably inquire if the impressions of my first visit are

This afternoon, at an "At Home," I met a lady from New York, who asked
me a most extraordinary question.

"I have read 'Jonathan and His Continent,'" she said to me. "I suppose
that is a book of impressions written for publication. But now, tell me
_en confidence_, what do you think of us?"

"Is there anything in that book," I replied, "which can make you suppose
that it is not the faithful expression of what the author thinks of
America and the Americans?"

"Well," she said, "it is so complimentary, taken altogether, that I must
confess I had a lurking suspicion of your having purposely flattered us
and indulged our national weakness for hearing ourselves praised, so as
to make sure of a warm reception for your book."

"No doubt," I replied, "by writing a flattering book on any country, you
would greatly increase your chance of a large sale in that country; but,
on the other hand, you may write an abusive book on any country and
score a great success among that nation's neighbors. For my part, I have
always gone my own quiet way, philosophizing rather than opinionating,
and when I write, it is not with the aim of pleasing any particular
public. I note down what I see, say what I think, and people may read me
or not, just as they please. But I think I may boast, however, that my
pen is never bitter, and I do not care to criticise unless I feel a
certain amount of sympathy with the subject of my criticism. If I felt
that I could only honestly say hard things of people, I would always
abstain altogether."

"Now," said my fair questioner, "how is it that you have so little to
say about our Fifth Avenue folks? Is it because you have seen very
little of them, or is it because you could only have said hard things of

"On the contrary," I replied; "I saw a good deal of them, but what I saw
showed me that to describe them would be only to describe polite
society, as it exists in London and elsewhere. Society gossip is not in
my line; boudoir and club smoking-room scandal has no charm for me.
Fifth Avenue resembles too much Mayfair and Belgravia to make criticism
of it worth attempting."

I knew this answer would have the effect of putting me into the lady's
good graces at once, and I was not disappointed. She accorded to me her
sweetest smile, as I bowed to her to go and be introduced to another
lady by the mistress of the house.

[Illustration: FIFTH AVENUE FOLK.]

The next lady was a Bostonian. I had to explain to her why I had not
spoken of Beacon Street people, using the same argument as in the case
of Fifth Avenue society, and with the same success.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the same "At Home," I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Blank, whom I
had met many times in London and Paris.

She is one of the crowd of pretty and clever women whom America sends to
brighten up European society, and who reappear in London and Paris with
the regularity of the swallows. You meet them everywhere, and conclude
that they must be married, since they are styled Mrs. and not Miss. But
whether they are wives, widows, or _divorcées_, you rarely think of
inquiring, and you may enjoy their friendship for years without knowing
whether they have a living lord or not.


Mrs. Blank, as I say, is a most fascinating specimen of America's
daughters, and to-day I find that Mr. Blank is also very much alive, but
that the companions of his joys and sorrows are the telephone and the
ticker; in fact it is thanks to his devotion to these that the wife of
his bosom is able to adorn European society during every recurring

American women have such love for freedom and are so cool-headed that
their visits to Europe could not arouse suspicion even in the most
malicious. But, nevertheless, I am glad to have heard of Mr. Blank,
because it is comfortable to have one's mind at rest on these subjects.
Up to now, whenever I had been asked, as sometimes happened, though
seldom: "Who is Mr. Blank, and where is he?" I had always answered:
"Last puzzle out!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Lunched to-day in the beautiful Algonquin Club, as the guest of Colonel
Charles H. Taylor, and met the editors of the other Boston papers, among
whom was John Boyle O'Reilly,[1] the lovely poet, and the delightful
man. The general conversation turned on two subjects most interesting to
me, viz., American journalism, and American politics. All these
gentlemen seemed to agree that the American people take an interest in
local politics only, but not in imperial politics, and this explains why
the papers of the smaller towns give detailed accounts of what is going
on in the houses of legislature of both city and State, but do not
concern themselves about what is going on in Washington. I had come to
that conclusion myself, seeing that the great papers of New York,
Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago devoted columns to the sayings and doings
of the political world in London and Paris, and seldom a paragraph to
the sittings of Congress in Washington.

In the morning, before lunch, I had called on Mr. John Holmes, the
editor of the Boston _Herald_, and there met a talented lady who writes
under the _nom de plume_ of "Max Eliot," and with whom I had a
delightful half-hour's chat.

I have had to-day the pleasure of meeting the editors of all the Boston

       *       *       *       *       *

In the evening, I dined with the members of the New England Club, who
meet every month to listen, at dessert, to some interesting debate or
lecture. The wine is supplied by bets. You bet, for instance, that the
sun will shine on the following Friday at half-past two. If you lose,
you are one of those who will have to supply one, two, or three bottles
of champagne at the next dinner, and so on. This evening the lecture, or
rather the short address, was given by Colonel Charles H. Taylor on the
history of American journalism. I was particularly interested to hear
the history of the foundation of the New York _Herald_, by James Gordon
Bennett, and that of the New York _World_, by Mr. Pulitzer, a Hungarian
emigrant, who, some years ago, arrived in the States, unable to speak
English, became jack-of-all-trades, then a reporter on a German paper,
proprietor of a Western paper, and then bought the _World_, which is now
one of the best paying concerns in the whole of the United States. This
man, who, to maintain himself, not in health, but just alive, is obliged
to be constantly traveling, directs the paper by telegraph from
Australia, from Japan, from London, or wherever he happens to be. It is
nothing short of marvelous.

       *       *       *       *       *

I finished the evening in the St. Botolph Club, and I may say that I
have to-day spent one of the most delightful days of my life, with those
charming and highly cultured Bostonians, who, a New York witty friend of
mine declares, "are educated beyond their intellects."



  [1] J. B. O'Reilly died in 1890.



     _Boston, January 26._

"Max Eliot" devotes a charming and most flattering article to me in this
morning's _Herald_, embodying the conversation we had together yesterday
in the Boston _Herald's_ office. Many thanks, Max.

A reception was given to me this afternoon by Citizen George Francis
Train, and I met many artists, journalists, and a galaxy of charming

The Citizen is pronounced to be the greatest crank on earth. I found him
decidedly eccentric, but entertaining, witty, and a first-rate
_raconteur_. He shakes hands with you in the Chinese fashion--he shakes
his own. He has taken a solemn oath that his body shall never come in
contact with the body of any one.

A charming programme of music and recitations was gone through.

The invitation cards issued for the occasion speak for themselves.


                          CITOYEN MAX O'RELL.

  P.S.--"Demons" have checkmated "Psychos"! Invitations canceled! "Hub"
  Boycotts Sunday Receptions! Boston half century behind New York and
  Europe's Elite Society. (Ancient Athens still Ancient!) Regrets and
  Regards! Good-by, Tremont! (The Proprietors not to blame.)

  _Vide_ some of his "Apothegmic Works"! (Reviewed in Pulitzer's New
  York _World_ and Cosmos Press!)

       *       *       *       *       *

  John Bull et Son Ile! Les Filles de John Bull! Les Chers Voisins!
  L'Ami Macdonald! John Bull, Junior! Jonathan et Son Continent!
  L'Eloquence Française! etc.


  this distinguished French Traveler, Author, and Lecturer (From the
  land of Lafayette, Rochambeau, and De Grasse),


               (Tremont House!)

  _Private Banquet Hall!_      _Fifty "Notables"!_

  Talent from Dozen Operas and Theaters! All Stars! No Airs! No "Wall
  Flowers"! No Amens! No Selahs! But "MUTUAL ADMIRATION CLUB OF GOOD
  FELLOWSHIP"! No Boredom! No Formality! (Dress as you like!) No
  Programme! (Pianos! Cellos! Guitars! Mandolins! Banjos! Violins!
  Harmonicas! Zithers!) Opera, Theater and Press Represented!

  Succeeding Receptions: To Steele Mackaye! Nat Goodwin! Count Zubof
  (St. Petersburg)! Prima Donna Clementina De Vere (Italy)! Albany Press
  Club! (Duly announced printed invitations!)

           Tremont House for Winter!

  Psychic Press thanks for friendly notices of Sunday Musicales!

It will be seen from the "P. S." that the reception could not be held at
the Tremont House; but the plucky Citizen did not allow himself to be
beaten, and the reception took place at the house of a friend.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the evening I lectured in the Boston Theater to a beautiful audience.

If there is a horrible fascination about "the man who won't smile," as I
mentioned in a foregoing chapter, there is a lovely fascination about
the lady who seems to enjoy your lecture thoroughly. You watch the
effects of your remarks on her face, and her bright, intellectual eyes
keep you in good form the whole evening; in fact, you give the lecture
to her. I perhaps never felt the influence of that face more powerfully
than to-night. I had spoken for a few minutes, when Madame Modjeska,
accompanied by her husband, arrived and took a seat on the first row of
the orchestra stalls. To be able to entertain the great _tragédienne_
became my sole aim, and as soon as I perceived that I was successful, I
felt perfectly proud and happy. I lectured to her the whole evening. Her
laughter and applause encouraged me, her beautiful, intellectual face
cheered me up, and I was able to introduce a little more acting and
by-play than usual.

I had had the pleasure of making Madame Modjeska's acquaintance two
years ago, during my first visit to the United States, and it was a
great pleasure to be able to renew it after the lecture.

I will go and see her _Ophelia_ to-morrow night.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _January 27._

Spent the whole morning wandering about Boston, and visiting a few
interesting places. Beacon Street, the public gardens, and Commonwealth
Avenue are among the finest thoroughfares I know. What enormous wealth
is contained in those miles of huge mansions!

The more I see Boston, the more it strikes me as a great English city.
It has a character of its own, as no other American city has, excepting
perhaps Washington and Philadelphia. The solidity of the buildings, the
parks, the quietness of the women's dresses, the absence of the twang in
most of the voices, all remind you of England.

After lunch I called on Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes. The "Autocrat of the
Breakfast Table" is now over eighty, but he is as young as ever, and
will die with a kind smile on his face and a merry twinkle in his eyes.
I know no more delightful talker than this delightful man. You may say
of him that every time he talks he says something. When he asked me what
it was I had found most interesting in America, I wished I could have
answered: "Why, my dear doctor, to see and to hear such a man as you, to
be sure!" But the doctor is so simple, so unaffected, that I felt an
answer of that kind, though perfectly sincere, would not have been one
calculated to please him. The articles "Over the Tea Cups," which he
writes every month for the _Atlantic Monthly_, and which will soon
appear in book form, are as bright, witty, humorous, and philosophic as
anything he ever wrote. Long may he live to delight his native land!

       *       *       *       *       *

In the evening I went to see Mr. Edwin Booth and Madame Modjeska in
"Hamlet." By far the two greatest tragedians of America in Shakespeare's
greatest tragedy. I expected great things. I had seen Mounet-Sully in
the part, Henry Irving, Wilson Barrett; and I remembered the witty
French _quatrain_, published on the occasion of Mounet-Sully attempting
the part:

  Sans Fechter ni Rivière
  Le cas était hasardeux;
  Jamais, non jamais sur terre,
  On n'a fait d'Hamlet sans eux.

I had seen Mr. Booth three times before. As _Brutus_, I thought he was
excellent. As _Richelieu_ he was certainly magnificent; as _Iago_
ideally superb.

His _Hamlet_ was a revelation to me. After seeing the raving _Hamlet_ of
Mounet-Sully, the somber _Hamlet_ of Irving, and the dreamy _Hamlet_ of
Wilson Barrett, I saw this evening _Hamlet_ the philosopher, the

Mr. Booth is too old to play _Hamlet_ as he does, that is to say,
without any attempt at making-up. He puts on a black wig, and that is
all, absolutely all. It is, however, a most remarkable, subtle piece of
acting in his hands.

Madame Modjeska was beautiful as _Ophelia_. No _tragédienne_ that I have
ever seen weeps more naturally. In all sad situations she makes the
chords of one's heart vibrate, and that without any trick or artifice,
but simply by the modulations of her singularly sympathetic voice and
such like natural means.

It is very seldom that you can see in America, outside of New York, more
than one very good actor or actress playing together. So you may imagine
the success of such a combination as Booth-Modjeska.

Every night the theater is packed from floor to ceiling, although the
prices of admission are doubled.




     _St. Johnsbury (Vt.), January 28._

ST. Johnsbury is a charming little town perched on the top of a
mountain, from which a lovely scene of hills and woods can be enjoyed.
The whole country is covered with snow, and as I looked at it in the
evening by the electric light, the effect was very beautiful. The town
has only six thousand inhabitants, eleven hundred of whom came to hear
my lecture to-night. Which is the European town of six thousand
inhabitants that would supply an audience of eleven hundred people to a
literary _causerie_?

St. Johnsbury has a dozen churches, a public library of 15,000 volumes,
with a reading-room beautifully fitted with desks and perfectly adapted
for study. A museum, a Young Men's Christian Association, with
gymnasium, school-rooms, reading-rooms, play-rooms, and a lecture hall
capable of accommodating over 1000 people. Who, after that, would
consider himself an exile if he had to live in St. Johnsbury? There is
more intellectual life in it than in any French town outside of Paris
and about a dozen more large cities.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Portsea, January 30._

I have been in the State of Maine for two days; a strange State to be
in, let me tell you.

After addressing the Connecticut audience in Meriden a few days ago, I
thought I had had the experience of the most frigid audience that could
possibly be gathered together. Last Tuesday night, at Portsea, I was

Half-way between St. Johnsbury and Portsea, the day before yesterday, I
was told that the train would be very late, and would not arrive at
Portsea before half-past eight. My lecture in that city was to begin at
eight. The only thing to do was to send a telegram to the manager of the
lecture. At the next station I sent the following:

"Train late. If possible, keep audience waiting half an hour. Will dress
on board."

I dressed in the state-room of the parlor-car. At forty minutes past
eight the train arrived at Portsea. I immediately jumped into a cab and
drove to the City Hall, where the lecture was to take place. The
building was lighted, but, as I ascended the stairs, there was not a
person to be seen or a sound to be heard. "The place is deserted," I
thought; "and if anybody came to hear me, they have all gone."

I opened the door of the private room behind the platform and there
found the manager, who expressed his delight to see me. I excused
myself, and was going to enter into a detailed explanation when he

[Illustration: I TIP-TOED OUT.]

"Oh, that's all right."

"What do you mean?" said I. "Have you got an audience there, on the
other side of that door?"

"Why, we have got fifteen hundred people."

"There?" said I, pointing to the door.

"Yes, on the other side of that door."

"But I can't hear a sound."

"I guess you can't. But that's all right; they are there."

"I suppose," I said, "I had better apologize to them for keeping them
waiting three-quarters of an hour."

"Well, just as you please," said the manager. "I wouldn't."

"Wouldn't you?"

"No; I guess they would have waited another half-hour without showing
any sign of impatience."

I opened the door trembling. My desk was far, far away. My manager was
right; the audience was there. I stepped on the platform, shut the door
after me, making as little noise as I could, and, walking on tiptoe so
as to wake up as few people as possible, proceeded toward the table. Not
one person applauded. A few people looked up unconcernedly, as if to
say, "I guess that's the show." The rest seemed asleep, although their
eyes were open.

Arrived at the desk, I faced the audience, and ventured a little joke,
which fell dead flat.

I began to realize the treat that was in store for me that night.

I tried another little joke, and--missed fire.

"Never mind, old fellow," I said to myself; "it's two hundred and fifty
dollars; go ahead."

And I went on.

I saw a few people smile, but not one laughed, although I noticed that a
good many were holding their handkerchiefs over their mouths, probably
to stifle any attempt at such a frivolous thing as laughter. The eyes of
the audience, which I always watch, showed signs of interest, and nobody
left the hall until the conclusion of the lecture. When I had finished,
I made a small bow, when certainly fifty people applauded. I imagined
they were glad it was all over.

"Well," I said to the manager, when I had returned to the little back
room, "I suppose we must call this a failure."

"A failure!" said he; "it's nothing of the sort. Why, I have never seen
them so enthusiastic in my life!"

I went to the hotel, and tried to forget the audience I had just had by
recalling to my mind a joyous evening in Scotland. This happened about a
year ago, in a mining town in the neighborhood of Glasgow, where I had
been invited to lecture, on a Saturday night, to the members of a
popular--very popular--Institute.

[Illustration: I AM ESCORTED TO THE HALL.]

I arrived at the station from Glasgow at half-past seven, and there
found the secretary and the treasurer of the Institute, who had been
kind enough to come and meet me. We shook hands. They gave me a few
words of welcome. I thought my friends looked a little bit queer. They
proposed that we should walk to the lecture hall. The secretary took my
right arm, the treasurer took my left, and, abreast, the three of us
proceeded toward the hall. They did not take me to that place; _I_ took
them, holding them fast all the way--the treasurer especially.

We arrived in good time, although we stopped once for light refreshment.
At eight punctually, I entered the hall, preceded by the president, and
followed by the members of the committee. The president introduced me in
a most queer, incoherent speech. I rose, and was vociferously cheered.
When silence was restored, I said in a calm, almost solemn manner:
"Ladies and Gentlemen." This was the signal for more cheering and
whistling. In France whistling means hissing, and I began to feel
uneasy, but soon I bore in mind that whistling, in the North of Great
Britain, was used to express the highest pitch of enthusiasm.

So I went on.

The audience laughed at everything I said, and even before I said it. I
had never addressed such keen people. They seemed so anxious to laugh
and cheer in the right place that they laughed and cheered all the
time--so much so that in an hour and twenty minutes, I had only got
through half my lecture, which I had to bring to a speedy conclusion.

The president rose and proposed a vote of thanks in another most queer
speech, which was a new occasion for cheering.

When we had retired in the committee room, I said to the secretary:
"What's the matter with the president? Is he quite right?" I added,
touching my forehead.

"Oh!" said the secretary, striking his chest as proudly as possible, "he
is drunk--and so am I."

[Illustration: "HE'S DRUNK, AND SO AM I."]

The explanation of the whole strange evening dawned upon me. Of course
they were drunk, and so was the audience.

That night, I believe I was the only sober person on the premises.

       *       *       *       *       *

Yesterday, I had an interesting chat with a native of the State of Maine
on the subject of my lecture at Portsea.

"You are perfectly wrong," he said to me, "in supposing that your
lecture was not appreciated. I was present, and I can assure you that
the attentive silence in which they listened to you from beginning to
end is the proof that they appreciated you. You would also be wrong in
supposing that they do not appreciate humor. On the contrary, they are
very keen of it, and I believe that the old New Englander was the father
of American humor, through the solemn manner in which he told comic
things, and the comic manner in which he told the most serious ones.
Yes, they are keen of humor, and their apparent want of appreciation is
only due to reserve, to self-control."

And, as an illustration of it, my friend told me the following anecdote
which, I have no doubt, a good many Americans have heard before:

Mark Twain had lectured to a Maine audience without raising a single
laugh in his listeners, when, at the close, he was thanked by a
gentleman who came to him in the green-room, to tell him how hugely
every one had enjoyed his amusing stories. When the lecturer expressed
his surprise at this announcement, as the audience had not laughed, the
gentleman added:

"Yes, we never were so amused in our lives, and if you had gone on five
minutes more, upon my word I don't think we could have held out any

Such is New England self-control.




     _Montreal, February 1._

The ride from the State of Maine to Montreal is very picturesque, even
in the winter. It offers you four or five hours of Alpine scenery
through the American Switzerland. The White Mountains, commanded by
Mount Washington, are, for a distance of about forty miles, as wild and
imposing as anything the real Switzerland can supply the tourist.
Gorges, precipices, torrents, nothing is wanting.

Nearly the whole time we journeyed across pine forests, coming, now and
then, across saw mills, and little towns looking like bee-hives of
activity. Now there was an opening, and frozen rivers, covered with
snow, formed, with the fields, a huge uniform mass of dazzling
whiteness. The effect, under a pure blue sky and in a perfectly clear
atmosphere, was very beautiful. Now the country became hilly again. On
the slopes, right down to the bottom of the valley, we saw Berlin Falls,
bathing its feet in the river. The yellow houses with their red roofs
and gables, rest the eyes from that long stretch of blue and white. How
beautiful this town and its surroundings must be in the fall, when Dame
Nature in America puts on her cloak of gold and scarlet! All the country
on the line we traveled is engaged in the lumber trade.

For once I had an amiable conductor in the parlor car; even more than
amiable--quite friendly and familiar. He put his arms on my shoulders
and got quite patronizing. I did not mind that a bit. I hate anonymous
landscapes, and he explained and named everything to me. My innocence of
American things in general touched him. He was a great treat after those
"ill-licked bears" that you so often come across in the American cars.
He went further than that: he kindly recommended me to the Canadian
custom-house officers, when we arrived at the frontier, and the
examination of my trunk and valise did not last half a minute.


Altogether, the long journey passed rapidly and agreeably. We were only
two people in the parlor car, and my traveling companion proved a very
pleasant man. First, I did not care for the look of him. He had a new
silk hat on, a multicolored satin cravat with a huge diamond pin fixed
in it; a waistcoat covered with silk embroidery work, green, blue, and
pink; a coat with silk facings, patent-leather boots. Altogether, he was
rather dressed for a garden party (in more than doubtful taste) than for
a fifteen hours' railway journey. But in America the cars are so
luxurious and kept so warm that traveling dresses are not known in the
country. Ulsters, cloaks, rugs, garments made of tweed and rough
materials, all these things are unnecessary and therefore unknown. I
soon found out, however, that this quaintly got-up man was interesting
to speak to. He knew every bit of the country we passed, and, being
easily drawn out, he poured into my ears information that was as rapid
as it was valuable. He was well read and had been to Europe several
times. He spoke of France with great enthusiasm, which enrolled my
sympathy, and he had enjoyed my lecture, which, you may imagine, secured
for his intelligence and his good taste my boundless admiration. When we
arrived at Montreal, we were a pair of friends.

       *       *       *       *       *

I begin my Canadian tour here on Monday and then shall go West. I was in
Quebec two years ago; but the dear old place is not on my list this
time. No words could express my regret. I shall never forget my feelings
on landing under the great cliff on which stands the citadel, and on
driving, bumped along in a sleigh over the half-thawed snow, in the
street that lies under the fortress, and on through the other quaint
winding steep streets, and again under the majestic archways to the
upper town, where I was set down at the door of the Florence, a quiet,
delightful little hotel that the visitor to Quebec should not fail to
stop at, if he like home comforts and care to enjoy magnificent scenery
from his window. It seemed as though I was in France, in my dear old
Brittany. It looked like St. Malo strayed up here and lost in the snow.
The illusion became complete when I saw the gray houses, heard the
people talk with the Breton intonation, and saw over the shops Langlois,
Maillard, Clouet, and all the names familiar to my childhood. But why
say "illusion"? It was a fact: I was in France. These folks have given
their faith to England, but, as the Canadian poet says, they have kept
their hearts for France. Not only their hearts, but their manners and
their language. Oh, there was such pleasure in it all! The lovely
weather, the beautiful scenery, the kind welcome given to me, the
delight of seeing these children of Old France, more than three thousand
miles from home, happy and thriving--a feast for the eyes, a feast for
the heart. And the drive to Montmorency Falls in the sleigh, gliding
smoothly along on the hard snow! And the sleighs laden with wood for the
Quebec folks, the carmen stimulating their horses with a _hue là_ or
_hue donc_! And the return to the Florence, where a good dinner served
in a private room awaited us! And that polite, quiet, attentive French
girl who waited on us, the antipodes of the young Yankee lady who makes
you sorry that breakfasting and dining are necessary, in some American
hotels, and whose waiting is like taking sand and vinegar with your

The mere spanking along through the cold, brisk air, when you are well
muffled in furs is exhilarating, especially when the sun is shining in
a cloudless blue sky. The beautiful scenery at Quebec was, besides, a
feast for eyes tired with the monotonous flatness of America. The old
city is on a perfect mountain, and as we came bumping down its side in
our sleigh over the roads which were there in a perfect state of
sherbet, there was a lovely picture spread out in front of us. In the
distance the bluest mountains I ever saw (to paint them one must use
pure cobalt); away to the right the frozen St. Lawrence and the Isle of
Orléans, all snow-covered, of course, but yet distinguishable from the
farm lands of Jacques Bonhomme, whose cosy, clean cottages we soon began
to pass. The long, ribbon-like strips of farm were indicated by the tops
of the fences peeping through the snow, and told us of French thrift and


Yes, it was all delightful. When I left Quebec I felt as much regret as
I do every time that I leave my little native town.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have been told that the works of Voltaire are prohibited in Quebec,
not so much because they are irreligious as because they were written by
a man who, after the loss of Quebec to the French Crown, exclaimed: "Let
us not be concerned about the loss of a few acres of snow." The memory
of Voltaire is execrated, and for having made a flattering reference to
him on the platform in Montreal two years ago, I was near being
"boycotted" by the French population.

The French Canadians take very little interest in politics--I mean in
outside politics. They are steady, industrious, saving, peaceful, and so
long as the English leave them alone, in the safe enjoyment of their
belongings, they will not give them cause for any anxiety. Among the
French Canadians there is no desire for annexation to the United States.
Indeed, during the War of Independence, Canada was saved to the English
Crown by the French Canadians, not because the latter loved the English,
but because they hated the Yankees. When Lafayette took it for granted
that the French Canadians would rally round his flag, he made a great
mistake; they would have, if compelled to fight, used their bullets
against the Americans. If they had their own way, the French in Canada
would set up a little country of their own under the rule of the
Catholic Church, a little corner of France two hundred years old.

The education of the lower classes is at a very low stage; thirty per
cent. of the children of school age in Quebec do not attend school. The
English dare not introduce gratuitous and compulsory education. They
have an understanding with the Catholic Church, which insists upon
exercising entire control over public education. The Quebec schools are
little more than branches of the confessional box. The English shut
their eyes, for part of the understanding with the Church is that the
latter will keep loyalty to the English Crown alive among her submissive

The tyranny exercised by the Catholic Church may easily be imagined from
the following newspaper extract:

  A well-to-do butcher of Montreal attended the Catholic Church at Ile
  Perrault last Sunday. He was suffering at the time with acute cramps,
  and when that part of the service arrived during which the
  congregation kneel, he found himself unable to do more than assume a
  reclining devotional position, with one knee on the floor. His action
  was noticed, and the church-warden, in concert with others, had him
  brought before the court charged with an act of irreverence, and he
  was fined $8 and costs.

Such a judgment does not only expose the tyranny of the Catholic Church,
but the complicity of the English, who uphold Romanism in the Province
of Quebec as they uphold Buddhism in India, so as not to endanger the
security of their possessions.

The French Canadians are multiplying so rapidly that in a very few years
the Province of Quebec will be as French as the town of Quebec itself.
Every day they push their advance from east to west. They generally
marry very young. When a lad is seen in the company of a girl, he is
asked by the priest if he is courting that girl. In which case he is
bidden to go straightway to the altar, and these young couples rear
families of twelve and fifteen children, none of whom leave the country.
The English have to make room for them.


The average attendance in Catholic churches on Sundays in Montreal is
111,483; in the sixty churches that belong to the different Protestant
denominations, the average attendance is 34,428. The former number has
been steadily increasing, the latter steadily decreasing.

       *       *       *       *       *

What is the future reserved to French Canada, and indeed to the whole

There are only two political parties, Liberals and Conservatives, but I
find the population divided into four camps: Those in favor of Canada,
an independent nation; those in favor of the political union of Canada
and the United States; those in favor of Canada going into Imperial
Federation, and those in favor of Canada remaining an English colony, or
in other words, in favor of the actual state of things.

Of course the French Canadians are dead against going into Imperial
Federation, which would simply crush them, and Canadian "society" is in
favor of remaining English. The other Canadians seem pretty equally

It must be said that the annexation idea has been making rapid progress
of late years, among prominent men as well as among the people. The
Americans will never fire one shot to have the idea realized. If ever
the union becomes an accomplished fact, it will become so with the
assent of all parties. The task will be made easy through Canada and the
United States having the same legislature. The local and provincial
governments are the same in the Canadian towns and provinces as they are
in the American towns and States--a House of Representatives, a Senate,
and a Governor, with this difference, this great difference, to the
present advantage of Canada: whereas every four years the Americans
elect a new master, who appoints a ministry responsible to himself
alone, the Canadians have a ministry responsible to their parliament,
that is, to themselves. The representation of the American people at
Washington is democratic, but the government is autocratic. In Canada,
both legislature and executive are democratic, as in England, that
greatest and truest of all democracies.

The change in Canada would have to be made on the American plan.

With the exception of Quebec and parts of Montreal, Canada is built like
America; the country has the same aspect, the currency is the same.
Suppress the Governor-General in Ottawa, who is there to remind Canada
that she is a dependency of the English Crown, strew the country with
more cuspidores, and you have part of Jonathan's big farm.




     _Montreal, February 2._

Montreal is a large and well-built city, containing many buildings of
importance, mostly churches, of which about thirty are Roman Catholic,
and over sixty are devoted to Protestant worship, in all its branches
and variations, from the Anglican church to the Salvation Army.

I arrived at a station situated on a level with the St. Lawrence River.
From it, we mounted in an omnibus up, up, up, through narrow streets
full of shops with Breton or Norman names over them, as in Quebec; on
through broader ones, where the shops grew larger and the names became
more frequently English; on, on, till I thought Montreal had no end,
and, at last alighted on a great square, and found myself at the door of
the Windsor Hotel, an enormous and fine construction, which has proved
the most comfortable, and, in every respect the best hotel I have yet
stopped at on the great American continent. It is about a quarter of a
mile from my bedroom to the dining-hall, which could, I believe,
accommodate nearly a thousand guests.

My first visit was to an afternoon "At Home," given by the St. George's
Club, who have a club-house high up on Mount Royal. It was a ladies'
day, and there was music, dancing, etc. We went in a sleigh up the very
steep hill, much to my astonishment. I should have thought the thing
practically impossible. On our way we passed a toboggan slide down the
side of Mount Royal. It took my breath away to think of coming down it
at the rate of over a mile a minute. The view from the club-house was
splendid, taking in a great sweep of snow-covered country, the city and
the frozen St. Lawrence. There are daily races on the river, and last
year they ran tram-cars on it.


It was odd to hear the phrase, "after the flood." When I came to inquire
into it, I learned that when the St. Lawrence ice breaks up, the lower
city is flooded, and this is yearly spoken of as "the flood."

I drove back from the club with my manager and two English gentlemen,
who are here on a visit. As we passed the toboggan slide, my manager
told me of an old gentleman over sixty, who delights in those breathless
passages down the side of Mount Royal. One may see him out there "at
it," as early as ten in the morning. Plenty of people, however, try one
ride and never ask for another. One gentleman my manager told me of,
after having tried it, expressed pretty well the feelings of many
others. He said, "I wouldn't do it again for two thousand dollars, but I
wouldn't have missed it for three." I asked one of the two Englishmen
who accompanied us, whether he had had a try. He was a quiet, solemn,
middle-aged Englishman. "Well," he said, "yes, I have. It had to be
done, and I did it."

[Illustration: A SNOWSHOER.]

Last night I was most interested in watching the members of the Snowshoe
Club start from the Windsor, on a kind of a picnic over the country.
Their costumes were very picturesque; a short tunic of woolen material
fastened round the waist by a belt, a sort of woolen nightcap, with
tassel falling on the shoulder, thick woolen stockings, and

In Russia and the northern parts of the United States, the people say:
"It's too cold to go out." In Canada, they say: "It's very cold, let's
all go out." Only rain keeps them indoors. In the coldest weather, with
a temperature of many degrees below zero, you have great difficulty in
finding a closed carriage. All, or nearly all, are open sleighs. The
driver wraps you up in furs, and as you go, gliding on the snow, your
face is whipped by the cold air, you feel glowing all over with warmth,
and altogether the sensation is delightful.

This morning, Joseph Howarth, the talented American actor, breakfasted
with me and a few friends. Last night, I went to see him play in Steele
Mackaye's "Paul Kauvar." Canada has no actors worth mentioning, and the
people here depend on American artists for all their entertainments. It
is wonderful how the feeling of independence engenders and develops the
activity of the mind in a country. Art and literature want a home of
their own, and do not flourish in other people's houses. Canada has
produced nothing in literature: the only two poets she can boast are
French, Louis Fréchette and Octave Crémazie. It is not because Canada
has no time for brain productions. America is just as busy as she is,
felling forests and reclaiming the land; but free America, only a
hundred years old as a nation, possesses already a list of historians,
novelists, poets, and essayists, that would do honor to any nation in
the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _February 4._

I had capital houses in the Queen's Hall last night and to-night.

The Canadian audiences are more demonstrative than the American ones,
and certainly quite as keen and appreciative. When you arrive on the
platform they are glad to see you, and they let you know it; a fact
which in America, in New England especially, you have to find out for

Montreal possesses a very wealthy and fashionable community, and what
strikes me most, coming as I do from the United States, is the stylish
simplicity of the women. I am told that Canadian women in their tastes
and ways have always been far more English than American, and that the
fashions have grown more and more simple since Princess Louise gave the
example of always dressing quietly when occupying Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Ottawa, February 5._

One of the finest sights I have yet seen in this country was from the
bridge on my way from the station to the Russell this morning. On the
right the waterfalls, on the left, on the top of a high and almost
perpendicular rock, the Houses of Parliament, a grand pile of buildings
in gray stone, standing out clear against a cloudless, intense blue sky.
The Russell is one of those huge babylonian hotels so common on the
American continent, where unfortunately the cookery is not on a level
with the architectural pretensions; but most of the leading Canadian
politicians are boarding here while Parliament is sitting, and I am
interested to see them.

After visiting the beautiful library and other parts of the government
buildings, I had the good luck to hear, in the House of Representatives,
a debate between Mr. Chapleau, a minister and one of the leaders of the
Conservatives now in office, and Mr. Laurier, one of the chiefs of the
Opposition. Both gentlemen are French. It was a fight between a tribune
and a scholar; between a short, thickset, long-maned lion, and a tall,
slender, delicate fox.


After lunch, I went to Rideau Hall, the residence of the
Governor-General, Lord Stanley of Preston. The executive mansion stands
in a pretty park well wooded with firs, a mile out of the town. His
Excellency was out, but his aid-de-camp, to whom I had a letter of
introduction, most kindly showed me over the place. Nothing can be more
simple and unpretentious than the interior of Rideau Hall. It is
furnished like any comfortable little provincial hotel patronized by the
gentry of the neighborhood. The panels of the drawing-room were painted
by Princess Louise, when she occupied the house with the Marquis of
Lorne some eight or ten years ago. This is the only touch of luxury
about the place. In the time of Lord Dufferin, a ball-room and a tennis
court were added to the building, and these are among the many souvenirs
of his popular rule. As a diplomatist, as a viceroy, and as an
ambassador, history will one day record that this noble son of Erin
never made a mistake.

In the evening, I lectured in the Opera House to a large audience.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Kingston, February 6._

This morning, at the Russell, I was called at the telephone. It was His
Excellency, who was asking me to lunch at Rideau Hall. I felt sorry to
be obliged to leave Ottawa, and thus forego so tempting an invitation.

Kingston is a pretty little town on the border of Lake Ontario,
possessing a university, a penitentiary, and a lunatic asylum, in
neither of which I made my appearance to-night. But as soon as I had
started speaking on the platform of the Town Hall, I began to think the
doors of the lunatic asylum had been carelessly left open that night,
for close under the window behind the platform, there began a noise
which was like Bedlam let loose. Bedlam with trumpets and other
instruments of torture. It was impossible to go on with the lecture, so
I stopped. On inquiry, the unearthly din was found to proceed from a
detachment of the Salvation Army outside the building. After some
parleying, they consented to move on and storm some other citadel.

But it was a stormy evening, and peace was not yet.

[Illustration: A SALVATIONIST.]

As soon as I had fairly restarted, a person in the audience began to
show signs of disapproval, and twice or thrice he gave vent to his
disapproval rather loudly.

I was not surprised to learn, at the close of the evening, that this
individual had come in with a free pass. He had been admitted on the
strength of his being announced to give a "show" of some sort himself a
week later in the hall.

If a man is inattentive or creates a disturbance at any performance, you
may take it for granted that his ticket was given to him. He never paid
for it.

To-morrow I go to Toronto, where I am to give two lectures. I had not
time to see that city properly on my last visit to Canada, and all my
friends prophesy that I shall have a good time.

So does the advance booking, I understand.




     _Toronto, February 9._

Have passed three very pleasant days in this city, and had two beautiful
audiences in the Pavilion.

Toronto is a thoroughly American city in appearance, but only in
appearance, for I find the inhabitants British in heart, in tastes, and
habits. When I say that it is an American city, I mean to say that
Toronto is a large area, covered with blocks of parallelograms and dirty
streets, overspread with tangles of telegraph and telephone wires. The
hotels are perfectly American in every respect.

The suburbs are exceedingly pretty. Here once more are fine villas
standing in large gardens, a sight rarely seen near an American city. It
reminds me of England. I admire many buildings, the University[2]

English-looking, too, are the rosy faces of the Toronto ladies whom I
passed in my drive. How charming they are with the peach-like bloom that
their outdoor exercise gives them!

I should like to be able to describe, as it deserves, the sight of
these Canadian women in their sleighs, as the horses fly along with
bells merrily jingling, the coachman in his curly black dogskin and huge
busby on his head. Furs float over the back of the sleigh, and, in it,
muffled up to the chin in sumptuous skins and also capped in furs, sits
the radiant, lovely Canadienne, the milk and roses of her complexion
enhanced by the proximity of the dark furs. As they skim past over the
white snow, under a glorious sunlit blue sky, I can call to mind no
prettier sight, no more beautiful picture, to be seen on this huge
continent, so far as I have got yet.

One cannot help being struck, on coming here from the United States, at
the number of lady pedestrians in the streets. They are not merely
shopping, I am assured, nor going straight from one point to another of
the town, but taking their constitutional walks in true English fashion.
My impresario took me in the afternoon to a club for ladies and
gentlemen, and there I had the, to me, novel sight of a game of hockey.
On a large frozen pond there was a party of young people engaged in this
graceful and invigorating game, and not far off was a group of little
girls and boys imitating their elders very sensibly and, as it seemed to
me, successfully. The clear, healthy complexion of the Canadian women is
easy to account for, when one sees how deep-rooted, even after
transplantation, is the good British love of exercise in the open air.

Last evening I was taken to a ball, and was able to see more of the
Canadian ladies than is possible in furs, and on further acquaintance I
found them as delightful in manners as in appearance; English in their
coloring and in their simplicity of dress, American in their natural
bearing and in their frankness of speech.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A HOCKEY PLAYER.]

Churches, churches, everywhere. In my drive this afternoon, I counted
twenty-eight in a quarter of an hour. They are of all denominations,
Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, etc., etc. The
Canadians must be still more religious--I mean still more
church-going--than the English.

From seven in the evening on Saturday, all the taverns are closed, and
remain closed throughout Sunday. In England the Bible has to compete
with the gin bottle, but here the Bible has all its own way on Sundays.
Neither tram-car, omnibus, cab, nor hired carriage of any description is
to be seen abroad. Scotland itself is outdone completely; the land of
John Knox has to take a back seat.

The walls of this city of churches and chapels are at the present moment
covered with huge coarse posters announcing in loud colors the arrival
of a company of performing women. Of these posters, one represents
Cleopatra in a bark drawn through the water by nude female slaves.
Another shows a cavalcade of women dressed in little more than a
fig-leaf. Yet another represents the booking-office of the theater
stormed by a crowd of _blasé_-looking, single eye-glassed old _beaux_,
grinning with pleasure in anticipation of the show within. Another
poster displays the charms of the proprietress of the undertaking. You
must not, however, imagine any harm of the performers whose attractions
are so liberally placarded. They are taken to their cars in the depot
immediately after the performance and locked up; there is an
announcement to that effect. These placards are merely eye-ticklers. But
this mixture of churches, strict sabbatarianism, and posters of this
kind, is part of the eternal history of the Anglo-Saxon race--violent

       *       *       *       *       *

Aschool inspector has kindly shown me several schools in the town.

The children of rich and poor alike are educated together in the public
schools, from which they get promoted to the high schools. All these
schools are free. Boys and girls sit on the same benches and receive the
same education, as in the United States. This enables the women in the
New World to compete with men for all the posts that we Europeans
consider the monopoly of man; it also enables them to enjoy all the
intellectual pleasures of life. If it does not prevent them, as it has
yet to be proved that it does, from being good wives and mothers, the
educational system of the New World is much superior to the European
one. It is essentially democratic. Europe will have to adopt it.

Society in the Old World will not stand long on its present basis. There
will always be rich and poor, but every child that is born will require
to be given a chance, and, according as he avails himself of it or not,
will be successful or a failure. But give him a chance, and the greatest
and most real grievance of mankind in the present day will be removed.

Every child that is born in America, whether in the United States or in
Canada, has that chance.



  [2] Destroyed by fire three days after I left Toronto.



     _In the train from Canada to Chicago, February 15._

Lectured in Bowmanville, Ont., on the 12th, in Brantford on the 13th,
and in Sarnia on the 14th, and am now on my way to Chicago, to go from
there to Wisconsin and Minnesota.

From Brantford I drove to the Indian Reservation, a few miles from the
town. This visit explained to me why the English are so successful with
their colonies: they have inborn in them the instinct of diplomacy and

Whereas the Americans often swindle, starve, and shoot the Indians, the
English keep them in comfort. England makes paupers and lazy drunkards
of them, and they quietly and gradually disappear. She supplies them
with bread, food, Bibles, and fire-water, and they become so lazy that
they will not even take the trouble to sow the land of their
reservations. Having a dinner supplied to them, they give up hunting,
riding, and all their native sports, and become enervated. They go to
school and die of attacks of civilization. England gives them money to
celebrate their national fêtes and rejoicings, and the good Indians
shout at the top of their voices, _God save the Queen!_ that is--_God
save our pensions!_

[Illustration: THE BRITISH INDIAN.]

England, or Great Britain, or again, if you prefer, Greater Britain,
goes further than that. In Brantford, in the middle of a large square,
you can see the statue of the Indian chief Brant, erected to his memory
by public subscriptions collected among the British Canadians.

Here lies the secret of John Bull's success as a colonizer. To erect a
statue to an Indian chief is a stroke of genius.

       *       *       *       *       *

What has struck me as most American in Canada is, perhaps, journalism.

Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec possess excellent newspapers, and
every little town can boast one or two journals.

The tone of these papers is thoroughly American in its liveliness--I had
almost said, in its loudness. All are readable and most cleverly edited.
Each paragraph is preceded by a neat and attractive heading. As in the
American papers, the editorials, or leading articles, are of secondary
importance. The main portion of the publication is devoted to news,
interviews, stories, gossip, jokes, anecdotes, etc.

The Montreal papers are read by everybody in the Province of Quebec, and
the Toronto papers in the Province of Ontario, so that the newspapers
published in small towns are content with giving all the news of the
locality. Each of these has a "society" column. Nothing is more amusing
than to read of the society doings in these little towns. "Miss Brown is
visiting Miss Smith." "Miss Smith had tea with Miss Robinson yesterday."
When Miss Brown, or Miss Smith, or Miss Robinson has given a party, the
names of all the guests are inserted as well as what they had for
dinner, or for supper, as the case may be. So I take it for granted that
when anybody gives a party, a ball, a dinner, a reporter receives an
invitation to describe the party in the next issue of the paper.

       *       *       *       *       *

At nine o'clock this evening, I left Sarnia, on the frontier of Canada,
to cross the river and pass into the United States. The train left the
town, and, on arriving on the bank of the River St. Clair, was divided
into two sections which were run on board the ferry-boat and made the
crossing side by side. The passage across the river occupied about
twenty minutes. On arriving at the other bank, at Port Huron, in the
State of Michigan, the train left the boat in the same fashion as it had
gone on board, the two parts were coupled together, and the journey on
_terra firma_ was smoothly resumed.

There is something fascinating about crossing a river at night, and I
had promised myself some agreeable moments on board the ferry-boat, from
which I should be able to see Port Huron lit up with twinkling lights. I
was also curious to watch the train boarding the boat. But, alas, I had
reckoned without my host. Instead of star-gazing and _rêverie_, there
was in store for me a "bad quarter of an hour."

No sooner had the train boarded the ferry-boat than there came to the
door of the parlor car a surly-looking, ill-mannered creature, who
roughly bade me come to the baggage van, in the other section of the
train, and open my trunks for him to inspect.

As soon as I had complied, he went down on his knees among my baggage,
and it was plain to see that he meant business.

The first thing he took out was a suit of clothes, which he threw on the
dirty floor of the van.

"Have these been worn?" he said.

"They have," I replied.

Then he took out a blue jacket which I used to cross the Atlantic.

[Illustration: "HAVE YOU WORN THIS?"]

"Have you worn this?"

"Yes, for the last two years."

"Is that all?" he said, with a low sardonic grin.

My trunk was the only one he had to examine, as I was the only passenger
in the parlor car; and I saw that he meant to annoy me, which, I
imagined, he could do with perfect impunity.

The best thing, in fact, the only thing to do was to take the
misadventure good-humoredly.

He took out my linen and examined it in detail.

"Have these shirts all been worn?"

"Well, I guess they have. But how is it that you, an official of the
government, seem to ignore the law of your own country? Don't you know
that if all these articles are for my own private use, they are not
dutiable, whether new or not?"

The man did not answer.

He took out more linen, which he put on the floor, and spreading open a
pair of unmentionables, he asked again:

"Have you worn this? It looks quite new."

I nodded affirmatively.

He then took out a pair of socks.

"Have you worn these?"

"I don't know," I said. "Have a sniff at them."

He continued his examination, and was about to throw my evening suit on
the floor. I had up to now been _almost_ amused at the proceedings, but
I felt my good-humor was going, and the lion began to wag its tail. I
took the man by the arm, and looking at him sternly, I said:

"Now, you put this carefully on the top of some other clothes."

He looked at me and complied.

By this time all the contents of my large trunk were spread on the

He got up on his feet and said:

"Have I looked everywhere?"

"No," I said, "you haven't. Do you know how the famous Regent diamond,
worn by the last kings of France on their crowns, was smuggled into
French territory?"

[Illustration: THE CONTENTS.]

The creature looked at me with an air of impudence.

"No, I don't," he replied.

I explained to him, and added:

"You have not looked _there_."

The lion, that lies dormant at the bottom of the quietest man, was
fairly roused in me, and on the least provocation, I would have given
this man a first-class hiding.

He went away, wondering whether I had insulted him or not, and left me
in the van to repack my trunk as best I could, an operation which, I
understand, it was his duty to perform himself.




     _Chicago, February 17._

Oh! a lecturing tour in America!

I am here on my way to St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Just before leaving New York, I saw in a comic paper that Bismarck must
really now be considered as a great man, because, since his departure
from office, there had been no rumor of his having applied to Major Pond
to get up a lecturing tour for him in the United States.

It was not news to me that there are plenty of people in America who
laugh at the European author's trick of going to the American platform
as soon as he has made a little name for himself in his own country. The
laugh finds an echo in England, especially from some journalists who
have never been asked to go, and from a few men who, having done one
tour, think it wise not to repeat the experience. For my part, when I
consider that Emerson, Holmes, Mark Twain, have been lecturers, that
Dickens, Thackeray, Matthew Arnold, Sala, Stanley, Archdeacon Farrar,
and many more, all have made their bow to American audiences, I fail to
discover anything very derogatory in the proceeding.

[Illustration: A PIG SQUEALING.]

Besides, I feel bound to say that there is nothing in a lecturing tour
in America, even in a highly successful one, that can excite the envy of
the most jealous "failure" in the world. Such work is about the hardest
that a man, used to the comforts of this life, can undertake. Actors, at
all events, stop a week, sometimes a fortnight, in the cities they
visit; but a lecturer is on the road every day, happy when he has not to
start at night.

No words can picture the monotony of journeys through an immense
continent, the sameness of which strikes you as almost unbearable.
Everything is made on one pattern. All the towns are alike. To be in a
railroad car for ten or twelve hours day after day can hardly be called
luxury, or even comfort. To have one's poor brain matter thus shaken in
the cranium is terrible, especially when the cranium is not quite full.
Constant traveling softens the brain, liquefies it, churns it,
evaporates it, and it runs out of you through all the cracks of your
head. I own that traveling is comfortable in America, even luxurious;
but the best fare becomes monotonous and unpalatable when the dose is
repeated every day.

To-morrow night I lecture in Minneapolis. The next night I am in
Detroit. Distance about seven hundred miles.

"Can I manage it?" said I to my impresario, when he showed me my route.

"Why, certn'ly," he replied; "if you catch a train after your lecture, I
guess you will arrive in time for your lecture in Detroit the next day."

These remarks, in America, are made without a smile.

On arriving at Chicago this morning, I found awaiting me at the Grand
Pacific Hotel, a letter from my impresario. Here is the purport of it:

  I know you have with you a trunk and a small portmanteau. I would
  advise you to leave your trunk at the Grand Pacific, and to take with
  you only the portmanteau, while you are in the neighborhood of
  Chicago. You will thus save trouble, expense, etc.

On looking at my route, I found that the "neighborhood of Chicago"
included St. Paul, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland,
Cincinnati, Indianapolis: something like a little two-thousand-mile tour
"in the neighborhood of Chicago," to be done in about one week.

When I confided my troubles to my American friends, I got little
sympathy from them.

"That's quite right," they would say; "we call the neighborhood of a
city any place which, by starting after dinner, you can reach at about
breakfast time the next day. You dine, you go on board the car, you
have a smoke, you go to bed, you sleep, you wake up, you dress--and
there you are. Do you see?"

After all you may be of this opinion, if you do not reckon sleeping
time. But I do reckon it, when I have to spend the night in a closed
box, six feet long, and three feet wide, and about two feet high, and
especially when the operation has to be repeated three or four times a

       *       *       *       *       *

And the long weary days that are not spent in traveling, how can they be
passed, even tolerably, in an American city, where the lonely lecturer
knows nobody, and where there is absolutely nothing to be seen beyond
the hotels and the dry-goods stores? Worse still: he sometimes has the
good luck to make the acquaintance of some charming people: but he has
hardly had time to fix their features in his memory, when he has to go,
probably never to see them again.

The lecturer speaks for an hour and a half on the platform every
evening, the rest of his time is exclusively devoted to keeping silence.
Poor fellow! how grateful he is to the hotel clerk who sometimes--alas,
very seldom--will chat with him for a few minutes. As a rule the hotel
clerk is a mute, who assigns a room to you, or hands you the letters
waiting for you in the box corresponding to your number. His mouth is
closed. He may have seen you for half a minute only; he will remember
you. Even in a hotel accommodating over a thousand guests, he will know
you, he will know the number of your room, but he won't speak. He is not
the only American that won't speak. Every man in America who is
attending to some duty of other, has his mouth closed. I have tried the
railroad conductor, and found him mute. I have had a shot at the porter
in the Pullman car, and found him mute. I have endeavored to draw out
the janitors of the halls where I was to speak in the evening, and I
have failed. Even the negroes won't speak. You would imagine that
speaking was prohibited by the statute-book. When my lecture was over, I
returned to the hotel, and like a culprit crept to bed.

[Illustration: THE SLEEPING CAR.]

[Illustration: THE JANITOR.]

How I do love New York! It is not that it possesses a single building
that I really care for; it is because it contains scores and scores of
delightful people, brilliant, affable, hospitable, warm-hearted friends,
who were kind enough to welcome me when I returned from a tour, and in
whose company I could break up the cobwebs that had had time to form in
the corners of my mouth.

       *       *       *       *       *

The history of Chicago can be written in a few lines. So can the history
of the whole of America.

In about 1830 a man called Benjamin Harris, with his family, moved to
Chicago, or Fort Dearborn, as it was then called. Not more than half a
dozen whites, all of whom were Indian traders, had preceded them. In
1832 they had a child, the first white female born in Chicago--now
married, called Mrs. S. A. Holmes, and the mother of fourteen children.
In 1871 Chicago had over 100,000 inhabitants, and was burned to the
ground. To-day Chicago has over 1,200,000 inhabitants, and in ten years'
time will have two millions.

The activity in Chicago is perfectly amazing. And I don't mean
commercial activity only. Compare the following statistics: In the great
reading rooms of the British Museum, there was an average of 620 readers
daily during the year 1888. In the reading-room of the Chicago Public
Library, there was an average of 1569 each day in the same year.
Considering that the population of London is nearly five times that of
Chicago, it shows that the reading public is ten times more numerous in
Chicago than in London.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a never failing source of amusement to watch the ways of public
servants in this country.

I went to pay a visit to a public museum this afternoon.

In Europe, the keepers, that is to say, the servants of the public, have
cautions posted in the museums, in which "the public are requested not
to touch." In France, they are "begged," which is perhaps a more
suitable expression, as the museums, after all, belong to the public.

In America, the notice is "Hands off!" This is short and to the point.
The servants of the public allow you to enter the museums, charge you
twenty-five cents, and warn you to behave well. "Hands off" struck me as
rather off-handed.

[Illustration: THE "BRUSH-UP."]

I really admire the independence of all the servants in this country.
You may give them a tip, you will not run the risk of making them
servile or even polite.

The railway conductor says "ticket!" The word _please_ does not belong
to his vocabulary any more than the words "thank you." He says "ticket"
and frowns. You show it to him. He looks at it suspiciously, and gives
it back to you with a haughty air that seems to say: "I hope you will
behave properly while you are in my car."

The tip in America is not _de rigueur_ as in Europe. The cabman charges
you so much, and expects nothing more. He would lose his dignity by
accepting a tip (many run the risk). He will often ask you for more than
you owe him; but this is the act of a sharp man of business, not the act
of a servant. In doing so, he does not derogate from his character.

The negro is the only servant who smiles in America, the only one who is
sometimes polite and attentive, and the only one who speaks English with
a pleasant accent.

The negro porter in the sleeping cars has seldom failed to thank me for
the twenty-five or fifty cent piece I always give him after he has
brushed--or rather, swept--my clothes with his little broom.

       *       *       *       *       *

A few minutes ago, as I was packing my valise for a journey to St. Paul
and Minneapolis to-night, the porter brought in a card. The name was
unknown to me; but the porter having said that it was the card of a
gentleman who was most anxious to speak to me, I said, "Very well, bring
him here."

The gentleman entered the room, saluted me, shook hands, and said:

"I hope I am not intruding."

"Well," said I, "I must ask you not to detain me long, because I am off
in a few minutes."

"I understand, sir, that some time ago you were engaged in teaching the
French language in one of the great public schools of England."

"I was, sir," I replied.

"Well, I have a son whom I wish to speak French properly, and I have
come to ask for your views on the subject. In other words, will you be
good enough to tell me what are the best methods for teaching this
language? Only excuse me, I am very deaf."

[Illustration: LEFT.]

He pulled out of his back pocket two yards of gutta-percha tube, and,
applying one end to his ear and placing the other against my mouth, he
said, "Go ahead."

"Really?" I shouted through the tube. "Now please shut your eyes;
nothing is better for increasing the power of hearing."

The man shut his eyes and turned his head sideways, so as to have the
listening ear in front of me. I took my valise and ran to the elevator
as fast as I could.

That man may still be waiting for aught I know and care.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before leaving the hotel, I made the acquaintance of Mr. George Kennan,
the Russian traveler. His articles on Russia and Siberia, published in
the _Century Magazine_, attracted a great deal of public attention, and
people everywhere throng to hear him relate his terrible experiences on
the platform. He has two hundred lectures to give this season. He struck
me as a most remarkable man--simple, unaffected in his manner, with
unflinching resolution written on his face; a man in earnest, you can
see. I am delighted to find that I shall have the pleasure of meeting
him again in New York in the middle of April. He looks tired. He, too,
is lecturing in the "neighborhood of Chicago," and is off now to the
night train for Cincinnati.




     _St. Paul, Minn., February 20._

Arrived at St. Paul the day before yesterday to pay a professional visit
to the two great sister cities of the north of America.

Sister cities! Yes, they are near enough to shake hands and kiss each
other, but I am afraid they avail themselves of their proximity to
scratch each other's faces.

If you open Bouillet's famous Dictionary of History and Geography
(edition 1880), you will find in it neither St. Paul nor Minneapolis. I
was told yesterday that in 1834 there was one white inhabitant in
Minneapolis. To-day the two cities have about 200,000 inhabitants each.
Where is the dictionary of geography that can keep pace with such
wonderful phantasmagoric growth? The two cities are separated by a
distance of about nine miles, but they are every day growing up toward
each other, and to-morrow they will practically have become one.

Nothing is more amusing than the jealousies which exist between the
different large cities of the United States, and when these rival places
are close to each other, the feeling of jealousy is so intensified as to
become highly entertaining.

St. Paul charges Minneapolis with copying into the census names from
tombstones, and it is affirmed that young men living in either one of
the cities will marry girls belonging to the other so as to decrease its
population by one. The story goes that once a preacher having announced,
in a Minneapolis church, that he had taken the text of his sermon from
St. Paul, the congregation walked out _en masse_.

New York despises Philadelphia, and pokes fun at Boston. On the other
hand, Boston hates Chicago, and _vice versa_. St. Louis has only
contempt for Chicago, and both cities laugh heartily at Detroit and
Milwaukee. San Francisco and Denver are left alone in their prosperity.
They are so far away from the east and north of America, that the
feeling they inspire is only one of indifference.

"Philadelphia is a city of homes, not of lodging-houses," once said a
Philadelphian to a New Yorker; "and it spreads over a far greater area
than New York, with less than half the inhabitants." "Ah," replied the
New Yorker, "that's because it has been so much sat upon."

"You are a city of commerce," said a Bostonian to a New York wit;
"Boston is a city of culture." "Yes," replied the New Yorker. "You
spell culture with a big C, and God with a small g."

Of course St. Paul and Minneapolis accuse each other of counting their
respective citizens twice over. All that is diverting in the highest
degree. This feeling does not exist only between the rival cities of the
New World, it exists in the Old. Ask a Glasgow man what he thinks of
Edinburgh, and an Edinburgh man what he thinks of Glasgow!

       *       *       *       *       *

On account of the intense cold (nearly thirty degrees below zero), I
have not been able to see much either of St. Paul or of Minneapolis, and
I am unable to please or vex either of these cities by pointing out
their beauties and defects. Both are large and substantially built, with
large churches, schools, banks, stores, and all the temples that modern
Christians erect to Jehovah and Mammon. I may say that the Ryan Hotel at
St. Paul and the West House at Minneapolis are among the very best
hotels I have come across in America, the latter especially. When I have
added that, the day before yesterday, I had an immense audience in the
People's Church at St. Paul, and that to-night I have had a crowded
house at the Grand Opera House in Minneapolis, it is hardly necessary
for me to say that I shall have enjoyed myself in the two great towns,
and that I shall carry away with me a delightful recollection of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Soon after arriving in Minneapolis yesterday, I went to see the
Minnehaha Falls, immortalized by Longfellow. The motor line gave me an
idea of rapid transit. I returned to the West House for lunch and spent
the afternoon writing. Many interviewers called.


The first who came sat down in my room and point-blank asked me my views
on contagious diseases. Seeing that I was not disposed to talk on the
subject, he asked me to discourse on republics and the prospects of
General Boulanger. In fact, anything for copy.

The second one, after asking me where I came from and where I was going,
inquired whether I had exhausted the Anglo-Saxons and whether I should
write on other nations. After I had satisfied him, he asked me what
yearly income my books and lectures brought in.

Another wanted to know why I had not brought my wife with me, how many
children I had, how old they were, and other details as wonderfully
interesting to the public. By and by I saw he was jotting down a
description of my appearance, and the different clothes I had on! "I
will unpack this trunk," I said, "and spread all its contents on the
floor. Perhaps you would be glad to have a look at my things." He
smiled: "Don't trouble any more," he said; "I am very much obliged to
you for your courtesy."

This morning, on opening the papers, I see that my hat is getting into
trouble again. I thought that, after getting rid of my brown hat and
sending it to the editor in the town where it had created such a
sensation, peace was secured. Not a bit. In the Minneapolis _Journal_ I
read the following:

  The attractive personality of the man [allow me to record this for the
  sake of what follows], heightened by his négligé sack coat and vest,
  with a background of yellowish plaid trowsers, occasional glimpses of
  which were revealed from beneath the folds of a heavy ulster, which
  swept the floor [I was sitting of course] and was trimmed with fur
  collar and cuffs. And then that hat! On the table, carelessly thrown
  amid a pile of correspondence, was his nondescript headgear. One of
  those half-sombreros affected by the wild Western cowboy when on dress
  parade, an impossible combination of dark-blue and bottle-green.

Fancy treating in this off-handed way a $7.50 soft black felt hat bought
of the best hatter in New York! No, nothing is sacred for those
interviewers. Dark-blue and bottle-green! Why, did that man imagine that
I wore my hat inside out so as to show the silk lining?

       *       *       *       *       *

The air here is perfectly wonderful, dry and full of electricity. If
your fingers come into contact with anything metallic, like the
hot-water pipes, the chandeliers, the stopper of your washing basin,
they draw a spark, sharp and vivid. One of the reporters who called
here, and to whom I mentioned the fact, was able to light my gas with
his finger, by merely obtaining an electric spark on the top of the
burner. When he said he could thus light the gas, I thought he was

I had observed this phenomenon before. In Ottawa, for instance.

Whether this air makes you live too quickly, I do not know; but it is
most bracing and healthy. I have never felt so well and hearty in my
life as in these cold, dry climates.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was all the more flattered to have such a large and fashionable
audience at the Grand Opera House to-night, that my _causerie_ was not
given under the auspices of any society, or as one of any course of

I lecture in Detroit the day after to-morrow. I shall have to leave
Minneapolis to-morrow morning at six o'clock for Chicago, which I shall
reach at ten in the evening. Then I shall have to run to the Michigan
Central Station to catch the night train to Detroit at eleven.
Altogether, twenty-three hours of railway traveling--745 miles.

And still in "the neighborhood of Chicago!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN ADVERTISEMENT.]

     _In the train to Chicago, February 21._

Have just passed a wonderful advertisement. Here, in the midst of a
forest, I have seen a huge wide board nailed on two trees, parallel to
the railway line. On it was written, round a daub supposed to represent
one of the loveliest English ladies: "If you would be as lovely as the
beautiful Lady de Gray, use Gray perfumes."

_Soyez donc belle_, to be used as an advertisement in the forests of

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "I RETURNED THANKS."]

My lectures have never been criticised in more kind, flattering, and
eulogistic terms than in the St. Paul and the Minneapolis papers, which
I am reading on my way to Chicago. I find newspaper reading a great
source of amusement in the trains. First of all because these papers
always are light reading, and also because reading is a possibility in a
well lighted carriage going only at a moderate speed. Eating is
comfortable, and even writing is possible _en route_. With the exception
of a few trains, such as are run from New York to Boston, Chicago, and
half a dozen other important cities, railway traveling is slower in
America than in England and France; but I have never found fault with
the speed of an American train. On the contrary, I have always felt
grateful to the driver for running slowly. And every time that the car
reached the other side of some of the many rotten wooden bridges on
which the train had to pass, I returned thanks.



     _Detroit, February 22._

Am delighted with Detroit. It possesses beautiful streets, avenues, and
walks, and a fine square in the middle of which stands a remarkably fine
monument. I am also grateful to this city for breaking the monotony of
the eternal parallelograms with which the whole of the United States are
built. My national vanity almost suggests to me that this town owes its
gracefulness to its French origin. There are still, I am told, about
25,000 French people settled in Detroit.

I have had to-night, in the Church of Our Father, a crowded and most
brilliant audience, whose keenness, intelligence, and kindness were very

I was interviewed, both by a lady and a gentleman, for the Detroit _Free
Press_, that most witty of American newspapers. The charming young lady
interviewer came to talk on social topics, I remarked that she was armed
with a copy of "Jonathan and his Continent," and I came to the
conclusion that she would probably ask for a few explanations about that
book. I was not mistaken. She took exception, she informed me, to many
statements concerning the American girl in the book. I made a point to
prove to her that all was right, and all was truth, and I think I
persuaded her to abandon the prosecution.


To tell the truth, now the real truth, mind you, I am rather tired of
hearing about the American girl. The more I see of her the more I am
getting convinced that she is--like the other girls in the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

A friend, who came to have a chat with me after this lecture, has told
me that the influential people of the city are signing a petition to the
custodians of the museum calling upon them to drape all the nude
statues, and intimating their intention of boycotting the institution,
if the Venuses and Apollos are not forthwith provided with tuckers and

It is a well-known fact in the history of the world, that young
communities have no taste for fine art--they have no time to cultivate
it. If I had gone to Oklahoma, I should not have expected to find any
art feeling at all; but that in a city like Detroit, where there is such
evidence of intellectual life and high culture among the inhabitants, a
party should be found numerous and strong enough to issue such a heathen
dictate as this seems scarcely credible. I am inclined to think it must
be a joke. That the "unco guid" should flourish under the gloomy sky of
Great Britain I understand, but under the bright blue sky of America, in
that bracing atmosphere, I cannot.

It is most curious that there should be people who, when confronted
with some glorious masterpiece of sculpture, should not see the poetry,
the beauty of the human form divine. This is beyond me, and beyond any
educated Frenchman.

[Illustration: THE DRAPED STATUES.]

Does the "unco guid" exist in America, then? I should have thought that
these people, of the earth earthy, were not found out of England and

When I was in America two years ago, I heard that an English author of
some repute, talking one day with Mr. Richard Watson Gilder about the
Venus of Milo, had remarked that, as he looked at her beautiful form, he
longed to put his arms around her and kiss her. Mr. Gilder, who, as a
poet, as an artist, has felt only respect mingled with his admiration of
the matchless divinity, replied: "I hope she would have grown a pair of
arms for the occasion, so as to have slapped your face."

It is not so much the thing that offends the "unco guid"; it is the
name, the reflection, the idea. Unhealthy-minded himself, he dreads a
taint where there is none, and imagines in others a corruption which
exists only in himself.

Yet the One, whom he would fain call Master, but whose teachings he is
slow in following, said: "Woe be to them by whom offense cometh." But
the "unco guid" is a Christian failure, a _parvenu_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _parvenu_ is a person who makes strenuous efforts to persuade other
people that he is entitled to the position he occupies.

There are _parvenus_ in religion, as there are _parvenus_ in the
aristocracy, in society, in literature, in the fine arts, etc.

The worst type of the French _parvenu_ is the one whose father was a
worthy, hard-working man called _Dubois_ or _Dumont_, and who, at his
father's death, dubs himself _du Bois_ or _du Mont_, becomes a
clericalist and the stanchest monarchist, and runs down the great
Revolution which made one of his grand-parents a man. M. _du Bois_ or
_du Mont_ outdoes the genuine nobleman, who needs make no noise to
attract attention to a name which everybody knows, and which, in spite
of what may be said on the subject, often recalls the memory of some
glorious event in the past.

[Illustration: THE PARVENU.]

The worst type of Anglo-Saxon _parvenu_ is probably the "unco guid," or
religious _parvenu_.

The Anglo-Saxon "unco guid" is seldom to be found among Roman Catholics;
that is, among the followers of the most ancient Christian religion. He
is to be found among the followers of the newest forms of
"Christianity." This is quite natural. He has to try to eclipse his
fellow-Christians by his piety, in order to show that the new religion
to which he belongs was a necessary invention.

The Anglo-Saxon "unco guid" is easily recognized. He is dark (all bigots
and fanatics are). He is dressed in black, shiny broadcloth raiment. A
wide-brimmed felt hat covers his head. He walks with light, short,
jaunty steps, his head a little inclined on one side. He never carries a
stick, which might give a rather fast appearance to his turn-out. He
invariably carries an umbrella, even in the brightest weather, as being
more respectable--and this umbrella he never rolls, for he would avoid
looking in the distance as if he had a stick. He casts right and left
little grimaces that are so many forced smiles of self-satisfaction.
"Try to be as good as I am," he seems to say to all who happen to look
at him, "and you will be as happy." And he "smiles, and smiles, and

He has a small soul, a small heart, and a small brain.

As a rule, he is a well-to-do person. It pays better to have a narrow
mind than to have broad sympathies.

He drinks tea, but prefers cocoa, as being a more virtuous beverage.

He is perfectly destitute of humor, and is the most inartistic creature
in the world. Everything suggests to him either profanity or indecency.
The "Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character," by Dean Ramsay,
would strike him as profane, and if placed in the Musée du Louvre,
before the Venus of Milo, he would see nothing but a woman who has next
to no clothes on.

His distorted mind makes him take everything in ill part. His hands get
pricked on every thorn that he comes across on the road, and he misses
all the roses.

If I were not a Christian, the following story, which is not as often
told as it should be, would have converted me long ago:

  Jesus arrived one evening at the gates of a certain city, and he sent
  his disciples forward to prepare supper, while he himself, intent on
  doing good, walked through the streets into the marketplace. And he
  saw at the corner of the market some people gathered together, looking
  at an object on the ground; and he drew near to see what it might be.
  It was a dead dog, with a halter round his neck, by which he appeared
  to have been dragged through the dirt; and a viler, a more abject, a
  more unclean thing, never met the eyes of man. And those who stood by
  looked on with abhorrence. "Faugh!" said one, stopping his nose, "it
  pollutes the air." "How long," said another, "shall this foul beast
  offend our sight?" "Look at his torn hide," said a third; "one could
  not even cut a shoe out of it!" "And his ears," said a fourth, "all
  draggled and bleeding!" "No doubt," said a fifth, "he has been hanged
  for thieving!" And Jesus heard them, and looking down compassionately
  on the dead creature, he said: "Pearls are not equal to the whiteness
  of his teeth!"

If I understand the Gospel, the gist of its teachings is contained in
the foregoing little story. Love and forgiveness: finding something to
pity and admire even in a dead dog. Such is the religion of Christ.

The "Christianity" of the "unco guid" is as like this religion as are
the teachings of the Old Testament.

Something to condemn, the discovery of wickedness in the most innocent,
and often elevating, recreations, such is the favorite occupation of the
Anglo-Saxon "unco guid." Music is licentious, laughter wicked, dancing
immoral, statuary almost criminal, and, by and by, the "Society for the
Suggestion of Indecency," which is placed under his immediate patronage
and supervision, will find fault with our going out in the streets, on
the plea that under our garments we carry our nudity.

The Anglo-Saxon "unco guid" is the successor of the Pharisee. In reading
Christ's description of the latter, you are immediately struck with the
likeness. The modern "unco guid" "loves to pray standing in the churches
and chapels and in the corners of the streets, that he may be seen of
men." "He uses vain repetitions, for he thinks that he shall be heard
for his much speaking." "When he fasts, he is of sad countenance; for he
disfigures his face, that he may appear unto men to fast." There is not
one feature of the portrait that does not fit in exactly.

The Jewish "unco guid" crucified Christ. The Anglo-Saxon one would
crucify Him again if He should return to earth and interfere with the
prosperous business firms that make use of His name.

The "unco guid's" Christianity consists in extolling his virtues and
ignoring other people's. He spends his time in "pulling motes out of
people's eyes," but cannot see clearly to do it, "owing to the beams
that are in his own." He overwhelms you, he crushes you, with his
virtue, and one of the greatest treats is to catch him tripping, a
chance which you may occasionally have, especially when you meet him on
the Continent of Europe.

The Anglo-Saxon "unco guid" calls himself a Christian, but the precepts
of the Gospel are the very opposite of those he practices. The gentle,
merciful, forgiving, Man-God of the Gospel has not for him the charms
and attractions of the Jehovah who commanded the cowardly, ungrateful,
and bloodthirsty people of his choice to treat their women as slaves,
and to exterminate their enemies, sparing neither old men, women, nor
children. This cruel, revengeful, implacable deity is far more to the
Anglo-Saxon "unco guid's" liking than the Saviour who bade His disciples
love their enemies and put up their swords in the presence of his
persecutors. The "unco guid" is not a Christian, he is a Jew in all but
name. And I will say this much for him, that the Commandments given on
Mount Sinai are much easier to follow than the Sermon on the Mount. It
is easier not to commit murder than to hold out your right cheek after
your left one has been slapped. It is easier not to steal than to run
after the man who has robbed us, in order to offer him what he has not
taken. It is easier to honor our parents than to love our enemies.

The teachings of the Gospel are trying to human nature. There is no
religion more difficult to follow; and this is why, in spite of its
beautiful, but too lofty, precepts, there is no religion in the world
that can boast so many hypocrites--so many followers who pretend that
they follow their religion, but who do not, and very probably cannot.

Being unable to love man, as he is bidden in the Gospel, the "unco guid"
loves God, as he is bidden in the Old Testament. He loves God in the
abstract. He tells Him so in endless prayers and litanies.

For him Christianity consists in discussing theological questions,
whether a minister shall preach with or without a white surplice on, and
in singing hymns more or less out of tune.

As if God could be loved to the exclusion of man! You love God, after
all, as you love anybody else, not by professions of love, but by deeds.

When he prays, the "unco guid" buries his face in his hands or in his
hat. He screws up his face, and the more fervent the prayer is (or the
more people are looking at him), the more grimaces he makes. Heinrich
Heine, on coming out of an English church, said that "a blaspheming
Frenchman must be a more pleasing object in the sight of God than many a
praying Englishman." He had, no doubt, been looking at the "unco guid."

If you do not hold the same religious views as he does, you are a wicked
man, an atheist. He alone has the truth. Being engaged in a discussion
with an "unco guid" one day, I told him that if God had given me hands
to handle, surely He had given me a little brain to think. "You are
right," he quickly interrupted; "but, with the hands that God gave you
you can commit a good action, and you can also commit murder."
Therefore, because I did not think as he did, I was the criminal, for,
of course, he was the righteous man. For all those who, like myself,
believe in a future life, there is, I believe, a great treat in store:
the sight of the face he will make, when his place is assigned to him in
the next world. _Qui mourra, verra._

Anglo-Saxon land is governed by the "unco guid." Good society cordially
despises him; the aristocracy of Anglo-Saxon intelligence--philosophers,
scientists, men of letters, artists--simply loathe him; but all have to
bow to his rule, and submit their works to his most incompetent
criticism, and all are afraid of him.

[Illustration: THE POOR MAN'S SABBATH.]

In a moment of wounded national pride, Sydney Smith once exclaimed:
"What a pity it is we have no amusements in England except vice and
religion!" The same exclamation might be uttered to-day, and the cause
laid at the Anglo-Saxon "unco guid's" door. It is he who is responsible
for the degradation of the British lower classes, by refusing to enable
them to elevate their minds on Sundays at the sight of the masterpieces
of art which are contained in the museums, or at the sound of the
symphonies of Beethoven and Mozart, which might be given to the people
at reduced prices on that day. The poor people must choose between vice
and religion, and as the wretches know they are not wanted in the
churches, they go to the taverns.

It is this same "unco guid" who is responsible for the state of the
streets in the large cities of Great Britain by refusing to allow vice
to be regulated. If you were to add the amount of immorality to be found
in the streets of Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and the other capitals of
Europe, no fair-minded Englishman "who knows" would contradict me, if I
said that the total thus obtained would be much below the amount
supplied by London alone; but the "unco guid" stays at home of an
evening, advises you to do the same, and ignoring, or pretending to
ignore, what is going on round his own house, he prays for the
conversion--of the French.

The "unco guid" thinks that his own future safety is assured, so he
prays for his neighbors'. He reminds one of certain Scots, who inhabit
two small islands on the west coast of Scotland. Their piety is really
most touching. Every Sunday in their churches, they commend to God's
care "the puir inhabitants of the two adjacent islands of Britain and

A few weeks ago, there appeared in a Liverpool paper a letter, signed "A
Lover of Reverence," in which this anonymous person complained of a
certain lecturer, who had indulged in profane remarks. "I was not
present myself," he or she said, "but have heard of what took place,"
etc. You see, this person was not present, but as a good "Christian," he
hastened to judge. However, this is nothing. In the letter, I read:
"Fortunately, there are in Liverpool, a few Christians, like myself,
always on the watch, and ever looking after our Maker's honor."

Fortunate Liverpool! What a proud position for the Almighty, to be
placed in Liverpool under the protection of the "Lover of Reverence!"

Probably this "unco guid" and myself would not agree on the definition
of the word _profanity_, for, if I had written and published such a
letter, I would consider myself guilty, not only of profanity, but of

If the "unco guid" is the best product of Christianity, Christianity
must be pronounced a ghastly failure, and I should feel inclined to
exclaim, with the late Dean Milman, "If all this is Christianity, it is
high time we should try something else--say the religion of Christ, for




     _Milwaukee, February 25._

Arrived here from Detroit yesterday. Milwaukee is a city of over two
hundred thousand inhabitants, a very large proportion of whom are
Germans, who have come here to settle down, and wish good luck to the
_Vaterland_, at the respectful distance of five thousand miles.

At the station I was met by Mr. John L. Mitchell, the railway king, and
by a compatriot of mine, M. A. de Guerville, a young enthusiast who has
made up his mind to check the German invasion of Milwaukee, and has
succeeded in starting a French society, composed of the leading
inhabitants of the city. On arriving, I found a heavy but delightful
programme to go through during the day: a lunch to be given me by the
ladies at Milwaukee College at one o'clock; a reception by the French
Club at Mrs. John L. Mitchell's house at four; a dinner at six; my
lecture at eight, and a reception and a supper by the Press Club at
half-past ten; the rest of the evening to be spent as circumstances
would allow or suggest. I was to be the guest of Mr. Mitchell at his
magnificent house in town.


"Good," I said, "let us begin."

       *       *       *       *       *

Went through the whole programme. The reception by the French Club, in
the beautiful Moorish-looking rooms of Mrs. John L. Mitchell's superb
mansion, was a great success. I was amazed to meet so many
French-speaking people, and much amused to see my young compatriot go
from one group to another, to satisfy himself that all the members of
the club were speaking French; for I must tell you that, among the
statutes of the club, there is one that imposes a fine of ten cents on
any member caught in the act of speaking English at the gatherings of
the association.

The lecture was a great success. The New Plymouth Church[3] was packed,
and the audience extremely warm and appreciative. The supper offered to
me by the Press Club proved most enjoyable. And yet, that was not all.
At one o'clock the Press Club repaired to a perfect German _Brauerei_,
where we spent an hour in Bavaria, drinking excellent Bavarian beer
while chatting, telling stories, etc.

I will omit to mention at what time we returned home, so as not to tell
tales about my kind host.

In spite of the late hours we kept last night, breakfast was punctually
served at eight this morning. First course, porridge. Thanks to the
kind, thoroughly Scotch hospitality of Mr. John L. Mitchell and his
charming family, thanks to the many friends and sympathizers I met
here, I shall carry away a most pleasant recollection of this large and
beautiful city. I shall leave Milwaukee with much regret. Indeed, the
worst feature of a thick lecturing tour is to feel, almost every day,
that you leave behind friends whom you may never see again.

I lecture at the Central Music Hall, Chicago, this evening; but Chicago
is reached from here in two hours and a half, and I will go as late in
the day as I can.

No more beds for me now, until I reach Albany, in three days.

       *       *       *       *       *

The railway king in Wisconsin is a Scotchman. I was not surprised to
hear it. The iron king in Pennsylvania is a Scotchman, Mr. Andrew
Carnegie. The oil king of Ohio is a Scotchman, Mr. Alexander Macdonald.
The silver king of California is a Scotchman, Mr. Mackay. The
dry-goods-store king of New York--he is dead now--was a Scotchman, Mr.
Stewart. It is just the same in Canada, just the same in Australia, and
all over the English-speaking world. The Scotch are successful
everywhere, and the new countries offer them fields for their industry,
their perseverance, and their shrewdness. There you see them landowners,
directors of companies, at the head of all the great enterprises. In the
lower stations of life, thanks to their frugality and saving habits, you
find them thriving everywhere. You go to the manufactory, you are told
that the foremen are Scotch.

I have, perhaps, a better illustration still.

[Illustration: TALES OF OLD SCOTLAND.]

If you travel in Canada, either by the Grand Trunk or the Canadian
Pacific, you will meet in the last parlor car, near the stove, a man
whose duty consists in seeing that, all along the line, the workmen are
at their posts, digging, repairing, etc. These workmen are all day
exposed to the Canadian temperature, and often have to work knee-deep in
the snow. Well, you will find that the man with small, keen eyes, who
is able to do his work in the railroad car, warming himself comfortably
by the stove, is invariably a Scotchman. There is only one berth with a
stove in the whole business; it is he who has got it. Many times I have
had a chat with that Scotchman on the subject of old Scotland. Many
times I have sat with him in the little smoking-room of the parlor car,
listening to the history of his life, or, maybe, a few good Scotch

       *       *       *       *       *

     _In the train from Chicago to Cleveland_, _February 26_.

I arrived in Chicago at five o'clock in the afternoon yesterday, dined,
dressed, and lectured at the Music Hall under the auspices of the Drexel
free Kindergarten. There was a large audience, and all passed off very
well. After the lecture, I went to the Grand Pacific Hotel, changed
clothes, and went on board the sleeping car bound for Cleveland, O.

       *       *       *       *       *

The criticisms of my lecture in this morning's Chicago papers are

The _Herald_ calls me:

  A dapper little Frenchman. Five feet eleven in height, and two hundred
  pounds in weight!

The _Times_ says:

  That splendid trinity of the American peerage, the colonel, the judge,
  and the professor, turned out in full force at Central Music Hall last
  night. The lecturer is a magician who serves up your many little
  defects, peculiar to the auditors' own country, on a silver salver, so
  artistically garnished that one forgets the sarcasm in admiration of
  the sauce.


The _Tribune_ is quite as complimentary and quite as lively:

  His satire is as keen as the blade of the celebrated executioner who
  could cut a man's head off, and the unlucky person not know it until a
  pinch of snuff would cause a sneeze, and the decapitated head would,
  much to its surprise, find itself rolling over in the dust.

And after a good breakfast at Toledo station, I enjoyed an hour poring
over the Chicago papers.

I lecture in Cleveland to-night, and am still in "the neighborhood of



  [3] Very strange, that church with its stalls, galleries, and
    boxes--a perfect theater. From the platform it was interesting to
    watch the immense throng, packing the place from floor to ceiling, in
    front, on the sides, behind, everywhere.



     _In the train from Cleveland to Albany, February 27._

Am getting tired and ill. I am not bed-ridden, but am fairly well rid of
a bed. I have lately spent as many nights in railway cars as in hotel

Am on my way to Albany, just outside "the neighborhood of Chicago." I
lecture in that place to-night, and shall get to New York to-morrow.

I am suffering from the monotony of life. My greatest objection to
America (indeed I do not believe I have any other) is the sameness of
everything. I understand the Americans who run away to Europe every year
to see an old church, a wall covered with moss and ivy, some good
old-fashioned peasantry not dressed like the rest of the world.

What strikes a European most, in his rambles through America, is the
absence of the picturesque. The country is monotonous, and eternally the
same. Burned-up fields, stumps of trees, forests, wooden houses all
built on the same pattern. All the stations you pass are alike. All the
towns are alike. To say that an American town is ten times larger than
another simply means that it has ten times more blocks of houses. All
the streets are alike, with the same telegraph poles, the same "Indian"
as a sign for tobacconists, the same red, white, and blue pole as a sign
for barbers. All the hotels are the same, all the _menus_ are the same,
all the plates and dishes the same--why, all the ink-stands are the
same. All the people are dressed in the same way. When you meet an
American with all his beard, you want to shake his hands and thank him
for not shaving it, as ninety-nine out of every hundred Americans do. Of
course I have not seen California, the Rocky Mountains, and many other
parts of America where the scenery is very beautiful; but I think my
remarks can apply to those States most likely to be visited by a
lecturer, that is, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin,
Minnesota, and others, during the winter months, after the Indian
summer, and before the renewal of verdure in May.

[Illustration: "THE SAME 'INDIAN.'"]

       *       *       *       *       *

After breakfast, that indefatigable man of business, that intolerable
bore, who incessantly bangs the doors and brings his stock-in-trade to
the cars, came and whispered in my ears:

"New book--just out--a forbidden book!"

"A forbidden book! What is that?" I inquired.

He showed it to me. It was "Manon Lescaut."


Is it possible? That literary and artistic _chef-d'oeuvre_, which has
been the original type of "Paul et Virginie" and "Atala"; that touching
drama, which the prince of critics, Jules Janin, declared would be
sufficient to save contemporary literature from complete oblivion,
dragged in the mire, clothed in a dirty coarse English garb! and
advertised as a forbidden book! Three generations of French people have
wept over the pathetic story. Here it is now, stripped of its unique
style and literary beauty, sold to the American public as an improper
book--a libel by translation on a genius. British authors have
complained for years that their books were stolen in America. They have
suffered in pockets, it is true, but their reputation has spread through
an immense continent. What is their complaint compared to that of the
French authors who have the misfortune to see their works translated
into American? It is not only their pockets that suffer, but their
reputation. The poor French author is at the mercy of incapable and
malicious translators hired at starvation wages by the American pirate
publisher. He is liable to a species of defamation ten times worse than

And as I looked at that copy of "Manon Lescaut," I almost felt grateful
that Prevost was dead.




     _New York, February 23._

The American press has always been very good to me. Fairness one has a
right to expect, but kindness is an extra that is not always thrown in,
and therefore the uniform amiability of the American press toward me
could not fail to strike me most agreeably.

Up to yesterday I had not seen a single unkind notice or article, but in
the Albany _Express_ of yesterday morning I read:

  This evening the people of Albany are asked to listen to a lecture by
  Max O'Rell, who was in this country two years ago, and was treated
  with distinguished courtesy. When he went home he published a book
  filled with deliberate misstatements and willful exaggerations of the
  traits of the American people.

This paper "has reason," as the French say. My book contained one
misstatement, at all events, and that was that "all Americans have a
great sense of humor." You may say that the French are a witty people,
but that does not mean that France contains no fools. It is rather
painful to have to explain such things, but I do so for the benefit of
that editor and with apologies to the general reader.

In spite of this diverting little "par," I had an immense audience last
night in Harmanus Bleecker Hall, a new and magnificent construction in
Albany, excellent, no doubt, for music, but hardly adapted for lecturing
in, on account of its long and narrow shape.

[Illustration: RIP VAN WINKLE.]

I should have liked to stay longer in Albany, which struck me as being a
remarkably beautiful place, but having to lecture in New York this
afternoon, I took the vestibule train early this morning for New York.
This journey is exceedingly picturesque along the Hudson River,
traveling as you do between two ranges of wooded hills, dotted over with
beautiful habitations, and now and then passing a little town bathing
its feet in the water. In the distance one gets good views of the
Catskill Mountains, immortalized by Washington Irving in "Rip Van

On boarding the train, the first thing I did was to read the news of
yesterday. Imagine my amusement, on opening the Albany _Express_ to read
the following extract from the report of my lecture:

  He has an agreeable but not a strong voice. This was the only point
  that could be criticised in his lecture, which consisted of many
  clever sketches of the humorous side of the character of different
  Anglo-Saxon nations. His humor is keen. He evidently is a great
  admirer of America and Americans, only bringing into ridicule some of
  their most conspicuously objectionable traits.... His lecture was
  entertaining, clever, witty and thoroughly enjoyable.

The most amusing part of all this is that the American sketches which I
introduced into my lecture last night, and which seemed to have struck
the Albany _Express_ so agreeably, were all extracts from the book
"filled with deliberate misstatements and willful exaggerations of the
traits of the American people." Well, after all, there is humor,
unconscious humor, in the Albany _Express_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Arrived at the Grand Central Station in New York at noon, I gave up my
check to a transfer man, but learned to my chagrin that the vestibule
train from Albany had carried no baggage, and that my things would only
arrive by the next train at about three o'clock. Pleasant news for a
man who was due to address an audience at three!

[Illustration: "A LITTLE BIT STIFF."]

There was only one way out of the difficulty. Off I went post-haste to a
ready-made tailor's, who sold me a complete fit-out from head to foot. I
did not examine the cut and fit of each garment very minutely, but went
off satisfied that I was presenting a neat and respectable appearance.
Before going on the stage, however, I discovered that the sleeves of the
new coat, though perfectly smooth and well-behaved so long as the arms
inside them were bent at the elbow, developed a remarkable cross-twist
as soon as I let my arms hang straight down.

By means of holding it firm with the middle finger, I managed to keep
the recalcitrant sleeve in position, and the affair passed off very
well. Only my friends remarked, after the lecture, that they thought I
looked a little bit stiff, especially when making my bow to the

       *       *       *       *       *

My lecture at Daly's Theater this afternoon was given under the auspices
of the Bethlehem Day Nursery, and I am thankful to think that this most
interesting association is a little richer to-day than it was yesterday.
For an afternoon audience it was remarkably warm and responsive.

I have many times lectured to afternoon audiences, but have not, as a
rule, enjoyed it. Afternoon "shows" are a mistake. Do not ask me why;
but think of those you have ever been to, and see if you have a lively
recollection of them. There is a time for everything. Fancy playing the
guitar under your lady love's window by daylight, for instance!

Afternoon audiences are kid-gloved ones. There is but a sprinkling of
men, and so the applause, when it comes, is a feeble affair, more
chilling almost than silence. In some fashionable towns it is bad form
to applaud at all in the afternoon. I have a vivid recollection of the
effect produced one afternoon in Cheltenham by the vigorous applause of
a sympathizing friend of mine, sitting in the reserved seats. How all
the other reserved seats craned their necks in credulous astonishment to
get a view of this innovator, this outer barbarian! He was new to the
wondrous ways of the _Chillitonians_. In the same audience was a lady,
Irish and very charming, as I found out on later acquaintance, who
showed her appreciation from time to time by clapping the tips of her
fingers together noiselessly, while her glance said: "I should very much
like to applaud, but you know I can't do it; we are in Cheltenham, and
such a thing is bad form, especially in the afternoon."

[Illustration: THE GOUTY MAN.]

Afternoon audiences in the southern health resorts of England are
probably the least inspiriting and inspiring of all. There are the sick,
the lame, the halt. Some of them are very interesting people, but a
large proportion appear to be suffering more from the boredom of life
than any other complaint, and look as if it would do them good to
follow out the well-known advice, "Live on sixpence a day, and earn it."
It is hard work entertaining people who have done everything, seen
everything, tasted everything, been everywhere--people whose sole aim is
to kill time. A fair sprinkling are gouty. They spend most of their
waking hours in a bath-chair. As a listener, the gouty man is sometimes
decidedly funny. He gives signs of life from time to time by a vigorous
slap on his thigh and a vicious looking kick. Before I began to know
him, I used to wonder whether it was my discourse producing some effect
upon him.

I am not afraid of meeting these people in America. Few people are bored
here, all are happy to live, and all work and are busy. American men die
of brain fever, but seldom of the gout. If an American saw that he must
spend his life wheeled in a bath-chair, he would reflect that rivers are
numerous in America, and he would go and take a plunge into one of them.




     _New York, March 1._

The more I see New York, the more I like it.

After lunch I had a drive through Central Park and Riverside Park, along
the Hudson, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I returned to the Everett House
through Fifth Avenue. I have never seen Central Park in summer, but I
can realize how beautiful it must be when the trees are clothed. To have
such a park in the heart of the city is perfectly marvelous. It is true
that, with the exception of the superb Catholic Cathedral, Fifth Avenue
has no monument worth mentioning, but the succession of stately mansions
is a pleasant picture to the eye. What a pity this cathedral cannot
stand in a square in front of some long thoroughfare, it would have a
splendid effect. I know this was out of the question. Built as New York
is, the cathedral could only take the place of a block. It simply
represents so many numbers between Fiftieth and Fifty-first streets on
Fifth Avenue.

In the Park I saw statues of Shakespeare, Walter Scott, and Robert
Burns. I should have liked to see those of Longfellow, Nathaniel
Hawthorne, and many other celebrities of the land. Washington, Franklin,
and Lincoln are practically the only Americans whose statues you see all
over the country. They play here the part that Wellington and Nelson
play in England. After all, the "bosses" and the local politicians who
run the towns probably never heard of Longfellow, Bryant, Poe, etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

At four o'clock, Mr. Thomas Nast, the celebrated caricaturist, called. I
was delighted to make his acquaintance, and found him a most charming

I dined with General Horace Porter and a few other friends at the Union
League Club. The witty general was in his best vein.

At eight o'clock I lectured at the Harmonie Club, and had a large and
most appreciative audience, composed of the pick of the Israelite
community in New York.

After the lecture I attended one of the "Saturdays" at the Century Club,
and met Mr. Kendal, who, with his talented wife, is having a triumphant
progress through the United States.

There is no gathering in the world where you can see so many beautiful,
intelligent faces as at the Century Club. There you see gathered
together the cleverest men of a nation whose chief characteristic is



     _New York, March 2._

Went to hear Dr. T. de Witt Talmage this morning at the Academy of
Music, Brooklyn.

What an actor America has lost by Dr. Talmage choosing the pulpit in
preference to the stage!

The Academy of Music was crowded. Standing-room only. For an
old-fashioned European, to see a theater, with its boxes, stalls,
galleries, open for divine service was a strange sight; but we had not
gone very far into the service before it became plain to me that there
was nothing divine about it. The crowd had come there, not to worship
God, but to hear Mr. Talmage.

At the door the programme was distributed. It consisted of six hymns to
be interluded with prayers by the doctor. Between the fifth and sixth,
he delivered the lecture, or the sermon, if you insist on the name, and
during the sixth there was the collection, that hinge on which the whole
service turns in Protestant places of worship.

I took a seat and awaited with the rest the entrance of Dr. Talmage.
There was subdued conversation going on all around, just as there would
be at a theater or concert: in fact, throughout the whole of the
proceedings, there was no sign of a silent lifting up of the spirit in
worship. Not a person in that strange congregation, went on his or her
knees to pray. Most of them put one hand in front of the face, and this
was as near as they got that morning to an attitude of devotion. Except
for this, and the fact that they did not applaud, there was absolutely
no difference between them and any other theater audience I ever saw.

[Illustration: THE LEADER OF THE CHOIR.]

The monotonous hymns were accompanied by a _cornet-à-piston_, which lent
a certain amount of life to them, but very little religious harmony.
That cornet was the key-note of the whole performance. The hymns,
composed, I believe, for Dr. Talmage's flock, are not of high literary
value. "General" Booth would probably hesitate to include such in the
_répertoire_ of the Salvation Army. Judge of them for yourself. Here
are three illustrations culled from the programme:

      Sing, O sing, ye heirs of glory!
      Shout your triumphs as you go:
      Zion's gates will open for you,
      You shall find an entrance through.

    'Tis the promise of God, full salvation to give
    Unto him who on Jesus, his Son, will believe.

  Though the pathway be lonely, and dangerous too, (_sic_)
  Surely Jesus is able to carry me thro'.

This is poetry such as you find inside Christmas crackers.

Another hymn began:

  One more day's work for Jesus,
  One less of life for me!

I could not help thinking that there would be good employment for a
prophet of God, with a stout whip, in the congregations of the so-called
faithful of to-day. I have heard them by hundreds shouting at the top of
their voices:

  O Paradise, O Paradise!
    'Tis weary waiting here;
  I long to be where Jesus is,
    To feel, to see him near.
  O Paradise, O Paradise!
    I greatly long to see
  The special place my dearest Lord,
    In love, prepares for me!

Knowing something of those people outside the church doors, I have often
thought what an edifying sight it would be if the Lord deigned to listen
and take a few of them at their word. If the fearless Christ were here
on earth again, what crowds of cheats and humbugs he would drive out of
the Temple! And foremost, I fancy, would go the people who, instead of
thanking their Maker who allows the blessed sun to shine, the birds to
sing, and the flowers to grow for them here, howl and whine lies about
longing for the joy of moving on to the better world, to the "special
place" that is prepared for them. If there be a better world, it will be
too good for hypocrites.

After hymn the fifth, Dr. Talmage takes the floor. The audience settled
in their seats in evident anticipation of a good time, and it was soon
clear to me that the discourse was not to be dull at any rate. But I
waited in vain for a great thought, a lofty idea, or refined language.
There came none. Nothing but commonplaces given out with tricks of voice
and the gestures of a consummate actor. The modulations of the voice
have been studied with care, no single platform trick was missing.

The doctor comes on the stage, which is about forty feet wide. He begins
slowly. The flow of language is great, and he is never at a loss for a
word. Motionless, in his lowest tones, he puts a question to us. Nobody
replies, of course. Thereupon he paces wildly up and down the whole
length of the stage. Then, bringing up in full view of his auditors, he
stares at them, crosses his arms, gives a double and tremendous stamp on
the boards, and in a terrific voice he repeats the question, and answers
it. The desired effect is produced: he never misses fire.

Being an old stager of several years' standing myself, I admire him
professionally. Nobody is edified, nobody is regenerated, nobody is
improved, but all are entertained. It is not a divine service, but it is
a clever performance, and the Americans never fail to patronize a clever
performance. All styles go down with them. They will give a hearing to
everybody but the bore, especially on Sundays, when other forms of
entertainment are out of the running.

[Illustration: THE DESIRED EFFECT.]

It is not only the Brooklyn public that are treated to the discourses of
Dr. Talmage, but the whole of America. He syndicates his sermons, and
they are published in Monday's newspapers in all quarters of America. I
have also seen them reproduced in the Australian papers.

The delivery of these orations by Dr. Talmage is so superior to the
matter they are made of, that to read them is slow indeed compared to
hearing them.

At the back of the programme was a flaring advertisement of Dr.
Talmage's paper, called:


  A live, undenominational, illustrated Christian paper, with a weekly
  circulation of fifty thousand copies, and rapidly increasing. Every
  State of the Union, every Province of Canada, and every country in the
  world is represented on its enormous subscription list. Address your
  subscription to Mr. N., treasurer, etc.

"Signs of our times," indeed!




     _Petersburg, Va., March 3._

Left New York last night and arrived here at noon. No change in the
scenery. The same burnt-up fields, the same placards all over the land.
The roofs of houses, the trees in the forests, the fences in the fields,
all announce to the world the magic properties of castor oil, aperients,
and liver pills.

[Illustration: MY SUPPER.]

A little village inn in the bottom of old Brittany is a palace of
comfort compared to the best hotel of a Virginia town. I feel wretched.
My bedroom is so dirty that I shall not dare to undress to-night. I have
just had lunch: a piece of tough dried-up beef, custard pie, and a glass
of filthy water, the whole served by an old negro on an old, ragged,
dirty table-cloth.

Petersburg, which awakes so many souvenirs of the War of Secession, is a
pretty town scattered with beautiful villas. It strikes one as a
provincial town. To me, coming from the busy North, it looks asleep. The
South has not yet recovered from its disasters of thirty years ago. That
is what struck me most, when, two years ago, I went through Virginia,
Carolina, and Georgia.

Now and then American eccentricity reveals itself. I have just seen a
church built on the model of a Greek temple, and surmounted with a
pointed spire lately added. Just imagine to yourself Julius Cæsar with
his toga and buskin on, and having a chimney-top hat on his head.

The streets seemed deserted, dead.

To my surprise, the Opera House was crowded to-night. The audience was
fashionable and appreciative, but very cool, almost as cool as in
Connecticut and Maine.

Heaven be praised! a gentleman invited me to have supper at a club after
the lecture.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _March 4._

I am sore all over. I spent the night on the bed, outside, in my day
clothes, and am bruised all over. I have pains in my gums too. Oh, that
piece of beef yesterday! I am off to Philadelphia. My bill at the hotel
amounts to $1.50. Never did I pay so much through the nose for what I
had through the mouth.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Philadelphia, March 4._

Before I return to Europe I will kill a railway conductor.


From Petersburg to Richmond I was the only occupant of the parlor car.
It was bitterly cold. The conductor of the train came in the smoke-room,
and took a seat. I suppose it was his right, although I doubt it, for he
was not the conductor attached to the parlor car. He opened the window.
The cold, icy air fell on my legs, or (to use a more proper expression,
as I am writing in Philadelphia) on my lower limbs. I said nothing, but
rose and closed the window. The fellow frowned, rose, and opened the
window again.

"Excuse me," I said; "I thought that perhaps you had come here to look
after my comfort. If you have not I will look after it myself." And I
rose and closed the window.

"I want the window open," said the conductor, and he prepared to re-open
it, giving me a mute, impudent scowl.

I was fairly roused. Nature has gifted me with a biceps and a grip of
remarkable power. I seized the man by the collar of his coat.

"As true as I am alive," I exclaimed, "if you open this window, I will
pitch you out of it." And I prepared for war. The cur sneaked away and
made an exit compared to which a whipped hound's would be majestic.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am at the Bellevue, a delightful hotel. My friend Wilson Barrett is
here, and I have come to spend the day with him. He is playing every
night to crowded houses, and after each performance he has to make a
speech. This is his third visit to Philadelphia. During the first visit,
he tells me that the audience wanted a speech after each act.

It is always interesting to compare notes with a friend who has been
over the same ground as yourself. So I was eager to hear Mr. Wilson
Barrett's impressions of his long tour in the States.

Several points we both agreed perfectly upon at once; the charming
geniality and good-fellowship of the best Americans, the brilliancy and
naturalness of the ladies, the wonderful intelligence and activity of
the people, and the wearing monotony of life on the road.


After the scene in the train, I was interested, too, to find that the
train conductors--those mute, magnificent monarchs of the railroad--had
awakened in Mr. Barrett much the same feeling as in myself. We Europeans
are used to a form of obedience or, at least, deference from our paid
servants, and the arrogant attitude of the American wage-earner first
amazes, and then enrages us--when we have not enough humor, or
good-humor, to get some amusement out it. It is so novel to be
tyrannized over by people whom you pay to attend to your comfort! The
American keeps his temper under the process, for he is the best-humored
fellow in the world. Besides, a small squabble is no more in his line
than a small anything else. It is not worth his while. The Westerner may
pull out a pistol and shoot you if you annoy him, but neither he nor the
Eastern man will wrangle for mastery.

[Illustration: A BOSS.]

If such was not the case, do you believe for a moment that the Americans
would submit to the rule of the "Rings," the "Leaders," and the

       *       *       *       *       *

I like Philadelphia, with its magnificent park, its beautiful houses
that look like homes. It is not brand new, like the rest of America.

My friend, Mr. J. M. Stoddart, editor of _Lippincott's Magazine_, has
kindly chaperoned me all the day.

I visited in detail the State House, Independence Square. These words
evoke sentiments of patriotism in the hearts of the Americans. Here was
the bell that "proclaimed liberty throughout the Colonies" so loudly
that it split. It was on the 8th of July, 1776, that the bell was rung,
as the public reading of the Declaration of Independence took place in
the State House on that day, and there were great rejoicings. John
Adams, writing to Samuel Chase on the 9th of July, said: "The bell rang
all day, and almost all night."

[Illustration: THE OLD LIBERTY BELL.]

It is recorded by one writer that, on the 4th of July, when the motion
to adopt the declaration passed the majority of the Assembly, although
not signed by all the delegates, the old bell-ringer awaited anxiously,
with trembling hope, the signing. He kept saying: "They'll never do it,
they'll never do it!" but his eyes expanded, and his grasp grew firm
when the voice of a blue-eyed youth reached his ears in shouts of
triumph as he flew up the stairs of the tower, shouting: "Ring, grandpa,
ring; they've signed!"

What a day this old "Liberty Bell" reminds you of!

There, in the Independence Hall, the delegates were gathered. Benjamin
Harrison, the ancestor of the present occupier of the White House,
seized John Hancock, upon whose head a price was set, in his arms, and
placing him in the presidential chair, said: "We will show Mother
Britain how little we care for her, by making our president a
Massachusetts man, whom she has excluded from pardon by public
proclamation," and, says Mr. Chauncey M. Depew in one of his beautiful
orations, when they were signing the Declaration, and the slender
Elbridge Gerry uttered the grim pleasantry, "We must hang together, or
surely we will hang separately," the portly Harrison responded with more
daring humor, "It will be all over with me in a moment, but you will be
kicking in the air half an hour after I am gone."

[Illustration: THE INKSTAND.]

The National Museum is the auxiliary chamber to Independence Hall, and
there you find many most interesting relics of Colonial and
Revolutionary days: the silver inkstand used in signing the famous
Declaration; Hancock's chair; the little table upon which the document
was signed, and hundreds of souvenirs piously preserved by generations
of grateful Americans.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is said that Philadelphia has produced only two successful men, Mr.
Wanamaker, the great dry-goods-store man, now a member of President
Benjamin Harrison's Cabinet, and Mr. George W. Childs, proprietor of the
Philadelphia _Public Ledger_, one of the most important and successful
newspapers in the United States.

I went to Mr. Wanamaker's dry-goods-store, an establishment strongly
reminding you of the Paris _Bon Marché_, or Mr. Whiteley's warehouses in

By far the most interesting visit was that which I paid to Mr. George W.
Childs in his study at the _Public Ledger's_ offices. It would require a
whole volume to describe in detail all the treasures that Mr. Childs has
accumulated: curios of all kinds, rare books, manuscripts and
autographs, portraits, china, relics from the celebrities of the world,
etc. Mr. Childs, like the Prussians during their unwelcome visit to
France in 1870, has a strong _penchant_ for clocks. Indeed his
collection is the most remarkable in existence. His study is a beautiful
_sanctum sanctorum_; it is also a museum that not only the richest lover
of art would be proud to possess, but that any nation would be too glad
to acquire, if it could be acquired; but Mr. Childs is a very wealthy
man, and he means to keep it, and, I understand, to hand it over to his
successor in the ownership of the _Public Ledger_.

Mr. George W. Childs is a man of about fifty years of age, short and
plump, with a most kind and amiable face. His munificence and
philanthropy are well known and, as I understand his character, I
believe he would not think much of my gratitude to him for the kindness
he showed me if I dwelt on them in these pages.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thanks to my kind friends, every minute has been occupied visiting some
interesting place, or meeting some interesting people. I shall lecture
here next month, and shall look forward to the pleasure of being in
Philadelphia again.

[Illustration: WHEN IRELAND IS FREE.]

At the Union League Club I met Mr. Rufus E. Shapley, who kindly gave me
a copy of his clever and witty political satire, "Solid for Mulhooly,"
illustrated by Mr. Thomas Nast. I should advise any one who would
understand how Jonathan is ruled municipally, to peruse this little
book. It gives the history of Pat's rise from the Irish cabin in
Connaught to the City Hall of the large American cities.

"When one man," says Mr. Shapley, "owns and dominates four wards or
counties, he becomes a leader. Half a dozen such leaders combined
constitute what is called a Ring. When one leader is powerful enough to
bring three or four such leaders under his yoke, he becomes a Boss; and
a Boss wields a power almost as absolute, while it lasts, as that of the
Czar of Russia or the King of Zululand."

Extracts from this book would not do it justice. It should be read in
its entirety. I read it with all the more pleasure that, in "Jonathan
and His Continent," I ventured to say: "The English are always wondering
why Americans all seem to be in favor of Home Rule, and ready to back up
the cause with their dollars. Why? I will tell you. Because they are in
hopes that, when the Irish recover the possession of Ireland, they will
all go home."

A foreigner who criticises a nation is happy to see his opinions shared
by the natives.




     _New York, March 5._

Have had cold audiences in Maine and Connecticut; and indifferent ones
in several cities, while I have been warmly received in many others. It
seems that, if I went to Texas, I might get it hot.

I have received to-day a Texas paper containing a short editorial marked
at the four corners in blue pencil. Impossible not to see it. The
editorial abuses me from the first line to the last. When there appears
in a paper an article, or even only a short paragraph, abusing you, you
never run the risk of not seeing it. There always is, somewhere, a kind
friend who will post it to you. He thinks you may be getting a little
conceited, and he forwards the article to you, that you may use it as
wholesome physic. It does him good, and does you no harm.

The article in question begins by charging me with having turned America
and the Americans into ridicule, goes on wondering that the Americans
can receive me so well everywhere, and, after pitching into me right and
left, winds up by warning me that, if I should go to Texas, I might for
a change meet with a hot reception.

A shot, perhaps.

A shot in Texas! No, no, no.

I won't go to Texas. I should strongly object to being shot anywhere,
but especially in Texas, where the event would attract so little public

[Illustration: "A SHOT IN TEXAS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Yet, I should have liked to go to Texas, for was it not from that State
that, after the publication of "Jonathan and His Continent," I received
the two following letters, which I have kept among my treasures?


  I have read your book on America and greatly enjoyed it. Please to
  send me your autograph. I enclose a ten-cent piece. The postage will
  cost you five cents. Don't trouble about the change.


  I have an album containing the photographs of many well-known people
  from Europe as well as from America. I should much like to add yours
  to the number. If you will send it to me, I will send you mine and
  that of my wife in return.

       *       *       *       *       *

And I also imagine that there must be in Texas a delightful
primitiveness of manners and good-fellowship.

A friend once related to me the following reminiscence:

  I arrived one evening in a little Texas town, and asked for a bedroom
  at the hotel.

  There was no bedroom to be had, but only a bed in a double-bedded

  "Will that suit you?" said the clerk.

  "Well, I don't know," I said hesitatingly. "Who is the other?"

  "Oh, that's all right," said the clerk, "you may set your mind at rest
  on that subject."

  "Very well," I replied, "I will take that bed."

  At about ten o'clock, as I was preparing to go to bed, my bedroom
  companion entered. It was a frontier man in full uniform: Buffalo Bill
  hat, leather leggings, a belt accommodating a couple of revolvers--no
  baggage of any kind.

  I did not like it.

  "Hallo, stranger," said the man, "how are you?"

  "I'm pretty well," I replied, without meaning a word of it.

  The frontier man undressed, that is to say, took off his boots, placed
  the two revolvers under his pillows and lay down.

  I liked it less and less.

  By and by, we both went to sleep. In the morning we woke up at the
  same time. He rose, dressed--that is to say, put on his boots, and
  wished me good-morning.

[Illustration: MY ROOM-MATE.]

  The hall porter came with letters for my companion, but none for me. I
  thought I should like to let that man know I had no money with me. So
  I said to him:

  "I am very much disappointed. I expected some money from New York, and
  it has not come."

  "I hope it will come," he replied.

  I did not like that hope.

  In the evening, we met again. He undressed--you know, went to sleep,
  rose early in the morning, dressed--you know.

  The porter came again with letters for him and none for me.

  "Well, your money has not come," he said.

  "I see it has not. I'm afraid I'm going to be in a fix what to do."

  "I'm going away this morning."

  "Are you?" I said. "I'm sorry to part with you."

  The frontier man took a little piece of paper and wrote something on

  "Take this, my friend," he said; "it may be useful to you."

  It was a check for a hundred dollars.

  I could have gone down on my knees, as I refused the check and asked
  that man's pardon.

       *       *       *       *       *

I lectured in Brooklyn to-night, and am off to the West to-morrow




     _Cincinnati, March 7._

My arrival in Cincinnati this morning was anything but triumphal.

On leaving the car, I gave my check to a cab-driver, who soon came to
inform me that my valise was broken. It was a leather one, and on being
thrown from the baggage-van on the platform, it burst open, and all my
things were scattered about. In England or in France, half a dozen
porters would have immediately come to the rescue, but here the porter
is practically unknown. Three or four men belonging to the company
gathered round, but, neither out of complaisance nor in the hope of
gain, did any of them offer his services. They looked on, laughed, and
enjoyed the scene. I daresay the betting was brisk as to whether I
should succeed in putting my things together or not. Thanks to a leather
strap I had in my bag, I managed to bind the portmanteau and have it
placed on the cab that drove to the Burnet House.

Immediately after registering my name, I went to buy an American trunk,
that is to say, an iron-bound trunk, to place my things in safety. I
have been told that trunk makers give a commission to the railway and
transfer baggagemen who, having broken trunks, recommend their owners to
go to such and such a place to buy new ones. This goes a long way toward
explaining the way in which baggage is treated in America.

[Illustration: MY BROKEN VALISE.]

On arriving in the dining-room, I was surprised to see the glasses of
all the guests filled with lemonade. "Why," thought I, "here is actually
an hotel which is not like all the other hotels." The lemonade turned
out to be water from the Ohio River. I could not help feeling grateful
for a change; any change, even that of the color of water. Anybody who
has traveled a great deal in America will appreciate the remark.

Cincinnati is built at the bottom of a funnel from which rise hundreds
of chimneys vomiting fire and smoke. From the neighboring heights, the
city looks like a huge furnace, and so it is, a furnace of industry and
activity. It reminded me of Glasgow.

If the city itself is anything but attractive, the residential parts are
perfectly lovely. I have seen nothing in America that surpasses Burnet
Wood, situated on the bordering heights of the town, scattered with
beautiful villas, and itself a mixture of a wilderness and a lovely
park. A kind friend drove me for three hours through the entire
neighborhood, giving me, in American fashion, the history of the owner
of each residence we passed. Here was the house of Mr. A., or rather Mr.
A. B. C, every American having three names. He came to the city twenty
years ago without a dollar. Five years later he had five millions. He
speculated and lost all, went to Chicago and made millions, which he
afterward lost. Now again he has several millions, and so on. This is
common enough in America. By and by, we passed the most beautiful of all
the villas of Burnet Wood--the house of the Oil King, Mr. Alexander
Macdonald, one of those wonderfully successful men, such as Scotland
alone can boast all the world over. America has been a great field for
the display of Scotch intelligence and industry.

After visiting the pretty museum at Eden Park, a museum organized in
1880 in consequence of Mr. Charles W. West's offer to give $150,000 for
that purpose, and already in possession of very good works of art and
many valuable treasures, we returned to the city and stopped at the
Public Library. Over 200,000 volumes, representing all the branches of
science and literature, are there, as well as a collection of all the
newspapers of the world, placed in chronological order on the shelves
and neatly bound. I believe that this collection of newspapers and that
of Washington are the two best known. In the public reading-room,
hundreds of people are running over the newspapers from Europe and all
the principal cities of the United States. My best thanks are due to Mr.
Whelpley, the librarian, for his kindness in conducting me all over this
interesting place. Upstairs I was shown the room where the members of
the Council of Education hold their sittings. The room was all
topsy-turvey. Twenty-six desks and twenty-six chairs was about all the
furniture of the room. In a corner, piled up together, were the
cuspidores. I counted. Twenty-six. Right.

After thanking my kind pilot, I returned to the Burnet House to read the
evening papers. I read that the next day I was to breakfast with Mr. A.,
lunch with Mr. B., and dine with Mr. C. The _menu_ was not published. I
take it for granted that this piece of intelligence is quite interesting
to the readers of Cincinnati.

My evening being free, I looked at the column of amusements. The first
did not tempt me, it was this:


   _The Only and the Original._

           ENGLISH JACK.

  He makes a frog pond of his stomach by eating living frogs. An
  appetite created by life in the swamps. He is so fond of this sort of
  food that he takes the pretty creatures by the hind legs, and before
  they can say their prayers they are inside out of the cold.

[Illustration: "THE KING OF THE SWAMPS."]

The next advertisement was that of a variety show, that most stupid form
of entertainment so popular in America; the next was the announcement of
pugilists, and another one that of a "most sensational drama, in which
'one of the most emotional actresses' in America" was to appear,
supported by "one of the most powerful casts ever gathered together in
the world."

The superlatives, in American advertisements, have long ceased to have
the slightest effect upon me.

The advertisement of another "show" ran thus: I beg to reproduce it in
its entirety; indeed it would be a sacrilege to meddle with it.


  _My Friends and Former Patrons_: I have now been before the public for
  the past seventeen years, and am perhaps too well known to require
  further evidence of my character and integrity than my past life and
  record will show. Fifteen years ago I inaugurated the system of
  dispensing presents to the public, believing that a fair share of my
  profits could thus honestly be returned to my patrons. At the outset,
  and ever since, it has been my aim to deal honestly toward the
  multitude who have given me patronage. Since that time many imitators
  have undertaken to beguile the public, with but varying success. Many
  unprincipled rascals have also appeared upon the scene, men without
  talent, but far-reaching talons, who by specious promises have sought
  to swindle all whom they could inveigle. This class of scoundrels do
  not hesitate to make promises that they cannot and never intend to
  fulfill, and should be frowned down by all honest men. They deceive
  the public, leave a bad impression, and thus injure legitimate
  exhibitions. Every promise I make will be faithfully fulfilled, as
  experience has clearly proven that dealing uprightly with the public
  brings its sure reward. All who visit my beautiful entertainment may
  rely upon the same fair dealing which has been my life-long policy,
  and which has always honored me with crowded houses.


     _Special Notice._

  Ladies and Children are especially Invited to Attend this
  Entertainment. We Guarantee it to be Chaste, Pure, and as Wholesome
  and Innocent as it is Amusing and Laughable.

Finally I decided on going to see a German tragedy. I did not understand
it, but the acting seemed to me good.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A GERMAN TRAGEDY.]

Like Milwaukee, Cincinnati possesses a very strong German element.
Indeed a whole part of the city is entirely inhabited by a German
population, and situated on one side of the water. When you cross the
bridge in its direction, you are going "over the Rhine," to use the
local expression. "To go over the Rhine" of an evening means to go to
one of the many German _Brauerei_, and have sausages and Bavarian beer
for supper.

The town is a very prosperous one. The Germans in America are liked for
their steadiness and industry. An American friend even told me that the
Germans were perhaps the best patriots the United States could boast of.

Patriots! The word sounded strangely to my ears. I may be prejudiced,
but I call a good patriot a man who loves his own mother country. You
may like the land of your adoption, but you love the land of your birth.
Good patriots! I call a good brother a man who loves his sister, not
other people's sisters.

The Germans apply for their naturalization papers the day after they
have landed. I should admire their patriotism much more if they waited a
little longer before they changed their own mother for a step-mother.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _March 8._

I witnessed a most impressive ceremony this morning, the funeral of the
American Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Berlin, whose body was
brought from Germany to his native place a few days ago. No soldiers
ordered to accompany the _cortège,_ no uniforms, but thousands of people
voluntarily doing honor to the remains of a talented and respected
fellow-citizen and townsman: a truly republican ceremony in its
simplicity and earnestness.

The coffin was taken to the Music Hall, a new and beautiful building
capable of accommodating thousands of people, and placed on the platform
amid evergreens and the Stars and Stripes. In a few minutes, the hall,
decorated with taste but with appropriate simplicity, was packed from
floor to ceiling. Some notables and friends of the late Minister sat on
the platform around the coffin, and the mayor, in the name of the
inhabitants of the city, delivered a speech, a eulogistic funeral
oration, on the deceased diplomatist. All parties were represented in
the hall, Republicans and Democrats alike had come. America admits no
party feeling, no recollection of political differences, to intrude upon
the homage she gratefully renders to the memory of her illustrious dead.

The mayor's speech, listened to by the crowd in respectful silence, was
much like all the speeches delivered on such occasions, including the
indispensable sentence that "he knew he could safely affirm that the
deceased had never made any enemies." When I hear a man spoken of, after
his death, as never having made any enemies, as a Christian I admire
him, but I also come to the conclusion that he must have been a very
insignificant member of the community. But the phrase, I should
remember, is a mere piece of flattery to the dead, in a country where
death puts a stop to all enmity, political enmity especially. The same
would be done in England, and almost everywhere. Not in France, however,
where the dead continue to have implacable enemies for many years after
they have left the lists.

       *       *       *       *       *

The afternoon was pleasantly spent visiting the town hall and the
remarkable china manufactories, which turn out very pretty, quaint, and
artistic pottery. The evening brought to the Odéon a fashionable and
most cultivated audience. I am invited to pay a return visit to this
city. I shall look forward to the pleasure of lecturing here again in

       *       *       *       *       *

     _March 9._

Spent a most agreeable Sunday in the hospitable house of M. Fredin, the
French consular agent, and his amiable and talented wife. M. Fredin was
kind enough to call yesterday at the Burnet House.

As a rule, I never call on the representatives of France in my travels
abroad. If I traveled as a tourist, I would; but traveling as a
lecturer, I should be afraid lest the object of my visits might be
misconstrued, and taken as a gentle hint to patronize me.

One day I had a good laugh with a French consul, in an English town
where I came to lecture. On arriving at the hall I found a letter from
this diplomatic compatriot, in which he expressed his surprise that I
had not apprised him of my arrival. The next morning, before leaving the
town, I called on him. He welcomed me most gracefully.

"Why did you not let me, your consul, know that you were coming?" he
said to me.

"Well, Monsieur le Consul," I replied, "suppose I wrote to you:
'Monsieur le Consul, I shall arrive at N. on Friday,' and suppose, now,
just suppose, that you answered me, 'Sir, I am glad to hear you will
arrive here on Friday, but what on earth is that to me?'"

He saw the point at once. A Frenchman always does.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _March 10._

I like this land of conjuring. This morning I took the street car to go
on the Burnet Hills. At the foot of the hill the car--horses, and
all--enters a little house. The house climbs the hill vertically by
means of cables. Arrived at the top of the mountain, the car comes out
of the little house and goes on its way, just as if absolutely nothing
had happened. To return to town, I went down the hill in the same
fashion. But if the cable should break, you will exclaim, where would
you be? Ah, there you are! It does not break. It did once, so now they
see that it does not again.

[Illustration: A VARIETY ACTOR.]

In the evening there was nothing to see except variety shows and
wrestlers. There was a variety show which tempted me, the Hermann's
Vaudevilles. I saw on the list of attractions the name of my friend and
compatriot, F. Trewey, the famous shadowgraphist, and I concluded that
if the other artistes were as good in their lines as he is in his, it
would be well worth seeing. The show was very good of its kind, and
Trewey was admirable; but the audience were not refined, and it was not
his most subtle and artistic tricks that they applauded most, but the
broader and more striking ones. After the show he and I went "over the
Rhine." You know what it means.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _March 11, 9 a. m._

For a long time I had wished to see the wonderful American fire brigades
at work. The wish has now been satisfied.

At half-past one this morning I was roused in my bed by the galloping of
horses and the shouts of people in the street. Huge tongues of fire were
licking my window, and the heat in the room was intense. Indeed, all
around me seemed to be in a blaze, and I took it for granted that the
Burnet House was on fire. I rose and dressed quickly, put together the
few valuables that were in my possession, and prepared to make for the
street. I soon saw, however, that it was a block of houses opposite that
was on fire, or rather the corner house of that block.

The guests of the hotel were in the corridors ready for any emergency.
Had there been any wind in our direction, the hotel was doomed. The
night was calm and wet. As soon as we became aware that no lives were
lost or in danger in the burning building, and that it would only be a
question of insurance money to be paid by some companies, we betook
ourselves to admire the magnificent sight. For it was a magnificent
sight, this whole large building, the prey of flames coming in torrents
out of every window, the dogged perseverance of the firemen streaming
floods of water over the roof and through the windows, the salvage
corps men penetrating through the flames into the building in the hope
of receiving the next day a commission on all the goods and valuables
saved. A fierce battle it was between a brute element and man. By three
o'clock the element was conquered, but only the four walls of the
building remained, which proved to me that, with all their wonderful
promptitude and gallantry, all firemen can do when flames have got firm
hold on a building is to save the adjoining property.

[Illustration: A FIRE YARN.]

I listened to the different groups of people in the hotel. Some gave
advice as to how the firemen should set about their work, or criticised.
Others related the big fires they had witnessed, a few indulging in the
recital of the exploits they performed thereat. There are a good many
Gascons among the Americans. At four o'clock all danger was over, and we
all retired.

[Illustration: AS WE SAW IT.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AS THE REPORTERS SAW IT.]

I was longing to read the descriptions of the fire in this morning's
papers. I have now read them and am not at all disappointed. On the
contrary, they are beyond my most sanguine expectations. Wonderful;
simply perfectly wonderful! I am now trying to persuade myself that I
really saw all that the reporters saw, and that I really ran great
danger last night. For, "at every turn," it appears, "the noble hotel
seemed as if it must become the prey of the fierce element, and could
only be saved by a miracle." Columns and columns of details most
graphically given, sensational, blood-curdling. But all that is nothing.
You should read about the panic, and the scenes of wild confusion in the
Burnet House, when all the good folks, who had all dressed and were
looking quietly at the fire from the windows, are described as a crowd
of people in despair: women disheveled, in their night-dresses, running
wild, and throwing themselves in the arms of men to seek protection, and
all shrieking and panic-stricken. Such a scene of confusion and terror
you can hardly imagine. Wonderful!

[Illustration: THE FIREMAN.]




     _In the train to Brushville, March 11._

Left Cincinnati this morning at ten o'clock and shall not arrive at
Brushville before seven o'clock to-night. I am beginning to learn how to
speak American. As I asked for my ticket this morning at the railroad
office, the clerk said to me:

"C. H. D. or C. C. C. St. L. and St. P.?"

"C. H. D.," I replied, with perfect assurance.

I happened to hit on the right line for Brushville.

By this time I know pretty well all those combinations of the alphabet
by which the different railroad lines of America are designated.

No hope of comfort or of a dinner to-day. I shall have to change trains
three times, but none of them, I am grieved to hear, have parlor cars or
dining cars. There is something democratic about uniform cars for all
alike. I am a democrat myself, yet I have a weakness for the parlor
cars--and the dining cars.

At noon we stopped five minutes at a place which, two years ago, counted
six wooden huts. To-day it has more than 5000 inhabitants, the electric
light in the streets, a public library, two hotels, four churches, two
banks, a public school, a high school, cuspidores, toothpicks, and all
the signs of American civilization.

I changed trains at one o'clock at Castle Green Junction. No hotel in
the place. I inquired where food could be obtained. A little wooden hut,
on the other side of the depot, bearing the inscription "Lunch Room,"
was pointed out to me. _Lunch_ in America has not the meaning that it
has in England, as I often experienced to my despair. The English are
solid people. In England _lunch_ means something. In America, it does
not. However, as there was no _Beware_ written outside, I entered the
place. Several people were eating pies, fruit pies, pies with crust
under, and crust over: sealed mysteries.

[Illustration: "PEACH POY AND APPLE POY."]

"I want something to eat," I said to a man behind the counter, who was
in possession of only one eye, and hailed from Old Oireland.

"What 'd ye loike?" replied he, winking with the eye that was not there.

"Well, what have you got?"

"Peach poy, apricot poy, apple poy, and mince poy."

"Is that all?"

"And, shure, what more do you want?"

I have always suspected something mysterious about mince pies. At home,
I eat mince pies. I also trust my friends' cooks. Outside, I pass. I
think that mince pies and sausages should be made at home.

"I like a little variety," I said to the Irishman, "give me a small
slice of apple pie, one of apricot pie, and another of peach pie."

The Irishman stared at me.

"What's the matter with the mince poy?" he seemed to say.

I could see from his eye that he resented the insult offered to his
mince pies.

I ate my pies and returned on the platform. I was told that the train
was two hours behind time, and I should be too late to catch the last
Brushville train at the next change.

I walked and smoked.

The three pies began to get acquainted with each other.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Brushville, March 12._

Oh, those pies!

At the last change yesterday, I arrived too late. The last Brushville
train was gone.

The pies were there.

A fortune I would have given for a dinner and a bed, which now seemed
more problematic than ever.

I went to the station-master.

"Can I have a special train to take me to Brushville to-night?"

"A hundred dollars."

"How much for a locomotive alone?"

"Sixty dollars."

"Have you a freight train going to Brushville?"

"What will you do with it?"

"Board it."

"Board it! I can't stop the train."

"I'll take my chance."

"Your life is insured?"

"Yes; for a great deal more than it is worth."

"Very well," he said, "I'll let you do it for five dollars."


And he looked as if he was going to enjoy the fun. The freight train
arrived, slackened speed, and I boarded, with my portmanteau and my
umbrella, a car loaded with timber. I placed my handbag on the
timber--you know, the one I had when traveling in "the neighborhood of
Chicago"--sat on it, opened my umbrella, and waved a "tata" to the

It was raining fast, and I had a journey of some thirty miles to make at
the rate of about twelve miles an hour.

Oh, those pies! They now seemed to have resolved to fight it out.
_Sacrebleu! De bleu! de bleu!_

A few miles from Brushville I had to get out, or rather, get down, and
take a ticket for Brushville on board a local train.

Benumbed with cold, wet through, and famished, I arrived here at ten
o'clock last night. The peach pie, the apple pie, and the apricot pie
had settled their differences and become on friendly and accommodating

I was able, on arriving at the hotel, to enjoy some light refreshments,
which I only obtained, at that time of night, thanks to the manager,
whom I had the pleasure of knowing personally.

At eleven o'clock I went to bed, or, to use a more proper expression for
my Philadelphia readers, I retired.

I had been "retiring" for about half an hour, when I heard a knock at
the door.

"Who's there?" I grumbled from under the bedclothes.

"A representative of the Brushville _Express_."

"Oh," said I, "I am very sorry--but I'm asleep."

"Please let me in; I won't detain you very long."

"I guess you won't. Now, please do not insist. I am tired, upset, ill,
and I want rest. Come to-morrow morning."

"No, I can't do that," answered the voice behind the door; "my paper
appears in the morning, and I want to put in something about you."

"Now, do go away," I pleaded, "there's a good fellow."

"I must see you," insisted the voice.

"You go!" I cried, "you go----" without mentioning any place.

For a couple of minutes there was silence, and I thought the interviewer
was gone. The illusion was sweet, but short. There was another knock,
followed by a "I really must see you to-night." Seeing that there would
be no peace until I had let the reporter in, I unbolted the door, and
jumped back into my--you know.

[Illustration: THE INTERVIEWER.]

It was pitch dark.

The door opened; and I heard the interviewer's steps in the room. By and
by, the sound of a pocket being searched was distinct. It was his own. A
match was pulled out and struck; the premises examined and

A chandelier with three lights hung in the middle of the room. The
reporter, speechless and solemn, lighted one burner, then two, then
three, chose the most comfortable seat, and installed himself in it,
looking at me with an air of triumph.

I was sitting up, wild and desheveled, in my "retiring" clothes.

"_Que voulez-vous?_" I wanted to yell, my state of drowsiness allowing
me to think only in French.

Instead of translating this query by "What do you want?" as I should
have done, if I had been in the complete enjoyment of my intellectual
faculties, I shouted to him:

"What will you have?"

"Oh, thanks, I'm not particular," he calmly replied. "I'll have a little
whisky and soda--rye whisky, please."

My face must have been a study as I rang for whisky and soda.

The mixture was brought--for two.

"I suppose you have no objection to my smoking?" coolly said the man in
the room.

"Not at all," I remarked; "this is perfectly lovely; I enjoy it all."

He pulled out his pocket-book and his pencil, crossed his legs, and
having drawn a long whiff from his cigar, he said:

"I see that you have no lecture to deliver in Brushville; may I ask you
what you have come here for?"

"Now," said I, "what the deuce is that to you? If this is the kind of
questions you have to ask me, you go----"

He pocketed the rebuff, and went on undisturbed:

"How are you struck with Brushville?"

"I am struck," said I, "with the cheek of some of the inhabitants. I
have driven to this hotel from the depot in a closed carriage, and I
have seen nothing of your city."

The man wrote down something.

"I lecture to-morrow night," I continued, "before the students of the
State University, and I have come here for rest."

He took this down.

"All this, you see, is very uninteresting; so, good-night."

And I disappeared.

The interviewer rose and came to my side.

"Really, now that I am here, you may as well let me have a chat with

"You wretch!" I exclaimed. "Don't you see that I am dying for sleep? Is
there nothing sacred for you? Have you lost all sense of charity? Have
you no mother? Don't you believe in future punishment? Are you a man or
a demon?"

"Tell me some anecdotes, some of your reminiscences of the road," said
the man, with a sardonic grin.

I made no reply. The imperturbable reporter resumed his seat and smoked.

"Are you gone?" I sighed, from under the blankets.

The answer came in the following words:

"I understand, sir, that when you were a young man----"

"When I was WHAT?" I shouted, sitting up once more.

"I understand, sir, that when you were _quite_ a young man," repeated
the interviewer, with the sentence improved, "you were an officer in
the French army."

"I was," I murmured, in the same position.

"I also understand you fought during the Franco-Prussian war."

"I did," I said, resuming a horizontal position.

"May I ask you to give me some reminiscences of the Franco-Prussian
war--just enough to fill about a column?"

I rose and again sat up.

"Free citizen of the great American Republic," said I, "beware, beware!
There will be blood shed in this room to-night."

And I seized my pillow.

"You are not meaty," exclaimed the reporter.

"May I inquire what the meaning of this strange expression is?" I said,
frowning; "I don't speak American fluently."

"It means," he replied, "that there is very little to be got out of

"Are you going?" I said, smiling.

"Well, I guess I am."



I bolted the door, turned out the gas, and "re-retired."

"Poor fellow," I thought; "perhaps he relied on me to supply him with
material for a column. I might have chatted with him. After all, these
reporters have invariably been kind to me. I might as well have obliged
him. What is he going to do?"

And I dreamed that he was dismissed.

I ought to have known better.

This morning I opened the Brushville _Express_, and, to my stupefaction,
saw a column about me. My impressions of Brushville, that I had no
opportunity of looking at, were there. Nay, more. I would blush to
record here the exploits I performed during the Franco-Prussian war, as
related by my interviewer, especially those which took place at the
battle of Gravelotte, where, unfortunately, I was not present. The whole
thing was well written. The reference to my military services began
thus: "Last night a hero of the great Franco-Prussian war slept under
the hospitable roof of Morrison Hotel, in this city."

"Slept!" This was adding insult to injury.

       *       *       *       *       *

This morning I had the visit of two more reporters.

"What do you think of Brushville?" they said; and, seeing that I would
not answer the question, they volunteered information on Brushville, and
talked loud on the subject. I have no doubt that the afternoon papers
will publish my impressions of Brushville.




     _Bloomington, Ind., March 13._

Lectured yesterday before the students of the University of Indiana, and
visited the different buildings this morning. The university is situated
on a hill in the midst of a wood, about half a mile from the little town
of Bloomington.

In a few days I shall be at Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan, the
largest in America, I am told. I will wait till then to jot down my
impressions of university life in this country.

       *       *       *       *       *

I read in the papers: "Prince Saunders, colored, was hanged here
(Plaquemine, Fla.) yesterday. He declared he had made his peace with
God, and his sins had been forgiven. Saunders murdered Rhody Walker, his
sweetheart, last December, a few hours after he had witnessed the
execution of Carter Wilkinson."

If Saunders has made his peace with God, I hope his executioners have
made theirs with God and man. What an indictment against man! What an
argument against capital punishment! Here is a man committing a murder
on returning from witnessing an execution. And there are men still to be
found who declare that capital punishment deters men from committing

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: VETERANS.]

     _Indianapolis, March 14._

Arrived here yesterday afternoon. Met James Whitcomb Riley, the Hoosier
poet. Mr. Riley is a man of about thirty, a genuine poet, full of pathos
and humor, and a great reciter. No one, I imagine, could give his poetry
as he does himself. He is a born actor, who holds you in suspense, and
makes you cry or laugh just as he pleases. I remember, when two years
ago Mr. Augustin Daly gave a farewell supper to Mr. Henry Irving and
Miss Ellen Terry at Delmonico's, Mr. Riley recited one of his poems at
table. He gave most of us a big lump in our throats, and Miss Terry had
tears rolling down her cheeks.

       *       *       *       *       *


The veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic are having a great field
day in Indianapolis. They have come here to attend meetings and ask for
pensions, so as to reduce that unmanageable surplus. Indianapolis is
full, and the management of Denison House does not know which way to
turn. All these veterans have large, broad-brimmed soft hats and are
covered all over with badges and ribbons. Their wives and daughters,
members of some patriotic association, have come with them. It is a huge
picnic. The entrance hall is crowded all day. The spittoons have been
replaced by tubs for the occasion. Chewing is in favor all over America,
but the State of Indiana beats, in that way, everything I have seen

       *       *       *       *       *


Went to see Clara Morris in Adolphe Belot's "Article 47," at the Opera
House, last night. Clara Morris is a powerful actress, but, like most
actors and actresses who go "starring" through America, badly supported.
I watched the audience with great interest. Nineteen mouths out of
twenty were chewing--the men tobacco, the women gum impregnated with
peppermint. All the jaws were going like those of so many ruminants
grazing in a field. From the box I occupied the sight was most amusing.

On returning to Denison House from the theater, I went to have a smoke
in a quiet corner of the hall, far from the crowd. By and by two men,
most smartly dressed, with diamond pins in their cravats, and flowers
embroidered on their waistcoats, came and sat opposite me. I thought
they had chosen the place to have a quiet chat together. Not so. One
pushed a cuspidore with his foot and brought it between the two chairs.
There, for half an hour, without saying one word to each other, they
chewed, hawked, and spat--and had a good time before going to bed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Trewey is nowhere as an equilibrist, compared to a gallant veteran who
breakfasted at my table, this morning. Among the different courses
brought to him were two boiled eggs, almost raw, poured into a tumbler
according to the American fashion. Without spilling a drop, he managed
to eat those eggs with the end of his knife. It was marvelous. I have
never seen the like of it, even in Germany, where the knife trick is
practiced from the tenderest age.

In Europe, swaggering little boys smoke; here they chew and spit, and
look at you, as if to say: "See what a big man I am!"



     _Chicago, March 15._

Arrived here this morning and put up at the Grand Pacific Hotel. My
lecture to-night at the Central Music Hall is advertised as a
_causerie_. My local manager informs me that many people have inquired
at the box-office what the meaning of that French word is. As he does
not know himself, he could not enlighten them, but he thinks that
curiosity will draw a good crowd to-night.

This puts me in mind of a little incident which took place about a year
ago. I was to make my appearance before an afternoon audience in the
fashionable town of Eastbourne. Not wishing to convey the idea of a
serious and prosy discourse, I advised my manager to call the
entertainment "_A causerie_." The room was full and the affair passed
off very well. But an old lady, who was a well-known patroness of such
entertainments, did not put in an appearance. On being asked the next
day why she was not present, she replied: "Well, to tell you the truth,
when I saw that they had given the entertainment a French name, I was
afraid it might be something not quite fit for me to hear." Dear soul!

       *       *       *       *       *

     _March 16._

My manager's predictions were realized last night. I had a large
audience, one of the keenest and the most responsive and appreciative I
have ever had. I was introduced by Judge Elliott Anthony, of the
Superior Court, in a short, witty, and graceful little speech. He spoke
of Lafayette and of the debt of gratitude America owes to France for the
help she received at her hands during the War of Independence. Before
taking leave of me, Judge Anthony kindly invited me to pay a visit to
the Superior Court next Wednesday.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _March 17._

Dined yesterday with Mr. James W. Scott, proprietor of the Chicago
_Herald_, one of the most flourishing newspapers in the United States,
and in the evening went to see Richard Mansfield in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde." The play is a repulsive one, but the double impersonation gives
the great actor a magnificent opportunity for the display of his
histrionic powers. The house was crowded, though it was Sunday. The pick
of Chicago society was not there, of course. Some years ago, I was told,
a Sunday audience was mainly composed of men. To-day the women go as
freely as the men. The "horrible" always has a great fascination for the
masses, and Mansfield held his popular audience in a state of breathless
suspense. There was a great deal of disappointment written on the faces
when the light was turned down on the appearance of "Mr. Hyde," with his
horribly distorted features. A woman, sitting in a box next to the one I
occupied, exclaimed, as "Hyde" came to explain his terrible secret to
the doctor, in the fourth act, "What a shame, they are turning down the
light again!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "DEAR SOUL!"]

     _March 18._

Spent yesterday in recreation intellectual--and otherwise. I like to see
everything, and I have no objection to entering a dime museum. I went to
one yesterday morning, and saw a bearded lady, a calf with two heads, a
gorilla (stuffed), a girl with no arms, and other freaks of nature. The
bearded lady had very, very masculine features, but _honi soit qui mal y
pense_. I could not help thinking of one of General Horace Porter's good
stories. A school-master asks a little boy what his father is.

"Please, sir, papa told me not to tell."

"Oh, never mind, it's all right with me."

"Please, sir, he is the bearded lady at the dime museum."

From the museum I went to the free library in the City Hall. Dime
museums and free libraries--such is America. The attendance at the free
libraries increases rapidly every day, and the till at the dime museums
diminishes with proportionate rapidity.

[Illustration: "THE BEARDED LADY."]

After lunch I paid a visit to the exhibition of Vassili Vereschagin's
pictures. What on earth could possess the talented Russian artist, whose
coloring is so lovely, to expend his labor on such subjects! Pictures
like those, which show the horrors of a campaign in all their
hideousness, may serve a good purpose in creating  a detestation of war
in all who see them. Nothing short of such a motive in the artist could
excuse the portrayal of such infamies. These pictures are so many
nightmares which will certainly haunt my eyes and brain for days and
nights to come. Battle scenes portrayed with a realism that is
revolting, because, alas, only too true. The execution of nihilists in a
dim, dreary, snow-covered waste. An execution of sepoys, the doomed
rebels tied to the mouths of cannon about to be fired off. Scenes of
torture, illustrative of the extent to which human suffering can be
carried, give you cold shudders in every fiber of your body. One horrid
canvas shows a deserted battlefield, the snow-covered ground littered
with corpses that ravens are tearing and fighting for. But, perhaps
worst of all, is a picture of a field, where, in the snow, lie the human
remains of a company of Russian soldiers who have been surprised and
slain by Turks. Among the bodies, outraged by horrible and nameless
mutilations, walks a priest, swinging a censer. One seems to be pursued
by, and impregnated with, a smell of cadaverous putrefaction. This
collection of pictures is installed in a place which has been used for
stabling horses in, and is reeking with stable odors and the carbolic
acid that has been employed to neutralize them. Your sense of smell is
in full sympathy with your horrified sense of sight: both are revolted.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, behind the three large rooms devoted to the Russian artist's works
was a small one, in which hung a single picture. You little guess that
that picture was no other than Jean Francois Millet's "Angelus."
Millet's dear little "Angelus," that hymn of resignation and peace,
alongside of all this roar and carnage of battle! The exhibitor thought,
perhaps, that a sedative might be needed after the strong dose of
Vassili Vereschagin, but I imagine that no one who went into that little
room after the others was in a mood to listen to Millet's message.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _March 19._

Yesterday morning I went to see the Richmond Libby Prison, a four-story,
huge brick building which has been removed here from Richmond, over a
distance of more than a thousand miles, across the mountains of
Pennsylvania. This is, perhaps, as the circular says, an unparalleled
feat in the history of the world. The prison has been converted into a
museum, illustrating the Civil War and African Slavery in America. The
visit proved very interesting. In the afternoon I had a drive through
the beautiful parks of the city.

In the evening I went to see "Tannhäuser" at the Auditorium. Outside,
the building looks more like a penitentiary than a place of amusement--a
huge pile of masonry, built of great, rough, black-looking blocks of
stone. Inside, it is magnificent. I do not know anything to compare with
it for comfort, grandeur, and beauty. It can hold seven thousand people.
The decorations are white and gold. The lighting is done by means of arc
electric lights in the enormously lofty roof--lights which can be
lowered at will. Mr. Peck kindly took me to see the inner workings of
the stage. I should say "stages," for there are three. The hydraulic
machinery for raising and lowering them cost $200,000.

Madame Lehmann sang grandly. I imagine that she is the finest lady
exponent of Wagner's music alive. She not only sings the parts, but
looks them. Built on grand lines and crowned with masses of blond hair,
she seems, when she gives forth those volumes of clear tones, a Norse
goddess strayed into the nineteenth century.

M. Gounod describes Wagner as an astounding prodigy, an aberration of
genius, a dreamer haunted by the colossal. For years I had listened to
Wagner's music, and, like most of my compatriots, brought up on the
tuneful airs of Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Auber, etc., I
entirely failed to appreciate the music of the future. All I could say
in its favor was some variation of the sentiment once expressed by Mr.
Edgar W. Nye ("Bill Nye") who, after giving the subject his mature
consideration, said he came to the conclusion that Wagner's music was
not so bad as it sounded. But I own that since I went to Bayreuth and
heard and saw the operas as there given, I began not only to see that
they are beautiful, but why they are beautiful.

Wagnerian opera is a poetical and musical idealization of speech.

The fault that I, like many others, have fallen into, was that of
listening to the voices instead of listening to the orchestra. The fact
is, the voices could almost be dispensed with altogether. The orchestra
gives you the beautiful poem in music, and the personages on the stage
are really little more than illustrative puppets. They play about the
same part in the work that pictures play in a book. Wagner's method was
something so new, so different to all we had been accustomed to, that it
naturally provoked much indignation and enmity--not because it was bad,
but because it was new. It was the old story of the Classicists and
Romanticists over again.

If you wanted to write a symphony, illustrative of the pangs and
miseries of a sufferer from toothache, you would, if you were a disciple
of Wagner, write your orchestral score so that the instruments should
convey to the listener the whole gamut of groans--the temporary relief,
the return of the pain, the sudden disappearance of it on ringing the
bell at the dentist's door, the final wrench of extraction gone through
by the poor patient. On the boards you would put a personage who, with
voice and contortions, should help you, as pictorial illustrations help
an author. Such is the Wagnerian method.

[Illustration: "A TERRIBLE WAGNERITE."]

After the play I met a terrible Wagnerite. Most Wagnerites are terrible.
They will not admit that anything can be discussed, much less
criticised, in the works of the master. They are not admirers,
disciples; they are worshipers. To them Wagner's music is as perfect as
America is to many a good-humored American. They will tell you that
never have horses neighed so realistically as they do in the "Walküre."
Answer that this is almost lowering music to the level of ventriloquism,
and they will declare you a profane, unworthy to live. My Wagnerite
friend told me last night that Wagner's work constantly improved till it
reached perfection in "Parsifal." "There," he said, quite seriously,
"the music has reached such a state of perfection that, in the garden
scene, you can smell the violets and the roses."

"Well," I interrupted, "I heard 'Parsifal' in Bayreuth, and I must
confess that it is, perhaps, the only work of Wagner's that I cannot

"I have heard it thirty-four times," he said, "and enjoyed it more the
thirty-fourth time than I did the thirty-third."

"Then," I remarked, "perhaps it has to be heard fifty times before it
can be thoroughly appreciated. In which case, you must own that life is
too short to enable one to see an opera fifty times in order to enjoy it
as it should really be enjoyed. I don't care what science there is about
music, or what labors a musician should have to go through. As one of
the public, I say that music is a recreation, and should be understood
at once. Auber, for example, with his delightful airs, that three
generations of men have sung on their way home from the opera house, has
been a greater benefactor of the human race than Wagner. I prefer music
written for the heart to music written for the mind."

On hearing me mention Auber's name in one breath with Wagner's, the
Wagnerite threw a glance of contempt at me that I shall never forget.

"Well," said I, to regain his good graces, "I may improve yet--I will
try again."

As a rule, the Wagnerite is a man utterly destitute of humor.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _March 20._

Yesterday morning I called on Judge Elliott Anthony, at the Superior
Court. The Judge invited me to sit by his side on the tribunal, and
kindly explained to me the procedure, as the cases went on. Certainly
kindness is not rare in Europe, but such simplicity in a high official
is only to be met with in America.




     _Detroit, March 22._

ONE of the most interesting and brilliant audiences that I have yet
addressed was the large one which gathered in the lecture hall of the
University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, last night. Two thousand young,
bright faces to gaze at from the platform is a sight not to be easily
forgotten. I succeeded in pleasing them, and they simply delighted me.

The University of Michigan is, I think, the largest in the United

Picture to yourself one thousand young men and one thousand young women,
in their early twenties, staying together in the same boarding-houses,
studying literature, science, and the fine arts in the same class-rooms,
living happily and in perfect harmony.

They are not married.

No restraint of any sort. Even in the boarding-houses they are allowed
to meet in the sitting-rooms; I believe that the only restriction is
that, at eight o'clock in the evening, or at nine (I forget which), the
young ladies have to retire to their private apartments.

"But," some European will exclaim, "do the young ladies' parents trust
all these young men?" They do much better than that, my dear
friend--they trust their daughters.

During eighteen years, I was told, three accidents happened, but three
marriages happily resulted.

The educational system of America engenders the high morality which
undoubtedly exists throughout the whole of the United States, by
accustoming women to the companionship of men from their infancy, first
in the public schools, then in the high schools, and finally in the
universities. It explains the social life of the country. It accounts
for the delightful manner in which men treat women. It explains the
influence of women. Receiving exactly the same education as the men, the
women are enabled to enjoy all the intellectual pleasures of life. They
are not inferior beings intended for mere housekeepers, but women
destined to play an important part in all the stations of life.

No praise can be too high for a system of education that places
knowledge of the highest order at the disposal of every child born in
America. The public schools are free, the high schools are free, and the
universities,[4] through the aid that they receive from the United
States and from the State in which they are, can offer their privileges,
without charge for tuition, to all persons of either sex who are
qualified by knowledge for admission.

The University of Michigan comprises the Department of Literature,
Science, and the Arts, the Department of Medicine and Surgery, the
Department of Law, the School of Pharmacy, the Homoeopathic Medical
College, and the College of Dental Surgery. Each department has its
special Faculty of Instruction.

I count 118 professors on the staff of the different faculties.

The library contains 70,041 volumes, 14,626 unbound brochures, and 514
maps and charts.

The University also possesses beautiful laboratories, museums, an
astronomical observatory, collections, workshops of all sorts, a lecture
hall capable of accommodating over two thousand people, art studios,
etc., etc. Almost every school has a building of its own, so that the
University is like a little busy town.

No visit that I have ever paid to a public institution interested me so
much as the short one paid to the University of Michigan yesterday.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dined this evening with Mr. W. H. Brearley, editor of the Detroit
_Journal_. Mr. Brearley thinks that the Americans, who received from
France such a beautiful present as the statue of "Liberty Enlightening
the World," ought to present the mother country of General Lafayette
with a token of her gratitude and affection, and he has started a
national subscription to carry out his idea. He has already received
support, moral and substantial. I can assure him that nothing would
touch the hearts of the French people more than such a tribute of
gratitude and friendship from the other great republic.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the evening I had a crowded house in the large lecture hall of the
Young Men's Christian Association.

After the lecture, I met an interesting Frenchman residing in Detroit.

"I was told a month ago, when I paid my first visit to Detroit, that
there were twenty-five thousand French people living here," I said to

"The number is exaggerated, I believe," he replied, "but certainly we
are about twenty thousand."

"I suppose you have French societies, a French Club?" I ventured.

He smiled.

"The Germans have," he said, "but we have not. We have tried many times
to found French clubs in this city, so as to establish friendly
intercourse among our compatriots, but we have always failed."

"How is that?" I asked.

"Well, I don't know. They all wanted to be presidents, or
vice-presidents. They quarreled among themselves."

"When six Frenchmen meet to start a society," I said, "one will be
president, two vice-presidents, one secretary, and the other
assistant-secretary. If the sixth cannot obtain an official position, he
will resign and go about abusing the other five."

"That's just what happened."

It was my turn to smile. Why should the French in Detroit be different
from the French all over the world, except perhaps in their own country?
A Frenchman out of France is like a fish out of water. He loses his
native amiability and becomes a sort of suspicious person, who spends
his life in thinking that everybody wants to tread on his corns.

"When two Frenchmen meet in a foreign land," goes an old saying, "there
is one too many."

[Illustration: THE TWO FRENCHMEN.]

In Chicago there are two Frenchmen engaged in teaching the natives of
the city "how to speak and write the French language correctly." The
people of Chicago maintain that the streets are too narrow to let these
two Frenchmen pass, when they walk in opposite directions. And it
appears that one of them has lately started a little French paper--to
abuse the other in.

I think that all the faults and weaknesses of the French can be
accounted for by the presence of a defect, jealousy; and the absence of
a quality, humor.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Oberlin, O., March 24._

Have to-night given a lecture to the students of Oberlin College, a
religious institution founded by the late Rev. Charles Finney, the
friend of the slaves, and whose voice, they say, when he preached, shook
the earth.

The college is open to colored students; but in an audience of about a
thousand young men and women, I could only discover the presence of two
descendants of Ham.

Originally many colored students attended at Oberlin College, but the
number steadily decreased every year, and to-day there are only very
few. The colored student is not officially "boycotted," but he has
probably discovered by this time that he is not wanted in Oberlin
College any more than in the orchestra stalls of an American theater.

The Declaration of Independence proclaims that "all men are created
equal," but I never met a man in America (much less still a woman) who
believed this or who acted upon it.

The railroad companies have special cars for colored people, and the
saloons special bars. At Detroit, I was told yesterday that a
respectable and wealthy mulatto resident, who had been refused service
in one of the leading restaurants of the town, brought an action against
the proprietor, but that, although there was no dispute of the facts,
the jury unanimously decided against the plaintiff, who was moreover
mulcted in costs to a heavy amount. But all this is nothing: the Young
Men's Christian Association, one of the most representative and
influential corporations in the United States, refuses to admit colored
youths to membership.

[Illustration: THE NEGRO.]

It is just possible that in a few years colored students will have
ceased to study at Oberlin College.

I can perfectly well understand that Jonathan should not care to
associate too closely with the colored people, for, although they do not
inspire me with repulsion, still I cannot imagine--well, I cannot
understand for one thing how the mulatto can exist.

But since the American has to live alongside the negro, would it not be
worth his while to treat him politely and honestly, give him his due as
an equal, if not in his eyes, at any rate in the eyes of the law? Would
it not be worth his while to remember that the "darky" cannot be
gradually disposed of like the Indian, for Sambo adapts himself to his
surroundings, multiplies apace, goes to school, and knows how to read,
write, and reckon. Reckon especially.

It might be well to remember, too, that all the greatest, bloodiest
revolutions the world has ever seen were set on foot, not to pay off
hardships, but as revenge for injustice. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was called
a romance, nothing but a romance, by the aristocratic Southerners; but,
to use the Carlylian phrase, their skins went to bind the hundreds of
editions of that book. Another "Uncle Tom's Cabin" may yet appear.

America will have "to work her thinking machine" seriously on this
subject, and that before many years are over. If the next Presidential
election is not run on the negro question, the succeeding one surely
will be.



  [4] A fee of ten dollars entitles a student to the privileges of
    permanent membership in the University.



     _New York, March 28._

The New York papers this morning announce that the "Society of Young
Girls of Pure Character on the Stage" give a lunch to Mrs. Kendal

Mr. and Mrs. Kendal have conquered America. Their tour is a triumphal
march through the United States, a huge success artistically,
financially, and socially.

I am not surprised at it. I went to see them a few days ago in "The
Ironmaster," and they delighted me. As _Claire_ Mrs. Kendal was
admirable. She almost succeeded in making me forget Madame Jane Hading,
who created the part at the Gymnase, in Paris, six years ago.

       *       *       *       *       *

This morning Mr. Joseph Jefferson called on me at the Everett House. The
veteran actor, who looks more like a man of fifty than like one of over
sixty, is now playing with Mr. William J. Florence in "The Rivals." I
had never seen him off the stage. I immediately saw that the
characteristics of the actor were the characteristics of the
man--kindness, naturalness, simplicity, _bonhomie_, and _finesse_. An
admirable actor, a great artist, and a lovable man.

At the Down-Town Club, I lunched with the son of Nathaniel
Hawthorne--the greatest novelist that America has yet produced--Mr.
Julian Hawthorne, himself a novelist of repute. Lately he has written a
series of sensational novels in collaboration with the famous New York
detective, Inspector Byrnes. Mr. Julian Hawthorne is a man of about
forty-five, tall, well-proportioned, with an artistic-looking head
crowned with grayish hair, that reminds a Frenchman of Alexandre Dumas,
_fils_, and an American of Nathaniel Hawthorne. A charming, unaffected
man, and a delightful _causeur_.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the evening I went to Daly's Theater and saw "As You Like It." That
bewitching queen of actresses, Miss Ada Rehan, played _Rosalind_. Miss
Rehan is so original that it would be perfectly impossible to compare
her to any of the other great actresses of France and England. She is
like nobody else. She is herself. The coaxing drawl of her musical
voice, the vivacity of her movements, the whimsical spontaneity that
seems to direct her acting, her tall, handsome figure, her beautiful,
intellectual face, all tend to make her a unique actress. She fascinates
you, and so gets hold of you, that when she is on the stage she entirely
fills it. Mr. John Drew as _Orlando_ and Mr. James Drew as _Touchstone_
were admirable.

It matters little what the play-bill announces at Daly's Theater. If I
have not seen the play, I am sure to enjoy it; if I have seen it
already, I am sure to enjoy it again.



     _Washington, April 3._

Arrived here the day before yesterday, and put up at Willard's. I prefer
this huge hotel to the other more modern houses of the capital, because
it is thoroughly American; because it is in its rotunda that every
evening the leading men of all parties and the notables of the nation
may be found; because to meet at Willard's at night is as much the
regular thing as to perform any of the official functions of office
during the day; because, to use the words of a guide, which speaks the
truth, it is pleasant to live in this historical place, in apartments
where battles have been planned and political parties have been born or
doomed to death, to become familiar with surroundings amid which
Presidents have drawn their most important papers and have chosen their
Cabinet Ministers, and where the proud beauties of a century have held
their Court.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the subject of Washington hotels, I was told a good story the other

[Illustration: EVENING AT WILLARD'S.]

The most fashionable hotel of this city having outgrown its space, the
proprietors sent a note to a lady, whose back yard adjoined, to say,
that, contemplating still enlarging their hotel, they would be glad to
know at what price she would sell her yard, and they would hand her the
amount without any more discussion. The lady, in equally Yankee style,
replied that she had been contemplating enlarging her back yard, and
was going to inquire what they would take for part of their hotel!

       *       *       *       *       *

How beautiful this city of Washington is, with its wide avenues, its
parks, and its buildings! That Capitol, in white marble, standing on
elevated ground, against a bright blue sky, is a poem--an epic poem.

I am never tired of looking at the expanse of cloudless blue that is
almost constantly stretched overhead. The sunsets are glorious. The
poorest existence would seem bearable under such skies. I am told they
are better still further West. I fancy I should enjoy to spend some time
on a farm, deep in the country, far from the noisy, crowded streets, but
I fear I am condemned to see none but the busy haunts of Jonathan.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the evening I went to what is called a colored church. The place was
packed with negroes of all shades and ages; the women, some of them very
smartly dressed, and waving scarlet fans. In a pew sat a trio truly
gorgeous. Mother, in black shiny satin, light-brown velvet mantle
covered with iridescent beads, bonnet to match. Daughter of fifteen;
costume of sky-blue satin, plush mantle, scarlet red, chinchilla fur
trimmings, white hat with feathers. Second girl, or daughter, light-blue
velvet, from top to toe, with large hat, apple-green and gold.

[Illustration: A GORGEOUS TRIO.]

Every one was intently listening to the preacher, a colored man, who
gave them, in graphic language and stentorian voice, the story of the
capture of the Jews by Cyrus, their slavery and their delivery. A low
accompaniment of "Yes!" "Hear, hear!" "Allelujah!" "Glory!" from the
hearers, showed their approbation of the discourse. From time to time,
there would be a general chuckle or laughter, and exclamations of
delight from the happy grin-lit mouths, as, for instance, when the
preacher described the supper of Belshazzar, and the appearance of the
writing on the wall, in his own droll fashion. "'Let's have a fine
supper,' said Belshazzar. 'Dere's ole Cyrus out dere, but we'll have a
good time and enjoy ourselves, and never mind him.' So he went for de
cups dat had come from de Temple of Jerusalem, and began carousin'! Dere
is Cyrus, all de while, marchin' his men up de bed ob de river. I see
him comin'! I see him!" Then he pictured the state all that wicked party
got in at the sight of the writing nobody could read, and by this time
the excitement of the congregation was tremendous. The preacher thought
this a good opportunity to point a moral. So he proceeded: "Now, drink
is a poor thing; dere's too much of it in dis here city." Here followed
a picture of certain darkies, who cut a dash with shiny hats and canes,
and frequented bars and saloons. "When folks take to drinkin', somefin's
sure to go wrong." Grins and grunts of approbation culminated in perfect
shouts of glee, as the preacher said: "Ole Belshazzar and de rest of 'em
forgot to shut de city gate, and in came Cyrus and his men."

[Illustration: THE PREACHER.]

They went nearly wild with pleasure over the story of the liberation of
the Jews, and incidental remarks on their own freeing. "Oh, let dem go,"
said their masters, when they found the game was up, "dey'll soon perish
and die out!" Here the preacher laughed loudly, and then shouted: "But
we don't die out so easy!" [Grins and chuckling.]

One old negro was very funny to watch. When something met with his
approval, he gave off a little "tchsu, tchsu!" and writhed forward and
back on his seat for a moment, apparently in intense enjoyment; then
jumped off his seat, turning round once or twice; then he would listen
intently again, as if afraid to lose a word.

[Illustration: THE OLD NEGRO.]

"I see dis, I see dat," said the preacher continually. His listeners
seemed to see it too.

       *       *       *       *       *

At ten minutes to twelve yesterday morning, I called at the White House.
The President had left the library, but he was kind enough to return,
and at twelve I had the honor to spend a few minutes in the company of
General Benjamin Harrison. Two years ago I was received by Mr. Grover
Cleveland with the same courtesy and the same total absence of red tape.

The President of the United States is a man about fifty-five years old;
short, exceedingly neat, and even _recherché_ in his appearance. The
hair and beard are white, the eyes small and very keen. The face is
severe, but lights up with a most gentle and kind smile.

General Harrison is a popular president; but the souvenir of Mrs.
Cleveland is still haunting the minds of the Washingtonians. They will
never forget the most beautiful lady who ever did the honors of the
White House, and most of them look forward to the possibility of her
returning to Washington in March, 1893.

       *       *       *       *       *

Washington society moves in circles and sets. The wife of the President
and the wives and daughters of the Cabinet Ministers form the first
set--Olympus, as it were. The second set is composed of the ladies
belonging to the families of the Judges of the Supreme Court! The
Senators come next. The Army circle comes fourth. The House of
Representatives supplies the last set. Each circle, a Washington friend
tells me, is controlled by rigid laws of etiquette. Senators' wives
consider themselves much superior to the wives of Congressmen, and the
Judges' wives consider themselves much above those of the Senators. But,
as a rule, the great lion of Washington society is the British Minister,
especially when he happens to be a real live English lord. All look up
to him; and if a young titled English _attaché_ wishes to marry the
richest heiress of the capital, all he has to do is to throw the
handkerchief, the young and the richest natives do not stand the ghost
of a chance.

       *       *       *       *       *

Lectured last night, in the Congregational Church, to a large and most
fashionable audience. Senator Hoar took the chair, and introduced me in
a short, neat, gracefully worded little speech. In to-day's Washington
_Star_, I find the following remark:

  The lecturer was handsomely introduced by Senator Hoar, who combines
  the dignity of an Englishman, the sturdiness of a Scotchman, the
  _savoir faire_ of a Frenchman, and the culture of a Bostonian.

What a strange mixture! I am trying to find where the compliment comes
in, surely not in "the _savoir faire_ of a Frenchman!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Armed with a kind letter of introduction to Miss Kate Field, I called
this morning at the office of this lady, who is characterized by a
prominent journalist as "the very brainiest woman in the United States."
Unfortunately she was out of town.

I should have liked to make the personal acquaintance of this brilliant,
witty woman, who speaks, I am told, as she writes, in clear, caustic,
fearless style. My intention was to interview her a bit. A telegram was
sent to her in New York from her secretary, and her answer was wired
immediately: "Interview _him_." So, instead of interviewing Miss Kate
Field, I was interviewed, for her paper, by a young and very pretty lady

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Baltimore, April 4._

I have spent the day here with some friends.

Baltimore strikes one as a quiet, solid, somewhat provincial town. It is
an eminently middle-class looking city. There is no great wealth in it,
no great activity; but, on the other hand, there is little poverty; it
is a well-to-do city _par excellence_. The famous Johns Hopkins
University is here, and I am not surprised to learn that Baltimore is a
city of culture and refinement.

A beautiful forest, a mixture of cultivated park and wilderness, about a
mile from the town, must be a source of delight to the inhabitants in
summer and during the beautiful months of September and October.

I was told several times that Baltimore was famous all over the States
for its pretty women.

They were not out to-day. And as I have not been invited to lecture in
Baltimore, I must be content with hoping to be more lucky next time.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Philadelphia, April 5._

After my lecture in Association Hall to-night, I will return to New York
to spend Easter Sunday with my friends. Next Monday off again to the
West, to Cincinnati again, to Chicago again, and as far as Madison, the
State city of Wisconsin.

[Illustration: A BALTIMORE WOMAN.]

By the time this tour is finished--in about three weeks--I shall have
traveled something like thirty thousand miles.

The more I think of it, the more I feel the truth of this statement,
which I made in "Jonathan and His Continent": To form an exact idea of
what a lecture tour is in America, just imagine that you lecture
to-night in London, to-morrow in Paris, then in Berlin, then in Vienna,
then in Constantinople, then in Teheran, then in Bombay, and so forth.
With this difference, that if you had to undertake the work in Europe,
at the end of a week you would be more dead than alive.


But here you are not caged on the railroad lines, you can circulate.
There is no fear of cold, no fear of hunger, and if the good, attentive,
polite railway conductors of England could be induced to do duty on
board the American cars, I would anytime go to America for the mere
pleasure of traveling.



     _New York, April 6 (Easter Sunday.)_

[Illustration: A BELLOWING SOPRANO.]

This morning I went to Dr. Newton's church in Forty-eighth Street. He
has the reputation of being one of the best preachers in New York, and
the choir enjoys an equally great reputation. The church was literally
packed until the sermon began, and then some of the strollers who had
come to hear the anthems moved on. Dr. Newton's voice and delivery were
not at all to my taste, so I did not sit out his sermon either. He has a
big, unctuous voice, with the intonations and inflections of a showman
at the fair. He has not the flow of ideas that struck me so forcibly
when I heard the late Henry Ward Beecher in London; he has not the
histrionic powers of Dr. Talmage, either. There was more show than
beauty about the music, too. A bellowing, shrieking soprano overpowered
all the other voices in the choir, including that of a really beautiful
tenor that deserved to be heard.

       *       *       *       *       *

New York blossoms like the rose on Easter Day. Every woman has a new
bonnet and walks abroad to show it.

[Illustration: SOME EASTER BONNETS.]

There are grades in millinery as there are in society. The imported
bonnet takes the proudest rank; it is the aristocrat in the world of
headgear. It does not always come with the conqueror (in one of her
numerous trunks), but it always comes to conquer, and a proud, though
ephemeral triumph it enjoys, perched on the dainty head of a New York
belle, and supplemented by a frock from Felix's or Redfern's.

It is a unique sight, Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday, when all the
up-town churches have emptied themselves of their gayly garbed

[Illustration: KEEPING LENT.]

The "four hundred" have been keeping Lent in polite, if not rigorous,
fashion. Who shall say what it has cost them in self-sacrifice to limit
themselves to the sober, modest violet for table and bonnet decoration
during six whole weeks? These things cannot be lightly judged by the
profane. I have even heard of sweet, devout New York girls who limited
themselves to one pound of _marrons glacés_ a week during Lent. Such
feminine heroism deserves mention.

[Illustration: A CLUB WINDOW.]

And have they not been sewing flannel for the poor, once a week, instead
of directing the manipulation of silk and gauze for their own fair
forms, all the week long? Who shall gauge the self-control necessary for
fasting such as this? But now Dorcas meetings are over, and dances begin
again to-morrow. The Easter anthem has been sung, and the imported
bonnet takes a turn on Fifth Avenue to salute and to hob-nob with
Broadway imitations during the hour between church and lunch. To New
Yorkers this Easter Church parade is as much of an institution in its
way as those of Hyde Park during the season are to the Londoners. It
was plain that the people sauntering leisurely on the broad sidewalks,
the feminine portion at least, had not come out solely for religious
exercise in church, but had every intention to see and to be seen,
especially the latter. On my way down, I saw some folks who had not been
to church, and only wanted to see, so stood with faces glued to the
windows of the big clubs, looking out at the kaleidoscopic procession:
old bachelors, I daresay, who hold the opinion that spring bonnets,
whether imported or home-grown, ought to be labeled "dangerous." At all
events they were gazing as one might gaze at some coveted but
out-of-reach fruit, and looking as if they dared not face their
fascinating young townswomen in all the splendor of their new war paint.
A few, perhaps, were married men, and this was their quiet protest
against fifty-dollar hats and five-hundred-dollar gowns.

The sight was beautiful and one not to be forgotten.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the evening I dined with Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll and the members
of his family. I noticed something which struck me as novel, but as
perfectly charming. Each man was placed at table by the side of his
wife, including the host and hostess. This custom in the colonel's
family circle (I was the only guest not belonging to it) is another
proof that his theories are put into practice in his house. Dinner and
time vanished with rapidity in that house, where everything breathes
love and happiness.



     _Milwaukee, April 21._

To a certain extent I am a believer in climatic influence, and am
inclined to think that Sabbath reformers reckon without the British
climate when they hope to ever see a Britain full of cheerful
Christians. M. Taine, in his "History of English Literature," ascribes
the unlovable morality of Puritanism to the influence of the British
climate. "Pleasure being out of question," he says, "under such a sky,
the Briton gave himself up to this forbidding virtuousness." In other
words, being unable to be cheerful, he became moral. This is not
altogether true. Many Britons are cheerful who don't look it, many
Britons are not moral who look it.

But how would M. Taine explain the existence of this same puritanic
"morality" which can be found under the lovely, clear, bright sky of
America? All over New England, and indeed in most parts of America, the
same Kill-joy, the same gloomy, frowning Sabbath-keeper is flourishing,
doing his utmost to blot the sunshine out of every recurring seventh

Yet Sabbath-keeping is a Jewish institution that has nothing to do with
Protestantism; but there have always been Protestants more Protestant
than Martin Luther, and Christians more Christian than Christ.


Luther taught that the Sabbath was to be kept, not because Moses
commanded it, but because Nature teaches us the necessity of the seventh
day's rest. He says "If anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day's
sake, then I command you to work on it, ride on it, dance on it, do
anything that will reprove this encroachment on Christian spirit and

The old Scotch woman, who "did nae think the betterer on" the Lord for
that Sabbath-day walk through the cornfield, is not a solitary type of
Anglo-Saxon Christian. But it is when these Puritans judge other nations
that they are truly great.

Puritan lack of charity and dread of cheerfulness often lead Anglo-Saxon
visitors to France to misjudge the French mode of spending Sunday.
Americans, as well as English, err in this matter, as I had occasion to
find out during my second visit to America.

I had been lecturing last Saturday evening in the pretty little town of
Whitewater, in Wisconsin, and received an invitation from a minister to
address a meeting that was to be held yesterday, Sunday, in the largest
church of the place to discuss the question, "How Sunday should be
spent." I at first declined, on the ground that it might not be exactly
in good taste for a foreigner to advise his hosts how to spend Sunday.
However, when it was suggested that I might simply go and tell them how
Sunday was spent in France, I accepted the task.

The proceedings opened with prayer and an anthem; and a hymn in praise
of the Jewish Sabbath having been chosen by the moderator, I thought the
case looked bad for us French people, and that I was going to cut a poor

The first speaker unwittingly came to my rescue by making an onslaught
upon the French mode of spending the seventh day. "With all due respect
to the native country of our visitor," said he, "I am bound to say that
on the one Sunday which I spent in Paris, I saw a great deal of low
immorality, and I could not help coming to the conclusion that this was
due to the fact of the French not being a Sabbath-keeping people." He
wound up with a strong appeal to his townsmen to beware of any
temptation to relax in their observance of the fourth commandment as
given by Moses.

I was called upon to speak next. I rose in my pew, but was requested to
go into the rostrum.

With alacrity I stepped forward, a little staggered, perhaps, at finding
myself for the first time in a pulpit, but quite ready for the fray.

"I am sorry," said I, "to hear the remarks made by the speaker who has
just sat down. I cannot, however, help thinking that if our friend had
spent that Sunday in Paris in respectable places, he would have been
spared the sight of any low immorality. No doubt Paris, like every large
city in the world, has its black spots, and you can easily discover
them, if you make proper inquiries as to where they are, and if you are
properly directed. Now, let me ask, where did he go? I should very much
like to know. Being an old Parisian, I have still in my mind's eye the
numerous museums that are open free to the people on Sundays. One of the
most edifying sights in the city is that of our peasants and workmen in
their clean Sunday blouses enjoying themselves with their families, and
elevating their tastes among our art treasures. Did our friend go there?
I know there are places where for little money the symphonies of
Beethoven and other great masters may be and are enjoyed by thousands
every Sunday. Did our friend go there? Within easy reach of the people
are such places as the Bois de Boulogne, the Garden of Acclimation,
where for fifty centimes a delightful day may be spent among the lawns
and flower-beds of that Parisian "Zoo." Its goat cars, ostrich cars, its
camel and elephant drives make it a paradise for children, and one might
see whole families there on Sunday afternoons in the summer, the parents
refreshing their bodies with this contact with nature and their hearts
with the sight of the children's glee. Did our friend go there? We even
have churches in Paris, churches that are crammed from six o'clock in
the morning till one in the afternoon with worshipers who go on their
knees to God. Now, did our friend go to church on that Sunday? Well,
where did he go? I am quitting Whitewater to-morrow, and I leave it to
his townspeople to investigate the matter. When I first visited New
York, stories were told me of strange things to be seen there even on a
Sunday. Who doubts, I repeat, that every great city has its black spots?
I had no desire to see those of New York, there was so much that was
better worth my time and attention. If our friend, our observing friend,
would only have done in Paris as I did in New York, he would have seen
very little low immorality."

The little encounter at Whitewater was only one more illustration of the
strange fact that the Anglo-Saxon, who is so good in his own country, so
constant in his attendance at church, is seldom to be seen in a sacred
edifice abroad, unless, indeed, he has been led there by Baedeker.

And last night, at Whitewater, I went to bed pleased with myself, like a
man who has fought for his country.

       *       *       *       *       *

When I am in France, I often bore my friends with advice, and find, as
usual, that advice is a luxurious gift thoroughly enjoyed by the one who
gives it.

"You don't know how to do these things," I say to them; "in England or
in America, they are much more intelligent; they do like this and like
that." And my friends generally advise me to return to England or
America, where things are so beautifully managed.

But, when I am out of France, the old Frenchman is all there, and if you
pitch into my mother country, I stand up ready to fight at a minute's




     _Madison, Wis., April 22._

Have been lecturing during the past fortnight in about twelve places,
few of which possessed any interest whatever. One of them,
however--Cincinnati--I was glad to see again.

This town of Madison is the only one that has really struck me as being
beautiful. From the hills the scenery is perfectly lovely, with its
wooded slopes and lakes. Through the kindness of Governor Hoard, I have
had a comprehensive survey of the neighborhood; for he has driven me in
his carriage to all the prettiest spots, delighting me all the while
with his conversation. He is one of those Americans whom you may often
meet if you have a little luck: witty, humorous, hospitable,
kind-hearted, the very personification of unaffected good-fellowship.

The conversation turned on humor.

I have always wondered what the origin of American humor can be; where
is or was the fountain-head. You certainly find humor in England among
the cultured classes, but the class of English people who emigrate
cannot have imported much humor into America. Surely Germany and
Scandinavia cannot have contributed to the fund, either. The Scotch have
dry, quiet, pawky, unconscious humor; but their influence can hardly
have been great enough to implant their quaint native "wut" in American
soil. Again, the Irish bull is droll, but scarcely humorous. The
Italians, the Hungarians, have never yet, that I am aware of, been
suspected of even latent humor.

What then, can be the origin of American humor, as we know it, with its
naïve philosophy, its mixture of the sacred and the profane, its
exaggeration and that preposterousness which so completely staggers the
foreigner, the French and the German especially?

The mixing of sacred with profane matter, no doubt, originated with the
Puritans themselves, and is only an outcome of the cheek-by-jowl,
next-door-neighbor fashion of addressing the Higher Powers, which is so
common in the Scotch. Many of us have heard of the Scotch minister, whom
his zeal for the welfare of missionaries moved to address Heaven in the
following manner: "We commend to thy care those missionaries whose lives
are in danger in the Fiji Islands ... which, Thou knowest, are situated
in the Pacific Ocean." And he is not far removed in our minds from the
New England pastor, who preached on the well-known text of St. Paul, and
having read: "All things are possible to me," took a five-dollar bill
out of his pocket, and placing it on the edge of the pulpit, said: "No,
Paul, that is going too far. I bet you five dollars that you can't----"
But continuing the reading of the text: "Through Christ who
strengtheneth me," exclaimed, "Ah, that's a very different matter!" and
put back the five-dollar bill in his pocket.


This kind of amalgamation of the sacred and profane is constantly
confronting one in American soil, and has a firm foothold in American

Colonel Elliott F. Shepard, proprietor of the New York _Mail and
Express_, every morning sends to the editor a fresh text from the Bible
for publication at the top of the editorials. One day that text was
received, but somehow got lost, and by noon was still unfound. I was
told that "you should have heard the compositors' room ring with: 'Where
can that d----d text be?'" Finally the text was wired and duly inserted.
These men, however, did not intend any religious disrespect. Such a
thing was probably as far from their minds as it was from the minds of
the Puritan preachers of old. There are men who swear, as others pray,
without meaning anything. One is a bad habit, the other a good one.

       *       *       *       *       *

All that naïve philosophy, with which America abounds, must, I fancy, be
the outcome of hardship endured by the pioneers of former days, and by
the Westerner of our own times.

The element of exaggeration, which is so characteristic of American
humor, may be explained by the rapid success of the Americans and the
immensity of the continent which they inhabit. Everything is on a grand
scale, or suggests hugeness. Then negro humor is mainly exaggeration,
and has no doubt added its quota to the compound which, as I said just
now, completely staggers certain foreigners.

Governor Hoard was telling me to-day that a German was inclined to be
offended with him for saying that the Germans, as a rule, were unable to
see through an American joke, and he invited Governor Hoard to try the
effect of one upon him. The governor, thereupon told him the story of
the tree, "out West," which was so high that it took two men to see to
the top. One of them saw as far as he could, then the second started
from the place where the first stopped seeing, and went on. The recital
did not raise the ghost of a smile, and Governor Hoard then said to the
German: "Well, you see, the joke is lost upon you; you can't see
American humor."

[Illustration: "THAT'S A TAMNT LIE!"]

"Oh, but," said the German, "that is not humor, that's a _tamnt_ lie!"

And he is still convinced that he can see through an American joke.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Grand Rapids, April 24._

Have had to-day a lovely, sublime example of that preposterousness which
so often characterizes American humor.

Arrived here this morning from Chicago. At noon, the Grand Rapidite who
was "bossing the show" called upon me at the Morton House, and kindly
inquired whether there was anything he could do for me. Before leaving,
he said: "While I am here, I may as well give you the check for
to-night's lecture."

"Just as you please," I said; "but don't you call that risky?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I may die before the evening."

"Oh, that's all right," he interrupted. "I'll exhibit your corpse; I
guess there will be just as much money in it!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Grand Rapids is noted for its furniture manufactories. A draughtsman,
who is employed to design artistic things for the largest of these
manufactories, kindly showed me over the premises of his employers. I
was not very surprised to hear that when the various retail houses come
to make their yearly selections, they will not look at any models of the
previous season, so great is the rage for novelties in every branch of
industry in this novelty-loving America.

[Illustration: MY EXHIBITOR.]

No sinecure, that draughtsman's position, I can tell you.

Over in Europe, furniture is reckoned by periods. Here it is an affair
of seasons.

Very funny to have to order a new sideboard or wardrobe, "to be sent
home without delay" for fear of its being out of date.




     _New York, April 26._

THE last two days have vanished rapidly in paying calls.

This morning my impresario gave me a farewell breakfast at the Everett
House. Edmund Clarence Stedman was there; Mark Twain, George Kennan,
General Horace Porter, General Lloyd Bryce, Richard Watson Gilder, and
many others sat at table, and joined in wishing me _bon voyage_.

Good-by, my dear American friends, I shall carry away sweet
recollections of you, and whether I am re-invited in your country or
not, I will come again.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _April 27._

The saloon on board the _Teutonic_ is a mass of floral offerings sent by
friends to the passengers. Two huge beautiful baskets of lilies and
roses are mine.

The whistle is heard for the third time. The hands are pressed and the
faces kissed, and all those who are not passengers leave the boat and go
and take up position on the wharf to wave their handkerchiefs until the
steamer is out of sight. A great many among the dense crowd are friendly
faces familiar to me.

[Illustration: TWO BASKETS FOR ME.]

The huge construction is set in motion, and gently and smoothly glides
from the docks to the Hudson River. The sun is shining, the weather

The faces on land get less and less distinct. For the last time I wave
my hat.

Hallo, what is the matter with me? Upon my word, I believe I am sad. I
go to the library, and, like a child, seize a dozen sheets of note paper
on which I write: "Good-by." I will send them to New York from Sandy

[Illustration: THE "TEUTONIC."]

The _Teutonic_ is behaving beautifully. We pass Sandy Hook. The sea is
perfectly calm. Then I think of my dear ones at home, and the happiest
thoughts take the place of my feelings of regret at leaving my friends.

My impresario, Major J. B. Pond, shares a beautiful, well-lighted, airy
cabin with me. He is coming to England to engage Mr. Henry M. Stanley
for a lecture tour in America next season.

The company on board is large and choice. In the steerage a few
disappointed American statesmen return to Europe.


Oh! that _Teutonic!_ can any one imagine anything more grand, more
luxurious? She is going at the rate of 450 miles a day. In about five
days we shall be at Queenstown.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Liverpool, May 4._

My most humble apologies are due to the Atlantic for libeling that ocean
at the beginning of this book. For the last six days the sea has been
perfectly calm, and the trip has been one of pleasure the whole time.
Here is another crowd on the landing-stage at Liverpool.

And now, dear reader, excuse me if I leave you. You were present at the
friendly farewell handshakings on the New York side; but, on this
Liverpool quay, I see a face that I have not looked upon for five
months, and having a great deal to say to the owner of it, I will
politely bow you out first.


  Max O'Rell's Impressions of America and the Americans.



         MAX O'RELL



  Extra Cloth, Gilt Top,      Price, $1.50.
  Paper Binding,                "   50 cts.


"We have laughed with him at our neighbors, and now if we are clever we
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"He is a keen observer and has a happy faculty of presenting the comical
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